Heretical Gaming is my blog about my gaming life, featuring small skirmishes and big battles from many historical periods (and some in the mythic past or the far future too). The focus is on battle reports using a wide variety of rules, with the occasional rules review, book review and odd musing about the gaming and history. Most of the battles use 6mm-sized figures and vehicles, but occasionally 15mm and 28mm figures appear too.

Wednesday 27 December 2023

Neil Thomas One Hour Wargames Scenario 25

The next One Hour Wargames scenario, named 'Infiltration', is a very heavily modified scenario of the Battle of Kernstown. The essnce of this scenario, as opposed to the real battle, is that one force has to punch through the other and head up the road to carry out its raid. In my version, it is the Franco-Jacobites attempting to break through and the Hanoverian Army which is trying to stop them...

 As usual, I am using the Polemos Ruse de Guerre rules.

The Forces:

Franco-Jacobites: 4 bases of Infantry, 1 base of Artillery, 1 base of Cavalry
Hanoverians: 4 bases of Infantry,  1 base of Artillery, 3 bases of Dragoons*
Initially, the Hanoverians have 2 bases on the field, located on the hill; the next reinforcement comes in along the road at the top (3 bases), the last reinforcement comes in along the bottom edge (4 bases)

*I accidentally saw off the Hanoverians - they should have had another base of infantry. That may well have made the difference, or at least a difference, in this game.

The Set-Up:

The battlefield, occupied only by a small brigade of Scots' infantry

A closer look

The battle begins: the Irish brigade moves towards the hill held by the Scottish infantry, whilst the other Franco-Jacobite troops advance up the road.

Their movements having been somewhat slow, the Franco-Jacobite forces deploy into a battle formation; note that a second British brigade is now astride the road, blocking it.

Most of the Irish Brigade went up the road, leaving only Berwick's Regiment to face the Scots. Leven's Regiment took some punishment, as did the Irishmen, but Fergusson's Regiment is advancing with the bayonet...

Berwick's Regiment is thrown back to the road, but giving as good as it got, its musketry is still causing hevaily losses in Fergusson's Regiment; meanwhile, its sister battalions begin an audacious flank march, whilst Royal Eccossais and the artillery face off against the British blocking force (top); meanwhile (right) the British Dragoons have arrived in the Franco-Jacobite rear

The drill and discipline of Berwick's Regiment is simply superb today: quickly re-ordering its ranks, its punishing salvoes break the resistance of Fergusson's Regiment

The French artillery and the musketry of the Jacobite Scots' is proving equally effective up the road: Orkney's Regiment breaks, and Seymour's Marines are taking heavy losses, although this in turn is not without loss on the Franco-Jacobite side

A wider shot to recap the situation: the Franco-Jacobites seem to be making decent progress - but are the British Dragoons (right) about to sweep away the mounted elements of the Franco-Jacobites?

They are not! Despite the losses that FitzJames' Regiment has taken, they stop the attack of the British Dragoons!

Berwick's Regiment has rejoined those of Clare and Dillon (top-left) and they are about to attack the last British battalion protecting the road, Seymour's Marines; meanwhile, The British Dragoons have deployed two-regiments wide and have charged again! (right)

Royal Eccossais is still suffering heavily under British artillery fire (centre) - and duly breaks; but the French artillery then sees off the British gunners, who abandon their pieces and run off in their turn!

The Irish brigade advances to close quarter...(top-left); meanwhile, the British Dragoons charge both the Jacobite Horse and the French artillery from the rear...

But - oh me, oh my! the French artillerymen beat back the British Dragoons with musket shot, musket butt and every improvised weapon to hand; the FitzJames' Regiment again beats back twice its own numbers!

But the Irish Brigade sees off the last British battalion, and the road is clear - although Leven's Regiment has now marched up behind Berwick's!

However, at this point the Hanoverian Army could take no more, and it is sauve qui peut...and the road is open to the Franco-Jacobites!

Game Notes:

A thrilling battle and if it owed more to the bravery and skill of the Irish infantry, the Scottish Horse and the French gunners than the skill of its generals, well...some battles are just like that.
Polemos Ruse du Guerre, with its combat rolls based on a single D10, are just more prone to producing a wider envelope of results than other rules and there was plenty of those today. Combined with the crucial formation and army morale rolls, the rules really aren't that predictable. It is an interesting contrast to some of the other Polemos rules, where the unpredictability in the game tends to come more from the Tempo bidding and allocation systems. Ruse de Guerre shares these systems, but they are overall calibrated to be more generous than in most of the other sets (the Wars of the Counter-Reformation system is absolutely brutal here; Polemos SPQR and Polemos General de Division aren't quite so harsh, but much more so than Ruse de Guerre. By contrast, the SPQR combat system is calibrated to be much less chancy - if it had been British Chariots attacking a Gallo-Roman ballista from the rear in a similar battle, the only doubt might be whether the ballista was destroyed instantly, or in the following turn.
Anyway, all very good fun - hopefully that came out in the report!

Figures, as ever, by Baccus 6mm.


  1. I really like the scenario, it is very exciting and works well to model a number of situations. I repurposed it to cover a 1941 encirclement battle on the Eastern Front. I played it with a couple of different groups of players, and a more successful strategy for the attackers was to bypass the hill from the west. It was a longer march, but they arrived in better shape to overcome the final block of ng force.

    1. It is a very interesting situation, despite (or because) it being stripped down to some fairly bare essentials. As you have noted before I think, when unit count is so low, every decision matters. I will keep that strategy in mind for the next refight!