Saturday, 14 July 2012

The Battle for Miggins Pies (AWI battle report)

Last Wednesday's fortnightly stoush was a highly fictitious War of Independence game using Regimental Fire and Fury AWI adapted rules and based on the rather tenuous thread that the Yankees were attempting to capture the British held Fort Douglas and with it Mrs Eliza Miggin's famous pie recipe.

'The Miggins Pie'
The  Miggins and their famous pies have a proud association with the British Armed Forces over many years and have been a feature of a number of our games. In fact a fully preserved Miggins Field Pie, Mince. Mk8 was recently discovered on an archeological dig on one of the Somme battlefields and is currently on display at the Imperial War Museam. Needless to say said pies and the ownership of the secret recipe have been cause for many a hard fought contest at The Redoubt.

Back to the game... and some semblance of reality.
As mentioned the British hold Fort Douglas which sits squarley in the middle of lush farmland and meadows interspersed with tracks and carriageways through the sparse woods and vegetation.   The Fort is one of a chain of fortified blockhouses which have been built to defend the local Loyalist population as the area is an abundant source of supplies and fodder for the hungry Army. Apart from the occasional copse or wood the going is easy and offers no obstruction to formed troops.

The British can count on the support of a number of nearby Regiments including their Hessian Allies (for Hessians we used mostly Chris's Prussians as we didn't have enough Hessians) plus a strong force of cavalry and artillery that are currently re-supplying.

Dave 'Tex Houston's' Hessians by Front Rank

Wayne's Front Rank British Light Dragoons
The American Continental Army consists of a good many battle hardened veterans including a unit of Marines who are just getting their land legs back. They too have cavalry and a number of artillery pieces at their disposal. Their force is sufficiently large enough to assualt the Fort and hold off any enemy reinforcements which may come to the forts rescue.

Rodger's Continentals by Eureka

Turn 1 commenced with the Americans splitting their force into three with Dave's force tasked with capturing the fort, and Geoff and myself protecting Daves flanks from unwanted attention and if able assisting to capture the fort and those yummy pies.
A rapid advance was made all along the line with, as yet, no sign of the British reinforcements, Surprise appeared to be on our side.
Turn 2 saw Daves troops within musketry range of the pinewood walls of the fort whilst Geoff's troops formed up in supported line in the neighbouring field on Daves right flank. My Regulars and Rangers including a unit of cavalry and a light artillery piece had formed up on Daves Left flank to await devlopments with two units of French allies at the rear in support

Daves troops commenced a lively fusilade on the fort which swept a number of redcoated grenadiers  from the battlements, this was promptly answered by accurate and steady volleys from the redoubtable fort. "Sergeant be a good man and send the lovely Mrs Miggins to the basement with a couple of your toughest Grenadiers for protection to defend her and that pie recipe with their lives... just as a precaution eh what".

"For Liberty and Pies"

Steady and accurate volleys

The assault in earnest

Geoffs troops form up with Marines in the pun intended!

Turn 3 saw the arrival of the British and Hessian reinforcements so any hope of a quick snatch and grab were soundly dashed. The British and Hessians were commanded by Adrian on their Right and Chris on the Left with Rodger holding the fort.
The British wasted no time in forming up for the attack on both the American flanks whilst they manuevered a battery of artillery forward screened by light infantry in the centre.
By Turn 4 the British were just in range of my muskets so I opened up with a ragged volley and a round from the light gun for good measure, unfortunately with little effect other than to disorder  a unit of Hessians. The British and Hessians continued advancing with resolute strides.

Give em a volley boys!

Morgans Rangers give fire.

Meanwhile the struggle for the the fort continued apace and a well placed mine by the American sappers had the intended effect of blowing a huge gap in the corner of the pallisade so it was hand to hand and no quarter given. The British grenadiers were living up to their reputaion for toughness though and showed no sign of yielding their beloved pie recipe to bunch of Colonial amatuers.

The palisade is down.

Adrian, on the British Right advanced to make contact with Geoffs Continental troops formed up in neat ranks in the wheat field.

Turn 5  begins with Chris's Hessians unleashing a devastating volley that tore holes in my ranks and saw two stands fall to the Grim Reaper, again poor firing by the Continentals barely scratched the paint on those damned dog eaters in return and it looks like I'm going to get a taste cold British Steel as Chris's disciplined ranks launch a 'Cold Steel bayonet charge on my line. Worse still he's got cavalry forming up in support and waving their sabres in a most unpleasant fashion.

View from the British side, the centre advances, those guns are a worry for the Yankees.

'Cold Steel'

Turn 6 and still the staunch Grenadiers in the Fort hold fast whilst Adrian's British right flank troops trade volleys with the Yankess in the wheatfield. The fire fight appears to going in favour of the Brits.

Things are going decidely pear shaped for my chaps on the American Left as the Hessians slam into my Rangers with a ferociuos charge which forces my Rangers to retreat in disorder a full turn and lose two more stands. At the same time  a unit of Hessians supported by British Light Dragoons pounce on my Regulars in an unstoppable tide which sends my Yankees running and leaving my gun exposed on the flank. A breakthrough allows the cavalry to contact my gun so its days are numbered.
The poor gunners dont even have time to get a shot off before falling to Tarleton's Green jacket's slashing sabres.

British Cavalry charge my wavering Continentals

Those poor gunners dont stand a chance.

Turn 7 sees the British still tenuosly in control of the fort as they are now able to feed reserves into the fray whilst they are heavily engaged with the American forces either side of the fort. Geoffs Troops in the wheat field are starting to buckle under the weight of determined charges by the British but he moves his Marines over to assist with the assault of the fort in a last ditch attempt to wrest the famed pie recipe from the clasp of the British before the British numbers prove too great and their formidable artillery is brought to bear.

The action in the wheatfield

My French troops on the American Left are now up against three units of Hessians and two units of cavalry with their dander up. My absolutely abysmal dice throwing means I can't hit the side of the proverbial barn door and I suck big time in melee. I am consistently out rolled at every contest, in one memorably horrible melee by as much as 12 points. I have inflicted the grand total of two stands of casualties on my opponent for the whole game whilst my units are disintregrating before my eyes. A vain attempt to halt the steamroller with a unit of light cavalry is brushed aside and in effect the whole Americal Left flank is on the brink of collapse and the Frenchmen are making furtive glances to the rear.
By Turn 8 its clear that any hope of taking the fort and that damned pie recipe are long gone and continuing the fight would be unrealistic as no sane commander would allow his army to be savaged for the sake of a bloody pie.

All and all a thoroughly enjoyable game, even if a bit tongue in cheek.

The Professionals advance.
How it looked at the end

Yankee Cavalry Brigade Commander tries to rally fleeing troopers.

You will not be surprised to learn that I have since ground up my recalcitrant dice up and turned them into a gooey paste which I have smeared over a sacrificial chicken in an attempt to appease the 'dice gods' in readiness for my next encounter.....the lengths one goes to.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Italian War of Unification Battle Report

Preliminary deployment

Last weeks fortnightly game was a splendid Volley and Bayonet Scenario staged by our resident V & B afficianado, Adrian Powell.
Adrian has a vast collection of 15mm armies, mostly Essex, and an equally impressive collection of scratch built buildings that are a joy to game with.

The game in question was an Italian War of Unification battle whose name completely escapes me, probably something like the battle of Ravioli or Bolognese or some such Italian sounding name. If you wanted a history lesson you have definately come to the wrong place.

Anyway the game involved the Forces of Neopolitan Italy and the Papal States against the Piedmontese. It appears the Piedmontese were none too keen on this Unification malarky, being as how they were going to get shafted by the Eyeties... so, as is the way, war ensued.

In this particular battle the Piedmontese had managed to get themsleves between the Neopolitan Italians and the Papal States Armies. The Neopolitans had positioned themselves squarely across the Piedmontese line of communication at the Southern end of the table.
The Piedmontese Army consisted of 2 Corps. One Corps was tasked with sweeping the Neopolitan Army from their position whilst the other Corps would hold off the Papal States Army which was advancing from the opposite Northern end of the table with a view to doing the Piedmontese some serious GBH.

The nature of the terrain is very rocky and impassable in many place so attacks must be funnelled through narrow gaps which favours the defender who also has the benfit of several villages to anchor their flanks and provide nuisance fire.

The Neopolitan Italians were commanded by Rodger and Adrian whilst I commanded the Papal States.
The honour of commanding the Piedmontese fell to Geoff and Chris.

I kicked the ball off with a frontal assualt on the Piedmontese second Corps which had taken up a line of defence between two rather picturesque villages.

The Papal States Advancing on the Piedmontese 2nd Corps

Initially the Piedmontese Infantry gave ground so sensing an opportunity for a quick breakthrough I threw my Dragoons in in a reckless charge to press the advantage. Unfortunately the Dragoons were all but slaughtered by extremely accurate volley fire and were seen off in grand style. This left my infantry to soak up withering fire from the stationary Piedmontese. Needless to say the first assault faltered.
To the South the Piedmontese 1st Corps shook themselves out into battle line to commence an all out assualt on the Neopolitans.
Republican Italians(In foreground) prepare to recieve the Piedmontese 1st Corps assault.
As I was heavily engaged dealing with my end of the table I only caught fleeting glimpses of the action at 'tother end o table' but it appeared Rodger and Adrian were doing a stirling job of holding off the Piedmontese.
By turn 4 I had restored some semblance of order and my Army commander had personally halted a somewhat determined rout of my elite shock troops.
I was ready to launch the my second wave on the Piedmontese, albeit with inferior troops this time and no cavalry. Both my artillery batteries were deployed and stationary and began bombarding the dug in Piedmontese whilst my infantry advanced to within firing range with the intention of halting for a couple of moves to slug it out with musketry prior to charging.
Unfortunately this ploy failed miserably as Chris's Stationary Piedmontese rolled six after six whilst I had an attack of the 'ones'. One by one my units were whittled away and by turn 7 my Army was on the verge of exhaustion and subsequent morale collapse with no hope of achieveing any headway against the invincible Piedmontese.
It was at about this point that Chris unleashed a fresh unit of lancers on me. Now I was fighting for my life.

Papal Troops about to be routed.

In the brief moments I was able to tear myself away from disaster I caught fleeting glimpses of the action at the Southern end. Fortunately this was a reversal of my situation with the Neopolitan Italians giving the Piedmontese a jolly good seeing to.

Italian cavalry steamroller some Piedmontese Hussars.
One particularly spectacular scene was a massed cavalry charge launched by the Neopolitan cavalry against the Piedmontese.

Turn 8 saw my Papal Army in exhaustion and completely demoralized..a resounding victory to the 'demon six thrower', Chris, and his Piedmontese, whilst Geoff's Piedmontese 1st Corps was in about the same state as mine and in no shape to clear the Neopolitans away.
So all in all an inconclusive draw and a ton of fun.

Some more pics in no particular order:

And now for something completely different

It seems Zombies are all the rage at the moment and whilst they dont spin my wheels they have inspired some outstanding artwork and paint jobs. My friend Rodger's daughter has done some outstanding photographs of her zombie friends (See latest Rebel Barracks post) so I thought I'd show off my Daughter, Courtney's, latest school project.

Courtney's friend in the early stages of mutation


Book Zombies...coming to a library near you