Thursday 28 June 2018

The Wild Geese Weekend - Kenilworth 2018

Now in it's third year, what was previously known as 'A Military Gentleman '  due to the connections with the superb book and forum published and run by John Ray has now become The Wild Geese due to a significant number of attendee's not being owners of the book.
We all gathered once again at the Chesford Grange Hotel in Warwickshire for a weekend of games.
Arriving on the Friday I dropped my two colleagues off at the hotel and then went to pick Jim Purkey up from Coventry railway station before heading over to Griffin moulds for a meet with Jane ( the owner) and the staff.

A return visit is to be scheduled to discuss 3D sculpting - no more to be said at this stage.

Following this it was then a return trip to meet up with everyone

23 attendees
Not much Wild about this lot!!!
First and foremost a big thanks to Colin Ashton and his wife Katherine for organising this event and for taking up the cudgel to run next years event.

There was a choice of four games
Paul Robinson from the Grimsby Club was hosting a Great Northern War game using his own rules, Willz Harley hosted a Seven Years War game utilising the traditional Spencer Smith figures and Jim Purkey's rules, Gary Phillips  took us to Africa to fight the Zulus using The Men Who Would Be King and finally Colin Ashton who hadn't had enough orgnasing the event decided to host a game - Versailles a most interesting 17th Century romp using his own rules.

Experience has taught me that it is more than likely I will only get to play in 3 games and I really wanted to play them all ! The two must plays were Gary's and Paul's so first thing Saturday morning I joined four other commanders on our quest to punish the Zulu's by burning their Kraal and the Cheifs hut.
Michael Perry took his command of engineers straight into the Kraal and set about the business, Stuart Insch took command of the Naval Brigade and the cavalry who went on their own  mission oblivious to all around them until the return trip. Leigh held the left flank and me the right. With a CO who was a shirker and one of my Company Officers being Brutal it was rather a difficult job getting my chaps to move and of course under the rules everytime you move Zulus may appear in our case they certainly did - particularly in the rear view mirror.
 Unexpected Zulus arrive to the rear Naval Brigade about face
 Gavin helped Gary with the Zulu's he saved our skins - 18 dice 5 or 6 to hit!!!!!!

 The Engineers set fire to the Kraal with some very artistic smoke markers

Time to leave

Second game was Paul Robinson's Great North War feast. I took command of Russians on the right flank and the overall aim was to prevent Swedish supplies crossing the bridge to the village. In reality the game would hinge on the cavalry battles in the centre but I did my bit tying down two Swedish regiments and eventually getting the better of them at the same time pushing my infantry forward to threaten Swedish cavalry who failed to charge me on two occassions.
Michael had take our infantry on the left where he did a sterling job engaging the Swedish foot even if he was roughly handled.
Martin took the cavalry in our centre and what a mighty battle it was on this occasion Gavin threw some incredible morale dice saving the Swedish cavalry who came back for round two later and won every melee thus saving the supply column.

Colin's game was the final game I played on Sunday morning - Versailles. Three players all on the same side - racing to cross the bridge before the sluice gates opened and flooded the area. En route collect 'courtesans' who could provide information re certain peoples duplicitous actions.

The twist was that each round the player drew a card which could either enhnace your forces or which you could play on a colleague causing their troops to fall back, fail to charge or take morale checks - did I feel guilty when Gav lost almost half his cavalry to poor morale checks _ not likely.

Aly won this one on a throw of the dice at the end - great fun.

Finally the game I didn't get chance to play - what looked like a most enjoyable romp

All in all a most excellent weekend and without doubt one I shall return to next year.

Tuesday 19 June 2018

Battle of Sanderhausen Part 2

I have based the scenario on that presented by Charles Grant in Wargaming in history vol1.

In essence the allied General Isenburg had been told by Ferdinand a few days earlier to do the best he could in delaying the French, therefore he resolved tostand and fight at Sanderhausen.
His right flank rested on a wooded escarpment which ran alongside the banks of the Fulda river and his left resting on the high ground that led to the Ellenbach wood and the village of Ellenbach.

Outnumbered 3:2 in infantry, 2:1 in guns and cavalry this was very much a delaying action. The French under Duc de Broglie whilst outnumbering his enemy had his own problems. All of his infantry were under strength and short on ammunition

The battle commenced at 1pm game time and was due to finish as dusk fell - around 7pm - 18 bounds.

The French objective was simple prevent Isenburg from withdrawing and destroy his army

John Rich took command of the French and Simon Millar the allies

I don't intend to go through all the photos however the opening moves were interesting as Johns brigade on his right commenced the steep climb towards Ellenbach and his light infantry moved into the woods on both flanks to engage the enemy Jaegers it was to see the whole Allied army commence an advance down the valley towards the French! All except the grenadiers who despite protestations were ordered to advance into the woods and support the Jaegers.

I was initially surprised and then I realised what Simon was doing - until the French took Ellenbach and passed the village they were in the narrowest part of the valley and he intended to hem them in for as long as possible preventing them fro bringing their numbers to bear.

 The action in the woods on both flanks was fiercely contested - on the French right the troops were even in numbers and traded casualties as the Jaegers slowly fell back on the French left the French were shocked as the Jaegers outnumbered 2:1 proceeded to decimate the French first one company and then the second company of Chasseurs were driven back and broken ( it was their first battle!)

 The French infantry left and centre proceeded to creep ahead of their colleagues who were climbing towards Ellenbach - the allied artillery pieces had deployed and commenced firing causing casualties on the lead French units whilst in the French guns deployed and seemed to have a bad habit of overshooting!

 The allied heavy cavalry advanced and deployed behind the village both John and I waited for the inevitable attack on the lead French columns who were slowly taking casualties from the allied artillery ( the attack never came!)
 The allied militia holding Ellenbach had the best of the early exchanges with the two French regiments advancing towards them then disaster loomed a French battery fired onto the village, killing an Officer and some troops the Militia wavered

It was about this time that the allied Jaegers on their left flank lost the exchange with their French counterparts and fell back - the allied commander had however ordered his 1 squadron of light cavalry to enter the woods and eject the French light troops. Which they did in style riding down a company without loss in the melee.
 Two more rounds of fire saw the milita retreat out of Ellenbach and the lead French regiment occupy it.
The allied heavy cavalry who had been sat behind the village threatening the French lines now found themselves flanked and the musketry from the village saw the Officer of the lead squadron killed together with two troopers and effectively put out of action yet the cavalry still sat there.
 Unable to deploy into line the lead French regiments sought to attack the allied line, unfortunately they did so in a piecemeal fashion and first one, then two, then three regiments were sent reeling from the allied firepower as they all fell below 50%

The French then tried pushing their cavalry forward and again the lead two squadrons were hit hard

 However the third squadron succeeded in charging home on the allied artillery wiping out its crew and then following up into the nearest infantry who they also broke! So what of the allied heavy cavalry? after losing their lead squadron the remainder had turned around and began to fall back to redeploy behind the allied line.

 As dusk began to close in the French began to push out of Ellenbach and broke another allied regiment sent to delay them, Isenburg had galloped off to recall the Grenadiers who were no longer needed to support the victorious Jaegers
 As the victorious French cavalry fell back ( having fought two rounds of melee) The French 3rd Brigade of infantry began their assault, the early exchanges were clearly in favour of the allies with one French regiment faltering then suddenly the allies lost their composure Simon fired cannister into two French units - 16 hits needing a 5 or a 6, 5 hits needing a 6- not one hit. Likewise 4 volleys from infantry needing 4+ - nothing. The French breathed a sigh of relief as they sought to regain composure.

At this point and with failing light the Duc de Broglie called off the attack - he had lost over 30% of his army and whilst he had clearly broken the allied left his infantry on that flank had no cavalry or artillery support and were being threatened by the Allied heavies.

Isenburg was allowed to withdraw his battered force.

A most enjoyable game and one which had many options, I am surprised the French didn't push some infantry through the woods behind the lights and there was always an option of marching some of the infantry across filed to allow the cavalry through early.

Why the allied heavies never took the opportunity to charge I don't know but the joy of written orders are the restraints it places on players when opportunites appear and they are unable to exploit.

Thank you gentlemen for a most enjoyable day