Saturday, 15 August 2015

One Hour Wargames - Scenario 9 - Double Delaying Action

For Scenario 9 of my attempt to play all of the One Hour Wargames scenarios in order I brought out my Great Northern War armies again. Regular readers of this blog will know that they have fought a number of these scenarios before, mostly using some square-grid rules I put together earlier this year. However for this game I decided to use something closer to the actual One Hour Wargames rules; as I work through the scenarios I'm beginning to realise that, as written, they are optimised for the rules in the book and would maybe require tweaking for other sets.

I could have just used the Horse and Musket rules, or at least the version of it I've been using for other games with my Latin American armies. However I had a search around on the web and in the AMW Yahoo Group I found a set for the War of Spanish Succession which I rather liked the look of. Obviously I couldn't use them as written, so I hacked them around a bit. I'll post my version another day, but key features are:

(i) Again I abandoned the 1D6-2, 1D6 and 1D6+2 hits system in favour of a number of dice hitting on a 4+. The set actually has finer granularity than the original OHW rules, as it also has 1D6+1 and 1D6-1 rolls. I couldn't see an easy way to incorporate this into my 1D6, 2D6 and 3D6 translation, so I merely doubled the number of dice rolled in combat. So 1D6-2 hits becomes 2D6 with each 4+ counting as a hit, 1D6-1 becomes 3D6 and so on, up to 1D6+2 which becomes 6D6:

1D6-2 = 2D6
1D6-1 = 3D6
1D6 = 4D6
1D6+1 = 5D6
1D6+2 = 6D6

All dice score a hit on a 4+

(ii) Because you can score more hits I had units destroyed after 10 hits rather than 5. I still used small stones to mark hits, with a white stone counting as 5 hits and the red ones 1 hit. You'll see them in the photos.

(iii) Factors which double hits merely double the number of dice you roll.

(iv) Cover allows the target unit to roll 1D6 per hit score. On a 4+ it is ignored.

(v) There are some issues with units pivoting, moving and shooting which I'm still trying to sort out. I was consistent in the game I played, but may rethink the mechanisms I used.

(vi) The rules cover Dragoons, which can operate as infantry or cavalry, taking a turn to change between modes. Neither army rolled any, so I did't get to try them out.

(vii) As in the basic OHW Horse and Musket rules, only cavalry can charge. I am working on a rule which allows Swedish infantry to charge as well, at the expense of not being able to shoot until they reform, but I haven't quite teased out exactly how I wanted it to work in this game, so I left things as they were.

(viii) I didn't worry about the effects of pikes in holding off cavalry. I think that the relative factors probably work OK as they are.

On to the game. The Swedes rolled four infantry, one cavalry and some artillery.

The Russian roll was similar - three infantry, two cavalry and some artillery.

I used a 2' x 2' board and the units were on a 3" frontage (2" for artillery). I reduced all distances by a third, so infantry moved 4" and cavalry 8" for example.

The scenario had the Russians defending. Their objective was to delay an attacking Swedish force, preventing them from capturing the town and from exiting at least two units off the road to the left of this picture. However the Russians also had to withdraw units - one by the end of the fourth turn, one by the end of the eighth and one by the end of the twelfth. Failure to do so would give the Swedes the victory.

The Russian defence had an infantry regiment holding the town, with two in reserve behind it. Their right flank was covered by the cavalry, who could be used to oppose any flanking move across the ford at the bottom of the picture. The Russian artillery was deployed on the hill at the rear. This gave it a field of fire across the board, but would hopefully allow it to be one of the units withdrawn at some point in the game.

The Swedes could enter anywhere along their side of the table. Two infantry regiments and some cavalry headed straight for the ford. One infantry regiment deployed to the centre, so it could move to reinforce the attack across the ford, or support the attack on the town.

The Swedes put an infantry unit and the artillery into attacking the town. The hope was that it could maintain the assault long enough for the flanking force to do its stuff.

The Swedes open fire. The infantry anyway; having moved this turn the artillery cannot fire.

The Russians immediately sent their cavalry to oppose the Swedes crossing the ford. Their artillery opened up on the Swedish reserve infantry.

Opposing cavalry approaches each other.

The Swedes swept across the ford, into line and charged.

Over at the town casualties were mounting on both sides, as the artillery joined in the attack.

At the ford the Swedish infantry had now crossed, supporting their cavalry. In the OHW rules cavalry that fail to destroy their close combat target have to withdraw half a move facing the enemy. However since there's no interpenetration, I ruled that if their path was blocked they would go back as far as they could, then stop. So the friendly infantry stopped the cavalry falling back so far.

The Swedes committed the reserve infantry to the attack on the town.

A deadly Swedish cavalry charge - six dice scoring six hits! The Russians were only a couple of hits from breaking.

The Russians moved a second unit into the town as the original defenders began to waver.

The damaged Russian cavalry withdrew towards the road; it was now a good choice to be withdrawn from the table, although not before the fourth turn unfortunately. The other Russian cavalry regiment moved up to cover its retreat.

The Russians charge, but the Swedes held.

The Swedes pushed forward, their infantry forming a line.

The town was now under heavy attack, and the original garrison had had enough, fleeing into the cellars and back-streets.

The Russians began their withdrawal. Unfortunately the only unit in a position to leave by the deadline was a fresh infantry regiment. Its move was covered by the artillery and the damaged cavalry.

The Swedes kept up their attack.

More fire was poured into the town. The original attackers were taking heavy casualties now, though ...

 ... and broke,

A Russian cavalry charge finally inflicted heavy casualties on the Swedish horse.

The Swedes turned and moved out of harm's way, but also into a flanking position on the Russian artillery. Artillery cannot move and fire, so the Russians had to decide whether to keep it firing on the other Swedes (and it was doing a good job there) or turn and face the Swedish cavalry.

The town. Still under attack.

The other Russian cavalry regiment took fire from the advancing Swedish infantry. The Russian cavalry was now a spent force.

Both units withdrew. The Russians had now fulfilled their withdrawal obligations, but were now left with one artillery unit on the hill and a regiment defending the town, with half of the game still to play.

The Swedish cavalry charged the artillery, which had not turned to face them. The cavalry would get double dice in the combat (twelve in total) but the artillery would get a save for their hilltop position. They took a couple of hits.

The garrison was now looking very weak ...

... but with help from the artillery it saw off another Swedish attacker.

The garrison then fled.

The Russians now had one unit on the table - the artillery. The Swedes had two infantry regiments, their heavily damaged cavalry and some artillery. But time was ticking on; the Swedes still had to exit two units via the road. One of their infantry marched towards the road. But the Russian artillery was turned to face the Swedish cavalry.

The cavalry responded by moving out of the way. But it was looking increasingly likely that it would have to be one of the units the Swedes exited from the table, as they had to control the town as well. 'Control' is not defined in the scenario, and I wasn't sure if it meant that the town had to be occupied, in which case there was only one infantry regiment available to do it; cavalry being unable to stop in a town and artillery even to enter it.

The cavalry failed to run the gauntlet of the artillery and dispersed.

I took a decision at this point that control did not mean occupation, and that the Swedes could count it by either eliminating all Russian units, or opposing any potential recapture. In addition I reasoned that the artillery could move through the town on the road. So in the last few turns of the game the Swedes marched their surviving infantry off the table, leaving the artillery deployed on the Russian side of the town

A Russian victory was still mathematically possible; there were just enough turns left for the Russian artillery to destroy their Swedish counterparts. So a duel ensued. As the game ended both artillery batteries remained in action.

So the Swedes won, but it was a narrower victory than it had looked near the beginning of the game. Had the Russians been able to withdraw their cavalry as the first unit rather than the unblooded infantry then things may have been tougher for the Swedes. 'Man of the Match' awards went to the Swedish cavalry for a couple of blistering charges which put the Russians very much on the back-foot, and the Russian artillery which kept up a constant damaging fire on any Swedish unit that crossed its path, as well as seeing off a Swedish cavalry attack.

The rules worked really well, and should require little in the way of further changes. I just need to sort out when units can move, fire and pivot, and see if I can reflect the Swedish propensity for infantry charges without breaking anything. And maybe Dragoons will make an appearance in the next game.

Follow the rest of the scenario refights HERE


  1. I like your system of 3 dice and 5 hits a unit can take; now you use 6 dice and a unit can take 10 hits!
    Would this be an alternative to limit further to 5 hits (easier to monitor):
    d-2= 1d6 hitting on a 4/5/6
    d-1= 2d6 hitting on a 5/6
    d= 2d6 hitting on 4/5/6
    d+1= 3d6 hitting on 5/6
    d+2= 3d6 hitting on 4/5/6.
    Any thoughts?
    Keep on publishing your batreps. Very interesting and a pleasure to read.
    ps for defending i use a defensive d: not only scoring on 4/5/6 but form 4 to 6 on type of defense.

    1. Thanks for the thoughts, Alex. I did consider an idea like that (having 'half dice' which only hit on a '6') but rejected it as too fiddly. I'd much prefer keeping the hit number constant at 4+, if only because it allows the flexibility of applying modifiers further down the line (competent troops that hit on a 3+ vs rubbish ones that hit on a 5+ for example)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...