|Map © Henry Hyde and Miniature Wargames magazine. Thanks Henry!|
Steve Jones of the Newark Irregulars had written the latest in the 'Command Challenge' series, and the article immediately caught my eye. Entitled 'Three Fords, Three Ways', it was basically the story of a fighting retreat, based on a real action in the American War of Independence. Supply wagons and the vital units of the Main Body had to be saved before the attackers overran the position. The table was dominated by a river crossable only at three fords, and force details were given for each of three periods (hence the title). Conforming with the Biffy Theory of classic wargaming, these periods were of course the Ancient (alright, Dark Ages), Horse and Musket and Modern periods. Horse and Musket for me, then.
Overall, I thought Steve had produced an article in the finest traditions of Charles Grant's much-loved Table Top Teasers: presenting it for three different periods was a fine piece of added value.
Now this was not to say that some tweaking wouldn't be required. The baggage position shown on the map was obviously (to my mind, and for my rules)) too close to the exit point. To give the attackers a chance, the wagons would need to be re-located nearer the centre of the table. I also had my doubts about the tiny flanking force (a single small unit of elite troops), but I stuck with the idea for my game with Paul. I was able to run through the game twice, first with Paul and then, taking advantage of my current solo existence and the temporary facility of a dedicated wargames room, a solo run through a week later without having to take everything down and set it up again. Luxury!
The Battle In Pictures
(Sorry about the quality, my best camera had to be lent out to the female section of the family).
|The Grenzers on the ridge prepare to sell themselves dear.|
|Here the grenz infantry have been pushed off the ridge. What could the Austrian dragoons do to delay the enemy?|
|Not much, was the answer. The Prussian grenadiers cooly advanced to close musket range, conclusively seeing off a desperate charge by one of the dragoon regiments, which lost the Austrian commander his first unit destroyed.|
|The other dragoon regiment was also driven back, the grenzers falling back as well. The wagons have managed to creak slowly towards the ford and are slowly crossing.|
|Meanwhile, at the main ford, chaos reigns. Failed command rolls, some stinging long range musket fire and some shots from the Prussian gun battery bring panic and disorder as everyone tries to cross at once.|
|The remaining units of the Austrian main body fall back, trying to avoid getting too involved with the Prussian flanking force.|