The Seven Years War, Black Powder, 28mm
This is another game with my bad old camera, hence the funny tinge to the photos. They all came out overwashed, and this is the best I could manage – sorry! Anyway, Lombardia and Nuestria are two fictitious countries, invented to get round the problem that I have a French army, but no full-strength opposition for them to fight. So, the Nuestrians consist of Prussians, backed up by a selection of Reichsarmee units. Rather than a straightforward encounter game, we decided to play a scenario from Battlegames’ Tabletop Teasers Vol. 1.This was dreamed up by Charlie Grant, the son of my friend Charles S. Grant. Chalices is an expert at concocting interesting scenarios, and it seems his son is no slouch at it either. This one was called “Turning the Flank”, and involved an Austrian (Nuestrian) assault on the end of a long Franch (Lombardian) defensive line. This line was anchored on the village of Antonsberg, behind which ran the River Iller. The Nuestrian aim was to cut the road leading off the table from the village, by sweeping across the lightly defended rear of the Lombardian line. This would be achieved by crossing the river, and hitting the town from behind.Both attackers and defenders were divided into two forces. the Nuestrian advance guard ( 4 battalions of foot, two regiments of horse and a small gun) formed the advanced guard, and had orders to find a ford and cross the river. Behind them came the main body (5 battalions, a cavalry regiment and a light and heavy gun). The Lombardian garrison of Antonsberg consisted of three battalions of foot, a regiment of cavalry and a gun, while across the River Iller to the south was another force (two battalions, and three regiments – two of which were dragoons). Sean and I played the Francophile Lombardians, while Alan and Gyles commanded the more Germanic Nuestrians.The Nuestrian advance guard deployed their light gun on a hill in front of them, and headed towards the river. Progress was reasonably swift, but to avoid a bottleneck two infantry battalions headed one way, and the hussar brigade another. Two fords were found, one close to Antonsberg (the one discovered by the infantry), the other leading to an island in the loop of the river. The first attempt of the hussar brigade to cross was thwarted by the fire of a unit of dismounted Lombardian dragoons, but the next turn the yellow hussars stormed over the ford, and the dragoons legged it to the rear of the island, where another ford led to the west bank of the river. By then the two leading battalions of Nuestrian infantry – both fusilier battalions – had been drawn into a firefight with the Lombardian Wild Geese, and a gun battery.
These were the southernmost defenders of Antonsberg. The Wild Geese did well, until a couple of simultaneous artillery hits forced a morale test. A double “1”‘ saw them flee the field. The gun crew though, were made of sterner stuff, and held their ground for several turns – in fact until the arrival of the Nuestrian main force. This came on surprisingly quickly (a roll of “3” on two dive, plus a basic 2 meant they entered on turn 5. A rapid advance saw them approach the outskirts of Antonsberg, but the troops held back while the massed Nuestrian artillery pounded any Lombardian units they could see. As soon as the guns deployed the defenders of Antonsberg were hit by a hefty barrage of shot.Then, when the guns had driven the defenders from the outskirts of the village, the assault rolled in. the gallant gun crew died beside their piece, and the Nuestrians now massed around the two to the east and the south. Across the river the hussars hurtled across the second ford leading from the island to the mainland, and barreled into a waiting unit of Lombardian dragoons. the Lombardian horsemen were swept aside, while a breakthrough charge saw them force the second unit of Lombardian dragoons to retire with undue haste. By then a lone cavalry unit from the main force had worked its way across the river to the south of the Lombardian outlying force, and this Lombardian remnant – a battalion of foot – was caught between two waves of cavalry, attacking from front and rear. They were wiped out.That meant on the far side of the river one sole battalion of Lombardian infantry remained at the bridge leading towards Antonsberg, while in the town itself all that remained of the original garrison was a hussar regiment and a badly-beated up battalion of foot. At that point the Lombardian commanders decided to call it a day. After all, while we still held the road leading from the town, we hadn’t a garrison left in the village, and if they fought on what remained of our army would be chopped up piecemeal. In other words, it was a famous Nuestrian victory. The scenario was fun to play (we used a 9×6 foot table), but if we refight it with with Black Powder again we might have to tweak the deployments a little, to help balance the game a little more.