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The Orkney Wargames Club meets

in Kirkwall on Thursday evenings.


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The Bridge over the Ems, 1759

The Seven Years War, Die Kriegskunst, 28mm

This small game scenario centred around a broken wheel. The wheel of a Prussian ammunition wagon had broken while the wagon was crossing a bridge over the River Ems near Münster, in Western Germany. The accident happened as a siege battery was being moved across country, and the blocked bridge meant that until the wheel could be fixed, the battery (represented here by a single gun) was stuck on the wrong (western) side of the river. A screen was thrown out to protect it – a Highland regiment and a Hanoverian one, supported by a screen of skirmishers. The rest of the force marched on, leaving a brigade of Hessians (we used Prussians) and one small unit of British cavalry as a reserve on the eastern bank of the river. That, of course, was when the French appeared, commanded by “JP” (John Perkins). Dougie Trail commanded the Allies.img_0375They had two small brigades at their disposal, each with three battalions. These troops were supported by a small battery of guns, and a sole “royal” regiment of cavalry, who had already forded the river further downstream, and were working their way up the western bank. It always seems that any game involving the Highlanders turns into a Celtic grudge match, as they always end up fighting the Irish. Anyway, the Highlanders held on, grimly lining the wall of a small stone enclosure. Over on their left the Hanoverian regiment wasn’t so well placed, and found itself outnumbered and outflanked by the advancing French. Within a couple of turns it broke, and only bad command dicing prevented the French from sweeping forward to capture the siege battery.img_0378The French cavalry then appeared on the southern table edge, on the western bank of the river. Their aim was to drive off the British cavalry, and then pin the Hessians on the western bank, so they couldn’t intervene in the “stramash” on the eastern bank of the Ems. Things didn’t go quite to plan, as the British light dragoons rode out to meet them, and after a brief melee it was the French who broke and ran. While that removed the threat to the west bank, things weren’t going so well on the far side of the river. img_0374The Hessians rolled their “activation dice”, but turn after turn the troops refused to budge. This means the Highlanders were left to their own devices. With the French on three sides of them they didn’t really stand a chance, and they finally broke under the pressure. All that was left was was for the French to sweep forward and capture the gun battery – the laurels going to a Swiss regiment. Victory was duly awarded to the French. The only bright spot from the Allied point of view was on the penultimate turn the waggoners finally managed to replace the broken wheel, and the darned powder wagon was able to rumble away to safety.img_0370This small game was quick, fun and fairly well-balanced, although the Allied player’s inability to move his reserve brigade meant that the defenders on the far bank of the river were outnumbered three to one, and consequently they never really stood a chance.img_0373


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