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The Orkney Wargames Club meets

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The Combat at Glokenspeil, 1757

The Seven Years War, Honours of War, 28mm

In this, our last game of the year, we opted for a small Seven Years War fight, fought in my kitchen. I was joined by the two Seans, with Sean 2 bringing his brigade of Prussians along. So, the game was a small affair with two matched forces. both the French and the Prussians and their allies had six battalions of foot, four regiments of cavalry and a light battalion apiece. The game was fought out on a standard 6×4 foot table, centred on a small farm. This was very much a straightforward meeting engagement kind of game. the idea was, both sides would start with a brigade of infantry marching onto the table from opposite short ends. the second brigade would then follow, while the the cavalry (in two small brigades) would arrive from the flanks. The Seans split the Prussians up between them, while I commanded the French. the trouble was, while the forces were equal, their quality wasn’t…We rolled for leader quality, and two of my four brigadiers turned out to be “dithering”, while two of the Prussian ones were “dashing”. This wasn’t good, as it meant that each turn there was a 1 in 3 chance my “dithering” brigadiers and their troops wouldn’t move. That was especially a problem as one of them commanded by best cavalry! “Dashing” meant that there was a 1 in 3 chance of those leaders making an double move. Still, the dice gods might smile. In fact, things got off to a bad start right away. My leading infantry brigade passed the farm, but found the Prussians had already formed up into a battle line. I tried to deploy too, but thanks to the farm I wasn’t able to match the length of the Prussian line. Still, my cavalry came on, and could help to fill the gap. Meanwhile my second brigade, led by a “dithering” brigadier, came onto the table, then pretty much refused to move any further. By then the firefight had started in the centre of the table. My Germans of the La Mark regiment began the fight in good form, rolling well. In the space of two turns their 2nd battalion routed a  red-flagged Prussian line battalion, while the 1st bttn. held its own against the Prussian grenadiers on the enemy’s left flank. Actually, it wasn’t exactly their left – another blue-flagged unit moved swiftly past them, to occupy the farmyard behind my line. That was thanks to a couple of double moves from Sean 1’s infantry. I could only dream of a “dashing commander”, as my whole plan now centred on having my better cavalry brigade move around the back of a small wood, and fall on the rear of the right-hand end of the Prussian line. Unfortunately for me they decided to stop when they drew level with the wood, and just sat there, dithering away, for then next two or three turns! That bought the Seans time to bring on their own cavalry, on the long table edge behind the farm. Once again, Sean 2 rolled a “6”, meaning he got a double move – and promptly charge onmy grenadier battalion which had only just marched onto the table, and was still in march column. I managed to turn them to face the threat, but they lost the chance to fire, and in the melee they were forced to retreat by the triumphant Hessian cuirassiers.This wasn’t very good at all. All of my cavalry was now either pinned in the left centre, propping up my line, or sitting having a picnic behind the wood! Still, in the centre I finally managed to break a second Prussian unit, who’d advanced to pester the cavalry, and found themselves exposed to two French battalions. The Prussian battalion was  routed – the French fire was impressive – but not before they’d fired and broken one of my own cavalry units. So, both sides had now lost some key units. My force though, was in the worst shape, as half of it was steadfastly refusing to budge, while the rest were outnumbered and now outflanked. I also couldn’t see a way of breaking through the Prussian infantry line, which had just been reinforced by its second brigade. TI also lost a second infantry battalion, worn down by the fire of the Prussian grenadiers.  So, it wasn’t looking very good at all! Over on the French right, my grenadiers had survived, and were licking their wounds, but the Hessian cavalry had done an exploitation charge, and driven back the battalion behind them, who were still in march column. At that point the Hessian cavalry turned about and headed towards my centre. Oh dear…

So, at that point I ordered a general withdrawal from the field. It was a smart little action, and I was royally outfought. Sean 2 was delighted that his Prussians had emerged triumphant, and ended their year’s campaigning on a real high. I’ll have my revenge though, but I’ve learned not to make ambitious plans when half of my brigade commanders are “dithering”! As always, the elegant rules worked a treat.


9 Responses “The Combat at Glokenspeil, 1757”

  1. David Henderson
    3rd January 2024 at 11:15 pm

    Going by the photos, it looks like your commanding general was in the thick of it grabbing collars and kicking arses, Angus. A tough gig to end the year on but at least you had a good excuse … and fun. All the best for 2024.

    • David Henderson
      23rd January 2024 at 1:41 pm

      Hello again, Angus. I’m hosting an Honours of War game next week and scouring around for a suitable scenario. I know your game was some time ago now, so your memory won’t be as fresh, but could you tell me how your reinforcements arrived? Did you dice for arrival or was it pre-determined for each turn, etc.? I’d be interested if you were able to share any further details. Ta.
      [p.s. btw, when I said “kick arses” above, I was of course alluding to the Rules allowing commanding generals to ride up alongside a brigade commander and temporarily upgrade him (e.g., Dithering to Dependable) and trust you took advantage of that rule.]

      • 28th January 2024 at 11:12 am

        David – we simply diced for it – the result of a D6 was the number of turns of delay. We’ve used fancier methods too though. Fir instance, in our Napoleonic game last week, both sides had two sets of cards – one set marked with the turn (Turns 3, 5, 7 & 9 for instance), and the other with detachments of troops (ie a brigadier, 2 line battalions and a gun battery). they were randomly stuck beneath the turn card, so the player didn’t know what troops were marching up the road to join the fray. it was simple, and it worked nicely.

        • David Henderson
          29th January 2024 at 1:53 pm

          Good idea with the playing cards using 2 decks – will probably pinch that one in future. I tried coming up with something over the weekend using 1 deck but abandoned this. Didn’t get a chance to read your reply yesterday so now leaning towards using dice with a similar procedure to your own. So far, the game is on subject to my heavy cold improving in time – can’t expect my opponent to sit opposite me in a confined space for a whole afternoon (fingers crossed!). Thanks again for the idea of the scenario (when proposed to my pal, it got the thumbs up). Regards. 😎

          • 29th January 2024 at 3:51 pm

            Well David, we’ve moved from playing cards to playing card counters, pre-coloured MDF ones from Warbases here in Scotland.
            They aren’t as intrusive on the tabletop as playing cards (even though I use small cards), and you don’t need to shuffle them.
            Good luck with the game, and good luck with the cold. Rum and honey is my cure.

  2. Peter Verduyn
    3rd February 2024 at 5:29 pm

    Hello, Peter from Belgium here. I have been binging this series of “Honour” posts and this convinced me to again take up the hobby that never really took off because of life. So I ordered the rules. And when I discovered the “Shadow” posts…Well, can’t be helped. Maybe I’ll even restart my old blog,…
    Anyway, thank you for a most inspiring, well laid out, no nonsense blog, which has made a bigger impact than you might guess. I’m grateful.
    Happy gaming

    • 3rd February 2024 at 5:51 pm

      I’m delighted Peter! Your post has made my day! You mightn’t know, but we’ve also got a supporting Facebook page now, called simply “Orkney Wargames Page”. It’ll mention these games and show pictures of them, but the aim is to include other posts too, about figure painting, wargame rules and whatever else we can think of that people might find interesting. Do please let us know how things develop with your project!

      • Peter Verduyn
        3rd February 2024 at 6:06 pm

        I found the fb page, thank you. It just crossed my mind I should equally be thanking Keith Flint for writing the rules that gave birth to these games.

      • 3rd February 2024 at 7:18 pm

        Indeed Peter. Fortuitously, Keith has just opened a new Facebook group; Honours of War, Shadow of the Eagles, Startline
        In fact its so new that I’ve only just joined it myself. Angus

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