Saturday, 7 July 2018

Sugar Islands - Battles on Guadeloupe

Last week I tried out another scenario for the Sugar Islands book. This time one of the last confrontations on Guadeloupe where the British were held up by the French who had dug in behind the line of one of several rivers which cut the road near Petite Bourg.

The French had mmanaged to prepare trenches and had dug in two small guns which caused the British some discomfort until they found a way to outflank the position.

My scenario had 4 units of British, 16 figures each including the 42nd foot, facing 5 French - 2 Marines, 2 militia and 1 large unit of armed slaves, plus two light guns. The French position was on a slight hill behind a river which was crossed by a bridge. The road forked just in front of the bridge and led off to the right hand table edge where  the river was crossed again by a ford.

Once again I used Jim Purkey's Fife and Drum AWI rules. They are simple, straightforward and work well for this size of game, played over a couple of hours and using a few units a side. The French marines and militia were regulars and well militia, armed slaves moved as militia but fired and fought as Indians. The British were all regulars except the 42nd who fought as Grenadiers, reflecting their shock role.

The game took place at Oldmeldrum on a small 3x4 layout. The British, controlled by me marched up the table and the highlanders and another unit quickly took the road to the ford. The other two units formed up before the bridge and gave the French, commanded by Alastair, something to shoot at. Even at long range with the guns shots began to whittle down the redcoats, but their morale was good and they shrugged off the odd casualty.

The other two units were heading for the ford, screened by thickets of jungle and scrub. Alistair detached two units of militia to head them off and it became a race. One feature of Jim's rules is that the winner of the initiative roll gets to either move or fire first. First fire means incurring morale tests which may leave your opponent shaken or even routed, so once battle is joined it becomes important to decide carefully who does what. The highlanders crossed the ford and deployed into line, unobstructed by the militia who were still rushing down the road. Thus they were ready to engage them the following turn and with several volleys broke them and sent them back down the road.

At the bridge the other two British units, hearing the firing from their left, formed column and began to cross. French cannon fire began to become more telling and once across they were within canister range. One unit broke and ran back over the bridge, leaving the 38th to stand alone.

By now however the highlanders had arrived on the flank of the French position. Both units of militia had either routed or been shot to pieces and were no longer effective. Alastair was forced to deploy the armed slaves to shore up his position and deploy a unit of marines across the flank of the highlanders and their accompanying line unit. He also decided to try to save one of his guns and hitched it up to a limber to withdraw it.

Back at the bridge the British fixed bayonets and charged into the French defences. The remaining marines were quickly overrun. The highlanders drew claymores and charged into the armed slaves, but as they did so the remaining French marines got off a volley which surprised the accompanying line unit. It failed a morale test (double 0's!) and routed to the rear, leaving the 42nd on their own. However the slaves didn't stand a chance and they tooo turned and fled.

The British suffered 20-25% casualties in their lead units however the two units which failed their morale tests had recovered and were still fresh. The French on the other hand had only one intact marine unit and had suffered heavy casualties amongst the milita and slaves and had lost a gun. With their position taken the battle was over - a fairly historical result!

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Wild Geese II - the piccies

So here are my piccies from the Wild Geese weekender. Our third, successfully organised by Colin Ashton, this year. It was great to catch up with everyone and there were a few new folk to meet. Our table even won the after dinner quiz on the first night 😂

My first game was an excellent Zulu War game using TMWWBK run by Gary Philips. The Zulu's were generated by "Mr Babbage" whilst Gavin Winspear moved them about and alternated between great dice throws and disastrous ones. First time I've played liked that and it was fun. We manage to achieve our objective although my blithering idiot officer got all but two of his cavalry killed....he must have been up for a medal!

The British Firing Line with the cavalry in the distance.

The Zulu's try to jump the rear of the British position...and succeed.

Afternoon saw me play Colin Ashton's "Versailles the Game" which involved galloping up the table supposedly to fight the Dutch but in reality to capture as many women and to try and prevent the other French commanders (Steve Pearse and Tim Whitworth) from doing likewise. Lovely figures (and a few cheeky ones!)  and terrain once more from Colin.

Those pesky Dutch

The Maison du Roi

Captured by the Gunners

Colin's town buildings

My last game was my favourite this year. William Harley took along his 18thC Spencer Smith imagination figs, (painted as French and Prussians) and we had a great game across the table using Jim Purkey's 7YW rules. First time I have played them and I'd say they were perfect for a big battle like this.

The French Positions

Cuirassier vs Hussars

Lots of ebb and flowing the left especially between Tim Whitworth and Jim's cavalry and even a chivalric gesture when Doug Thompson's unit got left behind by Jim's retreating centre and was given the opportunity to surrender by Michael Perry. Having given a one word answer, we were forced to bring up the howitzers to make him reconsider!

Willz runs the game while Perry and Purkey face off. Tim's cavalry puts in another attack.

The Spencer Smith's gave the game an old school feel. They are painted in an almost abstract style that really makes them stand out. Will handmade the terrain pieces for his game and I intend to get some instruction or bits from him!

Another great weekend. This highlight of my Wargames year, I am so glad that we will be doing it again next year. Thanks to Colin for this one, looking forward to next June already !

Sunday, 24 June 2018

What a Great Weekend - Wild Geese

Well that was fun!
What a great bunch of guys, what a great bunch of games, what a great weekend!

A few new faces this year, including one or two well known ones from the hobby as you can see.

Colin did a fab job of organising things.

Gary, Paul, Will and Colin ran Zulu, Great Northern War, Versailles 1670's and 18thC Imaginations games, pictures of which I will post tomorrow.

Looking forward to Next Year already. 

Friday, 22 June 2018

Flying South with the Wild Geese

This morning to Kenilworth to meet with other members of the Wild Geese for our annual Wargames weekend. The highlight of my wargaming year -fine folk and fine games too.

Pictures of the games will pop up over the weekend but meantime here's a Hessian!

Thursday, 21 June 2018

The Sugar Islands......nearly there!

I haven't forgotten this project and indeed have made a lot of progress as my mojo seems to have returned despite being busier at work and home than for several years!

Only the scenarios for Guadeloupe and the campaign rules need adding. I have been editing as I go along but once finished it will need proof read and then it will be ready to print.

On the figures front I finally got round to painting Madame Ducharmey. I decided that she wouldn't be in her best dress, being a practical and no nonsense type a more simple pattern would do. The female gunner from the AWI artillery set was given a new hand and musket and her right hand trimmed. She now looks like she's shaking her fist in rage at the advancing British whilst defending her plantation.

One sneaky peak inside?

Oh go on then!

I will be running a scenario from the book at the Kirriemuir show in November along with Oldmeldrum Wargames Group.