Tuesday, 18 January 2022

What I didn't do on my holidays!

Things have started to return to normal at Chez Elenderil after the festive break.   I still haven't put the table out for the ECW game (Christmas dinner seating arrangements got in the way) but as soon as I reorganise the conservatory that will go ahead.  

I have had some feed back on the rules though.  The general feel is that they are for serious ECW tacticians rather than casual gamers.  One play tester suggested single based battalia, which has some merit and was a thought which had crossed my mind.  The only downside is that I would have to create specific units accounting for different deployment depths rather than stacking smaller bases one behind the other as required.  However, sabot style bases might be an option.  The number of reaction test triggers was also mentioned with a suggestion that the current number is to high at 14.  This I have looked at again and by changing definitions I can have less listed triggers but cover the same events.  I don't really want to reduce the need for reaction tests as this is sort of the AI for units because the need to take reaction tests stops a commander having units do exactly as they want all the time.

The unexpected comment was that the turns seem too short for the current number of action points (AP) in each one.  Currently there are three AP available in each of a players two action phases which cover six minutes of game time.  This would allow an infantry unit to cover a maximum of 150 yards across the two phases or 25 yards a minutes which (using a 30 inch pace length) equates to a rate of 30 paces a minute on flat level ground.  Comparing this to Napoleonic battlefield pace, which in turn reflects mid 18th Century march cadences shows this to be a bit slow if anything.  British Army ordinary pace was 75 paces a minute and the Austrians managed 90 paces a minute (although I don't know how long an Austrian pace was).  By comparison modern British Army slow march pace is 65 paces per minute and quick march is 120 paces per minute.  I reduced the theoretical rate to account for uneven ground and poorer drill standards.  So I won't be changing move allowance per AP.  

I based the firing rates on hit rates per volley and worked back.  This was based on some Hanovarian musketry experiments in the latter part of the 18th century, using smooth bore flint locks, and then pretty much halved them.  I then set the 'to hit' figure to achieve the required number of 'hits' per 3 minutes of shooting.  It's a fudge because I'm not just calculating casualties but it gives a result which feels right.  So again those are staying as shown in the rules.

There are a number of sets of rules which I have sent out abut haven't yet had feedback on but I am getting a feel for what people think.  I may have to develop a 'lite' version of the rules!



Sunday, 2 January 2022

So that was 2021 was it?

I can summarise 2021 really simply, it sucked.  I hoped that it would be a better year than 2020 but it really wasn't.  The first clue was Vapnartak (the York Wargames show) being cancelled.   After that my personal wargaming year just got worse.  This wasn't helped by my having surgery in late May which took me out of circulation for a couple of months or more.  As a result I didn't get half of what I had planned for the year done although what I did manage to do I was please with.  

I had opted to make Altar of Freedom my focus rule set for the year but they are a set that really requires a live opponent and lock down and social contact restrictions put pay to that option.  On the plus side I did create two 2mm ACW armies and a bid generator for AoF but face to face gaming just didn't happen.  I also got my 2mm ACW rules to play test standard and with the exception of linking section reference headings to text I'm happy that these are done.  The intended El Cid period armies of Spain and Wars of the Roses 6mm projects were still born.  These stay on the board for 2022 though.  Painting also suffered as I really lost my drive after I came out of hospital and at this point it hasn't resurfaced.  That is partly down to having retired at the end of June.  Now instead of a bit of painting time being a reward to myself for working hard all day (or possibly hardly working) it seems like a luxury as I should really be lifting some of the house hold chores and delayed jobs from Mrs E's shoulders.

Re-enactment wise the year wasn't quite a complete bust there was a major event held at August Bank Holiday which I attended for one day.  The downside was that I couldn't take the field as I hadn't been cleared by the surgeon for strenuous activities at that point!  I did take the chance to take pictures from the crowd lines and although I say it myself I was happy with most of the results.

The thing which was really hard was the toll taken on friends by 2021.  As you will have probably guessed I'm no longer in the first flush of youth!  So what that means is that most of my friends are of a similar vintage, and it's a vintage where grapes start to fall off the vine.  I lost two friends from my circle of re-enacting friends in the first half of the year and in the run up to Christmas my friend the Northampton based historian  Mike Ingham died suddenly and unexpectedly while another friend from the Naseby Battlefield Trust and wargaming had a stroke and was hospitalised.  Then on New Year's day came the last kick in the teeth from 2021 when I got the news that an old friend from the Sealed Knot had died just before Christmas.  Yes 2021 really, really sucked.

So it is with some passion that I end this post by saying here is a hope for a better 2022.  Here is a wish that you all have a happy, prosperous and above all helathy New Year 2022.



Saturday, 18 December 2021

The Battle of Timerton - Pt 2

For the sake of the narrative this action takes place in the central Midlands of England early in 1643.  Prince Rupert is seeking to consolidate the Kings hold on the area north of Oxford.  To that end he has despatched part of the forces under his control towards Daventry with instructions to threaten local Parliamentary garrisons so that they cannot intervene while he deals with Birmingham and Coventry.  In response Parliament has pulled together what troops they can spare from the area around Northampton to block any advance against that town.  Speed is of the essence as the east of Northamptonshire and parts of Cambridgeshire are threatened by Royalist Militia from Spalding who are moving against Crowland and the routes out of the Eastern Association.  Neither side is particularly well trained but there are few experienced fighting men in either force.

What follows is a bit on the long side but it really will help in understanding how the battle plays out, and what all the pre-battle stuff was about.

Scouting

The results of pre battle scouting influence both the information on the make up and size of the enemy army but also the ability to make amendments to the declared deployment.  In this case neither side has out scouted the other as neither side has double the cavalry of the other.  Both sides must declare their strength with no more than a 10% variation upwards or downwards.  As this is a solo game and I already know the exact size of both forces I 'reported' accurate numbers to myself!  I did write general orders for Parliament before I diced up the Royalist force though on the basis that both sides would be roughly equal.

The Runners and Riders

The following show the units and their definitions in the rules.  The size is the number of combatants the doctrine are:

FP - Fire power a unit with little interest or skill in close combat.
MFP - Mixed fire power and shock, a unit which prefers to shoot but will engage in melee.
MSK - Mixed shock and fire power, as above except the preference is for melee over shooting
SK - Shock a unit with a preference for close combat and no ability to shoot.

Where there is a (A) after the doctrine the unit is more heavily armoured than the norm.  Here it represents 3/4 armoured cuirassiers.  The ratio shown for infantry after the doctrine is that of shot to pike bases in the unit.  This will be a factor in melee combat.

First up is Parliament

Unit

Size

Experience

Training

Doctrine

CE

Cost

Left Wing

A - Horse

300

Raw

Part Trained

MFP

5

30

B - Horse

250

Raw

Part Trained

MSK

5

25

C - Horse

250

Experienced

Trained

MSK

7

35

D - Horse

200

Veteran

Trained

MSK

8

32

Centre - Left hand Brigade

E – Foot

800

Experienced

Trained

MSK

7

56

F - Foot

900

Experienced

Trained

MFP

7

63

G - Foot

900

Raw

Part Trained

MFP

5

45

H - Artillery

1

Raw

Professionals

FP

7

7

I - Artillery

1

Raw

Professionals

FP

7

7

Centre – Right hand Brigade

J - Foot

900

Experienced

Trained

MFP

7

63

K - Foot

800

Raw

Part Trained

MFP

5

40

L - Horse

150

Veteran

Trained

MSK

8

24

M - Artillery

1

Raw

Professional

FP

7

7

N - Artillery

1

Raw

Professional

FP

7

7

Right Wing

O - Horse

250

Raw

Trained

MFP

6

30

P - Horse

250

Raw

Trained

MFP

6

30

Q - Horse

200

Experienced

Trained

MSK

7

28

R - Horse

200

Veteran

Trained

MSK

8

32














Followed by the Royalists

Unit

Size

Experience

Training

Doctrine (S:P)

CE

Cost

Left Wing

1 – Horse

250

Raw (Elite)

Trained

MSK

7

35

2 – Horse

150

Veteran

Trained

MFP (A)

9

27

3 – Horse

250

Veteran

Trained

MSK

8

40

4 – Horse

150

Veteran

Trained

MSK

8

24

5 – Horse

250

Raw (Elite)

Trained

MSK

7

35

Centre – Main Tercio

6 – Foot

300

Experienced

Trained

MSK (2:1)

7

21

7 – Foot

900

Veteran

Trained

MFP (1:1)

8

72

8 - Foot

900

Experienced

Trained

MFP (1:2)

7

63

9 – Foot

900

Raw

Trained

MFP (2:1)

6

54

10 – Foot

400

Raw

Trained

MFP (3:2)

6

24

11 - Artillery

1

Trained

Professional

FP

8

8

Centre – Reserve

12 – Horse

200

Raw

Part Trained

MSK

5

20

Right Wing

14 – Horse

350

Raw

Part Trained

MSK

5

35

15 – Horse

250

Raw (Elite)

Trained

MSK

7

35

16 – Horse

200

Raw

Part Trained

MSK

5

20

17 – Horse

150

Raw

Untrained

SK

4

12

18 – Horse

250

Raw

Part Trained

MSK

5

25

Both sides have commanders as follows.  You may recall from the last article that the budget for generals and their traits is 10% of the cost of the army.  There is a base cost for a general which varies depending on the standard of command and control of a specific army.  For this scenario the Parliamentarian's base cost is 5 while the Royalist's are slightly hampered by a higher base cost of 6.  The costs for traits don't vary but because of the base cost difference it costs the royalists one point more for a general and their traits than it does for the Parliamentarians in this encounter.

For Parliament these are

Role

Name

Esteem

Command

Awareness

Cost

Army CO

Gen. Chatburn

Accepted

Competent

Vigilant

12

Right Wing

Lt Gen. Hurst

Trusted

Able

Alert

11

Centre (RH)

SM Gen Green

Accepted

Able

Vigilant

11

Centre (LH)

Lt Gen Howgill

Tolerated

Able

Vigilant

10

Left Wing

Comm Gen. Harrop

Trusted

Competent

Alert

12

And their Royalist opponents consist of

Role

Name

Esteem

Command

Awareness

Cost

Army CO

George Lord Wooley

Trusted

Able

Alert

12

Right Wing

Sir James Aldridge

Accepted

Able

Alert

11

Centre

Sir Robert Snell

Trusted

Competent

Alert

13

Reserve

Col Tregorran

Tolerated

Incompetent

Alert

9

Left Wing

Henry Baron Forrest

Accepted

Competent

Alert

12

The general's traits have an impact on reaction tests and combat (Esteem), handling orders (Command span) and reaction tests to allow changing orders or disregarding standing orders (Situational awareness).  It should become clearer once the fighting starts.

Best Laid Plans?

After scouting Parliament knows that they hold a significant advantage in artillery but that the Infantry is probably about equal to the Royalist foot but that they have a disadvantage in cavalry.  To make the most of the advantage the initial general orders are changed slightly and the new plan is to hold and allow the guns time to play upon the Royalists.  With a significant disadvantage in artillery the Royalists need to either tempt the opposing foot forwards to mask their guns or come to grips quickly with their Horse.  Seeing the enemy dispositions will determine the details.

The next part will be the table top deployments and the actual battle.