Sunday, 22 August 2010

A Most un-Civil Little War

The following battle was fought to test my latest version of Joseph Morschauser’s ‘Frontier’ wargame rules. It is worth noting that the Militia Units all have lower Combat Powers than the Regular Units they are facing, and this will affect their ability to fight at close quarters.

Scenario
Internal political dissent has been an ongoing problem in Westland, one of Morschauserland’s near neighbours. Recently this has escalated into a full-blown civil war, with the majority of the Regular Army supporting the right-wing Republican Party whilst the Militia has declared for the left-wing Constitutional Party.

So far most of the fighting has been local skirmishes between the supporters of the two opposing sides, but the Regular Army has gathered together a brigade-strength formation which it intends to be the vanguard of the main attack upon the capital. The Militia have managed to scrape together a force that their leadership hopes will delay the advance of the Regular Army long enough for a larger Militia force to be gathered around the capital to defend it. The Militia force has dug-in across the most obvious line of advance the regular Army will use.

The Regular Amy’s formation includes:
  • 3 Infantry Battalions (each with 2 Rifle and 1 Machine Gun Company)
  • An Artillery Battery
  • A Separate Machine Gun Company
  • A Command Company
The Militia has:
  • An Infantry Battalion (with 4 Rifle Companies)
  • A Machine Gun Battalion (with 3 Machine Gun Companies)
  • An Artillery Battery
  • A Command Company

Turn 1
As neither side’s artillery is in range, both sides throw a D6 die to see who will move first. The Regular’s throw 6 and the Militia throw 3; hence the Regulars move first.

The Commander of the Regulars realises that a frontal assault on dug-in troops – even Militia ones – will be very costly in terms of men and material, and although he knows that he has to act swiftly, he also knows that he has to conserve as much of his strength for the forthcoming attack on the capital. He therefore decides to move one of his Infantry Battalions (supported by the Artillery Battery and the Separate machine Gun Company) forward so that it appears to be threatening the centre of the Militia position whilst he moves the bulk of his force around the right-hand side of the Militia position.

The Militia Commander knows that his men are quite capable of defending a fixed position, but that they are incapable of fighting Regular troops in a more fluid. mobile battle. He therefore opts to keep all his troops where they are.

Turn 2
As neither side’s artillery is still not in range, both sides throw a D6 die to see who will move first. The Regular’s throw 6 and the Militia throw 4; hence the Regulars move first again.

Whilst he halts the movement of his units in the centre, the Regular Commander orders his other two Infantry battalions to continue their flanking march. He is sure that the terrain makes it impossible for the Commander of the Militia force to see this movement ... and he is right!

The Militia Commander is not yet aware of the danger that is developing on his left-hand flank, and orders his men to stay put and to hold their fire. He knows that the longer he can keep the Regulars at bay, the greater the force that his superiors will be able to gather to defend the capital.

Turn 3
Again, both side’s artillery is still out of range, and therefore they both throw a D6 die to see who will move first this turn. The Regular’s throw 5 and the Militia throw 4; the Regulars move first again for the third turn running.

This turn follows the same pattern as the previous one; the Regulars continue to advance of their right whilst staying where they are in the centre, and the Militia hunker down in their trenches and wait for events to unfold.

From his commanding position on top of the hill in the centre of his defences, the Militia Commander has, however, now seen the leading Infantry Company of the Regular forces that are moving towards his left-hand flank. He ponders what to do in response, as he thinks that they are currently out of range of his Artillery Battery.

Turn 4
Much to his annoyance, the Militia Commander realises that his Artillery Battery is unable to fire at the developing threat on the left flank. Likewise the Regular Artillery is also just out of range of the Militia units in their trenches, and they too do not fire.

Both sides throw D6 dice to see who will move first. The Regulars throw a 6 and the Militia throw a 3. Yet again the Regulars move first!

The Regular troops continue their advance on their right, apparently oblivious to the fact that they have been seen …

... but the Militia Commander decides to throw caution to the wind and orders one of his Infantry Companies out of its trenches to counter the threat to his left-flank.

However the flag signals he has made to the relevant Infantry Company (N.B. the Militia have not yet been equipped with field telephones and have to rely on flag signals and written messages sent by runner) have attracted the attention of the Regular Artillery Battery, who now realise that the Militia Commander’s position is just in range.

Turn 5
The Regular Artillery Battery opens fire on the position occupied by the Militia Commander. They throw a D6 die to determine if the shells land in the right hex (a score of 2 means that they don't!), and a further D6 die throw (of 3) indicates that the shells actually land in an empty hex at the base of the hill the Militia Commander is standing on.

Realising that some of the Regular troops in the centre must be in range of his own artillery, the Militia Commander orders then to open fire on the nearest Regular Infantry Company. A D6 die score of 2 means that the shells miss, and the second D6 die throw (a 1) determines that the shells actually land in the hex behind the target.

D6 dice are thrown to determine which side will move first during this turn, and the Regular's throw of 2 is less than the Militia throw (a 6), which means that for the first time in this battle the Militia will move first!

The Militia Commander makes not changes to the disposition of the bulk of his troops, who remain in their trenches whilst the detached Infantry Company continues to move forward on the left flank to block the advancing Regulars.

The Commander of the Regular forces now orders the troop in the centre to begin their advance, as he hopes that this will now divert the attention of the Militia from the threat that is beginning to develop of their left flank.


Turn 6
This turn begins with an exchange of artillery fire. The Regular Artillery battery concentrates its fire on the Machine Gun Company in the trenches to its right, and D6 dice scores of 1 and 3 results in the shells missing their target and landing in an empty hex in front of the trenches.

The Militia Artillery battery retaliates by firing at the Regular Artillery Battery, and score of 2 and 3 mean that the shells also miss their intended target and land in an empty hex in the middle of the advancing Regular forces!

D6 dice are then thrown to see which side will move first; the Regulars throw 3 and the Militia throw 6, which means that the Militia will move first again this turn.

The detached Militia Infantry Company moves into the small wood on the left flank, and from there they see the leading Regular Infantry Company. Without hesitation they open fire on it. A D6 die score of 2 destroys the Regular Infantry Unit! First blood goes to the Militia!

The Regular response is immediate. The leading Infantry Battalion on the right moves forward and, supported by fire from an Infantry Company of the second Battalion, engages the single Militia Infantry Company that is in the woods. D6 dice scores of 4, 5, and 1 result in the Militia Company being wiped out.

In the meantime, the Regular troops in the centre continue their advance towards the Militia trench lines. They are now in range of the Militia troops in the centre, and open fire on them. The Regular Infantry Battalion's Machine Gun Company and left-hand Infantry Company fire at the Militia Machine Gun Company, but D6 dice scores of 1 and 3 mean that the Militia Unit is unscathed. The right-hand Infantry Company fires at the Militia Command Company, but its D6 die score of 5 means that it does no damage to the target.


Turn 7
Both sides use their artillery to batter their opponents. The Militia Artillery Battery again fires at the Regular Artillery Battery, but D6 dice scores of 2 and 3 again result in the shells missing their target and causing no collateral damage.

The Regular Artillery Battery engages in counter-battery fire, but its D6 dice scores of 4 and 4 are also 'misses'.

The D6 dice are thrown yet again to determine who will move first this turn, and the Regulars throw a 5. In response the Militia throw a 1, and this means that the Regulars will move first.

The Commander of the Regular forces decides to seize the opportunity that moving first will give him and orders all his troops to advance as quickly as possible.

In the centre, the right-hand Regular Infantry Company fires at the Militia Machine Gun Company that is to its front. A D6 dies score of 1 means that they miss the target, but the Regular Machine Gun Company destroys the Militia Machine Gun Company when it fires at it ... and throws a D6 die score of 6!

The left-hand Regular Infantry Company then fires at the Militia Command Company. Its D6 die score is 3, and the fire has had no effect. At the same time the Regular Separate Machine Gun Company fires at the Militia Machine Gun Company that is positioned near the Command Company on the hill. Its D6 die score of 4 is sufficient to wipe out the Militia Machine Gun Company.

The situation for the Militia forces has changed dramatically in a very short time. They have now lost all but one of their Machine Gun Companies and a quarter of their Infantry Companies. Prudence would suggest that they should withdraw before they are overrun ... but the orders say 'Fight to the last man!' The Militia Commander orders the units in his right-hand trenches to move as quickly as possible towards the left to counter the threat that is rapidly developing there. At the same time, his remaining troops fire at the advancing Regulars.

The only Militia Infantry Company in the left-hand trenches now fires at the Regular Infantry Battalion's Machine Gun Company, and its D6 die score of 6 results in the target's destruction.


Turn 8
The battle is now reaching its climax, and both sides know that whatever happens next will be crucial.

The Militia and Regular Artillery Batteries fire at each other. The Militia throw a 3 on their D6 die, which means that they miss their target. Their second throw score is 4, and the shells land harmlessly in front of the Regular Artillery Battery. The latter's fire also misses its target (they throw a score of 2 on their D6 die) but its shells land in a hex that is occupied by a Militia Infantry Company. A third D6 die throw is made ... and its core of 4 means that the Infantry Company is destroyed!

The D6 dice are thrown to determine which side will move first, and the Regulars throw a 2 and the Militia throw a 4; this means that the Militia will be able to move (and fire) first.

The Militia Commander is fast running out of options, and all he can do is move down from the hill to support the Infantry Company that is in the left-hand trenches whilst the remaining Militia Infantry Company and Militia Machine Gun Company move from the right flank towards the left.

The Militia Infantry Company that is in the trenches fires at the nearest Regular Infantry Company, and the D6 die score of 2 means that the Regular Infantry Company is destroyed.

The Commander of the Regular forces reacts to the loss of this Infanty Company by halting the advance in the centre whilst urging the flanking force to move forward as quickly as possible.

They do so with alacrity, and the Commander of the Militia troops realises that his flank has been turned, and that he has very little left to counter-attack with.

Turn 9
For the third turn running, the artillery of both sides fire at each other. The Regular Artillery battery throws a 1, and therefore misses its target. Its second D6 die score is 2, and its shells land in an unoccupied hex that is adjacent to both the Militia Command Company and the remaining Militia Machine Gun Company.

The Militia Artillery Battery's D6 die score of 1 means that it misses its target, and its second throw of 5 means that its shells land in an empty hex that is adjacent to the Regular Command Company!

The Regulars throw a 4 on their D6 die to see if they will move first this turn, and the D6 die throw of 3 made by the Militia means that they will.

The Regular troops that have turned the Militia's flank now advance and the leading two companies (an Infantry Company and a Machine Gun Company) fire at the Militia Infantry Company that is in the trenches. Their D6 dice scores are 5 and 4, with the result that the Militia Infantry Company is wiped out.

At this point the Commander of the Militia forces knows that he can do no more. Despite his order to 'Fight to the last man!' he knows that all this will result in is a massacre of his remaining troops. After ordering his gunners to spike their guns, he orders his troops to retreat. He hopes that he has managed to delay the Regulars long enough for other Militia troops to arrive in the capital so that they can defend it. If he has, his Court Martial may only result in his demotion; if not, he will probably have an appointment with a firing squad.

8 comments:

  1. I really liked that. It was entertaining as well as informative and damned if I wasn't rooting for the poor Militia towards the end.

    Good job.

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  2. Steven Satak,

    Many thanks for your kind comments.

    I am glad that you enjoyed the battle report; I certainly enjoyed fighting the battle, especially as the rules worked even better than I had hoped.

    As for the Militia ... well, you never know, they might get their chance of revenge sometime!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  3. Interesting report. And glad I started buying Heroscape hexes too. I think it will prove an interesting terrain system like yours.

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  4. Hi Bob,

    Great report and the rules seemed to work out really well. I liked the look of the Heroscape terrain and noted also the use of the sandbags from Memoir 44 - they fit very nicely!

    All the best,

    Ogre

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  5. A most agreeable setback for Bolshevism.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Dale,

    Many thanks for your kind comments.

    I have both Heroscape and Hexon II hexed terrain systems, and have used them both. For 20mm-scale (and larger), the figures etc. seem to 'look' better on the larger hexes, but for 15mm-scale the Heroscape works very well.

    One big plus for the Heroscape terrain is that it is much less expensive than the Hexon II and takes up less storage and table top space. For example, I used less than one set of Heroscape terrain to fight this battle on. I could have used it 'straight from the box' but painting and flocking it was not difficult and I think that it improved the 'look' no end.

    Another big plus is the fact that it locks together without the need for special clips and that although the hills are stepped and not sloped, it is possible to build quite mountainous terrain that figures can stand up on.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  7. Ogrefencer,

    Thanks for your comments. It is nice to have you back with us after your sojourn in far off places.

    The Heroscape terrain does look nice, doesn't it ... and the fact that the 'Memoir 44' sandbags fit nicely into the terrain (a fact that I found out purely by coincidence, by the way!) is a plus point.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  8. Conrad Kinch,

    In the words of that (in)famous, fictional politician, 'You might think that; I could not possibly comment.'

    All the best,

    Bob

    ReplyDelete