Towns play a large part in our campaign wargames. Most, if not all, battles are for possession of a town. So our wargame rules dealing with sighting in a build up area have been very well tested over the years.
All build up areas are represented with 4”X4” felt squares. One for a village, two for a small town and four for a large town. A collection of suitable buildings placed on top of the felt completes the town. The buildings can be removed as necessary to allow for movement through the town, or hand to hand fighting within the town.
The photo above shows a small town. Each section can hold a garrison of one brigade. A second brigade can be placed in the town, but only as a reserve. It takes a full move to exchange them.
A garrison has good protection against artillery fire. The gunners roll 2D6 and require 10 at long range or 8 at short. There are usually more attractive targets for the artillery, and if they do concentrate on the garrison they tend to be not very effective.
Infantry is the arm of choice to take a built up area, but the advantage still lies with the defender. The attacking corps commander must decide whether to “engage” or “attack” the garrison. The former will skirmish only, the latter will assault and melee. The former is less costly to both attacker and defender. The latter is more decisive, but a defeat will often result in the end of the battle.
So the attack will often start with one or two brigades attacking each town section on “engage” orders. Each brigade will roll 1D6 and require 5 or 6 (depending on their skirmish ability) for a hit. Only one quarter of the garrison can reply from each side of the town, and they require the same for a hit.
With each casualty both attackers and defenders become less effective, and less likely to win the combat. If the attackers are taking casualties, the corps commander must decide whether to change his orders to “attack”
If he does attack the first phase of combat takes place at the edge of the build up area. The attacker needs odds of at least two to one to stand a chance of winning. If he does win the buildings are removed and one of his brigades enters the town. If the garrison has retreated, rather than routed, a second combat takes places
In the second photograph the attacking corps commander has ordered the two brigades on the right to “attack” the town, the two on the left are still on “engage”. Those on the right have won the first phase of combat, and the defending brigade have been pushed back into the centre of the town.
With both brigades inside the build up area, neither has any advantage. But if two brigades have attacked the corps commander can choose the best brigade, or the one with least casualties, to carry on the combat. Most often the winner of the first combat will also win the second combat and take the town.
It is not unusual for the defending corps commander to launch a counter attack before the winning brigade can secure the town. This operation takes one full move, and if the defender has a fresh brigade in place they are likely to retake the town.