Saturday 20 December 2014

Spanish Guerrilla Garrisons

Our PBEM campaign throws up many unusual and unexpected wargames, and put our simple “old school” type wargame rules to the test.

The rules are designed to cover 90% of table top actions, and leave the other 10% to amicable conclusion between me and Jan.   On the rare occasions when we do not agree we just roll a dice, and try to solve the problems after the game is completed.

We had one such problem during the recent Battle of Savaltiere.   The campaign background was a British corps would advance north from Savaltiere in order to attack an isolated French corps.   A second British corps would replace them in the town.

Unknown to the British there was a second French corps within supporting distance, and they “marched to the sound of the guns”.   In doing so they had to pass a farmhouse, which was occupied by a Spanish guerrilla band.

Guerrilla are not designed to take part in table top games.   If they find themselves on the table they usually ambush the nearest French brigade, and they rout off the table.   In this case if they left the farm they would run into the second French corps.

So we agreed that they could find as a garrison, but only to skirmish.   No hand to hand fighting would be allowed.   Both sides would roll 1D6 each move.   The French would need 5 or 6 for a hit.   The Spanish would need 6.   As luck would have it the Spanish hit the French first move, which meant that the French would also need a 6 for a hit.   Three moves later the Spanish hit the French a second time.   They had won the skirmish!

This would have ended the whole campaign on a sour note.   So we agreed to rout the guerrilla and let the weakened French infantry brigade take the farm.

However in future we have agreed how to handle such a situation.   Each move the Spanish would have to test their morale, but not with the normal morale table.   They would roll 1D6.   On the first move they would need 2 or more to make morale.   On the second they would need 3 or more, and so on.   So they could not hold for more than four moves, and were likely to rout much sooner.

No doubt it will never happen again, now that we have agreed how to handle it!

Saturday 13 December 2014

Town Fighting

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.  

Sunday 7 December 2014

Wargames Building Project

We now have so many Spanish buildings that it seemed pointless to make a second farm complex.   Instead I have been experimenting with making  different farms using existing larger buildings for the farm house and smaller ones for the outbuildings.
This is what it looks like on the wargames table.   The figures are 28mm.   There are different size wall sections, so we can make is square rather than oblong.   Or we can remove the outbuildings and make it slightly smaller.