Thursday, 7 March 2013

A Storm in Flanders (part2)

And so it all begins:

At the sound of the mortar barrage opening the main attack goes in, led by the newly raised Kurassier Regt. no.2 and the dependable old Dragoons, the infantry follow up at the double in column of fours.  The mortar barrage has mixed success, the first salvo falls amid the "Pragmatic" command wiping them out and setting the Town Hall ablaze.  The engineers are called away from their work on the fortifications and rush to put out the flames.  As the flames are brought under control the troops manning the perimeter stand to, unaware that they have lost their beloved Colonel.  A second mortar salvo screams in but does no damage, the fuses have been badly cut.

A regiment of Fusiliers is led to the right to avoid congestion on the narrow avenue through the woods.  The Kurassiers burst from the cover of the trees and are blown away by a volley from the barricades to their front and enfilading fire from the guns in the centre.

In the centre the Jaegers, Grenadiers and Pandours move up to the tree line. 

On the right both sides move tentatively towards each other in the open and a desultory fire breaks out along the lines but at long range it is ineffective.  In the town smoke still billows from the embers of the burnt Town Hall.

The redoubtable Dragoons charge home through the debris of the Kurassiers and bludgeon their way into the streets of the suburbs.  Taking fire from the houses on all sides they pay a heavy price for their action but they have opened the door for the supporting infantry regiments who have now reached the town virtually unscathed.  Two companies are detailed to house clearance while the main body press on into the town.

The "Pragmatic" guns have been turned away from the main assault to meet the more immediate threat to their front, firing canister at short range they gouge great gaps in the Frederickian lines.  The mortars continue to batter the town but as the bombs land the engineers attempt to extinguish the burning fuses by dousing them with buckets of water, desperate dangerous work but it meets with some success. 

The situation hangs in the balance before the town square but just then a mortar salvo lands on one of the "Pragmatic" batteries and the Grenadiers surge forward to burst through the breach.  A melee ensues but the superior training and discipline of the elite Grenadiers tells in their favour.

While the victorious Grenadiers reform, a battalion of the Royal Ecossais rush across from the churchyard, the surviving gunners and engineers pick up arms and all together they throw themselves into a desperate counterattack to expel the invaders. 

But the line holds and with the Frederickians pouring in from every side the artillerymen spike their guns and the surviving "Pragmatics" beat a fighting retreat.  The enraged Frederickians sack the town but with their infantry exhausted and the cavalry broken they are unable to follow up the victory.

In retrospect:

The game lasted a full five hours but it felt like much less, the intention was to test out the storm of fortifications,  the special rules for use of engineers and house to house fighting, the first two were achieved the third less so (but there is always next time). 

Conventional wisdom tells us that a superiority in numbers of 3:1 is required for such an assault to succeed, on this occasion the attackers fielded 110 inf. 22 cav and 2 mortars to the defenders 50 inf. 10 engineers and 2 guns.  The cavalry shouldn't really have featured in this game but as I'd just spent a week painting the 2nd Kurassiers there was no way they were going to miss it.  The defenders probably didn't have enough troops to man such a large perimeter but it's difficult to know what the right proportions for a balanced game should be until you've tried it out a few times.

The rules for engineers worked well, and their contribution was critical at times.  Canister shot was emulated by firing a "Party Popper" at the attackers, those covered in tissue streamers were casualties, it worked with varying degrees of success and made a change from firing matchsticks, the sound of explosions and background martial music add greatly to the ambience of the game.  Caution should be exercised when introducing explosives to the table top, no fingers were lost on the day although blood was spilt!


  1. Thanks for posting some excellent pictures.Can you tell us a little of which figures you used?

  2. Nothing quite like real toy soldiers in action.

    The cuirassiers look good.

  3. Great report, Brian. And a novel idea with using the Party Poppers. The troops fine, like what you did with the cavalry.


  4. Hi Brian, What a beautiful battle you have created! The figures are excellent and the scenics outstanding. Congratulations on a job well done!

    Brad DeSantis

  5. Glad y'all enjoyed it, I'll try and put up a post on the figures used as it might be a bit long for the comments section.