Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Digression: After Action Report

First question: no, there aren't any pictures from the battle. There's nothing really visually impressive to show, as the battle was conducted on a 2'x5' plywood board with baremetal figures using oddly shaped sections cut from green index cards to mark wooded areas. It's also perhaps done to save our BIG battalion folks from the trauma of seeing my battalions marching along with exactly six figures each. ;)

With the sudden introduction of Ober-Schweinsberg and the questions asked about relations with Hesse-Engelburg, I wanted to get in a quick little battle Sunday evening rather than simply write up another article about it. So I took my the 3 musketeer companies and 1 grenadier company of the Lintzer regiment that are NOT sitting on painting blocks and put them on the tabletop, using each company as a battalion. Two units and a general a piece, but with Hesse-Engelburg receiving the grenadier unit.

Rules used were Standing Like a Wall, though I'm not sure Ioannis would even recognize them as I was playing a battle totally scaled wrong for them. The battalions were operated as separate entities borrowing brigade level rules from SLaW, while the overall general, despite commanding a force nominally the size of a regiment, was playing using the corps commander rules. It was my first attempt at using the rules, and I have to remember to send Ioannis some of my questions. I made decisions on the fly as to how to apply certain rules.

The battle started out with the two musketeer "battalions" of Ober-Schweinsberg starting at the south end of the table, at opposite east-west edges with the general roughly in the middle, and both battalions on Advance orders. Meanwhile, the Engelburg forces started at the other end of the table, similarly spread but with the musketeers (Lintzer) on Advance and the grenadiers (von Platzen) on Support orders.

Both forces advanced, with the Schweinsberg forces slowed down by successive lines of trees to go through, and the Engelburg forces funneling inward to a central open area between two large patches of woods, where their general rushed forward and took advantage of their closeness to switch Lintzer to Hold orders, thus causing the Supporting von Platzen to halt as well. They waited there for the Schweinsberg forces.

The Schweinsberg general joined the Eastern musketeer battalion, and they advanced forward until they passed through a small wood to emerge just inside firing range from the Engelburg musketeers. Already, the separation between the two battalions was causing me a bit of trouble, as I couldn't change the orders of the Western battalion, who continued marching onward. I'd forgotten I could send a messenger with the change orders at this point.

Initial volleying from Lintzer failed to cause any casualties, while the Eastern Schweinsbergers had to wait for another activation to return fire, having already expended their action points in their advance. von Platzen stood ready to support, but took no action, as the Lintzer battalion had not yet been attacked.

Next round the Eastern battalion fired on Lintzer with little effect, and von Platzen fired back with only one hit. Lintzer, however, took advantage of the nearness of the general to switch to Charge orders, and charged straight into the flank of the Eastern battalion. Intial melee action actually went against Lintzer and the Schweinsberg general headed off to redirect the Western battalion, but in the following round their dice were hot and the Eastern battalion took heavy casualties and broke and fled.

The Lintzer commander attempted to halt their pursuit, but without success, and the Lintzer battalion charged on after their vanquished opponents, catching them in the rear and wiping them out to a man in two more rounds of melee.

Meanwhile, the Schweinsberger Western battalion was caught up to by the general, and wheeled around to advance on the von Platzen grenadiers. This provoked volley fire back and forth, initially inconclusive with the Western battalion taking gradually heavier casualties. Incidentally, two consecutive attempts were made by the Schweinsberg general to send a messenger to try to rally the Eastern force before it was destroyed, but in both attempts the messenger idly sat around considering his hope of promotion without ever actually leaving the general's side.

As casualties mounted in the Western battalion, the Lintzer battalion wheeled through 135 degrees and made a forced march across the table, to approach the Western battalion's flank. The Schweinsberg generally finally admitted defeat, ordering the Western battalion to withdraw....but he had no better luck with it than with the messenger. It promptly ignored him and continued the firefight (failed morale role to disengage). The general abandoned the unit, fleeing for his life, while the continued volleys allowed the Lintzer battalion to come into range and charge. No actual contact was made, the mere fact of the Lintzer charge being enough to break the morale of the Western battalion and send it routing off the table edge to its rear.


Stokes Schwartz said...

Hi Jonathan,

Wow, I'm getting goosebumps just imagining your troops maneuvering against each other! I might have to do something similar here when I finish the RSMs.

Best Regards,


Bluebear Jeff said...

Might I suggest that you take a look at the following website:

This page links to many of Charles Grant's "Table Top Teasers". That is, they are scenarios set up to force choices by both sides. Of course, not all of them are suitable for the 18th century . . . but many are.

You can always read the scenario, adapt it to your own situation and then set up a "die roll" choice for the tactics chosen (so that neither side knows what the other will do).

This will allow you to play some of these as Solo battles.

-- Jeff