Sunday, 19 May 2019

Sikh Wars Sharp Practice AAR

We wanted another Sharp Practice as we were starting to get the hang of it. As my Sikh Wars project is progressing we decided this was an ideal opportunity to get them on table and try different troop types.
We would use deployment markers for the first time now we had the basics and the Sikhs would have a movable deployment point. Sikh deployment was the Ganesh statue whilst mark had an adobe house for the East India Company troops.
Chris Flowers and I commanded the Sikh forces. I had two units of regulars with a level 2 commander, a unit of 8 horse and a unit of 12 swords men all with level ones, Chris had the other two regulars and two irregular matchlocks all with level ones. The regulars had first fire and the sword and spear men had step out on one card. All the Sikhs were poor shots.

The East India company forces under Mark had two units of British regulars with crashing volley two cards and controlled volleys along with a level 3 commander (Flashman of all people) three units of Sepoys with a level 2 a unit of Dragoons with a level 2 and a light gun with a level two.

76 Sikhs vs 53 company troops but the company had a clear advantage in quality and a gun.
Move one and the Matchlock men and irregular cavalry deploy whilst the Dragoons, Bengal horse gun and Sepoys do the same and the movable marker is deployed 24 inches to the right in our woods.
Next turn and almost straight away the cavalry are a each other. The British have the advantage of troop quality and a better commander, I have a slight advantage of moving more quickly as I was charging and they were trotting.
Not surprisingly I lose but have inflicted 4 casualties whilst receiving 5 and 4 shock, losing the melee I have to withdraw and I need to roll a "bad things" die having lost 5 casualties I need to roll a 6 for my commander or he is brown bread.
Happily I roll a six! Mark chuckles and shakes his head.
Next out Marks Dragoons charge again and destroy my cavalry but not before I inflict one more casualty on him leaving just three dragoons.
Meanwhile the gun opens up and Marks remarkable dice smash into Chris's Matchlock men inflicting 7 shock. The return volley whilst rolling great dice are all saved by Mark.

The final salvo of this turn and Marks Sikh regulars volley the remaining Dragoons and destroy them. I am reasonably content to have sacrificed my irregular cavalry to see off Marks Light Dragoons.
A second move for the deployment marker sees it a further 12 inches into the wood on the right flank and we now deploy the sword and spear unit still hidden in the wood, Chris's Sikh regulars move one and open a long range volley onto Marks Sepoys inflicting a couple of shock markers.
The return volley from the Sepoys does slightly more damage to Chris.

The Sword and Spear unit start moving to outflank to Company force, meanwhile Marks British Regulars finally enter table and take up a line to defend the hill against anything from the deployment marker in the woods.
The British deploy just in time as my Sikh regulars (the only Sikh unit with a decent commander) deploy and then move straight up to the edge of the wood., we are enfilading the Sepoys which would mean double shock when we fire so Mark sacrifices his firing this go to pull his line back a little and protect his troops. He ever so slightly block s a couple of the British troops in doing so.

My volley into him inflicts 3 casualties and 8 shock, the first volley is always devastating, but if he hadn't moved it would have been 16 shock!
The Matchlocks fire at the guns again and Mark saves all of the hits AGAIN!
No such luck for Chris as the gun inflicts more punishment on his irregulars who now have 4 dead and 8 shock.
Next go and my Sword and spear unit appear on Marks flank forcing him to wheel his British, both the British and Sepoys are out of arc so I take the opportunity to reload and advance closer to them.
Mark responds by pulling his Sepoys back. Chris has finally got two casualties on the gun and a minor respite as it has two actions of re-loading to do before it can fire again so no firing this go.

This Studio miniatures "Flashman" is a gorgeous figure, I have another one painted as Lancer officer with his horse shot from under him. Odd how the Studio figures range from absolutely fantastic, through nice to pretty awful, most of these last are discontinued now.
My regulars fire an enfiladed volley into Marks British inflicting a few casualties but not enough. My Sword and spear men have taken three moves, using a card for a bonus movement, onto the flank of the British where they cant fire on them.
A return volley from the Sepoys drops plenty of shock onto my guys.
With time nearly out Marks British regulars led by screaming Flashy himself charge my irregulars and break them. A bad roll from Chris also sees his matchlockmen run out of ammunition.
We now have 4 groups of damaged Sikh regulars left to attack 2 British and 3 Sepoy units along with a horse artillery gun defending a hill. Its a none starter, Chris and I accept defeat with quality winning out over numbers (and Marks awesome dice rolls)
Its been a massive boost for me to get the Sikh Wars collection on table, it's also been a really instructive run at the rules and a thoroughly enjoyable game, thank you very much Mr Shann for putting this on for us.

See you next time.

Saturday, 18 May 2019

Julian Vs Shapur II A Hail Caesar AAR

A Saturday game with Chris Flowers and the usual suspects at the barn in Nidderdale saw us re-fighting one of the battles between Emperor Julians late Romans and Shapur II's Persians.

Full disclosure, I forgot my camera and got caught up in the game so forgot to get a lot of pictures and also to see what else was going on around the table quite often. Fortunately Si got some good pictures I pinched to supplement my mobiles take on proceedings.

We played on a 13 foot table which was pretty bare other than the odd piece of scrubby rough ground or "Skirmisher hole" as Chris referred to them, and the oasis in the middle of the table

This represented the campaign that saw Julian push into the Persian desert with Shapur falling back after numerous defeats and fighting the Romans at an advantage wherever they could, eventually however Julians luck ran out and he was killed.

Our battle has the Persians falling on a small Roman infantry force guarding an oasis that is quickly reinforced, a lot depends on initial deployment for the Persians as they have a long way to go to get at the Romans and a narrow frontage so only those troops getting there first will see much in the ways of action. Mmm perhaps I should have thoughts about that in my initial plan!

The forces available were pretty huge so I wont go through the detail here, broadly though the Persians had 10 divisions. Two of purely Cataphracts, two of nomad cavalry which we would send in a wide encircling move to get behind the Romans, one of light cavalry, one of rather erratic Elephants and 4 of infantry and very mixed quality.

Our lead elements on either flank would be quality heavy foot and Cataphracts with the poorer levy bringing up the rear where they could do least damage. As the Elephants blundered on any doubles we left a very large gap around these in the middle.

The Roman force was slightly smaller with foot holding the Oasis and Cavalry coming to the rescue along with a division of Chris's newly painted and very lovely armoured camel troops (Jerry Miller of Parchment N Lead ), interesting to see how these guys would fair in their first outing.
The Persians deployed with their heavy infantry Division on the left and 4 feet up the table as we wanted them to hit the Romans first, is support of these would be my Cataphract Division followed by the Levy infantry bringing up the rear, int he centre with a wide gap all around them would be the Elephants.

The right wing was led by Richards Cataphract division, supported by Steves light cavalry division and another foot division this time mixed medium and levy foot. Richard and Marks nomad cavalry divisions both moved off table to outflank the Romans and come on in their rear.

Move one saw most of our forces mill around and not do very much at all, apart form the Elephants which for there first two moves got three actions of movement and so very quickly belted 3 feet up the middle of the table. The gap we left around them was due to their increased chance of blundering and the potentially devastating impact if they blundered into our own forces.
The Romans deployed their foot, mainly veteran legionaries, in a sharp V formation with the end of the Oasis at its apex. Move one and their horse were moving on. Predictably the camel troops deployed to the left of the Oasis failed to move at all for their first three turns!

Three turns later and Marks heavy foot on the left with Richards Cataphracts on the right are starting to get into action. Daves Roman archers and the Persian light cavalry are skirmishing in the middle of the table at the apex of the Roman formation. Steve is having the best of the skirmishing Whit his light cavalry and Mark is making progress with the heavy infantry but Richards dice are not on form today and the Cataphracts are finding it all very heavy going.

Another turn and the Camels finally make a move to their front to a cheer from all players, at the same time the nomad cavalry erupt in the rear of the Roman lines, Jerry, Si and Andy have already turned a fair proportion of their cavalry to counter this threat and some long range skirmishing kicks in.

Si decides to turn is camels to face the threat to his rear but they are back to refusing to move much to everyones amusement (except perhaps Si)
Our main battle lines have now closed and my Cataphracts are finally in action hitting the Roman foot at the centre left, Mark and I are steadily pushing the Romans back and having the best of the fighting. The nomads are keeping the Roman cavalry busy and whilst Richards dice are not getting any better he is hanging on and inflicting plenty of damage on Andys heavy Roman cavalry.

As CinC I remind Steve and Rich that they still have a whole division of foot of table but with two divisions of foot unable to close with the Romans due to the available space being full of fighting troops it hardly seems worth getting them off the shelves at this stage.

Mark and I are continuing to push back the Romans and whilst the Roman horse is much better than our nomads and charges are keeping our chaps at long range we have effectively tied up over half of the Roman cavalry and are steadily wearing them down.

At this point Steve points to the Elephants, the gap is no longer massive between them and the supporting units "Perhaps we should just leave those there?" he says "No get them forward!" sure enough they blunder, fortunately for me they dont quite reach the infantry on their right, disaster narrowly averted, sorry Steve.
At this point we need to call halt to proceedings, I feel like the Persians are having the best of things marginally and we still have a lot of troops in reserve to throw in as we need to but there is probably half a day or more of fighting still to do if we are to play to a conclusion.

Here are a few more of Si's great pictures.

Agreeing to disagree on who was winning we pack up Chris's beautiful collection of figures and go home having had a fun day of wargaming.