What a great weekend! This was our 6th Ayton gathering and it is testament to the pleasure it brings and the friendships that have developed that we all keep coming back. Occasionally ‘Real LifeTM’ gets in someone’s way and they miss a year (this time it was Essex Boy’s turn) but we’ve had a core of regular attendees. EB was much missed (we told him that at least! :)) as were his fine Gateway Alliance troops. And last year our Ayton host Mr Peeler was carted off to hospital and so missed the weekend. Good to see him back this year.
The last couple of blog entries detail what I painted for this years game and this year the size of our forces was restricted and there were no sillies or exotic troops.
This year’s participants were:
The Grenouissian Alliance comprises:
- Paul ‘Kung Fu Panda’ Bright, Lord Drumcharry, with the forces of Dal Riata
- Ken ‘MarshalNey’ McGarry, Viscount Gascoigne of Gateshead, with the forces of Whyeydia
- Andy ‘Count Belisarius’ McMaster, Oberstgeneral Seamus Gunter von Donovan, with the forces of Altefritzenburg
- Gary Phillips, General von Slivovitz, with the forces of St Paulin and in overall command.
The Army of Granprixian Revenge consists of:
- Mark ‘Peeler’ Phillips, Lord Peeler, with the forces of Aytonia
- Peter ‘Purps’ Mark-Smtih, Marèchal de Camp le Duc du Flappe, with the Margraviate of Cress
- Dave ‘World2Dave’ Hall, General Amore, with the army of Medetia
- Dave ‘Buff’ McClumpha, Otto von Weeze, with the expeditionary force from Borscht
- And Simon ‘Goat Major’ Tonkiss, Generalmajor von Hauptzeige, with the Diplomatic Enforcement Corps from Prunkland(Prunkländischediplomatischedurchführungskorps)
And Messrs Hall and Waudby (The Two Tims) were doing their own 54mm loveliness. I would have loved to have taken more pictures as both their games looked lovely (especially the AWI game) but you can see a few here: Ayton 2016 Other Games.
This year we returned to the C18th and Henry Hyde ran a campaign following on from the previous games and placed within his Wars of the Faltanian Succession Imagination milieu. You can read about the build up and see they lay of the land over on Henry’s blog along with Henry’s very pretty map. Hopefully later this year/next year Henry is releasing a book on Wargames Campaigns which I look forward to.
Depending on the map moves for the campaign we usually have 2-3 games on the first day which gets us back into the flow of the rules and sets the scene for Day 2. My opening game saw myself (with the forces of Altefritzenburg), allied with Ken’s Whyeydian army assaulting the army of Dave Hall’s Medetia as they marched East along the hills while we marched West in the valley and then faced off when we spotted each other. We initially had slightly confusing orders from our CinC sending us West. Which to me seemed a good plan so I penned orders to that effect and was joined by Ken and his Army. Unfortunately our CinC meant East! But the die was cast and battle commenced! Simon (Goat Major) was to take command of some of the Medetian forces as he awaited his own troops arriving on the other table.
I’ve created a big gallery with lots of photo from all of Day 1 but this is how our game went.
The forces of Whyeydia deployed on the left. While my infantry took the centre with my cavalry on the right, supported by a small but very useful Grenouissian contingent. The Medetians chose not to deploy their cavalry on our right. Although fairly evenly matched they would have been isolated from their main force by the intervening wooded high ground. This however left them facing Whyeydia who only had one (admittedly very pretty) hussar regiment. I deployed the famed Savage Swans in the centre to assault the right side of the town while Whyeydian took the left, and the blue coated Braunschweig troops would cross the river and attack the Medetian troops on the hill.
First blood went to neither of us! As we had been scouting the area prior to the enemy arrival we had Jaegers in the right hand woods. Unfortunately they immediately fell foul to an annoyed bear! Losing two figures before acquiring a new rug for the officers’ quarters!My batteries were deployed along the line to support all attacks but as the Medetians had two batteries of heavy guns covering my infantry assault I engaged in some counter battery fire. This was to prove most effective as by game end I had driven off two of his three batteries with heavy loss!
In the woods our assorted light troops were to spend the entire game skirmishing to no real advantage to either side. As my cavalry had no real opposition I began to manoeuvre them towards the centre to try and support and exploit the infantry assaults. However, on turn 5 a contingent of local Borgenmark troops arrived (along with my remaining light troops and lancers) and they were forced to re-deploy to face this threat. Although my lancer squadron launched a charge against the superior enemy they were driven off. But the flank was secured and both forces faced off to no clear conclusion.
The real action was to take place in the centre and left. Emerging from the town in the centre the Braunschweig brigade advanced across the river screened by their Jaegers. They took some casualties from the enemy guns but these in turn were silenced by their own guns who were to inflict much punishment on the waiting Medetian infantry.
The Jaegers swarmed across the bridge to harass the enemy and cover the battalions crossing the river. As a unit of hussars appeared they were forced to evade and the hussars crashed into the first battalion and suffered heavily as a result. This delayed the river crossing and by game end the Braunschweig troops has just started exchanging close range volleys. Medetia still held the high ground.Once the infantry had advanced the famed Braunschweig Kuirassiers advanced into the centre, taking some casualties from enemy guns, but once these had been driven off by their own guns they advanced rapidly to assault the newly exposed infantry to the right of the town. Unfortunately, the losses suffered advancing, charging uphill, and a volley as they went in left them a little weary and a fine defence by the enemy infantry saw them thrown back in disarray! Sorry Tim! My main force advanced in four lines, the Swans leading the way. They took casualties from heavy guns in the way in and a fine first volley from the defenders saw the first battalion retire. The second exchanged volleys at close range but the wall was to be the decider and they too retired to redress the ranks.It was now the turn of the Altefritzenburgers but they were to fare little better. Often taking fire from two enemy battalions the first battalion was to retire as well and at game end the final full strength battalion was ready for its turn, with the Swans now reformed to its rear.
However by now events on the left meant the day was not to end well.
The massed infantry of Whyeydia advanced valiantly but artillery and heavy volleys were to drive them back from the assault on the town.
The hussars attempted to rescue the flank but were no match for cuirassiers!With their left flank driven back this expose their centre to cavalry charges and as they day close it was clear the assault had failed…The Medetians had put up a solid defence.
Their guns had taken a battering but they held the high ground and their massed cavalry, with room to deploy and no cavalry to oppose them were to decide the affair on the left. And if I learnt one thing about assaulting infantry behind walls it is this: NEVER let Ken roll any of your saving throws!!! 🙂
At that point we declared. Battle still raged on the other table and again did not go too well for our troops. We were eventually driven back and our combined forces were to meet on the open plains north Lit de la Rivière. But that tale will be told later…
We were using Henry’s Shot Steel and Stone rules (as we have always done for C18th games) but this year both myself and Dave were using smaller battalions. Mine being five stands with an added battalion gun to bring them up to six. Six is the minimum for a Normal size unit as I needed to avoid any Small unit reaction test penalties. What we found in the first couple of turns were that a two gun heavy or medium battery firing at advancing infantry were hitting on a 5,6 with 10 and 8 D6 respectively. And the target needed a 6 to Save. Once the heavy guns got to medium range they only needed 4,5,6. Despite a new rule giving a -1 if you have just changed target in covered arc with an additional -1 if outside this often saw a unit taking 5-6 casualties in a shot! One casualty per base triggers a reaction test with potentially a -6 for casualties that turn at least! This saw my first unit recoil quite swiftly! Myself, Dave and Ken decided to halve the dice for guns. Work them out as normal and then halve and round up. We found this made the guns still quite effective but not a killer for our smaller units. It also meant I had a chance to get across the open ground before I lost a stand and became a Small unit. This worked so well that we adopted for our second game (of which more anon) and on Day 2 Henry adopted it generally for all players. It made a BIG difference to our games. We also agreed not to mass guns against a single unit.
So that was Day 1. A most excellent a fun game and played in great spirit. I can’t really comment much on the other game other than that it looked good, had massed cavalry and flank attacks!
The evening, as tradition demands, was spent feasting in the Forge pub and then trying to stay there all night! They eventually kicked us out at 2am….