Sunday, 20 March 2016

A great days gaming in Norfolk.

Yesterday, after an interesting drive Iain Burt –EB- and I arrived at Gary’s (garyp) humble abode in the wilds of Norfolk for a day’s gaming.  Using only two large and lovingly painted collections –those of Gary and Iain, the sizable table was soon covered in lots of 20mm Les Higgins goodness for a game loosely based on the Battle of Minden. As Iain missed his chance and was too late choosing any other command except the Guards Brigade, he was by default made the French and allies CNC, while Gary’s friend Iain determinedly grasped the nettle and took on the mantle of the British commander.
Opposite me on the British right Mark (Peeler) and his host of Bavarian allies marched resolutely forward towards my stoic defenders who left the relative safety of the village to meet them in open ground. His cavalry soon outpaced the infantry and two cuirassier regiments decided to make a name for themselves and charged my infantry lines. Not knowing a great deal about this particular period it was with a certain amount of trepidation that I rolled the dice for musketry and was pleasantly surprised when, after a volley and melee, the French cavalry were pushed back in some disorder.
In the British centre, Iain and Peter (Purps) for the Brits against Iain (no relation) and Simon (Goat Major) for the French, advanced towards the town but with a shorter distance to cover, the French arrived first and set about defending the place.
On the British right centre and far flank, Peter and Tim (Tim Hall) began their steamroller advance despite being faced by at least six regiments of Simon and Gary’s French cavalry who, like the two against me decided to ‘get stuck in’ as soon as possible…with pretty much the same result.
With the Bavarians and my infantry soon in firing range we began blazing away at each other with positively alarming results and the casualties began to mount up. Alternatively falling back to recover and moving back up into the line, the fight went on for quite a while until my cavalry advanced. Seven regiments from Ian’s and my command charged forward across the killing ground and fought their way into the Bavarian infantry, forcing some to rout, others to retire, but worryingly, supported by two artillery pieces, one remained and for a time, held off all comers.
Behind the British centre, an angled second line had been formed to stop our victorious cavalry from wreaking any more havoc; it was just in time. In the centre, Iain and Peter were making inroads in and around the town while on the far flank, the French ended up with only one usable infantry battalion out of several brigades after some very spirited fighting by the British against determined defending.
Peeler’s Bavarians started doing some damage and my casualties were beginning to mount when fortunately, 'time' was called.
After the inevitable post mortem it was unanimously decided that the French would have been able to make a fighting withdrawal leaving the British in control of the field. The phrase ‘marginal British victory’ was bandied about by the French in more hope than anything -the British commanders just sat there with smug looks on their faces.  
All joking and partisan reporting aside, it was a thoroughly enjoyable day, great company and hearty cuisine -I mean you can’t really go wrong with jacket spuds and chilli- coupled with an almost endless supply of cakes, tea and coffee. Thanks must got to Gary and Iain (no relation) for putting on a really good game and letting the rest of us play with their little chaps and to Gary alone for his hospitality. Brilliant!   

 Gary's Wargames mansion.

 Mark's Bavarians facing me.

 Simon's infantry in the fore with Iain's (no relation) Guards Brigade behind.

 Simon's massed cavalry

British infantry of Iain and Peter waiting for the French cavalry to charge. 

 Iain (no relation) indicating to Gary how many ladle's full of vegetarian chili he wanted for lunch !

 Panorama just before lunch call.

 The single minded French -l to r, Mark, Iain (no relation), Simon and Gary.

 The thoughtful British - l to r, Tim, Peter and Iain.
 Traffic jam in the centre of the battlefield.

British pressure increases in the left centre and flank. 

 Gaps appear on the French right flank while the British movement gods continue to advance their army.

 A last panorama as the sun begins to set over Norfolk and the battlefield.

Perhaps a little too late, Marks Bavarians sense the British left is faltering...I had lost 3 battalions by this time and decides to advance.

A final note. From a period novices’ point of view the rules -Rank and File- seemed to work quite well, simple enough to pick up, reasonably fast paced and seemed to capture the ‘flavour’ of the period. Iain’s (no relation) innovative idea of using red flags to denote morale checks was a great success, with many of us thinking that the idea could find its way our own tables in the not too distant future.

Iain's (no relation) rather nifty morale flags in action.