Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Battle of Latoilette; Some afterthoughts - Like most
of battles we've fought over the past few years, Latoilette was a variation of the ever popular DBA, long a favorate of ancients gamers. The beauty of this system is it's speed of resolution. Movement is strait forward, combat is well defined, and it allows to aging wargamers the opportunity to resolve a rather large game (about 1700 figures total) in something just over four hours. That said, I like to think of this mechanism as a work in progress, and we most certainly have a little cleaning up yet to do. Cavalry vs artillery combats should be fairly strait forward following some determination as to whether the guns are able to fire round shot at a distance or cannister at close range (or possibly not fire at all!). The combat in the village actually went quite well. We opted to treat all combats as infantry in line with appropriate positives for assault and negatives for potential artillery targets. There may still be more for the light infantry to do in this situation, but if so, it will take more thought and practice.
At my request, we opted for a variation in command and control in this game also. Normally, we dice at the outset to determine who will go first, with the winner making the determination. After this is done, the moving side rolls a die for each brigade, with the number of pips indicating the number of active units for that turn. Ardoberg-Holstein held to this rule. St. Maurice, however, opted to roll one die for each command; left, center and right. This created a situation where, while as strong as A-H, St. Maurice was hampered with serious control problems which limited the effectiveness of any potential attack (for similar results see the 1870-71 war between France and Prussia). The right wing, for example, with seven units in it's command, was never able to activate all of it's units in a single move. Given the history and character of St. Maurice, I kind of liked it. Well, I really didn't like it, but it did seem to accurately portray my glittering, but inept, general staff.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Battle of Latoilette - Nestled at the base of the foothills in northeastern St. Maurice is the peaceful little village of Latoilette. The place has no particular strategic value ...unless you happen to be considering an invasion of His Majesty's realm. That datardly villain, the Duck
(sic) of Ardoberg-Holstein has set his sights on the village as a staging area for his latest foray into blending St. Maurice into the "world community" of Ardoberg. Fortunately, His Majesty became aware of these underhanded dealings,
and immediately ordered the army, under Col. Gen. Bertrand Malaise, to "advance vigorously and chastise the usurper. " The two forces met on the 10th of April, arrayed on either side of the town and with the community as it's centerpiece.
Almost immediately, Malaise ordered his central command under the able direction of Brigadier Julien d' Escargot, to infiltrate the town. "No German boots will sully hearth and home here my lads," declared d' Escargot. With a great "huzzah" the men of 1st Navarre, 1st Languedoc, 1st la Marne and the Arquebusieres de Bergerac surged into the town, occupying all but a few structures at the north end of the village. As they pushed north, the occasional pop of small arms was replaced by the almost continual rumble of musketry and cannon, as the Ardobergers began their valiant, if futile attempt to make all things Ardoberg. Fighting in the village lasted most of the day, but when it was over, the flag of St. Maurice continued to flutter over what was left of the community.

Meanwhile, on the St. Maurice eastern flank, Brigadier Noel Derrier was advancing against the ever-present British support, led by Brigadier Lord Muggles. The St. Maurician right consisted of the heavy cavalry brigade of FitzAndrew's Horse and the Rohan-Soubisse regiment, the light cavalry of the Loncheney Hussars and the Kilbasa Lancers, as well as two artillery batteries and the Household Legion of Maison du Roi and the Converged Grenadiers. The English, supported (marginally) by the A-H light cavalry, made a day of it, smashing the Rohan horseman and forcing the brigadier to re-think a quick flanking victory in favor of slugging it out with his guards battalions. Fighting on the eastern flank was inconclusive but managed to keep four regiments of British regulars out of the assault on the town.

The battle on the western flank was another matter altogether. Brigadier Olivier Andouillette was ordered to "face and destroy" the cream of A-H arms. Both the Electoral Foot Guards as well as the Grand Duck's (sic) Guard Cuirassiers were positioned here and were in no mood to suffer the pompous shenanigans of yet another St. Maurician army. Our brigadier commanded "Les Etrangier," 1st and 2nd Clare and 1st and 2nd St. Germain, as well as a second heavy cavalry brigade composed of Les Gendarmere de St. Maurice and the Isembourg regiment, and reinforced by a battery
of artillery. True to their history, the Gendarmere managed to last only three battle turns before being driven off the field, only lasting that long because it took the A-H Cuirassiers a little more time to get to them than anyone had thought. In all, the "Iron Men" of the A-H Guard Cuirassiers charged six times throughout the course of the day, routing both cavalry regiments as well as the 2nd battalion Clare. Their attack ceased only with the setting of the sun, as they rode to cover the retreat of their army. His Majesty's forces were yet again victorious and the good General Malaise will finally have something more to talk about at court functions than his gout. Here to the right is insidious enemy and great friend Gary Comardo, the Grand Duck (sic) of Ardoberg-Holstein. Look for his blog coming soon to a computer near you (finally!!). For those interested, the miniatures types used were Staddens for the most part for St. Maurice, supported by Surens, Old Glory and Blue Moon Miniatures. For A-H, the majority are Spencer Smiths, supported by miniatures from Wally Simon, and Hinchliffe. Between the two armies, there were about 1700 figures displayed on the table which measured 6'x20'.
Next: The Battle of Latoilette - A discussion of the rules, and thoughts about command and control.