I would not go to the degree of narrative and tactical moves I have done here.
Normally the players would have been presented with the map of opening battle, they would give me their orders on how they wanted the battle to go and I would have adjudicated the results.
However for the sake of showing how the rules work I applied more imagination to a simple lesson, sorry about that.
The Demonstration Battle
The battle for Waterlane Brewery
(words in blue are explanations of rules or situations).
The description of this battle is rather long winded as I will try to give some indication of how the system works. In reality were I adjudicating this skirmish for a PBEM game or for a solo game it would take but a few minutes.
The battle concerns two small units, Blue force with 3 battalions, (1 regular and 2 conscript all three being 700 men strong, they are joined by several Militia squadrons forming a small regiment of 300 men.
Red force consists of 3 regular battalions each being 500 men strong.
Blue force has the rather pleasurable task of guarding Waterlane Brewery, the elderly colonel in charge of the force is a rather laid back commander who is far more concerned about enjoying a good fare laid on by the owner of the tavern than the deployment of his men.
The men themselves were rather pleased to be resting near a brewery and tavern, the river and a stream that flowed nearby joined a few hundred yards away from the brewery itself. On the banks of the river towered rather a new watermill, clearly used for grinding of wheat from the nearby farms..
Blue force had been resting there for some two hours, far longer than they should have, but then the Colonel wasn’t in a hurry to move his small command the remaining 8 miles to join up with the assembling army.
He was not to bothered about security as he had been told there were no Red forces in the area and beside he had deployed those rather uncouth Hussars out into the fields to the east, it was after all their job to watch and warn.
The Major in charge of the Hussars was a diligent man, his command of 300 militia may be inexperienced in battle but they knew the area, in fact several of them lived in this same region.
He had been told by the colonel to rest his men and horses in the fields to the east of where the infantry were resting, he had been warned to keep an eye for any suspicious movement but then in almost the same breath he was told by the rather elderly and portly colonel that it was very unlikely they would be disturbed by the enemy, simply because they were too far away.
Meanwhile just a mile or so to the north of Blue force , a small advance guard of Red Infantry were making for the river crossing near Waterlane Brewery, they were not expecting any enemy simply because there was nothing here to defend. It had simply not occurred to his commanding officer that the enemy may be passing through the area.
The Colonel of the Red 11th battalion was riding at the head of his men, it had been a tiring journey and rather boring, endless miles of flat pastures and small farms. He rather looked forward to the prospect of taking the opportunity of trying some of Waterlane's beer.
He had been puzzled for some minutes by the large cloud of smoke on the horizon to the south, at first he assumed it was a farmer burning off pastures but then it seemed to be coming from the region of the brewery, so he reasoned it must be smoke from the brewery itself, but it was a lot of smoke for a simple brewery.
Not having any cavalry to scout ahead had been rather annoying so he been relying on his orderlies to ride head every now and again to scout ahead.
To his left across a rather large pasture of wheat he could see a large farm, he knew from his maps that this was Hammonds farm, and from here he would march his men directly across country to the river crossing which itself was 2-3 miles to the sou-east of the brewery.
He was once more studying the smoke and now it was clear it wasn’t one fire it was many, he ordered lieutenants Smith and Evans to ride ahead and check out the fire.
They returned just a few minutes later reporting that just across the fields to their north was regiment of Blue force Hussars and it appeared to them that behind the brewery there was a considerable force encamped to the south.
The colonel of the 11th was the senior of the 3 colonels in this advance guard so he was in command of the entire force. The presence of a Blue force in the area was unexpected but his instructions from general Wobblington had been very specific he had to secure the crossing over the river so the rest of the army coming up behind continue their advance unhindered.
The colonel began deploying his advance guard battalions into line, while he himself rode forward to see what it was he was coming up against.
Meanwhile one of the militia troopers had decided to walk over to a nearby hedge and relieve himself, he was very surprised when he finished and peeked over the hedge to see a large body of Red infantry advancing down the road directly towards him, he immediately ran back to his horse and then to the Major in command, he rather excitedly stammered out what he had seen, the Major quickly rode over to the hedge and indeed confirmed that about half a mile away or so there was a small Brigade or large Regiment of infantry deploying for battle, he quickly wrote a note handing it to one of his troopers he told the man to ride back to the tavern and hand the dispatch to the Colonel, the major decided he had to try and delay the enemy, but realised there had to be 3 or 4 enemy battalions coming down the road and they were far too numerous for him to engage. He cursed the fact they had not been issued with muskets as they had been promised, but then the enemy didn’t know he had no muskets so he had to make it look like he was deploying behind the hedge preparing to defend it with musketry.
Note on Mechanism
To date very little had occurred by way of rule instructions other than Red force deploying from Road column into line. I allow 5 minutes for change of formation so the Red force march distance would have been a little shorter for this segment (Remember a turn is 15 minutes for a game at this level).
The commander of Blue force couldn’t believe what he was reading when he had been handed the note from the Militia trooper, but the man insisted it was correct and that at this very moment on the other side of Hammonds Copse the enemy were deploying for battle.
The Colonel quickly roused himself and began yelling for his officers, he silently cursed himself because he realised his infantry was on the wrong side of the large stream. It was quite deep but crossable and would certainly cause issue in disorganisation.
He immediately order the 1st battalion his only Regular battalion to form up in line and cross the stream and once on the other side they were to cover his two new conscript battalions as they followed in column.
The stream would cause 1 level of disorganisation, for the regular battalion crossing it would take 5 minutes of remaining stationary to recover, if the Conscript battalions had crossed in line it would have taken 15 minutes to reorganise them once they were across, (militia/conscripts take twice the time to recover disorganisation points) but they were formed up into columns and marched through the stream. It only takes 5 minutes to recover cohesion when crossing an obstacle in column formation.
Blue force were undertaking these maneuvers the colonel rode over to join the Militia major and for the first time in his life he saw the enemy, they had formed into threebattalions of line, two forward and
one behind in support.
The Colonel looked at the militia cavalry, they were crouched behind the hedge with the hiorse handlers further back holding the horses.
“Why in gods name are your men hiding behind the hedge Major, we need the enemy to see we have cavalry not a bunch of skulkers.”
The Major replied
“Sir we deployed as if we were dragoons and armed with muskets in the hope that if the enemy thought we were deploying along the hedge line they would be slower in advancing thus giving you time to come up with the infantry”.
The Colonel shook his head,
“Major didnt it occur to you that those men over there are regular infantry, they will be less scared of 300 men hiding behind a hedge than they would be of 300 mounted men waiting for them to cross over the hedge and counter-attacking them while they were in the process of doing so.”
“Indeed Sir it did occur but it meant my men would be at risk of being shot at from behind the hedge.”
“Well major get your men mounted and form up out of musketry range, and wait for my order to attack, do you understand”.
The major nodded and turned to his bugler to sound the remount, the Colonel hesitated for a few moments observing the enemy, he noticed the rear enemy battalion was now moving through the eastern outskirts of Hammonds Copse a large open woods.
The battalion moving through the woods will gain 5 minutes disorg per phase it moves or 15 minutes per turn of moving, being a regular unit if it remains still even though it could still be in the woods it clears 15min (3 phases of disorg time) in two phases (regular units take 1 phase to clear 2 disorg points hence it will accumulate 3 points to move to the southern edge of the woods a total of 3 disorg points in this case it will clear in 1.1 or round up to 2 phases).
This means once the Red battalion reaches the southern outskirts of the wood it will take 1.1 phases or 7 minutes to reorganise back into a formed line.
He turned to see what was happening to his infantry units behind.
The 1st Battalion commanded by Major Samuel Thompson his son in law was bring his regulars forward in good order after having reformed from crossing the stream.
The remaining two Conscript battalions were in Column and they to were now reorganising, he would need to shake them out into line and quickly.
He wrote a note and told his orderly to take the order to his two conscript commanders and get them to form line, he quickly glanced at the Hussars and was pleased to see their Major had pulled his men well back from the hedge line, far enough to be out of range of enemy fire unless the enemy crossed the hedge and if they did that then he would unleash the Hussars on them while the enemy were disorganised.
The commander of Red force had seen what he thought were dragoons armed with muskets lining a hedge a dew hundred yards in front of him, but then a few minutes later they mysteriously mounted up and rode back, he now knew they were Hussars and armed only with sabres, by their dress and saddlery he assumed they were militia.
He decided to send the 10th battalion into the woods on his right, he knew he risked them becoming a little disorganised in there but being good troops (regular) they would shake themselves into shape quickly.
The 11th and 12th battalions would form line north of the hedge and then advance onto the hedge line itself. But as he was moving his battalions into line he saw the Blue force commander had brought one battalion into line close to the hedge, it was now within range of the 11th Battalion and he ordred the battalion commander to begin firing on it, he hoped to pin it where it was, so he could move the 12th Battalion up to the hedge and fire on that enemy battalion's flank.
The first round of fire began:
Phase 1 = Blue die roll – 1 = 700 men firing inflict 5% casualties (35) on reds 11th Battalion, the 11ths
morale drops by 1
= Red die Roll – 3 = 500 men firing inflict 10% casualties (50) on blue 1st Battalion, the ist
morale drops by -1.75
Both units still are effective as their morale remain in the positive.
Phase 2 = Blue die roll – 6 = 650 men firing inflict 15% casualties (98) but the red 11th battalion drops
their morale by 2.75.
= Red die roll -4 = 465 men firing inflict 10% (47) and the blue 1st battalion drops it morale by
At the end of the 2nd phase it is the morale status that will decide the result of this engagement, Blue 1st Battalion started with 7 and after two phases it is now down to 3.25, which means it is still good for another round of firing.
The Red 11th Battalion started its morale on 7 as well and it is now down to 3.25.
So both Battalions are able to withstand the final phase of fire for this turn, and based on how they come out of that they will act accordingly.
Phase 3 = Blue die roll – 3 = 603 men firing inflict 10% casualties(60) and the red battalion morale
drops by 1.75.
Red die roll – 6 = 367 men firing inflict 15% casualties (55) and the blue battalions morale
plummets by 2.75.
The result 1 turn of combat taking 10 minutes is as follows
Red 11th Bn = is now 367 men strong out of 500 and its morale is 1.5, which means it can still fight but is quite shaken but suffer no bad effects yet.
Blue's 1st battalion is now 548 men out of 700 and its morale is -.25 so it too is very shaken. This means it may not move forward and it loses 1 pip on the combat die.
The commander of the 1st Battalion Major Thompson decided it was best if he pulled his battalion back so they could regain some cohesion in his battalions ranks.
The commander of the red 11th Battalion was quite pleased to see the enemy battalion marching back, so he immediately began to make sure his own Battalion regained its form.
The commander of Blue force was pleased with the performance of his son in laws battalion, they were taking loses but by god they were inflicting them as well.
The Colonel noticed the 2nd Battalion had moved into position to the left of the 1st battalion while the 1st was busy in its firefight with the Red force. He wondered how major Hackthorne would handle his new command, they were after all only conscripts new out of their training which was as far as he was concerned was barely minimal.
Major Hackthorne marched at the head of his battalion, this was his moment and he would take every opportunity fate offered. He had seen the Red battalion forming in the woods to his front, and he determined that he would brush them aside.
The red 10th battalion had just arrived at the woods edge when its commander saw the Blue battalion advancing on them.
“Damn” he pondered to himself “they will be in range and here we are still a bloody mess”, he let his fiery temper lose on his men ordering them to get into shape.
“Damn” he pondered to himself “they will be in range and here we are still a bloody mess”, he let his fiery temper lose on his men ordering them to get into shape.
The Red 10th Battalion was in the process of reforming after its march through the woods, it had gained 15 minutes of disorganisation points as the battalion tripped and stumbled over broken trees. On arriving at the southern edge he had started to reorganise the Battalion when it came to his notice a Blue battalion was advancing on him.
The 10th had lost 5 minutes of his disorg points when the Blue Battalion came into range, its commander could gamble and fire risking the lesser fire effect or he could get his men together and have them fire with full effect, he decided on the later.
The 2nd Battalion commander couldn’t believe his luck, he had moved into range and the enemy werent firing.
“Damn them” he said aloud, “we will charge them while they are in a mess”, he immediately ordered the charge.
His battalion spent the 1st Phase of the combat turn getting into range, the 2nd phase was charging the enemy, he was gambling that the enemy were not ready as he couldn’t have time to fire on them as well as charging.
The 3rd phase would be the melee, however before that the enemy would have a chance to fire in the face of the battalion.
2nd Phase Red fire – die roll 2 the Blue 10th battalion lost 5% (50) and its morale dropped by 1.5.
That was the end of the 2nd Phase
In the 3rd Phase the Blue 10th Battalion made contact with its red opponents
3rd Phase – Melee Blue die roll = 2 – Red battalion lost 35 men and lost 1.5 in morale.
Red die roll = 3 Blue 2nd Battalion lost 50 men and lost 1.75 in morale.
At the end of the turn both battalions were locked in a melee, which would continue into the next turn, but because they were fighting in the woods both accumulated 5 min worth of disorganisation points.
Meanwhile else where the Blue 3rd battalion was advancing behind the 2nd, they could very soon join the melee in the woods or turn and engage the red 11th battalion.
The red 12 battalion had now moved up to the hedge, both the enemy Hussars and the 1st Battalion were out of range and to engage them he would have to cross the hedge which would disorganise his Battalion, so for now he would wait until the 11th had regained it composure and then perhaps they could both risk crossing the hedge line together.
Meanwhile it was the next turn - Blue 1st Battalion and Red 11th Battalion were regaining organisation, the 12th was on the hedge line opposed by the Hussars and in the woods the melee continued.
Melee in woods.
Blue 2nd battalion was 600 strong (700) and it had lost 3.2 (5.0) in its morale
Red 10th battalion was 465 strong (500) and it lost 1.5 (7.0) in its morale.
1st Phase melee- Blue die roll = 3 (deduct 3, 1 for attacking woods, 1 for conscript, for fighting a unit 1
grade higher add +1 for impetuous, overall deductions -2 ) Red battalion loses
30 men and its morale drops by 1.
Red die roll = 5 Blue Battalion loses 47 and its morale drops by 2.75
2nd Phase melee- Blue die roll = 6 (deduct 2 ) Red battalion loses 55 and its morale drops by 2.0
- Red die roll = 2 Blue battalion loses 21 and its morale drops by 1.5.
3rd Phase Melee – Blue die roll = 6 (deduct 2) Red battalion loses 53 and its morale drops by 2.
- Red Die Roll = 4 Blue Battalion loses 38 and its morale drops by 2.
This is the end of the turn thus ends the melee for this stage, now let us take a look at the condition of the two Battalions
Blue 2nd Battalion is now 494 strong and its morale is -4.45 and the Battalion routs away not to fight in this battle again.
Red 10th Battalion is now 342 men and its morale is 1 which means it has survived but is very shaky.
As the Blue Battalion routs back it passes through and around the following battalion the 3rd battalion which is another conscript battalion and for being involved with a friendly unit routing (any friendly unit within 1 movement space seeing a equal or greater unit routing loses .25 from its morale) which means it enters combat starting with a morale of 4.75.
The lesson for blue in this melee is not to use conscript or militia in a melee in a woods, the -3 deductions were killing the good die rolls.
As a matter of interest if Blue 2nd Battalion had been a regular instead of conscript it would have had no deductions on the dice and Red 10th Battalion would have likely had to pull back because of negative morale result.
Blue commander now faced a difficult position he had lost 1 battalion to a rout, another was slightly shaken and the 3rd was recovering, he was effectively down to 2 battalions and the Hussar regt which he regarded as useless unless Red force crossed the hedge line and as they were winning why would they he wondered to himself.
He knew if he threw 1st battalion back in they would likely face the fire of the two Red battalions in the hedge area, all he had was the 3rd Battalion so he decided to chance his luck once more in the woods, the 1st battalion and the Hussars could deal with the two red battalions if they tried to advance.
It took a turn for the Blue 3rd battalion to close into range of the woods defended by the red 10th battalion. In this time Red 11th battalion had moved up to the Hedge and slightly to the right, whichj meant that it could fire on the Blue 3rd Battalion as it advanced on the wood. The 12th Battalion was to the 11ths left.
The Blue commander seeing the red Battalions moving on the hedge line sent an orderly to the 3rd ordering it back away from both the hedge and the woods.
He decided that he could not risk more of his units attacking better quality troops in cover, so he would withdraw back onto the river crossing and defend that,. He had sent a dispatch rider away when contact had first been made so hoped that in a few hours help might arrive.
Red force had won this skirmish, but it had 2 severely depleted battalions and would unlikely force the river crossing on its own so it too would wait for reinforcements.
Thus finished the skirmish at Waterlane Brewery.
Red force had 291 casualties which translates as 73 dead, 131 wounded and 87 Prisoners
Blue force had 358 casualties which translates as 90 dead, 161 wounded and 107 prisoners.
The whole battle had lasted 7 turns which meant it was 1 hour 10 minutes in duration.