Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Battle of Spurlash Abajo

As the sun rises over Spurlash Abajo, the 4th Foot and the Connaught Rangers await the French onslaught.

I took the opportunity to enjoy a few days off before I return to the night shift. I took Mrs. Kinch to dinner on Friday and then to a movie, the formulaic, but thoroughly enjoyable "Despicable Me". I also had the chance to catch up with some friends, most notably Uber, Savage and Young Master Von Gorman, all of whom I had not seen in some time and whose company I hope to enjoy at Gaelcon.

No news regarding the house unfortunately, though the lender was pestering me on Friday for more documentation, which was duly supplied. A studied and entirely pretended indifferance to the whole process is beginning to appear to be the best course of action at present.

A copy of the Classic Wargamer's Journal greeted me on the mat on Friday morning and I took great pleasure in reading it, particularly Stuart Asquiths contributions. My own piece seemed quite paltry by comparison, I shall have to do better.

Having gently, but firmly booted Mrs. Kinch out of the house into the cold, cruel world there to earn a crust and get the means of keeping me in the style to which I hope to grow accustomed, I settled down to christen my new hex mats.

I choose Spurlash Down from CWJ as an engagement that was manageable, without being too small. Peninsular French and British troops took the place of the Electoral and Imperial forces and I used my own slightly tweaked version of Worthington Games, "Clash for a Continent" American War rules, which are broadly similar to their "For Honour & Glory" War of 1812 set.

I don't really care for solo games, as I get too wrapped up in one side or the other. With that in mind, I gave the French a two point command bonus, which is quite substantial. I used the battle described in CWJ as a basis for the orders of each side and then executed those orders as best I could, command rolls allowing.

The ball opened with the French forming a large column and advancing led by their leader, General Du Fitz Badger straight towards the bridge, while their guns rushed forward and unlimbered covering the British side. The Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders under Colonel McFarlane got caught up in the woods on the British left supported by the Royal Americans under Colonel Stefan Von Kriegspieler. The British centre was hampered by a series of lousy command rolls to a frantic traffic jam in the centre, as the Fourth Foot and the Connaught Rangers tried to sort themselves.

The British Commander sent the 18th Light Dragoons splashing across the river in order to take the French guns in the flank, probably reckoning that it would be best if the Drogheda Cossacks
be kept well away from Spurlash proper while there was booze undrunk, womenfolk unmolested and a battle still to fight.

The French cannonade was ineffectual, but the column rolled forward, charging across the bridge and wiping out the Royal Artillery gun crew that frantically tried to stop their advance with grapeshot. The British line tried to shake itself into some sort of shape, while the 18th came under fire from the French guns. Their leader, David O'H-, a European soldier of fortune of mysterious antecedents charged with the lightest of cavalry straight at the French guns.

Meanwhile, the second Royal Artillery battery managed bloody the noses of the French column. The British line was much troubled by the advance across the river of the treacherous renegades, the Legion Irlandaise, under Jeffry Le Bear Bleu, who led them in skirmishing with the Fourth, while the woods behind were filled with lost and cursing MacFarlanes. The French heavy cavalry took the 18th in the flank and sent them streaming back across the river, utterly broken, but not without loss to themselves.

However, the crisis had been reached in the centre, where the French column now masking the British line from its own guns, tried to close and lost its nerve. That slight delay bought enough time for a single crushing volley from the Rangers, the Fourth and a double charge of grapeshot from the frantic Royal Artillery. This swept the lead company away and this treatment continued while the French tried to form line. The French leader, the well known Stollenian mercenary General Schwartz, was trapped beneath his horse when the beast was hit and was unable to influence the battle at this vital moment.

The Royal Americans managed to draw the attentions of the Legion Irlandaise, so the the Rangers and the Fourth could concentrate on killing the Frenchmen infront of them. A rallied remnant of the 18th gallantly drew the fire of the French guns, but were captured when they tried to recross the river.

However, the loss of Schwartz at the vital moment insensible under his horse, where he was later captured by skirmishers from the Rangers cost the French dear and they began to melt away under the British volleys. The arrival of fresh troops in the shape of the furious and bepine needled Scotsmen sealed the French troops fate. Their centre broken, the French army began to retreat under the cover of their guns. The British army held their side of the bridge and licked their wounds, while Brigade majors galloped in all directions trying to gather the survivors of the broken cavalry and the infantry counted their dead.

A cartel will have to be organised to see to the exchange of Colonel O'H-, the captured French aide de camp Capitan McCarthy and General

Not a bad game by any stretch and one marked by curious runs of luck, I believed the French had it wrapped up until they failed to charge home.

I learned a few things.

*The mats look splendid, though I think I shall have to make some hills to measure.

*I do not really care for solo-wargaming. I am too much of a social creature to really enjoy it. Also I can't drink while solo-wargaming, this is a serious problem.

*My bases are a touch too wide for several battalions to be deployed in a line. I may have to do something about this.

*An iPhone really is a very acceptable substitute for when you cannot find your dice. I must remember this.


  1. Glad to hear that the Argyll's were in time to tip the balance (well that's how we tell the story here).

    Don't see why gaming solo should affect the consumption of restorative liquids as long as the quantities consumed by both sides is balanced?

    As for the bases being a titch wide, perhaps if you soaked the cloth and then stretched it carefully and evenly in all 6 directions simultaneously? No? well perhaps not.

    I've come to quite enjoy my solo games but they are no match for a game with a good friend.

  2. Ross Mac beats me too it - providing you let your opponent have the choice of alcohol, then solo games always seem to be very enjoyable to me...

    My regular solo opponent chooses the finest ales to partake of! Uncanny really........ :o))

  3. Well, in any case, a rousing description of the battle, solo game notwithstanding. And I enjoyed your contribution to the latest CWJ very much. It made me chuckle several times. Not, help me climb out from under this blasted horse!

    Best Regards,