Revisiting the past

Having painted up two sections of toy soldiers from the 1970s I am now revisiting the rules of the period. I have a game to play, based on this map of the border between North and South Brabantia in Belgica.

Copied from Avalon Hill’s “Squad Leader”

Situation: a patrol of one officer and twelve riflemen crosses the frontier to scout and if possible capture a farmhouse garrisoned by one officer and one NCO/wireless operator with pistols, two grenadiers and six riflemen.

The battlefield

Figures and buildings by Airfix. Trees and fences by Merit. Hedges by Britains. Riad by B&Q. Camouflage cloth by local haberdasher.

Game 1. Donald Featherstone’s “Battles With Model Soldiers”.

The basics of the rules.

Infantry move 6”, 9” on road

Shooting. Pistol range 6”. 6 kills @ 6”, 5/6 @ 3”. Rifle range 15”. 1 die per 3 rifles. -3 @ 15”, -2 @ 9”, -1 @ 6”. Grenade range 6”. Kill half die score. Half casualties behind hard cover.

Mêlée. When opposing sides are within 6”, both sides dice. If attackers win, defenders retire 12”. If defenders win, attackers roll again. 4+, attackers close. Close combat. 1 die per 5 figures. Kill half score.

With these rules, command is not taken into account, so the officer only counts towards close-range firing and mêlée. Riflemen should be in groups of three for shooting and five for hand-to-hand.

The plan was to send six riflemen with the officer along the hedgerow while a second group moved in support through the woods on the left to attack the farm from the left flank.

The defenders deployed three riflemen as sentries along the fence line around the farm.

Turns 1-3. The Vlaamsers moved forward behind the hedgerow and through the woods. There was no penalty for moving through woods. Nobody was in sight of an enemy.

Turn 4. The advancing Vlaamsers behind the hedge were now in long rifle range of the Wallon sentries, but still unseen.

Turn 5. The Vlaamsers behind the hedge opened fire on the sentries. 3 rifles within 6” and 3 rifles within 9”. The sentries were behind an open wooden fence, but had no benefit of cover. Dice rolled 4-1 and 5-2 = 6 potential casualties. Two sentries within range were killed. Return fire from the farm house: 4 rifles at 9”. 5-2 = 3 hits.

Turn 6. The Vlaamsers behind the hedge had to decide whether to shoot at the enemy in the house at half casualties or at the remaining sentry. They fired at the house. Die 4-2 = 2/2 = 1 casualty. One rifleman at a window was hit. Return fire. 3 rifles rolled 1, -2 for range for no hits.

Turn 7. One of the supporting Vlaamser squads reached the hedgerow. Their only target was the remaining sentry at 15”. They missed. The other squad at the hedgerow also shot at the same man. Die roll 5-2 = 2, so he was hit. Return fire at 15”. Roll 5 – 3 = 2 hits. Dicing for which man was hit took the officer.

Turn 8. The last Vlaamser squad reached the hedgerow. 1 squad fired at 6” and 1 at 9”. 5-1 and 2-2 = 4 hits, in hard cover = 2. The Wallons had now lost 6 of 10 men. In the farmhouse were only two men with pistols and one with a rifle. The two pistoliers were in range, but their fire was ineffective. The single rifleman, not covered by the rules, was adjudicated based on the pistol rules. (15”: 6 hits, 9” 5 hits, 6” 4 hits). He missed. From the stable block 1 rifleman scored a hit.

Turn 9. The Vlaamsers, without their officer, planned to charge, but failed their dice roll and withdrew. With casualties at 7 for Vlaams and 4 for Wallon, but with Vlaams in retreat, it was declared a draw.

Tomorrow, all being well, I will try the same scenario with Joe Morschauser’s rules.

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General Whiskers

Wargaming butterfly (mainly solo), unpainted model figure amasser, and Historical Re-enactor of the black powder era.

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