Replaying the past. 3: Terry Wise

Today’s skirmish is fought using the rules from Terence Wise’s book: “Introduction to Battle Gaming”. This is the book on which I cut my wargaming teeth. Published in 1969, it was my Christmas present from my parents the same year. Unfortunately we were staying with my grandparents where I had access to neither my soldiers or dice, so I drew a map, cut out paper blocks and devised a “blind pencil stab on a grid” method for die rolls. I replayed Waterloo (as remembered from the recent film) by this method several times until we got home again.

And so to the rules. All units move and fire. Infantry move 5 cm., on roads 7cm. Shooting ranges: Pistol, Grenade 5 cm. Rifles 20 cm. Shooting effect: roll 2d6. Pistol, rifle, 6+ is a kill. Grenade, 6+ kills 3*. Officers are killed if the dice roll a double, but they seem to have no effective rôle in the game. Men under cover suffer half casualties.

* No distance is stated, but with a throwing range of 5 cm., casualties may be assumed to be within 4cm. or less of the aiming point.

I never understood or agreed with Terry’s mêlée rule, based on his “Ancients” rules. All troops within 15 cm. are involved. Roll 4 dice and kill the total. This makes little sense with the rest of the “modern” period rules. Therefore my game will involve single hand to hand combat in which the higher roll wins. If a draw, roll again.

The defenders, having learned that they lose the sentries in the yard early in the conflict, decided to deploy three men, one a grenadier, along the hedgerow on the road. The officer, NCO/radioman and three riflemen were in the farmhouse and three riflemen with one grenadier in the stables. The attackers this time, having worked put that because of the reduced rifle range any attack from the woods would be conducted unsupported across open ground, decided to send half the force along the hedgerow. While the remainder circled to the right to attack the stable building.

it took six turns for the infantry on the right to clear the cover of the woods and a further six to cross the open ground and come within rifle range of the stable block. By this time the group on the left flank had also cleared the woods. These were still out of range.

Turn 13. The Vlaamsers advanced closer to the farm. On the right flank three men were now in range of the stables. One man in the stables was in range. The three Vlaamsers fired, scoring 3 hits, reduced to 2 for cover, but only 1 was in range On the left flank nobody was within range. Inside the stables another soldier took the place of the casualty and fired back, killing one attacker.

Turn 14. On the right flank the Vlaamsers moved towards the blind side of the stables. Three men were still in range and view of the stable windows. Two hits were scored, and the replacement rifleman in the stable window was shot. Again a shot was returned and another attacker was killed. On the left flank the attackers spread out and kept moving forward, but were still out of range. The Wallons at the hedgerow moved to their right to close the range.

Turn 15. On the right the attackers moved into the blind side of the stables, but now one man had come within range of the right-hand window of the farmhouse. He was shot by the rifleman at the window, who was himself shot. On the other flank two attackers were able to shoot at the men behind the hedge, killing one of them. Return fire killed one of them.

Turn 16. On the right flank the four remaining attackers placed themselves as far as possible behind the blind side of the barn. Two were still able to fire at the farmhouse but were in return visible from the windows. The attackers lost two men to the defenders’ one. On the other flank one hit was scored against the men on the road.

Turn 17. At this point the defenders had lost half their number and were forced to withdraw. On the right the exchange of fire caused no casualties. On the left the last defender of the hedge line was killed and the squad advanced towards the farm.

Turn 18. The defenders retreated and left the farm open for occupation.

Conclusions. Ranges are very short for infantry combat, and are more suited to tanks and artillery. Rolling two dice for each hit seems unnecessarily complicated and the result (26/36 chances of a hit) is not far different than rolling 3+ on one die (24/36 chances). Rather than halving casualties under cover I would make it harder to hit in the first place. As in the previous game I would allow fire or movement rather than both.

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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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