I thought we might try something different, a Table Top Teaser in the style of CS Grants famous articles for Battle! magazine in the 70's, in this case a fictitious action between two forces, inspired by the Battle of Vinkovo between French and Russian forces in 1812 and CS Grants "Dawn Attack".
The map depicts a river plain surrounded by rising woody ground. The river is unfordable and can only be crossed at the bridge. The main road runs from Northeast to Southwest and crosses the river at a small abandoned village.
1 Infantry Regiments
5 Cavalry Regiments
1 Horse Battery
5 Infantry Regiments
3 Cavalry Regiments
1 Horse Battery
1 Foot Battery
The advanced guard of the Blue Army has moved into the area along the main road from the southwest. They have halted for the night at the river. Although the Red Army is known to be somewhere to the northeast, a short term truce is in effect and therefore it is not considered to be a serious threat. The Blue Army has however been deceived and the Red Army plans to take advantage of the advanced guards exposed position to launch a surprise attack. The Red Army dispatches a small force which makes a forced march throughout the night, determined to attack the Blue Army still in its bivouac at dawn.
The Red Army has lost its way several times in the darkness and it is well past dawn by the time it is finally in position to attack. It has split it forces into two groups, a small cavalry force made up of two regiments is north of the river and enters at point "A", whilst the remainder of the force is south of the river and enters at point "B".
The Blue Army outposts are relaxed after dawn came and went, it's now 7am and they have stood down and returned to the bivouac. With the advance guard having decided to rest for the day little is stirring in the camp. The heavy mist begins to lift just as they Red Army strikes.
Playing the Game
In order to play the game we need rules to reflect the confusion in the Blue Army camp as they become aware of the Red Army attack. We will also need a set of conditions to determine the victor of our engagement.
Red Army forces move on to the table on turn one from both A and B. Blue Army throws 1D6 to determine how many turns before his outposts, now close in to the camp, finally spot the advancing Red Army. Until spotted the Red Army moves at half its normal movement reflecting its cautious advance in the early morning mist. Once spotted the mist is considered to have lifted and movement for both sides will be as normal. The alarm finally starts to be raised but there is much confusion as to what is going on and where the threats is coming from, each unit reacts independently to the sounds of the approaching Red Army. For each unit in his Army the Blue commander rolls 1D6 to determine when they finally are activated, add 1 if the unit is west of the main road deduct 1 if east of the main road. On the turn the Red Army is spotted units are activated on a 5-6, on the next turn it is 3-6 and thereafter it is 2-6. The camp is finally alerted but there is still chaos, much will depend on how quickly they can deploy and the strength of their morale in the face of this surprise attack.
Action in the Camp
The bivouac is scattered with tents (an excellent excuse to pick up those Renedra tents), Muskets will be stacked and their will be chaos as the infantry dress, collect their weapons and try to muster. The cavalry will be dismounted and will require to saddle up and mount. Artillery will have been unlimbered and parked, the horses will be unharnessed. As each unit is activated consult the following table to determine what action it takes next.
|2 : Break and run, unarmed : cannot be rallied, retire to the east.|
|3 : Break and run, armed. May be rallied the next turn if not attacked.|
|4 : Stand for three periods then throw again. They will run if attacked, but may be rallied.|
|5 & 6 : Stand for two periods then throw again. They may defend themselves if attacked.|
|7 - 9 : Stand two periods, then they are considered deployed at the start of the following turn.|
|10 & 11 : Stand one period, then they are considered deployed at the start of the following turn.|
|12 : Considered deployed at the start of the next turn.|
|2 & 3 : Horses bolt. Troops rout and retire east, cannot be rallied.|
|4 : Troops saddle up and mount but rout while mounting. May be rallied on the following turn.|
|5 : Troops saddle up and mount but must stand for four periods. Will rout if attacked.|
|6 : Troops saddle up and mount, stand for four periods before moving out. Will defend themselves if attacked but considered disorganized in the first three periods.|
|7 & 8 : Troops saddle up and mount, stand for three periods, considered deployed at the start of the following turn. Will defend themselves if attacked but considered disorganized in the first two periods.|
|9 : Troops saddle up and mount, stand for two periods, considered deployed at the start of the following turn. Will defend themselves if attacked.|
|10 : Troops saddle up and mount, stand two periods, considered deployed at the start of the following turn. May counter charge if attacked in the second period.|
|11 : Troops saddle up and mount, stand one period, considered deployed at the start of the following turn. May counter charge if attacked.|
|12 : Troops saddle up and mount. Considered deployed at the start of the next turn.|
|2 : Horses bolt, gunners run, guns abandoned.|
|3 : Horses bolt, gunners rout to the east but may be rallied next turn. Guns abandoned.|
|4 : Half the horses bolt, the remainder controlled by gunners who take six periods to prepare the gun for movement. Will break and run if attacked.|
|5 : Horses retained, gunners take six periods to prepare guns for movement but stand and fight or fire if attacked in the last three periods.|
|6 : Horses retained, gunners take five periods to prepare for movement but will fight or fire if attacked in the last three periods.|
|7 : Horses retained but guns cannot be moved. Gunners will fight or fire from present positions.|
|8 : Horses retained, gunners take four periods to prepare guns for movement but will stand and fight or fire if attacked after the first period.|
|9 & 10 : Horses retained, gunners take three periods to prepare guns for movement but will stand and fight or fire if attacked.|
|11 & 12 : Horses retained, gunners take two periods to prepare guns for movement. Will fight or fire if attacked.|
The Blue Army commander is located with the cavalry unit in the Southeast corner, when this unit activates he will add 3 to the dice score of that unit.
Cavalry horses bolting
When horses bolt they will move in the direction determined by throwing 2D6. Any unit they come in contact with must throw 1D6 and on a score of greater than 3 an unformed unit will rout whilst a formed unit becomes disorganized.
If the bridge is held by Red Army infantry for 3 consecutive turns all Blue Army forces north of the river will surrender.
The Red Army wins by having all his troops east of the main road for 3 consecutive turns whilst preventing any Blue Army unit from maintaining itself west of the main road or if he drives the Blue Army from the field. Blue Army wins by having all his troops west of the main road for 3 consecutive turns whilst similarly preventing a Red Army unit from maintaining itself east of the main road or if he drives the Red Army from the field. If neither condition is met the two armies can agree an honorable draw at any time.