Thursday 29 September 2011

Musket and Mohawks 2 Field Battle

 Was able to test the largest encounter in Muskets and Mohawks 2 today, The Field Battle. In this encounter your company takes its place in the line of battle during a field engagement. The game is still played at 1 figure equals 1 man scale and the game shows only that part of the battlefield directly to the front of your company. 

A full game company consists of 1 Captain, 2 Lieutenants, 2 Ensigns, a Sergeant Major, 4 sergeants, 8 Corporals and 40 other ranks. That's all four sections of your company plus the command element.

Now as it happens I do not have nearly enough period figures for this large a game and so substituted Napoleonic troops for this game. My company would be French line while the opposition were Prussians. Also while I say "my" company, my character was in fact the Lieutenant of second platoon. The Captain was non-player character as were all of the Prussians.

The battle featured a French attack so the Prussian company deployed on table and my company entered from the opposite long edge. 

Due to some random events my company received an order to halt our advance while still out of musket range of the enemy. While waiting for our advance to resume I lost two men to cannon fire, another random event.
 We were finally able to resume the advance! Unfortunately the Prussians were able to get in the first volley and dropped several of my men.
 The senior section of my company was obscured by a small cluster of trees on our right, which offered them cover but also prevented them from bringing all of their firelocks into play. 

One aspect of this game that I am very proud of is the way it presents you with the problems of the black powder battlefield. In larger scale games columns just move faster than lines. At this level you see the terrain that causes lines to break up and move more slowly than columns. As it is a company would always form line unless navigating tight terrain, and here rather than disrupt my formation I decided to just keep the senior section out of action for a bit.
 We began a brisk exchange of fire with the Prussians. Slowly we began to achieve the upper hand, inflicting more casualties to the Prussian leadership than we received in return. This was all down to the luck of the dice.

Another aspect I am pleased with is the frequency of misfired. Initial vollies are very powerful and then fire sort of goes in spurts as casualties and misfires contribute to a decline in the volume of fire. Eventually misfires are diagnosed and repaired and some of the casualties return to the firing line, and volume of fire picks up for a while until the inevitable misfires and casualties reduce it and so on.
 Eventually one of the Prussion platoons had suffered too much and withdrew behind the firing line.
 The company sergeant lost not time in attempting to rally them. Here then was my chance! Our company commander ordered the charge. However he had considerable difficulty bringing the men under control and they continued to stand and fire.

Once troops begin to fire it is sometimes difficult to bring them back under orders. In this case I had considerable difficulty bringing them to heel.
 Fortune smiled as a half section of light infantry was sent to our aid. They took up position in the wood in front of the senior section and opened an accurate fire on the Prussian left.
 At about the same time the Prussians suffered a couple of round shot from our artillery. Random events can cut both ways. 

To their credit the section that had retired returned to the line for more punishment.
 Still unable to get our men to move  I was bit disconcerted by the arrival of a Prussain gun behind their lines. Clearly the higher command could sense the weakening of Prussia resolve and sent the gun to stiffen the line.

Reinforcements can be granted via random dice rolls. Like random events they cut both way too.

 It was a race against time now. Our fire had significantly weakened the Prussian company and individuals were starting to slip away from the firing line. .
Their sergeants managed to whip most of them back into line but in ones and twos some headed for the rear
 The Prussian deployed the gun behind their line. Presumably they would retire behind the gun once it was loaded.
...And still our Captain could not bring the men under control. Our fire was to good effect but if that gun started hitting us with canister we would be in a bad way.

 Finally our men were brought under control. Our firing line went silent as the officers and sergeants dressed the ranks. 

Only the sniping of the light troops continued and the Prussian fire grew increasingly ragged.

 At last we began to advance. Avant!
 When charging the attacker moves to only 6" from the enemy. Opposed dice rolls are then made to see if the attacker baulks, takes fire at close range, or the defender stands for melee (rarely) or legs it.
 The Prussian line evaporated before our advance!
 The day was ours.
Final losses were 11 French other ranks. The Prussians lost more than twice that many and the gun.

Post battle rolls should see my character gain some recognition. Had we lost he might have had to fight a duel if brother officers were to cast aspersions on his conduct. However as one of the victors he may be bale to grab some of the glory.

As this encounter is very large and fairly static it will not be required that players use it but it will be in there just in case you ever wondered how a field battle would have looked at this small a scale.

Hope you enjoyed the report and thanks for stopping by!

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