Iain Burt came down from darkest Essex to play our once-a-year dust-up, featuring hundreds of 30mm Spencer Smiths (and this year some Holger Erikssons too).
We chose Charles S Grant’s “Chance Encounter” scenario from Scenarios for Wargames (1981). The rules were my own “Shot, Steel & Stone” as published in The Wargaming Compendium and amended after several years of playtesting at the big Ayton events.
The sides were entirely imaginary, with Grenouisse (in grey) and Schwitz (in red) facing off against Granprix (in blue) and Prunkland (in white) and some cavalry from Borgenmark.
Each side had 6 units of infantry, 2 units of light infantry, 2 units of heavy cavalry, 2 units of light cavalry and 2 batteries (one each of howitzers and medium guns). The infantry were 36+6 supernumeraries (colour party), light infantry 12 (no colours), heavy cavalry 12+3, light cavalry 12 only, howitzers have 3 crew and medium guns 4. Each army has a C-in-C and 2 brigadiers.
Note that the actual numbers don’t matter too much, it’s the bases/elements that count. Cavalry are three to a base, as are light infantry; line infantry are six to a base. None for this battle, but irregular infantry such as Grenzer would be in fives. Sheep and cows are singles…
We managed to cram in nine moves in a single day, starting at 11am and finishing at about 6.15pm, with a generous lunch break in the middle.
The outcome was a ‘technical victory’ for Granprix/Prunkland, but we felt that was only because the scenario places the village somewhat closer to the northern than the southern edge, which meant I was able to garrison the place with three battalions before Iain could get anywhere near it. And as anyone who has ever tried to break into a defended Built Up Area knows, you need a numerical superiority which Iain simply didn’t have.
There were plenty of exciting and dramatic moments in the game, with swirling cavalry melees, thundering volleys, crashing artillery barrages and some of the most spectacular die rolls – both good and bad – that either of us can ever remember. We had a phase about two thirds or the way through during which the number of 6s being rolled was just silly. Must get more random dice!
A great day, and thanks to Iain for coming all that way and not only being a sporting ‘sort of’ loser (I felt no special pride in taking the victory, but hey, chalk it up anyway), but also treating Annie and me to dinner afterwards in what turned out to be a surreal evening with unexpected karaoke in the room next door!
Here’s a gallery of the entire battle, in more-or-less chronological order.