Schwitz Face the Gateway Alliance in Table Top Teaser Tussle

Fellow imagi-nations gamer Iain Burt came to play in the Loftwaffe, bringing his beautifully painted Gateway Alliance army with him. You can see an album of photos taken during the day on Flickr here.

All the figures in the game are 30mm. Iain’s Gateway troops are all Spencer Smith War of the Austrian Succession figures, which have broader cuffs than the ‘standard’ Seven Years War/AWI range. My own showing this time included red-coated battalions from the army of Schwitz, mostly Holger Eriksson 30mm figures painted by John Preece, but also a lone battalion of 1970s vintage Spencer Smith plastics (with, sadly, very brittle ankles – another two figures were laid to rest after this game).

The scenario was “Rear Guard (2)” from Scenarios for Wargames by Charles Stewart Grant, published by the Wargames Research Group in 1981. Clearly based on the Retreat to Corunna during the Peninsular War, a mere six units of Schwitzer infantry and a lone battery are given the task of fighting the much larger attacking force to a standstill.

I failed miserably – two of my battalions were sent packing fairly quickly, leaving a gaping hole in my line which Iain had managed to exploit by teatime. One of my battalions – the plastic Spencer Smiths, of course -– put up a doughty fight in and around the house by the river in the north-east corner, the melee swinging back and forth for several turns (we adjudicated that the troops inside would be unaffected by events outside, as they were fighting for their lives in a confined space), but in the end the pressure of numbers told and they were forced to retire, with honours, towards the port.

In the centre, the lone battery of artillery did dreadful execution against lines of advancing Gateway infantry, but the infantry supporting it to the east was flailed by concentrated Gateway artillery, leaving a yawning gap, which led to the decision to concede.

My right flank was actually intact at the end – we had an amusing situation where the massed heavy cavalry of the Gateway Alliance considered charging uphill against an intact line of infantry which still had its first volley in reserve, but Iain sensibly thought the better of it and retired out of range! The battalion to its left loosed several volleys, destroying a battalion that opposed it. For the last couple of turns, the right flank battalion had turned and was marching towards the gaping hole in my line, but too late to make a difference.

In all, a great game: a tough one for the defender to win, unless you simply garrison all the buildings and play ‘come and get me’, which would have been rather bloody and undoubtedly dour. Our more open game was risky on my part, and I did have some dreadful dice rolls for morale, which led to the unseemly departure of two regiments that might have been expected to have put up more of a fight, but it was fun.

My thanks to Iain for being such a companionable and gentlemanly opponent, and we even had time for a delicious cooked lunch at a local establishment to punctuate the day. The surviving Schwitzers are planning their revenge even now and are determined to salvage their reputation!

The rules we used were my own Shot, Steel and Stone as published in The Wargaming Compendium (2013) with revisions from subsequent playtesting.

Enjoy the photos – Iain really is quite a talent with the brush and his hand-painted flags are simply stunning. The terrain was made using a combination of Hexon tiles and wooden and polystyrene contour hills under GW game mats. I wasn’t terribly happy with the coastline, which really needs some custom pieces to look pretty. The ship is an Ainsty Castings resin thing, which I bought years ago but just quickly painted up for this game. The buildings are a motley collection of mostly resin castings collected over the years, with my as-yet-unfinished balsa customs house (the white building) putting in an appearance to remind me to finish it!


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