Schwitz Face the Gateway Alliance in Table Top Teaser Tussle

Rear Guard Table Top Teaser

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!



  1. Wonderful tale. 🙂

    Is John Preece of Tywyn still painting? I lost touch with him years ago, sadly.

  2. Great update, thanks Henry. I rediscovered both scenarios and programmed scenarios books recently as I have started moving into Napoleonic Wars and we plan to use for black powder. I’m sure Charles grant would be pleased that we still get so much use out of his work.

  3. Great report and a lovely looking battle. I do like those HEs – there’s something rather appealing about them.

    • Hi Simon and yes, the HEs are fab. They’re pricier than the SSs but have an interesting quirkiness about them, with the haversack on their back. They’re based on GNW Swedes, of course.

  4. No smoking jackets and snifters of cognac? 😉 Slightly reminiscent of Battleground. While the troops are indeed magnificent, I was impressed at how well the relatively simplistic terrain sheet worked

    • The terrain has to be fairly simple because (a) I have limited time for set-up; and (b) storage space is at a premium. Those GW cloths have served me well over the years. Nowadays, there are much fancier ones from people like Deepcut, but I still like the simplicity of a green cloth on top of which I can place whatever terrain I like. I’ve always balked at cloths/boards that have rivers, roads etc in fixed positions, which are impossible to modify.

  5. It really was a most splendid game. Thank you Henry.

    The poor defenders would have been hard pressed to win the game even without some pretty dreadful dice rolls – two in particular seeing off two largely intact battalions. I apologise again for my very unsporting fits of laughter.

    I seriously want an army of those Holger Eriksson chaps. They are gorgeous.


    • I had great fun, Iain, and thanks again for the splendid present you left with me – I’m going to rebase them to match my armies, but the painting is so lovely they’ll have to be elites! I meant to send you away with some HE command figures, but never mind, we’ll catch up on that later. As for your laughter, well, part of your charm is your acute sense of Schadenfreude! 😀

      • Oh yes, the HE command. I do remember the arrangement. Bring what you want painted along to Cavalier and we can discuss your requirements. Keep hold of the exchange command for the moment – I don’t yet have any idea how I’m going to proceed.

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