Thursday, 1 October 2015

A game of two men's Maurice

I don't get much time in Summer for painting/modelling, blogging, or even planning games, but I usually get to play once or twice a month if someone else sets the games up!

Despite the best of intentions I still haven't actually raised any Maurice armies other than my 2D counters, but back in July my friend Ian organised a 1:1 game using his 10mm Seven Years War Pendraken armies and provided all the necessaries.

Ian's British on the far side: infantry, the hill with the objective and some 
artillery, and his cavalry (already under attack). British on the near 
side: Irregulars and artillery, line infantry (advanced a little) and the 
cavalry which have gone in. The British infantry have already begun to turn.
The game was notionally set in North America with higher than normal contingents of Irregulars, but the randomly selected terrain was rated as Tropical, not that there was anything particularly unusual about it once placed on the table.

Ian defended with a British army and I attacked with the French. The Brits had Lethal Volleys, and I had Great Commander and Maison du Roi. The Attacker receives a bonus of only one extra unit, but bears the onus of occupying an objective or losing, so I wasn't optimistic.

Ian placed the objective on a hill defended by artillery with infantry on one side and cavalry to the other. Ian is usually a very difficult player to beat, but he won't mind me saying that in this game he took his eye off the ball. Instead of concentrating his forces to protect the objective, he spread them out to cover the table frontage.

If there's one military principle I can grasp it's concentration of forces. As the attacking player I deployed second and started the game. So I concentrated everything with any punch on my right opposite the objective, while the Irregulars were offered up as a delaying sacrifice on my left.

I began by advancing the infantry to free a path for the cavalry who were to be my main striking arm. The plan was to overwhelm the enemy cavalry and turn the flank for what might have been a very quick win.

A close-up of the cavalry action which I fully expected to win. Casualty
markers are becoming critical for the British.
At one point the situation looked very promising, but the dice weren't with me and despite my advantage one cavalry regiment was lost and the other severely damaged.

The French infantry close in but are charged by the British cavalry. The left
flank of the French line infantry is refused.
Forced to fall back on plan B, I now returned to the infantry who advanced on the French cavalry and shot them up. The British needed to move their far-flung infantry from right to left but they faced four difficulties:

1. As they wheeled by battalion they lost Force cohesion as the separate units inevitably ended up more than 2BW apart.
2. As each battalion turned across my front it was potentially exposing it's right flank to my Irregulars.
3. The left flank of my own line infantry was refused so the flank of my attacking infantry was protected.
4. Most importantly, it would simply take far too much time to redeploy before the battle was decided on the other flank.

A British cavalry unit is finally destroyed, but French infantry casualties from
the British artillery are mounting. 
The exchange of fire with Ian's artillery was much less favourable to me, but I eventually knocked out one gun base in a volley phase and successfully charged another. At this point the path to the objective was open and I took it.

A second-line French infantry unit overruns a British battery and occupies
the objective. Huzzah!
Besides the obvious lesson - concentrate your forces to protect the objective if you are the defender - I was very interested to see just how difficult it was for a Force to change its facing without the Oblique characteristic. Here, defence in depth and/or a reserve might have helped.

As ever, I felt that Maurice looked and felt right, and played cleanly, and I will certainly be going ahead with some Maurice armies sometime.

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