Friday, 13 September 2019

Honours of War, the Brexite campaign 1744 - Game 1

Whilst chatting at the end of the recent Cotswold Wargames Day, Dave and I both agreed that it was time for a change on the wargames front. Honours of War was the first suggestion and Dave mentioned that we hadn't really played the French vs the British. Always up for a challenge, it was time to go and sort out some scenarios etc. When I got home I looked through 'The Wargamers' Annual 2019' that I had won at the CWS and in it was the second part of a fictional French invasion of the United Kindgom in 1744. This immediately piqued my interest and after a quick e-mail to Dave, we agreed make this our campaign.

Background Fluff
After the French loss at the Battle of Dettingen in 1743, Louis XV was a tad miffed. He wanted the British out of Europe, pure and simple. To help him achieve this aim, he approached the 'Young Pretender', Charles Edward Stuart, to raise rebellion in Scotland whilst the French force landed in England to march on London. To this end Louis XV called upon the services of the Irish emigre, Marshal Sachs O'Ffone, to lead the invasion forces. Unfortuantely for the French ill winds in the Channel led to the dispersal of the French fleet, who landed for to the West. Having to change his plan, Marshal Sachs O'Ffone decided to march upon Bristol, from there to then move upon London.

The French fleet had been tracked along the South coast as it was blown off course, allowing the King, George II, to raise the County Militia's. The Wessex Militia was under the command of  one Colonel Farrage, who was known to somewhat of a Francophobe. He had limited forces at his disposal, but gathered those that he could and set off to meet the French along their expected route of march.

Scenario Details
As we hadn't played Honours of War for sometime, I reached for my trusty 'Scenario For All Ages' by Grant & Asquith, to come up with something interesting that would allow us to get a handle on the rules. I chose 'Scenario 22: Making the Best of a Bad Job' which I had played before and which fitted nicely as the first game of our campaign.

The Wessex Militia, re-inforced by some of the Bristol Garrison, are camped near woods by Westonzoyland, awaiting the French forces. However after a night of drinking scrumpy and eating mangol wurzels, they have neglected to post guards and as a result are surprised by the French, who stumble upon them whilst in line-of-march.

British OOB
2 x Brigadiers (both Dependable after random die roll)
2 x Light Infantry (Inferior)
3 x Militia (Inferior)
1 x Line Infantry (Standard)
1 x Dragoons (Standard)
1 x Light Artillery (Standard) 

French OOB
1 x General (Dependable after random die roll)
2 x Brigadiers (both Dependable after random die roll)
2 x Light Infantry (Inferior)
6 x Line (Standard)
2 x Dragoons (Standard)
1 x Hussars (Inferior)

Note: the French lack artillery at the start of the campaign as due to the chaotic nature of the landings, the artillery is stuck somewhere in the rear. It will be available next scenario.

Set Up
The deployment of the troops can be seen below:

The English are encamped in the South Eastern corner. Their dragoons are off table foraging, but will return once they hear any firing from either side. the French can be seen in line-of-march along the road.

The view from the English camp.

The long line of French troops, strung out along the road.

The golden 'W' marks the boundary of Westonzoyland.

Turn 1
A quiet start as both sides manouevre as best they can. It is worth pointing out from the outset that Dave rolled an inordinate number of 6's for his command rolls, thus allowing his troops to move with alacrity.

The end of Turn 1.

The English shake out into some form of defence.

As the French advance, they send their cavalry out onto either flank, as the infantry advance in the centre.

Turn 2
Similar to Turn 1, with both sides advancing as best they can.

The end of Turn 2.

The English anchor their flank by the golden 'W'.

Turn 3
As the French cavalry move around the English flanks, the infantry in the centre engage each other. Off board, the English Dragoons start to march to the sounds of the guns, but will not arrive until next turn.

The end of turn 3.

Both sides manouevre to be able to fire at each other.

The English Militia take hits from the French Light Infantry.

The English right flank anchored by the woods, with the French Dragoons in the distance.

The golden 'W; looks on...

Turn 4
With the English held by the French Light Infantry, the cavalry close around the flanks and the Line Infantry push forward to try and support. The English Dragoons appear in the distance but are unable to enter the board yet.

The end of turn 4.

The French Hussars try to turn the English left flank.

The French Line Infantry try to form up so as to advance to the attack.

Both the English Militia and French Light Infantry are taking hits.

Turn 5
The French Hussars manage to turn the English right flank, forcing them to pull back. The French maintain pressure in the centre, which results in one English Militia unit being Done For, which as it retreats, causes another unit to retreat as it has 4 hits. Sadly just when the English Dragoons are needed, they rolled a 1 and therefore remained at the edge of the table.

The end of turn 5.

The English Militia retreat as they are Done For, causing problems as they do so.

The French Hussars in the perfect position in the English rear.

The French lined up ready to attack.

Turn 6
Just as the French are ready to administer the coup de grace, the Line Infantry roll as 1, therefore are unable to advance! However the French Hussars are able to charge to morale hit Militia, that are destroyed, allowing the Hussars to follow up and charge another unit, which are also destroyed. By the woods, the French Dragoons charge the English Light Infantry, which leads to both sides retreating after a couple of rounds of combat.

The end of Turn 6.

The French Hussars destroy an English Militia unit...

... who fall back, inflicting hits on another unit as they do so.

The French Hussars follow up...

... and charge another unit...

... which they also destroy...

... leaving an English Militia unit somewhat isolated and in trouble.

An overview at the end of Turn 6.

The English Militia protect the gun as it limbers up and retreats to fight another day.

As the English retreat, the French Dragoons hold open the road to Bristol.

End of Game
At this point it was obvious that the destruction of the remaining Enlgish units was a foregone conclusion. Thinking in terms of the campaign, the English wisely decided to leave the table to the victorious French. A random die roll showed that the English had managed to get their gun to safety, rather than it falling into French hands. At list it and its crew have lived to fight another day.

Post Game Thoughts
A fun and entertaining game that allowed us to get re-acquainted with the Honours of War rules. We were a little rusty but most things came back to us. If we weren;t sure, we simply decided what would be the likely outcom and went with that. 

As always, a few thoughts on the game;
  • Honours of War once again provided a great game and one that felt right for the linear tactics of the 18thC. they remain my go-to rules for this period and are likely to remain so for the foreseeable future.
  • The scenario worked well and provided the right amount friction without being too difficult for a first game. The English Militia were always going to find this a tough task, but that didn't matter. This was very much the  first game in a narrative campaign and as such worked a treat.
  • Playing a campaign allows us to basically have lots of fun and certainly adds more enjoyment compared to stand alone games. We can add fluff as and when we see fit and the next scenario kind of sorts itself out based upon the outcome of the previous one.
  • It was nice to finally finish off some of my Pendraken AWI troops that are standing in for the English at present. This has spurred me on to try and get more finished in time for the next game.
  • I've decided to tweak some of my terrain to make it a bit smarter, but first I need to concentrate on my figures. I might get some by the next game, but will have to wait and see. 
  • I do enjoy playing games set in the mid-18thC. There is something very appealing about the whole linear warfare period. For our games a 4' x 4' table is more than ample, so it shows that you don't need loads of space to play this period, or others for that matter.

So the first game is out of the way and the French are on the move. I have the rough outline of the next scenario already sorted, but I just need to tweak a few things. All being well part 2 will be next week. So until next time...


  1. Great to see HoW on you table. HoW is one of my Go-to 18thC rules as well. Not a lot of overhead and the games play smoothly. Well, sometimes artillery seems a bit dominant but that is another story.

    The French hussars wrought great destruction on this day. Good for them!

    1. They are elegant in their simplicity IMHO, so you can concentrate on the game, rather than the rules. I've never found artillery too dominant, as we tend to use one piece per Brigade, the latter normally 4 units or more.

      Post game we realised that pretty much all of the fighting was done by Light Infantry or Cavalry. Must rectify this in the next scenario...

  2. Superb Steve, a lovely sized battle that shows the advantages of the scale nicely. I like a campaign element for ensuring that troops have to think about 'tomorrow' and he extra depth that that brings.

    1. Thanks Norm. We didn't have too many units on the table either, yet it still felt like a big game, which is great. The campaign element does add a certain something, as in the case th eEnglish needing to ensure their artillery was safe. It could easily have been captured by the French, thus giving them a next game advantage. As it is a narrative campaign, we talk about what would be the likely outcome of a battle and what the opposing forces would do. This then almost generates the next scenario. Hopefully this will become more clear when the next game is played and written up.

  3. Look like fun Steve, it looks like you had the balance right between forces and fighting to a conclusion.

    1. Thanks Stu and it was indeed a fun game, with our usual levels of banter:)