In early April I was contacted by Chris Gregg to see if I fancied taking part in one of his big games that he puts on throughout the year. I had met Chris en passant as it were at the Cotswold Wargaming Day, but we'd never had the chance for a proper chat. I had always admired Chris' games on his Blog so lept at the chance to take part.
Ken, who was organising the game for the weekend, sent through some lovely background info, to allow me to get an idea of the scenario, the background to the campaign etc. Just what one needed in advance of a game.
So a lovely Spring day dawned and armed with Chris' excellent directions, I set off into the heart of the Cotswolds. I eventually arrived after driving up hill and down dale and through some very narrow roads to a most enchanting village and to Chris and Jane's house. I was met by Chris who showed me around and after meeting the other gamers, I popped outside to drink in the most stunning views from their garden. Jane is a keen gardner too, so frankly I could have sat there all day chatting with her, but my presence was needed in the games room!
The Elector's army has made some recent territorial games at the expense of the Grand Duchy, but this has been harder than expected, with the Ducal army stopping the Electoral one before Tamsweg. An attack by the Ducal forces, supported by neighbouring States that had also suffered from the Electors territorial ambitions, was expected soon.
A light screening force of Electoral troops was stationed to the East of the Stronbach river, their task being to prevent the enemy forces outflanking the Electoral positions to the West of the Stronbach. An attack in strength by the Ducal forces could not realistically be resisted with the troops on the ground, but reinforcements were nearby but might take 4-10 hours to mobilise when called upon.
The Electoral troops had been pushed back from their intial positions and were now trying to defend their objectives, praying for swift arrival of the reinforcements. Crucially the Electoral troops were still just holding on around Madling, Lunzen and Kaindorf, which the Ducal troops would need to seize to allow them to prosecute further attacks against the Electoral troops to the West of the Stronbach and beyond.
So the above is a broad guide to the game setting and how the table was set for Day Two, when the main forces for both sides would be arriving. I took some photos throughout the day, in no particular order, but I will annotate where applicable to try and give you an idea of what is happening. If nothing else just enjoy the eye candy!
|Ducal forces arrive en masse.|
|A thin line of Electoral troops hold the ridgeline as Ducal troops move towards them.|
|Combat is joined. This ridge would be hotly contested throughout, but thankfully the Electoral troops held firm.|
|My command to the right of Kainsdorf, keeps its cavalry behind the ridge and an infantry brigade marches through Kainsdorf and towards the centre of the battlefield, where the main Ducal forces are massing.|
|The Ducal force pushed forward.|
|Madling is to the bottom right of the photo and with the munber of Ducal troops arriving, it looks like it will be a hard task to defend it.|
|On my flank, with infantry now arriving in support, the light infantry and cavalry advance down the slope and towards the Ducal left flank, to threaten it and also to allow space for the infantry to deploy.|
|What a splendid sight! A massed cavalry charge for the fore as infantry advance in the background.|
|Much needed Electoral reinforcements begin to arrive and move towards the important ridgeline.|
|Electoral troops have occupied Madling and are manfully holding on. The thin line of Electoral troops on the ridgeline to the right look rather vulnerable, given the mass of Ducal troops advancing towards them.|
|As the cavalry clash, the light infantry do not like the look of the serried ranks of Ducal troops arrayed against them.|
|The commanders. To the left, Steve who was the Electoral C-in-C; in the centre, Keith Flint, author of HoW and a good friend; to the right, Paul the Ducal C-in-C and just in shot, Chris, host and umpire.|
|The Electoral positions look somewhat better now that the reinforcements have arrived and deployed.|
|The Ducal left flank, in front of my position, somewhat hampered by the wood and the impassable hill on the right.|
|Battle rages across the ridgeline, as both sides try to deploy their troops in the constricted space.|
|A view from the Electoral centre. Masses of Ducal troops can be seen coming on in the distance.|
|Madling and its environs are being hotly contested.|
|The Electoral line still looks thin, but the Ducal troops are struggling to find space to deploy.|
|Electoral light infantry have crossed the Stronbach by the bridge and are giving irritating flanking fire to the Ducal troops.|
|A view from Madling towards Kainsdorf.|
|A quick photo of the view from Chris and Jane's garden, which frankly doesn't do justice to it, as it was simply wonderful. We had a nice lunch break at this point, having a great chat and putting the World to rights!|
|The Electoral troops begin to push forward in the centre and now have a doubleline and reserves, so their position is looking much stronger.|
|An advance right across the front by the Electoral troops, as they begin to push back the Ducal forces.|
|On my flank the light infantry somehow survive two turns of shooting and survive and, to add insult to injury, with artillery support the rout the line infantry to their front. The cavalry have moved up in support.|
|Madling and the centre appear to be safe now.|
|Cavalry and infantry clash near to the small farm by the woods|
End of the Game
With the afternoon drawing on, it was obvious that the Electoral troops had held their positions and had begun to force the Ducal forces back. So the game was called and Ken had plenty to mull over for the narrative of the game.
Post Game Thoughts
It was so good to have a FtF game again after so long. We all agreed that this is part and parcel of what makes wargaming so a wonderful hobby. Sharing the experience with like minded gamers was great. Whilst solo gaming is fine, you do miss the camaraderie and the banter that goes with it, of which there was much of the latter!
Playing a 'big game' is a rare treat and in such a wonderful setting too. The figures on display were simply stunning, which I doubt you will get from the photos, so you'll just have to take my word for it. 28mm certainly does make for a spectacualr looking game, ditto the SYW and Linear Warfare in general. Many a moment I just stopped and enjoyed look at all the troops on show, it really was a wonderful sight.
Chris is putting on a few more games this year, of which I hope to attend one, subject to Covid and family matters of course. Although I cannot make both days, being able to attend one is certainly a privelege and one that I look forward to later in the year.
So until next time, keep healthy and stay safe.