I’ve not done too badly this year: I’ve umpired the big Ayton game in May; Mark Phillips (Peeler) came to visit a couple of months ago and we had a cracking little game; and now, over the weekend of 13/14 September, fellow imagi-nations fan Iain Burt (aka Essex Boy on various forums) afforded me the luxury of almost an entire weekend of gaming.
Iain, of course, is well known for his wonderful Gateway Alliance troops, surely one of the most delightful sights on a wargames table. He has managed to capture a unique style, part-cartoon, part realism, all smothered in glorious gloss varnish. The miniatures, as you will see, are just stunning. He has converted many of the miniatures himself, including the quite extraordinary ‘Lord Alfred’s Greys’ lancer regiment, which involved a replacement head! All his miniatures are the metal Wars of the Austrian Succession figures from Spencer Smith, quite considerably bulkier than my own, original 1970s plastic AWI/Seven Years War miniatures from the same source (just 40 years earlier!).
One of the problems with engaging with other people’s imagi-nations is that, for my own satisfaction, I have to find some way of reconciling the situation with my own imaginary world that I have been working on since 1981! I decided that Iain’s troops have had some kind of long-standing quarrel with Prunkland (quite feasible, given the outcome of the various games I’ve umpired in Ayton, where Prunkland and the Gateway have always been on opposite sides) and has decided to launch a punitive raid. The Gateway navy was left in tatters after the latest campaign – this would be around 1749 now – and it really is a case of “Prunkland rules the waves” on the Grossmeer, so Iain’s Alliance has negotiated with the tiny state of Schönstaat Oberberg to gain passage through the little electorate.
Alerted to the potential danger, Prunkland has allocated a brigade of infantry consisting of Von Eintopf (eight bases = 48), including its grenadier company (two bases =12), Von Renscher (six bases =36) and Von Schmidt (six bases =36); a couple of regiments of cavalry, Von Czapka Husaren (eight bases = 24) and the mighty Von Klinkertor Kürassiere (eight bases = 24), a medium and a light battery of three guns each (three gunners per light gun, four per medium), and an ad-hoc brigade of four units of light troops (all little 12-man Jäger units at three per base, with Von Forstkriecher in the grey uniforms being rifle-armed) to keep an eye on the border crossings – just in time. But there’s a lot of ground to cover with so few men, so the cavalry were split into squadrons so that both flanks could have some heavy and some light. Apart from the artillery and a couple of units of Jäger, I hid most of my infantry behind the reverse slopes of the hills until the fords and bridges were directly threatened. My cavalry, however, I decided to launch at the enemy immediately, to hold them up for as long as possible – and it pretty much worked, with Von Klinkertor’s “A” squadron retiring from the battle garlanded with laurels yet again.
Iain’s impressive force consisted of the following:
Commander: Brevet General Uwe von Wilde
Acting Brigadier D Belcher
Lord Alfred’s Greys – lancers (24)
The Mardyke Hussars – hussars (24)
Sherwin’s Battery – 6pdrs
Brigadier Pickled (Jnr)
The Boleyn Regiment – line (48)
Redknapp’s Regiment – line (48)
The Honourable Company of Rifles* – light (24)
Allgood’s Battery – 12pdrs
Brigadier D Brown
Argent Street Fencibles– line (48)
Thameside Fusiliers– line (48)
The Gamekeepers* – light (24)
Bryson’s Battery – 12pdrs
3rd (Cavalry) Brigade
Brigadier J Cunningham
The Arbitrators – cuirassiers (24)
Theobald’s Regiment – cuirassiers (24)
4th (Cavalry) Brigade
Brigadier J Scudieri
Keddie’s Regiment – horse (24)
Dengie Dagoons – horse (24)
* People get so confused with these chaps. To be clear, they are the equivalent of the British combined light companies of the AWI (although they aren’t elite). They can take their place in the line or they can skirmish. There are four companies of lights and four battalions of line so the ratio is fair even if the light companies didn’t originate from the line battalions.
The balance, therefore, was 228 + 6 guns on the Prunkland side of the river, and 384 + 7 guns on the Gateway side. the force split was very different: I had a mere 48 cavalry to Iain’s 144! The infantry was more closely balanced, with Iain having 240 to my 180. Ian also had the edge in firepower: four of his guns were heavy 12-pounders, whereas I had none; our medium artillery (his 6-pdr, mine ‘light’ 8-pounders) at three each; and my remaining three guns were all light 6-pounders, no better than 4-pounders. Under the circumstances, I’ve a feeling that Iain might have been slightly better off with a little less cavalry and a little more infantry. I would have done a deal with the Devil for an extra battalion of line infantry, or even a battalion of Grenzers instead of Jäger, as they have rather better fighting qualities when it comes to the crunch, though it has to be said that my light troops did better than expected and threw just enough spanners in the works to irritate the enemy!
You can see the Flickr album I have created of the game here. It includes a full report of the game. Enjoy the pics!