Battle of Balkankle 1645

Fiction of course.

Barely modified One Hour Wargames Pike and Shot.  Kallistra hex, 2.5ft x 4ft.

10mm Pendraken figures.

A government force under the command of Colonel Wullie MacSporran has been detached from Urry's main force to occupy and hold Balkankle House and surroundings as a provisioning area.  The main force is supposed to arrive at some undetermined time in the future.  A cushy number.

However, Montrose is already there for the same reasons and has foraging parties out stripping the place bare. Each is unaware of the presence of the other.

Montrose 7 Units
Gordon's Horse            
Strathbogie Regiment
MacDonnell's Regiment
Clan MacDonald          
Mixed Clans                
2 light guns

Government, Colonel MacSporran 7 Units
Troop of Dragoons        
Dalhousie's Horse            
Campbell of Lawers' Horse
Earl of Lothian's Regiment
Argyll's Regiment
Earl of Tullibarden's Regiment
1 medium gun

Montrose: spread out around the area with artillery covering approaches. Government: leading elements approaching the bridge with the rest arriving as the road clears.

None for either side

'Pistolier' substituted for Reiter, I prefer the term. Dragoons added, pistolier rules. Artillery added, in this case:
Medium; move 1 hex on road only or emplace for remainder of the game, range 9H, shooting -1, 1/2 hits on target in cover, receives hits in combat.
Light; move 1H, range 6H, shooting -2, 1/2 hits on target in cover, receives hits in combat. Second roll for ammunition supply.

15 game turns.  Montrose goes first in each turn.

One side eliminates the other

Montrose: Wait and see.
Govt.: Dragoons advance towards Balkankle House. Rest of column advances.
Montrose: Decides to attack. Mixed clans move forward. Horse moves forward to support them. Artillery fires on Govt. Dragoons and scores 4 hits, ammo check OK.
Govt.: Dragoons withdraw. Lothian's Regt. crosses and forms up out of artillery range. Dalhousie's Horse crosses to support Lothian's. Rest of column advances, whole force now on table.
Montrose: Clans move to attack. Horse moves forward to maintain LoS for artillery. Strathbogie Regiment moves forward. Artillery advances but can't fire.
Govt.: Tullibardine's crosses and forms up behind Lothian's. Dalhousie's moves forward into pistol range. Rest of column advances. Dragoons fire on Mixed Clans, 3 hits ammo check OK. Lothian's fires on Mixed Clans, 6 hits, ammo check OK. Dalhousie's fires on cavalry, 1 hit, ammo check OK.
Montrose: Strathbogie Regt. advances. Irish advance out of Balkankle Mains. Mixed Clans attack Lothian's, 8 hits. MacDonalds attack Dragoons, 6 hits. Artillery fires on Dalhousie's, misses and runs out of ammo (signified by the broken arrow).
Govt.: Tulliebarden's moves to form on Lothian's left. Artillery crosses and emplaces south of road. Argyll's crosses and moves to fire on MacDonalds flank. Campbell of Lawers' Horse advances onto bridge. Dragoons fire on MacDonalds, 3 hits, ammo OK. Lothian's fires on Mixed Clans, 1 hit, ammo OK. Argyll's fires on MacDonalds, 6 hits, runs out of ammo. Dalhousie's fires on Cavalry, 5 hits, ammo OK.
Montrose: Right artillery unit withdraws. Strathbogie advances.  Irish advance. Left artillery unit advances but no LoS. Cavalry attacks Dalhousie's, 3 hits. MacDonalds continue attack on Dragoons, 4 hits. Mixed Clans continue attack on Lothian's, 7 hits.
Govt.: Log jam on bridge. Dragoons fire on MacDonalds, 2 hits, out of ammo. Argyll's charges into flank of MacDonalds', a draw. Lothian's fires on Mixed Clans, 3hits, ammo OK. Dalhousie's fires on Cavalry, 6 hits, ammo OK.
Montrose: Strathbogie advances. Cavalry continues attack on Dalhousie, 2 hits. MacDonalds continue attack on Dragoons, 6 hits, Dragoons eliminated. Mixed Clans continue attack on Lothian's, 4 hits, Lothian's eliminated.
Govt.: Argyll's moves to face the Mixed Clans. Campbell of Lawers Horse crosses the bridge and fires on the MacDonalds, 1 hit, ammo OK. Tullibardine's fires on Mixed Clans' flank, 4 hits, ammo OK. Dalhousie's fires on Cavalry, 5 hits, ammo OK. Argyll's continues attck on Mixed Clans, 1 hit, Mixed Clans eliminated.
Montrose: MacDonalds turn and attack Argyll's flank, 4 hits. Strathbogie fires on Argyll's, 1 hit, ammo OK. Cavalry continues attack on Dalhousie's, 1 hit.
Govt.: Argyll's advances. Campbell of Lawers' moves to fire on MacDonalds, 2 hits, ammo OK. Dalhousie's continues attack on Cavalry, 2 hits, Cavalry eliminated.
Montrose: Irish advance. Strathbogie fires on Argyll's, 2 hits, ammo OK
Irish fire on Dalhousie's, 3 hits, ammo OK. MacDonalds charge Campbell of Lawers', 3 hits.
Govt.: Dalhousie's fires on Irish, 5 hits, ammo OK. Campbell of Lawers' fires on MacDonalds, 6 hits, ammo OK, MacDonalds eliminated. Argyll's charges Strathbogie, 1 hit.
Montrose: Artillery fires on Campbell of Lawers', 3 hits, ammo OK. Strathbogie fires on Argyll's, 5 hits, ammo OK. Irish fire onDalhousue's, 5 hits, out of ammo.
Govt.: Campbell of Lawers' moves into pistol range and fires at artillery, 4 hits, ammo OK. Dalhousie's fires on Irish, 3 hits, ammo OK. Argyll's continues combat with Strathbogie, 3 hits.
Montrose: Irish charge Dalhousie's, 5 hits, Dalhousie's eliminated. Artillery fires on Campbell of Lawers', 4 hits, ammo OK. Strathbogie fires on Argyll's, 6 hits, ammo OK.
Govt.: Campbell of Lawers' fires on artillery, 3 hits, ammo OK. Tullibardine's fires on Irish, 4 hits, ammo OK. Argyll continues combat with Strathbogie, 2 hits.

OK, I'll draw stumps there, it was a training exercise after all.

Who won? Hard to say, using numbers each side started with 7 units, each having 18 points, so 126 hit points in total.  Montrose had three units eliminated and those that remained had suffered a total of 21 hits, so a total of 75.  The Government total was 81. So a minor tactical victory if a somewhat Pyrrhic one for Montrose.

As a solo game overall OK, the rules themselves worked fine and didn't get in the way of play.  The coloured dice made assessment of how things were going easy, not that anything could be done about it!  Actual game time was probably 40 minutes, hard to tell with all the scribing and such.  The hex terrain made no tangible difference as I'm not a stickler for millimeter precision in movement or range. Front, middle or back of hex makes no odds to me if troops are moving into it or firing into it, it's the hex that's the target.

Command in the game; I think Montrose took the only option open, early attack, that way he could take on the Govt. forces piecemeal.  Colonel MacSporran was led by events, the Dragoons were withdrawn into a box and got trapped.  The artillery should have been left on the other side of the river, it would still have a clear field of fire and have eased congestion at the bridgehead.

My scenario was not particularly well thought out.  Capturing and holding for a time Balkankle House and/or Mains of Balkankle for the Govt. may have been better, with Montrose preventing this for a given number of turns.

What would I change in my house rules?
  1. A better laid out quick reference sheet, I kept forgetting combat modifiers,.
  2. Ammunition supply, it came as a shock when Argyll's foot fired one volley and immediately ran out of ammo! Some method or replenishment maybe? Zvezda Art of Tactic Samurai uses a pack animal to replenish archers in the field, an adaptation of this using pack animals and caissons - need to think about that.
  3. Combat to a conclusion; I think I'd prefer to use the DBx recoil system (units of course retaining hits against) with leaders being able to rally units.  This would likely lengthen the game duration if the turns weren't limited.
  4. Use of the horse. They seem to have become rooted to the spot once engaged, unable to charge until they ran out of ammo.  A problem with the type, caracoling pistoliers.  Need to think about this one as historical factors come into play, i.e. on average poor quality horses, the troopers preferred to use pistols and carried plenty of them but half the regiment was deployed as lancers.  Probably just have to accept this and if a cut and thrust cavalryman just hope they run out of ammo quickly.  Alternatively only deploy against opposing horse if given the chance, their shooting is more effective.

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