The first game of the new year here in GHQ saw Phil and I playing out the game postponed, due to illness, from last December, a VBCW scenario set in rural South Staffordshire and postulating a raid by forces of the People's Republic of Wolverhampton on Chillington Hall. Local intelligence acquired from a sympathetic estate worker had Revealed that Lord Rawnsley, the local leader of the pro-Government parties in the struggle, was meeting with the reactionary landowners, the Giffords, to plan for a preemptive strike on the town. Major Mander hastily assembled a raiding force, hoping to catch the enemy unprepared, and perhaps capture Rawnsley and deal a serious blow to the pro-Government cause. As events unfolded it seemed the estate worker's information might have been questioned more thoroughly...
We used Bolt Action 2 to play out the action, with no limit set on the number of turns to ensure a clear result. before the game I diced for the number of units on both sides and then for the Morale class of each unit. By chance both sides ended with 10 units, each side having one Veteran unit and with the Chillington Rifle Company being the sole Green unit. If Major Mander's force captures Rawnsley it is a major victory, but any other outcome is a defeat, ranging from minor to catastrophic! You can see how it panned out now if you like ~
At the end of Turn 1 Mander's raiders had made good progress towards their objective. As yet the defenders were not in a position to fire on the enemy and hopefully a fair draw of dice would see the bulk of the attackers reach the first hedge line, from where the assault on the position would go in!
Did I mention the draw of the dice? Oh dear, the first five out in Turn 2 were all for Phil's defenders and suddenly Mander's raiders found themselves in the open and under heavy fire! The Smith gun was disabled by a lucky shot from the armoured car, while the Hilton Main Miners' Collective were held up by fire from the Express and Star Rifles who had seized Home Farm. (Phil had been much more aggressive in his dispositions and actions than I had banked on, helped by the favourable draw of the dice.) Any assault now was gong to be very bloody.
Turn 3 saw the assault stall thanks again to the dice draw favouring the defenders. The Three Tuns Invincibles are pinned in the open by the fire from the South Staffs and the BUF behind the hedge; the miners exchange fire ineffectively with the defenders of Home Farm; Princess Sudhira's Rifle Company seek cover from the MMG emplaced in the Hall's driveway (I'd missed seeing that!); while the LDV are still halted far from the action, failing two Order Tests!
Turn 4 and Mander's Raiders see no improvement in their position. The fire from the 18lb gun is utterly ineffective, while despite ranging in in Turn 2 on the South Staffords, the mortar causes no problems in Turns 3 and 4. Its clear that a minor miracle is needed now for the fortunes of war to change in the attacker's favour.
The Express and Star Rifles hold Home Farm, meaning the Miners are forced into an ineffectual fire fight to attempt to dislodge them. Despite the nearby officer, the Miners have failed another Order Test and the Rifles hold on.
The Three Tuns Invincibles and Princess Sudhira's Rifles are destroyed by fire from the Armoued car and the MMG. There is no prospect now of a successful outcome for Mander's Raiders...
The local BUF commander can be more than pleased with the outcome. Despite the loss of his men's MMG and taking 50% casualties on the rifle company they have held the right flank securely and assisted the Chillington Horse in repulsing Mander's Horse when they attempted a flanking attack in dismounted order through the Big Wood.
Just time for a snifter to celebrate victory! Lord Rawnsley joins the Giffords on the Upper Lawn for a drink... I threw in the towel after Turn 5 with n prospect of any result but a catastrophic defeat! Clearly the Estate Worker was a double agent, supplying false information on the situation in Chillington Hall! Of course, poor drawing of the dice in Turns 3 and 4 did n't help much, nor did my apalling dice for fire and then conversion to casualties throughout the game. Next up here in GHQ in two weeks' time will be an Indian Mutiny game, as Dan is coming late that week to take photos to accompany my article on gaming the Mutiny for Wargames Illustrated. Meanwhile its back to painting Command Stands for my British battalions in the 1914 game. Kilts!!!!!