David Bickley's Wargames Blog

The occasional ramblings of an average gamer, journeyman painter, indifferent modeller, games designer, sometime writer for Wargames Illustrated and host of games in GHQ.

Tuesday 16 January 2018

"Enemy to the Front! Five Rounds, Rapid Fire!"

A stalwart though doomed defence is probably the most honest description of the performance of my BEF force in the second part of our 1914 game (See previous blog entry for the story to date if you missed it). Having left the game after nine turns with the hard pressed Gordon Highlanders holding on grimly on the BEF’s right, shored up by the Borderers, and the South Staffordshires on the left flank nervously watching as the Jaegers, worked their way through the woods on their left anchoring their position, while the Coldstream Guards held the central part of the position dug in amongst the ruins of a country town I was by no means certain how long my battered defenders could hold the line, certainly not the planned 15 turns needed to ensure a win by virtue of holding the position.
As it turned out, my lads performed heroics in the face of sustained German attacks, bravely clinging on all along the front and inflicting considerable damage on their enemy before weight of numbers and mounting losses proved too great a burden and the morale of the BEF crumbled and the retreat continued at the end of Turn 19. The photomontage following will, I hope, tell the unfolding story of yet another incident in the glorious traditions of the (28mm) British Army ~
The much depleted Gordon Highlanders were holding on in
La Ferme Rouge, supported by elements of the Borderers.
Pressure was mounting each turn from the Hun, but steady
fire was preventing the enemy exploiting their advantage.
In the remains of another farm elements of the BEF's
cavalry Brigade were striving to deny this objective to the
Uhlans and their Jaeger support.

On the left, the South Staffords were in danger of having
their flank turned as the Jaegers worker their way through
the woods.
It seems a little early for HQ to be relocating its drinks
Pressure from the Jaegers begins to tell as their galling fire
'Shakes' the South Staffords.

The Gordon Highlanders have finally broken under the
enemy's relentless fire. With two 'Broken' Battalions the
Borderers cannot advance and the farm is open to the Hun!

Despite sustained fire from the Borderers and support from
the RA guns the Hun surge forward to seize the second
Its all up for the BEF and a general retreat is ordered,
covered by the guns of the Royal Artllery.
As the Retreat gets underway the Hun occupy their second

The Jaegers have seized the ruined farm and the town lies
undefended before them...
In all a thoroughly enjoyable encounter over two weeks. Our adjustments and additons to Black Powder seemed to work in giving us the sort of game we wanted, reflecting the nature of Company
based tactics in the period by allowing for Orders to be given at either Battalion/Regiment level or to individual Companies.

A word on the Organisation of a Battalion in our game might help you understand this better. Each Battalion consists of 10 bases: 4 Rifle Companies, each of two bases; a Machine Gun base; and a Command base. The individual Companies may each be Disordered or Shaken, without affecting the others. But in any turn when half the elements or more are either Disordered or Shaken, then the whole Battalion is affected. In the normal way failing a Command Roll brings the Battalion Commander's turn to an end, but Brigade Commanders and the Army Commander may step in as they do in the orignal rules. Each Rifle Company fires with three Fire Dice, as does the Machin Gun base at under 24” { 2 Fire Dice at up to 48"}. The number of figures on the base doesn't matter ~ my BEF have three on most, Phil's Huns have two. Artillery Batteries are represented by one gun and crew, though my BEF have an ammunition limber too. They have individal Commands though are attached to a Brigade for Order purposes, while the Cavalry Brigade is again a seperate entity with its on mini Command structure at Regimental and then Brigade level. I'm not sure where we'll go next in developing these rule adjustments, no doubt Phil has ideas aleady as do I...


  1. Excellent stuff David. I like the ideas you have used to tinker with BP and might do,the same with my Russian Civil War troops once the migration is all done and dusted.

  2. Once again a lovely looking game at GHQ! One of the reasons I enjoy BP so much is versatility as shown here.


    1. You have hit the nail right on the head there Christopher.

  3. Your tinkering always seems to have the right effect. Lovely looking game.

    1. I think we have a feel for tinkering between us.

  4. It was indeed a splendid game and our adjustments worked reasonably well I thought. Well the German tactics certainly worked well although the advance was a tad delayed by the musketry of the BEF as it should.
    A note on the German force, the Jaeger battalion is attached to the cavalry and I really need to get the other machine guns done for them.

  5. Sounds great, beautiful terrain...

  6. A splendid looking game and a jolly good write up too.