Sunday, April 21, 2013

Something Like Hanover 1757-1758: A Simple Set of Campaign Conventions for Black Powder

Black Powder Campaign System for the Hanover Campaign,  July 1757 – July 1758
The French have crossed the Rhine! This Campaign game roughly simulates the actions of July 1757 – July 1758.  It picks up with the French army under Louis Charles César Le Tellier, duc d'Estrées has consolidates his crossing of the Rhine and advanced into Electorate of Hanover and neighboring German states.   The action picks up with the French having crossed the Rhine and launching their summer offensive to capture Hanover.  This is is followed by a possible pause during the Duke of Cumberland’s virtual capitulation (the Convention of Klosterzeven).  Either way, campaigning picks back up in the winter of 1757-58 as Ferdinand of Brunswick takes command to push the French back across the Rhine and ends with early British intervention on the Continent.

The Campaign Game
Campaign lasts 13 potential Orders Turns from July 1757 – July 1758.  Use the Campaign Map to Move Army’s, Wings, detachments, Columns etc. by Grid.  Elements are determined by Black Powder points system and should attempt to loosely adhere to 1757 French and Allied Orders of Battle.  Objective is to end the Campaign with more Town/City points than opponent while preserving your Army.

Turns            Commanders and Events                     Reinforcements                    CIC Rating
July 1757      d'Estrées (8), Cumberland (7) None                                               Fr 8 Allied 7
Aug 1757      Duc de Richelieu (7) arrives                D3 x 100 French                  Fr 7 Allied 7
Sep 1757      Potential Convention of Klosterzeven - Hanover Falls in Aug      Fr 7 Allied 7
Oct 1757       Potential Convention of Klosterzeven - Hanover Falls in Sep      Fr 7 Allied 7
Nov 1757      Ferdinand of Brunswick (9) arrives                                                 Fr 7 Allied 9   
Dec-Jan 1758 Winter Campaigning Rules Apply        D3 x 100 Allied                Fr 7 Allied 9
Feb 1758      Count de Clermont (8) arrives D3 x 100 Allied/French                     Fr 8 Allied 9
Mar 1758                                                                                                             Fr 8 Allied 9
Apr 1758                                                                                                             Fr 8 Allied 9
May 1758                                                                                                            Fr 8 Allied 9
Jun 1758          British Regulars Arrive                        D3 x 100 Allied               Fr 8 Allied 9
July 1758                                                                                                             Fr 8 Allied 9   

Total French Army points through campaign, Min/Max = 2200/2600
Total Allied Army points through campaign, Min/Max = 2100/2700

Army Organization and initial deployments

Starting Army Campaign Points
French Army 2000                                                      Allied Army of Observation 1800
Town/City Point Ownership (see Map)
French Army 90                                                          Allied Army of Observation 100

Army Orders of Battle
Troop points are converted into Black Powder Armies.  Standard points recommendations apply - players are encouraged to keep to 18th C weapon and troop characteristics.   

Smaller combined Elements are >200 <500 points each and may either be “Flying Columns” or “Detachments/Wings” or "Standard Columns".  Movement for these elements is 5 Grids per turn if a Flying Column (all Cavalry), 4 Grids per turn for Detachments/Wings of  mixed "light" forces and 3 Grids per turn for standard columns with heavier guns and a preponderance of infantry.  Light guns are considered (3-4 Pdrs).   Any of thees independent Elements may have a CIC/Brigade Commanders with any command rating up to 8.     

Main Force elements are >501 <1000 points each, move 3 Grids and are restricted to their historical Command Rating as shown for the Armies above.  Siege Artillery can be purchased as if 24 Pdr,  but designate as Siege Guns – these  restrict an Element’s movement to 1 Grid per Turn.  Regarding terrain, Subtract 1 for crossing Rivers (Blue Lines) or crossing a full Grid of Hills/Woods (lighter Green areas on map).    

Winter movement and combat (December, January) reduce Elements’ Movement by 1 (additional) and has a 1/3 chance (D6 1-3) of being caught in storms/blizzards with  D3 x 25 Points Attrition for those Elements involved (dice per element to determine if caught in a Blizzard).
After determining Army composition by Element, deploy and record forces on the map in the starting area locations (Allied Red and French Blue Zones).  Initial placement within those Zones may be recorded and kept secret unless contact is made, but any movement or fortification by Elements inside or outside the Zones must be announced as Orders per the below.    

Campaign Turn Orders
Orders should generally specify who, what, when, where and why.  Examples: 
“July1757, De Roisy’s Flying Column (600 Points) will make haste to Herford  via Gutersloh and Bienfield in an attempt to seize Bienfeld by Coup de Main if lightly defended. Should De Roisy meet resistance beyond his means (a third more points than his Column) he is to fall back and set up a hasty defense.”
“August 1757, Von Spork (700 Points) will move to Warburg  via Detmold to Garrison the town, immediately begin fortification and defend until relieved”
“November1757, duc d'Estrées Main Force (1000 Points) will advance on Minden  and immediately attack and enemy he encounters in the hopes of seizing Minden."
“April 1758, Krauthammer’s Light Corps (200 Points) will delay back to Berkhof  and attempt to ambush any force proceeding along the main road, without becoming decisively engaged."
Capturing Towns and Cities
An Element must simply pass through an unoccupied Town to capture it and gain the victory points.  As stated below, unoccupied Friendly Cities (Larger Towns on Map) have a nominal garrison of 100 Points, for Skirmish and Siege purposes – if no other enemy is present, these must be defeated through Storm or Siege to capture the City.
Contact and Battle
Battles and Skirmishes potentially occur when enemy elements are in the same Grid.  Common-sense is applied when comparing orders to determine if 1. There is action  2. On what type of Terrain it occurs and under what tactical circumstances. 

Disengaging -  Pre -Battle/Skirmish
In many instances a Force may be given orders to avoid engagement with larger elements or face a force greater than double its size.  In these cases, The Disengaging force must roll D6 = 4+ to disengage/withdraw when.

More Light troops/Cav that Pursuer +1
Disengaging Element is over 50% Light Troops/Cav +1
Disengaging Element is less than/equal to 50% size of Pursuer +1
Disengaging Element has 24 Pdr. Or Siege Artillery -1, If Pursuer has +1
Less Light troops/Cav that Pursuer -1
Pursuer is over 50% Light Troops/Cav -1

If Element successfully disengages/withdrawals - it must retreat to friendly/neutral Grid not occupied by enemy Element.  Pending the conclusion of enemy Campaign movement, multiple withdraw attempts may be required in a Turn.  Failure to successfully withdraw/disengage means either a Battle or Skirmish commences.

Tabletop Battles are fought when both sides agree the forces engaged and potential outcome are worth a Tabletop fight.  Battlefield terrain will either be agreed upon or be rolled randomly from (i.e. Age of Reason Campaign rules) within the following Map categories:  Rural/Agricultural, Town, City/Fort, Low Hills/Forest, and River Crossing.   For deployment purposes – the side entering a Grid first with halt/defend orders may choose their side of the battlefield .  Otherwise if simultaneous entry/meeting engagement – the side with more Cav/Light troops will choose side for deployment.   If unclear – dice for it.
If multiple forces enter the Same Grid, look to Orders, timing and direction. All elements are assumed to move to the sound of the Guns!  There may be opportunities for elements to combine (simultaneous entry) in a Battle – coming from one or Multiple (flanking) directions, and/or for successive Battles (sequential) entry with the same forces in one Campaign turn.  In no case can a combined force have more than 1200 Points of forces in any one Battle, though any amount of points may enter a Grid and battle sequentially.
Three or more elements arriving simultaneously (all enter at same Campaign grid move) in a Grid enter the battlefield from the direction of Campaign travel with D6 turns between them.  So if three units enter a grid, two Blue, one Red - all roll D6.  Low D6 is the base (Turn 1) 2nd and 3rd highest come in their appropriate pips turns after the first.   So Say it is Red from the North rolls 2, Blue South rolls 4 and Red West rolls 6 -  Red comes in Turn 1 from the North, Blue from the South Turn 3 (4-2=2, 1+2=3) and Red West Turn 5 (6-2=4, 1+4=5).
If an element enters one Campaign Grid move (not Campaign Turn) after the others - that Force rolls a D6 and adds the result to the last element's turn of entry.  So in the instance above if Red West was moving 3 Grids and the others only 2 - Red West would come in 6 turns after Blue South - or turn 9 (likely after the action has ended).  If elements enter more than 1 Campaign Grid move apart - they must fight sequential battles.
Disengaging during Battle
In some instances, a Commander may desire to disengage from a Tabletop Battle.  If this is the case, the Disengaging Commander may roll a D6 beginning on turn Five of the battle as follows:  Turn 5 a 6 is required, Turn 6 a 5+, Turn 7 a 4+ etc.   Use applicable modifiers per Pre-Battle/Skirmish Disengagement above.
Skirmishes are lesser off-table actions adjudicated through a few die rolls.  Skirmishes should generally only be fought if the total force points in action are less than 800 points – and at the discretion of both players.  Larger actions should be fought on Tabletop if practicable.  When fighting Skirmishes, simply compare the point values and roll a D6 for attrition/victory.  If one side has an obvious advantage in number, terrain, defenses and/or position – add one or two to their die roll.  Simultaneously resolve and apply Casualties and 

Attrition as follows:
Potential Enemy Casualties Inflicted = ((D3 + Advantage) x Troop Points) / 50

Defending River                                  +1
Defending City (non Siege)                 +2
Outflanked (multiple Elements)           +2
After Potential Casualties are determined, apply Battle Attrition rules (winner/loser) to determine final Point loss. In all cases, unless one side is destroyed, the losing side (based on Point casualties) must withdraw to a friendly Grid. Tie results require a roll-off.
 Cities are automatically fortified, and as previously stated, have a nominal garrison of 100 Points, they may either be captured by Storm or Besieged.  Towns must be Fortified (minimum one Campaign Turn) to merit additional defenses or a Siege. Siege only occurs if the Defender has orders to garrison/defend the City/Town and the Attacker chooses Siege over Storm.   

 Sieges are fought as Skirmishes for each turn of the Siege, except the Attackers Casualty roll gets no Advantage (+1 if he has specific Siege Artillery) and the Defenders Casualty roll only gets a +1 Advantage.  There is now winner unless one side is eliminated.  Only the Attacker may withdraw in a Siege.  Otherwise, Sieges last until the Defenders are destroyed, or the Siege is raised by a relief column.
Battle Attrition
Tabletop Battle Attrition is based on the point value of units the break/flee/are destroyed in the battle.  Simply add the point value of all units and commanders lost then modify per the below:
Army Wins and gains field:  Campaign Army Points lost = Battle/Skirmish Points lost are divided by 2+D6.
Army is defeated and is driven from the Field:  Campaign Army Points lost = Battle/Skirmish Points lost are divided by D3.
In all cases where a unit is captured or obviously utterly destroyed, count all of its Points as lost.
Attrition is then applied to the Element (Garrison, Column, Wing, Main Force etc.) that was in the action and the losing player must fall back to a friendly or neutral grid (except where no friendly or neutral Grids are available and the entire Element surrenders, or in the case of Siege where there is no withdrawal).  If losses create Min/max point issues for an Element, the owning player must move/combine Elements to correct issues in the following Campaign Turn.
French supply must trace to Groningen or Coesfeld. Allied supply must trace to Bremerhaven or Bergen.   Elements extend a one Grid Zone of Control outside their own grid for purposes of interrupting supply (but not blocking withdrawal options per the above).  Elements clearly out of supply loose points based on the follwing:  # Turns Out of Supply x D3 x .05 of Element Strength. Adjudicate supply loss at the end of the Monthly Turn.
Optional Black Powder Rules Modifications
For Tabletop Battles, use the following Black Powder  Rules Modifications:
1.       All ranges and distances are 2/3 of those in the Black powder book  i.e. 12’ becomes 8”

To Clarify Artillery Ranges:

3 Pdr - 4 Pdr = up to 16” (24” in book)
6-8 Pdr = up to 23” (36” in book)
12 Pdr = up to 32” (48” in book)
24 Pdr = up to 40” (48+ in book)

2.  To simulate the 18th C. tendency to defer to battlefield formalities and gentlemanly good manners (and also ensure no dynamic and unrealistic ability for a player to  move multiple bounds and fire without response) - whenever a unit moves and halts within musketry range of an enemy, (in our case 8”) that unit offers first fire to the enemy before firing itself.  However, as in Traversing Fire (p. 52 of the Rule Book) the stationary firer forgoes an opportunity for future Closing Fire and his subsequent Phased fire with that particular unit in that turn.  In either case either or both units may desire to hold fire - for a variety of reasons.
Bon chance und viel Glück  mon ami!


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