Thursday, June 17, 2010

Raid on the Hetzenberg Flotilla: Prelude

The day has finally arrived to play out the proxy skirmish for the Hetzenberg Chronicles! It took a bit of gearing up to get the forces and ships together to play out the scenario but the experience was a great way to open up a new aspect (namely the "floating" part) to 18th century gaming here at the Lead Gardens. I'm going to break the battle down in to four parts and post the AAR for each part separately. But first I'd like to present the "players" in the scenario....

First the situation:
 The battle was fought on an 8x5 table with the River Adse running down the length of the table. The focus of the scenario is a raid by a company of jagers on the Hetzenberg flotilla dockyard with the mission of destroying the gunboats and making off in one of them to safety.

Here is the complete scenario provided by AJ:
The Raid scenario.

The Home Team:
The Hetzenberg riverine flotilla dockyard currently houses three gunboats at the wharf. A new gunboat (4) sits on the slipway, close to completion. Her weapons have not yet been installed.

Apart from those on harbor watch aboard the vessels the crews live in naval barracks (A) to one end of the dockyard. They number the equivalent of a company strong and are veterans, led by capable veteran officers and NCOs. However, in harbor they are only equipped with side-arms. The central magazine (B) has enough weaponry to equip the men but it will take time to distribute the arms. The gunboats themselves (1-3) have both weapons and ammunition aboard, but each requires a crew to sail the vessel into a position on the river from which they can fire the main guns. Each gunboat is armed with one twenty-four pounder cannon in the bows and two six-pounders, one on either side of the quarterdeck.

Security for the whole complex is provided by a platoon of the Lehmangraz Militia. The militia is keen to be associated with such a successful unit as the flotilla, and do their job well. Although trained it is inexperienced in actual combat. Should the complex come under attack the rest of the militia, one company in total, will be alerted and hurry to the scene.

The new Marine Company is currently undergoing training near the village. Until a proper barracks is built they are currently billeted in the grounds of a farm hired for the purpose. They are keen but green, having only just begun training. When the alarm is raised they will turn out and hurry to the dockyard at best speed.

The Away Team:
The Sobelburg Jager is rated veteran light infantry. This raiding force is one company strong and charged with the mission to burn, sink or otherwise destroy the riverine flotilla. One gunboat should be captured to effect an escape downriver to safety. They are operating several miles inside enemy territory, with a sizable enemy army between them and safety. Should the jager fail to capture a boat their chances of survival are slim.

The Terrain:
This is composed largely of level fields with hedgerows trending from the south down a gentle gradient north to the river. More open water meadows lie either side of the dockyard. To west lies the edge of the village of Lehmangraz; to the south-west the farm housing the Marines. The River Ads is broad, deep, and impassible to all troops. Its confluence with the Eisenwasser is ten miles to the east.

Key: A: Barracks  B: Main magazine  C: Main storehouse and sail loft  D: Chandlers store  E: Tool shed & coalhouse  F: Sentry boxes (2)

Here's how I composed the forces using my figures:

The Forces:

Hetzenberg Naval Flotilla Crews
-  20 figures --(4) 5 man crews, 4 sailors and 1 NCO per gunboat) plus Commander Horatio Hornegeblase who commands the flotilla.

Hetzenberg Marines- Lieutenant Horst
Commander of the Marines, 1 NCO,  2 drummers, 18 privates-(6 men per platoon)

Lehmangraz Militia- Captain Schnoedt, 2 NCO,  24 privates, (6 men per platoon)


Sobelburg Jagers- Lieutenant Weismuller (...reputedly a good swimmer!..),  2 NCO , 27 privates-(operating in 3 platoons of 9)

Here the Hetzenberg flotilla of three gunboats berthed in harbor. Each ship has a crew of 5 figures-- 4 of which are sleeping in the nearby barracks with one man standing watch in each gunboat. (I figured it just wouldn't be right for these fine vessels to sail under foreign colors so I added a pennant with Hetzenburg colors to each).


Here the sentry posts at the main gate manned by 2 Lehmangraz militiamen the rest of their platoon are sleeping in the barracks with the naval crews.

The village of Lehmangraz with the rest of Capt. Schnoedt's militia billeted within.

The Marines under Lieutenant Horst posted in the farm. (their flag was removed for the battle as I figured marines would not have a flag.

The Jagers hiding in the treeline preparing to attack. Lieutenant Weismuller is in the red coat (we'll have to imagine it green...). The village and the Marine Farm is off in the distance.

The Rules:
For this game I worked up a variant of The Sword and the Flame specifically for this scenario. In short, the Jagers shoot best, the Marines a bit better than average, and the militia a bit worse than average. The sailors are rated like militia for shooting but strong in melee given their cutlasses and such. The play is card driven.  Since this is a solo game I'm going to resolve any other unusual situations, like spotting or setting fires and such with a simple D6 roll based on a low, medium, or high chance of success. Nothing complicated, just enough to keep the narrative from being predictable.

The Jagers Plan:
 Knowing he is outnumbered by the defending forces, Lieutenant Weismuller calculates that speed and stealth will give the best chance of success...and of course the high morale and marksmanship of his men!

His plan is to send one jager platoon to set up an ambush along the road from Lehmangraz to the dock compound with orders to block or delay any enemy who might emerge from the village. The second platoon is to deploy in a position for marksmen to eliminate the 2 sentries at the gate and as soon as the alarm is raised to rush the gate, break in to the compound and attack the barracks. The third platoon under Lt. Weismuller will move under cover to the east of the compound and once over the light wooden fence head for the gunboats. with the intention of setting fire to each of the first two boats in turn and boarding the third hopefully making good their escape. The second platoon is to cause as much damage to the crews in the barracks and then head for the escape ship. The first platoon is to withdraw after springing their ambush and hopefully make it to the escape ship as well...but these fellows have been told that theirs is a "forlorn hope" mission and they realize that they may be left ashore if they don't make it in time.

So, the game is afoot!... it's now first light as the Raid begins...


Ross Mac said...

Great job presenting the scenario. (I've been awfully lazy lately when to comes to scenario design)

I eagerly await the first shot.

Martin said...

Fantastic looking set-up and introduction. So...the stage is set. The wine is drawn. Let the game begin!

Fitz-Badger said...

Excellent setup and intro! I love that it's a fairly small scenario, but with lots of character.

The game is afloat!

Steve-the-Wargamer said...

...this would make an excellent scenario for a full size game as well - battalions as platoons etc...!

A J said...

Dave, this is excellent! I love your attention to detail. The gunboat pennants are just right. I'm pleased the scenario is drawing such a good response, too! =)