Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Culloden - The Wargame

Using the deployment from yesterdays post, we duly set up using my recently acquired 6mm figs.

I must offer my apologies at this point for the lack of 'real' photos of the battle as my aging digital camera choose this occasion to give up the ghost.  It's probably just as well, as hordes of unpainted and partially painted figures would not have looked very inspiring (plus none of them were actually highlanders!).  As a result, graphics are brought to you
 courtesy of the excellent Battle Chronicler program, which you can download for free by following the link.

Turns 1 to 22 - Across the Heather

The battle started rather predictably, with the first couple of turns seeing the Government artillery bombarding the Jacobite line and starting to build up disruption on a couple of regiments, the Jacobites opting to Pass to build up their card hand before moving up the centre of their second line to form a single cohesive force.

The Government second line also closed up to within 2BW of their front line which was followed by a general advance from the Jacobite infantry.

The situation at the end of Turn 6
The small skulls indicate disruption points.

The following turns saw more (ineffective) government bombardment with
Bonnie Prince Charlie riding up to better control the continuing advance of his men before stopping them to Rally in a, mainly unsuccessful, bid to reduce the disruption on his units.

The Duke of Cumberland began moving
 two of his Regiments of Dragoons into a flanking position before himself moving forward to join his main body of infantry.  After their brief rest and, free from harassing artillery fire, the Jacobite infantry surged forward once more in stirring fashion.  Their commander cleverly played the Find The Way card to prevent any of his units taking Disruption for moving into the boggy ground this turn.  The Athollmen swung left to line the walls of the Leanach Enclosures, covering the flank against the Government cavalry.
The end of Turn 12 saw the battlefield looking like this:

The Situation at the end of Turn 12

Note the two Jacobite infantry regiments still sitting forlornly in their starting positions at the rear, due to being just outside of range to form part of the main force, and the two cavalry units that the Jacobite commander, not without justification, deigned unworthy of wasting an Action on.  Depriving 
the Young Pretender of a quarter of his army, these four regiments (along with the pitiful Jacobite artillery) sat in place for the remainder of the battle, mere observers of the carnage to come.

With the lead highlanders now within musket range, Barrell's Foot unleashed a devastating volley against the already disrupted Camerons, breaking the unit in a single Volley Phase and leaving nothing but the dead, dying and fleeing.   To rub salt into the wound, the Jacobites also suffered the maximum loss in Army Morale - 3 points.   Presumably the stress was beginning to get to the Government gunners as their bombardment continued to be ineffective.  In return, the fire from the Atholl men inflicted some disruption on Cobham's Dragoons.  Obviously shocked by the destruction of the Clan Cameron, the Jacobite general once more stopped his men in an, unsuccessful, attempt to  Rally aimed at preventing them suffering the same fate.

In the following turn, the Government artillery yet again failed to inflict any losses with their bombardment while the Atholl men brought further accurate fire to bear against Cobham's horse, inflicting 2 more Disruption Points.  For his turn, the Jacobite commander played an Event card - Confusion! - to draw Campbell's Regiment out of line into an extremely vulnerable position within charge range of 4 units of highlanders.

The next Volley phase saw Campbell's men firing at their massed opponents but, even with re-rolls to disrupt for the Lethal Volleys advantage, they only managed to inflict a single point of disruption.   They did however come off lightly from the return fire, as they suffered only a single disruption themselves.  The men of Atholl continued to punish Cobham's regiment, bringing it to the brink of breaking.

Cumberland now had to make a decision to save either Campbell's infantry or Cobham's cavalry, both of which were in imminent danger of being destroyed in the Jacobite turn.  Wisely abandoning the horse to their fate, he started to pull Campbell back into the main line while swinging Wolfe's regiment in at the end of the line to provide enfilading fire on the highlanders.
Probably due to the gathering smoke and confusion, neither side inflicted any loss over the next turn and, once more, the Jacobites failed to remove any disruption from Rallying.

The Jacobites had the best of the next Volley Phase, the Atholl men finally breaking Cobham's Dragoons and sheltering behind the wall to prevent any damage from Wolfe's regiment.  The Government lost 2 Army Morale, with the Jacobites regaining 1 for destroying the regiment.

With Cumberland quite happy to keep the Jacobites at arms length for the moment, his continued artillery bombardment was beginning to have an effect on the Jacobites, adding disruption points while they still failed to recover any through Rallying in their next Action.  The Atholl men had by now turned their fire onto the second regiment of horse, Kerr's, but were beginning to suffer themselves as a result of Wolfe's fire.

During the next Government turn, volley fire and increasingly effective bombardment began to have a noticeable effect on the Jacobite line, with more and more disruption points being acquired.  Having spent several turns in a state of inertia, mounting casualties now appeared to have galled Prince Charlie into action and, with a blood curdling yell, the line (with the exception of the already battered regiments who were stuck in the bog) launched itself forward to come within charge range ... and into range of the Government muskets!

The Situation at the end of Turn 22

Turns 23 to 36  - Bloody Butchery!

In order to avoid his attack being disrupted before it made contact, the Jacobite general played the Firefight card and prevented a Volley Phase happening in the Government turn.  Not to be outdone, Cumberland countered by playing the infamous That's Not on the Map! card, revealing a treacherous patch of bog directly in front the Jacobite's best troops - The Royal Ecossois and Ogilvy's regiment.

Wisely forgoing the Volley Phase on his own turn to minimise casualties, the Jacobite commander orders the Charge, sending five of his Regiments smashing into the Government line.  Both commanders played supporting cards in the Combat Phase to each get +2 to their combat rolls which, combined with National Advantages that gave both armies the option re-roll their combat dice, promised a ferocious melee.

Some truly atrocious die rolling on the part of  Cumberland led to his defeat in all but one of the melees, with Campbell's regiment escaping complete destruction by a single pip.

After each Combat Phase in Maurice, attacking units must fall back a small distance and, although he had destroy some of Cumberland guns and mauled three Government regiments, the Young Pretender's own front line was looking desperately fragile in the face of the impending Government Volley Phase.

The destruction of the artillery led to 1 Army Morale lost for the Government and 1 gained for the Jacobites.  The two armies morale levels were now almost equal but both were still a long way from breaking.

The Aftermath of the Highland Charge on Turn 24 - look at all those Disruption Markers!
In the Government Volley Phase, Prince Charlie plays the First Fire card to snatch the initiative and allow his units to fire before their opponents.  An impressive display of firing (combined, I like to think, with a lot of shouting, taunting and general intimidation from the highlanders), breaks Campbell's foot and inflicts 1 Disruption each on the regiments of Wolfe, Barrell and Munro, bringing them dangerously close to breaking themselves and reducing the effectiveness of their return fire.

Thomas Lobster is, however, made of stern stuff and Cumberland has drilled his men well.  Their robust return volley against the dense Jacobite formations (aided by the Deadly Fire card) shatters the Royal Ecossois and Lady McIntosh's Regiment and leaves clan Frazer severely weakened.

After Army Morale loss is adjudicated, both armies end the Volley Phase level pegging on 12 points.

Emboldened by their success, the Government infantry responds well to the call to Rally with only Munro's regiment still carrying any Disruption Points into the next turn.

Things are now looking desperate for Prince Charlie as his army is heavily disrupted and he is reduced to a single Action Card.  Once more opting to skip the Volley Phase in his turn, he inspires his brave clansmen with a stirring speech and, in spectacular fashion, removes a total of 9 Disruption Points with a Rally action, making a renewed assault a possibility in their next turn.

But bravery alone is not enough in the face of musketry and, his hand still replete with cards, Cumberland plays his second Deadly Fire, with the subsequent volley breaking Ogilvy and Frazer's regiments and punching a huge gap in the Jacobite line.  Using the Passage of the Lines card to interpenetrate with no penalty, he then marches his second line of troops forward with drums beating, going in for the kill!

After rolling for Army Morale loss, the Jacobites are now reduced to 7 points.

By the end of Turn 27, things are looking bleak for the Jacobite cause
Now playing his carefully hoarded cards freely, Cumberland plays First Fire in the Jacobite Volley Phase to break the stout Atholl men and inflict a staggering total of 7 Disruption points on the remaining Jacobites within range.  Once again under severe pressure, the Jacobite regiments somehow manage to do some damage back but Charlie, now some distance from his main infantry Force, is forced to use both cards that he picked up for his Rally Action, leaving him once more with only 1 card.  His men rally well and with a low Army Morale loss roll, the Jacobites are still in the game but have completely lost the initiative.

Charles plays his final card, Firefight, to prevent yet another Government Volley Phase but the writing is now on the wall as, with no cards remaining, he will have no option but to Pass in his next turn.  With the second deck almost exhausted, the Reshuffle card finally comes up and the deck is reshuffled for the final time.  With another good Rally Action, the Government now only has Kerr's Dragoons left with any Disruption Points.

More out of desperation than anything, Charles opts to go for a Volley Phase and his beleaguered men do remarkably well, breaking Bligh's Foot in a single phase.  However, the return fire adds even more Disruption Points to his remaining regiments.  The Army Morale change for the destruction of Bligh is minimal for both sides and Pulteney's Regiment is moved up to plug the gap in the Government lines.

Forced to Pass due to lack of cards, Charles cannot prevent the Government Volley Phase, which results in the destruction of Kilmarnock's regiment.  Now reduced to 4 Army Morale, there surely is no hope left for the Jacobites.

In his own turn, Charles chooses to Rally and restores some stability to his line but suffers some more from volley fire on the Government turn.

Having previously moved to a position of safety from where he could better co-ordinate the battle, Charles now orders his remaining clan regiments forward in a final, valiant charge.    Leaping through the boggy ground, the men of six clans thunder into Price's Regiment, promptly breaking them and bringing the Army Morale levels closer together again (Government 8, Jacobite 6).

Turn 34 - The Final Highland Fling!
However, as they fall back, the brave clansmen are raked by fire from the Government troops and three units break, leaving the Jacobites with only 2 Army Morale and no cards!

At this point, Charles Edward Stuart finally accepted the inevitability of defeat and conceded the battle, leaving an ebullient Duke of Cumberland to savour a great victory and a fine porter.

Thus ends our reconstruction of Culloden, a truly enjoyable and tense game, which played out in a dramatic and similar way to the actual battle.

As this has been a very long post, I'll leave my conclusions on the game until tomorrow but hopefully you've enjoyed it so far!

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