OHW Scenario One – 1643

I mentioned in the last post that I will detail the armies and the various house rules used with OHW rules in future posts but I do need to mention that I made some significant changes in the Pike and Shot categories. These changes were done to reflect the time and place for the battles that I will do (and certain personal presences). I still thing I have keep the spirt of the OHW design.

1. Reiter. This category becomes Artillery (Ordinance or Guns). The original rules correctly assume that artillery was not particularly effective in battles in the field nor was it very mobile. This said it had an inordinate morale effect on troops being fired upon AND I just plain want to use it. I have reduced its mobility to half that of infantry and as soon as it fires it can no longer move. The Reiter function has been added to some of the cavalry. Reiters were in more common use somewhat earlier AND were usually at least three-quarter armored making them  near obsolete in this time and place.

2. Cavalry (Horse). This category is split equally into Trotters (which must expend all their ammo before charging) and Gallopers that cannot shoot but can immediately attack.

3. Infantry (Foot) This category remains unchanged and represents units of combined pike and muskets.

4. Swordsmen. This category is heavily reworked. The rules as written seem specifically geared to mid 16th and early 17th century warfare where Swordsmen (sword and buckler, halberdiers, Doppelhander, etc) where more often employed. I have added Dragoons for the English and Highlanders for the Scots. The former is much more like the Skirmisher catagory found in a later period, while the latter represent a close approximation of the Swordsmen category. The Dragoons, although mounted, almost always fought on foot in this period and they are so portrayed here.

Notes on my One Hour Wargame modifications can b found in the page index or here.

This is a replay of the same same scenario (S1) as the previous (1809) post and uses the same unit catagory mix. The north/south directions are, however, reversed (the English are placed to the south). As the board is perfectly symmetrical it hardly matters which end is used, only that the English deploy first and move first. Although a solo game, I will play the English side.

So, on with the game:


The Scots-Irish Coalition force (recognizable by the large number of blue bonnets) are at the bottom of the picture (north edge) and have two guns, one galloper and three foot units. The English have two units of horse (one trotter and one galloper), one dragoon and three foot units.


The English advanced all of the horse toward the weak Coalition right flank and sent the dragoons rapidly forward to protect the main body of foot. The Scots galloper immediately charged the English trotters (catching them before the could effectively use their pistols). The Coalition guns opened fire on the dragoons.


The English gallopers bypassed the horse melee’ and moved rapidly to flank the enemy guns on the hilltop which were starting to receive return fire from the approaching English dragoons. The entire English foot brigade began its advance.


The Coalition gunners pivoted one gun to bring the English gallopers under fire while the other continued to fire at the dragoons. The Coalition foot also began to advance with the Irish foot getting off a volley at the approaching English foot


As the horse melee’ continued on the English left , their gallopers charged into the the right most gun battery. The Dragoons  continued to push up the slope toward the other gun battery, while the entire English foot brigade began firing on the Coalition foot.


The situation began to change rapidly. The Scots gallopers saw off the English trotters (exposing both the English left flank and rear). Fire from the unengaged gun battery drove back the dragoons, while the Irish musketry accomplished the same against the English Green Regiment.


Seeing the danger, The Blue Regiment wheeled and attacked the the Scots gallopers as they regrouped, catching them in the flank. The dragoons charged into the unengaged Coalition gun battery as the melee’ continued to their left. The Green Regiment joined with the White Regiment to stabilize the English right.


The Scots reserve foot regiment wheeled and prepared to fire volleys at the English should they take the hilltop. The rest of the brigade came to push of pike with the English foot. Hand-to-hand fighting was now general across the battle front.


Although the Blue Regiment managed to destroy the Scots gallopers, the rest of the English foot was eliminated in the push of pike.  The English gallopers finally took the Scottish gun battery but the second battery, after seeing off the dragoons, pivoted to fire at them. The battlelines were then stabilized on a new, east/west axis.


In desperation the Blue Regiment charges the Irish foot (foreground) while the horse, under heavy fire from the Scots reserves, begins to withdraw (background)


The Blue Regiment managed to defeat the greatly weakened Irish while their horse, swinging wide to avoid additional fire from the Scots, moved thier support. In the final melee with the Irish an English musketeer, wildly swing with his musket butt, unseated the Coalition Captain General from his horse, killing him in the fall.


The Scots reserve, having a seemingly endless supply of ammunition, pivoted and fired at the last of the English. Fearing an attack by the Blue Regiment, the heavily damaged Scots regiment withdraws north to form line with their reserve.


The musketry of Scots reserve was leathal and destroyed the stalwart Blue Regiment, a lucky shot also dispatched the English Lieutenant General. The Scots had achieved a hard fought victory. As The remnant of the English horse rapidly departs the field, the Major General now commanding saluted the Scottish victors with a gesture. History does not record the exact nature of the gesture, however.

While the Napoleonic game was over very quickly the ECW took about an hour and fifteen minutes to complete. This time, however, also included referencing the rules (and home modifications) and shooting the pictures.

The game played out over ten full turns in game time (recall that the Napoleonic game only went five). In his play through and analysis  Norm Smith indicates that some of the OHW scenarios may be over generous in the number of turns allowed. Based on playing this scenario twice I tend to agree. As a solo player I usually don’t continue to play out a game if it becomes obvious that NOTHING will change the outcome. It was clear in the Napoleonic game that the issue was decided by turn five with no chance of the British altering their fate. This was not the case in this ECW play through. While the odds of the English wining were diminished with each passing turn, it was still possible.

As with the Napoleonic game, I had a great deal of fun playing. Even with my modifications, OHW delivers a great deal of quick action and sufficient tactical decisions to hold one’s attention. Will it satisfy the player that wants granularity in detail? No it won’t. It plays like a boardgame (which is not a bad thing) and while much is “unrealistic” it more than satisfies the urge to simply play.

The thirty scenarios supplied along with the random generation of your forces means a near endless supply of varied games. To add even more interest I have nearly completed a campaign structure for Napoleonics and will do the same for ECW. This will mean that game outcomes will choose the next scenario to play AND some units MAY be affected by the outcome of the previous battle.

I plan now to do one more test game in the ECW period using my 10mm figures. Since most of the Scots Covenanter and Irish Confederation armies are currently tied up on my large table to re-fight the Battle of Benburb, I probably will use elements of my New Model Army and Ormonde’s Anglo/ Irish army. I randomly selected Scenario 26 which has lots of terrain features and unequal armies. I will use the “English” force structure for both sides.