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Cancon 7YW Black Powder

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Joined: 18 Jan 2007
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2015 6:58 am    Post subject: Cancon 7YW Black Powder Reply with quote

Over the Cancon long weekend, Geoff Frost, Wal Bristowe, myself and numerous members of the Berwick Wargames group fought a linked series of games concerning the siege of Austrian held Olmitz by the Prussians. Wal commanded the Austrians and I commanded the Prussians.

The first of the three BP games concerned an Austrian attempt to ambush a Prussian supply column in wooded terrain. In the second game, the Austrian field army sought a general field engagement in the plains to break the siege. The final game saw the Austrians trying to overwhelm a strongly held ridgeline so as to reinforce the garrison. Our fourth game was a "Sharpe's Practice" (per 2 Fat Lardies) skirmish representing the Prussian attempt to storm the walls of Olmitz.

Geoff as campaign umpire required Wal and me to allocate before hand where we would concentrate our forces for each of the three BP games. The outcome of the BP games would heavily influence the course of the siege (which Peter Rosetti and the other Berwick lads ran separately). This in turn would affect the ultimate Prussian attempt to storm the breach into Olmitz.

I must say that the three BP games once again showed the enormous strength of Black Powder as a system. It is a quick, smooth flowing and fun recreation of the 7YW period, but works really well for everything between 1700 and 1900. The scope for grand strategic movement reminded me fondly of the best aspects of Empire (Napoleonics) but without the head ache, and rewarded the maintenance of a good reserve and the use of sound basic tactics. Piecemeal attacks are rewarded by the same historical outcome as they generally met with in real history.

Newcomers to the BP rules could pick it up quickly and found it just as amusing as the more experienced campaigners. The 28mm games also looked simply spectacular with Geoff's Austrians and my Prussians (mostly by Dragon Painting from Hong Kong - how I miss the strong $Aus.... sob).

In each of the three BP games I endeavoured to anchor the Prussian lines on the best terrain we could, keeping the cavalry generally in reserve with a small infantry reserve. As the Prussians were strongly outnumbered in most of the games (particularly by the more numerous Austrian infantry), we opted for a more static plan of trying to draw the Austrians in where we were strongest, whilst giving us some flexibility to refuse or fill gaps if the Austrians had any localised successes.

The Austrians were attacking in each of the three games, but generally erred in not co-ordinating their attacks. I felt that in each of the 3 BP games, had a concerted Austrian effort been made along the line, the Prussians could not possibly have held out. But with some unfortunate blundering (i.e. Austrian commanders rolling double 6 on their 2d6 order dice) and some wonderfully historical disobedient Austrian sub-commanders, a uniform Austrian attack never quite developed and we managed to hold out in each of the games. It was only in the ridge battle that we lost a Prussian infantry brigade, but that in turn enabled one of our gun batteries to enfilade the triumphant Austrians and in turn rout them.

Thus, when we came to undertake the Sharpe's Practice siege assault, the Austrian garrison had not been reinforced, nor had the well supplied Prussians had to divert troops from the assault. Nevertheless, the game was still a tight and nail biting exercise. The Austrian batteries took a terrible toll on the assaulting Prussian infantry, badly wounding one of our 4 officers (or 'Great Men' in Sharpe's Practice) which heavily reduced our tactical ability. The dogged Austrian infantry in the outer works also inflicted heavy losses on the Prussian Grenadiers. But eventually we over whelmed the outer works and routed the Austrian gunners supporting the outer works. But as we stormed the breach, a cunningly laid Austrian mine was set off. But to the Prussians' hilarity and the Austrians' dismay, the mine wound up killing more Austrians than Prussians.

But as the Austrians brought up a fresh full strength Grenadier Regiment to stand behind the breach, the Prussian options looked limited if not bleak. However, we had won control of the breach itself which gave us one slight chance to attack the principal Austrian battery in its bastion. And so we sent a reduced and battered company of Prussian Grenadiers up to ascend the battlements and take out one of the flanking Austrian heavy batteries from the rear. This assault worked out a treat. When we then ordered our Prussian Grenadiers to serve the captured guns (which they were historically trained so to do) and to turn them around so as to play upon the Austrian Grenadiers, this finally cracked the Austrian garrison's morale.

The siege game also looked stunning with Mike Parkers beautiful laser cut MDF 28mm scale bastions and figures from Peter Rosetti's huge and magnificent collection.

All in all, we had 4 great games over 2 days with no hassle and plenty of freedom to shop (I groan when I think of the nearly 2 hours it took me to work through the queues for the bring and buy stall, although I did get some nice loot for my patience!).

My 3rd day of Cancon involved a sleep in, a trip to the War Memorial to see the fabulous new WW1 exhibit (Nick Wade and I timed this perfectly for the "G for George", "WW1 Aerial" and "HMAS Sydney/Emden" light and sound shows). Then back to the convention for lunch and to watch all those more than somewhat tired diggers playing their 6th rounds out on the Sunday afternoon. Speaking personally, give me a 2 day demo event any day!


PS Oh, and Black Powder truly rocks, it really does!!!
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von Lucky

Joined: 28 Feb 2008
Posts: 767
Location: Docklands

PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2015 7:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like spectacular amount of fun. Anyone take photos?
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Joined: 18 Jan 2007
Posts: 963

PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2015 12:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, one of the Berwick chaps did and he has promised to send me a CD of them.

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