Thursday, June 15, 2017

Morschauser Modern and Battle of Hook's Farm

As mentioned here, I had decided to try my hand at the esteemed Battle of Hook's Farm, set in WW2 rather than the more traditional Horse & Musket period, owing largely to an abundance in my collection of the former, and a dearth of the latter.

Before I get to the game proper, it seems wise to at least mention some of my pre-game decisions.

A map of the battle field from Little Wars:
First, how to convert Wells's tidy "a compact little force of 3 guns, 48 infantry, and 25 horse" to the period?

I opted for the following: treat this as a 1:1 type game and thus 48 infantry is roughly 5 infantry squads/sections in WW2. However, given the very close to 2:1 ratio of infantry to horse, I decided on 6 infantry squads/sections as 1 under-strength company if you will.

Why as 1 under-strength company?

To justify the use of armor in place of 'horse'. Of course, one cannot justify 25 tanks on the battle field, no matter how much fun that would be, when fielding only 48 infantry. A company could well be supported by a limited amount of armor however.

Following the same line of thought for infantry,  I decided 10 horse is roughly 1 vehicle, or 2.5 vehicles total. Rounding up, thanks to the 2:1 infantry to horse ratio, I get 2 sections : 1 vehicle.

Why 'vehicle' and not 'tank'?

While in the original, Hook's Farm is, despite the reports by the blue army commander, a battle between two exactly equal forces, I thought variety, being the spice of life, after all, was a better option. And given the make up of my toy soldier WW2 forces of 3 tanks, 1 jeep/kublewagen, and 1 APC for the US, and 4 for the Germans, some randomization could be entertained.

For the US: Roll 1d6, 1-4: tank, 5: jeep, 6: APC
For the Germans: Roll 1d6: 1-3 tank, 4: kublewagen, 5-6: APC

In the event, each side ended up with 3 tanks

As for 3 guns, I opted to stick with the number but again, randomize the exact conversion of the word 'gun'.

Roll 1d6: 1-3 ATG/Field Howitzer, 4-5: Mortar 6: HMG

The US ended up with 2 ATGs/Field Howitzers and a mortar. While the Germans acquired 1 ATG, 1 mortar, and 1 HMG.

So, to summarize the OOB:
6 infantry squads/sections
3 tanks
2 ATGs/Field Howitzers
1 Mortar

6 infantry squads/sections
3 tanks
1 Mortar

I had some issues translating the map in Little Wars to my table. I had originally planned to play on the floor, which would have allowed some more maneuvering but the presence of company in the living room prevented me from taking it over. As such, 'the country', was a bit cramped.

There were some modifications to be made to the rules: 6" for infantry, 9"for tanks, taken from Neil Thomas's One Hour Wargames WW2 rules, the 12" sighting rule from the same, and the weapon ranges also borrowed from those rules.

Morschauser's 'roster' option was employed with 4 points per infantry unit, and 2 points for everyone else.

Other situations were dealt with on the fly -occupying buildings is something Little Wars forbids and Morschauser doesn't really seem to address, so I left it to my gut as it occurred.

After setting out the US per the description of the blue army deployment, I mostly randomized the German force layout and started to play.

For a victory condition, I went with the first side to take out  >= 50% of the enemy would win the field, or at the end of 10 turns, I would count roster points remaining.

Next time, for real, the battle report.

Turn 1: The armies begin their advances.

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