Ford over the River Mob

As a ‘reward’ for the big sort-out I recently undertook of my toy/wargames room I decided to fight a solo wargame using my newly accessible Hexon II terrain. Originally I planned to fight a World War II battle using my MEMOIR OF MODERN BATTLE (MOMBAT) rules, but after my recent visit to (and wargame with) David Crook I decided to switch to using the latest draft of my MEMOIR OF BATTLE (MOB) rules.

Scenario
The Maldacians (who wear uniforms that bear a striking resemblance to those worn by the Austro-Hungarians) are on the warpath again. They have yet again made demands that the Lauranians (who favour uniforms in the Prussian style) must hand over ‘disputed’ territory on the border between the two countries. The Lauranians say that the ‘disputed’ territory has always been – and will always remain – Lauranian, and that any attempts to take the land in question by force will be met by force. The Maldacians have responded in a similarly bellicose fashion … and war between the two countries seems imminent.

News reaches the Lauranian High Command that a force of Maldacians has entered Lauranian territory, and a small division of the Lauranian Army is immediately despatched to intercept the invaders. The Lauranian Division comprises:

  • Four Line Infantry Regiments (armed with single-shot rifles)
  • A Rifle Battalion (armed with single-shot rifles)
  • An Artillery Regiment (armed with rifled field artillery)

Unbeknownst to the Lauranians, this is exactly the same size force (with the same armaments) as that sent by the Maldacians into Laurania. The stage is set for a battle … and it looks like it will happen near the ford over the River Mob.

The ford over the River Mob and the surrounding area. The ford is guarded by an ancient (but ungarrisoned) fortified tower, and on the other side of the river is a small settlement. The Maldacians will enter by the road nearest the bottom of the photograph and the Lauranians will enter via the road at the top. 
The Maldacians advance towards through Lauranian territory.
The Lauranian Division on the road towards the ford over the River Mob.

Turn 1
Both the Maldacians and the Lauranians advance down their respective roads towards the ford over the River Mob. Both sides choose to lead with their Rifle Battalions. In the case of the Lauranians, these are followed by a Line Infantry Regiment and the Artillery Regiment, the latter being accompanied by the Division’s General.

The Maldacians choose to follow their Rifle Battalion with two Line Infantry Regiments.

Turn 2
Both side hurry troops forward to try to reach the ford first. The Lauranian advance is hampered somewhat by the slow speed of the Artillery Regiment, and the leading Rifle Battalion and Line Infantry Regiment break away from the column in order not to be delayed.

The Maldacians avoid this problem by leaving their Artillery Regiment at the rear of their column.

The two opposing forces are now within rifle range of each other, and the actual fighting looks about to start.

Turn 3
The Lauranians gain the initiative, and their Rifle Battalion occupies the built-up area on the right-hand side of the road, from where they engage the opposing Maldacian Rifle Battalion … with some success!

This clears the way for the leading Lauranian Line Infantry Regiment to move forward, deploy, and also engage the Maldacian Rifle Battalion … which suffers further casualties.

The remaining Lauranian troops rush forward to support their comrades.

The brave Maldacian Rifle Battalion charges into the ford to engage the Lauranian Line Infantry Regiment with the bayonet, but they are unable to make it right across.

The following Maldacian Line Infantry Regiment deploys and fires at the Lauranian Rifle Battalion, but inflicts no casualties.

The remainder of the Maldacian Division begins to deploy in support of their leading units.

Turn 4
The Maldacians have the initiative, and the Rifle Battalion closes with the leading Lauranian Line Infantry Regiment and engages them with the bayonet … and causes them a number of casualties!

The Maldacian Line Infantry Regiment continues to fire at the Lauranian Rifle Battalion that is occupying the buildings on the other side of the River Mob, and they inflict casualties on the Lauranians.

Another Maldacian Line Infantry Regiment deploys and engages the Lauranian Rifle Battalion, but their fire is ineffective.

The remainder of the Maldacian Division has now reached the River Mob, and has begun to deploy.

The Lauranian response is to counter-attack the Maldacian Rifle Battalion with a bayonet charge which forces the depleted Maldacians back into the ford …

… where they are shot to pieces by the Lauranian Rifle Battalion.

The Lauranian Artillery Regiment moves off the road and deploys onto the Lauranian right flank …

… and the rest of the Lauranian Division moves forward to engage the Maldacians.

Turn 5
As the Lauranian Artillery Regiment was now deployed, it opens fire on the closest Maldacian Line Infantry Regiment … upon which it inflicts 50% casualties!

The Lauranians build upon this success when their leading Line Infantry Regiment inflicts casualties on the Maldacian Line Infantry Regiment facing them across the River Mob …

… and when the Lauranian Rifle Battalion also joins in the exchange of fire, the Maldacian Line Infantry Regiment suffers further casualties.

The Lauranian Line Infantry Regiment that had previously occupied the building on the left flank opens fire on the Maldacian Line Infantry Regiment facing them across the River Mob …

… and causes them 50% casualties.

At this point in the battle the Maldacians have reached their Exhaustion Point (they have lost one-third of their Division’s initial strength value) and they cannot engage in further aggressive action.

The battlefield at the point in the battle when the Maldacians reached their Exhaustion Point. From this point onwards they cannot engage in any aggressive action, and should withdraw if that is possible.

Having achieved their objective, the Lauranian General asks his opposite number if he would wish for a cease-fire so that he can deal with his wounded before withdrawing from the field of battle. The Maldacian General is only too pleased to agree to this suggestion, and after collecting their wounded and burying their dead, the Maldacian Division withdraws to their own side of the border.

Conclusions
This was a sharp little meeting engagement between equal forces, and had the initiative gone to the Maldacians rather than the Lauranians during the last turn the outcome might have been different.

I liked the new Exhaustion Point rule, and will keep it in the next draft of the rules. I may choose to vary the point at which either or both armies reach it (it is currently when one side loses one-third of its initial strength value) in order to reflect the historical period or setting of the battle, but the concept does enable a battle to be fought to a conclusion that is not dependent upon a particular victory condition or conditions being met.

Modelling Notes
The figures used were out-of-production Peter Laing 15mm-scale Prussian and Austro-Hungarians. They were bought on eBay and were originally painted, owned, and used by a member of the Edinburgh Wargames Group. The terrain used was Hexon II hexed terrain tiles, streams/narrow rivers, roads, and hills. The trees were Hornby model trees that had additional flocking added to them before they were mounted on bases. The buildings were bought ready-painted in Croatia.

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10 Comments on “Ford over the River Mob”

  1. Martin says:

    Great read, thanks. This Hexon is looking really tempting.

  2. Is 'cute' an appropriate descriptor for wargamery stuff? What you have there looks like an attractively compact set up, as easy on the pocket as it is on the eye. Great!

  3. Martin,I am very pleased that you enjoyed reading this battle report.Hexon II is not to everyone's taste, but I think that it is one of the best wargaming investments I have ever made.All the best,Bob

  4. Archduke Piccolo,Cute sounds good to me!The Hexon II terrain (including the hills, rivers, and roads) probably cost about £100 to buy, the figures are about half of a couple of eBay lots that I bought for around £80, and the resin pre-painted buildings cost less than £10. I have had lots of enjoyment out of them and hope to continue to do so for some time to come.In my opinion they have given a good return on my investment.All the best,Bob

  5. David Crook says:

    Hi Bob,That looks really effective and those old Peter Laings look very impressive in an old school kind of way. The Croatian buildings are a delight and the action flowed seamlessly.I have to say that the scenario had an elegant simplicity about it that I would never be able to achieve as most of my own efforts are invariably over engineered!The exhaustion Level works very well and as previously mentioned, serves to give the commander something to think about from the bigger picture perspective.Great report and really good looking set up!All the best,DC

  6. David Crook,Thanks for your kind comments. I love the look of the Peter Laing figures; their basic simplicity does not notice when they are painted to a reasonable standard and seen from a distance of two or more feet.The Croatian buildings are sufficiently generic to suit most Southern European locations, and all of them have a degree of individual character.The scenario was devised to test the Exhaustion Point rule, and it made sense to have balanced forces. I am very pleased with the way the rule worked, and it will definitely be included in the next draft of the rules. My thanks go to you for such a simple but effective development.All the best,Bob

  7. The troops, terrain and rules could all have been made for each other. A pelasure to read.

  8. Ross Mac,That is high praise indeed! Thank you very much for your comment.I felt like things really came together today, and that the rules are pretty well as good as they are going to get. As to the terrain and the figures … well they are the result of work done by other people. All I did was to put them together.All the best,Bob

  9. Nice game and absolutely lovely terrain 🙂

  10. Geordie an Exiled FoG,I really enjoyed fighting this battle. It just seemed to flow, with events unfolding as one would expect them to.As I have said before, the main elements of the terrain are all from Hexon II … and it proves that you do not need anything particularly fancy or spectacular to produce an attractive-looking tabletop to fight your battles on.All the best,Bob


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