Friday, August 31, 2018

Taiping Rebellion - The Valley of Sorrow

This is the last in a series of Taiping Rebellion games we have been playing in August.

I have returning generals: Jan and Phil, with new guys Mike P. and Mike J.

Jan and Mike J. are the Imperial commanders
Phil and Mike P. are the Taiping commanders

Scenario Background

It is getting late in the summer and the Taiping need food. They have sent out this raiding force of six thousand men to find and gather forage for the larger army. They take along the bandits as they are good at stripping the land bare of every usable item. Smoke can be seen up and done the valley as village after village is raided. The Taiping target this last village and thinking it will be easy pickings, they just send the bandits into the town, while the real muscle of the raiding force, the Brethren, hang back and protect them. The local peasants have mustered about 2000 men to defend this village and they are not going to leave without a fight. Meanwhile, an Imperial command of cavalry (900 men) and infantry (3000 men) arrive to hopefully save this village and their people.

Guess who now has flags?!?!? My Imperial forces have been without flags for years, and I finally got around to putting some on them. They need a lot more, but at least they are no longer "naked"! Lots of touch-ups on the flags to be done, and each unit will likely have two or more flags\banners on them.

The Forces
This was a smaller battle than the prior two games, as this was supposed to represent a small raid in the valley.

Imperial Forces:

4 x Peasant mobs (mixed weapons) - protecting their village
3 x Cavalry
6 x Imperial infantry
2 x Tigermen
1 x Heavy Jingall
1 x Light Jingall

Taiping Forces:

4 x Brethren with melee weapons
1 x Brethren with matchlocks
1 x Brethren with repeating crossbows
1 x Brethren cavalry
2 x Light Jingalls
5 x Bandits

The Battle

The Taiping draw the "Move in Open" card first and start a general advance on the right and begin to gather around the village with the Bandits.

Tigermen and Jingalls clash!

The peasants, not waiting for the Taiping to mass their forces jump on the last bandit (levy) unit in the line! Mike J. is always aggressive.

They rout the bandits, then turn and take the next one in the flank!

Bandits hit the village in force. Stink pots are throw, but appear to have no affect on the peasants. Maybe they are used to the smell?

Here you can see from the Imperial side the situation.

Another bandit group routed! Those peasants are nasty!

Mike J. is bringing his cavalry from the center to the aid of the peasants. The Mongol cavalry is hit by Jingall fire and is disordered. Jingall team to the center right of the photo, in the road.

The Taiping pressure the entire Imperial front!

Taiping repeating crossbowmen disorder an Imperial infantry unit.

Imperial Jingalls begin to have telling effect on the Taiping center with several Taiping units becoming disordered.

Fresh bandit unit attacks some peasants with bowfire (and miss).

The Imperial cavalry is swinging around the town to get into action.

then go into melee and are pushed back in disorder by the peasants! These peasants mean business!

The clash in the center! (Love my new Imperial flags I made!)

The Manchu cavalry charge!! Below is a stop action video of the charge! Fun stuff!

The Manchu cavalry routs the bandits, and the entire rear of the Taiping command is ripe for the destruction.

Now that the bandits are down to only 1000 men out of 2500, the Taiping brethren are aggressively attacking the left and center of the Imperial line, with very good results.

The Imperial stink pot successfully drives back the crossbowmen!

Taiping matchlockmen advance and deliver a volley. This routs the Imperial battalion

More hand-to-hand combat.

Taiping bandits have half the village in their possession.

The Bannermen cavalry have made a flank march and appear near the village!

The Manchu cavalry turn their wrath towards the bandits and rout another unit! The Manchu cavalry will have Battle Honors after this engagement.

The Manchu cavalry has run roughshod over the bandits, when the Taiping cavalry finally shows up on the scene.

The Manchu wait and the Mongols come to their assistance.

Then the Bannermen!

The Taiping are slowly rolling up the entire Imperial left flank as more Imperial units rout off the table.

Imperial unit caught by the Pingers!

Leaving the Mongols behind (they are still disordered from Jingall fire), the Manchu and Bannermen begin to advance against the Taiping cavalry.

Another Imperial unit disordered (green marker)

The cavalry clashes!

Taiping "Melee Resolution" card comes up. They could either start that cavalry melee before the Imperials can start it, or they can attempt to attack the peasants in the village section.

They chose the village section, driving the peasants out in disorder, taking the last village section and reducing the Imperials to zero morale! The Taiping have won a VERY close game.

We have had a wonderful time with these three Taiping battles and should see them on the table more often in 2019. I'm going to cry if I ever sell these!

We are going to play some board games over the coming weeks as September is a busy month and running miniature games takes a lot of work.


Sunday, August 26, 2018

Taiping Rebellion - River Fort Assault at Hankou

This is hard to believe, but this is my 200th blog post. When I started this blog back in 2010 I didn't think I would still be churning out content at this rate. Life is good!

This is our second game this month dealing with the Taiping Rebellion. This scenario has the Taiping Rebels attacking a river fort in the town of Hankou. The Taiping tried to capture river forts on their way to Nanking so they could rule the rivers to help with supplies and troop movements. This fort\town is one of the important ones as it is the only crossing for miles in either direction. The Imperials are outnumber and are not expected to win this battle, but the more of the rebels they send to their "heaven" the better!

Sorry, about the pink board in the photos. I just couldn't finish painting them before game time. Hopefully it won't be too garish on the eyes.

Commanders and Rules
Taiping - Phil, Glenn, Mike (and his son Nicholas) - forces carrying the yellow and red flags
Imperial - Jan, Brian

Rules - Piquet Hallowed Ground with my period modifications for the Taiping Rebellion

Special Rules in play
Rule of 1/3 impetus
Skirmish rules for this period
Stink Pots

Starting Morale Chips
Taiping   43
Imperial  24

Ending Morale Chips
Taiping   21 (Taiping Victory)
Imperial  1

The Layout

Here you can see the general layout of the battle with the fort and town bracketing the ford across the river. The Taiping commands are spread out across the table with the Veterans and Levy (to absorb casualties) set to assault the fort, while the Brethren and Cavalry commands holding off the rest of the Imperial forces. Although the table space was large, 9' x 5', the number of units is not that large compared to my 15mm battles. These 28mm figures take up a ton of space. Sketch map was made with PowerPoint.

As short video showing the layout of the table and troop dispositions

A few shots of the armies before jump into the battle. Here is Glenn's Taiping command of Levies (furthest away), and his brethren. The Kan Wang (Shield King) is encouraging his troops and is marked by his huge banners.

Brian's command that is holding Hankou, with some crazy Tigermen running around out in front of the main line.

Oh the pink! Sorry again! This is Brian's command inside the fort and the cowering Imperial commander is firmly set to wait out the assault from safety.

The Battle

This was a bit comical as I allow the attacker to always win the first initiative no matter what the die roll is for the initiative roll. Well, the Taiping won, but only by one pip, the next roll the Imperial won handily, and preceded to through his Tigermen at the Taiping Jingalls all across the front of the battlefield. In every case, the Tigermen (D8) lost to the Jingalls (D4) in melee! What are the odds! Here is a shot of one such encounter.

As the Veteran Taiping move towards the fort, they push their light jingalls forward only to be surprised by an Imperial Heavy Jingall hidden in the tower of the fort! Of course, the Imperial Jingall missed. I don't think I have seen Brian (Imperial garrison commander) roll so many 1s and 2s in my life, and we have been gaming together for almost 3 decades!

Here comes the LEVY masses!

"We need more arrows!", shouts the Imperial archers manning the wall of the fort!

The two Taiping light jingalls were able suppress (disorder - green marker) the Imperial jingall.

Imperial light jingall has better success and staggers a levy unit (disordered) and they halt before they can reach the walls.

Here you can see the mass of Taiping surging across the battlefield. The Imperial commanders are already shaking in their slippers.

The Brethren hit the town of Hankou, with Jingals firing their large caliber musket balls into the enemy.

Taiping Jingal disorders the Imperial unit in the Hankou town sector,

Next a Brethren unit armed with stink pots advances and tosses their stink pots to great affect! The Imperial unit is routed (2nd disorder routs a unit in Piquet)

General situation across the battlefield at this point in time.

Taiping are swarming the fort. It won't be long before they begin their assault. Both the Levy and Veteran command are equipped with scaling equipment, like ladders, grappling hooks, etc.

The Brethren rush into the high crops to attack an Imperial unit.

Before the Brethren can occupy the empty Hankou, another Imperial unit moves in and takes its place! Now they will have to dig out another Imperial unit in the narrow streets of Hankou.

The levy have all moved into contact with the fort and are starting to scale the walls (i.e. waiting for a Melee Resolution card)

The Imperials moved their archer unit (didn't do any damage to the Taiping) off the wall and moved a standard infantry unit into the position. It looses a volley of matchlock and bow fire, causing two stand losses to the levy unit. That levy unit's morale is check and they fall back disordered.

Next, the Imperial unit fires into another of the levy units also causing two stands of damage. This morale challenge routs the levy units (see them running to the rear in the photos below). The heart next to the leader of the levy means they he has to make a survival check on the next "Officer Check" card.

The Veterans are unable to soften up the Imperial units guarding this part of the fort so they send in the two melee units to attempt to take the wall. The high crops do seem to hinder their impetus.

An Officer Check is drawn and the Levy commanders is killed. Was it friend or enemy fire? The Levy's complete collapse has bolstered the morale of the low rolling Imperial commanders.

The Taiping pull a Heroic Melee Resolution and send the Veterans over the wall. Only one Taiping Veteran was in contact with the wall at this point.

With the bonus of the "Heroic Moment", plus their far superior melee value the veterans are able to push back the Imperial battalion. Note, that they only disordered the Imperial unit, they were unable to rout them.

All along the battlefield the Taiping and Imperial forces cross swords, halberds, spears, and matchlocks.

Two Taiping cavalry regiments attack the Imperial Banner men!

Good shot of the center of the Imperial and Taiping forces.

The Taiping cavalry routs the Imperial Bannermen! Notice that the Taiping commander is attached and leading the charge (with Superior numbers)

The aggress attack by Mike's Taiping cavalry has left their flank vulnerable and the Mongols proceed to spin and hit the one Taiping cavalry unit in the flank, which routs them. (see below)

Veteran Taiping storm into the fort's parade ground to attack the Imperial troops they just drove off the wall!

The Taiping have now captured half of Hankou, and are looking to clear out the last Imperial unit closest to the ford!

The Imperial stink pot is thrown in the Veteran Taiping and the nauseous fumes have driven them back to the fort wall! First successful Imperial stink pot throw in two games. Brian is happy.

Meanwhile on the Taiping right Mike (and son) are teaming up against Jan's Imperials and slowly driving them back.

Matchlocks suck as Mike with his Taiping were going to find out. He fired twice into these Mongol cavalry men and completely missed both times. Too funny. The Mongols evaded shortly after this.

Oh no, here comes an avalanche of Taiping veterans over the fort walls. They launch another attack in the courtyard after the stink pot fumes dissipated.

The jig is up cries the Imperial general as he fleas the fort and makes for the river ford!

The Imperials facing the levy are still holding their ground.

A Taiping Brethren unit runs down the street and blocks the exit of the fort. This is not a good sign for the defenders.

The Taiping brethren chase an Imperial commander (now safely behind the Imperial infantry unit) and run into devastating fire, losing two stands.

The carnage in the parade ground. The Taiping veterans make quick work of the remaining forces of the Qing Dynasty and the rest of the Imperials surrender or flea the battlefield. There was great slaughter in the pursuit.

Another glorious battle with Piquet and my Taiping collection. Next week I'm going to fight one more Taiping battle then move on to another era. Hope you enjoyed this big battle report!