Fishguard 1797 Scenario No.2: The French Attack 23-25 February

Our second hypothetical scenario again deals with a what-if; What if the French decided to attack Fishguard?  There are several scenario options to consider here:

Scenario No.2a: What if Knox decided to stand his ground (23 February)?

This scenario option assumes that Knox took the decision to defend Fishguard instead of retiring toward Haverfordwest to meet reinforcements.  Instead of holding position on the 23rd, the French decide to attack this weak force. This scenario assumes that Scenario No.1 has not been played.

The French player deploys his forces anywhere within the French deployment area, as marked on the map.  The French objective is to drive all British forces from the town of Fishguard and then to hold it against counter-attack.  A Glorious Victory will be won if they can also capture Fishguard Fort.

The British player deploys Knox’s Fishguard & Newport Volunteers anywhere within the British deployment area.  To give Knox a fighting chance, you could also add the missing portion of his Newport Division (8 figures).  The fort is held by 4 additional figures (Militia), which represents the three professional Woolwich Gunners and the Volunteer gunners.

As additional balancing options to give Knox’s command a fighting chance, a unit of armed civilians (20 figures – Levy) could also be added to Knox’s force, representing the outraged citizenry of Fishguard.  The ‘Jemima Fawr’ and ‘Captain Nisbett’ random events could also be automatically added from the outset.

The scenario lasts for 20 turns or until Knox is driven from the field (the likelihood of Knox driving the French from the field is pretty remote!).

From Turn 10 onwards, the British player rolls a D6 at the start of each turn for Lord Cawdor’s relief column to arrive: Lord Cawdor’s force will arrive on a roll of ‘6’ on turn 12, with a cumulative +1 dice modifier being applied in each successive turn.

Cawdor’s forces will arrive in column on either of the two roads entering the left-hand edge of the table.  Alternatively, they may delay arrival by two turns and instead arrive deployed for battle anywhere along the table edge south of the French deployment area.

If Knox’s forces are destroyed or driven off before Lord Cawdor arrives, bring Lord Cawdor’s force on to table immediately, in order to continue the game.

Scenario No.2b: What if Lord Cawdor had been repulsed at Carnwnda (24-25 February)?

This scenario assumes that you have already played through Scenario No.1 and that Lord Cawdor’s forces have fallen back to defend Fishguard.  Buoyed up by their victory, the French now attempt to press home their advantage by attacking Fishguard on the 24th (or the 25th if you played through Scenario No.1, Part 2).

Deploy the British forces (minus casualties suffered in Scenario No.1) anywhere within the British deployment area as shown on the map.  Their objective is to gallantly hold Fishguard, in a last-ditch attempt to stop the French invasion.

The French player may deploy his forces (minus casualties suffered in Scenario No.1) anywhere within the French deployment area as shown on the map.

Any units that dispersed or routed off table in Scenario No.1 may be resurrected at the strength they were at when they ran off.

If the British player lost any naval guns during Scenario No.1, they will now be added to the French order of battle, along with their hay-cart transports.  The French player must re-allocate four infantry figures to crew each gun before the game commences.  The French player will also get to use any artillery that arrived as a random event during Scenario No.1.  No additional French will turn up!

If fighting the battle on 24 February, add a single unit of armed civilians (20 figures, Levy) to Lord Cawdor’s force (allocate to a commander or ADC).  If fighting the battle on 25 February, add 1 D6 armed civilian units to the British force and a single armed civilian unit to the French force (Welsh Republican sympathisers have come out of the woodwork, inspired by the French victory at Carnwnda).

During 24 February, at the start of each turn, the British player should roll a D6: On a roll of 6 the Loyal Haverfordwest Volunteers will arrive in column at one of the western roads.

The French objective is to drive all British forces from the town of Fishguard and then to hold it against counter-attack.  A Glorious Victory will be won if they can also capture Fishguard Fort.

This scenario lasts 20 turns or until one side or the other concedes defeat.

Scenario No.2c: What if the French had decided to attack instead of surrender (24 February)?

This scenario assumes that the historical events were followed up until the morning of the 24th: Mr Nisbett discovered the ambush at Carnwnda and Lord Cawdor decided to withdraw to defensive positions at Fishguard without suffering losses.

This is the version to play if you are fighting this battle as a stand-alone game instead of the mini-campaign.

In our alternate reality, French morale is now restored by what they see as a British retreat in the face of their superior strength.  They’ve also somehow managed to find a meal from captured stores of food and by some miracle, discipline has been restored.  Tate now orders an attack on the British position at Fishguard on the morning of the 24th.

Once again, each side deploys within the designated areas shown on the map, but this time they had not suffered casualties, as the battle at Carnwnda never happened.  So just use the basic order of battle, though the British may add a single unit of armed civilians (20 figures, Levy).

At the start of each turn, the British player should roll a D6: On a roll of 6 the Loyal Haverfordwest Volunteers will arrive in column at one of the western roads.

The French objective is to drive all British forces from the town of Fishguard and then to hold it against counter-attack.  A Glorious Victory will be won if they can also capture Fishguard Fort.

Again, the game lasts a maximum of 20 turns, or until one side concedes defeat.

General Notes for Scenario No.2

The table is roughly 6×8 feet when playing with 28mm figures.  However, if desired, the right-hand 2 feet of the table, including Fishguard Fort and Lower Town, may be ignored, leaving a 6×6-foot table.

In order to simplify the terrain, simply have two straight ridges facing each other across a valley.

Note that the coastline around the east and west headlands is high cliffs and completely impassable.  The ONLY way to get past Fishguard town to the Fort is to follow the road in column.

The Shingle Bank is just within range of the guns at Fishguard Fort.  However, the gunners there only have enough ammunition for one shot (at long range).  This could be treated as off-table fire if you decide to crop the table size down to 6 feet.

While the Fort held only three rounds of shot, it did have fifteen remaining powder charges, so if the fort is under threat, you could allow 2 D6 rounds of grapeshot (made up of stones, musket balls and other rubbish found in the fort).

Use the Random Events Tables as shown in Scenario No.1.

Terrain Effects

Rocks – The grey contours atop Carnwnda are very rocky.  These areas cost 1 DP for infantry to move through, and are totally impassable to cavalry and artillery.  They provide a -1 cover bonus against enemy firing and a +1 bonus when defending against mêlée.

Hedgerows – Pembrokeshire hedgerows are generally massive, embanked, rock-filled affairs, akin to the famous Normandy ‘Bocage’ but even worse (yes, really)!  Infantry suffer a 1 Disruption Point (DP) penalty when crossing them and move at half speed when doing so.  Cavalry suffer 2 DPs and again may only cross them at half-speed.  Artillery may not cross them at all.  They provide a -1 cover bonus against enemy firing and a +1 bonus when defending against mêlée (+2 against cavalry).

Shingle Bank – The shingle bank at Goodwick Sands is only passable by troops in column formation or skirmishing.

Marshland – The area behind the shingle bank at Goodwick Sands is marshland.  This area is impassable to cavalry and artillery, while infantry suffer 2 DPs and move at only half-speed.

Woodland – Areas of woodland give a 1 DP penalty to any troops passing through.

Stone Wall – The garden at Manorowen is surrounded by a very high stone wall.  This is passable only to infantry, costing 1 DP to do so.  The wall provides a -1 cover bonus against enemy firing and a +1 bonus when defending against mêlée (+2 against cavalry).

Streams – The streams are passable to all except artillery and cost 1 DP to do so.

Next time, we’ll take a look at the units known to be marching to Fishguard’s aid, but who didn’t make it to the battle, as well as some ideas for a ‘Further Adventures of the Black Legion’ campaign, should they manage to defeat Cawdor.

This entry was posted in 28mm Figures, British Grenadier! Rules (AWI), Fishguard 1797, Games, Napoleonic Wars, Scenarios. Bookmark the permalink.

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