"One o'clock and all is we-ell!" Or is it? The sleeping Village of Borszchardstadt somewhere in the Mark of Schleiz a contested territory nestled between The Grand Duchy of Stollen and its nemesis The Electorate of Zichenau.
Borszchardstadt from the south at approximately 1:15am on the morning of 2. September 1763. No, those are not Dalmatians grazing in the background but rather a small herd of 1/64 Holstein cattle.
Our heroes lurking in the woods south of the village. From left to right: Captain Pedersen from the Stollenian Corps of Engineers, Corporal Heinrich 'Heinie' Rahnzahn from the 1st Musketeers, the legendary Oberfeldwebel Klatschen from the Leib (Grand Duchess Sonja's Own) Grenadiers, and Gustl 'The Kid' Goshen, who volunteered to come on this mission chiefly because he idolizes the older and more seasoned Klatschen.
Our band emerges from the woods at the start of the game and makes its way carefully across the fields northward toward Borszchardstadt for two turns.
They reach the village warehouse at last at the start of Turn 3, where, according to Stollenian agents, gunpowder has been stockpiled by the enemy. Captain Pedersen takes several minutes to spring the lock on the doors.
". . . And I would hold thee, and kiss thee, and love thee fair Hildegard. La-dee-dee, la-dee-dee, la-dah-dee, la-dah. . . Eh? There now! There now! What's all this then?" Our heroes are overheard by a sentry, who rounds a corner by the church at the village crossroads just in time to see the men entering the warehouse. The sentry sounds the alarm with a warning shot and repeated cries for help.
Our heroes barricade the doors behind them quickly during Turn 4. Oberfeldwebel Klatschen and The Kid take a couple of potshots out the windows at the approaching Flickenhoffer Fusiliers while Captain Pedersen and Heinie dash upstairs and set the charges intended to blow up the stockpiled gunpowder.
In Turn 5, Klatschen and The Kid take down two of the approaching fusiliers as Pedersen and Heinie make their way to the top floor to lay and set the last of the charges. "For the love of God, hurry up! We can't hold them off much longer!" shouts Oberfeldwebel Klatschen up the ladder to the 1st floor.
A full company of the Flickenhoffer Fusiliers arrives in strength during Turn 6 and begins trying to force the barricaded doors. Reinforcements are close behind them. Klatschen and The Kid let loose another couple of shots but hit nothing. Luckily, the heavy walls of the warehouse manage to protect them from the clatter of enemy musketry that now fills the night air.
The charges set at the start of Turn 7, all four of our heroes make for the loading door at the rear of the uppermost floor where they jump for dear life, hoping to land in a pile of dirty straw on the ground below at the rear of the warehouse. But oh no! Heinie lands wrong and brakes his right ankle. "Go on without me!" he screams to Pedersen and Klatschen, who are already well on their way. The Kid is not as lucky. He makes his way to his feet after landing in the straw pile, but Gustl's young body is riddled by several enemy musket balls, and he falls the ground. Expired.
Musket shots buzzing wildly in the night around them during Turn 8, Pedersen and Klatschen hightail it south back across the fields toward the safety of the woods south of Borszchardstadt. Will they make it?
During Turn 9, two companies of the Flickenhoffer Fusiliers give wildly disorganized chase when suddenly. . .
The night sky lights up brilliantly for an instant as the explosive charges laid by Pedersen and the now captive Heinie go off. The mission has been a success and the Zichenauer gunpowder cache at Borszchardstadt is destroyed. But at what price? Poor Gustl (aka The Kid). He only came on this mission because he so looked up to the grizzled Klatschen.
Captain Pedersen and Oberfeldwebel Klatschen live to fight another day and make their way into the woods at the start of Turn 10, just before 4am by the captain's pocket watch. The two easily evade the enemy search party sent after them and within hours rejoin their escorts, a company of Stollenian jaeger who wait three miles to the south.
CastCaptain Pedersen -- Kirk Douglas
Oberfeldwebel Klatschen -- Richard Harris
Heinrich 'Heinie' Rahnzahn -- Maximillian Schell
Gustl 'The Kid' Goshen -- Horst Bucholz
Stay tuned for additional description of the wonderfully fun little skirmish game I set up last night late and played this (Sunday) morning after coffee and breakfast, using just a few rules from The War Game and making up a couple of others as I went along. For a short while, I was a slightly more organized 10-year old again without a care in the world except for my game of toy soldiers.