Thursday, 9 April 2009

The Examination for General: Neil Cogswell, Wargamer's Newsletter #92

The year 1750.

The post of commander-in-chief of the armed forces of a European principality is vacant. There being a number of contestants for the post the prince has elected to set them an examination to see who can produce the most sound, and the most inspired, military solutions.

He has caused to be drawn up an approximate map of part of his dominions. This map should not be considered to be complete in minor details such as possible fords or causeways over marshes. The contours however are exact. The map covers an area of some forty square miles. Using this map show how you would handle his Highness's troops in the following situations. The answers to each question may include a dia­gram on tracing paper and up to 100 words. Brevity will be rewarded as will clarity.

The armies referred to in the questions are:-

Army A 2,500 infantry, no communications routes
Army I 10,000 infantry, 2,000 cavalry, 20 guns and communications at A or B or E
Army II 20,000 infantry, 20,000 cavalry, 100 guns + bridging train, communications at J
Army III 20,000 infantry, 6,000 cavalry, 40 guns, communications at A or B or D
Army IV 30,000 infantry, 8,000 cavalry, 100 guns, communications at E
Army V 3,000 infantry, communications at A or E
Army VI 3,000 infantry, 3,000 cavalry, 20 guns, communications at B or D

(garrison always available at communication points)

Weather is settled fair with 12 hours daylight.


1. You command Army I at position F. It is dawn. In six hours time an important convoy (2 m.p.h.) is due to arrive at B for passage to E. Your enemy II is reported at H - bridging the river may take him four hours.

(i) What action do you take?
(ii) Assuming your action is successful what recommendations do you make to pre­vent a recurrence of the threat?

2. It is dawn. You command Army II at H. Your objective is to cross the river and destroy an enemy convoy due from B on passage to E in six hours time. The enemy holds A and may have a much inferior field force in the neighbourhood.

(i) What action do you take?
(ii) What action do you recommend to gain a permanent bridgehead on the south bank?

3. It is midnight. You command army III at A. Information received indicates that an enemy army of

(i) 35,000 men is approaching E.
(ii) 35,000 men is approaching B.
(iii) 80,000 men is approaching E.

with the object of blockading A. What action do you take in such case?

4. It is midnight. You command army III at A. Information received indicates that three enemy columns of 10,000 men each are approaching from B, D and E. What action do you take?

5. You command army IV at E. You are ordered to invest the south bank of a. You may march at dawn. An enemy field force of 25,000 men is thought to be in the vicinity.

(i) What action do you take?
(ii) Assuming the enemy force breaks out of A to the West how would you secure your lines and siege operations?

6. It is evening. You command force V at E which you wish to pass to A to rein­force the garrison. An enemy force VI is in the area. How do you direct your march?

7. You command force VI blockading the south side of A. How do you dispose your force to prevent succour reaching A?

(i) By day.
(ii) By night.

8. You command force III at G and wish to cover the passage of a convoy from A to B before retiring on B. A superior enemy force (IV) is at E. It is dawn and you wish to hold the enemy off as long as possible - preferably indefinitely. What action do you take?

9. You command force IV at E. It is dawn and you wish to march on B. A is neutral. Enemy troops are reported at K and L; he is believed to have a force of 25,000 men in the neighbourhood of F. What action do you take?

10. Write a set of tactical rules for Horse and Musket period warfare on the back of a postcard (standard size).
Send your solutions by last day of the month of publication to:-

Neil Cogswell,

I regret that I cannot enter into individual correspondence on this competition but a selection of answers will be published later.

Miniature Figurines have most kindly offered a prize to the successful applicant, who will also be entitled to call himself "Marshal of Mini-Figs 1969".

Neil Cogswell was a regular contributor to Wargamer’s Newsletter and wrote the fondly remembered War of the Bombar Succession campaign series. This competition was published in November 1969, and an assessment of the entries submitted appeared in a later issue. This article will be posted here in due course, leaving enough time for you to consider these problems yourself if you would like.


Steve-the-Wargamer said...

Brilliant - this blog has a *huge* potential... well done. I've now read all the posts/articles - some I actually remember from first time round! I have a big'ish collection of WN's so if there are any holes you need plugging please let me know and I'll see what I can do...

The Old Metal Detector said...

Hi Steve

I've got a near complete run of WN from 80-214 but one thing I would be particularly interested in would be more Wargamers of the Month from the issues before this - do you have any of these?