Monday 21 March 2011

Another American Revolution game - Black Powder this time!

My back was much better so Rob and John made a return trip last week and replayed our previous American Revolution scenario, slightly tweeked and this time using Black Powder. I was the British this time, and John and Rob played the Rebels. The British had to get their supply train off the table, with one brigade, made up largely of light troops and cavalry, on table as the escort with two other brigades due to enter at the opposite end of the table to cover their exit. I made the British regulars all large units with first fire, crack, steady, elite and ferocious charge. The loyalists were less impressive but at least they got the first fire rule. The Rebels had four brigades, some 15 battalions in total with some dragoons, artillery and riflemen in support. Two brigades were made up of Continentals and the other two of pretty poor militia (ok, in one case, very poor militia, classed as wavering and unreliable)

The rebels entered the table and in places made some good progress, passing most of their command tests, although the militia were hard to keep moving uless they stayed in march column fopr as long as possible. Two small units of cavalry swept right across almost to the British baseline. I have to say that my baggade train and escort looked like they would be cut off as I rolled some poor command dice for the escort and my reinforcements were very slow in deploying at the other end of the table. My grenadier battalion was badly shot up by Rob's Continentals and had to retire shaken, which didn't do my nerves any good!

The rebels pushed on and the engagement developed into a race - would the baggage get to the protection of the reinfrcements or would they be cut off? The British were also saved by the refusal of the 3rd Continental dragoons to charge into the Guards light companies, followed by a blunder that sent them running away right into the face of their own infantry, which prevented said infantry from getting stuck in. Although my 17th Light Dragoons also failed to charge into their rear, this, together with the arrival of the Hessian von Bose regiment, the Guards, the 17th foot 71st Foot and the 23rd Fusiliers plus the Volunteers of Ireland and a couple of guns, gave me enough time to get my forces on the right into some sort of order.

However, on the left, my Hessian jager were falling back (although they did beat off a militia unit in melee in the process), the Light Infantry battalion was pinned in the farm area facing a brigade of militia and the Queen's Rangers were on the far left facing an entire brigade of thankfully very slow moving and unco-ordinated Continentals.

Sadly, the baggage was lost to the dragoons of Armand's Legion and a battalion of militia as the British Legion just couldn't get moving.

We ended the game there due to time constraints having played for over two and a half hours. The Rebels had captured the baggage but as it was militia who had done the capturing there was a chance they would loot it and drink themselves silly on British rum! (Sounds like a good idea under any other circumstances) Technically a Rebel victory but it would have been interesting to see if they could have got off the table without the British being able to recapture the baggage.
We all agreed that this game had been much more satisfying than the two previous ones played using British Grenadier. The rules managed to reflect the period very well in my opinion, especially in terms of command and control and the brittleness of the Rebel militia. The British regulars were quite tough and could take a fair bit of damage but died just as quickly all the same. The verdict? A very satisfying and enjoyable wargame and one that has converted me to Black Powder as a perfectly good ruleset for this period.

Friday 11 March 2011

Across the sea to Ireland......1690

My back was much better yesterday so we arranged to play a game at John's John had set up a scenario from Under the Lilly Banners, set in Ireland during William III's campaign against King James II's forces. Rob played the Williamites/Protestants while I took command of a small greatly outnumbered force from King James' army, guarding a river crossing, with the aim of buying enough time to allow for the transfer of artillery and baggage across the river by raft. Both armies were provided by John - 15mm, mainly Irregular miniatures.

Most of the Jacobite forces were hidden, but one battalion of Irish levy infantry were deployed in and around a farm in the hope of delaying the Williamite advance or at least distracting them slihgtly. It didn't work as the entire Williamite cavalry force of about 12 squadrons just rode past and ignored them, even when one unit suffered severe casualties and was forced to withdraw.

As the Williamite horse neared the river, two squadrons of Irish horse emerged from behind the woods and very shortly a fierce cavalry battle began which was to last for the remainder of the game.

In the meantime, a great column of English and allied infantry was marching towards the river. Once these boys got into action it would be over very quickly, so it was fortunate that the transfer of guns and baggage across the river was proceding quite quickly, although one gun was retained as part of the rearguard. Sadly it was ridden over by English horse before it could have any effect. This did leave the English horse exposed to a flank attack by a further squadron of Irish horse which eventually managed to rout them.

Meanwhile my brigade of Irish foot emerged from the wood and drove off a further uit of English horse. As the cavalry battle came to a close, both sides had practically wiped each other out. Three out of four of the Irish horse squadrons were destroyed while the majority of the English horse and dragoons were either destroyed or spent.

The battle came to a close with my Irish infantry withdrawing back through the woods in the face of massive numbers of English foot bearing down on them. On the left, English dragoons had worked their way through the woods and my dismounted dragoons, while succesfully holding back two English battalions were in danger of being trapped and overwhelmed. The unit in the farm area was trading fire with an English battalion and holding out quite nicely. Darkness fell with the majority of my guns and baggae across the river so an Irish victory was declared, although in truth had the game gone in for a few more moves I would have been pinned against the river and destroyed by superior numbers.

So, a good game, a challenging scenario for both sides, using a set of simple and easy to play rules that from what little I know (and I wasn't there in real life) had a period feel to them.
Next week (hopefully) back to the American War of Independence/Revolution.

Wednesday 2 March 2011

More Continentals, Hessians and other stuff

Well, no game last week or this as I have put my back out again. Certainly no chance of me being able to bend forward over the table for a while yet (stop sniggering you smutty people!). Sitting down for prolonged periods is also painful (I said stop sniggering!) but I have managed to finish a few units over the last two or three weeks, so with my senses dulled by some lovely opiates and a week of daytime TV, here are some pictures.

The figures in the top photo are the new ones I picked ip from Old Glory at York. They paint up very nicely and although quite delicate fit in with my Perry stuff quite well. Second are my Hessian von Bose regiment. Perry figures. Very nice. I also completed two southern militia regiments (the rear ones) so now have a nice North Carolina militia brigade of three batallions. Finally, some dead and wounded. I liked Der Alt Fritz's idea of using them to mark where stands of figures were removed and casualties used to depict the flow of battle. Not sure the budget can run to many more though!

Time for another Tramodol............