Thursday, 26 January 2012


John and I started the Brandywine scenario that I've described in an earlier post on Monday evening. We diced for sides and I got the British. Although the British on the table at the start were significantly more superior troops compared to the more numerous rebels facing them this proved to be no walkover! My first turn saw the grenadier brigade march rapidly to within short range of the rebel line whilst the Guards and light infantry in the centre and on the left moved much more slowly due to poor command dice. We were playing the 'move more than once and you don't fire' amendment from LAoK so my grenadiers had to just stand there and take a significant level of musketry and cannon fire without being able to respond, which seemed about right. They survived, but not without losses to both battalions, one of which became disordered as well. The rebels spent their first turn rearranging a couple of brigades or doing nothing as they threw poor command dice as well (their generals were a pretty bad bunch).
The second turn saw the grenadiers hold their ground (they had to with one unit disordered) while the Guards and lights advanced, albeit slowly! Once in range the Guards brigade spent most of the evening in a state of disorder so were unable to advance on the rebel centre, although I suppose they gave them something to shoot at! The combined Guards light companies did charge a unit of rebel skirmishers but after a round or two of melee they failed a morale test dismally and routed! On the left my light brigade was making heavy going of seeing off the rebels on their flank, were taking some heavy losses and again John did keep on chucking 6's which kept throwing one or both of my light battalions into disorder. Some progress was being made however and one rebel unit was defeated after a heroic bayonet charge and others were halted due to being disordered through musketry. On the right, one of my grenadier battalions charged and drove off a rebel unit lining the fence and was able to swing round onto the rebel flank. Just in time a brigade of rebels was redeployed from the centre to plug the gap. My other grenadier battalion had become shaken through excessive losses but was just hanging on! Their gallant brigadier was also shot off his horse and was carried from the field mortally wounded, so the grenadiers spent a whole turn without a commander until someone else took over.
Meanwhile the British reinforcements finally made an appearence. The Hessian brigade arrived on the right and advanced very slowly towards the rear of my grenadiers (should have been three battalions of grenadiers but I only have two, hence the muskeeet battalion). Much too slowly for my liking but probably quite accurate as I seem to remember reading somewhere that the British thought the Hessians manoevered slowly compared to them. The brigade of British line infantry due to arrive at the same time on the left kept failing their command rolls so were two moves late in making an appearence onto the table.
On turn six George Washington arrived, heralding the likely arrival of fresh rebel troops redployed from the forces facing von Knyphausen across the Brandywine further to the rear of the rebel position. However, we decided to call it a day for the evening and come back to finish the game another day as I have the luxury of being able to leave everything set up.
I think the night had gone quite well and it was an enjoyable game, plagued by the usual rubbish command throws or getting disordered just at the wrong time! Black Powder worked well again and there is still a good chance that the British will fail to drive the rebels off the table and will therefore technically loose the game. Especially so if the rebel reinforcemets actually arrive. I think that had I not made the original six British battalions as tough as I had done they would have all routed by the end of the evening as it was only the special characteristics that saved them from doing so on more than one ocassion! I made them large, elite, steady and crack but they were the elite of the army so believe I am justified in doing so, and like I say, had I not then based on my dismal dice throwing, most of them would have run away before the evening was over!

Anyway, weather and everything else permitting we shall continue with part two in a couple of weeks time, after which I will set the table up to fight the other half of the battle.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Brandywine tonight!

Assuming the weather doesn't turn later this afternoon John is coming up to fight Cornwallis' attack at the Battle of the Brandywine. Rob can't make it which is a shame but he's probably still trying to sort his new mega-games room sorted out!
The scenario is based on the one in the British Grenadier supplement but we'll be using Black Powder if only because they guarantee you a speedy game. I thought I'd get in the mood by putting some pictures up of the initial setup. If we don't get it finished this evening I plan to leave the game and return to it the next time John comes here for a game. I intend to reflight Knyphausen's battle at a later date.
The photos show the substantial rebel forces under General Sullivan hold a line in and around the village of Birmingham as well as each of the three brigades of infantry commanded by Earl Cornwallis, namely the lights, guards (yes, I know they didn't carry flags in America but I had them and they look nice) and the grenadiers. All tough troops but likely to be hard pressed against the more numerous rebels. Luckily, the British will get a brigade of Hessian Grenadiers and one of English line infantry as reinforcements fairly early on in the battle....with a bit of luck. I will post the after action report here later in the week as I am busy with work for a few days ;o(

Tuesday, 17 January 2012


I braved the sub-zero temperatures last night and went down to John's to play an AWI game in 15mm using Peter Pig's Washington's Army rules. I was keen to see how the rules worked and was not to be disappointed either with the mechanics or the evening's game. I played the British who were to be on the defensive, holding a thin line across the board in the face of numerically superior rebel forces. After I deployed my troops I had to throw for 'depletion' - all of my units lost at least one stand and those hardest hit became my off table reserve as this was the only way of getting them back up to full strength again.
Johns rebels deployed and it looked like my thin line was going to get steamrollered but thankfully many of the rebels were militia and I managed to get my troops into good defensive positions, well mostly (sorry abouth that Guards btn!). The battle progressed well and I liked the command and motivation aspect of the rules as this did cause a problem for the rebels as they couldn't push on as fast as they'd have liked. It did for me a bit as well but as I was on the defensive it was less critical......sometimes. On the left my Light btn and a unit of New York loyalists supported by a gun held off many times their number for the whole game, although had we managed another turn I suspect I might have been driven off by a massively overwhelming bayonet charge by John's Continentals. In the centre I had a Guards btn exposed out in the open and another line btn holding a small farm area. The former held on until almost the end but by then they were down to under half strength and withdrawing. The garrison of the farm also fell back, although they had managed to deny the rebels access to it for much of the game. On the right my lone regular (but raw) batallion also did well but was about to be swamped by rebels and indians (and probably hit in the rear if the rebel flanking cavalry had made it onto the table). My reinforcements had little impact although had the game continued they were at least on the table and ready to plug the gaps (or at least try) before we had to call it a day. One highlight of the game was the considerable number of units on the rebel left trying to destroy my single British batallion when they could have been left alone or at best masked as there were no objectives to be gained by attacking them. A Hugomont moment as John said.
The outcome was a draw, and a close fought one at that, although another move or two would have seen the British struggle to hold the rebel attackers off. For once I was glad of my bad back and minus 6 temperature outside! I liked the rules as they were easy to pick up, the mechanics were straightforward enough and the game flowed very well. Very different to my usual AWI ruleset of choice (Black Powder) for my 28mm games but excelent nontheless. John's collection of 15mm Peter Pig figures is also very impressive and very nicely painted. Hopefully the photos will do them justice.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012


Well where did last year go? Not exactly action packed in terms of gaming but lots going on to interfere with it! Practical parenting on full time basis (of 16yr old daughter), new dog, very busy at work and a growing list of health problems seem to have done a good job of getting in the way of gaming although I've still been painting, albeit slowly at times. I daren't do an accurate tally as it'll finish me off but a rough estimate would suggest that I have managed to finish 5 new battalions of Russians for my SYW army, (36 each), as well as completing both sides for my 28mm AWI armies which must run to about 1200 figures now. Far too many but lots of variety. Now before I reach for the calculator to add up the damage I must remind myself that I sold all of my painted 6mm 1866 and Franco Prussian armies this year. I had quite a lot - both sides for Konigratz at regimental level is quite a few figures! Most of them now live in Belgium or Italy under new owners.
Anyway, it was a quiet Christmas as said daughter was revising for exams so I thought I'd set up a game and play it solo over the holidays. I recently picked up a book covering the Rhode Island campaign which gives a fairly detailed account of the lead up to the battle and the battle itself. This, coupled with the information contained in one of the BG scenario books suggested that it would make an interesting solo game.
Basically, the Rebels were holding a line of redoubts and earthworks covering the withdrawal off the island of their army. The British were trying to trap them against the sea before they could get away. I used Black Powder for this game as I prefer them to other rule sets and I thought the command dice element would be helpful playing solo.
The British had two brigades advancing up each of the main roads leading towards the Rebel positions. The one on the right was British and the one on the left mainly Hessians (actually Ansbachers in truth). There were some additional reinforcements as well as some offshore naval gunnery support. The rebels had three quite large brigades of reasonable quality troops - although there were some militia present as well who in the end let the side down somewhat. They also had plenty of artillery, mostly emplaced.
Turn 1 saw the British brigade fail its command roll so it didn't even get on the table. The Hessians did make an appearence and confidently deployed in front of the rebels before pushing forward steadily. The rebel command dice were equally poor and only the brigade facing the Hessians was able to move, and it withdrew to try and tidy up the line before the exposed units were destroyed piecemeal.
Turn 2 and still no British! The Hessians' shooting was pretty good and they drove off two rebel battalions but they in turn were halted by rebel artillery. The rebels facing them withdrew a bit more behind some walls and those over on the other flank failed their roll again.
Turn 3 and finally the British arrived, making up for their tardy arrival by getting a low dice score and 2 x moves! They deployed into line but as I was using the ammendment where you can only fire if you move once in a turn they were unable to engage the rebels, who in their turn caused some damage and disordered one battalion. On the left the Hessians were winning the firefight against the rebels and a militia battalion routed.
Turn 4 and I thought that the two regular British battalions might be best used in a bayonet charge. I'd given them ferocious charge but as they'd not had a chance to soften the rebels up I held back for a move and tried to shoot a few lumps off the enemy first. Well, even with first fire and being a large unit neither unit was able to do any serious damage to their targets as the dastardly rebels managed to save nearly all of the hits! On the left the Hessians were winning the firefight and the Royal Navy offshore support took out another rebel unit. This meant that both rebel brigades were close to break point. The rebels failed all their command rolls so just had to stand there and take their punishment.
Turn 5 and the British bayonet charge went in. They survived closing fire but failed to win the melee and in both cases bounced back out again! Not good, although one rebel unit was destroyed elsewhere on that flank by the combined effects of the British lights and a 6pdr enfilading their line. The rebels were unable to exploit the British withdrawal so that was that.
Turn 6 saw the now reinforced Hessians drive off more rebels and this resulted in the two brigades facing them being broken. As there were only three rebel brigades this meant that the game was over. Had the Hessians not performed so well the rebels would certainly have won. The British had a very bad day, although their brigadier was rated poor so no wonder they didn't really get moving.
Verdict - an interesting game and probably more so than I can translate into words. I got my Hessians onto the table for the first time and quite enjoyed the time spent away from Christmas TV and the dog!
Hopefully, 2012 will be a better one for wargaming. That is certainly one of my new year resolutions. Another is to actually try and finish the last of my SYW Russians!