Tuesday 31 March 2020

American War of Independence: Kirkwood's Lights

As for the most part I work from home anyway, life for me is pretty much BAU although SWMBO is now working from home as well so I best put some trousers on when wandering around the house in case she's on a video call!

However being good and respecting the lock down (and to try and keep my sanity) I have started painting some of Lead Mountain again - including some much needed Perry Miniatures Light Infantry for my Patriot army...

As previously stated my American force is based on that at Guilford Courthouse in 1781 so a quick peruse of the Order of Battle shows two regular light infantry units there, Lee's Legion and Kirkwood's Lights. The plan is to do both, but I decided to start with Kirkwood's Delaware Lights with their distinctive yellow trimmed tricorns. Uniform wise a majority wore hunting shirts and whilst initially I planned to have mixed unit in blue uniform coats and shirts, in the end I decided to go with all twelve wearing hunting shirts as with my dip approach, it was quicker to get them done.

Some accounts say that the unit's trousers soon wore out and replacement overalls were made from bed ticking (a durable cotton or linen fabric) which, given some ticking from the period was stripped, has led to the assumption that Kirkwood's Lights should have blue and white stripped overall trousers. I did think about having a crack at this with some but given there is no evidence that this was the case and it was a lot of faff, I decided to go with plain overalls. I don't think they look any the worse for not having stripped overalls...

Monday 30 March 2020

Rebels and Patriots: First Clash O'er Ms Anna Strong...

One quick and fun scenarios in Rebels and Patriots is the first scenario in the book, First Clash at Lament Ridge and we decided to play that down BIG with famous American spy Ms Anna Strong being the objective atop of the central hill. Essentially the scenario is a straight forward contact one with added interest of an objective that players try to have gain unopposed control over to gain Honour points.

The American army was quite a bit larger than the British, but the quality of the British units was generally better.

The British army was feeling a bit sleepy with a number of units declining to move forward whilst the Americans were clearly up to rescue the patriot lady!

The Americans stormed up the hill pumping fire into the 1st Lights who became Disordered. The 23rd Welch Fusiliers hid in a wood and opened fire on the advancing 2nd Maryland...

The Fusiliers inflicted one casualty on the Marylanders who, following some typically awful dice rolling by me became Disordered. George pounced and charged his British Legion cavalry into the 2nd Maryland!

Fighting at half effectiveness as Disordered against Charging cavalry saw the Marlylanders disintegrate and rout, leaving a large hole in the American left flank!

The Cavalry then took on the Virginian militia who having suffered casualties from the Welch were Broken, but amazingly (given they were also Timid) they fought off the Legion cavalry charge not once, but twice before heading home to the Blue Ridge Mountains to sing songs of their valour!

Meanwhile on the hill the 71st Highlanders stormed into a unit of North Carolina Militia...

...whilst the 1st Maryland Disordered the advancing 33rd Foot.

Unsurprisingly the North Carolina militia did not hold up well against the Highland Shock Infantry...

...who swept them away as they Followed Up their initial Charge!

The left flank of the American army had completely disintegrated at this point...

But hold on the brave 1st Maryland are still on the field of battle and they attacked the 71st, killing five and Disordering them! Strong Deeds from the boys of the Old Line State indeed.

However they are soon under attack from the 1st Lights and 33rd...

...who inflict a number of casualties. The brave Maryland boys hold firm though and a unit of Virginian rifle Skmishers pepper the 33rd Foot, forcing them back and inflicting a Disorder marker on the Lobsterbacks. To the rear the British Legion cavalry run away to safety after becoming Disordered having tried to charge the 1st Continental Artillery!

Whilst their left flank had gone, was it possible for the remaining American forces to resist the British assault and save Ms Anna Strong?

Sadly not. The 71st Highlanders having taken pause at being pushed off the hill by the 1st Marylanders, charged back up inflicting a Disorder marker on them...

...and Following Up the Charge with another assault forcing them from the field of combat.

The resultant Morale checks saw one unit of Virginia Skirmishers rout and the remaining North Carolina Militia to become Broken.

A final round of musket fire cleared the hill of any remaining Americans and the British, somewhat bloodied and battered, captured Ms Anna Strong!

Whilst another British victory for some time it did seem that the battle could go either way, especially when the 1st Maryland had pushed back the 71st Highlanders. If only the 2nd Maryland had not broken when charged by the British Legion they would have been in an ideal position to pour musket fire into the Disordered Scots!

George's use of cavalry was exemplary and showed that they could be effective and not just run around the board aimlessly as they do when I employ them. My key mistake, I think, was not keeping the 2nd Maryland back as a reserve. The Militia units are not going to last long in hand to hand combat with British regulars so I need to preserve as many Continental units to follow up the sacrifice  of the Militia speed-bumps.

Wednesday 25 March 2020

Rebels and Patriots: It's a Long Way to Hannah's Cowpens...

Sadly Bristol Independent Gaming has had to close down for the duration, thankfully though they have an eBay shop, and I still have a few battle reports left to write up! :-)

One scenario George and I hadn't played from Rebels and Patriots was A Long Way From Home, which has one force marching home after a successful scouting mission only to be ambushed by a smaller enemy. We played the scenario twice in one evening and as the second game was more interesting than the first I'll report back on that encounter first...

After whooping Banastre Tarleton and the British army at Cowpens the rebel forces are marching back unaware the lobster backs have their route to camp under observation and ready to spring an ambush!

The victorious Americans march along the road heartily singing The Liberty Song... "Come, join hand in hand, brave Americans all..."

At the fore of the column the 1st and 2nd Maryland Continentals are marching too slowly for the Militia, keen to get back to camp and some vittles!

Ahead, is that a flash of red in the woods?

Ambush! Musket fire from the woods and a brave Marylander falls. The Americans spread out to confront the redcoats not hiding very well in the green trees!

British skirmishers shoot at the advancing American column.

The fire from the skirmishers either side of the road and a unit of British light infantry inflict Disorder markers on the Continental line and Militia.

The 1st Maryland charge the skirmishers in the woods to their front rolling a double six. Checking the  appropriate table the Continentals gain an Honour point.

The 1st Maryland force the British skirmishers out of the woods!

Meanwhile the Militia try to take the fight to the skirmishers and light infantry in the woods to their front taking Disorder markers in the process...

A volley of musket fire from 1st Light Infantry battalion...

..breaks one of the advancing Militia units who flee the field. As you can see my dice rolling is as good as ever!

The American army was now spread rather disjointedly across the line of advance with two units Disordered and another struggling through woodland at half movement.

The Lights then follow that up by charging the other Militia unit which as it is Disordered reduced their effectiveness by half - and given their Timid rating that already was half as good as the British in Melee anyway! The end result wasn't as predictable as expected but the Militia were forced back but now with two Disorder markers are now Broken...

The 2nd Maryland then tried to save their comrades by charging the Lights but they too being Disordered are not as effective as they would normally be...

The Lights successfully Evade the Charge and firing at the 2nd Maryland inflict an additional Disorder marker on it so it too became Broken.

Both units now had to take a Morale check and rather predictably both failed and Routed!

Eventually 2/3 of the 1st Maryland reaches safety but it has been a resounding victory for the British with three units routed and one mauled!

Although a decisive victory for the British the game had for some time been quite tense, the rapid collapse of Militia whilst not unexpected, eventually tipping things dramatically in George's favour.

Before this we did try the scenario out with a flying British column of light cavalry and light infantry and trying to stop them with regular American forces.

My normal army was not really suited to this scenario with lots of Regular Infantry (which includes Militia) who move at 2/3 the rate of the British Lights so given the initial dispositions of the army it was going to be hard to catch them.

Banastre Tarleton tried to lead his infamous Britsih Legion cavalry to safety, supported by the 1st Light Battalion.

The Americans found it hard to intercept the British, not helped by the lackadaisical Militia who couldn't be bothered to march at pace.

The Skirmishers though were more up for a scrap and one group got ahead of the British with another moving on the British rear.

The 2nd Lights found themselves under fire from two units of Maryland Continentals on their right flank taking losses and gaining a Disorder marker. The Legion cavalry charged into the wood to dislodge the American skirmishers who Evaded their charge...

,,,and take one of the hated horseman down, albeit at the cost of one of their own.

The Legion cavalry took the opportunity to Follow Up and routed the Skirmishers, but this move took them into range of the (slowly) advancing Militia who blasted them with accurate musket fire, killing another three - Tarleton then routing from the table!

Unfortunately the loss of their leader didn't affect the British Lights (they didn't like Tarleton that much either it seems) and they continued their march to safety.

Another unit of Skirmishers took pot shots at the British infantry...

But they soon marched out of range and reached safety.

Whilst not as intense as the other game, largely down to the bulk of the Americans not being able to keep pace with the British,  it was still fun, especially when the British Legion charge took them into the Militia musket range.

Another two defeats for my Americans which seems historically right given Nathanael Greene's quote of "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again”! :-) but a lot of fun - I clearly need to get my Dragoons painted up and recruit some Light Infantry - Lee's Legion anyone?

Monday 16 March 2020

Rebels and Patriots: Blood on the Black River

Whereas The Men Who Would Be Kings and Lion Rampant include several vanilla scenarios that can be played several times, Rebels and Patriots is different in that it includes some more specific flavoursome ones that might not have huge regular refight value, but can provide a fun night of gaming, ones like The Great River Chase.

In the scenario the defender has three rafts with supplies which must be move down the river to safety whilst under attack. Hopefully some reinforcements will turn up to distract the attackers and allow the rafts to reach safety...

Movement for the rafts was random and could see them hitting the banks, or each other causing damage.

As the rafts approached a narrow section of the river they cam under fire from a unit of Matt's American militia on the river bank.

Not that they hit one of the British rafters - or did anything the rest of the game!

As the rafts approached the narrows, one raft rammed another, causing itself some damage.

The raft crew returned fire Disordering a unit of attacking Continental Line!

The fighting roused Steve's sleepy Hessians who began to march to the sound of the guns!

Back at the narrows one of the rafts sinks as another pushes on through... 

At this stage we realised that we had not correctly crewed the rafts to reflect we were using larger forces than the scenario outline, so a couple more crew per raft suddenly appeared!.

To be attacked by a tribe of native Indians. In a flurry of tomahawks and war-cries they kill most of the crew but fail to capture the raft!

The second raft follows the first, now down to just one crew member, through the narrows taking damage from the Indians and more Militia in the woods!

Despite the casualties and damage, the remaining British rafts moved on towards safety, with the Hessians moving up to give them covering fire...

The Militia in the wood open up on the nearest raft, reducing its crew complement further...

A turn later the two damaged rafts sailed past the Hessian Jägers and out of range of the American fire.

All that could stop success for the British now was one of the rafts accidentally ramming the other, causing more damage and sinking one or both...

Fortunately for the British, their movement rolls avoided any collision and the two damaged and largely de-crewed rafts reached safety!

As I said at the start I'm not sure The Great River Chase has a lot of repeat gaming value, but it was a lot of light hearted fun and I'm sure we will give it another spin on future occasions. It might also make for an interesting scenario set in a different gaming period, maybe escaping revolting natives in a Colonial war?