Saturday, 22 August 2020

Sharp Practice: With Zeal and Bayonets at Watson's Farm

Over the last few week's Andy and I had noted a pattern in our Sharp Practice games in that the attacker found it hard to carry the day against the defender in the rulebook scenarios we'd played. This week we decided to play the Attack an Objective one from the rulebook, but restrict the defender to 66 points with the attacker having 80. As I had been defending of late, this week the Patriots went on the offensive!

The objective here was the farm building (also the British deployment point) with the main Patriot deployment in the orchard across the road, the Americans also having a mobile deployment point which started by a tree in the middle half of the board (eventually reaching the road junction).

Lieutenant Haddock deployed three groups of British Line in front of the objective, with Sergeant Wakefield helping keep the redcoats in line.

Captain Pollack led two groups of Continental Line onto the field of battle, supported by a group of Militia Skirmishers under the command of Corporal Rowsick.

Rowsick's boys adopted a 'shoot and scoot' tactic, inflicting some Shock on the British.

This led Andy to be more aggressive and Haddock ordered his Line infantry to advance across the road and engage the Americans.

Both the British and American Line opened fire with the Americans coming off worse, taking Shock, losing two men and Captain Pollack being wounded reducing his command ability for the rest of the game! :-(

Meanwhile Andy deployed two groups of Light Infantry Skirmishers under the command of Ensign Balham to protect his left flank.

Cunningly (or so I thought) I deployed a group of Continental Light Skirmishers, commanded by Corporal Horowitz and armed with rifles for the extended range, in a small copse to the British Skirmishers left.

Opening fire they knocked Ensign Balham to the ground and inflicted some Shock on the British Skirmishers...

Despite their leader being temporarily hors de combat the British Light returned fire...

Inflicting Shock on the American Light Skirmishers and wounding Corporal Horowitz! 

This was a dismal result for me as with Horowitz only being a Level 1 leader, it meant now he could not normally issue orders and I had to rely on spending any Flag tokens that might be drawn...

Sergeant Dorfman with two units of Militia then arrived on the scene and began shooting at the British Skirmishers with uncontrolled volleys...

Unfortunately being a Militia NCO the Continental Lights would not take orders from Sergeant Dorfman and with token draws leaving Horowitz's boys and their useful rifles not doing anything, I deployed Lieutenant Kraslow with his Lee's Legion Light Infantry in Line nearby so I could bring the Skirmishers under control. 

This wasn't part of the original plan!

Sergeant Banger and his Royal Artillery group then deployed their Light Artillery piece to face the threat on the British left flank.

Kraslow advanced Lee's Legion towards the British Skirmishers in an attempt to turn the British flank, taking some Shock in the process...

Snapping into Line the Legion opened fire on the British Skirmishers...

Knocking the unfortunate Ensign Balham to the ground once again and inflicting much Shock on his formation.

One group broke and fled across the field of battle... The Force Morale of both sides had being gradually falling during the battle but this incident saw the British Force Morale drop into the danger zone with Andy losing a Flag from subsequent turns.

Sergeant Banger opened fire at the American militia inflicting some Shock on them but no casualties.

Meanwhile back in the orchard further rounds of musketry against the British Line had seen Captain Pollack's Continental Line suffer more casualties and take a lot more Shock.

Pollack combined both groups into one and made an effort to reduce their Shock to try and make them a useful component of the Patriot army again.

I later realised I'd possibly missed a trick here as over the last few turns Corporal Rowsick's Skirmishers had been sniping at the British Line and Cannon when they could have made a dash in the dead ground between the British units towards the objective. I'm not sure they would have made it but it was an opportunity missed...

Moving the newly combined Continental Line group out of the direct line of fire of the British Line suddenly exposed the American Deployment point and Lieutenant Haddock detached one group under Sergeant Wakefield to try and seize it whilst he continued to hunt down the Americans in the orchard...

Captain Pollack decided to go for broke charging his weak group of Continental Line in at the British...

Whilst challenging Lieutenant Haddock to a duel! Three rounds of sword play, both leaders withdrew with honour, the British officer rather more bloodied than the American!

That did not stop the British line despatching the Continentals with some fine bayonet work causing the American Force Morale to plummet!

On the left flank the British Skirmishers were being forced back but still kept up fire on the advancing Lee's Legion and inflict odd points of Shock on them slowing them down.

Sergeant Banger's cannon, loaded with grapeshot, then plunged fire into the Patriot Light troops inflicting more Shock and a couple of casualties.

Spotting that the objective was within reach, Lieutenant Kraslow split his formation, ordering one group to rush the farm building and the other engage Banger's cannon. Unfortunately the Shock the Legion had taken restricted their move distance and both groups came up short...

Back in the orchard, Sergeant Wakefield captured the American Deployment Point leading to the Patriot Force Morale to drop to just 3, the same as the British!

Lieutenant Haddock then saw the opportunity for glory, charging in on Rowsick's Skirmishers (who Captain Pollack had now attached himself to). 

One round of fisticuffs later and the American Skirmishers were either dead or routed and Captain Pollack had been captured! Two rolls on the Bad Things Happen table arising from this saw the American Force Morale fell below zero, the British had won the day!

As Andy said, that was a close run thing, and it was... Right up to the final turn the battle could have gone either way and I was left rueing a couple of missed opportunities and having had to deploy Lee's Legion on the flank (the initial plan was for the Militia and Continental Skirmishers to take the British flank and the Legion to take out the British Line after the Continental Line has weakened them). 

Never mind, a hugely enjoyable game and vengeance is always possible on the tabletop the following week...

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