Friday, 26 October 2012

The Battle of Hawk River – Part 1

The battle finally got underway on Wednesday night and fortunately Dave brought a newly made bridge with him to give us an objective to fight over. I deployed the Americans in and around Chesterfield while Dave marched the British on to the table from the northeast.

The British are coming!

 The Americans prepare to defend hearth and home.

For some reason we both managed to under-estimate the speed at which our units would move. I advanced my Militia too quickly north along the road towards Parson’s Wood where they deployed in the open rather than behind the rail fence as I had intended. Dave however made a far bigger blunder by bringing Major Dawson’s squadron of dragoons forward in column so rapidly that they ran into a hail of rifle fire from the Chesterfield Minutemen.

 Don't fire 'till you see the whites of their eyes boys!

After our previous rule play-test we had decided to make Minutemen more effective by allowing them a 3,4,5,6 to hit at any range up to 15 inches but I don’t think Dave had reckoned on me also using the rail fence to “rest weapons” meaning that only a die roll of “1” would fail to score a hit! As the saddles were emptied Major Dawson ordered the survivors to dismount, but a volley from a second group of Minutemen in the South Meadow knocked down every one of them.

 "It was like shootin' fish in a barrel!" - Ebenezer Howard, Chesterfield Minutemen.

In his official report to Major General Grey, Major Dawson later wrote: " We came on apace, and seeing the south meadow dotted about with various scoundrels and ragamuffins I determined that the mounted application of the sabre would put a swift end to their nonsense. However, the grenadiers to our right and a rail fence to our left inhibited easy manoeuvre, allowing those same scoundrels to pour a most galling and accurate fire into our flank, being now close upon us. This persuaded me to dismount my men after all, which was done in some confusion. Although we skirmished gamely, we were seriously outnumbered and in the space of scarcely ten minutes I found I had lost some fifteen troopers and was forced to retire ignominiously from the field with my command in ruins. "

 Major Dawson and the lads, just before it all went pear shaped.

While the Dragoons and Minutemen were still fighting by the South Meadow, the 6th Pennsylvania and the Militia were deploying into line to oppose the advance of the British Grenadier battalion. The British were looking confident but as the first volleys rang out it was they who came off the worst, mainly because the supporting 17th Foot were out of range, and my Americans could bring a greater number of muskets to bear. Dave then ordered the Grenadiers to “fix bayonets” prompting me to test the morale of both my units, but even the Militia passed this test of nerves!

The battle lines deploy.

The British grenadiers doing some more tow, row, rowing.

 An impressive first volley from the Americans.

Meanwhile Dave had been steadily marching the 44th Foot through Parson’s Wood in an attempt to out-flank my line. This was made possible because the 44th were in possession of several “quick march” command options (diced for at the start of the game before deployment) enabling a relatively fast progress through the undergrowth.

 The 44th Foot emerge from Parson's Wood.

Finally, Colonel Halkett emerged from the forest at the head of his regiment and his light company began skirmishing with my Minutemen. It was at this point that Captain Smallwood, in charge of my section of artillery (placed on the high ground behind Hawk River) fired off their first ranging shots. The balls bounded across the field taking out two men in the column and parting the poor Colonel permanently from his horse!

Just before the lucky shot.

The 9th Pennsylvania prepare to shore up the American left flank.

A very entertaining first session (well, for me at least), however I fear I may not do so well next time as the British infantry are looking more than a little annoyed and no doubt intend to get to grips with the bayonet soon.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Hawk River - Terrain

Ok you eagle-eyes out there, which bit of terrain have I just discovered that we don't seem to have?

Sunday, 21 October 2012

AWI British Commanders

Another bit of re-fitting, this time a make over of the British command figures in the same style as the American command base I did some years ago. This involved me painting one extra General (the one in the middle).

The figures are all from the personality packs by Frei Korps 15. The new addition is actually General Gates I think, but I liked him as he is reading a map (useful when you're an invader) so he has switched sides.

The British command group seen reconnoitring here, represent Brigadier Grey and his staff. They are the advance guard of General Howe's force and have been ordered to seize the bridge over the Hawk River at Chesterfield.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

AWI play test (part 3)

We finished the play test this week, although once again we only managed to play a single three-phase turn. This was mainly because we spent a fair bit of time discussing and agreeing various rule amendments, which was after all the point of the exercise.

The British artillery did some deadly execution with their 6 pdrs.

If you remember, my left flank was coming under pressure from Dave’s Hessian’s who soon forced back my French and Militia units. The French only had one morale point at the start of the game and the sight of the advancing Musketeer Regiment Prinz Carl precipitated an undignified retreat. The Massachusetts Militia on the other hand at least managed to exchange a volley with the Hessian Grenadiers before withdrawing.

The Musketeer Regiment Prinz Carl did well on their first ever outing.

In the middle of the field and on my right flank things were a bit more interesting and we ended up fighting two separate melees. Seeing that the Kings Royal Regiment of New York was flanking them, my 1st Philadelphia Associators chose to advance towards the British Grenadiers to their front. This proved to be a mistake as a series of poor morale throws (and the loss of their Major) prevented them from making a charge move. The loyalists then charged home and the outcome of the resulting melee was never in any doubt.

Some talk of Alexander, and some of Hercules
Of Hector and Lysander, and such great names as these...

But of all the worlds great heroes, there's none that can compare
With a tow, row, row, row, row, row, to the British Grenadiers!

The Philadelphia Associators are well and truly flanked.

 The American artillery is armed with less effective 3 pdrs.

Meanwhile my Carolina Regiment was ordered to fix bayonets and charge the 23rd Foot, a bold move I thought and one that I felt the British didn’t take very seriously as a threat. Although outnumbered, they actually won the first phase of melee mainly because Dave had not ordered his men to fix bayonets. However, the second phase saw the British take the upper hand and had we played on I’m sure the Carolina boys would have soon broken.

The Carolina boys go in with the bayonet!

The Delaware Regiment take advantage of a rail fence to rest their weapons but don't get a chance to fire with the +1 bonus this gives.

And that’s where the fighting ended, a convincing win for King George and his lackeys with three of my six infantry units in full retreat. As a play test it was very valuable and we think that the amended set of rules is now ready for use in a proper scenario.