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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Well, that was a surprise.

The Americans won!

Two brigades of American regulars, one of which was freshly raised and of dubious ability, supported by a mixed brigade of regulars and militia faced off against a British army based around two regular battalions supported by various militia units and Indians.

I got of expected it to be a Chrysler's Farm refight, but fate conspired against the British.

Well, that and their choice of tactics.

On the first turn the British center brigade composed of the 41st Foot, supported by Upper Canadian militia, charged the American militia brigade in the Yankee right flank.  The British commander rolled a triple move, which brought them crashing through an evading line of American riflemen and into contact with a militia battalion and a converged battalion of regulars.  The American militia, being freshly raised, rolled to see their reaction, their fire was panicked.  The regulars inflicted on hit on a Canadian militia unit, but the melee was on.  And on.  And on.  By the miracle of rolling box cars for their morale, the American militia held on to the hill.  Eventually, after about three turns, they broke, and the provisional battalion was forced to fall back, but the British were at Stamina and not going anywhere.  A charge at one point by a small unit of American Light Dragoons put the wind up the British players, but did not accomplish anything.  The two militia units flanking the 41st were broken by the Americans, and eventually the regular battalion had to retire, followed up by American lights.

As for the other flanks, the poor player commanding the British right never made a command roll.  His force of Indians and Canadian Voltiguers sulked in a wooded area for most of the game, and a detachment of Glengarry Light Infantry that was in the open simply got destroyed by American artillery fire.

Not that the Americans facing him accomplished much, again due to bad die rolls. The 22nd Infantry eventually advanced on the British, but the supporting 17th Infantry veered off to the left.  Which, consdiering they were freshly raised and wavering may have been for the best.  But it was their artillery section which doomed the Glengarrys.

The British left wing also played a minimal role in the battle.  Deployed way off to the left to counter an imaginary American move, the 8th Foot and its accompaning artillery section needed to make a huge shift to get into action.  Considering that the British were informed that these were their heavy hitters, I have no idea why they were deployed the way they were.  Eventually the center companies and Armstrong's guns got into action, with the flank companys lagging behind.  It was pretty obvious once they got into action how deadly they were, Armstrong blasted the 1st Infantry with cannister, forcing a break test.  The Americans survived but fell back, and the 13th Infantry ended up in a firefight with the center companies of the 8th Foot.  However, since the British right was not moving, American riflemen worked around the flank of the gun and US artillery provided counter battery fire.  With Armstrong disrupted, the center companies disrupted, the left brigade shattered and the right brigade soon shattered after the Voltigeurs finally moved, only to take the place of the Glengarry's and suffer the same fate, it was decreed an American victory.

Looking back on the battle, the Americans didn't do anything spectacularly right, but they didn't do anything to screw up.  The British on the other hand...  Their best brigade was deployed to far to the flank, with their only artillery.  If the artillery had been centered it could have taken the advancing Americans under fire and possibly broken a battalion or two before contact, as the US army was pretty freshly raised.  Likewise, the firepower of the 8th would have been awesome.  Additionally, the charge by the center brigade was questionable at best.  I understand the thinking that a quick bayonet charge would overwhelm the militia, but they could have used a softening up.

Once I get some pictures uploaded to my computer, I'll post!

Monday, June 18, 2012

200 Tonight

Well, tonight is our first War of 1812 game, and the first time we are playing Black Powder in 25mm.  Should be interesting to see how the crew reacts with longer ranges and movement.  The table is going to shrink considerably.  (in fact I am thinking of going to 2/3rds distance instead of the half we use with 15s.)  And it was a weekend of disaster getting ready.  I had a bad dullcoat event that not fogged up figures, but actually sprayed a battalion white.  (well, from the front)  I know not to use the stuff in high humidity, so I sprayed in an air conditioned area and it still went wrong.

Updates later this week!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The 200th....continued

Well, I think I have my order of battle set up for next Monday's game.  The one that is honor of the 200th Anniversary of the start of the War of 1812.  Seeing as how its not the anniversary of an actual battle I'm not too concerned about doing an actual refight.  Although some of those are planned, as well as going to the reenactment of Queenston Heights we will be playing it this October...

Instead gentle reader, I am going with a generic kind of a game set somewhere around Detroit.  The American army is going to actually be a mix of units from both Hull's and Harrison's armies, hey, its whats ready to go.  The British will have my Brock figure in command.  This will be the first time our club plays Black Powder in 25mm so the movement and firing should throw people off.  Also, the armies are going to be small, most of the guys will be commanding 2-3 units with a couple of larger brigades composed of smaller militia units.  Since there will be less units on the tabletop, almost every unit in the order of battle has some special rule assigned to it, one of the American brigades is completely Freshly Raised with one battalion also being tagged as Wavering.

The Indians are going to be the rough point, as they will have both warband and skirmish qualities.  For the curious, Conquest Miniatures has, in their "500 Nations" line, a really nice personality figure for both Tecumseh and Black Hawk.  I don't think Tecumseh will come out this game, but perhaps.

I really have to tip my hat to Knuckleduster Miniatures for re-stoking my interest in playing the War of 1812.  After I finish off a couple of more units I may have to pick up some of their new Maryland Militia.  The 200th anniversaries of Bladensburg and North Point are still a couple of years off, but at the speed I paint I'll be lucky to have them done in time provided I start last week!

Oh! The huge manatees!

While digging out my 25/28mm War of 1812 stuff, which had suffered a storage diaspora, I came across all my Seminole War stuff.  Most of it unpainted, except for about 20 Seminoles....who could double as Creeks.  Not only that, but the US Army during the First Seminole War looks incredibly like the late war army from the 1812 conflict.  Ergo...must work up rules for fighting in swamps.

Wargamers: WTF?

As much as I love the guys I game with, there are times I just want to line them up along the back wall of the bar and shoot them.  Two freaking disasters in three weeks due to a simple inability to step away from the hyper competiveness one finds in too many tournament players.

On Memorial Day I attempted to playtest an incomplete set of rules I was working on.  No artillery was to be used, straight up infantry fight in the Central Highlands of Vietnam.  Ahistorical, as the Americans had their hands tied, but I told everyone I wanted to see how the small arms rules looked.  So, despite being given more than adequate concealment and BEAUTIFUL fields of fire, the VC players insisted on hiding deep inside of terrain features where the Americans would have to dig them out.  Which of course would have never happened without preperatory fire.  So, I found out some of the assault rules worked, and it was a fiasco attacking unsuppressed troops.  As it should be.  As for the actual firefight aspect, I have no idea.  Less than a dozen die rolls for fire where made, mostly long range suppresive bursts by US M60s.

Lesson learned, I'm not bothering to do anything new and innovative with the group, as too many individuals can only think in terms of the immediate win.

Last night slightly different story.  We ran a Seven Years War game that featured a completely cavalry army vs a  mostly cavalry army.  The idea was to replicate that part of Kolin where the Austrians launched a cavalry attack to try to take the Prussians in the flank.  So, the Austrians had to move across the board on an angle, overwhelm two small Prussian infantry brigades and exit the field with most of their force intact, which was their instructions.  Prussian cavalry would emerge and try to disrupt the Austrian advance.  I specifically asked the Austrians not to simply block one gap so that we could have a flowing game.

Instead the two Prussian infantry brigades stopped the small force of Austrian cavalry sent against them and the bulk of the Austrians crammed into the one gap and a grinding battle against inferior Prussian cavalry ensued.  The Austrians destroyed the Prussian cavalry brigades, as was inevitable given the numbers but were SHOCKED that they lost the game.  (oddly enough in between these two games we played an ACW game where one of the Confederates complained, mildly, that the two sides were uneven.  Duh.  If you are attacking a force your size something went wrong)

I just wish more gamers would play the scenario/period rather than worry about tournament style wins.  It would make the hobby so much more enjoyable.  And perhaps I'm being a curmudgeon, but after 43 years of wargaming I'm just getting tired of dumb table top behavior.