Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Guilford Courthouse C&G II August 2012

Guilford Courthouse AWI using Carnage and Glory II at the Hobby Bunker, Malden, MA August 19, 2012 as part of Boston Trained Bands Games Day.  Rob Walters of Eureka USA was our game master and Rob did an outstanding job with the terrain and figures, as you will see.  Steve Umbrell and I commanded the Americans under Nathaniel Greene and Adam Carnegie and Rich Wallace presided over the British forces of Cornwallis.
Adam and Rich review the initial British dispositions while I ponder the prospect of commanding militia against British Regulars.  ( I would take the US troops to the right of the road and Steve would take those on the left).
Steve is much happier reviewing the Continental Regulars which form our last line of defense at the far side of the woods. 

The initial line of US troops with two units each of militia on the fence rails supported on each flank by rifle armed troops (on the US left flank its Lee's Legion and a unit of rifles and on the right its the Delawares (B grade) and a rifle unit) and cavalry (Lee's cavalry on the left and Washington's horse on the right).  Two six pounders point down the road toward the oncoming British troops. 
The view from behind the British left center across the fields toward the US militia and guns.
A better picture, taken by Michael Paine, shows the British as they begin their advance across the fields toward the US lines.  The two US Rifle armed units closest to the militia are facing toward the fields to support their colleagues in their time of need. Nice terrain!

Adam and Rich advance their forces toward the militia. 

Rich chargeshis troops up to the fence, Rob has programmed the British to be in extended order, which gives them a wider frontage and play balances the scenario a bit.  He had intended to set the US Army morale at 65% instead of the usual 75% as an additional play balance technique.  More on that later.
I have withdrawn my rifles and light horse on the first turn, leaving my militia and the Delawares to face Hessian Jagers, a unit of converged grenadiers and lights, and two British line battalions.  The red limit of charge markers (Litko) indicate the limit of charge.  I wisely choose not to attach my leader to the militia. 
Steve, not having the same amount of C&G II experience as the rest of us, on the other hand, has attached his general.On his far left flank the Hessian Regulars have yet to reach the first fence and are lagging far behind.  This leaves his rifle and Lee's Legion troops unmolested by the initial advance.
Charge results are unfavorable to the Americans.  Militia don't like being charged by cold steel wielded by screaming Scottsmen and other unsavory types. 
My horse wending their way through the woods hear the clash of steel and muffled nose of muskets in their rear.
Our guns decide its better to limber and leave than be captured by Cornwallis.
The limbered Continental artillery can be seen on the road (facing away from the British to signify their limbered status).  I have rallied one of my militia units.  The others have dispersed having been caught by the British charge after failing to retreat a sufficient distance after failing to stand before their charge. Visibility is liimited to 75 paces in the woods. My Delaware and militia unit are beginning what they hope will be a long slow delaying action as they withdraw toward their rear supports. 
Our game master contemplates the situation as the British surge forward and Steve and I practice the Yankee two-step retrograde version. 
The British advance though the woods on their right flank as Steve continues to fall back.  Where are our supports?
The Continental Artillery continue their withdrawal.  We will position them along the fence between the infantry and Lee's repositioned horse. 
The confused fighting in the woods.  My rifles and the Delawares keeping one step ahead of the Hessians and Converged Grenadiers and Lights. 
Until the British run into our supports, four units of former Continentals who have re-enlisted as militia.  Our troops are revealed when the British come within 75 paces.  We greet them with devasting volleys all along the line. except with my units nearest the road (the one adjacent to the road is my rallied Carolina militia unit - the only member of the front line militia still in the game.)
Adams Hessians have abandoned any thought of advancing through the woods.  They formed column and are at last deployed on the road, following the British guns.  After the initial volley Rich's unit of Converged Grenadiers and Lights has received a shaken marker.  I am busy deciding which unit will charge them. 

Another shot of the jumble in the woodlands. 

My tan coated Virginias charge the Converged Grenadiers and Lights and can fire at full effect before tangling with them.  My Delaware troops fire on the Hessian Jagers once again.  The Blue Coated Virginians and the Carolina Militia fire away as well.

Adam and Rich continue to bring up their second line to support the troops who have stumbled upon the US second line. 
My victorious Virginians are on the right of the picture, chasing off the target of their charge who happily disperse.  I am unable to keep  my boys from tearing off after them for the time being, so I only advance another 25 paces in my 'pursuit'.  The Delawares and rifles continue to fire away at the jagers and line troops.  Rich prepares to charge the blue coated Virginians.  Bob tells us that the confusion and jumbled lines in the woods is reflective of the actual battle.

Rich sends the Blue coated Virginians packing. 

Steve has manuvered Lee's rifles onto the flank of Adam's right most unit.  Steve attempts to close with both the rifles (they have been shooting flank shots for a turn or so) and his tan coated ex continential unit.

Adam's flanked unit falls back to avoid the charge.  This leaves a victorious Continental unit on his remaining units flank in the woods. 

Wainwright's British advance in pursuit of the Blue Coated Virginians who are skeedadaling from the board. I position my Delaware units to their rear and move my horse up hoping to force them to surrender.  Rich has stopped the British 75 paces from the edge of the woods, so I can neither see nor shoot them. 
I advance my Continentals toward Wainwright's British troops and attach a general to my Delaware unit in order to charge his rear.  Other British have advance to keep pace with him and my rifles and tan coated Virginias are dancing with their counterparts, the jagers and British line battalion, in the woods.
Adam's troops have recovered and are slowly advancing toward Steve's open flank.  He has three units arrayed against one battalion of British, but everyone is quickly tiring from their slog in the woods.

Wainwright's troops stand and engage the tired Delaware boys in melee.  We send them packing.  The only place they can retreat (away from the enemy) is in front of their colleagues along the stone wall bordering the woods.
Which is where my two fresh Continental Infantry charge them.  My Delaware boys no longer are interested in action, so I cannot squeeze the Brits between two forces.  My tan coated Virginians stand off against the jagers and the other British battalion which is equally disinclined to advance toward its opposition.  At the end of this turn the American forces fell below 75% morale giving a victory to the British.  If Rob had been able to preset the morale at 65% we might have been able to change things up a bit. As it was, a well fought victory was achieved by Rich and Adam. 
And our game master received an award for best event of the time slot!  Well done Bob.  It was a really fun game that went down to the last turn.  Bravo to Bob for his fabulous Eureka 28 mm troops and terrain and to Rich, Adam and Steve for locking horns to do Battle at Guilford Courthouse. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Steenkerque 1692 French Vs. the Grand Alliance

Steenkerque 1692 French Vs. the Grand Alliance
The Grand Alliance has stolen a March on the French.  The Dutch, Danes and British have moved through what the French had assumed to be impassable terrain and emerged at the rear of the French camp after a tiring early morning March.  The French rear area troops have spent the morning staring across the fields at the Allies and constructing hasty works whilst being shelled at a distance.  Orders have gone out to get more troops to counter this bold stroke.  Its noon and the action (under the able direction of game master Greg Symko using Carnage and Glory computer moderated rules) is about to begin.  Victory conditions involve holding the camp at the end of the game and inflicting casualties upon the enemy.  The camp and hasty works can be seen below.
The French center deployed above and the French right flank deployed to the right - two regiments each of pike and shot.
The French left flank with dismounted dragoons in the woods to the rear of the hasty works.

Here come the Grand Alliance.  Their right flank about to begin their advance.The troops are all shot. (no pike) 
Two units of pike and shot along with a single stand of Grenadiers.  The later were to prove particularly troublesome to the French. 
Another (Dutch) two units of pike and shot and a Grenadier unit.  The Grand Alliance had more commanders and this proved to be a great advantage. (I'm already making excuses).
The Alliance Commander and one of his two batteries.  In this day and age one sets their batteries and leaves them alone.  How I wish I remembered my own advice - as we shall see.
More of Greg Symko's beautifully painted troops on review prior to the openning act of our drama.

The Grand Alliance moves forward to engage the French. Their cannon lob shots at the French behind their works.  The two small French artillery pieces are deployed to the left of the hasty works.  The camp (objective) can be see in the center rear.  I was commanding the left flank of the French, Rich took the right (anything to the right of the camp - we split the center troops with me taking half and Rich half.)

Rich's troops watch while the Grand Alliance troops deliberately move forward at a slow pace, pinning him in position.  Troops tire in this game and the more you have them do, the more exhaustion they suffer.  Sitting in place and waiting for your enemy to tire themselves out through manuvere is a consideration. 

The action is taking place on the French left flank.  I have moved one of the center units to support the dragoons.  I keep my left-most dragoon unit stationary and move my other a short distance forward to blast the approaching Allied hordes.  They move up to the hasty works but not over. I blast the Allies right most unit, a Grenadier stand with my dragoons and cause heavy casualties.  Not knowing the size of the unit (I am assuming its a small stand so its a small unit), I decide to charge it during my next turn, if the dragoons are willing and the computer gods allow. My artillery have also punished the advancing blue flagged pike and shot unit which is lagging behind. Rich has sent the second black flagged French infantry (pike and shot) unit to bolster the defense of the camp.  The other French units blast over the works at the Allies with minimal result. 

The action continues on the French left flank.  The white cotton ball by the rear blue flagged Allied unit means it cannot advance without an officer attached. The Allies can deploy two units against the French unit closets to the artillery.  I pivoted the artillery to bet a better shot at the Allied unit at the works and was unable to fire. My dragoons are about to evaporate as is the balance of my front line.  My troops are poor grade units, good for protecting the camp and forming the armies rear supports and not much else as I am learning. 

The dreaded red markers show my gray coated two units holding the hasty works have decided to make a hasty advance to the rear. I only have my commander in chief to rally so if multiple units bolt for the rear I must choose which one to attempt to reform. 
Rich assumes command of our reinforcements.  The troops facing Mike Payne's slowly advancing command have routed out of sympathy to their colleagues in gray and have abandoned their works.  Seeing their colleagues on the flank flowing to the rear they decided it was a good idea and joined them.

The Grand Alliance continues their relentless advance towards the French camp.  The French dragoons have left the field, one artillery piece is kaput and the second is about to join it.  The supporting French pike and shot unit is all that stand between the Grand Alliance and looting the camp!  French reinforcements begin to appear in the distance (love those flags courtesy of Greg and the Flag Dude). 

Another picture showing the plight of the French.  Note the three Allied commanders in the shot and those troublesome grenadiers. 
A picture from the Alliance side of the table shows Scott and Mark closing in on the camp while I continue to look worried despite wearing a splendid Hawaiian shirt.
Greg did a great job designing the scenario.  The French must slow the Grand Alliance with poor quality toops and get their reinforcements on in order to turn the tide.  Here come the reinforcements. Additional Grand Alliance troops can be seen in the distance.
Despite only having our commander in chief to rally our rearward looking troops, his liberal use of cognac and dashing countenance seem to have rallied our lads and they prepare to defend the camp barricades.  It also doesn't hurt that the victorious Allies are just as tired as we are and seem hesitant to assault yet another prepared position.

I love what Greg did with his labels.  He has the unit number, the troop name and number of troops shown on the label plus the unit number is also visible at the unit's front.  Such beautiful troops. 
Alliance reinforcements advance toward the camp and the raging battle. Will the French with a shorter distance to traverse be able to throw the Alliance members out of the camp?  Will the Alliance reinforcements get to the scene in time to prevent this?

Scott Monteith is smiling, surely a bad sign for the Sun King's troops.  In fact their commanders are being stood against the back door in order to block out the light.  Yes, they seem particularly good at this, but Scott is smiling for other reasons.
Perhaps its the proximity of his reinforcements as they begin to crest the hasty works and move to support his tired troops.  Perhaps its the arrival of his mounted arm. 

we have removed the tents from the camp (it is the brown area at the front edge of the picture).  Three French units hold the area.  The gray coated French have been holding on forever, the last few turns without ammunition, keeping out the Allied scum by push of pike. My horse decide they don't want to charge and my plans for a counteroffensive flag as well. Merde!

Rich is able to wrest some small sense of victory by sending Mike's left most troops back after a crushing volley and combined arms counterattack. 
Our able game master and host extraordinare, Dr. Greg Symko.  Thanks for a great C&G II experience and a balanced well designed scenario. 
Final dispositions. The gray coats have finally abandoned the encampment.  Reinforcements (the Wild Geese) hold the other side of the encampment - no Allies have crossed into it ('though they can rightfully claim it is a contested victory objective).  Mark's allied horse have caused problems on the French right (note the red markers festooning our units).  The game is called as we have slipped below army morale.  Victory to the Grand Alliance!  Well played gentlemen (Mike, Mark and Scott).  I feel fortunate to have had Rich anchoring the team - good game all around.