It was pretty much a foregone conclusion given the difference in quality between the two forces but then Max is always up for a
hard fight. He was told that he had to defend his position and to try not to be wiped out. He was allowed to deploy anywhere
with the British forces being deployed on their baseline.
I took command of the British with Paul as my second in command. Our objective was to clear the rebels from their defensive
position killing or capturing as many as possible.
Paul was to take a force consisting of the Loyalist Queen's Rangers (Veteran/Aggressive) and Royal Highland Emigrants (Green)
plus a converged British Light Infantry Battalion (Veteran/Aggressive) and to take the low, densely wooded hill, pushing on to
turn where I perceived the flank of the rebels to be. In the centre Paul was also given two converged Grenadier Battalions each
600 strong (Veteran/Aggressive) which were to assault the earthwork and hill once the flanking move was underway. I would
command the third Brigade. This consisted of a battery of four 6pdr field guns (Veteran) three regiments of (trained) infantry and
the 42nd Highlanders (Veteran/Aggressive). This force was to engage the enemy right flank and keep its attention focused whilst
the enemies left was flanked and his centre pierced.
At his point I'll hand over to my erstwhile opponent and thoroughly good chap Max....
"Morning mist, clouded with damp woodsmoke wreathed the low hill by the Farm making the men atop the small rise look like
they were floating above the land. Freshly wounded tree stumps attested to last nights frantic activity as Zebulon Careworthy's
(rated Professional) men had sought to strengthen their position. A local man, Paolo Refere had ridden hard to them to warn of
the English vanguards approach. Careworthy hardly needed the warning, the smoke from burning churches along their path
was evidence enough!
A night of fierce argument and councils had ensued, with many of the Militia returning home. Some solace was gained when
Zachary Effron's (rated Inexperienced) frontiersmen arrived in in numbers, nearly 600 of them (Trained Skirmishers, Marksmen).
They were shortly back from raiding Indian settlements on the border territory, they were tough but independent men.
Careworthy couldn’t persuade them to stand with him and his force, but Effron agreed to hold out in a walled copse and the farm
buildings on Careworthy's left flank. He hoped that their rifles and experience would act to hold the position there, beyond them
thick woods looked to slow any advance by a regular force.
Along the turnpike, Careworthy formed his main force. Two regiments of his "better" militia (Green) he placed in the fields and
houses along the road, shielding his right. His three Continentals' (Trained) would act behind, his many books on tactics
suggested that a "refused" flank would confer advantage. These men he left under the charge of his cousin, Dangerfield
Princeton (rated Bold/Professional), a brave and able patriot who had seen action in the French wars as a youth. Perhaps it
would lead to an opportunity to hit the side of an advance across the cleared land in front of the hill, with the fenced lane
approaching the farm. At the very least, he might get a head start if it all went wrong!
His remaining militia, roughly three regiments (Green), he emplaced behind a log wall on the hill. He hoped that his battery's
(Average, 6pdrs) flanking fire from the right would help them or, at least, delay their drive. His thoughts on lining the lane he
dismissed as numbers told against him.
Careworthy prayed that he could sting the vanguard enough to slow them in a pursuit to the main body of the Americans',
perhaps to turn the tables on them by his careful emplacement.
The sun’s heat was hardly denting the mist as his scouts fell back towards the main line. It seemed that the English were pushing
a force through the wood, wheeling the rest across his front, his main force in the hamlet were then well positioned to mass at
his left flank once they showed themselves.
"Damn these spectacles" cried Abner Gullbabble (rated Amateur) as he waddled across the hill. A keen local patriot and
politician, "ah'm sure there are men down there, ah just cannot perceive them at this dis’ance". He joked with his militia men,
telling them to ready for a "Pidgeon shoot" as the ponderous regulars from the Mother country sweated up to his breastwork. He
knew that Effron's men were in place at the farm, but he'd avoided the more experienced man all night fearing his own
inexperience might be exposed.
Careworthy too found himself unable to perceive his foe, but he sensed their advance, as the birds scattered from the wood to
his left and the Church in the hamlet unexplainedly burst into flames!
Effrons' men called first, as from the trees three bodies of largely red coated men filtered down towards their posts. The men lay
close to the walls and fences around the farmhouse, waiting on their foes to close. Green coated Queen’s Rangers it seemed,
and British Light Infantry remaining in loose order to his front, with a body of what looked like Scots behind, less smooth in their
movements but clearly being cajoled into line. Of the body to his right, he wasn’t sure, but they were moving up with purpose.
And then, a crack from Princeton's battery followed a greasy smudge of grey smoke. The balls could be seen bouncing across
the field towards a long line of now clearer redcoats. A few fell but the rest stood worryingly tall, their dark headgear and
whitened crossbelts just viewable at this distance, Grenadiers!
Effron had no time to consider this as the Rangers and Light Infantry surged from the trees towards the Farm. His men began a
slow, deliberate fire, and men fell or sought cover, their loose lines wavering as the shots told. He had many men with him, but
they were strung along the walled field and path, making coordination difficult in their loose-American skirmish. Indeed, with so
many hidden behind trees and rocks, he relied on their experience to hold them.
The Rangers fixed his front as the Light Infantry, moving quickly around his flank, crashed into the edge of the walled copse. It
was too late to form up and his left wing-men were forced into individual combats in the thick trees. It was a close run thing, only
their experience and the walls saving them from a crushing reverse. Dead and wounded mounted on both sides, ignoring the
advance in the centre of the Grenadiers.
Forced by their aggressive orders, the Light Infantry and Rangers bravely surged to and fro towards the position, but Effrons'
place was too strong and their formation too loose to break in. In the lulls, the Americans' fire forced first the Rangers to retreat
back to the wood line, then, wheeling to the flank, it crushed a final attempt by Loyalist Scotch regiment, first full of vim then full
of holes. In the shooting, he felt a mule-kick to his arm, as a loyalist bullet carried him over a log, dazed and bleeding. Despite the
efforts of his sergeant, he refused to lie down and rejoined the fight, his fervour redoubling his men’s own. Pleased with his
men's performance, Effron realised too late that his was a sideshow. The decision was reached beside him. More importantly, he
and his men would need to move soon, before the Loyalists sought revenge.
Gullbabble could feel his patriotic fervour begin to seep down his breeches as two large wings of implacable Grenadiers reached
the lane, tearing at the fences that barred their way. Princeton’s cannon seemed mute in the face of their resolve. He and his men
tried to comfort themselves in the thickness of their log walls and the steepness of the ridge.
To his right, Careworthy could make out Princeton’s foes now. More redcoats, maneuvering at the hamlets top, a battery setting
up on the turnpike. He saw the Militia taking cover, loosening their formation under Princeton's experienced eye, his
Continentals forming up behind and to their flank. The gun continued to echo across the field, but despite bodies falling, the
Grenadiers marched on. He would stay near the Militia, it looked like Gullbabbles hip flask had broken by the stain across his
The militia were still holding as the British gun ranged in, cannister balls whipping across the crops, thudding into fence and clap
board alike. Some men were falling, others drifting back under the fire. English lines marched, wheeled and formed to face them,
two moving across his right, aiming to push past the militia in the cornfield. His Continentals suddenly firmed as an English
regiment pushed forward on his left, following the move of the Grenadiers. He saw, more than heard the "steady....aim low boys",
then, by platoons they crackled a reply that saw the English stop, waver then shuffle back in discomfort, harangued by ferocious
lieutenants and sergeants!
His real fear sat to his left, in the centre of his cousin’s line. The Grenadiers quickly aligned, their widely spaced formation still
looking as formidable as a wall of iron. With little pause, they moved uphill to the left flank of the redoubt. An English colonel,
sword aloft, his horse prancing seemingly pulled his men forward by his brave enthusiasm, the militias shot wide and high. With
a steady cheer, they moved as one a towering vision of torment towards the green militiamen.
Gullbabble stood, confused, his regiment stood, then men looked aback, a sergeant was punched and his platoon wavered and
then, even before the Grenadiers reached them, fled, their standard trampled in the mud. Careworthy tried to rally and reform, but
the supports stepped back, allowing the right wing of Grenadiers to mount the defences. Scattered firing aside, the attempts at
order were momentary as the impetus of their charge took the tall English unit into the reforming militia, leaving them scattered
from the field. In but a few minutes, despite the several attempts to face and reform by Gullbabble and Careworthy, the militia
were scattering towards the turnpike.
To their front, Princeton had swung the battery, trying to hit the flank and rear of the fast moving grenadiers, but they seemed a
will of the wisp, just moving before his men could draw to them.
Pleased with his forward regiments actions in rebuffing the English, he had little time to look to his left and rear and the growing
number of fleeing militia. His own front line was suddenly faced with another threat: forming close by, facing the militia, another
Scots regiment appeared from the smoke and flew forwards, bayonets flashing. The Militia, still scattered from their defensive
posture under the guns, broke, crashing into his second line. A deadly claw had pierced his position.
Realising the predicament, with the Grenadiers closing a trap behind his force, Princeton looked for a route to escape with his
men, with order collapsing, bodies of them fled to the right, into the woods.
Careworthy was captured by the grenadiers, trying to rally fleeing militia men. Gullbabble's political career ended on the muddy
hill, although his business career improved through his sale of cooked meats to the new English forces in the area. Effron
recovered from his wound and enjoyed more success as a land speculator, mostly speculating how many Indians he needed to
kill or remove before he could claim it for himself. Princeton escaped to join the main force and survived the war as a Brigadier
General, before considering an academic career.
Thank you Max, splendid. How can you follow that? As you can see a good time was had by all and it did feel very in keeping
with the period. We all thoroughly enjoyed the colour and spectacle of it and of course all played in the best of spirit.
Max's spotting early on was absolutely atrocious. On a hill spotting troops in the open - snake eyes!
I hold my hands up and admit to ignoring Paul's pleas for order changes for his Advance Guard. Most of them were Loyalists for
heaven's sake. There were some amazing feats of arms performed by Paul's Grenadiers though, even though they were
Veteran/Aggressive and 50% larger than any Rebel unit. At one point he was +10 on his combat value and rolled two sixes, +22 -
standard captured. He then managed a +20, capturing another rag on a stick. Not even I have captured two in an evening.
I like to give our battles names and hadn't really thought of one for this encounter but decided that full honour be given to Paul
for his assault of the rebel position and so this game will live forever now as Burton's Hill. Doubtless he will be now given a full
pension for life from his most grateful Majesty King George meaning he can give up his law books for good.
All British are from my collection and painted by moi. Miniatures are by the excellent Peter Pig.
The Rebels are mostly Peter Pig with the odd Essex figure all painted and owned by 'Max' Maxwell.
Part of our gaming evenings is always given over to 'show and tell'. Max made some splendid scratchbuilt palisades this week
to go with his 'Fort Nefarious' blockhouse model that starred in our FIW game before Xmas. Here are some pics of his efforts.
More AWI action very soon...
This fictional battle was our first proper game set in the 'American War of Independence' using our variant of TFL'They Couldn't
Hit an Elephant' ACW rules "Times That Try Men's Souls". The whole point of the game was so that Max and I could play with our
new toys and, being the first game of the new campaign year, have a catch up after the festive season. Our regular gaming mate
Paul joined us too. We needed a very basic scenario, with a variety of defensive positions, to test out the shooting and decisive
combat sections of the rules. We also wanted to see how British Elite's worked, how Militia performed, and the on table difference
between Militia and Continental Line. I offered to host and set up the table just telling Max to choose ten units in total, split
between three commands, with a C-in-C and a dummy blind. I also chose ten units and a total of five blinds.
Below is the table set up;
LOW HILL WITH DENSE WOODS
THE WHITE HOUSE
FENCE LINED ROAD