|Hold The Line!
Pitzer's Crossing 1777
Paul, one of my good gaming friends, asked me recently if I'd seen a copy of issue 32 of Battlegames Magazine. "There's a fantastic
scenario for AWI, Kev. It would be ideal for us". The words red rag to a bull might be appropriate at this point.
The Command Challenge in issue 32 is indeed a cracking AWI scenario. Written by Jim Purky (aka Der Alte Fritz). From Jim's excellent blog
he describes the action as "a 'defense in depth' situation with the defenders (the Americans) initially outnumbered by the attackers (the
British redcoats). The game is played along the vertical axis of the table, which narrows the frontage for the defenders, making it a little more
difficult to turn their flank."
Acquiring the magazine, I tinkered a little to produce a scenario which fitted into our criteria, and 'Lardified' it for our own "Times That Try
Men's Souls" AWI variant of Too Fat Lardies "They Couldn't Hit an Elephant". It didn't need much tinkering, just a means of incorporating
the TFL card driven system and blinds mechanism for hidden movement and deployment. The result ended up in a fantastic scrap of a
Before I continue, apologies for the shocking photo of the table set up below. The kids had got their hands on the camera without my
realising it and messed up my settings (...the little darlings ). Fortunately, I realised fairly quickly so the rest of the pics aren't so bad. The
table size was roughly 5' x 3' for 15mm figures.
Essentially four British blinds, a C-in-C and three brigades, arrive on the table's eastern edge between points A and B, on turn 1 tasked with
capturing the rebel's supply base at Pitzer's Crossing. The Americans are aware of the British plan, and so have decided to move supplies
by wagon off table via point C. In our version, the British player is unaware of this fact, and the existence of the wagons even, until they are
The Americans, Paul and I, had three blinds. One representing a brigade, of four regiments of Continentals, to delay the British deployed
initially on Pitzer's Ridge, with the rebel C-in-C's blind on Oxbow Ridge and a further blind, representing the wagons, located in Pitzer's
Crossing. The pic below shows the set up that the British players, Clive and Nigel, faced, not knowing exactly what they were up against
until they had successfully managed to spot.
American reinforcements of a blind representing a brigade of four Militia regiments would arrive on point D on turn 3, with a further
blind/brigade of four Continentals and a battery of 6pdrs due to arrive at point C on turn 4. Both forces were required to score of 4 or more
rolled on a D6 to add some degree of uncertainty to the exact turn of arriving.
The British under Clivey and Nige placed their blinds on the eastern table edge when their 'Blinds Move' card was drawn from the pack.
Spotting attempts are made BEFORE movement, so obviously they couldn't make an attempt, having just moved onto the table edge.
However, with the American blinds card absent before the 'Tea Break' and the British card being drawn immediately as the first card of the
next bound the British could make an attempt. Rolling well Clive and Nige scored the necessary to identify the American blind on Pitzer's
Paul deployed a three base regiment of Trained Continental Line, with rifles, in skirmish order on the fence line on Pitzer's Ridge,
accompanied by their commanding general. I had given Paul the option to replace this unit with a four base strong unit of Continentals with
a two-gun attached section of 3pdrs, should he choose to do so. Fences in this game were designated as Sturdy, meaning that they would
provide limited cover and count as a terrain advantage in combat. However, they would significantly affect movement across them costing
4" of movement to remove.
The blinds mechanism allows defence in depth and so Paul decided to deploy two four base regiments of Trained Continentals behind the
fenceline on the lane leading to Pitzer's Farm. One of Paul's regiment's, the 2nd New York with mounted commander below, was further
designated as having an Inspirational Colonel. This might allow it to do something inspiring though just once, upon the Colonel's card
being drawn. This again potentially allowed Paul a degree of flexibility to his woefully outnumbered force.
Further back still, behind the fenceline on Oxbow Ridge, Paul deployed his fourth regiment of Trained Continentals, also four bases strong.
By the way I've recently replaced a lot of my American flags with some free Quindia Gostelowe style ones I found on the web. Much nicer
than the Cotton Jims/Warflag and DMWS ones they replace.
The British blinds made a steady advance and with the American blinds card now being drawn, Paul spotted the British blind opposite
Pitzer's Ridge, revealing it to be three regiments of Trained British regulars, each four bases strong.
After the 'Tea Break' card ended the bound the British made a successful spotting attempt identifying the blind just exiting Pitzer's Crossing
as the wagons laden with supplies. These had been forbidden to move until the second drawing of the turn card. Even then their
movement was limited to only a ponderous 4" per turn and in addition were forbidden to multiple move. I had also made their 'Commander'
cautious and therefore with the 'Cautious/Poor' card being drawn they would get no activation that bound. No dashing off in this game
Jonathon. I really like wagons, limbers and clutter on my AWI tables so these Essex, Hallmark and Peter Pig wagons are perennial
favourites of mine.
The 'Lobsterbacks' continued their advance and reached the fenceline on Pitzer's Ridge, with the skirmishing riflemen of the 1st Continental
Line falling back.
With Paul's card being drawn the Pennsylvania riflemen rolled two D6 needing 8 or more to score a hit....and failed. "Damp powder Paul".
At this point the 'Tea Break' arrived as the first card drawn very early on in subsequent bounds. Paul's second Brigade failed to arrive on
time at point D, but my third Brigade arrived as a blind at point C. Being hidden by Oxbow Ridge it was hidden from British spotting
attempts and also able to multiple move. Quickly it progressed to the crossroads. Paul had managed to successfully spot another of the
British blinds which had steadily advanced south of the road and was in danger of flanking Paul's meagre force. Three regiments of Trained
British regulars under Clive. However, Paul's riflemen continued to fire, and disappointingly miss their targets. The column of wagons was
making some progress but it was lamentably slow. Again apologies for the dodgy photo below which shows the game at this point.
The British advance continued at a slow pace Nige hampered by the need to cross/remove fences to approach the rebels. Guess what?
Paul's riflemen rolled, and predictably missed yet again. Well, I say missed, in game speak they were firing away but not inflicting enough
casualties to cause disruption amongst the redcoats. Paul now decided to move the riflemen in an oblique position. Troops in skirmish
order can do this in our rules, whereas troops in loose or close order can only move or wheel.
With Clive's brigade continuing to advance and looking very threatening, and my command having an artillery battery, I thought it most wise
to deploy my troops on the table; four regiments each four bases strong of Continental Line all Trained but two also being rated as
Cautious. I deployed my battery of four 6pdrs on Oxbow Ridge but with the supply wagons now having formed a significant roadblock,
could only deploy the 12th Continental in line, the remaining Americans being deployed in column of march due to the lack of space
available. With the benefit of hindsight I should have deployed at least one more unit in line on the hill. Unbeknown to the British, the blind
occupying the ridge in the photo below only actually represented the American C-in-C and there was really plenty of space. Of course,
being unspotted, and the British not privy to the scenario details, Clive and Nige weren't able to identify exactly what they faced still.
The British were coming on like a steam train up the centre of the table intent on capturing Pitzer's Crossing. Behind Clive's deployed
brigade Paul managed to spot another British blind revealing a Converged Light Battalion of five bases rated as Veteran/Aggressive,
another of four bases of Grenadiers Veteran/Aggressive/Resolute, and an accompanying battery of six pounders limbered moving up the
road. The British had been given a great deal of latitude to choose the composition of this brigade. Options available had been a mixed
force of Hessian Jagers and Grenadiers with artillery, or substituting the British Grenadiers for Dragoons. The British had also wisely
decided to place their C-in-C on table in a position to influence the other commanders. You can see them all in the rear on the photo below.
I too decided now was the time to reveal our last blind and placed the C-in-C on table moving him to a position on the lane leading to Pitzer's
Due to lack of space Clive had been forced to deploy his British brigade three regiments deep and as they approached Pitzer's Crossing I
managed to get 13th Continentals to provide rear support for their comrades in the 12th. Watchful of Paul's flank I used the C-in-C to issue a
direct order to his 3rd New Jersey to cross the fence on Oxbow Ridge and manoeuvre to protect the flank of the 2nd New York.
The British no doubt raised a loud "Huzzah", and launched forth with zeal and bayonets only as Nige charged Paul's 2nd and 3rd New York
lining the lane to Pitzer's Farm.....
With rear support, and an extra +1 for Zeal, the British had only a slight advantage over the Continentals who gained a plus for terrain
advantage of the fence.
Expecting a firefight result we were all a bit surprised when the British were easily defeated and thrown back in disorder as Nige threw
poorly, twice. With Paul now activating his brigade the Continentals poured a close range volley, scoring some hits with Paul's flanking
riflemen at last doing some execution. With the first British attack blunted the Americans had obtained a breathing space.
After falling foul of the curse of the Cautious/Poor card the supply wagons made their slow progress along the late to point C and Paul's
second brigade's blind arrived at point C at last and headed to Pitzer's Crossing.
My third regiment of Continentals, 14th Massachusetts, moved in column of march to flank 12th and 13th Continentals.
Clive's British spotted Paul's blind of four regiments, two Trained/Cautious Continentals and two Green Militia, all four bases strong
deployed in skirmish order in the town of Pitzer's Crossing. The buildings are Timecast and Langton 10mm by the way, but work really well
with Peter Pig true 15mm figures.
With Clive now beginning to bear menacingly down upon the town it was time for a bit of a surprise. My C-in-C spotted that the flank of
Clive's brigade was dangerously exposed and so he issued a direct unit order to the 3rd New Jersey to charge them. Surprised and failing
to pass the test to turn to flank, Clive's lead two regiments were disordered and routed by Paul's halooing rebels, and routed through the
third regiment of supporting British. Now, that was fun. At this point the British were looking very gloomy indeed with their forces in
complete disarray. My artillery had even started to cause casualties at extreme range.
As many regular readers of this site will know Clive is a man always up for a stiff fight. He has a reputation as a tough opponent and is
perhaps the most aggressive of our gaming group, though not as rash as Max and I. This makes him very dangerous. Giving troops rated
as Aggressive to Clive is bound to end in tears for his opponents.
Buoyed by our success, I can now be accused of taking my eye off the game. I should have changed Paul's orders to attack Nigel but I was
more concerned about Clive's advancing Light and Grenadier Battalions and kept letting the C-in-C give his turn to my Continental brigade.
Braving artillery fire from my battery on the hill, Clive's Light Battalion smashed into Paul's 3rd New Jersey routing then pursuing and hitting
and routing my 12th Continental who burst through their supports routing them also. 14th Massachusetts then charged the Light Battalion
and got into a tough firefight seeing the Continentals take four casualties and the Lights three before the rebels were forced to conceed.
With all this chaos and without Paul's change of orders, Nige managed to re-order his brigade before Paul had the chance to capitalise on
his discomfort. The chance to exploit our early success had passed and though Clive's Light Battalion was taking heavy casualties from
musketry and artillery fire, but....the Grenadiers were coming.
However, it was Nige that struck the first blow. Encouraged by Clive to redouble his efforts Nige sent his brigade into the lane for a second
time and attached his General to 4th Regiment of Foot. Paul's 3rd New York routed but 2nd New York was made of sterner stuff. Defeating
the 4th Regiment of Foot and killing the attached General.
'Tea Break' came up early for a couple of turns and close range musketry caused casualties on both sides. I managed to shore up the 12th
Continental and 3rd New Jersey but 13th Continental routed off table before low command pips meant I could rally it successfully.
With a replacement General Nigel spurred forward two of his foot regiments which finally crested Oxbow Hill. Fortunately the supply
wagons had almost reached the exit point at C. Clive and Nige not realising the full importance of the wagons were keen to subdue the
After more stiff fighting 4rd New York were defeated again and forced to retreat.
Clive now launched forth the British Grenadiers on the rallied 12th Continentals who routed and burst through the 3rd New Jersey sweeping
them away. The rebel army was beginning to disintegrate under the body blows that the British were delivering. However, the supplies
We called the game as time was beginning to run out with the Grenadiers taking casualties from the close range musketry of the 14th
Massachusetts. Good fun, great company and a draw.
In our post game chat we decided that the rebels would retreat from Pitzer's Crossing but had managed to spirit away the supplies vital for
the cause. The Brits had beaten back the rebels but had suffered significant casualties and their army would be checked. The Americans
had fought well though suffering quite heavy casualties too, but had managed to eek out a draw by getting the supplies off table.
The game had swung first one way, then the other will small unit actions having a big influence on the result. The 2nd New York managed to
stand its ground for the duration of the game but failed to give Paul any opportunity to use his Inspirational Colonel. Had I managed to
change Paul's orders then Nigel's command could well have been routed, which would have really changed the outcome, then again maybe
I wouldn't have been able to rout Clive's first brigade by hitting it in the flank.
Clive was aggressive but surprised Paul and I by not leading with Grenadiers and Light Battalions, which is perhaps what the British might
have done. When questioned by us Clive quite rightly said that without knowing what he was up against he felt it best to lead with his
regulars, using his elites as a reserve. Who knows? Indeed, the biggest difference from the original scenario is the fact that it requires the
British to spot and identify what exactly they are facing. If they find out early enough that they are up against only one enemy brigade then
they will indeed conduct operations very differently. The C-in-C's and wagon's respective blinds if viewed as potential troops can lead one
to think that perhaps Clive was right.
With hindsight possibly the wagons shouldn't be able to leave from turn 2 onwards, though by making them Cautious/Poor and only
allowing 4" movement limits their ability to escape. Also maybe making the American reinforcements arrive later than turn 3 or 4 and then
perhaps only on a 5 or 6 being scored, instead of 4-6 are possibilities, though this may disadvantage the rebels too much.
Whatever, the basic scenario is an absolute cracker though and would work well with lots of rules for AWI particularly British Grenadier and
Black Powder. I can also see it easily translating for Napoleonic and ACW periods amongst many others.
If you don't own a copy of issue 32 of Battlegames I suggest you get your hands on it for the full article.
The figures are 15mm Peter Pig miniatures painted and owned by myself, who also took the pics. I should also add that I offer a painting
service to UK residents.
C Pitzer's Farm A
R R Entry
i i Point