Steve-the-Wargamers Campaign Blog..

To record the progress of the wargames campaign that my regular opponent DG and I played between Spring 2008 and Autumn 2009.. in the old days this would have been called a Campaign Diary, and that's the exact function this page is intended to fulfil...

Campaign Diary..

Day 1
Introduction - source, map, Berthier Campaign Manager, etc.
Second Post - fog of war
Third Post ..the British and American first move..initial plans..
09:00 Day 1..
Fourth Post - Campaign - Move 3
11:00 Day 1 (move 4)..
Skirmish at Twogates House
12:00 Day 1 (move 5)..
13:00 Day 1 (move 6)..
14:00 Day 1 (move 7)..
15:00 Day 1 (move 8)..
16:00 Day 1 (move 9)..
17:00 - 19:00 Day 1 (move 10-12)
19:00 - 20:00 Day 1 (move 12-13)
21:00 - 22:00 Day 1 (move 14-15)
23:00 on Day 1 to 08:00 on Day 2 (move 16-25)
Day 2
23:00 on Day 1 to 08:00 on Day 2 (move 16-25)
10:00 to 12:00 - Day 2 (move 27 & 28)
12:00 - 15:00 - Day 2 (move 29-32) Found him!!!
15:00 on Day 2 to 10:00 on Day 3 (move 32-51)
Day 3
15:00 on Day 2 to 10:00 on Day 3 (move 32-51)
11:00 Day 3(move 52)
"Night of the long knives".... campaign game report
15:00 to 17:00 - Day 3 (move 56 & 57)
17:00 on Day 3 to 02:00 on Day 4 (move 58 to 67!)
Day 4
17:00 on Day 3 to 02:00 on Day 4 (move 58 to 67!)
03:00 to 05:00 - Day 4 (move 68-70)
The Skirmish at Carnine
Move 73 and 74
Move 75 to 80
Move 80 to 82 - another small skirmish!
Day 5
Move 83 to 91
Move 92 to 100
The Battle of Camsix - End of the Campaign
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Introduction It must be the weather, but as I cycled into work one day (this was Spring 2008) I was thinking that it had been far too long since I had last run a campaign (there goes that rush of oxygen again...). One off games are great fun, but campaigns are a great way of introducing the bigger picture, and they also have a habit of throwing up those lop sided games that provide such a mental challenge....Last year I started the campaign in Charles Grant's "Programmed Wargames Scenario's" book ( highly recommended b.t.w, whether your a solo gamer or not - click on the link for details..), but somehow lost my way and never got round to finishing it. Rather than waste this effort then, I decided to pick it up where I left it, but when I looked at the campaign diary, and my assorted notes, I was struck with the idea that, really, I'd prefer to start it again, and rather than do it solo, I'd challenge my regular opponent, DG.Suffice to say, that after an interesting weekend tidying up the logistics, maps, rules etc. I banged off an email to him with the challenge. Now I don't know if it was DG being nice, but it happens that in his response he happened to mention that he'd just been thinking about a campaign that morning! Great minds....Anyway, by way of an incentive, I thought I'd document the campaign here as a way of tempting you to start your own campaigns, and who knows, perhaps giving some idea's that people haven't thought of before??So where did I start...??
  1. Step one is the map; with me it's always the map, as without an interesting map I can't summon the enthusiasm to launch my miniature forces across it. In this case I used the map from the book (hereafter referred to as the 'master map'), which I simply scanned into the PC and coloured (no reason to do this, but the original is just black and white, and I think it looks better now)....The map is shown above and to the left (clicking on it, or any of the other pictures, gives you a bigger image by the way), and as you can see it was already gridded, ten rows by eight.In the book Charles gives the size of these squares as being five "table" feet across, and if you were to solely use the map "as is" (ie. putting it on a pin board and using pins to mark units and movement)then a quick calculation from your favourite rules would allow you to figure out how far your miniature forces can march on a hourly/daily basis...
  2. Next, I usually then work up the reason for the campaign, troop numbers, period, etc but in this case most of this was provided and I only needed to decide on "period".In this case, because of the numbers of troops required, it's going to be set in the American War of Independence; I wanted to make it Marlburian, but don't quite have the numbers of units required yet.NB. The book has a huge amount of detail, that allows you to play the campaign solo, with programmed responses depending on situation - I have no intent of duplicating that here, and in fact will give as little information from the setup as I can get away with by way of an incentive to go out and buy the book...
  3. As I'm playing against DG (who lives in deepest darkest Wales) then email is going to play a part, so I knew I would be using Berthier to manage the campaign.There are a number of other applications you could use, but Berthier (which is free, and which you can get by clicking here) for me has some distinct advantages - most importantly all movement is hidden until sightings are made, it has scouting rules, the ability to use couriers, ability to use email to send move files, etc etc. Some of these I'll cover later..I loaded the master map image into a little application that comes with Berthier called GridMap. GridMap allows you to open any map graphic (in BMP bitmap format), superimpose a grid of any size you want, and then define each of the squares in the grid with a terrain type. What it means in this instance was that I didn't have to stick with the bigger grid, but could go to a much smaller one to allow greater control of movement/time... this resulted in a Berthier map that looked like the following:Once you finished that, GridMap then allows you to save the file as Berthier Campaign file.
  4. Now it starts to get (even more) interesting - opening up Berthier, and loading the campaign map you just created, you can then edit the campaign to set up the final pieces of information that Berthier needs; there is also the option to add in some fog of war... (NB. Berthier comes with a very handy instruction manual which shows you step by step how to do the following, and what each of the variables does.... far more informative than my updates following!)First, I set up the movement as I'd already done a little of this above, so it was a quick and easy... a quick calculation gave me the ratio of Berthier squares to master map squares, which then allowed me to work out how far my miniature forces could march across the Berthier map in any period of time. Once I had that I then took the basic move, and modified it for the terrain types that I had present on the map. Again, this is fairly straight forward, and basically I just used the modifiers from the wargames rules (click here) I use, which happily are expressed as a percentage. You can then enter these in the "terrain effects" table, see mine following - these are hourly rates:You'll also note that supply is "off" (more on that in a minute) and that I defined five troop types (Line Infantry/Light Infantry/Cavalry and two types of Artillery); you can define up to eight but these were the only types that are present in my campaign so that was all I set up.Finally - at the bottom of the screen you can see I've set a courier rate for messages. DG and I use an honour system - only those units in the exact same geographical location as the C-in-C can act as desired - all other units have pre-defined orders, so couriers are required if you want to change them. Berthier handles all that for you, you send the message, and at the proscribed point in time that it decides the courier has reached you, you get the message - very neat!
Stay with me - in the next article I'll be going into a little more detail on "fog of war" etc. and finishing off the campaign set-up
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Second Post...so where I left off, we'd got the map, loaded it into Berthier, set the terrain, and decided the movement rates for each troop type in that terrain. It suddenly struck me as I was cycling home last night though, that I'd not actually told you what the background to the campaign was!Suffice to say that the peninsula depicted in the map is held by the Americans (myself), and is about to be invaded by the British (commanded by DG in the guise of that legend amongst - fictional - British generals of the American War of Independence, General the Honourable Harcourt Wade-Smith) who have a clear mission of one, occupying all major terrain features and two, destroying or dispersing all American opposition.Fog of War...so with that, the next is to start adding some of that "fog of war" I mentioned.
  1. In the "Campaign Options" menu, Berthier allows you to define how accurate your reconnaissance reports are going to be, so that's my first opportunity to inject some uncertainty into the proceedings (and this affects both sides, so I'm not sure what I'm gloating about!) For this campaign I've set the value as 20% which means that the reports can be anything between 80 & 120% correct... by the by, you can also define what kind of reports you want - just numbers of troops, numbers and troop types, full report (with unit names) etc. As I was using option for percentage correct reports I went with just numbers...The second opportunity for uncertainty lies in the option entitled "Terrain Modifies Recon. Range". Berthier works out sightings based on a distance in squares from a unit (more on this in the next step), by ticking this option, the number of squares it takes into account is modified by whatever the terrain features are in the squares around the unit, so, if a unit is in the middle of a wood, or up a hill, or the wrong side of an impassable river, your recon range is considerably less (an in the case of seeing a unit just across that river, nil)... needless to say I have elected to include this option...and that's basically it on this screen - there are a couple of other options that you can also set but for this campaign neither was required. Supply is "off" (the likely length of the campaign is going to be such that supply will not be an issue), and I ignored the options for combat casualties (Berthier will fight your battles for you if you want, it just gives a result with casualties per side) as in this campaign we'll be playing all the battles on the tabletop and tracking rosters on paper.
  2. All that remains to be done now is add in the combat units for each side - Berthier can handle 18 "units" a side. The units can be anything you want - squads, platoons, battalions, regiments, brigades, corps, divisions, or even armies... in this game, certainly for the Americans I defined my units at the regimental level though it's fair to say that they'll be grouped into brigades by the end of the campaign.... hopefully... At the same time you enter the unit you also define it's reconnaissance range, level of supply, and strength. The latter two I didn't bother with, as above supply is off, and as we're playing all battles on the table unit strength is not required. The recon range I set to be equivalent to movement range though - in essence then, a unit has the ability to "see" things within a single move of itself... the thinking here is that units on the march would always have some of their members off on the flank, or out front - this represents those individuals. It also gives cavalry an inherent ability to see further than other units (because their move is further), and therefore encourages their use in their traditional role... if I'd wanted more fog of war, then the shorter the recon range the more likely you are to blunder around trying to find the other guy!For this campaign the numbers of units are defined in the scenario, along with some specific rules on deployment for the Americans.. as mentioned before I'm not going to go into huge detail on what these are (you need to buy that book!), but in summary, the Americans are fewer in numbers and have specific requirements on deployment - DG is not aware of what these are, but he's been given a rough estimate of what numbers to expect (I've also told him he's not allowed to read the blog!)
...for anyone who fancy's having their own attempt at this campaign - then I have saved a "blank" version of my Berthier Campaign file here (just click) This contains the whole of the campaign with the exception of the OOB's for the Blue and Red forces - but that's OK, because I'm guessing you would want to use your own forces anyway... all you then need is a copy of Berthier, which you can get from the links to the left (under resources). Berthier by the way is a DOS program, so it will run under Windows, and with a DOS emulator program I'm guessing it will also run under Linux (Jeff..)...and with that - the campaign is set, and I now await the British first move! I'll post further as the campaign progresses...
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Third Post ..the British and American first move.....while I waited for the British first move, I sat down and had an enjoyable thirty minutes deploying my troops on the map (some of which was pre-decided by the scenario), deciding which unit to place my HQ with (important when orders need issuing), and deciding orders for all my remote units (ie. those not under direct command of the C-in-C).For me this is one of the joys of campaigning, the decisions you're making are not the usual table-top one's - probably much closer to the decisions that the real military we are simulating (badly) would have to make... for right or wrong though, my basic set up is as follows......when the British move arrived - and I didn't have to wait long (DG is obviously keen!) - I was ready to go.. so without further ado..09:00 Day 1..When I fire it up, the first thing I go to in Berthier is the Red deployment overview map, as that shows me where all my units are, and also any sightings that I may have - this is it for this move:..you'll notice that there is an ominous blue square just to the north of town 2/. It looks like the British have opted for an advance with at least some of their units on the east of the two roads - no idea who or how many though, so I need to find out what or who they are...This move is a pretty easy one for the Americans - I only have two units that can move. I give the cavalry on the road between 1/. and 2/. orders to move towards 2/. and set them off on their way, I then order the American unit in 2/. to move towards the sighting - I need to find out who and what they are...When the units arrive at the square I find the following: ...British cavalry. My advance has brought a number of units within recon range and they are now known to me.I send messages to all other American units advising of the British advance on the east axis, I then advise DG that it's my intention to break off from the engagement. In our campaign rules, where this happens and one side wishes to force battle, then the side breaking off takes 10% casualties and withdraws straight back (it's a fighting retreat) - we'll see what DG wants to do... if he doesn't wish to force battle, then we can both withdraw without taking casualties.. but I know what I'd do if I were him!My plan is now to withdraw on 2/. then my orders are to withdraw to 9/. as above... it promises to be a long retreat!Position at end of American move.. things are hotting up..
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Fourth Post - Campaign - Move 3..that ominous blue square that I spotted north of 2/ you may remember had metamorphosised into a whole clutch of sightings, but having broken off from the contact with the cavalry, I now find that I've been contacted again - by the same unit.....I have a couple of options - stand and fight - which isn't really going to do a lot of good against what looks like the whole of the British army, or break off again and attempt to follow the units orders... I go for the latter, so take another point of damage....the deployment map is now swarming with "nasty's" (incoming hostiles!) almost certainly a major British advance on this axis..I also have a recon report that gives me a little more detail on how many (to be taken with a small pinch of salt).....the cavalry (who are on the road between 1/. and 2/.), I now decide to put on a hold order for the time being - the British can come to me.What concerns me most now is the other ominous blue square on the west road - looks like DG has decided not to put all his eggs in one basket - I've ordered the American unit their to hold while I wait for the British to advance so I can recognise who they are. If they don't then I'll start withdrawing next turn......with none of my couriers having yet arrived at the other American units, that's it for this turn.
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11:00 Day 1 (move 4)....things are not getting any easier for the Americans but the very difficulty of the position makes the final decisions easy - within the confines of the orders I've given my units I only have a limited number of options. This is what it looks like as the start of the move (click on any of the pictures for a bigger view):..at 2/. DG has advanced to contact and offers battle against my sore pressed Militia - their commander decides that two retreats is enough, and in a shades of Bastogne kind of mood responds "nuts" to the British demands. They are joined by the American cavalry who sidestep the British unit on the road and join their Militia colleagues in 2/. The cavalry bring in a recon report:..on the other side of the peninsula, in danger of being surrounded, the commander acts on his orders and withdraws....the position at the end of the move then is as follows - I've worked the recon reports to show me who's where..So it looks like that Sudan game on Saturday is postponed for the time being...
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Skirmish at Twogates House71st (Frasers) Foot in their campaign uniform - Minifgs 25mm DG and I got together yesterday evening for the first, and preliminary, skirmishing in the campaign... this turned out be a fairly short event as the fog of war had truly set in, and I had absolutely no idea that those advance British units were actually as large as they turned out to be..!


Suffice to say that when six entire infantry regiments comprising King George's finest and their German allies, accompanied by two batteries of light guns entered the table north of the hamlet of Twogates House (2/. on the map) it came as a bit of surprise to yours truly, as my sole (under strength) Militia was expecting one regiment and a battery of guns at most!So - let's start with the battlefield (and please click on this or any of the other pictures for a larger view):
As you can see I, as the American, was deployed on the edge of the hamlet, DG entered opposite (from the north). I needed to last six moves before reinforcements would arrive, in the form of a the American cavalry that up until then had been patrolling the road between OneTree Hill (1.) and Twogate House (2/.)I managed to make four moves before being driven off the table so I'm afraid it was a pretty short game - my fault - I hadn't been clear enough in my campaign definitions and DG had registered the brigades in Berthier as strength 1, rather than 1 per unit... he'll correct it going forward, and no great damage was done as I now have a clear indication of where the main British forces are! My, how we laughed..... With plenty of time to spare and an enticing table set before us however, I dragged out the soldier boxes, slapped down two French regiments, two regiments of Continental's, and two regiments of regulars, plus some artillery, and with roughly equal sides we decided to set to afresh for a stand alone game...The Americans started off on the same edge as before with the British opposite.. here you can see the French and one of the two regiments of regulars deployed west of the hamlet on the road, the Continental's were on the other flank just opposite the barn and log cabin. The Americans had one of their guns unlimbered and facing down the road towards the British, the other gun was on their far left flank limbered.
The British deployment was fairly similar - I daresay that if we'd had time to think about it, we might have tried something different. In the following you can see the British deployment - Germans in front with the British regulars behind - guns were deployed on both flanks.. the road divided the command. That picture is good enough to grace the front of any book on wargaming... troops, terrain, a tape measure and dice, does it get any better?!
There then ensued what the football (soccer) pundits in the UK are want to call "a game of two halves" - the first half was definitely with the British, the second half I managed to claw some advantage back...The game started with a general advance by both sides - the Continental's moved to occupy the farm complex..(see next)
..while their French allies moved forward towards the wood.. (see next)
The British opened up a particularly effective barrage in this part of the game however, if has to be said the DG had great amounts of trouble even throwing low numbers, whereas I as having exactly the opposite problem, suffice to say that one of the Continental regiments routed from the field as a result of casualties and failed morale tests, while my artillery and some particularly ineffective musketry resulted in little or no casualties being inflicted on the British!On the American left flank an all out assault (see next)
.....was beaten back with casualties - it's always the most difficult of things to pull off successfully, but in this instance poor dice, and the intervening terrain contributed to the failure and the assault was bloodily repulsed.. added to the destruction of the American artillery on this flank, this was the low water mark of the American ambitions....Half time - and over the tea and refreshments, I considered my next step - happily, things were about to change..Holding back on the left, I decided to concentrate my efforts on the right flank where the British - shielded by some broken ground in front of the farm complex, were putting in a big assault - dragging my gun forward by main effort, and thus clearing the field of fire, I was able to start using canister (in our rules there is a range limitation, and a field of fire limitation - none of your own troops should be in a 45' arc of the front of the gun) and the initial blasts wreaked bloody havoc.I also moved one of the regiments of regulars into the log cabin which brought the British gun within musket range, and I eventually drove off the crew... traversing my gun, I then managed to enfilade the British regiments on the edge of the wood opposite my right flank.It was this I think that was probably the turning point of the battle - the casualties were enough for me then to launch a successful assault on the units in the wood.. one of the regiments was shaken which was enough to put them off their aim and the American regulars crunched home, the other British regiment stopped my French in their tracks with sustained musket fire, while on the far flank, the other French regiment squared up to the highlanders...The American regulars drove off the first regiment in rout before turning to take the next regiment in the flank - the Highlanders were destroyed to a man (they had taken a fair amount of damage from my artillery prior to this) - when the British commander decided that discretion was the better part of valour the two French regiments were lining up on the same remaining British unit on the wood edge..The following is the final picture from the game and is taken from the American left.. in front of the wood the French regiments are lining up for their "go", just the other side of them, and the wood, you can see the American regulars... in the far distance the other American regulars are in the process of quitting the farm complex so as to finish off that flank.
Post Match Analysis:
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12:00 Day 1 (move 5)....a move of consolidation - the initial disposition at the start of the move is as follows (and you can click on this, or any of the other pictures here for a bigger view): ..and that's the end of the move - a quick check of the deployment map shows the following:It also shows that my couriers have started to arrive, and next move I get to start consolidating in earnest..!
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13:00 Day 1 (move 6)....and the campaign moves on - further consolidation by the Americans, but still the fog of war dogs our steps...Hard pressed couriers arrive for a number of the units, but especially the garrisons of Threepwood (3/.) and Fourstones (4/.). The latter in particular is key as you may remember that that was where I'd placed my C-in-C.The Threepwood garrison acted as I'd hoped - their standing orders were to withdraw to Carnine (9/.) in the event of an eastern advance by the British - and it's clear that this is what happening. Throwing the antique family hip bath into a cart, the garrison commander is on the road inside the hour, and by the end of this move is on the main trunk having just left the little peninsula that Carnine is situated on...The good news is that the C-in-C also got his courier before the contradictory message came in from the Militia regiment on the eastern flank - stopping only to issue an "immediate" order to all units under his command to meet at Carnine, he too was on the road before the hour was out - slower (minor) road though... he's unlikely to get there before the next day unless some night/force marching is considered...On the east flank however, the courier arrived at just about the same time the retreating Militia did - and the garrison commander at Fivehead (5/.) decided that the news he had been given was enough to assume an eastern advance by the British, and accordingly ordered his troops to join up with the retreating Militia and move to Sevenoaks (7/.) forthwith - go to hope those 'immediate' orders arrive soon!At the end of the move the position is as follows...
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14:00 Day 1 (move 7)..Interesting move....the British have clearly opted to send their cavalry towards Fourstones (4/.) while their infantry and artillery continues to advance down the main trunk.....now this is where campaigning gets interesting - what interests me at the moment is 'exactly how much of my deployment can DG see from his current positions'???I suspect that the infantry and my C-in-C may not be visible to him, so by now he should be aware that there are no sightings of any troops in Fourstones (4/.)....so here is the position at the beginning of the move: ..my guess is that the only American units he has visibility of are:~ the ex-garrison of Threepwood (3/.), now hot footing it south with the garrison commanders antique family heir loom finely balanced on top of a small dog cart~ the still smarting Militia and cavalry, "fresh" from the skirmish at Twogates House (2/.)..further interest also in the form of much needed couriers to the units currently retiring towards Sevenoaks (7/.) as a result of the British feint along the west road. The couriers carry news from both the Militia formerly based at Twogates House, and the cavalry that were patrolling road between their and One Tree Hill. This allows me to change the orders for these units to move towards Carnine (9/.)Couriers also arrive to advise the half battalion currently stationed at Camsix (6/.) that they will be needed at Carnine (9/.) but they have orders to wait for the other half of the battalion before they march and these are at Tenterden (10.) I settle for a die roll and it confirms that the half battalion in Camsix will march towards Tenterden to effect the consolidation sooner (rather than staying put).....and after all the American orders and moves are complete - you'll notice that British are lost from view as I move away from them and out of recon range - but I know where they are!:
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15:00 Day 1 (Move 8)..Further consolidation - I've now lost all view of the British units that were approaching on the western road - no doubt they'll pop up at a time in the future when I could least do with seeing them!Other than that all American units proceed as previously - at the end of the move the view is as follows:..what's interesting is that my last recon report showed that the three British units I could see were comprised one unit only - interesting... has DG dropped off a few elements to consolidate elsewhere?? Have I out paced his artillery and that's why I can't see the main body? I'm betting on the latter.... more anon...
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16:00 Day 1 (move 9)..All the couriers advising of the British advance on the east road, and also the orders from the C-in-C reinforcing the orders to converge on Carnine have now arrived - all American units are therefore, on the march - some more slowly than others..!Sightings of the enemy at the beginning of the move are as per the following - there's only one British unit in sight, and my continuing assumption is that it is a unit of British cavalry (recon reports show a single unit only, though there may be two of course...) I also continue to assume that the rest of DG's units are following up, but more slowly due to having to pull his artillery - he may have decided on something else of course!Simple move for the Americans - they all continue to follow orders...Here is the position at the beginning of the move:...and here's the position at the end of the move - everything is just a little closer to Carnine:Summary:~ the cavalry from the ex-garrison of Threepwood (3/.), has arrived in Carnine~ the two half regiments of militia at Camsix and Tenterden have converged..~ the Eighton Banks garrison which comprises a regiment of good infantry and my artillery has received their orders and left for Carnine - decided to let the infantry move on ahead as there's no danger the artillery will be attacked in isolation..~ a half regiment of militia recently based at Sevenoaks has received their orders and is now marching to converge with the other half of the regiment who are at Carnine already..Bottom line though is that is now the end of the day, and DG has an interesting conundrum - does he continue to flog his infantry down the road in the hopes of forcing some kind of tactical advantage at the potential cost of stragglers and lost strength, or does he now rest up the required period to march on a-fresh??? My troops have an altogether different problem - given they all activated at different times they can continue to march, albeit for different lengths of time... all of a sudden I feel a bit like a general! more anon...
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17:00 - 19:00 Day 1 (move 10-12)The campaign also continues apace, and the reason I haven't posted is because effectively we are into the night time hours are the troops of both sides are resting - DG and I continue to exchange moves in case one of us decides to sneak in a craft manoeuvre when the other isn't looking, but on the whole no-one has moved and we are now up to move 12 (19:00)One thing we have changed is the rules for tracking fatigue - you may remember that in the original campaign instructions I'd put:"For every move after eight straight moves, there is a percentage chance that troops will begin to see disorganisation, stragglers, and other losses. If you decide to carry on then:o After the first move there is a 10% chance that each unit loses 1SP (strength point)o After the second move there is a 20% chance..o After the third move there is a 30% chance..o Etc..Units should then remain stationary for 2 hours per SP to regain any lost by forced marching."I was beginning to find this difficult to manage as not all my units were marching for eight straight periods so how do we track fatigue when a unit has moved a couple of moves, stopped for one, etc etc.?Not surprisingly DG contacted me at the weekend with the same issue, but being slightly more constructive than me had come up with an alternative mechanism...In essence he suggested we track fatigue per unit on a turn basis, using the following factorsAll units start with 0, each move you add or subtract any of the following that apply:Marching +2Asleep/not marching -3Combat +5Night +1Once a unit gets to 25 fatigue points (FP) it temporarily loses strength points (in my rules each unit has a strength value - typically 5). At 30 FP it loses 2 SP, 35 FP it loses 3 SP etc ,etcBy resting up and recovering fatigue points then strength points are recovered..Nice mechanism - easy to track (see following for the way I'm doing it), and immediately obvious which units are beginning to get dangerously tired.. So, in the above - the units are listed down the left - complete with their identifying base numbers, their strength in terms of morale, and also in terms of strength points - each unit then has two rows of data showing "current" strength points, and the fatigue points... in the case of 1st New York you can see that they've been marching pretty constantly right up to 17:00 when they stopped to rest and started to recover FP's..
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Move 12 to 13 (19:00 - 20:00)..as a reminder the campaign map is to the left (click on it and any of the other pictures in this blog for the usual bigger view).Looks like the British have made camp - no discernible movement, so I decided to match their actions in order to keep my troops fresh for any move they make later/tomorrow.Having said that it's obvious my troops are fresher than his so at 19:00 (move 12) I got them on the go again - and as a result a pleasing number of them arrived at the rendezvous point in not too tired a condition.Having managed to concentrate my forces, it's now time to turn my thoughts to what DG is trying to achieve...You may remember that his orders are to "secure" the peninsula, and to do this he must:1. destroy or capture all American forces and2. be in possession of all key areas, crossings and centres of population.Clearly he's nowhere near meeting item 1/., but he's doing OK on item 2/. Next move I think it's time I sent out a cavalry screen, to find where he is, and what he's doing with the rest of his forces... then I need to think about how to split his force so I stand a chance of beating him...At the end of the move my positions are as follows:Currently in Carnine:...more anon...
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Move 14 to 15 (21:00 - 22:00)..time I think for an update on the campaign - apologies for the break in service - DG was down here last weekend for Salute so a necessary break was required.As a reminder the campaign map is to the left (click on it and any of the other pictures in this blog for the usual bigger view)...because my units started moving some time later than DG's they are as a consequence significantly fresher so I've continued to consolidate on Carnine - my cavalry however, I've moved north and west of there to act as an advance warning of any British advance...The British however, are not moving - they're obviously whacked out - the cavalry north of Carnine send a message in to report the presence of that lone British unit and pull back a few squares towards Carnine - I don't need to be surprised in the middle of the night by a quick British advance!Now that my forces are mostly present at Carnine I can also start to re-organise and brigade my forces - much easier to keep track at a bridge level than the unit level..Positions at the end of move 15 are as follows - the position of the British unit is based on previous intelligence as the spotting unit has now moved back outside of recon range.....more anon...
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23:00 on Day 1 to 08:00 on Day 2..time, I think, for another update on the campaign which has carried on despite the lack of posts - that's the way it's going to be when the moves are taking place overnight and in both instances troops are getting some much needed rest and sleep... I've no interest in boring you rigid...!..you may remember that because my units started moving some time later than DG's they were significantly fresher so I was continuing to consolidate on Carnine long after the British had taken to their encampments for the night.....positions at the end of move 15 (22:00 day 1) were as follows:..and to be honest things have not altered much though it is now move 25 (08:00 on Day 2) - I can't speak for DG but I can advise that my troops are fresh and ready to go and all my units are now at the rendezvous point, with the exception of two cavalry vedettes that are positioned north and west of Carnine to give me advance notice of any British movement......you have no idea how worrying it is when your opponent just stops moving - I know he's probably resting his troops, but DG is a wily customer and I haven't excluded the possibility of an outflanking movement (hence the scouts to the west). I've toyed with the idea of withdrawing on Eighton, and Sevenoaks, but don't see the point as my current position is defensively strong - the river is impassable except at the road. DG is going to have to come and winkle my troops out of a strong defensive position in order to win the campaign - so bring it on... ...more anon...
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Move 27 & 28 - 10:00 to 12:00 - Day 2..the results of my decision to put the cavalry "in harms way" is pretty swift - in their second hour of movement we spotted the first of DG's outposts:..the recon reports identified these as single units:...further movement in the second hour identified another single unit:...I need to keep trying and for the next move I'll shift west and north - somewhere on the peninsula DG has his main force - problem is - has he slipped behind me??? ...more anon...Found him!!! Move 29 - 32 (12:00 - 15:00 - Day 2)..you may remember if you've been following this extended "paint drying" session (are campaigns the wargaming equivalent of cricket - only interesting if you're actually playing?!) that the decision to put the cavalry "in harms way" reaped some swift rewards in the form of finally finding his vedettes, to the west of Carnine, but that I hadn't yet found his main force......with my absence at Disney, I had time to ponder on the difficulty I was facing, but then had a brainwave (I blame it on the third ride on Thunder Mountain which I think must have jangled my synapses). I had the thought that it didn't make much sense to have your army north of a cavalry screen running north-south, it made far more sense if you were west of the screen... so on my first turn on returning I ordered the cavalry to Camsix.. and am pleased to say that I've found him!! Here's the recon report from that half squadron Lauzun's Hussars that I ordered to Camsix....and that allows me to update my master map to show exactly where the British are.....I now have (or rather "had" as I've already made my mind up) two decisions to make - what to do with the scouts, and what to do with the main army.The first one was easy - I'll pull the scouts back towards Carnine gradually - making sure that I continue to shadow the main British force. The second one is slightly more difficult, but only for about 30 seconds - the army stays put - and as soon as the messages arrive, I'll start fortifying that side of the town.......more anon...
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Move 32 (15:00 Day 2) to 51 (10:00 Day 3)...it's been some time, and in campaign terms we're currently up to move 51, so I thought I'd bring you up to date with what's been happening in the campaign. Yes, we're still playing, but at the moment we're into a cautious manoeuvring phase, and rather than bore you rigid I decided to lay off the posts for a while so as to give a summary/overview that may be slightly more entertaining......you may remember that the last time I posted I was cock-a-hoop, as following the decision to put my cavalry in "harms way" I'd hunted down DG's main force at Camsix (6. on the map) behind a screen of his own cavalry. That was late in the previous day, so after getting messages back to my main force in Carnine (9.) the rest of the day was spent shadowing his cavalry, and watching what the rest of his force was up to.After a quiet night he started moving westwards again in the early hours of the current campaign day, and I am wholly expecting a major engagement 'today'. His cavalry have scouted Eighton (8.), but in the last couple of hours his main force is just coming into recon range.Overnight, I ordered a couple of moves that should help to offset the superiority DG has over my forces...Firstly I ordered the infantry in Carnine to start digging earthworks - in the rules we're using, a close order infantry unit can construct 1 strength point of fieldwork every other table top move. There are 6 tabletop moves per campaign move, so that equates to 3 strength points per regiment per Berthier move - with 9 regiments then, an hours move gained me 27 points of fieldworks to use as I want. As an indication a:I'm guessing I'll have a couple of redoubts (for the artillery) and a fieldwork, but we'll see...Second, I ordered the light militia regiment to march east, to provide extra recon cover, the other two militia battalions (Close order) I ordered north east, tracking the edge of the river, my plan is to keep them out of recon range of DG's troops so that I can use them as a flanking reinforcement, hopefully when DG is least expecting them! It's a gamble as I'm relying on them not being spotted, but if it goes pear shaped then I'll recall them quickly.Current positions then are as follows:...more anon...
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Move 52 - 11:00 (day 3)...things are picking up fast, and the bad news is that my flanking force has been rumbled; I'll need to get them back in quick.As part of the pulling back of my troops in the face of DG's force, I'd bought one of my cavalry squadrons right into Carnine (9. on the map) and that resulted in me getting a sighting of a unit that I hadn't been able to spot up until then, on the other side of the river.I suspect that these guys are cavalry and they'll have been watching every move my flanking force has made - they need to get a message to the British C-in-C before DG can formally react but I hate all that gamey-ness so I'll be conforming as above...Key to the map is as follows - this was the recon report from that unit of cavalry:...and this is the composite view of where everyone is.......more anon...
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"Night of the long knives".... campaign game report...or, "The Death or Glory Boys run riot"...You may remember that in the American War of Independence campaign that DG and I are playing, we had come to a juncture with a major engagement at the town of Carnine.In campaign terms this was the big throw, the major gamble, as all effectives were present for both sides, and whoever won the game could reasonably claim the campaign victory conditions were theirs.Orders of Battle:In numbers terms then DG who was commander of the British troops had a significant superiority with approximately 88 points, the American forces commanded by myself hoped to bolster their significant lower numbers (65 points) with the use of some fieldworks that had been constructed during the campaign to cover the eastern approaches of the town....The British order of battle comprised the following units - DG was light on cavalry (but not light enough!), but had some of the cream of the British army under his command - the Erbprinz Grenadiers (motto "Nunquam Lucror Pugna" :o) ) and my favourite regiment the Welch Fusiliers (in their fur fusilier caps - and yes, I know it isn't historical for this period/theatre before anyone thinks they need to tell me!):
UNIT NAME UNIT MORALE STRENGTH POINTS
New York Loyalist Artillery Light0 5
New York Loyalist Artillery Light0 5
New York Loyalist Artillery Medium0 5
16th Light Dragoons 1st (Half squadron - 1 base) +1 5
17th Foot+1 5
23rd Foot (Royal Welch Fusiliers)+1 5
33rd Foot+1 5
71st (Fraser's) Foot+1 5
35th Foot (Royal Sussex Regiment)+1 5
Infantry regiment Erbprinz+2 5
Regiment Prinz Ludwig - 1st Battalion+1 5
Regiment Prinz Ludwig - 2nd Battalion+1 5
Regiment Prinz Ludwig - 3rd Battalion+1 5
Regiment Prinz Ludwig - 4th Battalion+1 5
Royal Irish Regiment+1 5
Total: 88 points +13 75
The American forces comprised:
UNIT NAME UNIT MORALE STRENGTH POINTS
New York Brigade
1st New York05
2nd New York05
New York Loyalist Artillery Light05
Rhode Island Artillery Medium05
Cavalry Brigade
Lauzun's Legion Hussars+15
4th Dragoons+15
French Brigade
Bourbonnais Regiment (1st. Batt.)+15
Bourbonnais Regiment (2nd. Batt.) +15
1st Militia Brigade
Massachusetts Militia - 1st Battalion-15
Massachusetts Militia - 2nd Battalion-15
2nd Militia Brigade
Massachusetts Militia - 3rd Battalion 05
Massachusetts Militia - 4th Battalion (Lights) 03
New York Regiment05
Total: 65 points +2 63
Table Layout:When the point in the campaign was reached that DG and I realised we had a game on our hands the Berthier map was as follows:Each of those Berthier squares equates to a foot on the wargame table so that equates to 6' by 8' and in the flesh it looked like this:So, in the foreground of the picture we have the town of Carnine, occupying either side of an impassable river - the bridge provides the only crossing point. The river doesn't quite follow the Berthier map - I've used some artistic license with the terrain tiles that I have available....A close up of what the British faced at Carnine - trenches and redoubts in abundance!Initial Dispositions:Translating the last position from the Berthier campaign move we have the following considerations (and this is where campaigns come to the fore as a way of generating table top encounters, as there's no way any sane commander would agree to the position the American commander finds himself in!)The contact square on the Berthier map comprised the American 1st and 2nd Militia regiments - you may remember that I had sent them out with a view to providing a handy flanking force, they were spotted, and I was bringing them back in Carnine when they were "jumped" by the main British force. This gives us our first compulsory dispositions - the American Militia then is in the first half of the 3rd terrain tile, as are most of the British. With a half troop of British cavalry to the east, and the rest of the British force to the south.The rest of the American forces need to be placed in the town, and there are British reinforcements just arriving on the road at the "far end" of the table.This how it was represented on the table - I think you can probably guess what the two lonely Militia regiments were thinking - to their right is the half squadron of British cavalry...In the far distance is the second British force arriving on table....and so to battle:This was a long and particularly bloody battle that in the end ran to 13 complete moves - just over two hours in real time.Rather than bore you with a move by move recount of how the game transpired, however I thought I'd try and stick to the major engagements/events.The game started with the British opening fire on the American Militia - as the moving player I got to fire second, so the response was not good as by that time most of the British regiments and artillery had managed to get their hits... suffice to say that the Militia (of course) did run, harried all the way by the British cavalry (rules note: in our rules, if your contacted while routing that's an automatic damage hit, and further rout ie. light cavalry heaven)Having manned the trenches, and rolled the cannons in to the redoubts... ..the Americans were more than a little non-plussed to see the recoiling militia (see following) come streaming past - even with the assistance of their commanders I couldn't get them to stop and they disappeared over the bridge heading north!The next phase was again with the British - the Americans had deployed on a fairly broad frontage - the good Continental infantry in the centre, their French allies on the left, and were sitting their waiting. They didn't have to wait long however, as DG ordered his four Brunswicker regiments (click here to find out why a dragoon regiment is attacking on foot!) to attack the right-most of the two redoubts..... four regiments of Brusnwick's finest failed to make it into the redoubt, though on at least two occasions one of the regiments was fighting bayonet to hand over the top of the earthworks themselves. See following as the first of the poor unfortunates made their way towards the guns...While this was going on the Americans had pushed forward with their cavalry - whilst I did have a problem with pushing my infantry forward (out numbered badly I needed to stay near the town and earthworks) I had no compunction whatsoever about making the lives of the British infantry a little uncomfortable! Of the British units that had just finished attacking the militia then, the Brunswikers we've just heard about, but the rest of the force comprised British infantry (Frasers, and the 35th Foot the "Orange Lillies") and artillery - and DG was using those to form an attack on the trench line in the centre. Having seen the Highlanders cross the fence line, the American dragoons charged and in the subsequent melee (happily they managed to engage!) drove them off in rout with a bloody nose (and won the first battle honour of the game) Slightly later, Lausanne's Hussars did the same to the Lillies winning themselves the second battle honour of the game. See following for the American 4th Dragoons about to send Fraser's packing..Unfortunately it all went badly wrong from this point as in withdrawing from the advancing British forces the cavalry was caught and badly cut up by the British cavalry and the advancing Welch Fusiliers.... both American cavalry regiments were sent packing, and following successive failed morale throws exited the field just behind the militia... oh, dear... (the picture at left shows Lausanne's being bashed by the "Death or Glory Boys") The good news was that the British attack in the centre never really materialised after this, and slowly fizzled out...Which was just as well, as in the last phase, the British developed their biggest attack of the game on the American left. The attack included all the units that were arriving on the road at the beginning of the game - this comprised 4 regiments of foot (including the Prussians) and artillery. Using my artillery and the French to inflict the first casualties on the Prussians I shifted my Continentals to this flank and put in a charge with them and the French - repulsed! Things then went from bad to worse.. with no cavalry to protect my flanks and rear the British Dragoons hit the main lode, pure gold.... I can't tell you what mayhem those Dragoons caused as it's still painful now, but I reckon they probably accounted for at least 3 regiments of foot - as each routed they were attacked by those damned dragoons who just kept attacking and attacking - it was a bit like a sheep dog with a flock! See following for a sight of France's finest being badly treated by the British horse who by the end of it had hustled almost all of those routing units to near destruction (and in the process win the third battle honour of the gameBy the time I'd managed to get enough units together to face off the British horse, both sides were exhausted with little in the way of fresh units. Both commanders agreed to the draw - I had little or no fresh troops, and DG who had slightly more, didn't fancy facing those earthworks again...!..and there you have it - a very bloody encounter!Post Match Analysis:..so there you have it - the campaign moves on - we have two moves to do to take account of the time the battle took, and then we need to consider consolidation, and I get to start thinking about reinforcements and how they can be introduced into the campaign for both sides....
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Move 56 & 57 - 15:00 to 17:00 (Day 3)For the last two days DG and I have been wrestling with the delightful nitty gritty of post battle campaign moves...Prompted by one of the comments to my blog entry for the campaign game (from Bluebear Jeff (click here to go to his blog))...."Realizing that most "casualties" are not really even dead or wounded, but scattered, I use a simple mechanism for campaign games. I roll 1d6 for each lost stand not whole unit). Depending upon how bloody we wish to make it, we might vary the number needed for a safe return. Typically the winning side gets stands back by rolling 3+; loser on a 4+. Thus about half of the loser's lost stands return; and about two thirds of the winner’s...but sometimes the dice are very fickle. In addition, units that lost more than half of their stands need to make a die roll to keep from losing a morale grade; and units that got "wiped out" need to make a much tougher roll to keep from dropping. The rationale for this is that scattered troops keep filtering back into camp after the battle's over . .. . and the winner gets a better chance because they are (generally at least) in possession of the battlefield. The further rationale is that troops that got mauled and scattered have a good chance of having lost some of their élan."....I did some thinking on my bike on the way home and came to the conclusion that I liked the simplicity and elegance very much. Accordingly with some small changes I proposed the following to DG:DG agreed to all of the above so we're currently in the process of starting campaign moves again..Oh, and the pictures? They're from a web resource that Tony de Lyall (the author of Berthier) and I were discussing this week... an absolute gem for the American War of Independence players amongst us, I've add the link to my AWI Project page, or you can click here. Specifically, they are the French Saintonge Regiment, and a private of British 17th Regiment of Foot - both units were present at Yorktown, and I have these units in my collection, but they don't look anywhere near as good as Mr. Troiani's paintings... :o))
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Move 58 to 67..yes, the campaign is still in flow, and after a slight hiatus for DG's absence on more important business, he and I are busily exchanging Berthier campaign files again, as both sides struggle to make an impact on the victory conditions set at the beginning of the campaign.You may remember that at the Battle of Carnine, despite some appalling dice throwing, I managed to hold the British (just!) at what is now known locally as the "Night of the Long Knives" (as a result of the success of the British Dragoons that day)...Having withdrawn to lick our wounds, both he and I are still encamped within the region of Carnine. I have pulled my units back north of the river, while he, as far as I can tell, is pulling back southwards.I say "as far as I can tell", as to be honest I've lost contact with him - and my efforts to date have been concentrated northwards..So, what have I been up to?So - where are we at the moment?? See following:...and more to the point - what are my plans for the future?? Increasingly, I am thinking about a break out to the north, using my overwhelming number in horse to drive off DG's recon troops and deprive him of knowledge of where I am. On the other hand - the name of the game is defeating the British and I'm not going to do that by running away!So how to "find, fix, track, target, engage" in modern military parlance?DG out numbers me, so I need to pick off what units I can, until he doesn't out number me. If he hasn't snuck off in the night - I think I'll start with the cavalry north of Carnine.. first step - "find".....more anon..
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Move 68 to 70 - Day 4 - 03:00 to 05:00Interesting times - well to me anyway...The first dictate ("Find") turned out be easier than I thought as with the reduced overnight reconnaissance ranges in force DG had obviously decided to move his Rangers and the half squadron of cavalry closer to the town in case I decided to move...I was working on the assumption that they had remained where I left them, so my first move was move one unit of my cavalry to the last position I had known they occupied. In the dark they must have marched right past them as they turned out to be on the road just north of town!No hesitation - time to "Fix" them... so I ordered the other horse north of them to block the escape route, while I ordered my lights to close to contact.As you can see DG chose to break off from the skirmish (which in our rules means he took 10% casualties) but in doing so moved past that cavalry that I'd put their expressly to stop that exact thing...DG re-did his move in order to avoid the zones of control of my various units and in the end finished just south and west of the horse...Which is where I've now contacted him with both units of horse - with my light infantry adding weight...What will DG do now?? I've suggested to him that this may require a surrender roll on the dice, but feel rather like I'm on shaky ground with that one!
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Skirmish at Carnine..and the answer came soon enough - DG was never one to give up without a fight and he's living up to reputation! We're all set for a skirmish while we play out what happens to the Rangers.. the game will be played virtually, the table in my attic, with DG some hundreds of miles away in deepest darkest Wales..My objective is simple - absolute destruction of his lights prior to deciding my next step... I have 6 table top moves to do it in before having to make the next Berthier campaign level move.Move 1:First move, and the Americans (me) win the dice throw and move first (in our rules - available here - the first side moves, the second side fires, then moves, and finally the first side fires) - the militia have wheeled and advanced towards the flank of the Rangers.B.t.w - you can click on any of the pictures for a much bigger view.. I've applied a grid to the first picture (1' squares) to make it easier for DG to see the kids of distances involved - for good measure I've also left a ruler on the table...
The American cavalry to the front of the Rangers (Lauzun's) have pulled back out of musket range, the other cavalry unit have moved over (now that the half squadron of British Dragoons have withdrawn)
DG orders both his units to retire; it's clear that he intends to keep distance between his units and mine! There was no US firing (my units were out of range) so that brought the move to an end.Positions at the end of the move were as follows:Move 2(06:20 in campaign time)All the American units advanced – the pictures show the end of this movement - one from the west:..and one from the north:The British firing was devastating (and thereby hangs a funny tale which I'm too embarrassed to share!) the Rangers both fired at the cavalry in front of their respective positions inflicting a hit on one unit, but causing both the units to become "shaken"..Move 3:Both Ranger units continued to retire … DG's objective was the other side of the fence behind them. As it turned out they didn't quite have the legs to get there so stopped with their backs to it…The US firing was dreadful. The nearest US militia regiment fired but with huge numbers of deficits (for being lights, militia, under strength etc.) it came to no effect..In the US move the cavalry both passed their morale tests - though Lauzun's had to retire before fully recovering.The American Dragoons then charged the right of the two Ranger units, while the militia unit that fired so abysmally before, charged the flank of the other unit.The remaining Militia move to fence line to the right of charging Militia unit - their purpose is to cover the area immediately behind the fence:British firing was as effective as it could be - the cavalry were stopped in their tracks - a second strength point lost, and shaken to boot..The other Ranger unit could only bring half its number to bear, and their fire as a consequence was not enough to stop the militia swarming over the fence and into their flank - you could almost see the tomahawks and hatchets gleaming as they were swung up into the air..The Rangers may well have gulped, but true to their lineage drew their own edged weapons and stood to oppose the charge...After the initial clash however, it is the Rangers who were forced to retire, and the Americans claim their first casualties...As part of their recoil then, the Rangers ended up on the other side of the fence to their rear, which then brought them directly in line with the other Militia unit that had been out there for that exact purpose (see picture above)!Happily for DG it was now the British turn to move and he opted to retire both his Ranger units directly to their rear.. the unit recoiling from the melee now ended up outside of musket range, but the other unit only just managed to scramble over the fence to their rear and as a result were fired upon by both Militia units (the Dragoons were out of range).In the ensuing volley, the Ranger unit nearest the fence took further casualties this time from the accurate shooting of that very under strength Militia unit - battle honours are in the offing! At last things are beginning to look up for the Americans..Move 4Never speak too soon... time for the Americans to move, and in the first phase of this the Dragoons fail their morale test and rout - two rounds of firing was enough.In the movement phase the second, bigger, Militia unit launches itself after the rapidly retreating Ranger unit and declares a charge. Lauzun's move up to exploit any further routs. The smaller Militia unit, not wanting to chance it's luck any further retires back over the fences it had charged across so shortly before..Positions were now as follows (click on this or any other pictures for a bigger view by the way!):The Rangers fire but are unable to stop them charging home, though they pass the test to stand and prepare to give as good as they get - unfortunately this is not to be, and the Militia drive them back with considerable casualties - they rout!Of my two Militia regiments - the smaller one, somewhat blown and amazed at their earlier exploits (which you can read in the extended report on the campaign page) had retired back over the fence they'd just charged so successfully over. The larger, fresher unit, had in the meanwhile gone after the rapidly retreating Ranger unit that they had so summarily dismissed earlier. Despite a hurried volley from the British they had charged home on them and sent them back in rout again (they can be seen routing on the right - marked by red pin - in the next picture. Click on it as usual for a bigger view)...We now rejoin the game as the British prepare to test morale and move..In the morale tests the routing Ranger unit pass and halt shaken (the McNally AWI rules use a three stage morale status - good, shaken and rout). The other Ranger unit now began their advanced upon the (still recovering) smaller of my two Militia regiments - it's clear they have mischief in mind, and I have to say that with my Militia unit being as weak as it was, I quite expecting a sorry outcome.Steadying their muskets on the top rail of the fence the militia took careful aim, fired, and hit absolutely nothing - obviously they're still a little excited...!On to move 5 - the Dragoons tested their morale and again failed, this time though I decided that campaign strength was the better part of valour and allowed them to leave the table (rather than stay on it, and try to recover them)The following shows current status - this was one of the tactical pictures that I sent DG as it shows distances on it...Moves were beginning to move quicker now in our own "kleine krieg" - these were all Light units and were worn down to the point of little effect. British firing was ineffective so DG & I pushed on to the second part of the move, and the British do their moral checks on the routing Ranger unit who passed (amazingly!) and halt shaken.. the other Ranger unit continues it's ominous advance and finally halts within charge reach... Despite my throwing 8 (on 2D6), with the penalties the American firing was not sufficient to deter them from charging, so with a heavy heart I prepared to throw the dice to see if they would stand the charge.Second miracle of the day - they stand! Oh, happy day....The Rangers come pouring over the fence in a green tide, roaring, shouting and pulling out knives and tomahawks as they rush forward. The Militia brace themselves, ready their weapons, but the protection of the fence is just enough to save them and (third miracle of the day) they stop the Rangers in their tracks and send them back in rout!On to Move 6 - and the last move of the hour before we have to do a campaign turn.. focus now shifted to the south of the battlefield, where the Americans pushed forward both Militia and Lauzun's horse within charge reach of the halted Rangers. American fire was ineffective, and in the face of the overwhelming odds the Rangers broke and ran - this was to prove the end for the unit as all remaining strength points were then lost (DG then threw the dice for any recovery of the unit)....With one final throw of the dice to check morale for the other Ranger unit - in which they halt shaken - that brings the move, and the end of the hour, to a close.... and that to all intents and purposes was the end of the game.As I brought my other units up, including Lauzun's Hussars, the Rangers failed two further morale tests and as a result literally routed to extinction.In the picture, at the top of the page you can see the Rangers routing to the north, being followed by the first of my Militia units; further towards the bottom of the picture Lauzun's (the cavalry) are beginning to hit top gear, and you can almost hear the scrape of swords as they are loosened in the scabbard. They are accompanied (more slowly) by the second Militia unit...
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Move 73 & 74A time of rest and recuperation for the Americans as we work out our next step... or do we have to do anything??The onus is on the British to win the campaign - the winning conditions after all are clear - they have to capture all towns and strategic crossings, and destroy all American forces.So.... Time to test the theory..I order the now recovered US Dragoons to the top of the hill west of Carnine - they can warn me of the approach of any forces from that direction. I then detach a Regiment of Militia to inch across the bridge to the south bank of the river.Initial intelligence reports show no sightings by the Dragoons but the following from the Militia unit.Well! If this is to be believed then the only forces I can see are Lights and Cavalry - 3 units. No Line and no Artillery, so where would they be??!OK, next step is to push forward with the Militia a little further but not until more of my units have rested from the skirmish. The added benefit of this delay being that DG's units will be further away when I launch with my whole army across the river to take out this holding force... mwah ha ha ha!!! Welll... that's the plan anyway...More anon... :o)
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Move 75 to 80In many ways this period was one of rest and recuperation for the units involved in the skirmish north of Carnine, and an attempt to follow up on my fiendish plan outlined above..There was one happy interlude in Carnine when new colours were presented to the 4th Massachusetts Militia - these distinguished themselves mightily during the skirmish and all agreed that the colours were well deserved..So - what else has happened - I moved the 4th Dragoons across the hill to the west of the skirmish with the intent of nosing into the enemy held side of the river to find out where they are.. there has been no sight of them while crossing the hill which throws into some doubt my initial thought that DG might have withdrawn so as to try and outflank me...On move 80 all becomes clear - the Dragoons report the following sightings:This translates to the following positions on the campaign map (click on it for a bigger view)... it's clear that DG is not up to what I thought he was...! The two big sightings are clearly the main body, but given the unwelcome attention the first requirement is to get the 4th out of it...
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Move 80 to 82As it happened, this was not to be - moving quickly DG threw his own light cavalry behind mine and then pinned me with his light infantry such that I had no option but to stand and fight - shades of what happened to his Rangers just north of Carnine! So another skirmish was on, but given the disparity in numbers this wasn't going to take long..!Battlefield/tactical view:Berthier allows you to see from what direction the units in a square have entered - in our case this translated as follows:So onwards and upwards time to put the table together. For the first time I decided the terrain by using a handy little application called "Wargame Terrain Generator" which you can get from this site: http://homepages.ihug.co.nz/~healer8/ My table is 6’ x 4’ (so 6 Berthier Squares by 4) and with the exception of the road all the terrain was positioned using the program - I selected 3 small terrain features, 3 medium, and two large… and then pressed the button - which came up with the following layout:...a bit of work with the tape measure translated this into the following:...with units deployed as per their entry points:A fair amount of effort for what turned out to be a very short game!Move 1 (15:00)As the moving player I took first turn, and ordered my cavalry to retire just as quickly as they could. In the rules we use each player takes it in turn to move and fire, with his opponent doing the opposite, so having retired it was DG's turn to fire - out of range!It being DG's turn to move he immediately charged with his cavalry - there was no way he was going to let me get away! The advantage to me of course was that it brought him into firing range for my attempt at firing. Unfortunately with all the negative modifiers, for target, low strength, and firing from horseback no damage was scored and the charge appeared to be about to slam home.Time for me to test whether the cavalry would stand - alas they break and run taking casualties as they rout... not in itself too bad a result as it's often the best way to get a weak unit out of harms way quickly, but this is a campaign game....Move 2 (15:10)In my move, having routed in the previous phase I continue to rout - basically, it's too soon to test morale and see if they recover. DG follows up with his cavalry, but at normal pace my cavalry are disappearing into the distance as rout speed is greater, and also ignores terrain...Move 3 (15:20)My move again and now it's time for me to check morale - I'm currently some 30 odd inches away so my cunning plan is to pass this morale test, and then leg it for the hills, not too much the worse for wear. Being me of course I then proceed to throw almost maximum on the dice "continue to rout and lose 1 strength point". Now given that I only started with 3, I'm now down to 1SP which makes recovery from the rout almost impossible.... DG can scent the blood in the water and sends his cavalry haring after me again.Move 4 (15:30)My move again, and as suspected I fail the morale test and the cavalry disintegrate.... end of game.Post game workings:Adopting our new campaign rules it's time to decide what happens to the regiment... Firstly, I throw to see if they surrender... happily they do not. Next I throw for recovery of the lost SP's, the regiment will reform with the C-in-C so I need to add some moves on to account for the distance they need to travel, but basically they will have reformed on him by 04:00 tomorrow - even more happily they don't lose any strength points in this process!Move 81 and 82Nothing major of note - further probing towards Eighton by my light infantry to see what DG's intent is...
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Move 83 to 91Much further probing and scouting as both sides seek to find what the other side is doing while making sure that at the same time they can't see what they're doing.. it's at times like these that the value of the light troops and cavalry come to the fore.As Day 5 limps into being however, I sense a breakthrough - on move 90 DG 's main force appears exactly where I thought it would - just a little later than I was expecting!When the recon is complete these show as the following:ie. that's his main force, and to keep me interested he's probing with the remaining units he has to the south of the river!After much thought (almost the whole of the cycle to work this morning! ) I decide on my plan of action - I order my army to dig entrenchments facing north along the line of the river... I bring my outposts back in to the main body of the army - I know where he is for the time being...In the meanwhile I attack south of the river against the unit he has there - one regiment of light infantry, and the reconstituted 4th Dragoons which reach full strength this move - now let's see what he does!Move 92 to 100DG is taking his time and my assumption is that he's resting his troops after what must have been a pretty arduous night time march all the way round the large hill at the end of the river..This shows the positions at Move 94 after I have pulled my cavalry back (and therefore temporarily lost sight of his main force):recon reports show me that DG's unit to the north is cavalry, the units south of the river are cavalry and light infantry. This is the recon report from Berthier for the units south of the river:I'm keeping a close eye on his main force, and thanks to my ability to out number his own scouting forces we've had a couple of small "bumps" where on both occasions DG elected to withdraw his cavalry rather than face the possibility of losing a strength point.After one such incident my cavalry reported the following:It's clear that it's his main force.....and finally here's the latest position.So what's my next step?? Clearly there is little value in me quitting my current position as tactically I am in a strong position - having spent time over night building earthworks, I can defend well to front and sides... It's not a good idea to have an impassable river in your back, but there is a bridge, and that same obstacle means I don't have to worry about the units DG has left south of the river.Alternatives? Plenty - but the objective is to destroy the British invading force, and that is exactly what I plan to do!
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The Battle of CamsixIntroductionDG and I started this game using a new wargame application called Battle Chronicler to document moves between the two armies - this doesn't replace for me the beauty and joy of placing little metal men on a well laid out wargame table, but it is extremely useful when it comes to playing a game across the ether... basically you design the battlefiled and define the units, you can then exhange the file by email to record what moves you're making - very simple description for what is a very elegant application that has a lot of detail... for the final moves we went "traditional" as DG was down for a visit.So... the battlefield is as follows - with Camsix in the left upper quadrant. All slopes are gentle, the river is impassable over its entire length with the exception of the bridge. The grid is 2' square - Battle Chronicler however allows you to zoom in, and at the zoomed in view I'm using a 1" grid to allow accurate measurement of movement...(as usual - clicking on any of the pictures will give a far better/bigger view)With regards to the timing of the battle - one interesting side effect of campaigning is that a campaign often throws you a curve ball that a simple set-up game doesn't. In this particular case the curve ball is the fact that the battle is starting at 11PM in game time. DG and I have agreed therefore, that we need a couple of additional rules - specifically, all visibility is limited to 12", if you can't see what you want to fire at, you can't fire at all. If a target is visible, then units an fire but we have added an additional -1 firing modification.OOB's:American forces are as follows:I can't be precise on the strength points (fog of war and a long campaign!) but the British have the following strength - those shaded green are present on the battlefield.. some of the others (cavalry and light infantry) are close and will arrive in the upper left quadrant - I've left a battalion of Light Infantry there to watch my back!In the deployment phase the units are then laid out as follows to conform with their last positions on the campaign map... DG's better at doing this than I am, so I usually go with his version of the file rather than mine!Some interesting tactical decisions (or "curve balls") to have to deal with for both of us......so, on to move 1.The Battle:Move 1First requirement for me is to get my advance guard out of it, and back to the main lines - accordingly working on the principle that attack is the best form of defence, I launch charges with my light infantry at his unit of Rangers to my front (IR2), and with Lauzun's at the other unit of Rangers (IR3) - see following.A desultory volley by IR2 is not enough to stop my Militia, so both of DG's units test to stand... IR3 fail (light infantry, charged in the rear, by cavalry - not good odds), IR2 stand and in the ensuing melee I defeat him by a single point - first blood to me as IR2 and 3 both take casualties, with IR2 retiring shaken, and IR3 routing for the hills (literally) - see following:Time for DG's move - and not surprisingly he reacted very quickly to my attacks with an attack of his own by his cavalry against the American cavalry who had just crossed the hedge line (my 4DG):(Couple of points - note the ruler which is to scale and shows the fine level of detail you can get in Battle Chronicler - I also added some components, one of which is the smoke marker in front of MM3 to denote that they have fired, plus obligatory "rout" and "shaken" markers)Unfortunately my own cavalry, constrained by the hedge, are unable to turn and fire themselves, and the volley by my lights (MM3) is not sufficient to stop the British cavalry from charging so the charge crunches home.In the subsequent melee test my brave boys dice to see if they stand, and do! Unfortunately their sword arms were not up to their grit however, and in the ensuing melee were severely bested - 2 strength points lost, and sent off in rout...... ah well, lots of time to go yet.Move 2Remember - click on any of the pictures/maps for a bigger clearer viewMove 2 started with the American’s (me) determined to extract those troops from their exposed position but with DG’s Rangers (IR2) in some disarray just to my front I decided that rather than ignore them I’d sweep them away on my way back… hindsight is a wonderful thing of course, but I really should have gone round them and carried on – you’ll find out why in a minute!Anyway - in the ensuing melee, I moved Lauzun's (L) on to their flank while attacking frontally with the Militia light infantry (MM3) – the Rangers were unable to stop the charge and when DG drew the cards they broke and routed to the south.It then started to go downhill rapidly… in DG’s move, as I suspected, he charged home on the Militia lights with his cavalry. The angles were such that the Militia couldn’t turn to face, but had to suffer the charge in the flank uncontested.. I guess the jury is still out on whether DG could still have done this had I ignored the Rangers and moved on, but I think that the result would probably have been the same whether I had, or hadn't!Sabres flashing, DG's Dragoons proceeded to ride over my Militia like they weren’t even there….
“The bugle sounds as the charge beginsBut on this battlefield no one winsThe smell of acrid smoke and horses breathAs you plunge into a certain death” (Iron Maiden – “The Trooper”)
…and having gathered breath on the other side, they then found themselves in charge reach of Lauzun’s Hussars as well!Charging on, DG’s dragoons put Lauzun's to flight as well (and in the process earn the first honours of the battle).. in the following you'll note that we dropped the idea of morale markers as we realised Battle Chronicler already had a feature we could use - in this case red for rout (and yellow for shaken)Move 3 Time for the Americans to test morale on the routed units – one success, one not, and one disaster! The Militia recovered one morale status to become shaken, but the cavalry both failed, and in the case of my dragoons this was enough to reduce the unit to zero points. In campaign games DG and I agree to dice for what the unit then does - surrender (ie. disappears from the campaign) or rally on the general (ie. we dice for recovery of lost strength points and dice for when they are recovered). In this case despite a healthy weighting, the dice come up "surrender"... things are going downhill fast....Having fired unsuccessfully on them in the first part of the move, when DG became the moving player (the rules we use divined the move into two turns or phases, where players move and fire by turn – in this game I move in the first turn/phase of the move, and fire in the second, with DG doing the opposite) he charges home on the shaken militia.The amount of mis-handling they’ve already had is enough to see them break and run before the cavalry even come to contact….Intermission:Although DG (my regular opponent) and I are using Battle Chronicler to play the game (for the simple reason that DG lives a couple of hundred miles away), I couldn't miss out on the opportunity to push some lead around even if it is only to show the action on the actual table top that is being fought on the virtual table top!So without further ado then here's the action from moves 1 and 2... these are the two engagements that the British cavalry earned their battle honours in.First off we have the engagement that resulted in the the American Dragoons routing from the field...In the first picture, the American Militia (in the distance) have just seen off the Rangers, the American Dragoons have just crossed the fence line only to see the British cavalry move up - sabres glinting in the sun...The American Militia fire in an attempt to stop the cavalry in their tracks - unfortunately unsuccessful (it must have been the angle they were firing at!) The "smoke" by the way is authentic welsh sheep wool rescued from a wire fence near DG's house - looks much better than cotton wool....So having seen off the American Dragoons, the British cavalry align themselves to deal with the Militia and (in the distance) the hussars of Lauzun's Legion. Little was I to know what an impact this little engagement would have! The Militia and the Hussars had combined to see off one of DG's Ranger units when they should have pushed on to safety... caught napping the British cavalry commander must have been quite literally licking his his little metal lips!!In the ensuing skirmish the British cavalry saw off the Militia, and in a very unusual situation (for us - I can't think of more than 3 or 4 other games where the cavalry have managed to get a second charge in all the games DG and I have played) charged home ont he Hussars and drove them off as well..... suffice to say the pace of the battle has slowed down now that the initial skirmishes have finished - major manoeuvring is now the name of the game so let's return to the action...Move 4:The Militia and the hussars of the Legion continue to rout - in order to stiffen their resolve I move some staff officers to join them (they add bonuses for the morale throws).DG continues the general advance - so many troops - slightly unnerving!Move 5:First piece of good news in a while, the hussars of Lauzun's Legion rally... well... halt shaken anyway!With the very rough handling of my advance guard complete I can see that DG has now started to manoeuvre so as to nullify the benefits of my field works. His troops are moving in echelon to the east - it's clear he's looking to try and outflank the field works and bring his superior numbers to bear.Move 6:The hussars recover fully, but the Militia continue to rout and in this turn hit zero strength points and cease to be an effective unit and are removed from the table.NB. As this is a campaign I dice to see if they surrender, or survive to reform at a later date - happily it is the latter..Move 7:An hour into the game in real time and the first of DG's forces enter from the south of the table. I've already limbered one of my guns with the idea of moving it to the east to help bolster my open flank..I also move up Lauzun's to cover DG's flank... hopefully this will worry him slightly..Move 8:To the south of the river I move the Militia (MM4) out of the house and closer to the bridge - there are a lot of troops coming up including two squadrons of horse and two regiments of Brunswick foot (Prinz Ludwig's regiment).Not much to look forward to in this move, but one good piece of news is that DG's Rangers who have been routing since about move 2 finally hit zero and are removed from the table (and when the campaign saving throw dice are rolled, they come up with a "surrender" result!)Move 9:OK - time to take the bull by the horns - at the bridge I move the spare Militia unit to cover the river bank, and the artillery that was destined for the east is also moved to cover the bridge - the last thing I need is to be attacked in the rear. On the other side of the river I move the other Militia regiment in to the house nearest the bridge. I also about face on of my two crack French regiments and ready them to move.In the British move the American artillery finally opens fire (reduced ranges because of night time and this is the first time I've had a target). No effect but its good to be hitting back..!More anon... stay tuned.The following should help with identifying units referred to:Move 10:Probably the last of the "manoeuvre moves" as DG was aligning himself for his attack - a fairly unique move as there was also no firing... During my move I finally realised that there was no way I could leave my militia across the river in the face of such numbers, whether they were in a house or not, so made a break for the bridge.. I could have done with doing it a move earlier but had no idea so many of DG's units were still this side of the river.Elsewhere, the other militia unit and the artillery deploy on the river bank to cover their retreat (I still have to get across the bridge yet and that involves a deployment to column in the face of the enemy!). Lastly, the second of the two French Battalions moves back from the earthworks to conform on DG's move towards the bottom of the map and cover the gap left by some of my units having to cover the river bank.Move 11:No firing but the 4th Battalion of the Militia make it to the bridge - have to cross it yet though! In his turn DG's units face front and start to advance, in addition DG launched a cavalry charge with his cavalry at Lauzun's Hussars.True to form my firing was about as successful as ever (not a good game so far!) and the Rhode Island artillery failed to inflict casualties, while the New York Artillery was out of range.Lauzun's fired, but failed to stop the ensuing charge by the 2nd Squadron of the 16th Dragoons.So here we were... a full squadron of Britain's finest, with fresh honours recently won (see the this post) facing up to a depleted squadron of France's finest, only recently recovered from a mauling.... I have to say I didn't hold out much hope but a miracle was about to occur!In the following test "to stand the charge" Lauzun's held, and engage the British cavalry (first hurdle overcome), but then in the melee, despite the charge bonus the British lose to the French and retire shaken and with casualties! Move 12:Across the river the 4th Massachusetts Militia (MM4) deploy in column to cross the bridge, and by the end of the turn they are half way across - so far so good... elsewhere the first of the two French Battalions faces about to move towards the American right, I'd decided that they were too valuable resource to be left as isolated as they are...
In the centre, the 4th Mass. Militia are in column cross the bridge...
The British firing phase bore out my worst fears for the 4th Mass. - canister at close range causing the first casualties and those militia guys are looking shakey..Elsewhere - despite being "shaken" (our rules work on three morale states "good", "shaken" and "rout" in that order) the British cavalry recently 'handled' by Lauzun's, fired as I had declared another charge on them by Lauzun's.. this was ineffective so that was one charge due to go home! In the ensuing test "to stand" though, the British cavalry break and rout.. strike two for Lauzun's!In the British movement phase the whole of the DG's line moves forward.
In the foreground, running from left to right along the British line, we have the Royal Irish, Erbprinz, and to their right the Royal Sussex - on the American side, facing the Royal Sussex and behind the earthworks, we have one of the two French Battalions flanked by the Rhode Island artillery
Opening fire the New York Artillery on the riverbank finally opens up it's score with damage on the British cavalry on the far side of the river - up until then they had been looking like a concern to the 4th Mass crossing the bridge so that was a good result.The other artillery (the aforementioned Rhode Island) fired on the British infantry assault causing casualties to the Royal Sussex (the 35th Foot, and my local county regiment).Lauzun's, fresh from their efforts against the British cavalry have been somewhat overawed to see that Fraser's Foot (the 71st) have changed facing so as to charge them - the concern is not enough to shake their aim and a hurried volley thins the ranks somewhat (and more importantly causes Fraser's to become shaken - and therefore "not interested" in charging home! Strike three to Lauzun's... )Move 13:The first part of the move (that is with the the American's as the moving player, the British as the firing player; in the second part of the move we swap over) saw the 4th Mass. Militia, shaken, bloodied, but on the right side of the river at last... Elsewhere however, with a regiment of shaky looking Highlanders just to their front, the troopers of Lauzun's Hussars look to their sabres, push their side plaits back and out of the face, and calm their sweat laden horses for another charge.. (curious fact - apparently hussars would weight the plaits with pistol balls to make them hang straight...)...but first the British firing - and to show you how the rules work I thought I'd give you the full mechanics of one of the exchanges.... so, starting with the cavalry squadron on the far side of the river who were firing at the 4th Mass. Militia we see the following - in our rules (which you can obtain from the link on my AWI project page, or direct from here, oh, and they're free... ) all damaging hits are scored on 7 or more thrown on 2D6, they cause strength points to be lost and the unit taking the damage to become "shaken"; less than 7 won't cause damage but may still cause morale to worsen depending on the strength of the unit being fired at.....so here we have a squadron of British Dragoons - to start with they throw 8 on 2D6, a good start, but they then modify this with the following...which gives an end result of 5 - not enough to inflict physical damage, but what about their morale? When I check the strength of the 4th Mass. we see that they are on 4 strength points - 5 is greater than 4 so the 4th Mass become shaken. As it happens though they already are shaken (from the canister in the previous move) so the end effect is none... ..elsewhere, the other British firing was largely more effective with the Royal Sussex despite being shaken inflicting casualties on the 2nd Battalion of the Bourbonnais and the Royal Irish doing the same to the 1st New York.The good news (for me) is that those shaky Highlanders couldn't aim straight and failed to hit Lauzun's, but unfortunately the Welch Fusiliers did... no charge for them this move then..In the next phase of the move DG became the moving player and his first task was to check morale for those of his units that are shaken or routing... universally the results were all good, so all that hard work by the Americans in the previous firing phase was set to naught. Worse still DG announced a charge by Fraser's (the previously shaky Highlanders, now looking decidedly irritated) on Lauzun's Hussars.Not before I get to fire however... American firing was effective (yee haa!) the artillery inflicted further damage on the cavalry across the river, the other artillery doing the same to the grenadiers of the Erbprinz. The 2nd New York also causes further damage to the Royal Sussex but in perhaps the most important exchange, Lauzun's fails to inflict any damage physically or morale'wise on Fraser's so the charge is on...In their morale test (to stand the charge) Lauzun's hold firm (brave boys!) - in the ensuing melee however, despite being under strength, surely tired, and meeting the charge at the halt - they win!!! Hurrah! If it wasn't 30 years too early the Marseillaise would surely have rung out..With the rout by Fraser's - the move comes to an end;... The positions were now as follows:As a reminder the following should help with identifying units referred to:Move 14 to the End: With the arrival of DG in the area for a visit we took the opportunity to transfer the game from the virtual table top to the physical table top to complete, and true to form we had it finished in about an hour or so...My apologies as the game was some time ago and the memory is not as good as it was (nor ever has been!) so the details are slightly sketchy but DG's troops were in excellent form (as were mine) and he came on in grand style with an all out assault... the attached pictures give a view..Later in the battle and the Brunswickers of the Prinz Ludwig regiment have now crossed the bridge and are in my rear area - nothing to stop them due to the continued pressure from the front.. it was nicely done I have to admit!In the foreground as part of that frontal assault the 33rd Foot are crossing the earthwork taking bloody mayhem and cold Sheffield steel to the valiant troops of the 2nd New York regiment, who, for the time being at least have managed to stop them in their tracks with a well aimed volley (see the yellow marker indicating they are shaken) Right flank of the British front and the Hessians are trying their level best to get at the American artillery who have managed to stop them in their tracks for the time being, but are swiftly about to caught up in a European sandwich..Anyway - numbers counted in the end (as both sides fought honourably) and I was finally forced to surrender as it was clear that I no longer had the troop numbers to put up a good fight.. in a campaign situation, with nowhere to withdraw to, and no troops to retreat with it was a no brainer - I put up a good fight against greater numbers, delayed him, caused casualties that in a historical context he would find more difficult to replace than I will, but nonetheless lost.. I give DG the joy of his victory both in the battle and the campaign!!
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