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Game Report
"Advance Guard"

General Situation/Scenario Background:

The scenario is heavily based on the Charles Grant Table Top Teaser of the same name (see elsewhere on my pages for these). Just a few slight modifications..

It is early summer and the campaign season is well underway. American and British forces are on the march, and are each seeking any opportunity they can to force battle at an advantage. In their area of advance there are two such opportunities:

The game starts with one side in charge of each objective - we diced for who had which with resulted in the Americans (me) holding the farm, and the British (DG) the bridge..

Game/Scenario Rules:

The table was set up as follows:

Winning conditions

Each side needs to retain control of their starting objective as a minimum, but with the additional aim of inflicting casualties on the enemy, and if possible, also taking control of the enemies objective by the end of the game (see (Terrain/Game Conditions for number of moves etc.)

Victory is decided on a points basis:

  • +1 point for each of the opponents Strength Points destroyed (in the rules we use - Will McNally's AWI rules - all units are a fixed size in terms of numbers of figures, but have a strength rating.. a full strength unit is approx. 5 or 6 points)
  • +5 points for each brigadier/senior general killed
  • +10 points for controlling the starting objective
  • +15 points for controlling the enemies objective

Being "Old Schoolers", DG and I tend to agree between ourselves whether a victory is considered to be decisive or not in this case based on having counted the points. As it happened we went with a difference of +15 points or more constituting a decisive victory, with 5 points or more being a marginal victory.

OOB

Both sides are numerically equal (in terms of morale points) at the start of the game, but as advance guards, both sides are expecting reinforcements. Each side comprises three brigades - two of foot (one with attached artillery) & one of horse..

American (and allies) :

Unit Name Unit Morale Strength Points Artillery Type
4th Dragoons55N/A
Lauzun's Legion Hussars65N/A
Massachusetts Militia - 1st Battalion45N/A
Massachusetts Militia - 2nd Battalion45N/A
Massachusetts Militia - 3rd Battalion45N/A
Rhode Island Artillery55Medium
Saintonge Regiment (1st. Batt.)65N/A
Bourbonnais Regiment (1st. Batt.)65N/A
Total:40

British :

Unit Name Unit Morale Strength Points Artillery Type
17th Foot 6 5 N/A
Rogers Rangers - 1st Battalion 5 5 N/A
23rd Foot (Royal Welsh Fusileers) 6 5 N/A
33rd Foot 6 5 N/A
New York Loyalist Artillery 5 5 Medium
16th Light Dragoons 6 5 N/A
16th Light Dragoons 6 5 N/A
Total:40

Reinforcements:

As advance guards, both sides firmly believe that they will receive substantial reinforcements sufficient to consolidate any temporary advantage already gained, by about mid-day. Regrettably, the nature of these reinforcements is far from certain (J). On move 24, each player throws one eight sided dice secretly (we operate the honour system so the other player isn't aware of what/when/if!) ...damn sightseers get everywhere...(click here for a bigger view)..

...damn sightseers get everywhere... (these are by Parkfield Miniatures)
  1. Three infantry regiments now (next move if you are not the moving player).
  2. Two infantry regiments now (next move if you are not the moving player).
  3. One infantry regiment now (next move if you are not the moving player).
  4. One cavalry regiment now (next move if you are not the moving player).
  5. Three infantry regiments in three moves time (ie. move 27 if you're the moving player, move 28 if you are not the moving player).
  6. Two infantry regiments in three moves time (ie. move 27 if you're the moving player, move 28 if you are not the moving player).
  7. Reinforcements delayed six moves then draw again (start of move 30 whether you are moving player or not)
  8. Reinforcements were pinned down by the enemy. They will not arrive until last light, too late to influence the outcome!
The Game (or... enough rambling, what actually happened??!):

The game started with an aggressive advance by the British - who marched rapidly (using road bonuses) to get their infantry into the wood opposing the farm..

...British advance 'Rogers Rangers', followed by '33rd Foot', with the '16th Dragoons' in the background (all Minifigs 25mm, including wagons)...the British advance 'Rogers Rangers' to the fore, followed by the '33rd Foot', with the '16th Dragoons' in the background (all Minifigs 25mm, including wagons).....click picture for a bigger view..

The US response was limited to a general advance by the French to the fence line, with one regiment of Militia in reserve for them. The other two battalions of Militia were positioned in the farm and barn respectively. The US cavalry was deployed on the US "right" ie. in front of the barn, Lauzun first and then the Dragoons. (NB. From now on by the way I will refer to the American left as being the same long edge of the table as the bridge, their right, is the barn side... the reverse being the case for the British).

...US initial deployment - Lauzun with the Dragoons behind them in the foreground, Bourbonnais & Saintonge are in column of march heading for the fence line..  in the background the artillery is heading for the high ground, with the Militia 'reserve' behind them..(all Minifigs 25mm)

...US initial deployment - Lauzun with the Dragoons behind them in the foreground, Bourbonnais & Saintonge are in column of march heading for the fence line.. in the background the artillery is heading for the high ground, with the Militia 'reserve' behind them..(all Minifigs 25mm).....click picture for a bigger view..

With the US artillery now deployed, it soon opened fire - their position was not brilliant as the woods to their front blocked some line of sight, but the American artillery was to prove devastating as the battle progressed. The first casualties were the Rangers who were soon driven back in disarray..

In light of the continued British advance on the US left, Lauzun's was switched to the other flank to cover the largely open approach to the farm, but the move was short lived as the British artillery was seen to be deploying on the hill overlooking their position, which was all together far too open! On the other flank however, the first direct clash of the day was about to take place, with the charge of the US dragoons on their British opposite numbers; unfortunately, this was not at all successful, and they were driven back with a bloody nose...

...the US Dragoons in the fore ground are about to get a drubbing...(all Minifigs 25mm)

...those US Dragoons in the fore ground are about to get a drubbing...(all Minifigs 25mm)...click picture for a bigger view..

The newly returned Lauzun's were left to hold the flank, while the American Dragoons withdrew to recover and return to the fray. In the meanwhile the American artillery continued to wreak havoc, first destroying the British artillery, and then turning on the British foot regiments that were now deploying through the woods directly to the front of the farm.

...British build up - the Dragoons have just seen off the US Dragoons, the Rangers are sheltering behind the hill to recover, the main British force is deploying into the wood - Welsh Fusiliers to the fore, 33rd behind them - in the distance the British artillery can just be seen to be arriving before eventually being driven off by the US artillery..(all Minifigs 25mm apart from the Welsh Fusiliers who are Front Rank)

...British build up - the Dragoons have just seen off the US Dragoons, the Rangers are sheltering behind the hill to recover, the main British force is deploying into the wood - Welsh Fusiliers to the fore, 33rd behind them - in the distance the British artillery can just be seen to be arriving before eventually being driven off by the US artillery..(all Minifigs 25mm apart from the Welsh Fusiliers who are Front Rank)...click picture for a bigger view..

On the American right flank, a daring feint by the US Dragoons towards the bridge was beaten off by British Dragoons but was effectively the end of them as, low on strength, they subsequently failed morale tests and then left the field.

It now being midday in game terms, we threw for reinforcements (a handy moment for tea and biscuits as well as we reviewed progress to date) - this was a "disaster" for the Americans as a sole regiment of cavalry arrived! Slightly worryingly the British player was seen to smile inscrutably..... as nothing arrived on the table!

It was time for the final stroke as it was becoming clear that the Americans didn't have much to answer the British attack - to be blunt I was playing for time! Along the edge of the wood the British infantry paused, and then charged forwards to assault the two French regiments holding the fence line..

...British infantry about to lauinch their assault...(all Minifigs 25mm except for the Welsh Fusiliers who are Front Rank)



...and having launched their assault...(figures as before)

...the British infantry assault goes in...(all Minifigs 25mm except for the Welsh Fusiliers who are Front Rank)...click pictures for a bigger view..

Not surprisingly this was a bloody affair and both British Infantry regiments were thrown back with considerable damage - but this was a short lived reprieve for the Americans, as the British then stood off, and with their superior musketry began to give the French some casualties..

It was this point that the cause of the inscrutable smile became clear - British reinforcements arrived in the form of three more infantry regiments! Quelle horeur... The reinforcements comprised

  • the 71st (Frasers) Foot a highland battalion,
  • the Royal Irish (who despite their distinctly non-imposing appearance have fought like the very devil every time they've been deployed!)
  • a regiment of Hessian Grenadiers the Infantry regiment Erbprinz (who despite their very imposing appearance have never yet made their presence felt on the table! Funny thing that....J)

Things were not looking good for the Americans...and were about to get worse.

First - the two French regiments were driven back from the hedge line - the Bourbonnais in rout. The reserve Militia battle duly moved up to take their place and lasted I think two moves before being bundled off in similar fashion.. There was nothing left to do but for the Saintonge to start a fighting retreat towards the farm...

......British assault is successfull and the 17th are across the fence..  Highlanders, Hessians and those wild Irish in close support. The Saintonge Regiment is falling back, and their support - the Militia - have already melted away...(all Minifigs 25mm)

...British assault is successful and the 17th are across the fence.. Highlanders, Hessians and those wild Irish in close support. The Saintonge Regiment is falling back, and their support - the Militia - have already melted away...(all Minifigs 25mm)...click picture for a bigger view..

On the American left flank an attack was developing by the Rangers, with Dragoons in support - this was enough to get the Militia in the farmhouse out to man the wall behind the farm, but eventually it was found not to required as the artillery continued to do it's worse to the units attacking - I was helped here by previous casualties that both units had suffered, but bottom line, the attack was broken up and the Militia returned to the farm.The other Militia unit left the barn to assist the Saintonge Regiment in their retreat.

On the American right flank a truly foolish move by yours truly, left Lauzun's Hussars in harm's way where they were extremely roughly handled by the British Dragoons (note: never leave your horse within flank charge reach of an opponents cavalry...!) They routed, and were unable to recover before leaving the field - the British dragoons then advanced rapidly on the American right flank (towards the barn) where the final cavalry melee of the battle resulted in the US reinforcements being bundled from the field...

..and that was it, because with everything in disarray, the game ended with night falling and the British within striking distance of the US objective..

...death knell of the American hopes - well on this day anyway! The Saintonge regiment (who are shaken hence the yellow pin) about to be attacked by remaining Dragoons, the British infantry are just out of view.. The American cavalry (the reinforcements) are routing from the table in the background..(all Minifigs 25mm)

...death knell of the American hopes - well on this day anyway! The Saintonge regiment (who are shaken hence the yellow pin) about to be attacked by remaining Dragoons, the British infantry are just out of view.. The American cavalry (the reinforcements) are routing from the table in the background..(all Minifigs 25mm) ..click picture for a bigger view..

Thoughts/comments and post-match analysis :

  • An excellent game that took about 4 hours to complete, and we made it through to move 48 again - I certainly didn't notice the time passing, always a good sign!
  • Despite looking like a British landslide, the game was actually adjudicated to be a draw.. points were 41 to the Americans and 44 to the British! Given the difference was just 3 points, it was short of a "marginal" victory. I put the comparative American "success" down entirely to the performance of their artillery, and also to the fact that funnily enough the British reinforcements were actually used (rather than being held back), and so to an extent this gave the Americans a "target rich environment" to score points from..bottom line, I certainly don't look up on it as a draw - I thought I was well and truly mauled!
  • "You're never too old" lesson of the game - never, never, never, leave your cavalry within charge distance of enemy cavalry - glaringly obvious (like most "you're never too old" lessons!) but I just didn't see it... I put it down to being transfixed, rabbit in the headlights-like, by all the British reinforcements! J
  • New rules lesson of the day - if you're infantry, be very wary of assaulting over a fence line - you can often get a better result by standing off (if you're British) and pouring in the musketry...
  • Second new rules lesson of the day - American cavalry are not good against their British opposite numbers.. not a rules issue, strikes me that that was fairly accurate from my reading.
  • Medals/honours: The American Artillery were outstanding in this game, dealing death left, right and centre to the British - honours to them, and I can honestly say that without them, the Americans would have lost the game far earlier (game note: I have never, ever, thrown so many 10's & 11's on 2D6!) On the British side it would have to be the Dragoons who successfully defeated anything (mounted!) the Americans threw at them..
  • As usual, the conosoieurs may be interested to know that on this occasion the tea was Twinings Everyday and the biscuits were the "Marks and Spencer Family Biscuit Selection" - from which a selection of "Milk and Dark chocolate biscuits, sultana and chocolate chip cookies, crunch creams and buttery viennese" were consumed - with much gusto, I might add.. J
  • Other than that, another most enjoyable game despite the mauling - once again I thought it was a foregone conclusion right up until almost the end, and in this instance....................................I was right!

    Here's to the next one..