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Saturday, March 4, 2017

Battle of Guilford Courthouse March 15, 1784

It has been a while since I've posted, but I look forward to getting back on track. In February I was privileged to play in a refight of the historic Guilford Courthouse during the American War of Independence. Although not a large battle, it did contain a good number of units that would later take part in the Battle of Yorktown. Here we see Cornwallis' command entering the field.

The Americans have three lines of defense. The first two are made of militia units, with the first being untested militia who had orders to give two good shots and retire. The first line also had some small light infantry and cavalry units to harass the flanks of the British. The third line contains the Continental regiments, which are the best quality of troops Greene has.

The American plan is to delay the British and inflict as many casualties as possible. The cavalry and light infantry are to harass and fall back all the way up to Guilford Courthouse, should they survive.

Here we have the first line of North Carolina militia units waiting behind the fence line. Lt. Colonel Washington's cavalry unit along with his light infantry. On the far side of the American line, you can see some of Light Horse Harry Lee's light infantry.

Here are the Virginia militia regiments in the second line. These militia were deemed a bit more reliable and in our refight, would prove to be a very difficult line to break.

The British advance after some cannon fire upon the militia. The British had hoped their cannon could clear the way, but it would take more than cannon to push the North Carolina militia units aside. Lt. Colonel Washington's light units are engaging the Hessian jaeger unit while Tarleton's cavalry enter the field (upper right).

Lee's light troops are tangling with the Hessians in an aggressive firefight that will wear down both sides. One of the North Carolina militia units had broke and left a gap due to continuous artillery fire. Cornwallis in this refight decided to use his cannons boldly, which managed to inflict minor damage.

With the Hessian jaegers eliminated early on, British Gen. Webster now has the problem of Lt. Colonel Washington's intact light infantry and dragoons on his flank. This threat to his flank would later prove to be a major problem as the British advance would be stalled.

Lee's light units fall back after some unsuccessful combat. Cornwallis' artillery continues to fire upon the North Carolina militia.

The British made an advance and the North Carolina militia were driven off. British General O'Hara's 2nd Guards and some converged Grenadiers then surged forward toward the Virginia militia manning the 2nd line.

Webster's troops have a dilemma before them. If they push on to attack the 2nd line, they will be shot at by rifled armed light troops and possibly hit in the rear by Washington's cavalry. The smaller light infantry units are faster than the British line regiments and can easily evade combat.

British General Leslie has decided to risk it and brave the harassment from Harry Lee's light troops. As you can see, the British attempting to move forward too quickly is leading to their units becoming disorganized as they are forced to fight effectively in different directions.

O'Hara and Webster's troops are attempting to destroy Lt. Colonel Washington's light troops that are managing to snipe at the British advance. The Virginia militia had managed to maul some of the British units before being broken. The casualty marker attest to the near breaking of multiple British units before they can even contact the fresh third line of defense.

Webster's regiments being continuously delayed fighting smaller numbers of American troops. The choice is either get shot in the back or turn and face your enemy.

One of General Leslie's desperate attempts to protect the army's artillery with the battered 1st Foot Guards.

Webster's men finally broke from the fire of Lt. Colonel Washington's light troops (note the row of casualty markers). The converged grenadiers attempted and succeeded in destroying one of Washington's light infantry units. The overall exchange not being favorable to the British side.

A major attempt to push the attack on the final American line after dealing with Lee's troops and Virginia militia. As can be seen, the casualty markers mean these units are almost to the breaking point.

A rash British attempt to subdue the Continentals with the British artillery sections deploying before the Courthouse. Greene's Continentals can't resist and come down from the hill to try and take the guns.

The left of Green's 3rd line is cautiously sitting on the hill with the cannons, just in case the attack fails.

With Webster's command broken, O'Hara is forced back by the faster moving light troops of Lt. Colonel Washington. The grenadiers are close to their breaking point and so this was a smart idea.

After dealing with Cornwallis' artillery, the Hessians use the sacrificed artillery to advance up the road.

The Hessian unit makes a desperate charge into the American artillery, which fails to win the day.

On the right, all that remains of the British that began this battle. Time to retreat toward Yorktown?

A closer image of Cornwallis and the few units he has still upon the field. The Continental regiment pictured is also mauled from frontally engaging the British artillery.

Historically, it was a British victory, with the Americans being brushed aside. In this refight, the British had the misfortune of not dealing with the American light units effectively, which cost them the game. Not really pictured, were Tarleton's infamous cavalry. The reason they're not featured is because they suffered a major defeat that broke the unit very early in the game (didn't get a chance to picture that combat). The British cavalry could have been used to counter the American flanking actions had they not been used as a battering ram.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Gettysburg Day 2

The group had played Day 1 of Gettysburg and now onto day 2. Since I haven't posted anything in a while, I thought I'd share this even if the pictures aren't close ups. This view is looking down from Power's Hill toward Little Round Top on the left.

Part of the Union center engaged against A.P. Hill. Some of Longstreet's corps can be seen in the upper left. It may not seem like it, but there are around 8,500 figures on this table.

Another view of the center facing toward Cemetery Hill. Lots of fresh Union troops await any Confederate break through.

Ewell's corps on the extreme left. The attacking up hill through the woods would prove inconclusive and bloody.

The rest of Ewell's corps wrapping around Culp's Hill. As in real life, the wooded hills proved to be too difficult to attack successfully. The Union was able to move reinforcements around to reinforce any point when needed. The Confederates did not have any reinforcements. This was the corps I commanded and although I made some holes here by the end of the game, Union troops held in reserve were waiting with artillery.

At the "fish hook", the defense was still just as good as Union troops were firmly behind breastworks. Other than charging in and hoping for a good die roll, there wasn't much to be done. You can't really stand off and trade shots and charging means trying to dislodge defenders on favorable ground.

The stone walls worked very much in the Union favor. Being unable to effectively weaken your target before closing in makes for combats that just chew up units.

We did try to attack this corner repeatedly but the defenses held out. The Union brought over several regiments from their reserve to reinforce the position with fresh troops. Near the end of the game some progress was made by the Confederates in trying to crack the position but the Union reinforcements arrived in time and reversed the push.

One can see a lot of Confederates stacked up here waiting for their break. We had the intention of breaking this corner and then rolling up both ends of the lines. Even with more time, not sure it could have been done. Their ability to bring over fresh units meant the Confederates had to fight superior numbers looking down from their high ground positions.

The center was mostly a holding action as the Confederates had optimism either Little Round Top or Cemetery Hill would be taken. Wasn't a whole lot of movement during the game so the positions stayed mostly where they began. The Confederates weren't successful this day, so Pickett's men may have to be called up.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

AB British Light Dragoons

I've had some time to paint over the last couple of weeks or so as I've been fighting off a cold and managed to finish up the British light dragoons I bought 6 months ago. This has been sort of a gap in my collection for a long time.

Here is the 14th Light Dragoons. The trooper without a helmet (rear rank, center) was an interesting variant from AB. Sometimes we forget equipment could be lost or destroyed and replacements scarce.

And lastly, here is the 16th Light Dragoons. I chose to paint units which were active in the Peninsular War and the orange facings was something a bit less common in the British army. I'm happy with how they turned out and look forward to seeing them on the field.

I've been working on 6mm Baccus French Napoleonics for a while. In March I hope to have them debuted here. For grand tactical games, smaller figures can make larger game possible without the need for a super-sized table.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Albuera In 6mm

Trying a different direction in gaming, here is a 6mm Albuera my group played in recently. The French left flank here near Soult's position. We used historical OOB's but deployment was a little different. The varying weather as in the historical battle's rain played a role in this.

The opposing Spanish right flank. Knowing the Allies have little artillery, we decided to set up the Spanish and British behind the ridge instead on top of it. This would shield us from French fire until they were up close. Latour-Maubourg's cavalry can be seen trying to get around the Spanish line.

The village of Albuera on the opposite side of the battlefield. The river is fordable in a few areas and will slow down some of the progress made here by the French. We didn't understand until near the end of the battle that the village had some victory point value and was worth holding.

A better view of the Allied position behind the ridge. To the left, reserves being positioned more towards the Spanish as they are the weakest link and will likely need the help later on.

The extreme Allied right where the Spanish cavalry are positioned for a counter strike. One battalion in a square to increase its odds of surviving. As it later turns out, would be needed.

The French cavalry positioning for their strike. Why the artillery is not deployed to open up on the square is unknown but I did not correct my opponent. The only thing I can assume is he was overly confident of smashing the Spanish and did not feel like wasting time with such time consuming measures. Keep that in mind for later.

My apologies for the blurry picture here, but 6mm picture taking is new for me. The French right closing in on the village while the defenders spread out into line. The French as it turned out got across the river quite easily. We had varying weather during the game like the real battle but the rains didn't seem to keep the French back.

The Allied center with the Spanish command ending and the Portuguese brigade starting up. Not much goes on here until the last several turns of the battle.

More French reinforcements fording the river near the village. As the Allies, we decided not to hold the village as we didn't think it necessary nor did we think we had the numbers to hold it and the rest of the line. The French have a reserve that came in later during the game and not knowing where it was coming in made it difficult to commit the bulk of our men, especially when worrying about how long the Spanish could hold out.

I believe this is Cole's brigade being held in reserve along the Allied left. Stewart, the other reserve brigade, was in position behind the Spanish as an immediate reinforcement.

I forgot a picture or two from this Allied right flank, but this is the end result of a Spanish initiated cavalry charge. The blurry cavalry on the bottom right had charged, pushed back the French cavalry now coming back at them. During that interval, the French horse artillery battery was destroyed. The French are seeking some revenge and are now fully engaged.

The French infantry finally engage the Spanish along the curved line of the Allied right. A Spanish battalion is broken and the French keep on coming, seemingly again not deeming the Spanish worthy of weakening before rushing right in. The rain inflicting negatives or the impossibility of musketry at times probably also adding to the decision.

Stewart's brigade lined up in assuming a new flank when the Spanish give way. Everything remains quiet in the center.

The Allied left is about to be heavily engaged as the bulk of the French army is on this side of the field. Using the reverse slope combined with the intermittent rains really prevented musketry from being a deciding factor. In the heavy rain, which seemed to take up about 1/3 of the game, there was no musketry. In the light rain, it was at a -1. Everything would come down to melee.

Again, I missed a couple of turns here from all the dice rolling. The French cavalry brigade was demoralized and broke! A lancer unit did poorly and broke, then some dragoons decided to charge the square. The Spanish light cavalry counter charged and broke the French cavalry unit. Between those two lost cavalry units and the artillery, the brigade broke. The Spanish cavalry lost one unit as it ran from the field after a poorly fought round of combat. Typical.

The French manage a break through of sorts with one battalion breaking the corner of the line. The rest of the French aren't having quite as much luck as they're getting repulsed from their charges. The rains let up a bit and the Spanish were able to fire and weaken the attacking lines, which made the combats not so advantageous for the French.

The center of the line can now see some French fanning out to come attack the center. It's about the get bloody.

The Allied left is facing difficulties as the number of French units are making themselves felt. The Allied line here is thin and so if the French manage a breakthrough, they have the chance to roll up the flank.

Some of the upcoming French troops from the left flank also decide fan out toward the center. With the Allied right holding them back, maybe they believe the center is the weak point? Time will tell.

The center from a different view. The Spanish artillery really was a life saver for the Spanish as it inflicted a lot of damage from canister fire. With the French coming over the ridge, they were going to be hit soon. The battalion coming down the hill to try to fight it will also be broken from canister fire.

Cole's reserve brigade is being brought up as some of the Allied left units have broken. It won't be long and an Allied brigade will also break. The heavy rains have seemingly subsided so musketry is beginning to also take its toll.

Another French brigade broken! This valiant French battalion that did the break through has found itself in a trap and is eliminated in the musketry crossfire. This finishes off the brigade. The Spanish cavalry coming up around the far right will take over the position and reverse the flank.

Stewart's brigade is now not needed as a backup for the Spanish and so turns and moves towards the center where the next act is about to be played out. The Spanish artillery continues firing and inflicting damage.

Now the center begins the musketry duel as the French close in. The Italian battalion toward the bottom right will soon be broken as it marches across the Spanish artillery's line of sights and into the path of waiting infantry.

The Allied left lost one brigade and the French are continuing to press home the attacks. The French have paid for the continued attacks as they've had no real chance to recover from the disruptions. This is the most success the French have had up until now.

With the French all routed, the Spanish cavalry decided to try what Latour-Maubourg's troops did and turn the flank. It will take a while to get into a position as there is quite a bit of ground to cover.

The continued approach. Both commanders seemed to work together here to make sure they could try to deliver simultaneous attacks, which was a good idea. The longer they took, the more damage they were taking and so time was not on their side.

Cole's men plugged the gap on the Allied left. With fresh units now place, the French attempts to break through were greatly decreased. Not pictured was a couple of rounds of melee in the center which cost each side a battalion or so and really did nothing. The Spanish cavalry managed to come after another French battery trailing the infantry moving to the center.

It was getting late and we had to call it a draw. The village was worth 1pt and each broken formation was also worth 1pt. Both sides had 2pts and it's clear that in another couple of turns, the French probably would have lost another brigade and that would have taken the French from the field. We did not expect the Spanish to do so well but I think the French aggression worked against itself in that even though there was rain, they made minimal to almost no attempt to weaken the Spanish lines first. I think their artillery could have been brought up and used much sooner than it was. Despite the quality issues, the numbers made up for the quality differences and allowed the Allies to hold the line.