Thursday 27 May 2021

Painting and modelling...

Between Games.

More very mixed displacement activity as I plan the Play Room reorganisation in my head. Projects including getting to the varnishing stage and basing for a number of "held" projects.....

Some 15mm (well, could actually be any scale) "space troopers", plus some aliens finally done.

Finished painting up some more indigenous peoples for my 1/72 "Not Sanders" campaign (HaT Nubians). Just the bases to do now.

Finally trying to get my 1/72 fantasy bods finished (these have been sitting around a couple of years), having at last found some "Hobbits" who meet my requirements.

The Caesar Adventurers are getting there (three completed 
bar the bases; to join the couple of Amazon ladies already finished),  the rest still being worked on as are the two "beardless dwarves" (on the left).

The unpainted "Hobbits" are basically Essex 15mm ("Roman camp" people and generic slingers) with some experiments with Green Stuff (still not confident when working with this) and paper/card trying to make some packs etc.

Once painted up they will look OK I think.

The bods themselves don't look too out of scale with my (possible) lady "Hobbits" either. Anyhow, maybe higher status lady hobbits ARE generally taller than the males; who knows....?

All I have to decide is what monsters/evils they will face... 

Oh, and I risked buying in some 1/72 3D prints for an ongoing sci-fi project. See how THESE paint up.

Finally, a purchase of a childhood memory to play while painting... No. I will NOT be venturing into the Monmouth
 Rebellion. Not even in 6mm.....


Saturday 22 May 2021

I should be playing....

 ...Not Plotting & Planning.

An interim post.

The best plaid lambs gan aft agley etc. (or something like that; I make no claims as a linguist).

This last couple of weeks was supposed to seen me embark on a campaign for my 6mm AWI fellas. However a combination of house duties, lack of space in the Play Room due to tidying and painting/modelling, my butterfly mind, displacement activity and "painter's guilt" has led me astray (another ovine reference?).....  

Some rules experiments and testing a idea from one of the other posters on the FB Solo Wargames with Miniatures Group have taken place.

Dozens of little guys have been reboxed and the distribution tidied.

Some more 6mm woodland bases have been made.
More of my African tribes and civilians have been painted/half-painted (am I the ONLY one with half-painted boxfulls of bods?) as has a lot of related impedimenta and scenic stuff.

I have also been distracted with a couple of sci-fi projects in 25mm (the result in one case of one snapping up some ridiculously under-priced E-Bay West End Stars Wars chaps).

I had been in discussion with a 3d printer chap re. some re-scaled figures from ranges he had been offering (at top dollar, but within my tolerance range for bespoke items), but that seemed to fizzle out at the other end.

The 3D printing game seems to leave me vaguely baffled at times. I have heard so much heralding of it, and the potential seems amazing (esp. re. out of production/copyright figures) but the items I have actually purchased (a few vehicles) have been a bit "Meh", fragile and fiddly (lots of trimming, the 3D equivalent of "flash") and the pricing of some figures appears ridiculous to someone of my generation. In one case a manufacturer is producing a range of fairly bog-standard 1/72 bods at £4.50 each figure - when I an buy a metal equivalent for less than a pound and a box of 48 plastics for seven quid)...

Odd that...

So I have been preparing some more sci-fi stuff in 1/72, including conversions, for one project (watch this space) and some experimental monsters for.. Well, for whatever..

Also, I've FINALLY made a start on drafting character cards etc. for my (daft?) "Betty's Seven" sci-fi (spoof?) game.

So.. Lots of activity; but again, not what I was supposed to be doing - i.e. actually playing.
Mind you, researching and some book purchases for other projects (and subsequent reading) haven't helped... 

Neither has dipping into some fascinating Blogs:

Well, that was the fortnight that was. Hopefully the next post will be about an actual game.

I note there wasn't any feedback on the last biggie, so I'm wondering if this Blog is going in a useful direction. If folk have any thoughts, or subjects they'd like to throw at me for thoughts please do.      

Thursday 13 May 2021

A Close and Confused Encounter (cont'd)

 The Battle (Pre-Action Phase):

In the initial stages all three British Brigade Commanders on the table elected to extend/partially their commands into skirmish lines and advance, as per their orders. This suited me and the British advanced.

From north to south my commanders were Cols. Hartley (commanding a mix of Jaegers, Indians and Rangers), Moonie (brigaded British Regular Light Companies) and Topov (various German light companies).

As they pushed forwards initially it almost seemed as though the enemy weren't present - at least, not in any strength "my" side of the table centre.

Note: To better view images right click and "open in new tab"

[As mentioned in previous posts, I do not have an issue with "No Show" games. Even when I have established that a field is fully empty there has already been a degree of game play and tension and, since "War is the Province of Uncertainty", I feel this is quite fitting...

My "ambition", in so much as I have any ambition, is to umpire a multi-player cooperative game where there is no actual enemy presence at all (smiley face emoticon).]  

On the right, Hartley's Brigade became too spread out [as Hartley hesitated - due to dice tests, his command losing formation cohesion as a result]. 

Due to this hesitation the Rangers stalled temporarily and the native auxiliaries - on their own initiative (damn 'em) decided to investigate the Lowrie House complex.

This was awkward - in that I did not want the advance party to turn into a burn and loot party. However, the Indians simply poked about a bit [Dice tests] before running down to rejoin their Jaeger companions. Phew.

In the centre the British Lights (Col. Mooney) pushed forwards in a mix of column and skirmishing order, reaching the banked and hedgerow-lined road running between The Orchard and Greenhammer Wood. Here they halted, with Mooney deploying his whole force in a skirmish line, in order to hold this useful defensive feature.

Colonel Topov, like Hartley, was hesitant to start with; extending his troops (the various Jaeger/rifle companies) in skirmish order, but taking his time before moving; stolidly and slowly to start, then forward in a rush which soon took him level with Pool Wood.

Suddenly Events Tests are required for both Topov and Mooney. It turn out that Topov's men have seen some kind of bastion/entrenchment to the south of the complex of buildings known as Kerrimans. They will need to test again to ascertain if it is occupied.

Meanwhile, Mooneys men go into an unauthorised advance, leaving the safety of the hedgerow and moving across the pasture towards the Kerriman's-Rawlings House track.

Next move Mooney is forced to Event Test again; this time his men have seen enemy troops at long range. On the low, westernmost ridge* there are clearly several regiments of Continental and Militia regiments drawn up.

(*Elevations are not clear on the Plan. This ridge stretches northwards from just south of the complex of buildings at Kerrimans to west of Rawlin's House; ending just before the northernmost access road; there being a shallow valley between this ridge and Vineyard Ridge). 

On the British right Col. Hartley's Mixed Brigade of jaegers, rangers and Indian auxiliaries had come to a halt on the ridge/escarpment between Lowrie House and Winter Wood. artley seemed reluctant to push further forward; perhaps concerned at what might be in the walled complex at Mary's Vinyard.

[This caution on his part was later to prove a nuisance - as the possibility that the vineyard might prove to be an enemy strong-point hung heavy on my mind for quite a while.]

With the next move things start hotting up. The enemy Brigade Commander moves his men off the ridge, seemingly intent on crushing Mooney's exposed command and possibly meaning to seize the line of hedgerows.

Also, at move end, we get a British reinforcement test. 

As a result British columns emerge on the central and southern access roads. The British main force has started to arrive. This is possibly too soon for me, but I have to lump it.

Next turn, as soon as they get Activated, Mooney's men open fire on the advancing Americans - at once ending the Pre Action Phase.

The Battle has begun - but from my point of view this is seriously premature. My army is not deployed into Line of Battle. I have no plan. My Main Force Brigade commanders have no orders other than to get to the valley.

This has all the makings of a Command & Control nightmare*...

[*Part of me, of course, thinks "Excellent"... THAT is what this experiment is all about.]

The Action Phase:

First full Battle Move the enemy force from the ridge makes a rush at Mooney's men - who evade, falling back across the pasture towards the hedgerow, but become partially disordered as a result. As part of this advance enemy militia will rush to seize the high-walled garden of Rawlin's House, thus controlling the road junction there.

Meanwhile, another regiment moves to where it can command access to the walled orchard and we can see another
regiment moving across to occupy the Kerriman's building complex.

Three potential strong-points in the centre have now effectively come under enemy control. 

At the same time as all this is happening two enemy militia regiments [Token prompted] arrive as reinforcements along the Vineyard Road.

Meanwhile the British Central column moves further onto the field; some seven regiments in all (including Scots, Grenadiers and Rangers, in two Brigades  under Cols. McHare & Pigeon) and the General I. Pipkin (Officer Commanding).  

On the Cooler's Farm Road this column too only seems to get longer - now also consisting of two Brigades; each of three regiments; including two units of German Grenadiers (Brigade commanders Col. F. Pipkin & Col. Bertha). Yet having no idea there are enemy about they will continue to march rather than deploy.

Col. Topov's Jaegers and rifles on the British left, continued to push forwards, towards Timm's Farm, but halt on seeing a regiment of Continentals - the far right of the enemy formation - arriving on our side of Kerriman's Hill.

On the north end of the table a THIRD British column arrives - the dice are being very active today. Two regiments of British foot, a German fusilier regiment and a cavalry regiment come onto the field under the command of Col. Potter. He seems particularly keen, and next move will take his cavalry forward to the small escarpment where Hartley has stalled to see what is occurring and assess.

Level with Rabbitts Farm Col. Frederick Pipkin halts his column - from here he can see the long line of enemy regiments advancing from the far ridge and hear the sound of musketry.

Apart from the need to link with the central column under McHare (which he cannot see due to the lie of the land) he is without specific orders as to how to deploy and must make his own decisions.

His leading unit is a Scots regiment. He deploys this unit into line to shield the head of his column. 

In the British centre rear the General gets activated. About time too - but he can't see what is going on at The Front (and my hands are tied by what he can see, so I can't issue any specific orders until the General figure can actually view the field). He (I) rushes forwards with his staff. 

In the centre the line of enemy regiments halt, and fire volleys at Mooney's skirmish line; they reply. Little damage to either side.

But luckily for me the enemy Brigade commander here has suddenly got cautious.

Maybe he fears a trap?

Maybe he has exceeded his orders and was supposed to stay on the ridge?

Who knows.

The centre settles into an exchange of fire between him and the Light Companies.
Suits me - as it seems to stop him pushing on to that damn hedgerow.  

Meanwhile on the American left the enemy militia move forward, seemingly intending to link with the far left of the main enemy force at Rawlin's House. This makes sense. But they can now see my cavalry and Indians on the escarpment.  This seems to give them pause.

More enemy reinforcements arrive on the Kerriman's road, then Topov, on my far left, pushes his men forward, taking them past Latchett's Copse and to the walls and fences of Timm's farm.

But he draws an Event - and BANG.... His men come under artillery fire from the entrenchment at Kerriman's - where there are six field guns and a howitzer.  WHAT..!!!

It looks like this fortification was likely intended to protect both the flank of an enemy position on the above mentioned ridge and the Kerriman's access road. We are seriously outgunned here if we want to roll up the ridge - but luckily Topov's Jaeger, in open order, take little harm from this salvo, and scuttle back to the south side of the woods. 

Now the leading Brigade commander of the British centre column, Col. McHare - no doubt hearing the guns and musketry, and certainly seeing the line of enemy coming down off the ridge - uses his initiative (ad hoc test) and begins to deploy; moving his column off to the left (south side) of the road while sending a regiment up the slope to secure the hill at Lowrie House. Good man.


During the next move the duel in the centre between the British Light companies under Mooney and the main enemy force continues.

McHare continues to deploy his leading regiments - and link with Col. F. Pipkin over to the left, while I try to scribble out orders based on what (little) I can "see".....

Meanwhile, on my left, Fred Pipkin* gets his leading units into a defensive line - but he doesn't seem in a hurry, as Col. Bertha's troops wait in the road behind him and the British guns enter the field - only to sit in the traffic jam..... 

[*As mentioned above, certain situations call for specific ad hoc, dice-driven decisions - either on the back of an envelope or in one's head. I won't detail every one, but here is an example below.

Fred had only general instructions (to link with McHare's line when seen). However, he had now suddenly seen - and heard - that action had already begun. I felt the IMP justified a decision be made. Had he been issued with more specific orders or other clear options the table would reflect those. Had he been more imaginative or had a serious character flaw or ability then there may have been more and different options]

On my right Hartley and Potter now seem to have stalled**; both opting to deploy defensibly rather than push on or threaten the enemy left.

[**Another ad hoc decision. 

Without positive orders from me maybe that is the best they can do (?) - but I'm (that is my General is) too busy in the centre; talking to Col. Pigeon and writing a dispatch to brother Col. Frederick P.*** to deal with them.

***Looking at the actual written note (yes. I was actually writing out my orders on scraps of paper) it says, in my spider scrawl;

"Take position between Timms Farm and the slope above Pool Woods by th walled Form. Hold on my orders. Guns to prorceed to slops above pool wood ad myself." (Sic).
Clear as mud. Airey eat your heart out. Well, THAT'S one for the History Books...

Oh, and I, as General have three staff officers/aids to carry messages. Line Brigade Commanders have one. Light infantry Brigade commanders none.]

In the centre rear McHare has got his guys scurrying and a Line of Battle is starting to appear on the high ground in the centre of my line.

All well and good, but as more enemy reinforcements appear on the hill by Kerryman's and with an enemy regiment now actually occupying the walled orchard on his flank, Mooney seems to lose his nerve [Decision Test], and he pulls the Light Companies back to the hedgerows.

From my point of view the priority for the next couple of moves are;

1) to establish a Line of Battle and Reserve

2) consider the situation and plan my attack.  

While I am doing all this more enemy reinforcements arrive on the Kerriman's Road and begin to move deploy my side of the enemy ridgeline.

There is a sudden Event Test prompted by Popov's still having unexplored ground in front of him and a sniper takes out one of my gunners. 

Undeterred - or perhaps because of this - three of my guns [Decision Test] move off the road and up the hill by Rabbitt's Farm.

Suddenly matters take a real turn for the worse; the enemy commander at Kerriman's (this is not their General - he has not yet appeared - but the local Brigade commander) uses his initiative* and launches his men towards the area just north of Silent Pool.

It looks as if he is seeking to exploit the the gap between my left wing and my centre.

THIS could be a nasty problem for me - especially when the American brigadier in command of the regiments facing my light troops at the hedgerow throws some of HIS units in to support this move to split my force. I am suddenly looking at half a dozen enemy regiments pushing towards the gap in my line.

[*OK. How did this happen.

a) The first Brigadier got token activated. HE has no known orders
 - the enemy General hasn't even arrived, let alone had time to make a battle plan - and none of my guys are in range or close enough to be a threat. However, looking from his side of the hill there is a clear weakness in my line. An ad hoc dice IMP test ensues for him - and he seizes the opportunity.

b) The neighbouring Brigadier, also without specific orders so far as we know, seeing this advantage, also makes an impromptu decision - another IMP test. We already know he is potentially bold - he came off the hill to confront my Lights and secure the Orchard and Rawling's Farm. Hence....

There IS an element of required fairness - and alertness - on my part here. But I have yet to find a swift, table-friendly way of exploiting my own errors. ] 

With seven enemy regiments now pushing for the gap at Silent Pool, with only my guns - limbered and struggling up Rabbitt's Farm Hill beyond - in their path, and more enemy reinforcements arriving on the Kerriman's Road, this could be a problem if Lady Luck is against me. 

My General is currently idle. All now depends on Activation Tokens, local decisions and how quickly SOMEONE can get some men across to plug this gap. Or not....

while, over on my far left, having advanced further, to the pastures west of Growdermeir's Wood, Col. Fred. Pipkin's men deploy into line proper - but they now begin to come under enemy artillery fire from the guns at Kerriman's.

At this range it causes minimal loss, but again this is something I can do without....

As, indeed, is the emergence of another enemy reinforcement; a brigade of three regiments marching along the Vineyard Road. 

Suddenly the Gods of Battle smile on me. The bold Col. McHare of my central column, already deploying his command to Line, sees the problem of the Silent Pool gap and rushes some of his four regiments over to try to plug the hole in my battle line.

Col. Bertha, his own command still in the vicinity of the south east side of Pool Wood, and although under the general command of Fred. Pipkin but with no clear orders other than to support, also sees the potential problem.

Using his initiative [another IMP test] he pushes two of his regiments to link in a line with McHare's command. We now have a thin smear of red between the advancing enemy and Rabbitt's Hill.

[Both of the the above were Activation Draw and dice-driven decisions based on IMP. These, combined with good movement throws probably saved the day.] 

Phew... That was close. The enemy commander was advancing in mixed order; his guys would deploy to line to fight, but with even only a couple of them moving unopposed in swifter column up Rabbitt's Hill I could have been in trouble if the token draw and dice hadn't been on my side.

Meanwhile, three of my my guns reach the top of the hill by Rabbitt's farm, above and behind my newly formed line, and unlimber. Thanks to luck the gap has been plugged in the nick of time. 

But up on the hill by Kerriman's more enemy regiments, perhaps six or seven, can be seen arriving on and deploying from the access road. With these is the enemy general. Meanwhile, their guns continue to play on Fred. Pipkin's command

Over on my right - perhaps prompted by the arrival of enemy reinforcements - the Rangers occupy Mary's Vinyard [Local decision test].

At last; something happening here.

The next few actions are key. Again, Luck is with me. By Silent Pool the enemy  come under volley fire from my line - now a reverse "L" shape - before they are fully deployed. Their foremost unit recoils, but the brigade of Continentals and militia holds together and forms a line of their own, mirroring line.

Up on Kerrimans's Hill the enemy General considers his options as massed volleys ring out by "Formerly Known As Silent Pool".

To be joined by the crump of artillery: again, the tokens are kind. From their position on high Rabbitt's Hill my guns shoot across the action at the Pool and into the flanks of enemy units on Kerriman's Ridge, causing a lot of consternation among the enfiladed militia there.

Although my guns are firing at long range the arrival of cannonballs on their flanks seriously upsets the enemy militia, who are further discomforted by the musketry of my light troops who, having left the security of the hedgerow are sweeping across the pasture beyond, supported by the serried ranks of the regiments of Col. Pigeon [At my direct command; yes, the General is actually doing something now..]. 

Meanwhile, Fred. Pipkin, over on the left, starts deploying the rest of his brigades between Growdermeir's Wood and Latchett's Copse.

[Technical Note:  I have been really lucky with the dice and the Token draw in the last two moves. Yes; more enemy are appearing, and I have no sense of what they are intending, but their first attack has been blunted. This hopefully gives me breathing space - and the chance to make a plan.

Thus far my General has been engaged in hustling the Central Column and encouraging action locally to frantically plug the gap in our line and extend the skirmishers and Pigeon's command to contain the enemy coming down from Kerriman's Hill. He has had no time to even think about further orders to his two wings, who have been acting on their own initiative.

In some way then the "Battle", in the theoretical sense of battle consisting of organised manoeuvres according to a plan, quite simply hasn't actually begun as far as the British are concerned. Of course, afterwards, all the British activity will look tidier and "all part of the plan" on paper. Echoes of "The Curious case of Marengo" all over again.. Winking face emoticon.

Oh, when activated my General, like all the leaders, has a limited number of Action Points (plus any lucky Command tokens). However..

1) every action and order given costs APs/CPs, obviously.

2) I time my thinking time, time spent writing orders and (even) time spent "giving verbal orders" on a stopwatch. The longer these actions take, the more APs/CPs I use up... If I get into an argument with myself that's potentially the move gone....]

In the centre of the field, by Silent Pool, the two sides exchange volleys, while the British guns continue to hammer the militia and Continental regiments on the Kerriman's ridge. 

Then the Americans at Silent Pool charge, along with the units by the hedgerow road, slamming into the British lines. There is a sharp tussle, but they are at last repulsed.

Col. McHare, inspiring his men, orders a counter-charge by Silent Pool, and a mixed force of British Grenadiers, Highlanders and Centre Companies hurl themselves against the already stressed Americans who, with disorder and shock building up, pull back.

[Note: in the pics the "puffs" are Disorder/Shock markers placed on or behind the affected unit, plain = 1 point, yellow = 5 points.

The long "strings" or larger clouds of smoke seen in various pics are placed as  markers to show that a unit/gun has fired but also to show a build up of smoke in front of a firing unit/battery. Firing for two moves continuously causes a "smoke screen" to build up in front of a unit/gun, affecting accuracy.]

Over on the far British right the Rangers, behind the stout stone walls of Mary's Vineyard, begin shooting at the militia units in the valley. This develops into a private battle, well away from the action in the centre, as the militia reply in kind, with volleys and the Indians creep down to the woods to snipe. 

Up on Kerriman's hill the American general considers his options:  reinforce the somewhat confused mess below in the Silent Pool area, or pull these troops back and establish a defensive position on the Kerriman Ridge; maybe switching the attack to the north of the walled orchard. Hmm...

On the British left Col. F. Pipkin has moved a regiment of Hessian Grenadiers into the lee of  Latchett's Copse and pushed a Highland regiment to the stone walls by Pool Wood.

Encouraged by the presence of Pipkin's brigade Col. Topov pushes some of his Jaeger companies through Latchett's Copse and up to the fence at the bottom of Kerriman Hill.

In the meantime the American General appears to have reached a decision; leaving the units at Silent Pool to rally and hold as best they can he rushes units to threaten the British centre right and the British Light Companies between the Orchard and Greenhammer wood.

He also establishes a defensive line to the south of Kerriman's (holding units in reserve by the buildings there) and positions troops on the slopes behind them in case of an attack by the British left (under F. Pipkin).

Suddenly, near the walled orchard, a British Loyalist regiment, charges one of the wavering militia units. This regiment, already shaken by artillery fire and the harassing shots of the light companies, is scattered, and the Loyalists charge on and into the Continentals behind the now broken Militia. This unit, already shaken, does not stand to met then, but also breaks. 

At the same time the British centre Highland Regiment charges another Militia Regiment just east of the hedgerow road. They also break and run, carrying a supporting, but already shaken, Militia unit with them. Suddenly the Americans have four broken units both sides of the walled orchard, This, in turn disorders some of the American units by Silent Pool, who are now hit by volleys from the British firing line.

As if this weren't enough, the British guns at Rabbitt's Hill get activated and fire into the massed target of routed and shaken units on the slopes of Kerriman's Hill. 

The American guns in the entrenchments open fire on Topov' skirmishers, but do little harm, while Topov's men shoot at the nearest Americans on Kerriman's Hill. 

Col. F. Pipkin and Col. Bertha, watch as the the fleeing Americans from Silent Pool and the hedgrow road rush up on the south side of Kerriman's's Hill, disrupting the defenders.

They also note that the American regiment pulling back in good order from the fighting at the pool are doing so flank on to their command - with only one, understrength enemy regiment in line to prevent a blow against them.

The Americans in the pastures by Grenhammer Wood push at the Lights and Rangers there. I need to keep an eye on this are - and not just concentrate on approaches to Kerriman's. This is still a vulnerable spot

Over on the Left my colonels seize their chance. Bertha orders his Hessian Grenadiers to push through Latchett's Copse to back up Topov's Jaegers by the fence. The Hessians take some casualties from the American guns at the entrenchments and shooting from one of the Continental regiments there, but nothing to cause much concern; not least because the American guns are starting to be masked by their own smoke. 

A second regiment of Germans and Pipikin's other regiments are also moved to the gap between Latchett's copse and Pool Wood. 

In the British right centre, by Greenhammer Wood the American Militia here exchange fire with the British Lights and Rangers, before advancing.  The Lights and Rangers recoil, leaving the British Loyalists and HLI to form an exposed salient by the walled orchard.  There are still some seven uncommitted American regiments on the slopes of the ridge and around the buildings at Kerriman's. If these sweep down it is unlikely the British centre north of the orchard will hold. 

However, Col. F. Pipkin cannot resist the chance in front of him. He throws his Highlanders at the under-strength Continental regiment facing him by Silent Pool and his other regiments up the slope of Kerriman's Hill. 

Things start moving quickly now. The Americans on the south slopes of Kerriman's Hill keep firing at the Germans at the edge of Latchett's Copse - building up a mass of smoke in front of themselves. The American General tries to rally his fleeing troops on the south slopes of Kerriman's Hill. He succeed with a unit of Continentals, but is carried along with them - not perhaps seeing that he and they are now masking their own guns at the entrenchments. 

Col. F. Pipkin's Highlanders shatter the Continentals in front of them, then hammer into the flanks of the American units at Silent pool.

Suddenly bold, Col. Bertha leads his two German grenadier regiments up Kerriman's Hill. His Hessians force their way over the fenceline and push back the Continentals there, as well as supporting a British regiment that has charged a militia line which, now finding one of its flanks exposed by the recoiling Continentals and the other by the advancing Highlanders, pulls back.

The area to the south and east of Kerrimans is now in a mess as far as the Americans are concerned. Their Army Morale is looking decidedly shaky. Many units have been forced to withdraw. Five regiments have been broken.

They have been unlucky with dice, and to a lesser extent with the Token Draw; but actual casualties have been no heavier than those suffered by the British and they still have an advantage in the area around Greenhammer Wood and a goodly number of unbloodied regiments on the field. The battle is not looking good for them, but it is not over yet.

However, from my point of view as British commander this has been a personal Command and Control shambles.

I have been so involved with shoring up my centre and dealing with the threat around Silent Pool and the walled orchard that I have had no time to form a coherent plan, let alone issue orders to the two wings of my army. We have seen off the first enemy attack, and my left centre looks firm - but my right centre is still threatened.

My Right Wing has halted, awaiting orders; though with advance elements of it entering into a static firefight of little relevance to the main event.

I have lost control of my Left Wing, which has embarked on what currently looks like an all-out attack on a heavily defended hilltop, against superior numbers of enemy who are themselves supported by entrenched artillery of at least six guns. 

I feel that the next couple of moves will be the decisive ones. It may be that the shaken enemy left will give, under the pressure from my left centre and Col. F. Pipkin's attack. If this happens the enemy army morale will almost certainly trigger, and we will have won the day.

However, there is always the chance that the enemy will rally at Kerriman's and press or threaten my right centre.

Or, if Pipkin's attack falters, we could be faced with either having to fall back and consolidate, or consider assaulting uphill an enemy which seems to outnumber us. 

The day is creeping on. If this encounter fizzles out we may have to camp on the field and then, tomorrow, either wait for an enemy assault (with the possibility that they may have been reinforced and that those units who broke earlier will have simply returned to duty), consider a no doubt costly frontal attack on the ridge in the morning (with the chance the enemy will have dug in), or withdraw... 

Over on the far right the British Indians and Rangers engage in a prolonged, long range firefight with the militia units below Mary's Vineyard. Nothing decisive occurs, but one militia regiment slowly has its resolve whittled away, as casualties and the effect of being fired upon from two sides, begin to have an effect. To try to deal with this, two American regiments are dispatched to take the Vineyard.  They move round to the gentler incline, mount the slopes, fire a volley and charge the walls. 

However, unbeknown to them - and a surprise to me - Col. Potter, my Right Wing commander suddenly decides to move. He begins to shift position of most of his foot and his cavalry, threatening Rawlin's House, but also sends a Hessian regiment up the eastern slopes of Vineyard Hill to support the Rangers.

These Hessian fusiliers swiftly move up the slopes and arrive just as the Rangers fall back in good order from the western wall of the Vineyard. The attacking enemy, on clambering over the walls, are now faced not with skirmishers, but the levelled bayonets of the Hessians. Still game, they charge - only to be forced to recoil. 

Below them, on the road, the militia units here - with one eye on the cavalry - fall back as Potter and the indians press forward until only the militia regiment holding the brick walls at Rawlin's House remain to stop the British advance. A quick bayonet charge - and Ralwlin's House is taken. 

With the Vinyard and now Ralwin's House in British hands, and the fight having gone out of three of the militia regiments here, the Americans pull back along the Vineyard road.

Over at Kerriman's Hill the charge of the German grenadiers, Scots and others sees demoralised Continental regiments pushed back. With his army being battered backwards in confusion, the American General orders the limbers brought up, in case he is forced to pull back completely. 

American Army Morale has almost gone, then; disaster for the Americans. Following the charge of the Germans up Kerriman's Hill are Popov's Jaeger Companies. They rush to the west facing fence line behind the Grenadiers and open fire on the recently rallied Continental unit and a group of mounted officers between them and the American guns. Several men fall. Including the American General..!

Wounded, and having no real control of what is happening around him he orders a general retreat; with emphasis on saving the guns. Despite all that they have been through the American line holds together sufficiently so that most units, and the guns, fall back in good order.   

The British, exhausted from their march and exertions in the field on this long day, do not force the issue; contenting themselves with volley fire, and only occupying Kerriman's Ridge after the Americans have vacated. 

Casualties were relatively light and about even on both sides; though many of the American wounded will have remained on the field. But t
he battle has been "won" by my guys. That is enough for today.....


That was a LOT of nail-biting fun.

Because this was an encounter battle neither side really had an overall plan and neither side really got things together. The British were luckier with Activation Draws and certain key dice throws, but mainly managed to force an actual enemy withdrawal due to the (unauthorised) aggression of Col. Frederick Pipkin.  

Had Fred. Pipkin not advanced further than I originally would have wanted, had he not carried Cols. Bertha and Popov along with him, and had they then not made their (rash?) attack on Kerriman's Hill and into the flank of the enemy units pulling back from Silent Pool I don't think things would have gone the way they did.

True: the enemy were already shaken by the breaking of some of their militia by the combination of artillery fire and the charges of the Scots, Loyalists and others in the centre which blunted their efforts at Silent Pool; but once the enemy had fallen back to the ridge I was, at that stage, minded to  spend a couple of moves stabilising a line between Greenhammer Wood and Pool Wood and getting my centre and right and left wings into a single, controllable, battle line. 

Had I had a chance. 

The downside of THAT plan, of course, is that my doing so would clearly have given the Americans a breathing space to perhaps rally their guys, establish their own Command and Control  structure and set out their own battle line (and perhaps even to move their guns or push in the region of Greenhammer Wood). 

Once I had got Command and Control established, and issued actual orders I would have likely have bombarded the enemy lines with my guns to unsettle more of their units before launching an attack - NOT on the Kerriman's strong point, but more likely in the centre of the ridge, using Col. Bertha (or Fred's brigade) to support. So a much more conventional - and likely bloodier - approach.

So Fred hitting the Colonials while they were still recoiling and in a muddle probably saved the day - and almost certainly lives on both sides. 

From the Command and Control side of things this was a personal nightmare (like the Pushna valley games) and failure on my part - as it should have been..

With no specific orders my Brigade Commanders were bound to act on their own discretion, and they did. "But how can I give specific orders when I don't know where the enemy are" I plead. "I'm not some kind of All-Seeing God of the Battle table..." 

Which is just how I like it....

General thoughts:

One aspect of writing up these reports is that one can see, when going through the images, how one's impression of how the battle actually proceeded so very often differs from the reality. 

I have developed a tendency to write a précis of the action for the Blog after the battle had taken place, and relying largely on memory and scattered and scribbled order papers, rather than notes made at the time. I then sort through the images (which are, perforce, taken - and numbered - by the camera in sequence), editing the précis as I go along.

Often I find that in my draft précis I can get events out of sequence, get confused over which tactical unit/company/regiment did what and when (though not, in this case, whole brigades).

I have always had a suspicion regarding "tidy" battle accounts. One's experience of writing things up has tended to reinforce matters in that regard.... 

The Duke of Wellington's comments on writing about a battle come to mind...

Oh, and for those interested: here is the tidier account from Maj. Gen. D.C. Filler's "Indecisive Battles of The American Unpleasantness" (1856);

"...Thus the advance parties of General I. Pipkin's force, arriving in the valley in the early part of the morning, discovered that an enemy force commanded by General, P. Mumford was already in the process of deploying in a position on the low, westernmost ridge. Facing the British left was a redoubt, bristling with hostile cannon.  

As we have already seen, General Pipkin's main body had been split into three divisions, so as to use to best advantage the parallel tracks and access roads leading to the valley. This decision, and the fact that the various part of the main force had made good progress, brought almost the whole of the British force into play at the same time. One can imagine the consternation of the rebels, who having barely had time to register the approach of the British Light Companies, to then see in the distance three red-coated columns, appearing in perfect coordination. 

While the Light Companies skirmished to occupy the enemy centre, Pipkin's three divisions began to deploy. However, before a line of battle could be fully formed  the commander of a mixed brigade of Continental and Militia regiments, noting a temporary gap had formed in the British left centre, launched a bold attack to exploit this weakness. Prompt action by the British first halted, then repelled this American assault. Both sides then stood to exchange musketry. 

While heavy fire from the British guns began to discomfort those of the enemy who had descended from the ridge a sharp charge from the British centre sent these regiments falling back in disarray, whereupon they were struck by Pipkin's left wing, led, on this occasion, by his less renowned brother, Frederick.

At this moment the American general, while attempting to bring some order to the chaos, was felled by fire from a body of German sharpshooters. 
This effectively brought the action to a close. The Americans retired; shaken, but mostly in good order and with all their guns. The British, wearied by their march and other exertions, did not pursue".  

Bit of a long post this one. As always, thoughts, snipes and queries always welcome.




New Year. New House. New Plans..

New hope...? Well, we're in the new house at last.... I now have: A garage to convert into a workshop for, amongst other things, modelli...