OK, as promised, I crossed the void into the dark side this week and was pushing 28mm lead. As part of German Michael’s AWI “White Plains” campaign, I had an encounter with Campbell (he of the sarky comments). In my role as American General Charles Lee, I had cut the British supply lines and Campbell sent a small force to resupply the British command in the north. We are using Black Powder rules for battles during this campaign.
In theory, this should have been an easy win for the Americans, as the British fielded only 2 regiments of British regulars and 1 regiment of Hessians up against 5 regiments of militia and 5 regiments of Continentals with artillery. I was anticipating a one sided bloodbath. However, as I only play Black Powder maybe once a year, I had forgotten the vagaries of these particular rules (that’s my polite way of saying I had forgotten how shit they are!)
The table was set up and the forces deployed. Campbell knew he was onto a hiding and was looking to retreat asap. Unfortunately for him, he had to stay for 10 turns before he could do that. The British took a defensive position (no surprise) and the Americans had to attack and destroy them before they buggered off.
The road to Highland Mills….
…the British deployment…
Campbell won the initiative and went first. It will come as no surprise to learn that he did nothing. I then began to advance with my 4 brigades. Turn 2 and one of the British commanders leads the 62nd regiment in a bayonet charge against a militia unit. Some damage was inflicted on the Redcoats, but the result was never in doubt…the militia was destroyed. The supporting unit of militia had to take a morale/break test, which they passed with ease. This unit then charged the Redcoats in the flank. More damage was done to the British, forcing a break test, which Campbell passed with flying colours (this was to become a theme of the battle). Next turn and my activation rolls were abysmal (you need to roll below the command rating of the brigade commander to activate and I was constantly rolling high numbers), but more damage was inflicted on the Redcoats in melee, but Campbell rolled double 6 to pass his break test (the opposite of the activation roll, you need to get over the command rating).
The Americans advance…
…the British charge a militia unit….
…and are charged in return….
…but pass all their break tests…
By this time it was turn 5 and my appalling activation rolls meant I hadn’t moved since turn 1! The continuing melee was finally settled as Campbell passed another break test (quelle surprise) and my militia failed badly and were destroyed. What Campbell didn’t know was: the attached officer, who was killed when the unit was destroyed, was actually General Lee, C-in-C of the American forces in the area. The British began to pull back after defeating the militia brigade. I finally passed some activation rolls and moved into line, except for 1 militia unit who followed the brigade commander and charged the 62nd (again). There was only 1 round of melee this time; Campbell got his obligatory pass and the militia unit was destroyed! It got worse for the militia as 1 of the remaining units ran out of ammunition.
The Americans move into line….
…and charge the British again….
…only to lose again….
Turn 10 arrived and I was staring an embarrassing defeat in the face. I charged the 62nd with one of my Continental regiments and moved the others close to the wall the Brits were defending (but couldn’t shoot because of the turn sequence, shoot then move). The Brits passed their break test (I was close to telling Campbell not to bother taking them anymore) but the Continentals failed and were pushed back! (I’m sure there’s now a dent in the wall where I was banging my head off it!!) Campbell could have retreated off the table but he chose to fire another couple of volleys at my Continentals. This proved to be a mistake for a few reasons. First, his volleys missed; second, I charged my Continentals at the 62nd (AGAIN!!!) and finally, my volleys didn’t miss. Campbell finally failed his break test for the 62nd and they were destroyed. Campbell then gave the order to retreat, but failed his activation roll. This let me charge his remaining units with my Continentals, destroying the Hessians and routing the other British regiment off the table.
The Americans move up to the wall….
…the 62nd are finally destroyed…
…as are the other British units….
So, a win for the Americans. I lost 5 units, but they “were only militia,” the Continentals and the artillery were intact, I had stopped the British resupplying their northern units and destroyed 3 British regiments. So, as far as the campaign goes, a good result. The biggest downside was the loss of General Lee.
Campbell will doubtless claim I was lucky he failed his activation roll, and he may have a point, but I will counter with the fact that I failed mine for about 6 or 7 turns, meaning my Continentals stood around watching proceedings for most of the battle. If I were so inclined (and, lets face it, I am) I would also point out that he didn’t so much ride his luck with his break tests, as saddle it and perform rodeo tricks….. With any other rules that bloody regiment would have been wiped out half way through the battle….
Black Powder…..you either love it or hate it….(and I don’t love it…..)
None of the civilised 15mm crew were in attendance last night, so I have nothing arranged for next week, yet. I’ll try and get something sorted at the start of the week, or see if they have something arranged.