Thursday, 23 September 2021

When British Morale fails : The Battle of White Plains : AWI

Many of you will have already seen Jonathan’s post on this our latest battle tracking history through the American War of Independence. With the result as they say in the bag I thought perhaps I would instead just share some lovely shots of the Lake District, with a Monday off it was one of those lucky days where weather is kind on the high fells and I made the most of it 😀

Anyway enough of that nonsense and on to the battle report. Following the battle of Long Island Howe chased Washington’s army north after a small engagement at Harlem heights the two armies manoeuvred north and then east. Washington taking up a defensive position around the town of White Plains on the 28th October I think. As Gen Howe brought up the British army he sought again to outflank to American position, this time to the left. Seeing the move Washington dispatched a number of regiments to hold high ground beyond the Bronx River, Chatterton Hill. 
The flanking force consisted of Hessians under Von Rall (Rahl) it seems to be spelt two ways and the British 2nd Brigade under Leslie. Historically after a hard fight and cannon bombardment the Germans forced the American militia units on the far left to flee, seeing their position outflanked the Americans fought a rearguard action and withdrew back across the Bronx River, before Washington then pulled the whole army back. The map above shows roughly the scene of the major fighting and where our battle is focussed.
I found this Command and Colors set up on the web and used this to develop our battle. It was to be a virtual game as usual so some simplification needed, for our game we agreed two key objectives for the British minor victory for the hill and a major victory for pushing through to the bridge cutting off the forces retreat route and effectively outflanking the main force. As most of you will know the British have struggled with these frontal assaults during this campaign so they do outnumber the American troops, although some of this is quality rather than quantity.
A nice painting of the American forces making their way up Chatterton Hill. On to the action 👍
American forces dug in East of the Bronx in front of White Plains, behind them the bridge.
General Leslie with the second Brigade ready for the assault his orders to take the high ground and outflank the Rebel position
Supporting him on the left German mercenaries and the 16th light Dragoons 
The Americans are now in position on Chatterton Hill 
Supported on their far right by New York Militia 
A cheer goes up from the Hessian grenadiers as they are ordered forward led by a small unit of jägers they will likely make short work of the militia in front of them
General Leslie orders the second brigade to cross the bronx river
His combined light infantry unit leads the way
With other regiments heading for a Ford over the river
A ripple of gun fire from the far left as the jägers engage the militia
The British artillery opens up
But the American forces have been holding their nerve and open up a devastating volley as the British as they start to cross the river, even at long range it staggers the British advance
Seeing an opportunity some of the American forces in front of White Plains advance out of their defended position !
The first British casualties are the Light Dragoons (newly painted they didn’t stand a chance really) several are cut down and the rest retire (flee)
The rest of the British line holds but the advance as paused
Across the river the river the combined light infantry lead the way, they take the brunt of the next American volley and the British Morale has started to collapse. With only a few casualties the lights are pinned and then roll a double one and flee !
The leading Hessians suffer the same result in the same turn another double one and they run, lucky they have a chance to rally later
The American cannon at White Plains opens up as well
Seeing the British morale wavering the Americans chose to push forward !
Rallied the Hessians are back in the fight
Leslie leading a second British unit across the river starts to take the battle to the Rebels
But then calamity a stray shot hits the General and he is down
The British artillery continue firing but the British unit beyond them is broken when Leslie is shot
Lucky they too rally, but the battle is lost another British regiment (luckily I didn’t take a photo) rolled a double one morale test fleeing from the field
The rest of the army continues in pockets to push forward but inevitably they start to break as well, the Germans having had Von Rall flee with his unit and seeing the jägers wiped out also eventually fails morale test and pull back from the battle. The militia repeatedly failed to activate but when they did they were devastating in one turn killing five Hessians in one volley !
Despite Washington’s caution the troops beyond the Bronx buoyed by their victory advance down the hill presumably to take up a defensive position along the river ? The British morale collapse was a salutary lesson for Howe, unfortunately this may make him even more cautious in the future.

A fun battle despite the poor performance of the British. It certainly felt at the start the British had the upper hand and the rebels would struggle. The three failed morale checks in a two turns was pretty devastating stalling the assault before it got going. At least General Leslie died on the field so he doesn’t have to answer to Howe at an inquiry into the poor performance of his brigade. The really good part of this ongoing campaign is providing the opportunity to delve further into the AWI, learning more about the conflict and how it developed. Along the way my AWI collection has significantly expanded and I still have several units waiting in the line for painting.

A couple more photos from my recent walk to round things off

More to come soon 👍

Thursday, 16 September 2021

The 16th Dragoons : AWI

The temporary pause from blogging is over as we have now settled back in from our Hadrian Wall walk. First up though we are planning our next AWI game the Battle of White Plains, I haven’t quite completed the scenario but from my reading the British 16th Light Dragoons played a small part in the battle. Having previously done some American cavalry it was a chance to balance things up.

16th Light Dragoons
These of course are Perry Miniatures (minus the vent runs 🙂) I do have the dismounted figures but I haven’t got round to them yet

As I have previously mentioned we spent last week walking Hadrian’s wall, the weather was fantastic, plenty of beautiful countryside, a good amount of excellent beer, exercise and an abundance of military / Roman history that kind of sums up the week. For those of a technical preference the wall is 84 miles long although the walk is according to my sons Strava record closer to 95 miles including the wiggles I guess. We took 6 days which was tough but manageable as I do quite a bit of mountain walking anyway. We carried our stuff but stayed in hotels etc along the wall. The heat was our biggest challenge as day 4 saw temperatures up to 29 degrees and the nature of the wall is water is only available at certain locations. But we survived and although I had walked  chunk of the central section before it gave a different experience to travel the full length in one go as it were.

I don’t plan to share all the photos (there are lots) in one go and will instead drop them in over the next few posts. Here are just a few to share I will happily discuss any aspects of the walk for those interested. Whilst not complete it is the most magnificent tribute to the Roman Empire and still quite inspiring.

Hopefully back to gaming this weekend.👍


Saturday, 4 September 2021

Oathmark : Take Two

We wanted to give Oathmark another run out with our LOTR collections. We increased the points slightly and brought in the extra ‘bonus’ of characters ? As we get to grips with the rules we kept the scenario simple….kill as many of the enemy as you can ! I took just a few shots of the battle as we concentrated on playing.

Once again a Gondorian force against the Orc Hordes, the Gondorians are supported by two units of Rangers of Ithilien led by Faramir a Captain of Gonder
The usually Gondorian armoured units
The enemy have a troll this time
In hindsight we felt the blocks of infantry were a little squished in, the Gondorian knights led by Boromir got out of position and were wiped out far to quickly in fact before they had a chance to do anything
Fighting in and around the woods, the troll which has fairly poor morale was peppered by arrows and disappointingly also died before he was able to get stuck in properly
The Rangers in the woods of course.

Sorry I didn’t take too many photos. In the end it was a pretty clear Orc victory too many Gondorians had given away their lives rather needlessly.

Some thoughts on the rules…. Archery seems a little too powerful, the block infantry approach is very warhammer based but they need more space to manoeuvre, the characters are incredibly expensive points wise but have a fairly limited impact, as far as we could see they just improve your ability to activate. Which isn’t a great issue for the Gondorians anyway ? Overall they are interesting with the use of the D10 but we did find ourselves looking up the modification table a little too often. We’ll certainly give them at least one more go to try a different scenario capturing objectives perhaps. I’m not sure they are sufficiently different for me to get a copy, I fear the points based systems lend themselves to a more competitive approach which can detract from the game if not careful.

Nice to get the LOTR figures on the battlefield though.

Lots of painting at the moment in the dungeon and the development of a hex based setup ! 

Probably a short hiatus in posts depending on the internet connection as I am away for a week walking Hadrian’s Wall with my son. I will share some photos and we will be doing some wargaming on the way. 😀😀😀

Tuesday, 31 August 2021

Czechoslovak Legion and Roman Scorpio

Progress this weekend on a few bits having laboured through late Romans shields I wanted something super easy……the Czech Legion are just that. They have sat under coated for a while  and are now ready for battle.

Czechoslovak Legion, fighting mainly for the whites in their formal position, but might be dispersed as a group across the Reds when needed 😀 copplestone castings, one would say easy to paint but not the most inspiring figures in the range.
Nest up rebased and touched up a Roman Scorpio (bolt thrower) not convinced by the shield but it will do for now.
Finally the Roman light cavalry are out of their dettol bath. In fact they have had two baths as the first didn’t quite get all the primer off, the second bath seems to have done the trick.
Another walk out over the holiday weekend, this time visiting the largest stone circle in Cumbria, not so far from where we live.
On the walk there is a small church near the river Eden, they have found a number of carved stones in the river one of them being this carved Anglo-Scandinavian hogs back grave stone. Estimated to be from 10th or 11th century they also have some other Saxon carved stones but this was my favourite.

Back to painting this evening 👍

Saturday, 28 August 2021

The next Late Romans

I have been working away at rebasing the next batch of Late Romans. They only needed limited repainting to blend them with my other figures and of course I repainted the shields (please don’t look to closely).

More late Romans, these are slightly less armoured than the previous unit, the challenge here was I wasn’t able to remove all the figure safely from their 1p bases so I had to stick them on in situ, luckily the Milliput I use has disguised it pretty well
I have also worked up and rebased the first group of archers. The idea I am working on here is flexibility so they can fight as an independent unit or as shown below……
They can merge into the infantry for combined units which I understand was how they formed up right at the end of the Roman Empire. So that is two good units and I have a few more bits before I tackle some cavalry units. I also have the light cavalry which are coming out of their dettol bath this weekend.

Finally the weather has been nice for a couple of days so I took the opportunity together out walking. One of our nearest hills is Blencathra. There are a number of routes to the summit but by far the best is Sharp Edge it is only short , but is quite an exposed and interesting scramble. A joy on a nice warm sunny day 😀
Some more units painted this weekend and loads of hobby stuff 👍