Sunday 28 March 2021

Skirmish at Kemp’s Landing : AWI

 Having packed away the Bunker Hill game and whilst ruminating on what next I came up with the foolish idea that as I gradually increase my  AWI collection we could continue to play skirmishes and battles in some sort of historical sequence. The internet is a bonus here as there are several quite detailed timelines. Now the intention right from the start is not to play every small skirmish but pick those skirmishes which have some interesting twist or novelty. Some of the larger battles will by necessity be tackled in bite sized chunks, and like all good plans we may change things and not go in absolutely date order. We’ll see ?

So you ask what did the timeline come up with the Battle of Kemp’s Landing was a small engagement ideal for a small skirmish game. I won’t run through the whole history which is adequately covered on wiki. But in summary in October 1775 John Murray Lord Dunmore landed in Virginia to flush out potential rebels. Thomas Gage had dispatched a number of the 14th Foot to support Dunmore in his actions. Having searched with and without success he led his small force north towards Kemp’s Landing. The local Princess Anne County Militia were called out by one Joseph Hutchings and Anthony Lawson a prominent local landowner. Their intention was to set an ambush for the British. The action took place on the 15th November. Historically the Americans were poorly led and the ambush launched too early, the regular British infantry fired one volley and the rebels fled, bring chased through the difficult swampy ground. The British capturing Hutchings and Lawson a few days later.

A map from the time annoyingly North to the bottom !
A search on the net also turned up this commemorative plaque of the engagement

So I thought this would make an interesting scenario with the British ambushed but the essence of the scenario is the American forces attempting to escape thought the difficult terrain away from the British. Well that was the plan.
The battlefield as set up, the American ambushes are set up in the woods, the fateful first shots have already been fired. The small stream slows movement, the Elizabeth river itself is only crossable at the bridge. To reflect the port leadership the American who have both Lawson and Hutchings  can’t use their leadership. The British are supported by one unit of Loyalists but they are ‘green’ and may be uncomfortable fighting their neighbours.
Lord Dunmore leading the column forward, light company to the front regulars behind. 
The Rebels should have waited but have fired alerting the British, rather than stand the Americans must flee for their lives. Victory conditions are based on the number of units who escape in the 8-14 turns. The British get a bonus if they can capture or kill Lawson or Hutchings.
The Princess Anne County Militia in the woods
They do have some skirmishers spread out and although good shots they have the usual short 12” range.
Activating quickly some of the militia immediately start to pull back, the streams require a turn to Wade through
The Rebels continue to fire.....but shouldn’t they be fleeing ?
..............that’s better they are starting to pull
The rebels put up a fierce volley and the leading British light infantry are forced back down the road, (shameful to say they failed a rally test and left the field of battle !)
From bad to worse the British loyalists arrive and promptly fail an activation with a double 1, rather than advancing they choose to shoot into the rear of the British company nearest to them !!!!!!!!!!!! Luckily they don’t kill anybody but being fired on form behind clearly had a negative impact on the British morale.
Putting the rebels to the bayonet......cold British steel, but again the British fail to make an impact and are pushed back.
Rather than running away the rebels are putting up a stiff fight 
Lawson is getting away across the bridge back to Princess Anne Church
The British are bogged down on the road, an infuriated Dunmore can see the leading protagonists getting away, curse them !
Hutchings is getting across the bridge too
What ? Having fought the rebels in the woods another dire morale roll sees another British company flee the field ! Shameful behaviour, likely they will be flogged
The bridge acts as a difficult bottleneck but the British can’t get enough troops to ‘cork the bottle’ and more rebels slip away
You can almost hear them whistling Yankee Doodle as they march away a good days work.
A few British soldiers do make it close to the bridge but they are outnumbered and ineffective in stopping the flow.
In the final turn of the battle the loyalists have at least start to fire at the Rebels but the units are exchanging fire and enough of the rebels have already got away.

The final count had three units escaped and none destroyed a strong American victory , historically the British only suffered a single minor casualty so these County militia were much tougher than their historical counterparts. A fun game, on reflection we came to the conclusion that Rebels and Patriots is particularly hard for the attacking side as the activation to move or shoot means the defenders have an advantage. However, the British again failed some key morale tests despite the majority of them being veterans. Lord Dunmore will regroup !

Next up another skirmish and then we might try another larger battle 😀 I need to get some Hessians painted quick as the enter the conflict soon !

Managed to get out for a walk this weekend, and despite the winter weather the Lake District was beautiful
Looking North towards High Street
Later in the walk looking East

Wednesday 24 March 2021

Rebel Raid at Lockdown Junction 1863 : ACW

We played another game this weekend (managing to keep to one game a week which works for me keeping my enthusiasm going) as a one off I developed another “Raid” scenario this time using ACW figures and Rebels and Patriots. The idea here was to try and get test the rules where the majority of units on the table were not line infantry. The scenario is broadly based on one from the rule book.

Overview of the Battlefield, the Rebels are raiding Lockdown Junction. Their objective is to carry out a search activation in each of the designated areas, the Camp, Cattle Pen, Grain store and forge. To do this they must chase of the the surprised defenders. The Union defenders are both green and timid so although they look impressive we are expecting them to have some trouble holding their ground. The Rebel force is mainly veterans, cavalry, dismounted cavalry and veteran skirmishers. They are also mainly aggressive so if they get stuck in they will carry the day before the union reinforcements arrive ?
The grain store guards milling about and in the distance the cattle pen.
The camp
The rebels under Jeb Stuart initially rush on
We played with two cameras again to give the Rebel commander a slightly better view.
Jeb’s cavalry advance down the road and open fire with their guns, as light cavalry they can only skirmish so firing is not very effective.
Quick as a flash though the alarm is raised and Union Cavalry gallops on from the town
They also have some dismounted cavalry (effectively skirmishers)
On the Rebel right they charge the defenders of the forge and push them back
Jeb is getting bogged down in a firefight by the cattle pens 
The defenders pulling back from the forge with their green status they are remarkably fragile ! But do rally when supported
Remarkably the unit in the pen is holding on
But the Blies are pulling back from the grain store
Rebels skirmishers have taken a couple of tough volleys and pulled back to regroup
The centre objective is empty and the dismounted cavalry rush in to claim it 
The rebel cavalry on the right also jump the fence to claim the objective but they fail to achieve their search activation
But before they can search again they are charged by the union cavalry
At least the rebels will be making some bread tonight !
The defenders in the cattle pen have just about collapsed and are pulling back
But then Jeb takes a volley and also has to pull back to regroup
The union cavalry have won the melee 
And are followed into the forge area by the reformed infantry
Unluckily for the rebels they rolled a six after 8 turns and had to pull back 
They had claimed just one of the objectives and although they had been into the forge had failed to search it. 
A win then for the union troops
The rebels looking longingly at the cattle and licking their lips but they don’t have time to take the objective.

A good game, the Rebels in hindsight were not aggressive enough and didn’t utilise their superior fighting ability enough instead getting into a fire fight and a
Though they had enough troops to regroup and try again the dice gods had ended the battle.

Happy with how the rules worked at this scale, the rebels had 32 points against the union 24. Perhaps the rebels were just not hungry enough ?

Thanks for looking