Wednesday 27 April 2022

Battle at Drake’s Farm : The Forage War AWI

In our second instalment of the Forage War of early 1777 we have the Battle, or perhaps better described as Skirmish at Drake’s Farm. After several demoralising skirmishes where generally the British came off  worse the British Brigadier General, Sir William Erskine decided to set a trap for the local American forces to teach the rebels a lesson. On the 1st February he sent a small foraging party to Drake’s Farm new Metuchen, New Jersey knowing that the Americans were in the area. Colonel Charles Scott took the bait and advanced on the farm significant out numbering the foraging party with his 5th Virginia Regiment.  The trap was sprung and Erskine seized his opportunity with a considerable force of British with Grenadiers, Lights, Hessians and the 42nd Foot. Going a bit over the top he supported this force with no less than 8 artillery pieces !

Historically the Virginians ignoring their predicament drove off the grenadiers before realising they were massively outnumbered as they withdrew an unfortunate incident occurred where a small group of fleeing Americans who surrendered were butchered by the British. Definitely bad form !

Our initial setup despite some heavy searching on the internet apart from the details above there is very little information on the skirmish so I have been able to use lots of freedom to create a balanced scenario. The objective for both sides is the farm, the forages setup in the farm with the Americans well onto the table before the British arrive. The stream is crossable but slows movement. The British have slightly higher numbers as the Americans should be at the farm first but the British do have two artillery pieces. On to the action
The British foraging party at the farm they will be a skirmish unit and more of a roadbump
The 5th Virginians swarm onto the battlefield under Charles Scott, the company with hunting shirts are better shots
Several units of skirmishers who are also picked good shooters and we know how devastating they can be
BG Erskine arrives with his ambush force
Combined lights and grenadiers who immediately roll a double six and make two activations. (For a change the British roll a lot of double sixes this battle)
The Americans have not used their early advantage, although they have driven of the foraging party the main British force has reached the farm first
The Virginians on the left form up behind the fence and open fire
But they are now facing British infantry in line !
The Hessians and the artillery open up on the rebels
But unfortunately even at close range the British artillery struggles to impact the American skirmishers
American infantry releases a volley over the road
General Erskine has advanced into the Farm itself and draws a lot of fire from the enemy, luckily he survives but his unit is soon below half strength and only hanging on
The British combined lights get into the battle
But the Hessians have been driven back and can’t get moving again
After a couple of turns of brutal volley fire the American skirmishers are pushed back 
and eventually Colonel Scott is driven back too
The battle rages
But only a matter of time the rest of the Virginians have had enough and start to flee the field
Only the Virginian sharpshooters stay to hold the line and form a rearguard
Erskine has won the day. But only just, three of the remaining British units are below half strength, only the Hessians are in reasonable order, the foraging party has fled. For a change the British were luckier with their dice rolling several double sixes and also more importantly passing several morale check with Erskine’s unit which could have been fatal to the British plans. Another good battle closer than the result might suggest, we have one more skirmish planned in the Forage War in a couple of weeks.

Those of you in the British Isles will know the wether has been kind, so several more trips out
Here to Little Asby Scar, we have also been very significantly distracted by the purchase of a campervan. Expensive but part of my retirement plans for later in the year (ever closer) this saw our first trip at the weekend to Scotland staying over night at a small place called Rockcliffe where there is an interesting Iron Age fort
The plaque at the fort 
And a view from the headland of the fort which it says was occupied around the time of the Peloponnesian wars, these being the thoughts of a wargamer having an evening stroll from the campsite.
Finally a shot of the new (to us at least) van at sunset. I hope to spend much of my early retirement aboard the van and of course as a wargamer I am now thinking about mobile gaming options in the van. My wife just rolls her eyes in despair, I do fully intend to develop a gaming option for the van more of that in the future 😀 but I would welcome any discussion on options ?

This means of course almost no painting has been done this week which is annoying and I haven’t been able to catch up on others blogs either !

Thanks for looking as always 👍

Wednesday 20 April 2022

What do Panzer Grenadiers and Persian cavalry have in common

You guessed it nothing that I can think of except I have managed to get some painting done. Following on from the heavy machine gun unit as a test unit a couple of weeks ago I waded, and it did feel hard work, through two platoons of Panzer Grenadiers. It took a lot to prep and paint so many figures in one go, but now they are done.

Two full platoons which could play as three smaller units
At the same time I painted up a whole range of command bases, some with and some without antitank weapons. A sniper team and an independent antitank unit, I just need to do some artillery and possibly some transport and I have workable German force to take on my Americans.
I am planning a Marathon game later in the year so I have been bulking out my Persian forces. Here is another medium cavalry unit….shields or not shields that is the question ?some debate and I am sure I have seen a picture of  them with. Anyway it is done now and if anybody can show me a photograph from the time I will change them.

Another unit is being stuck together this evening 

Thanks for popping by 


Monday 18 April 2022

Battle for Red House Farm : AWI

Not a historical battle but I only had limited time to prepare the scenario. Thought it would be nice to give the AWI a run out but go up a scale and use my house Bolt Action rules adapted from the ACW. They needed very little change really, the British Grenadiers play as veterans, the British combined Lights are given a slightly longer movement. To represent the more limited experience/leadership of the Americans I only gave them one Brigade commander whilst the British had two. The Americans would deploy during turn one but have to enter the battlefield after a successful activation the British would have to come on one brigade at a time with the second brigade an unpredictable entry point.

The overall battlefield after turn one. The American Minutemen /militia were allowed to deploy upto the road. 
The battlefield split by the roads into 4 sectors victory would go to the side controlling the most of these sectors.
The American local militia positioned out front the rest of the American force can be seen neatening from the left, only one unit failed to arrive on turn one
The Americans push forward towards the Barn, the British first brigade can be seen entering behind Red House Farm 
American gunners open up
More American regiments are pushing forward to Church Road, but the militia have already taken fright and have pulled back 🙁 when faced with the British grenadiers who are advancing towards them through the wheatfield and open up with a volley
The British 2nd Brigade enter turn two between the Church and the Wheatfield and immediately fire towards the American forces at the road
A random action forced one of the American guns to redeploy wasting valuable time
An American volley back at the British
The British have manoeuvred into a strong position where they can maximise their fire power
One of the American regiments was forced into the barn looking for food or perhaps liquor ? But the following turn they charge out to assault the British combined Lights In the road
Battle is now in the balance firing and fighting all along the battlefield
The broths are getting the better of it by church wood where they have forced another unit to pull back, but the militia have rallied hoorah !
American sharpshooters (Virginian Hunters perhaps) force the broths back at the church
Hand to hand fighting continues close to the Barn
The British grenadiers are caught in the flank and although they are very resilient they are pinned down for several turns unable to push forward
Oh dear things not going well in the Woods, the American officer attempts to rally
The Virginians are holding though
British advance towards the road support by their Hessian Regiment
Time is now running out and the Americans are still clinging on in the woods
The second American cannon is finally able to get into the action
Finally the British lights and the Americans they were fighting are spent, it is fairly even around Red House Farm itself
But at Church road the British have managed to get two units over the road the first are driven back by a bayonet charge, but the Hessians stand their ground.

A British victory in the end with control of two sectors to the American one the fourth sector being contested by the Hessians. The rules worked well although I’m thinking in this period I should reduce the effectiveness of moving and firing after all this is AWI not ACW. Very happy with the look of the collection, the nice thing is I have at least one brigade each which we didn’t play with. Not sure what is next although the next AWI is likely to be more Forage war skirmishing.

It has been the long Easter Weekend here with some more nice weather so I have been out again
My route for the day along the ridge to the right into the distance

Thanks as always for taking the time to look Matt