Sunday, 31 December 2017

Action at Ginseck Creek: an AWI scenario

For our last wargame session of 2017 Steve and I were back to the AWI with a scenario Steve devised based loosely on Brandywine.  The main intention was to try out his amendments to the firing procedure in Patriots and Loyalists.  He wanted to introduce some variation into the effect of volley fire between the troop types.  Therefore, instead of 6 bases of infantry firing at a certain range with a value of 4 producing 2.4  hits every time, different types of units, (continentals, militia, British regulars etc) had one dice per stand with different % chances of scoring a hit.

We had the usual 3 brigades of infantry each, but no cavalry.  A general view of the table can be seen below.

The rebels are on the left and their task is to hold the line of the Ginseck Creek.  The 'British' , which included a Hessian brigade, deploy with one brigade on each road.  Each side had 1 good brigade  commander, one average and one poor.  A roll of the dice decreed that I would command the rebels and further rolls deployed my good commander on my left (the far end of the table in the picture), average in the centre and poor on the right.  By chance Steve's dice came up with the same result, so each flank had a good commander (better chance of having more actions) against a poor one. Generally, I deployed my Continental infantry to cover the roads, except on my right where each continental unit was   supported by a militia unit (this was to prove useful as the battle progressed).  On the central hill were two units of militia with a third in support and a gun.

The rebel centre
As the battle began I deployed my riflemen forward to harass the British as they advanced, the artillery, which was generally low on ammunition would only begin firing when the enemy was in effective range.  In no time at all all three units of riflemen had been forced to fall back to rally by their opponents.  This exposed the rebel line units to skirmisher fire and although the line held, losses began to mount.  It was in the centre that the worst of the damage was done, not only was the leading unit of Continental infantry weakened, but on the hill one of the militia units was forced back by  volleys from the 55th Foot.  Their supporting unit was also compelled to retreat by the fire of the combined light companies and this exposed the artillery crew.  The 55th turned their attention on the hapless gunners who saw their colleagues decimated by the British volleys.  To the horror of their commander the crews abandoned their guns and routed off the hill.

The Hessians advance

The British centre
Affairs on my left were slightly brighter.  A slightly ponderous advance by the Hessians had been stalled at the ford and the fire from my militia stationed in the woods had caused one unit of Hessian musketeers to fall back.  Determined to clear this irritation, Steve advanced his grenadiers.  Their advance was hindered by the creek, but my militia refused to take initiative and a rather weak volley was shrugged off by the grenadiers.  Once across the creek they dressed their ranks and then returned the complement.  The volley shredded the ranks of the militia and they took to their heels, forcing the brigade commander to gallop over to rally them.

The Hessian grenadiers advance
My right flank was as they say "in a state of flux".  Ineffective volleys failed to prevent the British units crossing the creek, but once across the accuracy of the fire seemed to improve.  Supporting fire from the artillery helped to push back two or three attacks and the militia played their part too, although they kept the brigade commander busy rallying them.

Another push across the creek by the British left
The course of the battle would be decided in the centre. Following the success of the 55th, the British grenadiers crossed the river, aiming to drive back the rebel Continental infantry who had been already weakened by the skirmishers.  In this they were disappointed, as the rebels proceeded to rake the advancing British line with volleys, which first stalled and then repelled the attack, forcing the grenadiers back across the creek where they attempted to rally.  This left the 55th isolated.  They had followed up their success in driving off the gunners by marching onto the hill, daring anyone to try and push them back.  I manoeuvred a unit of Continental infantry to advance, but to buy time, I attacked with two rather battered militia units.  This attack was dismissed with ease by the 55th who seeing a third militia unit moving forward, decided to charge and try and break through my lines.  Somewhat against the odds, my militia unit managed to absorb the attack and then drive it back with heavy loss.

The 55th attack

and are repulsed !!
Unfortunately, inertia now seemed to grip my centre.  The follow up was too slow, allowing the 55th to rally, so that when an attack was made by the militia, it was defeated with ease, a volley stopped the charge before contact.  It was left to the Continental infantry to retrieve the situation, firing two telling volleys in quick succession which forced the 55th to retreat, finished as a fighting force.

The militia try and push back the Hessian grenadiers
Back on my left, the advantage had now swung in favour of the Hessians.  Two units of militia had tried to check the advance of the grenadiers by volley fire, but had failed.  Both had been forced to fall back to rally.  The leading Continental unit had seen that their tormentors in chief, the Hessian Jaeger had strayed within charge range and attacked them.  To their surprise. not only did the jaeger stand and fire as the rebels approached, but crossed bayonets with them and drove them back!  Behind the jaeger were the reformed musketeer regiment who now fired volleys at the second Continental infantry unit.  This was attempting to cover the road and their rallying comrades.  However, a succession of volleys from the Hessian musketeers forced this unit to retreat, meaning my entire left wing was falling back.

The Hessian jaeger defeat the Continental infantry
In the centre things were also looking grim.  Although I had manged to regain the hill, the British grenadiers had now reformed and returned to the fray.  Their first volley destroyed a unit of Continental infantry (admittedly already severely weakened), and now the central road was open.  My remaining Continental infantry unit counter-marched to block the road, but they only had one weakened militia unit to support them.  I decided that the rebel commander would probably have now cut his losses and tried to save what he could from the wreckage.  Fortunately his right wing was still intact; having just defeated yet another British attack and still held their original position. 

The closing position
Many thanks to Steve for yet another enjoyable game.  May I take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy and Prosperous 2018, and that you enjoy your gaming!

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