Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Kenilworth War Game Weekend

The third annual wargaming event with purchasers of the Book That Shall Not Be Named (BTSNB?) was held in the Chesford Grange Hotel in Kenilworth, Warwick in the United Kingdom on June 16 and 17, 2017.

The gathering of 23 gamers featured four games that were run on both Saturday and Sunday:

* Colin Ashton's Leuthen 28mm game using Honours of War

* Graham Cummings Falkirk Jacobite Rebellion game, also using Honours of War

* Paul Robinson's Marlborough Era game featuring his own Grimsby Wargaming Club rules

* Martin Grane's Sudan game featuring the Sands of the Sudan rules.

I'm typing this blog entry on the road whilst I'm still in London so I don't know how much my iPad app will let me type before shutting down. This happens frequently so I never know.

I plan to do a more detailed and picture heavy report when I return home this weekend.

I arrived in the U.K. at London Heathrow on Thursday June 15, 2017 and spent a day ambling around London and enjoying the nice sunny and temperate weather. I tried to visit the Guards Museum, but it closed at 3:30 PM just as I was arriving, so no visit this time. The related shop was open so I went in and talked Toy Soldiers with the proprietor which turned the afternoon into a relative success.

Friday June 16th Saw me up bright and early so that I could take the one hour journey to Coventry, where I was met by Graham Cummings and his friend Leigh. I really like traveling by British Rail ( actually Virgin Rail in this case) and the smooth ride was over in a short hour on the rails. There is nothing like this kind of passenger train service in the USA and wish that we had the equivalent. I'd much rather travel by train rather than traveling by air cattle car and going through the painful airport experience.

We drove a short distance to Birmingham for our visit to Griffin Moulds and we were given a tour of the facilities by Jane, the owner. There were a lot of changes to the factory since my last visit to Griffin in 2015, all for the good. The company is adding some new technologies that promise some exciting opportunities for Minden, Fife & Drum and Crann Tara Miniatures. I can't reveal much more for now, but expect some announcements this Fall. More to come later.

Most of the gamers started arriving late Friday afternoon and the four games were set up and ready to go for the Saturday morning session. This event reminds me of the Seven Years War Association in the USA with its friendly and cheerful atmosphere. We eventually retreated to the bar where I had the opportunity to great old friends and make new acquaintances with the other gamers.

I will continue the story in a few days, or sooner if Blogger for iPad is still cooperating.

Monday, June 5, 2017

British Victory at Winnsboro

Battle of Winnsboro - British attack of American right wing. (click or double click all photos to enlarge)

The British army commanded by Lord Cornwallis defeated DeKalb's American army at the Battle of Winnsboro on March 30, 1780. A British oblique order attack on the American right wing, directed at the American militia in the town of Distow, was the key to the British success.

Cornwallis' preliminary inspection of the American deployment indicated that the American center, held by 4 South Carolina State regiments/Continental artillery, and the American left wing deployed around the town of Winnsboro, were both too strong for a frontal attack.

British scouts from Tarleton's British Legion cavalry, probed the American right wing and discovered that DeKalb had placed all 4 of his militia regiments as well as a squadron of South Carolina mounted militia, on his right wing. 

Andrew Pickens deploys the 1st and 2nd Spartanburg militia along a stone wall. Two other milita units are posted behind Distow in support.

Two battalions of British Light troops descend upon the militia line.

Accordingly, Cornwallis resolved to attack the militia on the American right wing of deployment. Two British Light Battalions spearheaded the attack, followed by three British regular regiments: the 4th, 5th and 55th regiments. The British movement to their left (American right) was screened by a hill in the center of the British deployment area. The Americans did not discover this troop movement and so they were surprised when the full weight of the British army attacked Distow. Cornwallis had "refused" his right flank by posted the von Mirbach regiment of Hessians on the hill, and the Queen's Rangers and British Legion cavalry on his right.

Opening phase of the battle showing the British attack on the American militia in Distow.

As the British attack developed, DeKalb reacted by shifting Brigadier General Isaac Huger's South Carolina State brigade to its right to back up the expected break of the militia at Distow. Simultaneously, Colonel John Eager Howard shifted two of his regiments, the 1st and 2nd Maryland, to their left as well. Howard retained the Delaware regiment and his cavalry, 1st & 3rd Continental Dragoons, in Winnsboro to guard the line of retreat back towards Charlotte, NC.

British attack on the American right. You can see two of Huger's regiments marching (above the horizontal road) towards Distow to shore up the American right.
1st Virginia (green and red flag) and 3rd South Carolina (grey hunting shirts and red flag) arrive to shore up  the American right.
Colonel Andrew Pickens' two Spartanburg Militia battalions faced the brunt of the British assault and they fiercely defended their ground through Turn 4, when the 1st Spartanburg routed away from the 1st Light Battalion. The 2nd Spartanburg got involved in a melee with the 2nd Light Battalion and miraculously held their position until Turn 6.

The two Spartanburg militia regiments rout and the 1st South Carolina falls back up the hill.  The 2nd Maryland Continental regiments marches to the right to fill in a gap in Huger's line.

Pickens' militia bought a little bit of time for Huger to shift his brigade to the right to counter the British assault.

The 2nd Spartanburg militia are shaken and fall back into the woods. A second battalion of milita (red flag) provide some support.

Once Distow was cleared of militia, the Light Battalions drove straight ahead to finish off the militia. At the same time, the three regiments of British regulars followed up behind the Lights and then wheeled to the right to confront the 1st and 2nd South Carolina State regiments near Distow. The Royal Artillery battery on the British hill pummeled the 1st South Carolina with round shot. This reduced the 1st SC's numbers ahead of a columnar assault by the 55th Regiment into the 1st SC. This drove the shalen (not routed) 1st SC back up the American hill, opening a large gap in Huger's line.

British Light battalions have cleared the wall of militia. Now the three British regular regiments (top of the picture above) move in to take on Huger's brigade of South Carolina State regiments.
The 2nd SC regiment was shaken so the British 55th Regiment closes in quickly, charging in column, to take advantage of the moment.

The British 55th Regiment breaks through Huger's line as the shaken 2nd SC falls back up the hill, leaving the 1st South Carolina regiment all by itself facing two British regiments plus bombardment from artillery at close and long range.

The 1st VA and 3rd SC regiments had just arrived at Distow, now Huger immediately orders them to return to the American center on the hill to close up the gap.

DeKalb realized that now was the time to commence the withdrawal of his army in order to save it for another day. Howard's Continenals deployed facing the British attack, which allowed Huger to extricate two (3rd SC and 1st Virginia) of his regiments from the battle line. The 2nd SC struggle back towards Howard but could not disengage. They were left behind as a forlorn hope that had to be sacrificed to allow the rest of Huger's brigade to retire behind Howard's brigade. Once Huger had broken free, Howard skillfully withdrew his Continentals, covered by the American light dragoons, back down the Charlotte Road and to safety.

DeKalb orders Huger to withdraw from the center towards the Charlotte Road. Howard's Continentals also fall back to cover the retreat of the rest of the army. The 2nd South Carolina provides a desparate rear guard.

Howard's Continenatals cover the withdrawal of Huger's brigade from the center.

Cornwallis wanted to pursue the Americans, but he needed time to reorganize his 5 regiments on his left befor they could be in any condition to pursue. Tarleton was eager to launch the British Legion at the retiring Americans and give them another taste of Tarleton's Quarter, however, this was thwarted by the presence of the veteran Delaware regiment of Continentals and William Washington's light dragoons.

DeKalb commenced his withdrawal towards the safety of the Santee River and Charlotte as shown in the map below.

Cook map of South Carolina circa 1773. Annotations show the key points in our campaign map. DeKalb will withdraw from Winnsboro north to the next red town below Gilbert Town.

A view of the campaign map post-battle of Winnsboro

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Battle of Winnsboro Terrain Set Up

The battlefield around the town of Winnsboro (top center of the picture). Americans are deployed on the left and the British are deployed on the right side. (Click or double click to enlarge the view).

Last evening and early into this morning, I cleared off the town of Altefritzenburg from my game table (alas and sigh) and set up the terrain for the first battle of our AWI South Carolina campaign - the Battle of Winnsboro in March 1780.

The Winnsboro battlefield looking west from the town of Winnsboro (bottom right of the picture) toward another small village, called Distow,  that will anchor the American right flank. Winnsboro will anchor the left flank of the American position which runs the length of the righthand side of the table

Things are starting to get very busy around the town of Winnsboro, South Carolina. DeKalb's American army (16 strength points) is descending upon the town from the northeast from Santee Crossing, while Cornwallis' British army (11 SPs) is approaching from the southeast from Camden.

The Americans have arrived in Winnsboro first, so they get to choose the ground where they will deploy. Ahead of the army arrives the baggage train, which is escorted by a squardon of the 1st Continental Dragoons (brown coats with green facings). The baggage will be shifted out of the way towards the road to Charlotte, NC. to keep it from falling into British hands.

Continental Dragoons escort the baggage train through Winnsboro ahead of the arrival of Cornwallis' British Army.

DeKalb's American army will anchor its right flank on Cedar Creek and the adjacent village of Distow. Its left flank will rest on the town of Winnsboro. The connecting center has a slight elevation that is a perfect siting for the Continenatal artillery, while the treeline provides cover for the South Carolina state troops to deploy.

A view of the American right flank, protected by Cedar Creek and the village of Distow. A lone wagon ambles down the road to Winnsboro, oblivious of the looming battle. You can find Distow on the James Cook 1773 map, near Dutchman's Creek and Cedar Creek, both west of Camden.
A closer view of the village of Distow. The South Carolina militia will be defending this town against the British advance from left to right.

Here is a view of the ground that will be defended by the American center. The road leads to Winnsboro, just to the left of the photograph.

The picture shows the ground that will be defended by the American center, consisting largely of South Carolina State Regiments and a battery of 6-pounders.
The town of Winnsboro, South Carolina located about a day's march west of Camden. The American army commanded by DeKalb will attempt to hold the town and fend off the British attack. This represents the American left flank.

I plan on starting my solo play of the battle of Winnsboro later on today and hope to complete it by Sunday evening. An after action report should be posted either Sunday evening or on Monday morning.

We will see you then. Do check back in because it should be a colorful and interesting battle.

Friday, June 2, 2017

DEFIANCE: Gentlemen in Exile (Exsulem Nobilis)

The Defiant Gentlemen In Exile (click to enlarge, if you dare)

One of the gentlemen on the  Fife & Drum Miniatures Forum decided that after the Great Purge,  all of the outcasts from the Forum That Shall Not Be Named (FTSNBN) deserved to have their own banner under which that could rally in Defiance. This is all done all in good FUN.

I found the new banner, courtesy of Captain Bill,  to be very creative (see below)

All ye outcasts, raise your banner high! (click to enlarge)
I then decided that such a banner was practically begging to be raised as part of a vignette, and so it goes, I created the vignette shown at the top of this page. The figures are from the Minden and Fife & Drum figure ranges: the gentleman holding the banner is one of the Prussian officers from the musketeer command pack; the general with the orange sash is the Duke of Brunswick figure from the personality pack of the same name, Frederic is Frederick don't you know, and the drummer is the Hessian standing drummer from the Fife & Drum AWI figure range.

The banner carrier normally holds an officer's spontoon, but I decided that it could just as easily hold a flag pole. Somehow I did manage to think of that (points to head and taps his tricorn with his fingers).

Here is another view, since the finial of the flag pole got cropped out of the picture. 

We almost didn't make it to the basing part of the modelling process.

The vignette has somewhat of a troubled history already. When I was painting the Duke of Brunswick, I was holding him over the open cap of some white paint and I deftly allowed His Grace to fall out of my hands and straight into the cap of white paint. GASP! Before I could even say "Bob's your uncle" I raced to the sink and washed off as much of the paint as I could. I'm sure His Grace was grateful for the clean  up, but he was clearly unhappy with Olde Fumble Fingers. I did a little bit of touch up work and so everything was all tickety-boo again.

But wait, there's more! I was gluing the banner onto the flag pole (you all know where this is headed) and had it all pressed together and I had made some nice furls in the flag. As I looked admirering my handy work, I suddenly realized that the banner was upside down. ANOTHER GASP!

Olde Glue Fingers tried to slide the two halves of the banner apart, but it was to no avail as the glue was holding fast. Then another idea hit me - I was able to slide the flag pole out of the flag and then reinsert it in the proper direction. That was a close one.

So after some near misses on disaster I finally got the vignette based and ready to hit the table top. The flag pole is removable from the hands of the flag bearer, which allows me to insert a proper Prussian Garde flag therein if I so wish.

However, I am proud of the Gentlemen In Exile so I think that DAF shall carry the black banner around to a particular convention in the wilds of Warwick in a couple of weeks.

We shall not be denied our fun in the wargaming hobby...


South Carolina Campaign - Battle of Winnsboro

Things were starting to heat up on Turn Three as events started with a Partizan Uprising by Andrew Pickens, with 3SPs at Cheraw, SC. There was some lucky die rolling there, as the maximum number of partizans in an uprising is 3SPs.

American Moves on Turn 3
DeKalb impetuosly continued to move south towards Winnsboro, which was well within the marching range of Cornwallis' army stationed at Camden. He received additional support from Sevier, who sent 3SPs from McDowell to Winnsboro thereby increasing DeKalb's army to 12SPs. 

British Moves on Turn 3
On the British side, the small force of 3SPs at Nelson's Ferry marched into Camden to become the garrison (now at 4SPs), as Cornwallis moved 11SPs north from Camden to Winnsboro, where he expected to find DeKalb. 

The only other British move of force was Webster's command moving his 4SPs from Orangeburg to reinforce the garrison of Ninety Six (5SPs). This increased the army at Ninety Six to 9SPs. Webster took over the command of Ninety Six from Cruger, since he outranked the latter.

The Battle of Winnsboro - March 1780
The campaign manager rolled a pair of D10 to select a battlefield from the Sport of Kings selection with number 35 being the result. The ground looked favorable for a battle without two many terrain obstacles in the way.

I was going to have a dice off between the two commanders to determine who would get first selection of deployment area on the battlefield. However, I decided that it made more sense to place the Americans on the upper boundary (North side) and the British on the bottom boundary (South Side). This reflects the direction of march for the two armies.

Double click on the map to enlarge the view:

DeKalb rolled a D6 to determin whether any of the local militia would choose to join his army for the battle. He rolled very well, adding 4SPs of militia. While they are not very good troops, there was lots of cover on the battlefield that would suit the militia very well and possibly make them a force to be reckoned with by the British.

American Army Composition

Continental Line   4 battalions
SC State Regts      4 battalions
Cavalry                 2 regiments
Militia                   6 battalions

Total American Force: 16SPs

British Army Composition

British Regulars     6 battalions
Hessians                 1 battalion
Loyalists                3 battalions
Cavalry                  1 regiment

Total British Force: 11 SPS

It is interesting that the American army has a significant cavalry contingent of 2 regiments and outnumber their British counterparts, with only 1 regiment of cavalry. Of course the quality of the British army was much higher than that of the American army. British and Hessian regulars are rated one level higher than the American Continentals in my Fife & Drum rules. 

State regiments and Loyalist regiments are rated one level below Continentals in the rules. Finally, the militia is the poorest quality troop type in the rules having generally ineffective musket firing and a low level of morale. Furthermore, since Militia do not carry bayonets, they have a healthy fear of all types of the British army, which all carry bayonets.

To Be Continued: the Battle of Winnsboro will have its own posting on this blog.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

South Carolina Campaign - Turn 2

Turn Two of the Campaign was one of force considation by both sides, in anticipation of future battles. There wasn't a lot of action going on during the turn, which is to be expected this early in the campaign.

American Moves on Turn Two

On the American side, DeKalb added to his army by picking up the three strength points in Charlotte, increasing his army to 9SPs, and then crossing the border into South Carolina. DeKalb stopped on the north side of the Santee River so that he would not have his back to the river if attacked.

In the interior region in northwest South Carolina, Sevier continued to hold at McDowell with his 7SPs.

Horatio Gates remained behind with 9SPs guarding the depot at Hillsboro and acting as a reserve in the event that something bad would happen to DeKalb's army

British Moves on Turn Two

Cornwallis increased his army at Camden from 6SPs to 12SPs with the arrival of the force from Nelson's Ferry.

Lord Rawdon detached another force of 3SPs, commanded by Mawhood, from Charleston, thereby reducing the garrison there to 7SPs.

Websters force of 4SPs moved north from Jacksonburg to Orangeburg, apparently headed for Augusta, GA.

The garrisons at Ninety Six (5SPs), Georgetown (2SPs), Savannah (6SPs) and at the three Forts (3 SPS collectively) all held their positions.

Turn Two Results

There were no Partizan Uprisings on either Turns 1 or 2. DeKalb was within a two dot move of Cornwallis's army at Camden so the likelihood of a future battle was brewing, unless DeKalb elected to fall back into North Carolina.

Monday, May 29, 2017

The South Carolina Campaign Begins (three turns)

I was working on a new campaign map this morning, taking a copy of the Cook map (public domain) and jotting down the movement dots (from my hand-drawn map) on the historical map. I am hoping that it does not look too cluttered. I figured that anyone following the campaign could look at the easier-to-read hand drawn map and compare it to an actual map.

South Carolina campaign map overlayed on the historical Cook map. (click to enlarge the map)

Now let us see what has happened on the first three turns of the campaign, from January 1780 to March 1780.

Turn One -Americans' Moves
The overall commander of the American army is General Horatio Gates, the hero of Saratoga. He is parked in the supply depot at Hillsboro, NC with 15SPs to open the campaign.

Hillsboro, NC (Gates - 15SPs)
Charlotte, NC (3 SPs)
Gilbert Town, NC (2 SPs)
McDowell, SC (Sevier - 3SPs)
Haye's Station, SC (2SPs)

Movement on Turn One

1) Gates send DeKalb with 6SPs from Hillsboro to Salisbury, NC
2) The force at Gilbert Town moves to McDowell, SC
3) The force at Charlotte holds
3) McDowell (hold movement)
4) The force at Haye's Station move 2SPs to McDowell, SC

At the conclusion of the American movement their forces are as follows:

1) Hillsboro (Gates - 9SPs)
2) Salisbury (DeKalb - 6SPs)
3) Charlotte (3SPs)
3) McDowell (Sevier - 7SPs)

The American plan is to build up DeKalb's army and enter South Carolina from the north. In the interior part of the state, Sevier is building up an army that can either threaten the British garrison at Ninety Six or move towards Winnsboro to eventually link up with DeKalb.

Turn One - British Moves
Lord Cornwallis is the overall commander of the British forces in the Carolinas. He is located in Camden with 6SPs and is awaiting reinforcements from Charleston. Lord Rawdon remains in Charleston with 10SPs.

Charleston (Rawdon - 16 SPs) move 6SPs to Nelson's Ferry
Camden (Cornwallis - 6SPs) Hold
Ninety Six (Cruger - 3SPs) Hold
The Forts along the Santee River (Ft Watson, Ft Motte, and Ft Granby - 1 SP each) Hold
Georgetown (2SPs) Hold

Savannah army is commanded by Stewart and is distributed as follows:

Savannah (Stewart - 6SPs) move 3SPs to Jacksonburg commanded by Webster
Augusta (2SPs) move 1SP to Ninety Six
Ft. Charlotte (1SP) move 1SP to Ninety Six
Beaufort (1 SP) move 1SP to Jacksonburg

At the conclusion of Turn One the British forces are as follows:

Charleston (Rawdon - 10SPs)
Nelson's Ferry (Tarleton - 6SPs)
Camden (Cornwallis - 6SPs)
Ninety Six (Cruger - 5SPs)
The Forts (3SPs collectively)
Georgetown (2SPs)

Savannah (Stewart - 6SPs)
Jacksonburg (Webster - 4SPs)
Augusta (1SP)

The British plan is to consolidate a large army at Camden, commanded by Cornwallis; and build up a force at Ninety Six in the interior of South Carolina. Webster has consolidated the small forces outside of Savannah and will eventually join Cruger at Ninety Six

TURN TWO - to be continued on May 30th, 2017

TURN THREE - to be continued on June 2nd, 2017