EXCERPT FROM APPENDIX 1 from Don Featherstone's Battles With Model Soldiers
(The book that got me started.)

"Nothing in these pages is a dictate, no word says you must or you shall do it this way. On the contrary, the book sets out from the very beginning to stimulate the reader to think for himself, and to use what he has read merely as a foundation for efforts and ideas which reflect his own temperament and character. Only in this way will he obtain maximum satisfaction from the hobby of battling with model soldiers."

-Don Featherstone 1918 - 2013

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Battle of Grand Pre (The Set Up)

On Sunday 9 May, I went over to my friend Jerry's for a game of Black Powder. For the last decade, we have been periodically indulging a largely narrative campaign set in a slightly alternate Nova Scotia at the time of the American Revolution. (By narrative campaign, I mean that what happens in between battles has been largely though not entirely, determined by discussion.)

The campaign was inspired partly by the limited historical armed rebellion here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Eddy) and partly by a desire to fight some games on home terrain (ie where we can walk the ground).   To make it work, we supposed a slightly more populous and developed Nova Scotia but decided not to take the alternate history aspect too seriously as the main goal was to play some fun games with what figures we had available or felt like painting. The original battles were played in 54mm  and then a series of 40 mm games were played in the same setting and following on from the 54mm games but which Jerry largely missed out on. These games all took place in Halifax and Hants West Counties. Two or so years ago, I dug out my 20mm (1/72) plastic AWI, armies painted in the 80's, Jerry added some of his own and King's County became the setting for a series of 20mm games.

Life has been busy and Jerry and I haven't been able to game together as often as we would like so I passed him my troops and he has been playing some solo games, including some map moves. The last game he played, saw the Rebels with their Americans and French allies, defending a line along the Gaspereau River with their backs to Grand Pre (of Evangaline fame) and Wolfville, against a British and Hessian force advancing from Windsor. The Hessians attacked the Wallbrook bridge and outflanked the rebel line. After fierce fighting, a general retreat took place all along the line. At a vital road junction about 3 km to the rear, the rebels turned to fight again. This is the point where Sunday's battle begins (See previous post). To avoid complications in translations between rule sets as well as tending towards making a better game, any units not deemed destroyed after the morning's fight were miraculously restored  to full strength (with hind sight we could have assessed 1 hit on each unit that had taken losses earlier since one cannot rally off the last hit during a battle). Generally the stats were as used for the sample Saratoga game but the rebels had their Melee dice reduced by 1. Command Values established earlier in the campaign and used in BKC variant games were mapped directly into BP.

A satellite view of the battlefield can be seen on google maps here: Grand Pre battlefield , but the table was terra-formed by Jerry after having walked the ground. Using cm and a 6x10ft table gave us an area roughly 3 km x 2 km to fight over.

(Note on pictures: Once again, I forgot my camera at home and had to rely on my cell phone. Jerry's occasional gaming loft manages to make my games room look remarkably well lit, this only got worse as the sun sank. Faced with poor quality pictures or none at all I have decided to share the best of the bad lot so you can get some idea of the terrain and how the troops fit into it. )

OVERVIEW from the North-East.
Note height of hills compared to 20mm figures. Here is a picture of a similar area a few km to the south

Since the whole campaign has been casually conducted, and the game was an opportunity grabbed, I don't have as much detailed information at my hand as I would like, for example, I don't have a complete list of units and commanders. My first 20mm armies began life with the plan of being used with a precursor of the original MacDuff rules  and were going to have a charge like organization of 3 12 man companies but by the time Peter Douglas and I played the 1st game, we had settled on Konig Krieg as rules. I later used these armies to develop the original version of Morschauser Meets MacDuff and  Jerry was working on an 18thC version of BKC when Black Powder came out. It seemed like a good match so we decided to give it a try using the optional cm scale. The battalions we were using were largely based 4 figures on a 1.5" square base (iir), (loose files indeed) with 3 or occasionally 4 stands per unit.

The rebel army was composed of 3 brigades:

  •  Left Brigade: CV 9 commander with 3 battalions of regulars, 2 guns and a battalion of militia, (seen in picture in 1st post)
  • Center Brigade: CV 8 commander  with 3 battalions of regulars, 2 guns and a battalion of militia,
  • Right Brigade: CV 7 commander with 3 battalions and a detachment of riflemen, the attached militia having been destroyed earlier in the day. 
  • Independent squadron of dragoons reporting directly to the CV8 commander. 

  • Off table to the north was a brigade of French and Spanish troops under a CV9 commander composed of 2 squadron's of Lauzon's Hussars, a battle of Legion infantry, a gun and a battalion of Spanish. These had to roll to appear and were in danger of being cut off if  the Grand Pre cross road was taken by the British.

The King's troops began with a Hessian Brigade deployed on the Southern table edge:
  • 1st Hessian : CV 7 commander, 3 grenadier battalions, 1 Lt Infantry battalion, 1 Dragoon Squadron
 and the rest of the British troops  dicing for arrival at various road exit points depending on which bridge they had crossed:
  • 2nd Hessian (south): CV8? commander with 3 battalions of line, 2 guns and a jaeger battalion
  • 1st British ((south-east): CV8? commander with a battalion of Grenadiers, a battalion of Lt Infantry and 2 guns.
  • 2nd British (north-east): CV 7 commander with 2 line battalions, a loyalist lt infantry battalion, 2 guns and a squadron of Dragoons as well as the army commander CV8
  • There was also a detached battalion which had landed on the Grand Pre peninsula and were following the French.

The next post will recount the over all battle, some particular events of interest and comments on BP, how it played, how it affected the game, command decisions etc.

1 comment:

  1. I look forward to reading your thoughts.

    -- Jeff