Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Supplies for Fort Belmont

A couple of wagons, a road through the woods, what could go wrong?
Oh! That!

The third game to test out the latest revisions was to be ambush, not a handful of warriors against a family of pioneers but an engagement closer to Brownstown or Beaver Dams  with a few hundred warriors and soldiers on each side. Some fudging of figure to ground scale is pretty much unavoidable when fighting these small actions in MacDuff with 40mm figures. I decided to just live with it and rationalized that with ammo tight, ranges would be short, say 1"=15 yds instead of 1"=25 yds which should have given me around 1 figure=15 men, but I treated 8 man groups as "companies" or about 1/2 that, and then just played as written. Although I have left the card sequencing as an option I went with the initiative roll.

The terrain was essentially what was on the table for the last game with the addition of several small farms and a growth of forest over every thing else. (note to self, find the rest of the trees and make some more) I wanted to keep the game small, partly as a test and party as being in keeping with the situation. For the ambush party, I took 2 black face cards each representing a band of 8 Abenaki or Miqma warriors, 1 red face card for Hessian Jaegers and 3 other cards as blank. I also put 1 card for a company of Royal Highland Emigrants and a blank card as the reserve in the clearing at the end of the table. I then took a card for a unit of Loyalists and a blank and shuffled these 2. One was assigned to the reserve deck which was dealt face down in the farm fields at the NE corner. The other was shuffled in with the Indians and Jaegers and deployed in the woods along the road. When the enemy approached within 3" or a unit tried to fire or move or tried to not spring an ambush, I flipped the card to see what it was.

Some one is waiting.....

The Rebel column was led by 2 companies of the Belmont Blue's, Continentals. They were followed by 2 companies of militia, and 2 more trailed at the end. Each of the flag stands was treated as a Commander for its battalion. Around the wagons was a company of armed wagoneers and 4 riflemen.

The Rebels moved first and tripped the first hidden marker, a band of Indians lurking in the woods. They failed an orders test to stay hidden and fired point blank at the Blues, hitting nothing despite the enfilade bonus (trade muskets!)  I made the Blues take a rally test for being surprised anyway but they passed with flying colours. On turn 2 the Loyalists moved first. If the Indians stood there, the Rebels would turn and fire back. They could call it a failed ambush and fallback in good Indian fashion or they could charge into the flank Hollywood style hoping the Blues would fail the orders check to turn and face them, or they could fail their own orders check. They didn't so I charged them in. The Blues made their roll, turned, and unleashed a point blank volley as the warparty broke cover. With 2 figures down they took a rally test and faded back into the woods, waaaaaaay back. After a pause for the Blues to reorder themselves and let the smoke clear, the march continued on turn 4. 
The redoubtable Blues press forward.

As the Blues marched up the road, card after card turned out to be blank but eventually the Jaegers appeared. Unfortunately for the Jaegers, the Blues were hot today and the first volley tearing into the woods almost wrecked them. It took a turn or two to get the Jaegers to fall back but eventually they managed to back off to use their rifles from beyond point blank musket range. The Blues kept coming but their losses were mounting rapidly.

Overview of the field.

While the column pushed forward, the riflemen and some of the militia went chasing the retreating Indians leading to a firefight around John Simple's farm on top of the hill. I suspect the riflemen had broached a keg of rum in one of the wagons though since they seemed unable to hit the wide side of the cabin let alone an Indian. Their dull green smocks apparently made good targets though and one after another they were shot down until the last one fled. By the time the militia floundered through the woods into the open field, the Indians were gone again and the chase went on.

Back at the road the second band of Indians finally emerged and making lots of noise threatened the 2nd battalion of militia as it passed the convoy and deployed. Behind them the Highland Emigrants and the Loyalists were revealed manning the fence line. The Blue's, tired of being shot up, lowered bayonets and charged. The Jaegers decided they had a good chance to stop them. Bad decision but the  remnants rallied behind the Loyalists. The Blues, hot in pursuit, crashed into the Loyalists before they could fire. A prolonged melee ensued with Colonel Ross having to throw himself into the fray to keep the Blues at it. 

On the far side of the road, the veteran Avalon militia cooling deployed and unleashed a devastating volley into the woods sending the Indians flying off table. Marching forward they finally reached the Highlanders who were patiently waiting  for them to come into close range. Again the militia fired first and again they rolled a fistful of 6's. The remaining Highlanders steadily returned fire but things looked hopeless.  Any minute now the whole Loyalist force would give way.

Suddenly, Col. Ross went down and, reduced below 1/2 strength, the Blues broke to the rear. Crossing the road and putting himself at the head of the company of Loyalists,  Col. Hector Macfarlane led them over the fence with bayonets fixed, sweeping all before them and capturing the wagons in the fierce pursuit.  

It all worked fine to my great relief. The only real difference from May's 1812 games at Huzzah is that there seemed to be fewer odd things where I needed to fudge things and no situations where opposing groups in the woods could not hurt each other apart from melee. 

Now, back to painting figures!


  1. Oh Ross, each of this last three Battle reports is better! Thanks for giving me such good reading.
    How do you take measures? All the figures of a unit have to be in range to charge, or fire at the enemy?

  2. When moving the distance of the soldier that moves the furthest is counted.

    For shooting, the range is counted from each front rank man. The man in the 2nd rank has the same range because the figures are bigger than the ground scale. (Depending on the chosen ground scale, a line of infantry should be between about 2mm and 5mm deep, it is not possible to fit 2x40mm figure in that space!). If only some men can shoot then they can shoot but the whole unit counts as having fired.

    To charge, as long as 1 man is in range the unit may charge. Those who have an enemy in front within their shooting arc will fight even if not touching.


  3. Now if Col. Mel Gibsons was in command of the Blues there would have been a different (almost Hollywood) ending to the battle! Cracking report from the front line yet again.

    1. Yes Mel's version would have been different but what can you expect from a man who melts down tin soldiers to make bullets?

  4. Very nice game, great paint jobs


  5. A fine looking spectacle Ross - I envy you your ability to get games going.

    1. The tricky is avoiding being tooooo repetitive.Its getting harder.

  6. Thank you for your answers Ross.
    This scenario came from "Scenarios for all ages"? and :There was 40 loyalist against 60 rebels?

    1. Cesar, the scenario was improvised from the terrain on the table and an almost random selection of troops based on what felt right and didn't seem too crowded. I didn't even count the figures until after the game and wasn't sure it was balanced but the end result was close so it probably was.

      There are some good ambush scenarios in Grant's Scenarios for Wargames.

    2. Thanks for the answer Ross.
      I liked this scenario very much, and I would like to play it on my own, that is why wanted to be sure about the armies sizes.
      About the Repulsed by fire rule: could you please explain me how does it work?
      Can the charged unit shoot at the unit that has just charged?

    3. I used the following troops
      Rebels: 2 x 8 regular infantry, 5 x 8 militia infantry, 1 x 4 irregular light infantry with rifles.
      Loyalists: 2 x 8 regular infantry, 1 x 8 regular light infantry with rifles, 2 x 8 irregular light infantry.

      All troops had muskets except where rifles were specified.
      Only light infantry may deploy as skirmishers
      The Irregular light infantry may only skirmish.

      If using different armies,armies where the troops are equipped and trained the same, I would try 5 units in ambush and 6 or 7 with the wagons. The side with wagons win if they can get 2 wagons off the far table edge. It is a draw if they get 1 wagon off or retreat both wagons the way they came.
      Repulsed: Although units may not shoot into a continuing melee, they may fire at a charging unit if they have a line of fire to it. If the charging unit takes any hits it must test. If it takes 25% it a rally test first for that and if it passes then it takes the repulsed test.

      Did that explain it? If not let me know.

  7. More doubts:
    I found no melee modifications for charge and flank or rear charges. Is it right?

    1. There is no modifiers but figures may only fight to the front so if attacked in the rear of flank and unable to turn, the unit will be unable to fight back and will be defeated unless the attacker misses with all dice.

      If the side hit in flank moved first and is then hit in flank, there is no chance to turn but if the other side moved first then the unit may try to turn and face or move away but must take an orders test and pass to do so.

    2. Again,many thanks for your answer and the about the scenario information.
      Now I think I understand how the"repulsed by fire" rule works. (lets see once the battle begun)