Friday, September 13, 2013

Doc's first AWI game - Germantown

We had our monthly meeting at the Lanyon Sports Club last Sunday and it was great to be able to get down there for a relaxing day's gaming. There were a number of games on including Greg, Ian and Leigh's Fire & Fury ACW and Doug put on a Fire & Fury AWI 'Germantown' game with Andrew and myself.  Its a fantastic venue with acres of space, a bar upstairs and great lunches at the Club bistro. Its great just to get out there!  The only downside is as there is no storage we have to haul all our lead and wargaming gear up and down the stairs - good exercise though! I have to once again thank Greg for taking some good photos of the action - just as well as my trusty camera phone ran out of battery and died in the bum before the end of the game. Typical.
Greg's shot of Doug, me and Andrew getting ready for the start of Germantown.. I'm the one getting RSI from writing out all the command labels for the hordes and hordes of American stands!
For those not familiar with the scenario, a smaller British force was confronted (i.e. surprised) by an entire American army bearing down on them.  The British light infantry pickets were driven in and fell back on the Chew House (in the centre of the table) which was quickly turned into a stronghold and desperately defended while British reinforcements (the rest of the available brigade) were brought up. This particular game was the action in the middle of the battlefield.

The Continentals start to arrive in force, driving the two LI battalions before them. The 40th Foot occupy the walls of Chew House behind them. 
The Lights fell back to join the 40th defending the Manor House.
On the left side (where Doug is hovering in the above photo) the Hessian Jaeger (numbering about 400) occupying the woods were faced with about 2000 Pennsylvanian militia rapidly advancing over a small stream with the aim to outflank and isolate the Manor house strongpoint.

The Pennsylvania militia face off against the much smaller Hessian Jaegers holding the woods opposite.
A brigade of American regulars (more Pennsylvanians?) assaulted the two battalions of light infantry holding the house. Most of them were behind stone walls so American musketry was not as effective as it should have been.  I pulled the 40th back into the Manor house and left the two Lights to join up again and defend the grounds.  Several of Doug's regiments of Americans ignored the strongpoint and advanced straight down the road towards the oncoming British reinforcements at the same time as his Pennsylvanians assaulted Chew House.
Shooting from the house was effective, disordering the American regiment next to it and taking a few stands of them. The regiment in front got the worst of the shooting with the British regiment opposite and both American units were driven off.
The Americans make a determined assault but faced with steady disciplined British musketry, cannot manage to break in.
While the Americans were pressing the flank and centre, Andrew directed the reinforcements  (1st and 2nd Brigades) to stop the American advance and stop them from reinforcing the push on the centre from two Virginian brigades advancing down the road from our right. He had one regiment at his disposal and immediately crossed the fields and threw it at the advancing Virginians.

Andrew's regiment (5th Foot?) was after some musketry exchanges, initially thrown back but being veterans, rallied and came on again.
More Virginian regiments try to break through Andrew's redoubtable Welsh - they were up for a fight boyo!
The battle on the right seesawed back and forth as more American regiments arrived and were thrown at the British who themselves came on time and again. The British had no choice as the remaining reinforcements (2nd Brigade) did not get to come on until Turn 4! The other two regiments of the 1st Brigade went straight up the road against the Americans that were flanking Chew House and if they broke threw, threatened to cut the British force in half.

The remaining British reinforcements (1st Bde closest, the rest of 2nd Bde marching up the road to help Andrew's isolated and hard-pressed 5th as its being hit by up to four regiments of Virginians! 
Could have been a game-changer - the American artillery finally got into action, destroying one of the reinforcing regiments on the road opposite (Greg's photo).
Another of Greg's photos of the American's pouring into the fight on the British right. Only two British regiments got involved, the third suffering heavily near the end of the game at the hands of Doug's artillery - the only guns in the game.
Help is on the way! 
The assault on Chew House was thrown back with British fire disordering several regiments and bringing them to a halt, with several others leaving the field altogether! (Greg's photo)
On the British left flank Doug's Penn militia were having much better success.  Originally we thought that being raw militia advancing in the open against veteran riflemen concealed in the woods, they'd be mown down, break and run away (much as happened historically) but the dice gods were extremely unkind to the Hessians.  Amazingly they didn't hit a thing in three rounds of shooting.  There were so many militia that the firing did not have enough effect to stop them.  As far as the militia were concerned, they took two stands off the Hessians in reply - then charged across the stream and drove them back through the woods.

The hordes of American militia conduct a successful assault of the thin line of Hessians in the woods.
We did have a discussion as to whether or not the militia would actually have bayonets, deciding that at this stage of the war, enough of them would have been so equipped - the front rank anyway - to be able to get into hand-to-hand. All very dodgy Fire & Fury in my opinion but at the end of the day I rolled crap when I needed to roll well. Still, they were veterans so I was able to rally them, drive the militia out of the woods then disorder them with musketry by the end of the game, thereby restoring Hessian honour!  What their fellow German Pennsylvanian militia thought about it all is not recorded!


A print of the actual battle for Benjamin Chew House at Germantown.  It proved to be formidable obstacle that the Americans failed to take.
The game went similarly to the historical result.  The casualties were very disproportionate for the first half with Doug's Americans really copping it. It was a bit more even in the second half, particularly with Doug's artillery really dishing it out. Still, the real achievement was Andrew's two remaining regiments who broke and drove off two(?) American brigades. Doug managed to rally his left in the last turn but the game was well and truly won by the British.

All in all a very enjoyable afternoon - and one of my first AWI games - hopefully the first of many more!  I have to say the figures are all Doug's and all Perry. They are really beautiful figures and if I didn't already have too many I'd really be tempted to collect them as well!

Finally, apologies for some of the poor photography - which was all mine!  Gotta learn how to use the mobile phone camera properly - making sure the damn thing is fully charged would be a good start!

Cheers,
            Doc