At War in the Americas

Paul Reynolds recently provided a battle report using the “At War in The Americas” variant to Volley & Bayonet, published by Greg Novak, using his recently painted 10mm figures. Now, over to Paul…

After real life of myself and others had interfered with my plan to christen my AWI on 15  March, 233rd anniversary of Guilford Courthouse, and a subsequent attempt I decided to go with a solo game. I am using the Volley & Bayonet Wing scale variant “At War in the Americas”.

I set up a small, 5’x3’, table with some hills, woods, buildings, fences and two roads on each long table edge. Both forces logically divided into four components; for the British each was a battalion, for the Americans each was a brigade or similar. Each turn I rolled one D6 for each road to determine which of the components 1-4 came on that turn. If a 5-6 or an already arrived component was rolled nothing came on that road that turn. I then did the best I could for each side based on what was on the table. This seemed to generate enough uncertainty in the plans of both sides to lead to an interesting game.

Turn 1:

Turn 1
In all photos of whole table the British are on the left and the Americans on the right. On turn 1 the British got only the Hessian Jägers on their left. While the Americans got Lee’s Patizan Legion on their left and Butler’s North Carolina Militia Brigade on their right.

Turn 2:

Turn 2
The Hessian Jägers moved up onto the hill and fired into the flank of Butler’s Brigade. Despite being sharpshooters they rolled no higher than a 4 and all missed. Meanwhile the 23rd Foot also arrived on the British left.

Butler managed to turn his Militia to fire on the Jägers on the hill. His first battalion was surprised to see the British advancing rapidly up the road. On the American left Lee moved his Legion to Butler’s support.

Turn 3:

Turn 3a
This turn saw a lot of action. The 33rd Foot arrived on the British right, deployed and fired into the flank of Lee’s Legion, all missing. Half of 23rd Foot advanced into the central field and also missed Lee’s Legion. The other half of the battalion charged the left of Butler’s Brigade with dramatic results.

Turn 3b
Butler’s first battalion failed it’s morale test and as it was already disordered because it is Militia it routed between the wood and the buildings. The British broke through onto the flank of Butler’s second battalion. Much to everyone’s surprise this battalion passed its morale, it rolled the required 1 on a D6. This meant a melee, which the British won. This routed the second battalion through the third battalion, which joined it in rout. This exhausted the brigade which promptly failed its exhaustion test causing it to collapse. All the routing stands were therefore removed. Leaving Butler wondering how it had gone so wrong so quickly.

Turn 3c
Lee decided that an immediate counterattack was required to restore the situation before the British could regroup. He charged the isolated right wing of the 23rd Foot with the infantry of his Legion supported by one troop of Dragoons. Meanwhile Campbell’s Virginia Riflemen turned and fired on inflicting one hit.

The Fifth Virginia Continental Regiment arrived on the American left and moved towards the central bridge.

Turn 3d
Lee’s gallant charge did not go as planned. The Dragoons cleared the snake fence but failed to inflict a hot on the British. Likewise the Legion infantry failed to score a 6, so no hits. The British rolled two dice against the Legion infantry, no hits. They roiled one against the Dragoons, a 6, the dragoons are removed, dead, and the Legion infantry retreat disordered into the wood.

Turn 4:

Turn 4a
The 33rd Foot was suffering from the accurate rifle fire so responded by charging. The 23rd Foot and the Hessian Jägers redeployed to fire on the remaining dragoons of Lee’s Legion.

One of the detachments of Campbell’s Riflemen failed its morale test and was disordered. Unfortunately this was the one of the two stands that hit in the melee and the British saved successfully. In return they rolled three 6s out of six rolls. This was enough to exhaust Lee’s Legion who then failed their exhaustion test and collapsed. The survivors of Campbell’s Riflemen were removed and the Legion infantry routed through the wood.

Turn 4b
Lt Colonel Hawes commanding the Fifth Virginia Continental Regiment was stunned. His was the only intact American unit on the field.

Turn 5:

Turn 5a
The British Legion Dragoons arrived on the British left. This allowed the British infantry to advance to the right and apply pressure on the Continentals and the survivors of Lee’s Legion. Concerned about the casualties suffered by the left wing of the 33rd Foot Captain Cornwallis holds them in reserve.
Turn 5b
The Fifth Virginia Continental Regiment deployed along the stream between the two bridges and fired on the 33rd inflicting two hits. The remaining American unit, Steven’s Virginia Militia Brigade arrived on the American left and moved up to support the Continentals.

Turn 6:

Turn 6a
With both wings of the 33rd Foot having suffered 2 out of 3 hits Captain Cornwallis withdrew his battalion. The British Legion Dragoons replaced them on the British right.
The left wing of the 23rd Foot supported by the Hessian Jägers charged the collapsed infantry of Lee’s Legion. Only Lee’s infantry scored a hit and this was saved. The British lost the melee tie break when the Americans rolled a 6 to their 1. The better British morale could not make up the difference so they retreated disordered.

Turn 6b
Lee’s infantry withdrew across the stream. Steven’s Militia Brigade deployed along the stream between the Continentals and Lee’s infantry. To their front was the right wing of the 23rd Foot. The four American battalions scored two hits from eight dice destroying the unfortunate right wing of the 23rd Foot. Part of the Fifth Virginia Continental Regiment moved to cover the other bridge and fired ineffectively on the leading British Legion Dragoons.

Despite the early British success a winning draw to the Americans.

Lessons Learnt:

“At War in the Americas” is a lot of FUN! The smaller scale leads to a number of interesting differences from normal Volley & Bayonet.  The longer ranges for weapons allow multiple stands to fire at a single stand if it is in an exposed position. Both British battalions fell suffered badly from this. Each stand represents much fewer men and can take fewer hits. One hit destroys Cavalry and Detachments and so they are very fragile. Poor American Militia is really really poor! Butler’s Brigade collapsed totally in one turn when charged by half of the 23rd Foot!

Langenheim – 1806

Over the years I have refought a great number of historical battles with Volley & Bayonet. However, we also use the “Road to Glory” scenario system to generate games. Most recently we used it to develop an 1806 game.

The French forces were based on Davout’s III Corps, reinforced by a small Reserve Corps of two divisions under Lefebvre. In total this small army would comprise 28,000 infantry, 3,000 cavalry and 72 cannon. However, initially onlyin 16,000 infantry, 1,000 cavalry and 48 guns were available. In contrast Prussians and Saxons, under Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick, advanced in four wings and would eventually have 25, 000 infantry; 7, 500 cavalry and some 120 cannon on the field.

Below, the situation around 2pm. The Prussians have the burden of attack being generally concentrated. An additiotadditional division, provided by the Saxons was some distance away and would not be available to support the Prussian attack, at least initially. Indeed, it would not arrive to at least 4pm.

140522_VB3

Below, Morand’s Division shown in the foreground and attempts to protect the French left flank from being outflanked. A portion of Friant’s Division can be seen in the distance, around Langenheim.

140522_VB2

The Prussians comprised several large divisions each comprising infantry and cavalry. Below, a section of the Prussian army advances. Each infantry regiment contained around 1, 500 men and was bolstered by a pair of light guns.

By 3pm the Prussians had deployed to pin Friant’s Division on the French left. Friant’s Division was had pressed by the Prussians opposite until elements of Hulin’s Division were able to stabilise the situation. Below, the situation around 3pm, the 48th Ligne and 108th attempt to attack two Prussian Guard regiments.

140522_VB5

Meanwhile Prussian artillery bombarded the vulnerable French right. With casulaties mounting the 13th and 17th Ligne charged a small concentration of Prussian cannon, shown below, in an attempt to regain the initiative.

140522_VB6

The 17th Ligne were soon themselves charged by Prussian cavalry, shown below. The Prussian cavalry overran the 17th, but suffered heavy casualties in the process.

140522_VB8

By 5pm the situation had become very fluid with both French and Prussian cavalry were involved in a series of charges. Below, the Prussians extend their left flank while cavalry are engaged in the distance.

140522_VB7

The arrival of Gudin’s Division, the third division of Davout’s Corps, allowed the French to extended their right. Soon elements of this division were thrown into the attack while three other regiments renewed attacks on what was now the Prussian centre.

Frustratingly for Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick the Saxons only arrived in the area of the battle around 4pm, and even then they were three miles from the fighting. It would be a further two hours before the Saxons, some 6, 000 infantry; 2, 000 cavalry and 20 cannon, would deploy to support their Prussian allies. Their arrival earlier could well have resulted in a Prussian victory, now Prince Ferdinand could only use them to cover his withdrawal.

Strehla 1760 – New Scenario

Fabrizio Davì has recently sent in a new Seven Years War scenario for publication here on “The Volley & Bayonet Page”.  Indeed Fabrizio, on his excellent blog, describes the action as one of those lesser-known, middle-sized, uneven and asymmetric actions between the Reichsarmee and the Prussians which makes some delightful war-game scenarios. While I haven’t played the scenario it certainly looks interesting. As way of background I will hand over to Fabrizio who describes the situation further…

In the August 1760, on the Saxony theatre, the commander of the ReichsArmee, Prince Michael of Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld was at the head of an Austro-Imperial army of about 25,000 men. Since his forces were almost twice of those of the Prussian Lieutenant-General Georg von Hülsen, he resolved to attack him in his fortified camp at Strehla, on the Elbe river.

Most of the Prussian units were in field fortifications on the plateau immediately to the west of Strehla. The right wing of the Prussian positions was positioned on the Dürren-Berg. The gap between these positions was covered by the cavalry.

The Reichsarmee commander planned a typical attack by different columns. The Reserve of Prince Stolberg, supported by the Grenadier corps of Guasco and by Kleefeld’s Austrian auxiliary corps was to attack Prussian right whereas the main Imperial corps would put a demonstration against the fortified camp near Strehla with the Imperial cavalry skirmishing on the Prussian left flank.

The complete scenario can be found here. In addition Fabrizio provides a summary of one of his playtests of the scenario on his blog.

 

 

Battles of the American Civil War – Errata

Battles of the American Civil War was was the first scenario book for Volley & Bayonet and was published by GDW in 1995. It remains an excellent work and highly sought after by players intending to use Volley and Bayonet for American Civil War gaming.

The scenario book provides ten historical scenarios. These five five eastern scenarios being: Second Manassas (1862); Antietam (1862); Brandy Station (1863); Gettysburg (1863) and Third Winchester (1864). The remaining five scenarios are from the western theatre and are: Shiloh (1862) ; Stones River (1862); Champion Hill (1863); Chickamauga (1863) and Franklin (1864).

Overtime however some errata became available, much of which was provided by Greg Novak. I have assembled much of this errata into one file which I hope will be useful to those people planning to refight some of these excellent scenarios. The file can be downloaded from the Scenario Errata section.

This file has been updated on the 8th March and now includes a clearer map for Champion Hill.