Saturday, August 23, 2014

Hubbardton 1777

The battlefield

With the new release of Black Powder's AWI supplement  Rebellion! I couldn't resist having a game.:-) The book is written by Stephen Jones who has a blog here. Let me just say the book is great and worth every cent! It's full of lovely pictures, nice little pocket histories and a very handy uniform guide for all nationalities involved from the start of the war to it's finish, however the real golden ticket is the scenario's included which is half the book totalling a truly impressive 19 of them!! Each scenario has it's own rules with the unit's given the appropriate special rules(if any) for that battle only which means they are not rubber stamped the same for every battle.  The AWI period did not in general feature really large armies and in fact at times often only featured hundreds instead of thousands which Stephen solved this by breaking down armies from brigades to battalions fighting as individual companies for those particular engagements, but does include many of the big battles too at the brigade level. So, standard units very in size from scenario to scenario which in effect allows you to fight what would normally be a skirmish only battle to a small engagement or conversely fight large battles without needing a huge table and a whole lot of figures. My hats off to Stephan and his team!

The battle of Hubberton was fought on 7 July 1777. The rebel commander Colonel Seth Warner(nominally) commanding a force of Continentals and some Militia  was ordered to fight a rearguard action until joining General St Clair and in the process gather up stragglers. They were pursued by General John Burgoyne's advance guard under Brigadier general Simon Frasar commanding a force of Light Infantry, Grenadiers, some regulars, Indians and loyalists who caught up with their prey near Hubberton. The rebel's managed to hold their own long enough to gather in the stragglers until the arrival of Hessian reinforcements where they were forced to basically make a run for it which they successfully did to Manchester and later joining back up with the main army at Bennington.

The scenario is a fighting withdrawal where the rebel forces need to hold on long enough for the stragglers to cross the table and escape and then afterwards extract themselves. The stragglers have a reduced movement, but the British are hampered by woods and of course the rebel rear guard which leads to an exciting race! The British are a slightly smaller force, but mostly composed of elites with special rules of "elite" and "ferocious charge" which makes rallying and then moving easier and deadly in close assault and the rebels are mostly standard troops without much in the way of special rules with exception of the stragglers being quite weak as expected. The British win a minor victory if they can capture/destroy two of three straggler units or break the rebel army and if they achieve both then a mighty victory is awarded.

On Friday my friend Sascha took command of the Crown forces and I of the Rebels and it was terrific game!  We used the house rules from Bill's blog here which work great btw! Thanks Bill! We also always use the 66% rule where all ranges and movement are reduced to 66% as we feel the ones in the rulebook are too big unless your playing on a epic size table. My table is 5ft, x 8ft., but we marked off the battle boundaries to 4ft. x 6ft. as per the scenario in the book. Also, the engagement was small in numbers so Stephen wrote it as a battalion engagement broken down into companies so two stands equalled one company which comes to 15 companies in 3 battalions for the crown and 17 companies in 3 battalions for the rebels.

The Crown forces got off to a slow start with some failed orders in the woods slowing them down, but then really picked up momentum. As expected the British came off equal at best in the fire fights where they had no advantages, but then really steam rolled the rebels in close assault crushing the forward rebel line in short order and then proceeded to advance on the main rebel battle line exchanging brief musketry fire before charging and slamming into rebel line collapsing it fairly quickly breaking two of three brigades in the end. The rebel stragglers failed to understand their orders multiple times which caused them to eventually be caught and run down! A mighty victory went to the British and a big congratulations to Sascha for fighting a great game. Well done! I'm already planning a re-match at some point!  >:-)

I'm pretty happy my collection was big enough to host a game, but I still need to do more as I eventually want to do all the scenario's!

Below are some pics of the game at my home. Still working on the lighting as my overheads while pretty bright still are not enough so I'll pick up some additional overhead lamps.

Thanks for viewing! :-)

Here they come boys!
Forward lines exchange fire
British LI roll over the Rebel forward line
And advance on the main line
Initial clash of main battle lines
Fighting is hot and the rebels are pushed back
British push into the American defensive perimeter.
Rebels falling apart and stragglers soon caught and destroyed.
Not even the rebel general can hurry the stragglers and soon after total collapse of rebel army.

Monday, August 18, 2014

11th New York "Fire Zouaves"

The 11th New York "Fire Zouaves" or Ellsworth Zouaves were organized from hand picked fire fighters from New York City in May 1861 with high expectations due to their famous commander Colonel Elmer E. Ellsworth a personal friend to President Lincoln who prior to organizing the 11th NY was a celebrated drill instructor that competed in troupe championships and travelled extensively putting on presentations before the war.

In late May after both getting in minor trouble with the law and at the same time putting out local fires the regiment was among the first to set foot on confederate soil capturing Alexandria Virginia on 24 May 1861. However, Ellsworth himself was shot and killed taking down a confederate flag from atop the Marshall House inn by it's proprietor James Jackson who himself was shot and killed by    Ellsworth's guard Cpl. Francis Brownell and received the medal of honour for it. Ellsworth was replaced by Colonel Noah L. Farnham another popular officer within the regiment.

On  July 21, 1861 the regiment fought in the 1st Battle of Bull Run(first Manassas) where after a shaky start due to confusion went on to both repulse a cavalry charge from a portion of Stuart's cavalry and make 4 attempts at taking Henry House Hill and later conducting a rearguard action of the retreating Union army. The unit suffered heavy causalities including Colonel Farnham who was so seriously wounded he could no longer command troops again. With the loss of their best officers and men plus disease pretty much knocked the stuffing out of the regiment which never really recovered and finally mustered out on June 2 1862 with a couple attempts later to reorganize that never saw fruition for various reasons.

I've always liked the look of this unit which is a kind of rough and tumble bunch of Zouaves looking. I've depicted the unit in it's second uniform at the time of Bull Run which was a mix of old and new uniform's consisting of  red Kepi's w/dark blue band, red fezz's and blue tassel's, and some with tan leather leggings from their first uniform and red/white shirt's, new blue fezz's and tassel's, a few in havelocks, dark blue pants and sashes plus some Bowie style knives and rifled muskets . They had removed their coats of dark blue Zouave jacket with red cuffs and red trimming with sky blue trimming inside the red to fight in what was a very hot day.

In terms of gaming this wasn't a very practical unit to do with it's very short history, but I really liked their look and knew I had to do them! I expect I'll do that a few times more with other units.:-) Anyhow I'll use them as regular Zouaves for other games. The flags were a bit challenging as I had to use two different manufacturer's as GMB frustratedly does not produce the Fire Zouaves. Looking around I found that Flags of War does one so I put in an order. While the design is nice the trim was way to yellow so I had to paint over that and sadly,the national colours that come with it were to bright(sorry Ian) for me. Since GMB flags are bigger then Flags of War I couldn't use one of those which caused me to rummage around before I found a Body's banner flag of the same size and a suitable colour in my bit's case.....only problem it has the 24th Michigan written on it!! At this point I said screw it and promptly stuck it on and in the heat of battle I don't think it will be that noticeable.

The figures are based two to a base to be used primarily for Regimental Fire and Fury where you need a lot of bases even for the smaller actions, but I can also simply put two bases together for other systems if needed.

Certain aspects of photography I don't like doing, but find it a necessary evil to share the hobby and my passion for it. By this I mean I don't enjoy the set up, photo sizing and cleaning up portion of it, but I do enjoy the end results and sharing it on my blog. I hope to improve on my story telling and presentation in the future as I find my set ups getting stale at times, but I don't always have the time to do proper ones so I may in the future do little battlefield photo sessions when I have time to put in a decent effort.

One thing that has me in a bit of a pickle is that I'm currently doing two horse and muskets periods with AWI and ACW which are both very demanding in terms of high figure counts which always has me procrastinating which one to do a unit for next! Oh, if you haven't got the new BP Rebellion supplement and you enjoy the AWI period then this is a must have! It's really great and full of uniform guides, lovely pictures, and just stuffed full with scenario's!

Thanks for viewing!:-)
Miniature Company- Perry Miniatures