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.