Monday, February 24, 2014

Battle of Cerro Gordo, 1847 - BatRep

Terry hosted a Mexican-American War game on Saturday using modified Regimental Fire and Fury.  Figures used were predominantly Scuby one inch figures.  With the old Scruby figures and a minimalist game layout, the game had a definite Old School feel despite the use of modern rules.

To set the stage, the Mexican Army, under Santa Anna,  sat astride the road from Veracruz to Mexico City taking up fine defensive positions.  The  Veracruz-Mexico City road passes through a defile guarded by the heights of El Telegrafo hill.  Protecting the heights, Santa Anna has emplaced guns and infantry.  Guarding the highway and the approaches to the defile are more guns and infantry.  The remainder of the Mexican army is encamped to the rear.
Battle of Cerro Gordo
With Scott commanding, the American forces were bifurcated into two attack formations. One was placed along the highway ready for an attack on the Mexican positions guarding the defile; the second under Harney were positioned for a direct assault against the El Telegrafo heights.
El Telegrafo
Before the game began, Terry picked up the two U.S. brigades deployed along the highway on the American left and redeployed them onto the American right.  Harney's brigade remained in the center.  Such trickery!  Now, the Mexicans guarding the defile faced a phantom enemy.  The rationale given for this bit of sleight-of-hand was that R.E. Lee discovered an avenue through the broken ground allowing the Americans to bypass the defile.

As the game began, Harney's brigade stepped off on its way to take El Telegrafo while Riley would head for the Mexican camp in an effort to cut the highway behind El Telegrafo.  The remaining U.S. brigade under Twiggs would support both Harney if needed while focusing his attack in the valley.
Harney's Brigade
The American assault was not coordinated. That is, Harney assaulted the heights before the other American brigades could get into position.
Assault on El Telegrafo
The first assault on El Telegrafo carried one of the redoubts and sent the Mexican defenders scampering away.
Redoubt #1 Captured
Captain Steptoe (1) unlimbered his artillery and began targeting Mexican cavalry at long range.
American attack
Americans pressed on all along the line and engaged the Mexican on all fronts with Harney on the heights and Twiggs in the valley.  The Mexicans guarding the defile began the long process of redeploying to thwart American attacks on El Telegrafo.  In the center, initial attacks by Twiggs were repulsed by Mexican Grenadiers.  

Assault on Redoubt #2 Attempt #1
Mexican reinforcements cannot arrive in time and Harney's assault against redoubt #2 presses forward.  Repulsed!  While one Mexican gun vamoosed, the second maintained its position.
Assault on Redoubt #2 Attempt #2
Regrouping, the Americans go in a second time.  The second assault saw success in carrying away both the defenders and the redoubt.  Scott holds the key position!  The Americans hold El Telegrafo but can they maintain their position?
Redoubts taken!
Near the Mexican encampment, cavalry array for battle as the infantry forms a long defensive line.  Twiggs prepared for a second assault against the grenadiers.
Mexican cavalry in battle array
Mexican defensive line
Twiggs' renewed assault routed the raw Mexican troops as the grenadiers gave ground slowly.  Mexicans counter attacked on the heights but were, themselves, repulsed.
Battle for the heights
Before Mexicans could regroup from the failed attack, Harney counterattacked and swept the Mexicans from the heights.
Mexicans driven from El Telegrafo
Mexican commander, Vasquez, on the right sinks into depression as all looks lost.
Velasquez throws in the hat
On the American right, clashes are frequent between Mexican cavalry and American infantry.  Steptoe's guns continued pounding Mexican troops. In the end, American firepower triumphs.
Scrum in the valley 
With Mexicans reeling from losses across the battlefield, the heavy casualty level was reached.  Santa Anna was forced to withdraw from the field.  Perhaps another stand before Mexico City is possible?
Aftermath of battle
(1) As a footnote, Captain Steptoe has ties to the Spokane, Washington region (home to the Palouse Wargaming Journal).  Steptoe later fought in the Indian Wars (Spokane-Coeur d'Alene-Paloos War) and was defeated at the Battle of Pine Creek in 1858 near Rosalia, Washington.  


  1. That's a great looking game and AAR from a very nice rule set!


    1. Thanks, Christopher. Yes, RFF is a good game that we find most players enjoy.

  2. Nice betrep Jonathan, love your armies!

  3. Great report, and I love the opening move of 2 brigades redeployed. You can only get that with a ref!

    1. Thanks, Monty! Not too sure the Mexican commander on the right enjoyed the ploy as much as the American players.

  4. Nice write up, and makes me a bit nostalgic for my old 1,000 plus figure Scruby French Napoleonic army. Jacks sculpting, while no where near today's standards, still work just fine as wargames figures when seen at normal table distances, as this AAR demonstrates nicely!

    1. Thanks! The old figures certainly are not state of the art but they do bring a bit of old school charm to the game, don't they?

  5. Old School rocks! The figures look great together. Quite a nostalgic look to the entire game. Best, Dean