Monday, March 19, 2018

Battle of Bunker Hill BatRep

Prescott's militia garrison the redoubt
Scott offered up a chance to return to a familiar time and ground.  The time and place?  June 1775 at the start of the American War of Independence and the heights of Bunker and Breed's Hill.   Bunker Hill has been refought on more than one occasion using a variety of rules and scales.  The last time the Battle of Bunker Hill saw action on the gaming table was in 2014 using Land of the Free rules and 28mm figures.  That game ended in a British victory as the grenadiers took the redoubt.  That 2014 action can be found at (Battle of Bunker Hill).

Today's game features Scott's wonderfully painted 28mm AWI collection and the rules, British Grenadier.  Kevin would command the British while I commanded the colonials.  Scott would take the role of umpire and game facilitator since both Kevin and I are quite rusty with our memory of British Grenadier.  While we managed to get through the scenario twice in about four hours, I am recounting the effort in Game 1 pitting Kevin vs myself.  To see details of Game 2, please visit Scott's MacPhee's Miniature Men blog.  On to the game!

The battle began with the British stepping off with the historical plan of attack.  That is, Howe approaching the colonial positions from the north towards the rail fence while Pigot demonstrated with a frontal assault against the redoubt.  
Initial Deployments
Prescott manning the redoubt
Howe advancing on the right
Pigot advancing upon the redoubt
Stark defending the rail fence
While Pigot brought his command slowly forward in column toward the redoubt and Charlestown, Howe led his command forward toward the rail fence.  The weak spot in the Rebel line appears to be the fleches, manned by a single unit of Prescott's militia.  With the fence well-defended and an attack upon it likely to suffer enfilading fire from the fleches, what will Howe do? 
Howe advances upon Colonial positions
Prescott need not wonder for long what the British have planned.  With the British grenadiers preparing for a direct assault on the north end of the redoubt, the other two regiments have their eyes set on an attack against the fleches.  The Stark orders one of his regiments to move to support the fleches.  The British begin taking a few casualties from the American 3-pounder.
British attack begins
Without much softening up and perhaps under-estimating the resolve of the colonial militia, the British grenadiers crash against the redoubt.  The militia maintain their ground not flinching from the fearsome Grenadier attack.  Coolly discharging their muskets into the face of the Grenadiers, the British assault is stopped.  Huzzah! 
Grenadiers assault the redoubt
Surprised by the determination and good marksmanship of the militia, the grenadiers break and run for the rear.  Huzzah!  Against the fleches, casualties mount to both the militia and the 43/52 Foot.  Harassing fire continues from Gridley's 3 pound guns.
Grenadiers break for the rear!
With the grenadiers in flight, having been repulsed by the stalwart Americans, Howe's remaining two regiments press on.  While remaining on the right flank of the 43/52, the light infantry battalion has angled itself into long musketry range of Stark's colonials lining the fence.  With guns and colonial muskets sending volleys of lead into the lights, casualties increase rapidly.   
Casualties mount on Howe's regiments.
The Lights have had enough!  Not expecting the fight to be so hotly engaged, the Light Infantry battalion routs.  Having both flanks uncovered by routing comrades, the 43/52 appears to waver in its mission.  On the south against the redoubt, Pigot experiences a similar fate.  The 38th, discounting the abilities of the colonial militia, approaches the redoubt while still in column.  As may be guessed, Prescott's boys unleash a deadly volley causing the 38th to run tail and withdraw.  
British Light Infantry battalion break for the rear!
One more exchange of musketry and the 43/52 is put to flight too! Huzzah!  Howe's entire command is in flight, likely heading back to their transport barges.
Howe's command flees the field of battle
Howe attempts to rally his routing command but to no avail.  Both the Light Infantry battalion and the 43/52 foot disperse.  Excited by the sight of the running Redcoats, Stark orders his command to jump the fence in pursuit.  Stark will never catch the fleeing British since "they ran so fast, the hounds couldn't catch'em."  Wait.  That's a different war.  Seeing his command disintegrate on the slopes of Breed's Hill, Howe calls off the attack and heads back to the landings to re-embark what remains of his command.
Howe calls off the attack
A quick and decisive result in the Americans' favor.  Great fun to be an American on the battlefield this day.  With Scott at the helm running the QRS, play progressed at a rapid pace.  Kevin and I only needed to concern ourselves with tactics and objectives.  The details of combat resolution were left to Scott.  The rules worked well and brought about a decisive conclusion in a reasonable amount of time.  Great fun!  I look forward to the next AWI battle.

32 comments:

  1. Nice account, very useful scenario that allows two games in a session. Just as an observation, should the position of the militia be obvious to the British from the outset? They will no doubt dirrect an assaut at that point, though interestly here they got a bloody nose, but I just wondered whether they would know the militia’s position or whether blinds would bring a fog of war to the attack that was realistic (if indeed that is realistic - I don’t know) ... out of interest, did the second fight mirror the first or did it give a different game?

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    1. With a dedicated and knowledgeable umpire running the Combat Tables, play progressed at a respectable rate. There was not much in vegetation to break up lines of sight to the Americans' positions from the British jump off points. The Americans positioned would be known and recognizable especially since the battle was fought on a spit of land with British ships all around.

      Second fight saw different approach but similar outcome as the first.

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  2. Just shot across to Scott’s account of the second action, looks like a story of hot dice :-) Surely the British will demand another go!

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    1. I would enjoy taking command of the British and throwing them into the fray!

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  3. It's a great scenario from BG and one I've enjoyed multiple times. Very nice looking game as well. I recommend trying White Plains next as it's very interesting.

    Christopher

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    1. Scott, like you, is a master painter. His figures always look superb. I will look into White Plains.

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  4. A nice period to play and a beautiful report!

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  5. Very nice report, looks like everyone had fun. It is nice to read a report that flows and places photos and text usefully. Kudos.

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    1. Your compliment regarding the BatRep is very much appreciated!

      Yes, we all had a very good time. Two games, lunch, and camaraderie, what could be better?

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  6. Very nice report, I’ve always wanted to play this famous scenario. I laughed at the bit about the song. 😀

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    1. Thank you, Stew!

      I laughed when including the lyrics too!

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  7. Nice looking battle, would love to do some more of this type of gaming but no suitable opponents and we would rely on me collecting the armies !

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    1. Scott sets a fine game table.

      Since Scott and I both have AWI collections in 28mm, we ought to get them out on the table for a run-in more frequently.

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  8. Nice looking game and well done report. Seems the militia were able to hold out again. :)

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    1. Thanks a lot, Rod! Yeah, the Americans made a success stand, twice!

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  9. A good looking game indeed. Obviously if I was umpire there would be no need for redcoats to test morale!

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    1. Glad you like the look of the game! Since I commanded the rebels, I am relieved you were not umpire in this game! Facing off against you on the game table would be fun, though.

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  10. Lovely looking period, nice figures, sounds like a pair of good games!
    Best Iain

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    1. All figures are Scott’s. He is a terrific painter. The games were fun!

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  11. Another impressive game with fabulous figures!

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    1. Scott does a good job with the figures, no doubt.

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  12. Great looking battle with Scotts gorgeous troops, and a fine victory for the Colonials!

    Speaking of songs, I recall being taught one back in grade school, a patriotic ditty:

    That seat of Glory Athens
    and earth's proud mistress, Rome...
    Where now are all their glories
    you scare can find a tomb!
    So guard your rights, Americans
    and keep from disarray!
    Huzzah, Huzzah, Huzzah, Huuzzah
    for free Americ-ay!

    It wasn't until decades later that I realized it was set to the tune of "The British Grenadier"!

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    1. It was a fine victory for the colonists!

      Now, I must look up British Grenadier so I can relate to the tune.

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  13. Wonderful report Jonathon and some esopecially impressive troops and terrian.

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  14. Great BATREP- inspires me to give Bunker Hill a go! Thanks for sharing.

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