Friday, September 9, 2011

More AWI - based on Cowpens 1781

Rash advance of the British 1st Brigade.....
This weeks 28mm AWI game that I arranged at the SESWC was roughly based on the Battle of Cowpens 1781 using Black Powder Rules. The Battle of Cowpens was a battle of the American Revolutionary War that took place on January 17, 1781. The actual battle was a crushing victory for the Patriot's with the British force being annihilated with only the cavalry escaping in any numbers.  Here is link to flickr photo set

The Setup
The game was fought across a 8ft by 6ft table. We used full scale movement and ranges. The 24 figure infantry units were classed as standard units, the 12 to 16 figure infantry units as small units. The 12 figure cavalry were a standard unit and 6-8 figure units were small. The figures used are mainly Front Rank with Old Glory British Legion. Dougie Trail and Bart the Pole commanded the British Army with Hugh Wilson and Tim commanding the Patriots. I umpired. I used the OB below based on the strengths calculated by Lawrence E. Babits in his A Devil of a Whipping: The Battle of Cowpens.

Patriot Force Morgan 8
Continental infantry 24 figures
States Infantry 16 figures
Virginia Militia 16 figures
North Carolina Militia 16 figures
Virginia Riflemen 12 figures skirmishers

South Carolina Militia Brigade under Colonel Andrew Pickens
1st Spartan Militia 24 figures
Little River Militia 24 figures
Fair Forest Militia 24 figures
Skirmishers 12 figures

Cont Dragoons 6 figures
State dragoons 6 figures

Fusiliers in a bad state.....
British force Tarleton 8
British Legion cavalry 12 figures
British Legion cavalry 8 figures
British Legion infantry 24 figures
7th Royal Fusiliers Regiment 16 figures
71st Highlanders Regiment 24 figures
Combined Light infantry 12 figures skirmishers
Royal Artillery with a 3-pounder cannon

How the Game Played
We actually played out this game twice in a club night

In the first game I allowed the Patriots a free deployment so they deployed in a single long line with the cavalry on both flanks. The first British Brigade - Legion Infantry and 7th Fusiliers - screened by the skirmishers rushed forward with a 3 move turn up to the Patriot line. The Patriot militia the charged the skirmishers who evaded and the militia then fired at close range into the 2 British units. The British Legion infantry then charged the militia facing them who made them shaken by closing fire. The Legion had to test and retired and then broke uder musket fire. This left the 7th Fusiliers engaged by 3 units. To their right the Highlanders charged home on the state troops and after 2 rounds of combat they were forced to retire. They were then charged in the flank by a militia units. This ended the game as a contest after only 3 turns taking 75 minutes with 2 of the players not knowing the rules. The legion cavalry did nothing in the 3 turns and the British shooting was very ineffective.
Militia crash home on flank of highlanders...ending game 1

For the 2nd game I revised the Patriot OB by reducing the South Carolina Militia Brigade to -
1st Spartan Militia 16 figures
Little River Militia 16 figures
Skirmishers 12 figures

In addition I got the Patriots to deploy more historically with the skirmishers thrown forward, then a line of militia and behind them the Continentals and State troops with the 2 small cavalry units in reserve behind the hill.

Patriot left wing held back to face the Legion cavalry..
This time the British took a more cautious approach manoeuvring to mass their 3 infantry units together as a firing line facing the Patriot right whilst threatening the Patriot left with their cavalry. However the Patriots did not stand on the defensive and advanced on the cautious British - once again they deployed effectively into one long line. The battle on the British left developed into a long range musketry duel which did little major damage. On The British right Bart decided to throw both his cavalry units into the Patriot riflemen intending to break them and then exploit with a sweeping advance onto the militia behind hem. A bold move - but it failed entirely. The Skirmishers with 4 dice drew with the 10 dice of the Legion cavalry both units of which then had to rally back. They then came under fire from the militia and their resulting disorders prevented them doing anything else. Hugh remembering the poor performance of the Legion infantry in the first game decided to throw both his small cavalry units into the Legion infantry. This time they stood their ground - drawing with the Patriots and forcing both the cavalry units to rally back. At this point we had to pack up - but it still looked to be a long hard desperate fight for the British.

Patriot cavalry charge into the Legion foot...
Rule changes
We used the amended turn sequence in this game and my revised rules for moving in forests. In addition we decided that it was more realistic not to allow units to interpenetrate as part of a charge move. The British Regulars units - the 7th Fusiliers and the Highlanders - were both Terrifying when charging militia - only problem was that they never charged militia during the game.


  1. Ejoyed the reports of the games. Great photos, thanks Bill.

  2. Thanks for the positive feedback. I have slightly amended the blog and added link to all the photos.