AWI SCENARIO: Guilford Courthouse 15th March 1781

This was a refight of the Battle of Guilford Courthouse 15th March 1781 played using Black Powder Rules.

The Setup

The game was fought down a 12ft by 6ft table. This and the deployment allowed the game to be played easily by 4 players - Colin Jack and Mr Ray Neal commanding the Americans and Hugh Wilson and I commanding the British. Ray has to command the Americans being a native of Connecticut.

The figure scale was 1/10 so we had a total of just over 200 British figures facing slightly over 400 American figures.

The forces were deployed historically at the start of game. So the American army deployed in 3 distinct lines as follows:
1st line 2 Brigades totaling 4 units of North Carolina Militia, 2 rifle detachments, 2 cavalry detachments and a gun.
2nd line 2 Brigades totaling 6 units of Virginia Militia
3rd line 2 Brigades totaling 6 units of Continentals supported by a gun

Across the open ground in front of the American 1st line deployed the British Army.

I reorganised the British Brigades to better fit with their deployment - so:
On the right of the road was a Brigade with units of Highlanders, Guards and Hessians.
On the left of the road a Brigade with 2 line battalions, light infantry and Jaeger detachments and 2 guns.
Behind them a Brigade with Guards, Grenadiers and NC Loyalists.
In reserve Tarleton with 2 cavalry detachments.


View from behind British centre
Rule Changes

To try to balance the game towards a historical result I gave the British units all the special rules they get in the AWI scenario in the BP rules (Crack, First Fire, Steady) plus in addition I made the Guards and Grenadiers Elite 4+. The Hessians and NC loyalists were given First Fire. The continentals had First Fire and 1 of their units the 1st Maryland were also Steady. The militia were all Unreliable and I reduced the hand to hand dice, stamina and morale of the Militia by 1 and in addition I made the North Carolina militia Wavering so that they had to take a Break test every time they suffered a casualty.

The commanders were all given a rating of 8.

I allowed formed troops and cavalry to move thru the woods but with their movement reduced to 6 and any troops within the woods received a bonus to their morale throws for the cover.

The game was played with the 66% version of the BP rules - reducing movement and firing by 66% but we retained the command radius and proximity distance at 12 given the size of the units.

How the game played

The British as ever advanced boldly to the attack the North Carolinans lining the fence at the edge of a large wood. Well at least some of them did. On the British right where I was commanding the advance slowed almost at once when Colin threw the American cavalry forward and tried to flank the Hessians. This and skirmishing fire from the riflemen stopped the Hessians and distracted their Brigadier for many moves. The cavalry were eventually broken by the fire of the Hessian Jaegers who had moved to support the right flank. The efforts to get Tarletons cavalry to also move in support of the right flank proved impossible for 5 moves!

On the British left one of the line battalions overcome by zeal charged one of the militia units holding the fence. Mr Rays militia won 4 rounds of combat with the Line Battalion, surviving all their wavering break tests, and it was the Line Battalion who broke first. They broke still having their First Fire having never fired a single volley! The other units on the left flank became bogged down in a long drawn out fire fight with the Americans.

Eventually the other 2 British units on the right flank closed and volleyed the militia facing them. Both militia units broke with their first Wavering test. The British right then took more turns to bring all its units together supported finally by Tarletons cavalry and awaited the outcome of the epic struggle on the left against the American 1st line.

The militia and riflemen there held on for a long time and the Hugh had to commit all his units - the guards, grenadiers and NC loyalists - before the militia finally broke. By the time this happened most of the British units had lost most of their one time special advantages!

Both American rifle detachments survived the defeat of the 1st line and slowly withdrew to join the 2nd line which waited for the British just within the far edge of the large woods. The 2nd line were also were joined by a unit of Continentals that advanced from the 3rd line to reinforce them.

The British advanced on both flanks thru the woods to engage this new opponent. This time it was the British right which struggled to overcome its opponent while the action on the British left went quicker against the militia but the militia there still managed to break the other British Line unit. The Continentals sacrificed themselves by charging and wiping out the British artillery which had finally got into effective range.

It was clear by this point that it was impossible for the surviving British to cross the open ground to attack the 3rd line - the 5 units of Continentals. Most of the larger British units ended the game shaken and would take some time to recover. The only fresh units were Tarletons cavalry which were still to strike a blow.
Overall it was an enjoyable game and it looks great set-up. The BP rules work well for large games - we played an enormous number of moves. It took nearly 3 hours of actual time for the British to overcome the first line - the actual battle in which the British at great cost defeated all 3 American lines lasted for 90 minutes all told!

Link to Flickr photoset of the game
http://www.flickr.com/photos/bill26048/sets/72157624523855438/

Order of battle for the game

The number of men shown is the number of troops mustered on the day of the battle. I have reorganised the British into the following Brigades which better suited their actual deployment.

British Forces
C-in-C Lieutenant-General Charles, Lord Cornwallis

Major-General Leslie
71st Foot (2nd Battalion) unit of 16 figures – 212 men
Von Bose Regiment (Hessians) unit of 24 figures – 313 men
1st Battalion, Foot Guards unit of 24 figures – 300 men
Jaegers (Hessians) Lt Infantry unit of 12 figures - 97 men

Lieutenant-Colonel Webster
23rd Foot unit of 24 figures – 258 men
33rd Foot unit of 24 figures – 322 men
Foot Guard detached Light Infantry unit of 15 figures - 120 men
Royal Artillery Detachment 2 guns - 3 x 3pdrs

Colonel O’Hara
2nd Battalion, Foot Guards unit of 24 figures – 300 men
Foot Guard Grenadier detachment unit of 16 figures – 120 men
North Carolina Loyalists unit of 16 figures – 130 men

Reserves - Lieutenant Colonel Tarleton
British Legion (Dragoons) 2 units of 8 figures – 174 men


American Forces
C-in-C Major-General Nathaniel Greene

American First Line
Brigadier-General Butler
North Carolina Militia Brigade 2 units of 24 figures – 500 men
Lynch’s Virginia Rifles 1 unit of 12 figures – 200 men
Washington’s 1st/3rd Cont Dragoons 1 unit of 6 figures – 86 men
1st Continental Artillery Detachment 1 gun – 2 x 3pdrs

Brigadier-General Eaton
North Carolina Militia Brigade 2 units of 24 figures – 500 men
Campbell’s Virginia Rifles 1 units of 12 figures – 282 men
Incl Lee’s Legion (Infantry)
Lee’s Legion (Dragoons) 1 unit of 6 figures - 75 men

American Second Line
Brigadier-General Lawson
Virginia Militia Brigade 3 units of 24 figures– 720 men

Brigadier-General Steven’s
Virginia Militia Brigade 3 units of 16 figures – 480 men

American Third Line
Brigadier-General Huger
4th & 5th Virginia Regiment 3 units of 24 figures – 800 men
1st Continental Artillery Detachment 1 gun – 2 x 3pdrs

Colonel Williams
1st & 2nd Maryland Regiment 3 units of 24 figures – 720 men