Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Cowpens at Enfilade

This was my big project for Enfilade. As I've said before, it is a battle I've always wanted to do, but due to the unique nature of the battle--the British fighting in open order and the American militia's defense in depth, retirement and subsequent return to the battlefield, there are a lot of moving parts. My goal is and was to create the conditions for a historical result, but not build a simulation in which the results were pre-determined.

In my final reading for the battle, I learned that McDowell's troops-they formed the first line of sharpshooters reformed with the second line, adding twelve figures to them. In addition, the third line had two small additional units of militia. All militia was set up historically in a single rank-open order. The British infantry was also set up in a single rank-open order. I also added some dense woods on the very edge of each side of the board. This represented the swampy ground that prevented a flanking movement by the British during the battle.

The conditions for turn one were pretty much the same as they were for the last game test in May. The Brits rolled forward--quickly this time as they didn't have to slog through the woods in close order. The Americans fired per their scenario table and did significant damage only to the British lights. Being elite veteran infantry, they shrugged it off when it came their turn to move. None of the 2nd line militia routed from the table, and they were all able to make it behind the third American line and were removed from the table.

The British line continued rolling almost up to the third American line, where things began to fall apart. On the British right, the 17th Light Dragoons chased off the Beatty's small militia company, and was blasted by the Brandon's Fair Forest militia when it reentered the board. Tate's Virginia Rifles, firing at long range and low on ammunition rolled double tens at the British lights just as it looked as though they would be swept away. It disordered the lights, killed their commander and caused them to spend a turn just milling around. The American left held when Hayes' militia battalion returned in time to reinforce them. The British light infantry escaped--the only British unit to do so.

In the center, the big British Legion infantry unit marched right up to the American continentals in close order, only to receive a withering blast. Losing three stands, the British traded volleys ineffectively with the Americans before taking one more stand loss. They retreated one move in disorder before routing ignominiously while trying to rally. This left a huge hole in the British center and unmasked the right flank of the two British battalions-7th Fusiliers and 71st Highlander, which the Continentals gradually moved to occupy.

On the British left, the three squadrons of the British Legion Dragoons advanced cautiously toward the Virginia/South Carolina State troops and a pesky unit of militia. Expecting the American cavalry reserve to pop up, they were not disappointed. The Brits quickly disposed of the S.C./Georgia Dragoons, but had no answer for the 3rd Continental Dragoons who routed to of the squadrons, while the third was shot to pieces by rifle armed militia.

With both flanks collapsing, and the cavalry destroyed, it was impossible to cover the withdrawal of the fusiliers and highlanders, and at that point the game ended.

Game-wise there was no fault to attribute. The Brits attacked fearlessly, and I really thought the Americans were done. The devastating fire on the British Legion followed by their rout was just some die rolling gone awry. The case was similar for the die rolling by the British Legion Dragoons commander. Rolling ones in melee for a Fire and Fury based rules system is just bad.

I really enjoyed all the guys who played-Lloyd Bowler from Astoria, Gene Anderson from Chehalis, Lawrence Bateman and Damond Crump from Tacoma were the Brits. Shawn McEvoy from Normandie Park, Mitch Berdinka from Silverdale (?), Norris Hazelton from Lake Forest Park, and Andrew Mah from Vancouver, B.C. were the Americans. They were great to play with and I appreciate their kindness.

1 comment:

Giles said...

Great report. I played Cowpens a year or so ago as the American player and I got creamed. Tarleton's cavalry swept all before it and within a few moves I found cavalry encircling both flanks. I think a couple of the Continental regiments escaped but it was a disaster. It's an interesting scenario though, with a good mix of troop types.

Best wishes