Thursday, May 28, 2009

Bladensburg: The Rerun

Doug Hamm and I ran Bladensburg at Enfilade 3-4 years ago. I had a mad hankering to do the battle again. I didn't feel it turned out quite right then, and thought we needed to give it another go.

Mind you, Bladensburg is a tough one to re-fight. A relatively small British expeditionary force of two brigades, with little artillery, led by a great fighter, Robert Ross, routs a much larger American force led by a bevy of nincompoops, including the President of the United States. It is always difficult to play the Americans as poorly trained as the large force of American militia, or to lead as badly as the American commanders actually did. It is difficult to reproduce Ross's brilliance and impetuosity, which paid dividends at Bladensburg but cost him his life at North Point months later.

We had reliable British players and some amusing Americans-some experience and inexperience on both sides. Our rules are Red Coats and Grey Jackets, which is Doug Hamm's Fire and Fury knockoff. I've really enjoyed our War of 1812 project, and love working with Doug. We laid our minis out in more or less historical positions with British having to work their way across the Anacostia river facing a withering fire. They did, but didn't move quickly to outflank the the Americans out of their hasty earthworks. The rockets that proved the deathknell orderly American militia didn't have enough range to reach the Americans (a problem of our creation) and the rapid march of the third American line contributed to the discomfiting of the British attack.

It was a disappointing game. The new untest firing table didn't work as well as hoped. I also believe that the lights have to be able to melee the Americans, not just skirmish around them. The gigantic American militia units really were unwieldy. Once they had to move, they could just runaway at the drop of hat, and god help 'em if they were disordered by fire. We'll need to give the rockets a longer range if they are to have the effectiveness they need.

Regardless, it looked good and I've included some of Doug's outstanding photos. At the upper left are Joshua Barney's naval gunners who hauled a handful of cannon to the battlefield after they burned their gunboats to prevent their capture by the British. The figures and guns are by Abbott's Miniatures. Those at top right are my American Marines. There are pitifully few of these excellent troops at Bladensburg. The figures are from the Dixon Napoleon in Egypt range. I've scraped off some of the shoulder decorations. I like 'em. Center left are British rocket troops by Old Glory. They have a nice batch of these with rockets on the tall firing ladders as well as those firing from horizontal tubes. At center right is the advancing British line. The front unit is a light infantry battalion backed up by line foot. I think all are Old Glory figures. Finally, Doug has taken a great shot of my grey coated regulars we pressed into service as militia.

1 comment:

DeanM said...

Wow - that game looks great! Nice figures & photos. Dean