Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Battle South of Hartford 1815

Rules: Regimental Fire and Fury
Scale 15mm Infantry is based on a 3/4" frontage and the bases are 1" deep
Host Jim Carpenter Figures: He thinks they are Old Glory but he forgot
Federalist Players: Jack Pope and Jim Ferich
Union Players: Eric Boyle and Joe Schulze(me).
This is a continuation of campaign we started in about 2007. I know it's a long time between games but we have been caught up in Black Powder, Hail Caesar and other things, also Jim is a slow painter. This is the second game in the campaign, so the third game should be played sometime in 2016 or 2017. Hey, some of might even live to see the 4th game. Just kiddin'.

Set up: This game is based on actual events but the federalist movement never took up arms. The federalists presence was strong in New England at the start of the 19th century. The year is 1815 and the argument between the size and scope of government was raging in the new country (hmmm...sounds familiar). Alexander Hamilton and friends involved in the Federalist movement in New England thought it would be better to break away and form their own country. President Madison disagrees and sends his army led by Winfield Scott to "negotiate". In this fictional account the Federalists are blocking the advance of Unionists forces led by General Winfield Scott. The Unionists are advancing to Hartford Connecticut to eliminate the uprising. (The actual attempt to break away died in a political convention infiltrated by pro union delegates but you cannot wargame that, and who would want to). The Federalist troops are raw as they never have seen combat. They missed all the fighting during the War of 1812 so they were rated as raw with average leadership. To balance the game they are more plentiful than the better quality Unionists advancing upon the.

The Federalists take up defensive positions to block the advance.

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The Federalist troops ready themselves for the coming storm. They feel confident in their position and think they can hold. The units are large but they wear down quickly.

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Let's get ready to rumble! The Unionists arrive on the table and they don't want to talk it over anymore. Their troops did some fighting in the War of 1812 and plan to dish out some heavy handed learning to the Yankee dissenters. The plan was to put a few units in the center to absorb punishment tie down the center. Neither of us wanted to attack fortified positions in the center supported by artillery. We decided to use the balance of the troops to attack the flanks. We thought this would stretch the defenses to the breaking point. I took the left flank and planned to advance as far as I could past the town to get a position behind the defenses. Eric took the right flank to attack the hill. We would share responsibility for the center.

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As Eric advances he take fire. His lead elements are in extended line and become disordered making further advancement more difficult but not impossible. Extended line move faster and are a little more difficult to hit. In these rules you roll on a maneuver chart. If you roll well you can rally to remove the disorder and move full. If you roll poorly you get stuck in place, it depends on dice, leadership, and troop quality.

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On the Unionist left flank the brigade advances at a steady pace. I am able to move normally but I was hoping for a double quick move. Damn dice. In a surprise move the Federalist form column in an attempt to get into the town. A very risky move with the opposition close by but what the hell, we are risk takers.

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Meanwhile on the far right flank Jack (Federalist) is trying to hold the hill. Eric fires his opening volley which kills the brigade commander. He is shot from the saddle. Most of the Federalist forces are in disorder. The Unionist cavalry moves up to try and clear through some of the wreckage. Casualties build up quickly on both sides. The fight for the hill is in question.

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A top view of the Unionist center and right flank.

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A top view of the Unionist center and left flank. Note how the Federalist cavalry has moved up in support. The cavalry tried to check the advance of Unionist infantry on the extreme flank. A good move as Federalist forces in the town started to give fire and disorder the enemy, making then vulnerable to a cavalry attack. Then the Unionist center advanced to gain an enfilade shot on the Federlists in field column. We did not intend to advance the center but the target presented itself. It also helped that I rolled a double quick move which advanced the infantry 12 inches. The column was well within close range for musketry.

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The result in the center was that the Unionist militia devastated the column of Federalist infantry. The raw troops just melted away.

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The assault on the hill turned into a frenzied melee. The Unionist cavalry was repulsed as infantry squares formed. Federalist infantry fought bravely but were slowly pushed back a few inches. Several units were disordered on both sides as cold steel meets bone and sinew. Supporting units tried to change the balance during this slugfest.

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The Unionist infantry shake off the disorder, rally with elan, and wheel right. The cavalry moving up so quickly really worried me. I thought I would have to soon form square which would pin me in place the rest of the game. What I did not know was that the Federalists were hiding 2 units of Indians and a unit of Canadian infantry in the woods on the flank of the Unionist infantry (damn sneaky of them!).

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In the center the Unionist infantry advance into the fortifications. The infantry was forced to stop after they negitiated the linear obstacle. The remaining Federalists were in disorder, Alexander Hamilton will really be upset to hear the center collapsed. The militia unit closes on the remainder of the infantry that took heavy casualties.

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During the same turn the Unionists gain the hill but are outnumbered. Holding the position would be difficult. They could get support as the troops in the center could be sent to assist.

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At this point we called the game. We played about 3 hours as felt the Federalists were at a disadvantage. They would likely pull back to keep the army together. The Federalist dream of New England independence is on hold at the moment. We now leave it to Jim Carpenter to tell us how future events unfold based on the results of the battle.

News Flash!!!!!

Campaign Recap from Jim Carpenter : I think we're done with the First American Civil War.  With two defeats, the Federalists have nothing to stop the Unionist advance on Hartford.  The Americans and the British had signed a peace treaty in 1814, so they would be withdrawing their troops back to Canada, along with their Indian allies.  Since Andrew Jackson commands the southern wing of the Unionist advance, we can safely assume that any Federalist leaders who didn't escape to Canada were caught and hung.  The rebellion is over.

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