The Americans are coming! 31st June 1778

While over in the Netherlands, Jasper and I took the opportunity to have a game of AWI Black Powder . In our scenario, the Tea Customs House at Cape Corny, Long Island has come under attack by rascally American rebels on the morning of the 31st of June (yes, that’s correct!) 1778. The Americans aim to destroy the ‘customs house’ while the Hessian defenders hope reinforcements will arrive in time.

Note: we used bases of six figures as a single ‘company’ or unit and a collection of those as a Black Powder brigade as explained by Steve Jones in WS&S issue 63  . None of the troops got any special rules (it was eight in the morning on a Friday and Guy had to catch a train at 11.40). We treated all companies as standard units, with only a variation in morale levels.

Crown forces (led by Guy): Two companies of Hessians in the block house commanded by Oberst Von Der Cuff! One company of Hessian fusiliers in Swan Inn (swanning around). A lone Queen’s Ranger Hussar is seeing his girlfriend at the inn.

Crown reinforcements (diced for 2 turns after messenger leaves board, arrive on a 4+): Colonel Arthur Warwick. Three companies of Queen’s Rangers, two troops of Queen’s Rangers hussars, one 3lb gun, one unit of Queen’s Rangers riflemen (skirmishers), three companies of British Grenadiers commanded by Hew Dolt.

American 1st wave (commanded by Jasper): Two companies of Continentals. One 6lb gun. Six companies of State troops. Commanded by ‘Colonel’ Hank Morgan of Connecticut (no relation to the famous Morgan from Virginia).

American reinforcements (on a 4+, turn 3 onwards): six companies of milita and one 6lb gun (which got stuck earlier).

We diced for commanders’ ability. On a 1-2 Complete Dolt (Ld 7), 3-5 Competent (Ld 8), 6 A veritable Washington (Ld 9). Both British officers turned out to be not very smart, the Hessian and Loyalist commanders were competent, as were all American officers.

Turn 1  : As the Americans are attacking, they go first…

With good dice rolls, they surround the inn, and open fire. The Hessians are thrown into confusion (spilling the bratwurst they planned to have for breakfast) but otherwise unharmed. Meanwhile the Continentals march towards the blockhouse.

On the British turn, the Queen’s Ranger Loyalist rider (busy chatting up his girlfriend Sally) hears the Hessian commander’s curses and gallops off for reinforcements. The Hessians at the inn see the Continentals and assume the fire came from them. Despite their confusion, they fire, disordering one unit and causing the first casualties.

Turn 2 

The Hessians at the inn are surrounded and fall back under heavy fire. The American artillery fires and smoke rises from the blockhouse (we assume it has six hits and a ‘save’ of 3+). 

Von Der Cuff rides out to rally his troops and with his usual grace threatens he’ll shoot each one of them personally if they don’t ‘man up’ and shoot those farmers over there!

Turn 3 

Reinforcements rolls were unsuccessful. The Militia are obviously still having a pancake breakfast! The Americans take position expecting British reinforcements. While the artillery misses the Blockhouse, all the good work Von Der Cuff rallying his troops is undone – more shots hit the retreating Hessians.

The Hessians in the blockhouse fire at and disrupt some State troops.

Turn 4 

The American militia turns up, but does nothing but apologize “Sorry we’re late!” The Continentals march towards block house while the State commander redresses his forces. Firing on the blockhouse appears ineffectual.

The Hessians cry “Hilfe, Hilfe!”, but the reinforcements fail to arrive, except one cannon which fails to set up and fire! The Queen’s Ranger commander is obviously not keen on attacking with just a single cannon!

Turn 5 

The American Militia brace themselves against a picket fence against the British reinforcements. The second American gun joins the first trying to level the blockhouse. They take their toll on the building which is now visibly smoking.

The State troops fail their command roll, and the Continentals in shooting match with the Hessians in the blockhouse.

The Queen’s Rangers finally turn up. The cavalry commander decides to rescue Sally, ignoring the Rebels! The QR infantry advances up and takes up positions opposite the American militia. The Hessians still hold out, ignoring the smoking building.

Turn 6 and 7 

Despite the arrival of Hew Dolt’s forces (bravely marching in column) and the Hussars getting ‘stuck in’, the militia repel the Queen’s rangers attacks, while the Continentals and State troops stall in their assault to take the blockhouse. However the American Artillery does the job and causes blockhouse to catch fire, which takes hold. With a proper conflagration now consuming the fortification, the Hessians surrender.

At this point our game ended. It was a clear American victory and I had a train to catch! With the fires of the blockhouse raging behind him, Von DerCuff escaped, swearing his revenge… It was a good fun game and well, I have to let Jasper win occasionally… ;-)

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