Well from the date I should have been prepared. But it was only the night before our game day when Nathan point out the date and why were we doing a Napoleonic game?
With only a few hours notice I came up with the following interpretation of Guilford Courthouse. I would never normally use unpainted figures but we just did not have enough painted for all units. So please accept my apologies.
The Battle of Guilford Court House was fought on March 15th, 1781.
This battle at first sight could look a hard or pointless one to play. The British with 1900 men compared to the American 4500. I like this battle as it really pushes the British player and their choice of tactics. The vast amount of the American force was militia! That said, they are behind fencing with support on the flanks and to the rear. All that was asked of them was 3 shots and then they could retire. More importantly Nathanael Greene had taken some advice and positioned a few chosen men behind the militia with orders to shoot the first to run, at least until they had fired their three!
The British really only had one way to attack. Up the main road, hoping to clear the 3 defensive lines of Americans without losing too many themselves.
The battle raged for around two hours with progress being slow due to the heavy amounts of hand to hand required to clear the fences with the bayonet! Greene decided his mainly Militia force should retire to fight another day and ordered his troops to disengage and retire. This gave the British the ground and the victory but it was at too heavy a cost. The British had received nearly 25% casualties not enabling Cornwallis to effect a pursuit. Greene managed to retreat his army nearly in tact with less than 5% casualties.
Battle of Guilford Courthouse: Aftermath
Cornwallis did not/could not pursue Greene’s army. Instead, Cornwallis abandoned his campaign for the Carolinas and led his troops towards Virginia and Yorktown. There they were besieged by a joint force of American and French and after 3 weeks on Oct 19th 1781, Cornwallis was forced to surrender.
The figures are Perry and Foundry. From both Nathan and my own collections.
Fields are a cut up doormat from Homebase, evening before. One made all the fields and only £8.99
Snake fences from Treefella on eBay
Trees mostly home made with a few from K&M – see earlier blog on how I made them.
Courthouse is really North American PLANTATION/ TOWN HOUSE w. PORCH from Arcane Scenery and Models – not sure if they are the manufacturer. This was finished this morning!
We used our favourite rules for this period ” Field of Honor” the AWI version. If you ever see a copy pick them up they are good even if someone should have spent a bit of time proof reading as sometime they miss the odd word out. They also come with a full campaign set of rules and 2 large colour fold out map and counters to replay a number of scenarios. We have added a few house rules which can add a little more what ifs.
Being honest the game played out pretty much like the real thing. Sniping from the American riflemen caused the British to slow down until they realised that they had to clean them which they did, though at a cost. The 1st line of militia held up well and managed to cause a few casualties before in one turn it all went wrong. One of the militia units took a hit and because I had given the first line a shaken status I rolled a one and off they went. Unfortunately a couple other units saw them go and decided to follow! Their command and even Greene himself tried to rally them but nothing was stopping them.
The British moved on to the second line and after a firefight with no clear winner they went in with the bayonet. This had the desired effect of clearing some of the second line but it was at a cost to high for the British commander to consider tackling the 3rd line. I like Greene retire my forces having sent a commander on what must have been a thoroughbred racehorse to catch and stop the militia.
You will find the map, combined OOB and record sheet and some options on representing the Militia.
We are glad we tried this scenario and cannot wait to try it again.
In this game I started the 1st line, militia as shaken. This will help replicate the shakiness of them. If you want to replicate the above use of regulars, encouraging them to stand and fire three, then they could start the game as Steady
Fire three rounds.
Tempted to fire three and retire. Check morale of the militia as soon as a British unit becomes visible to them. On a fail, the unit fires regardless of the range. Pass and they don’t fire. Check every turn. Once they have fired the three:
- Their morale automatically drops to shaken
- They test morale with a -1 for having fired their 3 rounds. This could remain in throughout the remainder of the game . They are just itching to get away.