Sunday, March 24, 2019

A Cow! A Cow! My Kingdom for a Cow! - AWI gaming at Cold Wars

On Friday morning at the recent HMGS Cold Wars miniature gaming convention at Lancaster, Pennsylvania, I ran an American War of Independence (AWI) skirmish game using the TooFatLardies excellent Sharp Practice rules.  This foraging scenario,  A Cow! A Cow! My Kingdom for a Cow! (with apologies to Shakespeare and Richard III), was based loosely (very loosely), on an actual engagement during the early days of the war (November 9, 1775), at Lechmere Point in the Boston area.  Nine companies of British light infantry along with some grenadiers crossed Boston Harbor at a very high tide to seize cattle needed for the British garrison in Boston.  I moved the setting (to a farm in the southern theater), the time (from 1775 to 1781), and the troops involved.  Other than these few changes, it was almost a duplication of the original fight.

So, without further ado......

The setting is a farm in the border area of the North and South Carolina low country, where, according to loyalists in the area, there is a herd of Guernsey dairy cattle, renowned for producing high-butterfat, high-protein milk.  These cows were the British objective - they needed to round them up and drive them back (overland), to the British camp.  Rollin, Rollin....Rawhide!
The Cows
The Farm with Dairy

As morning broke over the peaceful farm, workers went about their duties, unaware of the violence about to be unleashed.  The cows were aware but apparently didn't care.

Stable worker and Blacksmiths working hard

Milk maids getting that good Guernsey milk

The Axeman Cometh

The British force consisted of elements of the 23rd Regiment of Foot, the 42nd Regiment of Foot, the Queen's Rangers and a group of Hessian Jaegers.  The British deployed onto the table at the two deployment points shown below:

No, we didn't spill something on the floor, that is the new carpet in Distlefink

Note to the reader:  Be sure to take notice of the bateau in the photo above because this was available to the British, complete with two stout rowers, to transport some troops across the deep water to the pasture in the quickest possible manner.

The Americans countered with members of the Maryland Continental Line, Virginia State Line, North Carolina militia and a group of riflemen.  They patriot forces deployed from a single deployment point which proved to be difficult and time-consuming for the Americans.

American Deployment Point

The battle started with the British splitting their command, sending one group of the Queen's Rangers across the water in the bateau, with the remaining group circling around the water to hopefully screen the Rangers and their hopefully, captive cows from the presumed oncoming Patriot forces.  The Hessian Jaegers, 42nd and 23rd Foot deployed near the British camp and proceeded up the road to intercept the Americans, with the Jaegers leading the way.

Route of the 2nd group of Queen's Rangers

Jaegers prepare to fire
23rd Foot deploys on the table
The 42nd Foot came on in column, crossed the Little Toad River at a ford pointed out by a local traitor, err, Loyalist and quickly deployed into line to face-off against the Patriots.

42nd Regiment of Foot
Meanwhile, back at the deep water, one group of the Queen's Rangers were in the bateau and making their way across the water toward the cows.

The Queen's Rangers are afloat
After being held up by deploying into a heavy woods, the Americans, led by Barstow's Rifles in skirmish formation, the Virginia State Line emerged from the woods and deployed into line to oppose the 42nd Regiment of Foot, the Hessian Jaegers and the 23rd Foot.  The State Line was followed closely by North Carolina militia which quickly deployed into line next to the Virginians.

Troop Placement
Virginians and North Carolinians exchange fire with the British

 The Virginians and North Carolinians squared off against the British.  Overall American commander COL William Bond was afraid the militia would break and run.  However, much to the surprise of everyone, and through the valiant leadership of the officers and NCOs plus the judicious use of command cards to rally shock, the militia managed to hold fast despite taking casualties.  Interestingly, no unit on either side broke with very little force morale being lost.

Now, back to the Cows.  The Queen's Rangers managed to cross the Deep Water and were able to quickly round up the obedient cows.

While most of the units were engaged in a firefight, the Maryland Continental Line was on a fast march behind the farm buildings in hopes of stopping the British from making off with the precious cows.

While the cow-herding Queen's Rangers continued to move their captives through the woods and hopefully back to the British camp, the land-based contingent of the Rangers moved into position and prepared to do battle with the Maryland Continentals, now deployed into line behind a garden fence.

At this point, the game was drawing to a close due to time constraints (4 hours).  It looked like the Queen's Rangers cow wranglers might be able to drive the cattle around the manor house and behind the 42nd Regiment of Foot, while the other group of Rangers could at least hold-off the Continentals for a turn or two.  The main firefight at the center of the table could have continued for a couple of more turns with no clear winner.  The British were rewarded a marginal victory.

This game, with some tweaks, will be run again at Historicon.  I asked for and received input from the players and together with some areas I saw that needed improvement, I hope to have an even better game this summer.

1 comment:

  1. A fun looking scenario, Have fun with the second outing.


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