Friday, February 13, 2015

Battle of the Thames

Revisited using Cousin Jonathan, a highly morale-driven game, available free from The Perfect Captain. 

Given that it was one of the most lop-sided engagements during the War of 1812 the referee tweaked some unit strengths to make it more playable.  Perhaps too much so as it turned out.

Here we see the 41st RoF, 10th Royal Veterans and Royal Newfoundland Fencibles with a light gun deployed across the road to Detroit, the line of retreat for the Crown Forces.  The less than inspiring Proctor commanding.  Two war bands of natives under Tecumseh lurk somewhere in the woods.  Lots of Kentucky militia, on foot and mounted approach, commanded by William Henry Harrison.

The Yankee view of the table.  Where are the natives hiding, on the left or the right?

As the light gun pops away, the troops form up.  Some mask the American right against native incursions.  But naturally they appear on the American left, sniping at the mounted troops who approached too close to the 10th.

The Americans have the luxury of two lines, where the British have only one unit in reserve. 

The first American attack is repulsed as the second line prepares to attack the natives in the woods. 

An opportunity?  The unit facing the 41st becomes disordered.  The 10th has recoiled from their starting position but this may be a big chance.

A turn with three charges.  The mounted KY infantry and an enthusiastic militia regiment go into the woods after Tecumseh and his men.

The 41st charges home as well, despite rolling a horrible number on the dice.  But quality and morale are key in Cousin Jonathan.

The 41st is victorious, even as things worsen elsewhere.  The Newfs have now fallen into disorder from the pounding and the 10th Veterans move into reserve.

In the charges against the natives each side wins one and loses one "melee."  However, the natives, seeing one war band run decide today is not a good day to die and also flee despite Tecumseh's calls.

But in the center a rout set in.  The unit the 41st defeated created a stampede (aided by some really bad rolls).  Soon only the unit facing the Newfs and the half-strength mounted militia remained fully functional.  And with that the battle ended.  We ended it rather than try to bag the steady troops.  Proctor would no doubt continue the retreat to Detroit while claiming a great victory.  Strategically the situation which necessitated the retreat in the first place would remain.

Not that this would change history much.  Tecumseh might become disenfranchised with the British but wouldn't give up on his dream.  Harrison would regroup and continue the advance.  In all likelihood the biggest effect might be a lost presidency bid in the future.

Four players brought this to a conclusion in about 2 hours of actual play.  Cheers!

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