Saturday, September 10, 2016

The Battle of Cowpens 1781 - AAR Sharp Practice 2

Last Sunday saw the Wyverns put on a large Sharp Practice 2 game with 7 separate Brigades deployed on the table and a table some three times our regular gaming space.
I give you The Battle of Cowpens 1781 or The Battle of Squirrel Wood as it will be known locally.

The British have the choice of deploying from two deployment points, whilst the Americans have a Primary point at the far end of the table which must be held and a secondary point at the base of the gentle slope in the centre of the table. Which if lost effects all American Force Morale.

True to the original engagement the Americans deployed clouds of skirmishers before the British could secure any material advance. The benefit of the Tiffin Card appearing in the last quarter of the deck on the first two turns.

The Americans had gambled on splitting their commands detaching all of their light troops to the front this would ensure that none of the separate commands would suffer to heavily if the skirmish troops were pushed back. A long range musket and rifle fire fight followed with the British appearing to not want to advance in face of so many light troops.
The British with only 12 Support points available purchased extra Artillery and began to fire on the skirmishers but this would be a long hot morning trying to wear down 8 separate groups all benefiting from the extra layer of cover.

Tired of watching their comrades fall and unable to make see a target from their position at the back of the firing line the Gilmore Rockbridge Riflemen make a dash for the woods on the flank of the British force.

This bold move spurred the British into life, the Cavalry were unleashed and the 17th Dragoons supported by the British Legion and Ogilie's Troop galloped head long into the skirmish lines driving them back towards the secondary deployment point and the slope were the American militia were forming up. Things were looking a little concerning for the Americans as the skirmish began to falter.

The American brought forward the the State and Militia line together with Continential Light Dragoons to support the line. Fortunately for the Americans and unfortunately for the British  cavalry in single groups don't fair well when hit by mobile skirmishers.
Shock started to build as the Americans turned all their attention to the riders and without close Infantry support the British were unable to press home their advantage.

Meanwhile with the Rockbridge Riflemen making a nuiscance of themselves in the woods to the left of the British, a whole British brigade including the experianced Light Infantry were spending valuable time trying to clear Squirrel wood of those damned patriots...
The Americans commanders laughed as the mild mannered British commander swore at his miniature troops who were simply not performing.

3.00pm The British on the right begin their steady advance but time is not on their side.

A controlled volley from the Highlanders shows the American light Infantry the power of the Thin Red Line. A fistful of shock drives them back.

But with the British Cavalry Brigade in tatters and several big men wounded including Col Tartleon things are looking tough for the British command.
Not helped when a final volley from the pesky skirmishers drives the Cavalry Brigade's force morale below 0 and they leave the field taking the guns with them.

5.00pm draws near and with the British finally on the move but facing Continential's and Militia on the slope who are fresh to the fight and still with thier first volley open to them.
The field was left to the Amercians.
History repeats itself.

A great days gaming which was touch and go for both sides.
The rules stood up really considering the number of players involved, everyone was active each turn which can be a risk in large games.
With all the support flags in play their was always the option to bring units into play, surpisingly 3 in a row very rarely happened.

The cavalry made short work of the skirmish line but without infantry to follow up were soon driven back and first volleys were perhaps wasted at long range for both sides when a rapid advance and close range volley might have made more progress on the day...

A fine days gaming and plenty of laughs along the way....


  1. Sounds and looks like a great game. Funnily enough the AWI is the period that tempts me most for SP2, so a timely AAR:)

    1. Sorry Steve if it pushes you into a new period.
      It is fun mind :-)
      Are you doing Blastastic this year?

  2. Cracking good stuff!

  3. Great photos and a fine AAR!
    Cheers, Peter

    1. Thanks Peter - A fun day out was hand by all even the commander of the light Infantry.

  4. A great read Stu a lot of effort put in by you and the the lads .
    Regards Gav .

    1. Cheers Gav.
      We are in the planning stages of the next all dayer 27th November if your interested.

  5. Great looking game, the rules look to have played well! Champion effort!