Saturday, April 16, 2011

Battles of the American Revolution, Vol. III (GMT) ~ "Eutaw Springs"

Game: Battles of the American Revolution Series
Scenario: Eutaw Springs
Participants: Jim "HeavyD", Myself
Time: Friday, Apr 8th ~ 7.00PM - 9.45PM


Having just finished a couple games of PQ-17, HeavyD and I decided to head back into some familiar terrain with the ARW series. We selected Eutaw Springs as its perhaps the smallest of the scenario's in the series and easily completed in an evening. I had recently played "Germantown" with Bob and had a fantastic time, I can't even remember who won, but I do recall the good time we both had. HeavyD and I diced for sides and I ended up with the British, again.

The Scenario starts with the British encamped (again) along the Eutaw Creek in South Carolina in 1781. General Greene is commanding the Rebels with Colonel Stuart commanding the British. Each side had roughly 2,000 men in the battle. The scenario begins with a British foraging party about a dozen hexes away from the British encampment. They are scourging the countryside for yams. General Greene's Army Enters the map on the first few turns. The British cannot move for the first two turns. On the third turn the side that wins the initial skirmish with the yam pickers will go first.

The Map after Initial Set up
Early Turns
HeavyD's Rebels approach the British main line

HeavyD did not get the better of my foraging party, this I am able to sound the alarm and go first on turn three. This allows me to set up a line in front of the historical line. The next couple turns go quickly with HeavyD overrunning my foragers (no VP or AM effects) while I tweak my line and send a couple units to the river to counter the Swamp Fox.

The Opening Round, HeavyD's initial attacks on the British line

Finally around turn six HeavyD makes his initial push against my main line. He makes three attacks, all are at 3-2 odds. The first attack goes well "-/D", sending a unit of mine reeling back in Disorder. The next two attacks though are less successful ("R/-" & "D/-"). HeavyD's line is in some disorder after his turn. Specifically, I see that his flanks are lightly covered and his guns are out there as well.


Rebel Attacks Stopped

Mid-Game

I get the initiative on the next turn. I get a little excited as I see some good attack possibilities leading towards getting his Artillery. I guess I am still thinking back to my last game in which I took a pounding from Bobs Guns. Thus I decide to drop my strong main line and "go for it" early on with two attacks on HeavyD's flanks.

British Counter Attack

Both attacks end up being 4-1 and both get a "-/1" result. I am feeling pretty good at this point. Then when I watch HeavyD begin his turn I am not so happy with myself. During his turn, Heavy decides to take advantage of my foolish attacks and goes after 2/3s of my force with nearly all of his. I have left myself entirely too spread out. I am sweating musket balls now as the retreat rules are very black and white, if you have to retreat through an enemy ZOC, you are eliminated. In a scenario of this size, loosing 2-3 units for lack of a retreat path can be the end.

Maj. Majorbanks Surrounded!
HeavyD decides to go all in on his half of the turn throwing nearly his whole force at 2/3s of mine. The odds are low but the risk is worth the reward for if he can get the surrounded stack to retreat, they are done for. His attacks, both 1-1 are uneven, he gets a "-/D" against the reckless Majorbanks and a "-/1" against Coffin's units in 1013. The D results in the lead unit eliminating due to retreat path blockage, but the 2nd unit in the hex holds its ground. I am left with a 2-6 Cav unit and Majorbanks still surrounded at the end of the turn. The losses thus far are still fairly even as is the Army Moral chart.

British Attacks, top of turn 7


After British Combat phase, Top of Turn 7

I get the Initiate again at the top of the turn, which was a life saver. If HeavyD had been able to go first, he would have been able to seal the deal and likely have taken Majorbanks and his band of Cavalry out for good. Instead I am able to extract Majorbanks and reassemble something like a main line, albeit a much smaller one. I am able to take out one of his Artillery units and Majorbanks sends a unit of militia fleeing, forcing me into their hex.

As I had to advance into the vacated hex with Majorbanks and unit, HeavyD is again able to surround them, he also attacks my main line, looking to get rid of the exposed de Lancey Unit. HeavyD makes three attacks in his turn, a 3-1, 2-1 and 1-1. Amazingly, the 3-1 against Majorbanks goes badly and he's forced to retreat with a "R/-" result. However, Heavy is able to take out de Lancey and gets a PIN in his other attack. Thus my already smaller force is getting smaller and Majorbanks is still in danger.

The Results of the Rebel Combat phase, turn 7

The End Game

I believe HeavyD uses some of his momentum to gain the initiative on turn 8, he absolutely needed it to start bringing this one home. HeavyD again mounts an attack at Majorbanks unit, getting a 4-1. Elsewhere he continues to pressure my main line with two 2-1 attacks. The combats this turn are all one sided, with Rebels starting to get the upper hand. My AM slips down a notch around this time. The 4-1 attack against Majorbanks gets a "-/1*" results, thus my intrepid leader finally falls in battle. The unit takes a "1" hit but is still standing after the powder smoke clears.

The two attacks on my main line result in a "-/D" and a "-/AC", things are starting to fall apart. However with the three turns (and counting) that its taken HeavyD to deal with the late Majorbanks, I still have a glimmer of hope to hang onto. The Victory point tally is still close, in order to win one side needs to have +3 more then the other. At this time it's still around 0 or +1 and it's not looking like he's going to make it into the British encampment to get the +3VP for controlling 4/7 hexes there. So there is hope, albeit little of it at this point.

End of Rebel Combat Phase, Top of turn 8
In my half of turn 8, I am forced to make a heroic attack (1-3) with the remnants of Majorbanks Cavalry, they valiantly enter the eliminated box, having tied up a sizable portion of the Rebel force for 4 turns. Elsewhere I fall back on my camp as now we both know that the game is going to come down too a few VP's. I get lucky and get to go first at the top of the next turn (turn 9), further allowing my to pull my units back on the encampment.

End of British Turn 9
The clock is ticking now for HeavyD. He has this turn and then next before the scenario comes to an end. He is still a couple VP's short of a win. Greene and Hampton charge into the British line with renewed vigor. He is able to make a 3-2 and a 1-1 attack. The odds are in his favor though as he gets the best of me in the Tactics cards and the final DRM's are +4 and +3.

Greene and Hampton surge towards the British Encampment
HeavyD does well in the combat phase and gets a "-/DC" and a "-/D", Coffin and his unit are sent running to the rear while the 64th gets captured. The end is near. HeavyD uses his momentum to get the initiative for the final turn and sets up the final coup de gras by surrounding Stuart and his few remaining Redcoats. He ends on a 4-1, +3 capturing the whole lot.

The Final "Coup de gras", Stuart gets captured to end the game...
HeavyD certainly held it together with the whole Majorbanks side-show. I completely blew it in my opening counter-attack by splitting up my force...what a knocker. Shame on me. The fact that the game went the distance was only due to some silly dice allowing Majorbanks to hold out as long as he did. Still, not a bad way to spend a couple hours with a good friend on a Friday night. Once again a reliable good time was provided with the superb ARW series.

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