Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans Day battle - Crysler's Farm Nov. 11, 1813

For Veterans Day Young General and Old Warrior took a break from BattleLore to refight a historical action, in this case the Battle of Crysler's Farm from the For Honor and Glory game, which happened to be on Nov. 11, 1813. It would be anachronistic to refer to this as a Veterans Day fight, but it had the virtue of being a familiar game system for both of us and relatively quick playing.

The set up is as shown below:

The Americans have the advantage in numbers, with eight regular infantry units, a unit of dragoons and an artillery battery, with two leaders. Their main challenge is that they have a low Command level (just a 2, which means they will get to move from 3-5 units per turn, or no more than half their force) and a long way to go to reach most of the victory objectives.

The British are fewer, but have a definite edge in quality, with two leaders, two elite infantry units, two light infantry units, an artillery battery, a band of Indians and a gunboat on the river flank. They also have an advantage in command quality, with a Command level of 4. This will allow for 5-7 units to act per turn, conceivably 100 percent of the force!

Young General, being a true blue Patriot, wanted to play the Americans. He started with a tentative advance, quickly losing a unit to very accurate fire from the light infantry and Indians in the woods. Tempted by the two Victory Points for sinking the gunboat, he also moved up his guns, escorted by the dragoons. He was rewarded with a hit on the gunboat, which prompted the vessel to start pulling back. Rashly, Young General followed and found his gunners under fire from the right flank light infantry, who also proved to be good marksmen as they eliminated the artillery unit in one long-range volley.

All was not lost for Young General, who has the the spirit of Jeb Stuart. Seeing as his dragoons were also in a forward position he made a dash for the victory point objectives along the river, scooping both of them up while taking just one hit on the way. Unfortunately, the brave troopers found their way back from enemy lines blocked and the last of them fell victim to some Elite infantry, although the dragoons inflicted a hit as they died.

At this point the gunboat, now safe from counter fire, moved back towards the riverbank. Young General, meanwhile, became aware that time was starting to run out and he made an effort to start a coordinated push forward with several regulars accompanied by the two leaders. Also playing for time, the British light infantry and Indians fell back to join the Elites defending the remaining pair of Victory hexes.

Time did indeed ran out for Young General, and when regulation play ended on Turn 25 he was locked in firefights with the Elites, lights, Indians and cannons near the objectives. He did manage a lucky shot that took out one of the British commanders, but the final score was 3 victory points for the U.S. (2 objectives and a leader) for 5 for the British (artillery, dragoon and three regulars), so the British won on time.

Young General's blood was up, and he asked that the battle continue to Turn 30. He did manage to inflict some more losses on the British -- one of the British Elites only survived because it made two successful "saving rolls." Two more US regulars were eliminated, while the Indians also left the board, so the additional time didn't bring the Americans more overall success.

It was an interesting fight. Historically the Americans suffered a defeat and the scenario does seem to be pretty challenging for them. The nature of the game system makes it hard to bring superior numbers to bear, especially when they are not well-led.

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