Monday, 11 February 2008

Spencer's Ordinary, 26 June 1781

Last night "Eclaireur", Ronan the Librarian/Supercilius Maximus and myself had a bash at the Spencer's Ordinary scenario from the new "British Grenadier" scenario book. EC was the host and the game was played out on his large table. This second scenario book book has a good mix of better and lesser known engagements, together with a hypothetical Gloucester Point battle and a massive Germantown scenario. My favourite in the book is Savannah - with French troops, negro militia, sailors, Pulaski's Legion, militia on both sides and 9 British 12-pounders it's a mega-game with plenty of exotic troops to field. It goes straight to the top of the Allison list of Demo Games I'd Like to Do.

Anyway, Spencer's Ordinary. This scenario is at a ratio of 1:5, as it represents what was really a large skirmish between Loyalists and Greene's advance guard under the command of La Fayette. Simcoe's Queens Rangers had been on a foraging expedition and halted for the night at a tavern near Williamsburg in Virginia called Spencer's Ordinary. La Fayette attacked and this scenario represents the ensuing melee. It gives players the chance to put on the table a mass of Queen's Rangers (64 infantry figures and 22 cavalry) and Hessian jaegers on the "British" side and then militia, Continentals and 20-odd light dragoons on the American side. The scenario therefore doesn't have any regular British troops but does have plenty of cavalry, which one doesn't see that often in AWI battles. Most of the figures are from Eclaireur's collection. I contributed half of the Queen's Rangers, an American militia brigade and a few odds and sods.
The general layout - Loyalists on the right with their baggage train and Americans entering from the right. The tavern itself was represented by a Grand Manner model, defended by its owner and its Head Waiter, a Mr M Gibson.

The first engagement of the day was a cavalry scrap in the centre of the field. Charge and counter-charge carried on throughout the game with the Americans generally coming off the worst, although there was much toing and froing on both sides. Loyalist fire on the American positions was aided by the only artillery piece in the game, a Queen's Rangers 3-pounder.

The American right wing gave way under pressure from the Loyalist cavalry, whilst reinforcements in the form of my militia riflemen began moving up through the woods to assault the tavern itself, which was defended by Hessian jaegers and loyalists. By this stage the Queen's Rangers had taken up a strong defensive position at the tavern and astride the main road.

The 1st Continental Light Dragoons gamely charged the Queen's Rangers next to the tavern but were eventually beaten back with musketry. By this stage it was clear that the Americans were not going to be able to meet their objective of pillaging the baggage - it was not possible to break through the Queen's Rangers given the collapse of the right flank.

We played about 11 turns I think. It was clear by that stage that the Americans had had the worst of it. The game turned on the few dice rolls of the cavalry skirmishes on the American right and could have produced quite a different result had those rolls been to the Americans' avantage. This was a fun scenario; it's always good to have an excuse to get the Queen's Rangers out in force!


Fire at Will said...

Excellent report, sounds like the scenarios book is a worthwhile buy, even if I use it with my own rules. Keep up the inspiring gaming and painting


ColCampbell50 said...

Great battle report and excellent photographs of marvelous figures.


Stokes Schwartz said...

Good Morning Giles,

Very nice summation of the battle and lovely figures and terrian. Thanks for posting them.

Best Regards,


Steve said...

...ditto Will's comments about the scenario book (I use his rules as well), and what a lovely looking game - always nice to see (very) fine figures in a terrain that is as good looking.. the inn in particular is very imposing...

Iowa Grognard said...

Great report. Just the thing I was hoping to read this morning.

legatushedlius said...

Very nice. That's what a wargame should look like!

Matt (aka bluewillow) said...

excellent work Giles,


Steve said...

PS. Had you seen this?? In fact the whole book is quite an intersting read.. :o))