Tuesday 15 January 2019

Battle of Little Creek 1814

The weekend before last I got my first game of the year in the shed-o-war. Just two of us could make it so Surjit and I went 'mano o mano' in a Napoleonic game with a difference. We would be fighting a battle set in north america during the war of 1812. This battle takes place in July of that year somewhere in upper Canada and sees two columns, one British and one American, approaching each other. As usual we pulled a slip of paper out of a metaphorical hat to decide sides and it was decided that I would be the Americans and Surjit would play the British. 

The war of 1812 had a long prehistory that lead almost inevitably to conflict. To the Americans the war was an act of defiance against a hostile Royal Navy that infringed on US territorial waters. To the British it was an attempt to counter American breaking of the naval blockade that was choking neutral trade to France. By 1812 both fleets were in open conflict with the Royal Navy's smaller frigates getting the worst of it.

Commitment to the war in Europe meant Britain adopted a defensive strategy, limiting operations to the Canadian border and western frontier. Several American attempts to invade Canada were repulsed but there were significant victories on both sides and in 1814 the Royal Navy burned Washington (including the White House). The war was unpopular on both sides and by August 1814 peace negotiations were under way.

Our battle is set in 1814 with a well trained American army facing a column of British Line troops and Canadian Militia.

Order of Battle

British (Surjit)
1st Brigade c/o Hercules Scott
  1st Royal Scots (Line Class)
  8th Kings  (Line Class)
  41st (Line Class)
  89th  (Line Class)
  Light Gun
  Rocket Battery

2nd Brigade c/o Lt Col Pearson
  Glengary Ligth Infantry
  Incorporated Militia of Upper Canada
  Lincoln Militia
  2nd York Militia
  19th Light Dragoons
  Indian Allies
  Light Gun

Americans (Lee)
1st Brigade c/o B-Gen Winfield Scott
  9th Line
  11th Line
  22nd Line
  25th Line
  Light Gun

2nd Brigade c/o B-Gen Ripley
  1st Line
  21st Line
  23rd Line
  Light Gun

3rd Brigade c/o B-Gen Porter
  New York State Militia
  5th Pennsylvania Militia
  US Light Dragoons
  New York Stat Militia Light Dragoons

The Action
Initial Setup - The Americans with three Brigades are in the foreground and have not fully crossed the river. The outnumbered British are perhaps in a better position in that they have one brigade 'deployed'. 

Brigades at deployment

Initial moves. I wanted to establish a forward line to allow space for my rear Brigade to get across the bridge. I expected the British infantry to also push forward but there's plenty of room, right...? Hang on a minute...whats that lone Light Dragoon unit doing. Hopy crap its charging!!!

The 19th Light Dragoons gauge the distance perfectly. With probably less than an inch to spare they made the distance and crashed into one of my line units. I's underestimated the gap between us! The Dragoons are a small unit and all I have to do is roll ok in melee...

About turn two - I'm moving to form a line roughly contingent with the hill. My Militia Brigade is swinging wide to the right and my second Line Brigade are starting to march across the bridge.  There's just the small matter of that cavalry vs infantry Melee to resolve...

My line unit rolls appallingly bad and falls back through a friendly unit disrupting it. Suddenly my front line is in utter disarray and all because I got a fraction of an inch too close to the enemy! 

From bad to worse... The British dragoons now charge my second disrupted line unit. Not only do they defeat them they nick one of my flags! That whole first Brigade is teetering on the brink of having to fall back. The only bright side, I have moved my Militia Cavalry round and am ready to return the favour on the exposed British line. 

...a line that looks impressive but is made up of militia units. 

The British fire their rocket battery and hit absolutely nothing...but every unit in my army has t take a moral test or be disrupted on first seeing this new scary weapon.... four units are forced to halt and try to reorganise including my militia infantry on the hill. Then the cheeky bugger charges my gun on the hill with his skirmishers... and my militia can't now counter charge and can only look on. This game is getting very frustrating. 

Oh for Pete's sake! The 1st Brigade have to make a Brigade Check, fail and have to fall back one full move. This does mean I'm away from those blasted Dragoons but now my regiments are all mixed up and in each others way. 

The British meanwhile are approaching in an orderly fashion. They divert a couple of units to face my Militia cavalry on their flank but despite sending them reeling back there are more British units to steady the position and blunt my assault. 

I start to redeploy as best I can. Some units can't move if they want to reorganise but my 'plan' is already in tatters. 

I loose the gun on the hill to the British Skirmishers but I'm finally able to bring my infantry units forward in something resembling an ordered line. I decide to gamble on a general charge (I'm sure I have lost the battle at this point, so what the heck!). Its only a partial success and the British respond with a counterattack. Overall its a bit of a standoff, with neither side landing a decisive blow, but I think that was the last chance for the Americans to regain control of the battle. 

Over on the flank my Militia have reorganised but are no longer facing the flank of an enemy. And those damned skirmishers of the British are harassing my flank relentlessly. 

Combined fire and melee have forced my Militia Brigade to fall back. Straddling the road my Line units have some sort of order but every one had taken casualties and all bar two are disordered limiting my choices for next turn... but its getting dark and Postie calls the game to a close.

Victory for the British was in little doubt. and the points say it all. Three points for the Americans and 17 points for the British. 

I'd like to say that the delay getting this batrep posted is only in small part because I got such a thrashing. It's been a very busy week, both at work and at the hobby desk, and I just haven't had time to write this up until today (thank crunchie for my Tuesdays off work!).

So I've started my gaming year with a loss. Not good. Not good at all. I thought Surjit was taking a bit of a risk with the Dragoon charge but he judged the distance well and of course his dice rolling was better than mine. I was on the back foot almost from the first round of action and never recovered after that. Well done Surj, a deserved victory. I must do better next time!! 


  1. What a bruising encounter for the Americans, but great to get such a fabulous looking game in already.

  2. Oh dear oh dear oh dear..........

  3. An Aside about the war of 1812. I was born and brought up in a Massachusetts city of Brockton. Brockton (formally North Bridgewater) got its name when in the 1870s as it was now large enough to be incorporated as a city it was decided to change the name. The town/city established a committee of "history experts" to find some military figure that the City could be named after. After a year of study and deliberation they chose the Canadian/British General Brock who had fought against us in the war of 1812!!!!

  4. Nice to see this game. It supposedly took place almost in my back yard!

  5. Nice report and great looking game!

  6. Lovely layout and game. Were the spectacles a strategic objective?

  7. Nice game. Lee, how come you only roll well when playing me!!

  8. So you started with a loss? So what? No where to go but up! 😀
    Least you started with a good looking game with an interesting scenario.


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