I have played British Grenadier before with chums Dave and Howard and had mixed feelings.Whilst they gave a lovely feel for the period they are extremely slow. It takes some time to get any sort of result and moving can be quite painful on big tables with lots of troops. They do however give a real flavour for the period and so I was pleased to be able to give them another go with a group who use them regularly.
The table was set up with an entry road on the very far right flank for each force down which all troops for both sides would need to march. A small village on the British far left held a rearguard and the baggage train.
For those of you that dont know Monmouth Courthouse was fought on a blistering hot day in New Jersey when the Continental advance guard court up with the British rearguard and baggage. General Clinton turned his British Army around to save the baggage and rearguard and both sides fed reinforcements into a battle neither had particularly expected. The heat apparantly cause far more fatalities than the enemy action for both sides so would definately be a factor.
In British Grenadier units pick up DP's or disruption points for various actions such as crossing rivers and rolling poorly on movement dice as well as from enemy fire. Once a unit has 3 DP's they then start to take actual casualties and require morale tests. So as part of this we had the wooded areas causing a DP each move a unit went through them. A fence another DP, a river 2 DP's. You will see from the pictures that the Continentals initial deployment has them passing through a wood and river before sighting the British and so picking up 3 DP's immediatly, add to this the potential to take up to 2 DP's from your movement dice if you are particularly unlucky and you can see how this goes reflecting the impact of the heat stroke on the day.
Lonnie and I had the Continentals whilst Steve faced us with the Light Infantry of the rearguard and Ken led the British regulars counter-marching back to save the baggage and rearguard.
Initial deployment saw the Continentals with two brigades totalling 5 battalions and 3 guns. The British at this point were hidden and so numbers were unknown. I will share the Orders of Battle at the end to reflect the fact that we actually didnt know what the OOB were until well into day 2. Only Ken had that information to start with.
I deployed with one brigade to the left front of the village and Lonnie with the other to the right front, As I was able to use the road I was in position much earlier, Lonnie needing to stop to rally DP's off his units before advancing again.
By turn three we were under fire from the edge of the orchard from a large unit of skirmishers. Eventually after some rounds of ineffective fire we charged the skirmishers and pushed them back behind the battalion of light infantry that now revealed itself in the middle of the orchard.
The palm tree in the orchard is one of Kens little jokes, I am sure he will explain more in his own write up on his blog http://yarkshiregamer.blogspot.co.uk/
Behind us the rest of the Division was slowly marching on whilst over to the British extreme right a brigade of Elite Grenadiers somewhat worringly made its appearence. My first battalion now charged the British and surprisingly forced them back. Both sides taking disruptions but no casualties.
As I got my other two battalions of foot moving my first battalion followed up on the light nbattalion it had forced back. Numbers were to tell now however and the exposed continentals were soon seen off and eventually routed from table.
So for our second visit to the game we had 2 1/2 hours on a Thursday evening. As the main armies where now converging I expected to see some real combat and was not disapointed. Ian took over the British forces in the village and the strain was already showing in this area.
In the village Lonnie charged the British Gun, a good dice roll and he was in before it could fire and that was that. He was now free to form a battalion on the flank of the Queens Rangers, another in front of them in the house and a battery of two guns to their left front meant they were in a fair degree of trouble.
Ina produced a small unit of Queens ranger cavalry and began to lap his skirmishers around the Continentals in the wood to add his fire to the beleagured light infantry.
Lonnie brings up his guns to fire into the guards and I withdraw the cavalry so he has a clear field of fire. His foot then charge the skirmishers and force them over the stream.
I am manage to throw some good dice for initiative meaning the Americans are able to fire first and the british fire is reduced having taken their casualties before firing. Some good hits on the Grenadiers force a morale which they pass but they are starting to look quite shakey.
So is British Grenadier the rule set for me?
To be honest I suppose that depends on the scenario and the people you are playing with. My feelings on the rules are pretty unchanged. They give a great feel for AWI, troops having to stop and reform dressing and organise quite often. The resulting firefights can take time to wear an opponent down, big games on big table have a significant amount of time manouvring and getting into position. All very evocative of the AWI.
But if you have a limited time to play a big game, or gamers who want to crack on these are not the set of you.
Personally I think for Cowpens and similar sized actions they are perfect and will work really well over 4 to 5 hours. and thats probably where I will use them.
Big games for now I will probably stick with Black Powder. They give a fun, fast game the downside being that if you use them for other periods the games can all start to blend into one another with not enough significant differences between eras.
I hope you enjoyed the write up as much as I enjoyed the game.
I hope to get another post in before Christmas kicks in so will save my seasons greetings until then.
Thanks for reading.