It's beginning to feel as though this blog would be completely dead if it weren't for Bob and his big community games. Maybe I should give the man a byline?
Nevertheless, Bob once again ran a session at 7th Dimension Games. This time it was the Battle of Concord - no Lexington. In the wake of a night full of distress calls, alarms, and lit candles in windows signalling the approach of the British, the Redcoats had arrived in force to investigate certain rumors of possible colonial supply and arms stores in the area. The British would have to move quickly - hordes of militia and Minutemen were converging on Concord, and the small force would quickly be outnumbered.
I would be commanding the British along with two other players - Carl and Frank. We decided to split our force into three groups. Carl and I would both take detachments of light infantry and make a quick march to the supply stores, investigate them, destroy whatever we found, and then quickly return. Frank took the bulk of the detachment - made up of grenadiers - and would use them to both secure and investigate the town. Bob pointed out, to our amusement, that this was essentially the same plan the British used.
We hoped that the result would be more in our favor.
The above picture shows the beginning positions of the British. Light infantry lead the column, followed by the grenadiers. Another group of light infantry was waiting just off the road. Mounted officers stood atop the hill, while those on foot were mixed into the column. Wagons waited to cart off the wounded.
For the British, each grouping of two stands formed a company. The Americans would differ in that their 'groups' could consist of as many as twelve stands! However, the British officers would allow 'detachments' of stands to all take the same action at once, such as moving, charging, or firing.
Carl's light infantry headed north over the bridge to one of the objectives. Grenadiers moved in behind them to secure the bridge, and both groups were watched carefully by the first groups of milita. Both sides were reluctant to open fire first, so the beginning turns of the game consisted mostly of movement.
Since units couldn't move through one another, Frank had to get a company of grenadiers out of the way of my light infantry. Hoping to deter another group of colonists, he put them in line just off the road.
And my boys were off and down the road, their boots kicking up dirt into the early April air.
Unfortunately, they were followed by the group of colonial militia, who quickly set up on the only bridge that my men could cross back to Concord. The colonials celebrated this early, minor victory.
North of Concord, a large group of militia had gathered to stymie British progress. Again, as neither side wanted to be the one to fire the first shot and thus be labelled the aggressors, the British prepared to fix bayonets to see the colonists off.
Frank decided that leaving the bridge in the hands of the militia wasn't a good idea - especially so early in the game, when we knew more militia would be arriving later - so his grenadiers fixed their bayonets and charged. They forced the militia off the bridge and sent them running into Concord with many dead and wounded at their feet. They unexpectedly took casualties of their own, however, and the shock of the militia's ferocity sent the redcoats in a brief retreat.
Bob determined that some shots - famously heard 'round the world - had been fired in the melee south of Concord, and so the militia on the north side of the river, already on edge, opened fire on the approaching British.
Taken by surprise, the light infantry fell back and regrouped with some grenadiers that Frank had sent across the bridge. The larger British detachment then attempted to move back into battle with the militia.
Thus began a rolling fight between a combined force of British light infantry and grenadiers, and an ever-increasing amount of colonists. American units broke several times, but their greater numbers meant that there was always another unit to either fill the gap or threaten a British flank.
My detachment of light infantry had a relatively easy time. They made it to the forge and discovered that the colonists had hidden a few cannons. They were destroyed, but in the process the forge was accidentally set alight. Deciding not to risk any of my men putting it out, I had my column about face and prepare to march back.
And while the fighting raged across the river north of Concord, fires blazed in the town as Frank's grenadiers discovered and destroyed supplies meant to aid colonial resistance.
And so we leave the battle for now. Part 2 will come out next week with the game's conclusion.