Sunday, 9 October 2011

Battle of Harlem Heights, 16th September 1776

Continental Infantry at Harlem Heights
 This months club games featured an AWI clash using the "Hold the Line" rules from Worthington Games. The board game has a number of scenarios and with the availability of the new Holtz Mats Command Mat which follows the hex map in the game, the rules give a fast playable 15mm figure game.

Contemporary Map of the Battle
 The scenario we chose this month was a follow up to game we played in January, the Battle of Long Island. The Battle of Harlem Heights has the British advance guard under General Leslie ambushed by General Washington's main force. The Americans have the opportunity to seriously damage this force before General Howe can come to their support with the British main force. The map below shows the initial positions of the two sides. The three objective hexes behind the British advance guard give victory points to the Americans only and are shown on the game table as wagons and limbers of the baggage train. These together with destroyed units give the victory points for the scenario and both sides were looking to achieve 6 victory points in 20 moves.

We have adopted a few house rules to the basic game.
  • To make the end of the game slightly variable, we multiply the number of turns by three to give a score that is reduced each turn by the roll of a d6. On average the game will last 20 moves but this may vary slightly either way.
  • Casualties in the game would usually result in a base being removed (the number of bases in a unit indicate its morale). In our game the first casualty is indicated with a body marker and subsequent casualties by the little red dice next to the unit.
  • The road in the game is purely for aesthetics and has no function in the game.
The figures are 15mm Poly Oliver, and baggage vehicles by Hallmark.
Hold the Line Scenario Map showing set-up
 The forces are moved and fought using action points a base number for the scenario plus a d3. The Americans start with a base of 3 whilst the British only have 2. This reflected General Howe's rather "laid back" performance in the battle and made things difficult when attempting to bring forward the British main force.
The Americans realised that time was of the essence and that they had to press their advantage early. We played the scenario twice and with different results. The second game was probably more of an illustrative game as both sides took stock of the situation In our second game the British Light infantry counterattacked the Continental line as it emerged from the woods and forced them back causing and taking heavy casualties.

The Americans ambush is sprung
The British advance guard under General Leslie
However General Washington in the center pressed General Leslie's flank, destroying the Guards battalion and forcing the British back onto their main force. In the first game Washington was killed in this attack on the Guards.

The British are forced back
General Howe and the British main force
The American's advance in line
 As the opposing lines faced off in the open fields, the firefight started to decide the eventual outcome. In the first game the Americans managed to just miss out on a clear win ending up with 5VP vs 1VP (General Washington killed).

 The second game was a more close run affair with the Americans coming out on top 3VP vs 2VP
Generals Howe and Leslie form the line to protect the baggage
General Howe attempts to bring forward the reserve
General Howe in the thick of the action
The final positions
Hold the Line is a great game with an excellent set of rules that always give an enjoyable wargame.

Thanks to Nathan, Ian and Steve H for a fun game


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