Monday, August 22, 2022

Prince of Wales American Regiment gets a flag

  After initially posting this regiment I had not awarded them set of  colors.  My rational was loyalist regiments this early in the war probably did not have them.  Also, with such a hard luck history did they deserve them? Or would they just lose them in battle?  But I did post the question here and on the Fife and Drum forum should they get colors?  The answer overwhelmingly was yes they should.

  In their first action on the table top the regiment  broke the long time tradition of new regiments mucking it up and instead did very well.  They advanced, took casualties and passed morale checks.  Almost as if they were saying, "yes, we deserve colors!"

  But which colors to give them and what would they look like?  Dave from "Not By Appointment" website ( came to my rescue.  He designs flags for the Seven Years War , but used his vast knowledge of vexillology to come up with a plausible looking flag.  I think it looks outstanding and not out of place in the Rev War period.   I think it also reflects the grandiose ideas Colonel Browne had for his Regiment and himself.

  Because I do not have a printer my friend AJ  ( did this for me.  The templet worked and after sizing it to fit in with my other colors he sent me two sets. Warren was kind enough to drop it off at the hoyse after getting it from AJ.  Then it was just cut it out and glue to the pole.  In not time the Prince of Wales America Regiment had its new set of colors.  Magnificent!

  Then it was staging a review and award ceremony with Lord Cornwallis.

  A gigantic and heartfelt "Thank You" to Dave for the flag design and templet, AJ for printing it for me and Warren for getting it from AJ to me.  Thank you guys very much! You are the best.  And three cheers and a tiger for the PoWAR regiment and their brand new colors.  Well done lads!

Saturday, August 20, 2022

Fight at the North Bridge

  The situation at the North Bridge in Concord on the morning of the 19 April 1775.   Captain Laurie's detectment of Light infantry companies are guarding the bridge in the center if the picture.  They are listed on the west side of the river.  To their right the local Minute and Militia companies have taken position in the hillside over looking the bridge.  The road to the top left leads to Colonel James Barrett's farm and us where Captain Parson will arrive later in the game.  The road on the lower left leads to the town and is where Lt.Col. Smith will arrive from with his Grenadiers.  Now, onto the game!

   The game starts on turn one with Captain Laurie's detachment guarding the bridge.  Colonel Barrett's Militia and Minute Man battalions are just arriving in the hillside overlooking the bridge.  Captain  Laurie quickly sends a message to town to send reinforcements (they will arrive on the board on turn six).    For the next two turns the Colonists hold a town meeting to debate what to do (i.e.more then half the units must pass a morale test to march towards the bridge).

  On turn three the radical firebrand Colonel John Carroll arrives.  

  His stirring speech to oppose the red coated tyrants is met with cheers and cries from one Minute Captain of "I haven't a man who's afraid to go."  Forming columns the companies march down towards the bridge.


 Captain Laurie retires to the east side of the bridge and extends his men along the bank.  Where is Smith with the reinforcements!   Colonel Carroll leds from the front and the colonists steadily draw nearer.

  Looking to Colonel Carroll for leadership he advised three battalions march to the bridge while one battalion set up to watch the Red coats who went to Barrett's farm.  On turn five the militia and minute men arrive at the bridge.  Both sides are deployed along the banks and ready for a fight.  Laurie wonders aloud where is Smith?  Looking over there shoulders they can just make out the reinforcements marching up the road.

    The British fire a few warning shots (actually it was long range and they missed but this sounds better).

Both sides are in range and deployed and open fire.  Heavy casualties all around but both sides pass their morale checks.  Next move Smith hurried the Grenadiers into place and both sides continued the small arms fire again with casualties mounting.  One militia battalion is shaken but Colonel Carroll rallies them.

On turn 10 Captain Person's detachment arrives on the board!  The waiting Minute battalion is ready and opens fire giving  the British a warm welcome.  

At the bridge casualties mount on both sides with Smith and Carroll trying to rally their men.   First one militia battalion breaks and runs.  Then the light infantry detachment breaks and runs.  Smith and the Grenadiers stand fast and continues to hold the bridge open.

Although shadowed by two battalions Parsons continues to retire and fire.  

  Finally the casualties are too much and the second minute  battalion breaks. 

  The bridge is open and Parson races to cross to safety. Smith, satisfied with the result fires a last volley and covers the march back to Concord.   The two remaining militia battalions move cautiously forward but there is no hope to cut off the lights.  Better to think about how to continue the fight later when the British have to march back to Boston.


  A most enjoyable game.  The difference in quality if troops was the final decision in who one.  In fact I am surprised that the Minute battalions held on as well and as long as they did.  Perhaps that was due to the outstanding leadership of Colonel John Carroll!  

Thursday, August 18, 2022

North Bridge game suggestion

Doolittle print done in May 1775 of the Bridge fight.

   I worked for thirty years for the National Park Service.  The majority of that time was at Minute Man National Historical Park in Concord and Lexington.  Although I had not thought about a miniature wargame  involving the fight at the North Bridge two things recently changed my mind.  This was inspired  by the article in  Wargames Illustrated "Battle at the North Bridge"  (#291 January 2012) and the post on how he fought this out on the blog "Steve's Painting Shed."  Steve's blog is always a fun visit and full of great ideas if you are interested in the America Rev War.  Highly recommend and one of my first stops in the blogging world.

What really happened:

  The game concerns the action around the North Bridge in  Concord on 19 April 1775.  Historically,  after arriving Concord that morning  Lt.Col. Francis Smith sent seven companies of light infantry (about 32-36 men per company) to the North bridge.  Four light companies under Captain Lawrence Parsons      ( from the 5th, 38th, 23rd and 52nd) crossed the bridge and marched two miles further to Colonel James Barrett's farm to search for cannon. Three light infantry companies (4th, 10th 43rd) under Captain Walter Laurie stayed to guard the bridge.  The remainder of the British force stayed in Concord and searched for supplies. 

View from hillside over looking bridge held by Militia and Minute companies

  During this time various Minute and Militia companies from the surrounding towns gathered on the hillside by Major John Buttrick's house overlooking the bridge.  The town of Concord was just visible in the distance.  They numbered about 400 men and were divided into a Militia battalion under Colonel Barrett and a Minute Man battalion under Major John Buttrick.   

The bridge from the British side.

  When the Militia and Minute Men saw smoke rising over the town they assumed the British were burning their homes.  They marched down to cross the bridge and exchanged fire with the Light Infantry at the bridge and drove them away. The British broke and retreated back towards town leaving two dead at the bridge. Part of the militia returned up the hill they had just come down from carrying there two dead and wounded.   The minute men crossed the bridge.  Buttrick placed them behind a stone wall by the Jones house and they and the Grenadiers with Smith cautiously eye balled each other for a few minutes until Smith counter marched back to town. The Minute companies soon discovered the town was not being burned!  A fire set to burn some cannon carriges were the source of the smoke.  When some worried towns folks complained the fire could spread to the town buildings the British put out the fire.  


Diorama of the North Bridge fight.

  Undecided what to do now the various Minute companies moved to the ridge overlooking the town to keep an eye on the British.  Some companies marched to take position further up the road for when the British started their return march to Boston. There they were joined by other companies from further away towns.

   When Captain Parson's light companies return later they found the bridge deserted and two dead British soldiers nearby!  

The game:

  The table is set up to represent the area by the bridge very loosely.  I am looking for an interesting game not a historical recreation. Unlike the actual events both sides are eager to a fight!   The British must hold the bridge long enough to allow the detachment to return to town.  The Americans want to capture the bridge and prevent this. There will be blood!  The British have better trained and disciplines troops but the Americans have more men.

  Captain Laurie's detachment (4th, 10th and 43rd)  is by the bridge while  Captain Parson's  detachment (5th, 23rd, 38th and 52nd)is off-table and is expected to return soon. Reinforcements from Concord are in the form of a battalion of  Grenadiers and Lt.Col.Smith.

 The British at the bridge can call for reinforcements.  Roll a d6 and the battalion of Grenadiers arrive on the road from town on that turn.  

  Parson's force  attempt to enter the table beginning on turn 10. On this turn roll a d10 and they require 1-6 to enter. If they fail then they roll again on turn 11 needing 1-9. If they fail then they automatically enter on turn 12.

  Colonel Barrett and Major Buttrick are on the hillside overlooking g the bridge.  Their object is to capture the bridge and prevent the British forces returning to town.  To represent the hesitation on the part of company commanders to march down and confront the British each militia/minute group must pass a morale check.  If more then half the group fails they will stay in the hill to talk it over some more.  If more then half pass then enough talking its time for action.

Order of Battle:

Lt.Col. Francis Smith commanding: 

in town with Grenadiers.

Captain Laurie's  light infantry detachment at the bridge:

(30 figures/ regular)

Captain Parson's  light infantry at Colonel Barrett's farm:

(30 figures/ regular)

British Grenadier battalion: in Concord

(30 figures/ Elite)

  I have rated the Light infantry as regulars and not elite.  This is because of their erratic performance throughout the day.  At Lexington green they fired against orders and lost all control and at the North Bridge they again fell apart (although I personally think it was more Laurie fault). Light companies were still relatively new (added to the establishment in 1770), and this was the very first time in Boston they had been brigaded worked together.  I think poor command and control plus no standard light infantry drill manual were the problems that day and later at Bunker Hill.  These would be corrected later under General William Howe.  On the other hand the Grenadiers lived up to their reputation that day so they stay elite.

Colonel James Barrett commanding: on hillside overlooking bridge.

Concord-Acton Militia battalion

(30 figures/militia)

Bedford- Lincoln Militia battalion

(30 figures/militia)

Acton-Concord  Minute battalion

(30 figures/militia)

Bedford-Lincoln Minute battalion

(30 figures/militia)

  I have rated all the Americans as militia.  Minute Man companies trained more often so in theory they we're better discipline.  But in looking over the performance of both groups I see historically little difference that day.  I am giving them more units as they did seriously outnumber the British throughout the day.


Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Fire and fall back boys!


  In the game  an American Brigade must hold up an advancing British column for seven turns.   I based it on the action of Pell's Point in October 1776.  I added plenty of fences and walls and hedges  to break up the landscape and give the defenders cover.  The American commander deployed two regiments on either side of the road behind fences.  The 14th and 26th Continental regiments on the right and the 3rd and 13th Continentals on the left.  The artillery was held back as crossing fences would be an issue (you have to knock them down).  The British entered with a Brigade of three regiments, the 10th, 33rd and 23rd  and a medium artillery gun on the left of the road. On the right were two loyalist regiments, the New York Volunteers (NYV) and the Prince of Wales America Regiment (PoWAR) with a light gun.  The Guards Brigade was held in reserve.

  As the Crown Forces advanced onto the field the Americans waited until they were within musket range.  Once there they fired and immediately fell back towards the next fence line.  In the rules, if you don't move during the movement phase you can use a fire and retire.   Once you fire you turn the unit to face the rear and move back half your movement rate.   So they get to cause some casualties but get out of the way before the enemy can close.  Hopeful, because if the enemy can close you are in a heap of trouble.

  This time it worked.  The Americans fell back to the next line of cover.  The Crown forces kept advancing but did take some  casualties.  Eventually one British Regiment (33rd) did go shaken but quickly recovered.  Once the Americans ran out of positions to retire to it was time for them to leave the field.

  Rather then a exciting game it turned into more of a learning experience in testing out a new wrinkle in the rules. A tactical exercise.   I have long played the Fife and Drum miniature rules (with some modifications) for my War of 1812 games.  They provide a fun and and fast game.  Because they are one page long they are easy to learn and you play the game rather then spend your time looking up rules and interpretation.  For an explanation of his the rules see

 They provided an interesting game which reflected many a action during the war.  The Americans were not going to stop the British, but could wear then down and slow them up.  In this way it was a fun learning experience.  The fire and retire rule worked very well.  But of course you need a series of good positions to falk back to each turn.  And that is not always going to happen.  I also got to get my newest regiments onto the field for the first time.  Both the Prince of Wales and the 10th fought well I am glad to say.  

 If you are interested in the period I would highly recommend these rules.


Wednesday, August 10, 2022

A Charming Field for an Encounter


  I had a little free time today so I started to set up the gaming table for a Rev War battle.   Nothing cheers you up like your toy soldiers so I got some of my favorite regiments out.

   I am looking towards a early war (1776) action with a smaller American force delaying a larger a British one.  I have been playing a lot of Jim Purky's Fife and Drum miniature rules.  I use them for War of 1812 and have recently started using them for Rev War also.  Jim made a suggestion for a "fire and retire" Rules which I want to try out.  They are available  for free on his Fife and Drum miniature page.

 This action is a chance for my two newest  Crown Forces regiments to take the field.  I hope the  Prince of Wales regiment does better their historical counterparts did.  And I know I will be able to depend on the 10th Regiment.

  For the Americans I brought out Glover's Brigade of the 3rd, 13th, 14th and 26th Continental Regiments.  These regiments were from Massachusetts and fought valiantly at Pells Point.   Just the type of action I was planning.

   The 14th was from Marblehead and made up of men with a maritime background who twice moved Washington's army by boat.  Hence the regiment is dressed in a mixture if civilian and naval clothing.  Figures from Eureka miniatures.

 The other regiments are from Brigade games.  They are dressed in a mixture of early was Bounty Coats, civilian clothing and a few uniform coats. For more information about these uniforms please see; 

  This was probably a more accurate view of how the American Army looked at least in 1776 then the parade ground uniformity we all like in our toy soldiers.

  Buildings are from "Things From The Basement.". Most are typical New England houses of the 17th/18th century.  Two of the buildings are from my time in the NPS at my station;  the Hartwell Tavern and Captain Smith House.  These buildings are great fun to build and reasonably priced.