Saturday, September 8, 2012

Volley & Bayonet AWI Battle

As promised, I played a small Corps-sized American War for Independence Battle this afternoon with less than exciting results...
Battle pitted a British force against a similar sized Continental and Militia force.  The battle was played out over flat farmland with a small wood in between and a large, swollen creek to the East.  There were 3 objectives laid out in the middle of the map.  1 being the Ford, 1 being a village, and another being a small clearing next to the wood.
A light battalion advances to contact

First round of combat, 1 Light Battalion is destroyed, 1 Continental Rifle Battalion is pushed back in disorder (yellow bead)
The first combat saw the British advanced Corps consisting of Lights and Grenadiers advance towards the ford.  They would meet an American elite Brigade of riflemen and the New Jersey Blues (all with Morale 6, Strength 2 per unit).  Interestingly no one was stationary as both sides were moving for the Ford.  The British lights struck first with telling results.  1 Light BN knocked out, and 1 US Rifle Battalion effectively out of action.  The Grenadiers came up behind them and hit the Jersey Battalions hard, causing casualties themselves.
Guards advancing towards the Continentals

With some support from the Royal Artillery

On the British Left, the Guards advanced towards the Continentals.  Much more of a game of maneuver on the left flank, as the Continentals continue extending the line towards the farmhouse, eventually sending a Regiment around the British, threatening the Guards' flank.  This ensured that the action would not kick off until about turn 4 or 5 as units were constantly either extending their line, or refusing their flanks.
Once combat was finally joined, a British Guards Battalion was knocked out with heavy casualties.  You can't see it but those 2 Continental Regiments burst out of the farm area and attacked the Artillery and Guards.

Continental Battle Line beginning of the Game.


This picture should be higher up but here is that sneaky American unit menacing the British advance.  They would continue to side-step march to their left, adding an additional Regiment until they were ready to advance on the Guards.  The entire line see-sawed as the British continued to extend to meet them.
Meanwhile in the Center, the militia brigade attacked the Hessian units with Artillery support, both of whom had poor morale (4).  This combat would be inconsequential the entire game, with no side gaining an edge until literally the last turn, when an over-confident militia brigade attacked heavy field guns and the 2 Hessian Regiments simultaneously, resulting in their routing.  At this time, a British light detachment seized the ford along with a battery of light guns.  While the British held the ford, the guards were effectively bottled up from advancing into the open.  The American militia brigade was routed so I rolled for the end of the game.  The Americans withdraw in good order - battle is a draw.
Lights seize the ford

Hessians.  They would be characterized by their awful performance throughout the game.

Overall situation.  2 routed militia battalions, 1 routed hessian battalion.

The militia looking dapper!

disposition at the beginning of the game looking strong!


Don't leave your Hessians without Adult supervision.  This is the second time in Volley and Bayonet my Hessians let me down.  Thinking back to my epic Brandywine 1777 game, an entire Hessian Division broke its sword against Chadd's Ford and failed to dislodge a single Continental Regiment.  This time, thinking that heavy artillery was all they needed, they failed to push back a single militia unit when i needed them to.  Bolstering them with lights or grenadiers will help round out the force and enable you to follow up a victory or to plug a hole if one of your Hessian Battalions decides to rout or disintegrate...

Grenadiers Are Awesome!  (Shock Troop Rule) Grenadiers get an additional +1 when charging and are to be used in spearheading large assaults.  Highly recommended and they have a particular edge in the assault when used against troops with the same high morale.  in this case they were able to get the upper hand against the Jersey blues.  Also elite troops have a tendency to win melee tie roll offs, as they gain an additional plus 1.
CAUTION - your elite troops will get knocked out much faster, so don't put them by themselves or your Brigade/Division will exhaust itself quickly.

Threatening the Flank of an Advance.  Against superior numbers it's recommended sending a unit or 2 against an enemy's flank if you can, preferably with artillery support.  In this manner, you can seize the initiative and force him to change his plan.  The Guards never got their attack off the ground, instead they reacted to the Continental movements almost the entire game.  When they did attack it was to stabilize the line.

Final Thoughts:  All in all, I still love Volley and Bayonet.  A great system for Operational Level engagements - ie BATTLES!  I think I prefer the ACW period as the weapons are slightly more lethal but that being said, you can't beat the effect of massed battalions on the tabletop, even with 15mm troops it still looks great I think.  I also prefer playing somewhat more historical engagements rather than fictitious pick up games.  I think the pick up games are more fun when you have alot of troops, time, terrain, and space!  I never seem to have enough of any of those things...

Next I'll play using my 1:72 Napoleonics and try them out for size using V&B Rules.  I'd like to compare the results with Shako and see how it plays out.


  1. I've liked the look of Volley & Bayonet for a long time but never actually got hold of a set. Perhaps I should look into it and give them a bash.

    Thanks for posting.


    1. Thanks, Steve. Volley & Bayonet are some of my favorite miniature wargaming rules. They are extremely easy to play and are good for solitaire games as well. They say they are good for 1700-1900 but I would amend to say 1600-1890 lol. I think they handle the ACW and Napoleonics extremely well. Thanks for posting,


  2. Very nice AAR. V&B is my favorite rules set. They work very well for Napoleonics. We played New Orleans earlier today.

  3. Thanks Mike - I am a huge fan of Volley and Bayonet. It's a very clean rules set and it gives great, historical results without having to learn too much. That way I can fight the plan and not the rules.