Guildford Courthouse 1781

Having wanted to refight this famous action for quite some time I wanted to use a set of rules that all the Brothers could use quickly and easily.
My ‘go to’ rules for the American War of Independence has always been British Grenadier! But for a game with possibly 7 players for a Saturday afternoon I took a chance on using a fast play set from the net- Fife and Drum from the ‘der Alter Fritz’ blog: Now these are truly  a ‘1 page set’ and we decided to play them as they stood, to see how they worked. The really amazing thing that won me over was that by turn two of the game, everyone had a good understanding of the basic rule mechanisms and I could enjoy the game without continually referencing the rules.

The Middle of the table- viewed from the British lines,

With eventually five players (British: Geoff and Richard, Americans Ross, Phil and myself) they ran very smoothly and everyone enjoyed it- me most of all!

The battle initially followed the historical encounter with the British moving forward rapidly and getting stuck into the militia- we played the militia rule with a slight variation. Whenever the British came within 12” of a militia unit the militia rolled a d6.
1      Rout
2-3 Fall back 6” in good order facing the enemy
4-6 No effect.

One militia unit in the first line retreated away from the fence- but the rest held their ground.  ( In the second line one would be heading for the hills without firing a shot) The Militia had one role- fire a volley or two and then get the hell out. Phil, commanding the first line of militia rendered sterling service . The British weren’t going to stand around all day and after a volley or two launched in with the bayonet. Now these rules are brutal when it comes to hand to hand- especially if its British Guard with bayonets vs backwoods militia without bayonets- it is over very very quickly.  We found out that to have ANY chance of standing , you have to put the militia behind a fence or defending something- historically accurate really!

The Militia stand and wait with artillery support- the first line.
Phil's militia line had one success- they forced the Von Bose Regiment to retreat but then the 2/71st slammed into the militia units on the left of the American line and the back up punch was the 1st Bn of Guards- there wasn't going to be too much left of the Carolina farm boys. Phil had done his job, inflicted some casualties and slowed the redcoats down.
Hessian Jaegers, waiting for the order to move and engage the enemy. 

Phil's militia- the first line.
Ross, commanding the second line of militia, sent his cavalry forward- Lee's Horse and Washington's Horse to support the unsecured edge of the first line. On the American left Washington's horse got there just in time with the Virginia and Delaware riflemen to slow down Tarleton's British Legion. In the end, the Legion won, but it cost them a lot of empty saddles.
Cornwallis himself!

Tarleton's British Legion cavalry.

British artillery secure the flanks of the Hessian Von Bose Regt.

The Orange County Militia

The Continentals of the third and last line.

American horse- my 2nd Dragoons filling in for Washington's Horse.

The last line- Marylanders and Virginians.

Turn 3 the British are closing in on the first line which is holding- just......

The 23rd Regiment of Foot- The Royal Welch Fusiliers- go in with the bayonet

The Elite Light Infantry Company, taking pot shots at the militia.

Jaegers and Light Bobs stalking the enemy.

Virginia Riflemen- these guys were worth their weight in gold- moving quickly, picking off redcoats consistently.

The militia line gone- they didn't wait around- because as someone said "They don't like it up'em!"

The 2nd Guards- now I know the purists will say that the Guards didn't bring their colours to the colonies- but relax- these are my toy soldiers and I think they look pretty.

American artillery- desperately reloading as Fraser's Highlanders ( 2/71st ) launch a charge.

The first line falling back slowly..........

Cavalry clash

First line gone- dead or fleeing- 'Over the fence lads!"

The last militia unit of the first line- it actually caused the Hessians to retreat- but they rallied. Didn't do these boys any good- the 1st Bn Guards got them. Nasty.

Von Bose's boys rallied and returning to the fray.

Continentals waiting patiently.

Still waiting.........

Virginian riflemen vs Light Coys

Ouch- the cavalry charge Lee's Horse vs 33rd Foot.

The second line wobbles and breaks....

The Continentals.....still waiting.....

Brigadier General Webster Views the situation.

Having cleared the last of the Militia away the redcoats advance across the open fields as the US regulars ( to the left) line the fence to greet them.

The US regular artillery put two long distance rounds into the Hessians, causing two hits. The Hessian reaction...double 'zero'. FAIL. The unit broke and ran- they were not having a good day. They failed their rally test the following turn- and therefore didn't come back. This was the first of a double 'zero' roll that would have a crucial impact on the latter stages of the game.

The last unit of militia breaks and runs for the safety of the US Regulars- redcoats not too far behind.

The remains of the cavalry moving wide- the Virginians would knock them about with their rifles- and they would no longer be a threat!

Another double zero! The 1st Marylanders and a supporting battery fired into the 2nd Guards- and they rolled the dreaded double zero- and broke. The second crucial double 'zero' of the day. At this point the game was called- A victory for Mel Gibson and his patriots!!!

This pic I think says it all- Cornwallis' army has been so savagely depleted that by the time they got to the Third Line- they had very little to fight with.

The only unit that was still near full strength- and roaring to take on the traitors!- but it was too little too late.
So in the end a great game that took us about 4 hours. The Brothers especially enjoyed the fast flowing mechanisms of the rules and we will definitely be giving them another go!!


  1. Great looking table and magnificent armies.

    1. Thanks Vinnie- Your blog is one of my inspirations!

  2. What a spectacular and gorgeous report John, and what an interesting battle, we've played it three times, always with the same pleasure...Wonderful looking armies and terrain, and a real talent for taking atmospheric pictures, congrats!

    1. Thank you Phil- it is a fascinating battle- and we will give it another go!

  3. Stunning layout and beautiful troops. Marvelous battle report with so many great photos.
    Well done!

  4. Great looking game and a not atypical result. I've played it a few times and the British always run out of steam after the 2nd line.

    1. Thanks Colin,- it seems we wargamers have trouble emulating Cornwallis- but it makes a fascinating study.

  5. Wow! Awesome and Epic. Well done brother.

    1. Thanks Brother, this was 3 years in the making.

  6. A great game , the whole set up was 10 out of 10 .

    1. Thanks Phil ! Glad you liked it! ( and commanded the Militia well!)

  7. Great work John,

    good to see some lovely painted stuff on the table. Interesting comments about the rules, I may need to try them as a user of British Grenadier.

    Herce Salon de Guerre

    1. Thanks Matt. I throughly recommend them- they need a little tweaking but in the main they are excellent!!

  8. John. Looks like a wonderful game. Richard was very impressed by it when we spoke. Very impressed by the figures and the terrain - great work. Very sorry to have missed it.


    1. Hi Richard, no worries- I will do it again soon- or another AWI at the very least!