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Author Topic: War of 1812 - "What If" Cooks Mill Battle Report Part 2 (07 Dec 21)  (Read 1568 times)

Offline vtsaogames

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On the edge of my chair... Great stuff!
And the glorious general led the advance
With a glorious swish of his sword and his lance
And a glorious clank of his tin-plated pants. - Dr. Seuss

My blog: http://corlearshookfencibles.blogspot.com/

Offline CapnJim

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Yep, it was a real nail-biter.  And now on to the grand finale...

Part 4 - This Is The End...

As we left our intrepid warriors in Part 3 (the middle of the 12th turn), the US and British 2nd Brigades were still locked together near the Peer House, slugging it out with musketry.  Their ammunition supplies likely running low after a sustained firefight.  To the British 2nd Brigade's left, the British 3rd Brigade had 2 battalions pushing the US Rifles south through the woods, while that Brigade's other battalion moved up along the edge of those woods covering the gap between the British 2nd and 3rd Brigades.  To the British 2nd Brigade's right, the British 1st Brigade had sorted themselves out, and was moving up towards the fence line between the Peer House and the Burchner House.  The British Advance Guard, having broken the US 1st Brigade, was now in a fight with 2 Regiments of the US Reserve Brigade.  And the British Light Dragoons, having overrun a US battery at that fence line, was under fire by the other US battery.  And, somewhat ominously, the US 3rd Brigade had moved up behind the US 2nd Brigade, preparing to lend a hand in their fight.  And, the Commander of the US 1st Brigade had gone down and their Light Dragoons had already quit the field.

We could sense a tipping point coming in the battle.  And it started in the 13th Turn.  The British Advance Guard broke the US Reserve Brigade, sending it's remnants streaming to the rear.  And the British 1st Brigade took up their positions along the fence line, effectively closing the gap between the British Advance Guard and 2nd Brigade.  And the British Light Dragoons retired behind their infantry, getting out of the line of fire of the US artillery.

Good thing the British 1st Brigade finally moved up, too.  In the final turn, the Commanders of the US and British 2nd Brigades must have sensed that their brigades were getting tired and low on ammunition, as battalions of each brigade went in at each other with the bayonet.  And to lend strength to the US cause, the Commander of the US 3rd Brigade sent 2 battalions in with the bayonet, charging the battalion from the British 1st Brigade that was on the edge of the woods. 

We figured that these charges could decide the fight, and we were right.  The battalions from the US 3rd Brigade won their fight with the British battalion, shaking it.  But, the US and British 2nd Brigades both ran out of steam, breaking each other in their melee, and costing the British their 2nd Brigade Commander (Lt. Col. Fischer).

But the damage had been done.  The US now had 3 of 4 brigades broken, a Brigade Commander down, and their Light Dragoons routed.  The gig was up for the US, and their 3rd Brigade, with its battery and the Rifles, would now have to act as a rear guard as most of the US Division was now either retreating or routing to their rear.

The British had now clearly won the 2nd Battle of Lundy's Lane, and faced a decision.  They had their 2nd Brigade broken, but had 3 Brigades in good shape - their 1st Brigade not having fired a shot in the entire battle.  Would Drummond and de Watteville decide to pursue the broken US Left Division, or would they rest on their laurels, or continue retiring to Ft. George?  In any event, the US Left Division would now have to retreat back down to Ft. Erie, with the prospect of a strong British force following or pursuing them.   Perhaps a future game will decide what happens with that...

It was quite the game!  The game went 14 turns in just over 3 hours, and it was up in the air right up until the last 2 turns.  Then things just went south for the US. 

And we liked the modified Black Powder movement and firing sequences we used.  They just felt right to us.  And I reckon I'll use this scenario on our 2022 convention circuit.

Thanks for reading this, and sticking it out through the 4 parts!         

"Remember - Incoming Fire Has the Right-of-Way"

Offline Hitman

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What a finish!! Once you added your last tidbit of information of the falling of the US commander I thought that the British could push forward and pull out a victory. The British would have been strong in that part of Ontario as the army in the southwestern part of Ontario were retiring to the Niagara region with the Americans hot on their heels after the death of Tecumseh and the Aboriginal allies basically leaving the war after his death. The what-if mopping up scenario could prove to he a nail-biter as the Americans usually put up a solid effort on their retirement from battles in order to keep their army as strong as possible. What a great game and spends pictures to add to the excitement. Thanks for several nights of reading entertainment.
Victory is guaranteed to the last man standing, but always remember those whom you stepped on to get there!!

Offline vodkafan

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Good battle report thanks. I am waiting on delivery of my own copy of Black Powder 2 rules, so when I have had a read through I will understand more how you modified the movement/firing sequence and whether I would want to do the same.
I am going to build a wargames army, a big beautiful wargames army, and Mexico is going to pay for it.

2019 Painting Challenge :
figures bought: 500+
figures painted: 57
9 vehicles painted
4 terrain pieces scratchbuilt

Offline CapnJim

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@Hitman:  It was indeed quite the finish.  As for the strategic situation, after the Battle of the Thames in Oct 1813, the native American participation in the war did indeed wane dramatically, particularly in the Great Lakes area.  The 41st Foot reorganized, combining the remnants of their 1st battalion with their 2nd.   They were indeed in the Niagara area during the time of my "What If" scenario, but Dummond (Edit: didn't take them only took their flank companies) with him to the Siege of Fort Erie.  They did fight at Conjucta Creek in August 1814, losing that one.  I assume they were at (Edit: Ft. George Ft. Niagara) during the actions around Ft. Erie, and thus my little departure from history.  So, they don't appear here.  The British did get a new regiment at Queenston (the 90th Foot on 23 Sep), so they do make an appearance, as you shall see below...

As for the Americans at the Thames, Harrison withdrew back to Detroit not long after the battle.  He had some companies of Regulars with him (from the 24th and 27th Regiments) whom he did send east, but it doesn't look like the made an appearance in the Niagara campaign.  So they ain't here either...

I'm really hoping IronDuke596 posts an AAR from his modified Plattsburgh scenario game last Saturday.  That could further change the strategic situation along the Canadian border/Great Lakes region...

@vodkafan:  Once you get and read your copy of Black Powder, I'd be interested in hearing what you think of our tweaks to the movement and firing sequences.  They mix up who moves/fires when, and along with the Command rolls to move really added some tension to the battle.  Nothing like a little "Jeez, I hope I can move/fire this Brigade before the other guy does...". :D

In order to see what would happen if Drummond decided to pursue the beaten and battered US force, I've done up a scenario to do just that.  Looks like we're gonna play it out this Wednesday (01 Dec).  I stole IronDuke596's idea of a different fight at Cooks Mill.  On the surface, it looks like a rough go for the US, but the British will have to be aggressive to catch and destroy the US force.  The scenario is attached below.  I'd be happy to hear anyone's thoughts on it before we play it Wednesday...
« Last Edit: November 28, 2021, 11:20:08 PM by CapnJim »

Offline CapnJim

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Re: War of 1812 - Next "What If" Scenario added (28 Nov 21)
« Reply #20 on: November 28, 2021, 08:49:54 PM »
I should add that if anyone is interested in a pdf of this scenario, just PM me, and I'd be happy to email it to you...

Offline IronDuke596

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Re: War of 1812 - Next "What If" Scenario added (28 Nov 21)
« Reply #21 on: November 30, 2021, 09:12:16 PM »
What a great AAR coupled with good photos of nicely painted figures on superb terrain coupled with a realistic what if scenario! It is a real joy to view. Thanks so much for posting it.

As you asked, here is the link address to my blog and my AAR on the 'what if' Battle of Champlain, which is prequel to the Battle of Plattsburg in the Lake Champlain area.

Offline CapnJim

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Re: War of 1812 - Next "What If" Scenario added (28 Nov 21)
« Reply #22 on: December 02, 2021, 06:34:06 PM »
Thanks, IronDuke596.   :)

I read your AAR of your "What if...?" War of 1812 battle.  Wow.  I thought I did research, but you went all out!  Well done.  Between my battle and yours, rough few weeks for the US...

And yesterday, we fought the follow-on scenario shown above for my "What if...?" situation on the Niagara front.  It was another close one, but I shan't yet say who won. I'll post an illustrated battle report later today or tomorrow...

Offline CapnJim

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Re: War of 1812 - Next "What If" Scenario added (28 Nov 21)
« Reply #23 on: December 06, 2021, 05:13:57 PM »
Sorry it has taken so long to post this, but real life got in the way.  I was tasked by Higher HQ to help decorate the place for Christmas... :)

But here goes.  This Wednesday last, we played our "What if...?" Cooks Mill scenario outlined above.  20mm, using (our tweaked) Black Powder rules.  Ted played the British, and Gene played the US.  I was referee.  And it was another nail-biter...

Just a quick set-up - It's 25 Sep 1814 in the Niagara frontier in Upper Canada.  British Gen. de Watteville and his Right Division has soundly defeated the US Left Division at the 2nd Battle of Lundy's Lane (See Battle report earlier in the thread if you haven't already...).  Gen. Drummond tasks Gen. de Watteville with pursuing the US force with the Advance Guard, 2 Brigades with guns, and the Light Dragoons.  They catch the US force as it tries to escape across Lyons Creek at Cooks Mill.

The US is set up with its 3 broken brigades strung out in march column along the road leading up to the bridge at Cooks Mill.  Its 3rd Brigade is set up screening it to keep the pursuing British at bay until the shattered Left Division can get south of Lyons Creek.  The US Rifles are also set up on a wooded hill protecting the US 3rd Brigade's right flank.   

The British come on near the NE corner, with their 3rd Brigade on the right, their Advance Guard on the left, and their 1st Brigade behind their 3rd Brigade.  the British Light Dragoons ride hard to try to get around the left of the US 3rd Brigade, hoping to catch the tail of the retreating US force.

The British move right up into line to attack the US screening units.  The British 3rd Brigade moves up on the US 3rd Brigade, trading musketry and cannon fire with them.   The British Advance Guard moves left to try to dislodge the US Rifles from the wooded hill on the US right.  They too trade musket fire.  The retreating US units stream toward the bridge at Cooks Mill, and the US Light Dragoons and their lead brigade make it across.  The US screening units hold their positions!

The British 3rd Brigade, tired of taking cannister fire from the US battery, charges it.  One battalion, with another in support, takes the guns, but at a cost - That battalion and the battalion that supported them are both now almost Shaken.  The US Rifles trade fire with the British Flank Company battalion and the Marines, while the Glengarries go into skirmish order behind the Flank Cos. and the Marines.  The British 1st Brigade is formed up behind the British Lines, waiting for orders to advance.  But the US Rifles still hold that wooded hill, and the US 3rd Brigade, less its guns, still hold their position.  And 2 more US battalions escape across Lyons Creek.  Can the US 3rd Brigade and Rifles continue to hold off the British long enough to allow the rest of the army to escape?  Or will British numbers tip the balance?

Find out later today or tomorrow  - to be continued.... 8)


Offline vodkafan

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Re: War of 1812 - "What If" Cooks Mill Battle Report Part 1 (06 Dec 21)
« Reply #24 on: December 06, 2021, 09:06:15 PM »
Looking like the bulk of the US force will get safely away....and perhaps at a high cost to the British..

Offline olicana

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Re: War of 1812 - "What If" Cooks Mill Battle Report Part 1 (06 Dec 21)
« Reply #25 on: December 07, 2021, 08:29:15 AM »
All great stuff, thanks for sharing.

Offline CapnJim

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Re: War of 1812 - "What If" Cooks Mill Battle Report Part 1 (06 Dec 21)
« Reply #26 on: December 07, 2021, 05:36:12 PM »
@ olicana:  Thanks.  It was fun developing these 2 scenarios, and then playing them out.  I love writing scenarios, and not just for the War of 1812...

@ vodkafan:  Find out what happens below... 8)

Speaking of which:  Part 2:  The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same...

We left our intrepid fellows with part of the US force having escaped across Lyons Creek.  There was still part of their Reserve Brigade, and all of their 2nd Brigade waiting to cross.  There was a bit of confusion at the bridge, as US units rushed to cross with the sounds of musketry and cannon fire behind them.  North of the creek, the US and British 3rd brigades were locked in combat, with both side taking casualties.  The British Advance Guard was (so far) vainly trying to dislodge the US rifles from the wooded hill, and the British Light Dragoons were trying to get around the US left flank.  And the British 1st Brigade was lined up behind their 3rd Brigade, waiting for orders.

The Glengarry Light Infantry (of the British Advance Guard) having gone into skirmish order, moved through their Flank Cos. battalion and Marines, and went into the woods after the US Rifles, charging them.  The Glengarries and the US Rifles both gave and got, neither flinching.

The US and British 3rd Brigades kept up their own little duel, while the British Light Dragoons managed to finally get around the US left flank.  The US 3rd Brigade commander ordered a Militia Regiment to refuse the Brigade flank to guard against the Dragoons.  And Gen. de Watteville ordered the British 1st Brigade into march column to move down the road to try to catch the US units at the Lyons Creek crossing site.  Both batteries of British artillery also moved right to try to get into position to fire on the US crossing sites, as well.

Due to the confusion at the crossing site, the US 2nd Brigade commander split his brigade, keeping 2 battalions in the queue at the bridge, and sending 2 battalions toward the ford a bit downstream of the bridge.  The British and US 3rd Brigades kept at each other, each knowing it was just a matter of time before one or the other couldn't take in any longer.  The Glengarries and the US Rifles battered at each other with musket butt, bayonet, and sword on that wooded hill.  And the British 1st Brigade and Light Dragoons kept up the threat on the US left flank, but neither could move fast enough to affect the US crossing.  Another US battalion got across the stream, leaving only the 4 battalions of the US 2nd Brigade left to cross. 

And then, it happened.  the fight between the US and British 3rd Brigades finally came to a head.  They broke each other.  Each had had enough.  But the US Rifles sent the Glengarries packing, keeping control of the wooded hill.  The remnants of the US 3rd Brigade retreated toward the crossing site, and the US 2nd Brigade crossed over to safety.  And that was the end.

The British had technically won, as they broke the US 3rd Brigade just before the last of the retreating US units had crossed Lyons Creek.  But they won at a cost.  Their 3rd Brigade and the Glengarries were broken.  And the bulk of the US Left Division had escaped across Lyons Creek.  And, Gen. de Watteville only had 3 Foot Regiments, a battalion of Flank Cos., the detachment of Marines, and 2 batteries at his disposal now.  He was in no real position to pursue any further.

So, in our "What if...?" situation, by the end of Sept. 1814, the US Left Division had limped back to Ft. Erie.  Half of the British Right Division had been roughly handled in the previous week.  Gen. Izard and the US Right Division would arrive on the Niagara frontier by 12 Oct., while Gen. Drummond only get the 37th Foot on 02 Nov.  It seems our version of history, while it took a different route, really didn't change the strategic situation on the Niagara frontier compared to what actually happened as of 30 Sept. 1814. 

Perhaps I will develop a scenario that sees Gen. Izard with the fresh US Right Division move on the British in late Oct. 1814.  We'll see...

We had a ball doing this little exercise.  Hope you all enjoyed reading about it... :D

Offline IronDuke596

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Re: War of 1812 - "What If" Cooks Mill Battle Report Part 2 (07 Dec 21)
« Reply #27 on: December 08, 2021, 09:18:33 PM »
This another very plausible what if scenario that you have portrayed very well. Well done!

Your idea about MGen Izard reinforcing the American Left Division is an interesting scenario. At one point Brown and Izard, through series of letters, planned to have Izard strike Kingston (another good scenario and something the Americans should have done in 1812 and 1813). Commodore Chauncey was not very keen as the mighty St Lawrence was nearing completion. Then Brown suggested a siege of Fort Niagara and or a landing at Fort George to strike towards Burlington to get behind Drummond while he (Brown)moved across the Chippewa to trap Drummond. So many what ifs here for scenario writer like yourself. I look forward to your what ifs.

Offline CapnJim

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Re: War of 1812 - "What If" Cooks Mill Battle Report Part 2 (07 Dec 21)
« Reply #28 on: December 10, 2021, 09:44:47 PM »
Thanks!  Glad you enjoyed it.  I might get to some more "What if...?" scenario development after the 1st of the year...


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