Friday, 10 June 2016

Sharp Practice - Liberation at Liberty Manor

Ever the opportunist, Lt Johnson Barrie, a subaltern of the Independent Company 3rd Virginia State Line, has heard rumour of a British Pay Chest being transported through the farmlands of Dinwiddie. Far from being a career soldier, Barrie has joined the Rebels to line his own pocket and he sees this as a golden opportunity to further his ill-gotten gains.

Gathering a band of 'Foreign Johnnies' of similar ilk around him, he sets off to intercept the column as it approaches Liberty Manor and its farmland.

Sundry Rebels
3rd Virginia State Line (Independent Company) 
Lt Johnson Barrie (Leader Status III)
Colour Party & Musician
Two groups of 8 State Line Troops with muskets

Sgt Jonah Wales (Leader Status II)
Two groups of 8 State Line Troops with muskets

The Virginia Militia
Francis Peartree (Leader Status II)
Two groups of 10 Rebel Militia with Muskets

Rebel Militia Skirmishers
Isaac Greene (Leader Status I)
One group of 6 Rebel Militia Skirmishers with muskets

Rebel Militia Skirmishers
Oliver Franks (Leader Status I)

One group of 6 Rebel Militia Skirmishers with muskets

Jonah Wales is of similar ilk to Barrie but has gained a reputation as an effective NCO, affable and popular but a rogue none the less. Unlike Barrie who would rob his own Grandma, Wales is plagued by a conscience and will only plunder from the enemy which makes a British Pay Chest fair game.

Francis Peartree is a home boy, renowned locally for his boyish good looks, rippling muscles and distinct lack of 'anything upstairs'. Barrie has secured his services as the brawn of the operation.

Isaac Greene is a thoroughly despicable rogue who although fair of face is vertically challenged suffering from small man syndrome.

Oliver Franks is another disagreeable rogue, a complete coward and not surprisingly sickly and weedy in stature. A right sneaky chap of questionable fatherhood.....

The British
Elements of the 2nd Company, 14th Foot Regiment
Lt Thomas Singer (Leader Status III)
Three Groups of 8 Regulars with muskets

Sgt Gordon Stark (Leaders Status II)
Two Groups of 8 Regulars with Muskets

Cpl John Winkler (Leader Status I)
One group of 6 Light Infantry Skirmishers with muskets

Sgt Sidney Maxwell (Leader Status I)
One group of 6 Light Infantry Skirmishers with muskets

Lt Thomas Singer is a new subaltern who recently replaced the company commander who was killed in a recent battle. Untested and therefore mistrusted by his men, he is also shunned by his peers because of his apparent impoverishment. Singer is only in the Army as his new father in law purchased his commission in a bid to ensure his new son in law is as far away as possible from his daughter whose marriage he disapproved of.

Gordon Stark is a career soldier widely respected by both his men and his peers. Although small in stature he is pleasant of nature and of honourable intent, both attributes which ladies find most appealing.

John Winkler joined the army as a 13 year old to escape the life of an unwanted orphan. A sickly cove of very simple stock and unfortunate looks, he is a good NCO who is well thought of by his men.

Sidney Maxwell is a freakishly ugly brute of a man with low moral values that is as thick as an elephant omelette. He fits in well with the brutal nature of campaign life on foreign shores and is not beyond a bit of pillaging be it friend or foe.

The view S to N with Dunwiddie Farm in the middle distance
and Liberty Manor in the NE. The British must move the pay chest
off the Southernmost table edge to secure victory.
 (Leader  (Le
The initial British Deployment. Sgt Maxwells men approaching
Liberty Manor keen to determine if the enemy are in the area.

Sidney Maxwell turns on the charm with Miss Elizabeth Ardleigh-Swan,
Homeowner of Liberty Manor. Clearly no lover of the British, Miss Ardleigh-Swan
rebukes the offensive brute with a tirade of unintelligible colloquiolisms that Maxwell
fails to comprehend given his distinct lack of intelligence. Thankfully his men drag him away
from the attractive young women before he decides to take a different course of action.

John Winkler fares rather better with Jeremiah Mowitch,
a 'Poacher turned Gamekeeper' who reveals that enemy forces are
indeed in the vicinity, believed to be approaching from the SW.

Winkler's Lights set off for the SW to intercept the approaching rebels
as the main body makes good progress along the cart tracks.

Maxwell's Lights strike out for the Woods in the SE corner in
support of Cpl Winkler. The Rebels are in for a shock.

Lt Singer leads the main body along the cart track supported by
Sgt Stark in the rear.

Isaac Greene's Rebel Skirmishers enter the fray and open up on
Winkler's Lights in the farmyard causing a point of shock

At the end of phase 1, the entire Rebel force is on the field but is boxed
into the SW corner of the battlefield. Franks Skirmishers trade fire with
Sgt Maxwell's Lights in the woods as Lt Barries State Line move to the woods.
Sgt Wales's State Line move to support Greene's Lights in their skirmish
with Cpl Winkler's Lights and Peartree's Militia provide support in depth
for the Rebel line.

Greene's Skirmishers attempt to outflank the farm whilst Wales's State Line trade
fire with Winkler's Lights in the farm. Winkler's men with their superior training
create enough confusion within the State Line troops that their formation is
forced to break up into smaller bodies making them harder to control.

Greene's Skirmishers get around the flank of Winkler's Lights

Keen to make a name for himself (and realising the gravity of the
situation in being vastly outnumbered) Winkler leads his Lights
in a charge against Greene's skirmishers and puts them to flight at point
of good old fashioned British Steel....

In the middle ground, Lt Singer shakes his main body out into line
in support of Winkler's Lights and sends his third group of Regulars
to protect the Pay Chest with orders for them to move behind the
Eastern-most woods behind Maxwell's Lights. Sgt Stark's Regulars
make slow progress towards the farm. Wales's State Line push forward
in support of Greene's Skirmishers threatening Winkler's flank as Barrie's
State Line struggle through the woods. 

Wales's State Line trade shots with Winkler's Lights in the Cornfield.
Greene's Skirmishers (out of shot) can't contribute to the fight
as they are still reeling from Winkler's charge.

Franks Skirmishers break cover to head for the Eastern flank to cut off the
Pay Chest Party and Barrie's State Line finally push through the woods in
support. Lt Singer's main body presses forward in line to take on the Rebels
in the centre as Stark's Regulars push on through the farmyard.

Winkler's Lights withdraw for a breather as Stark's Line finally reaches
the farm to provide support. A well controlled volley from Singer's Regulars
forces Barrie's line to break formation as Peartree's Militia move up in support 

Although being outgunned and outnumbered, Franks Skirmishers reach the
Eastern edge of the battlefield cutting off the Pay Chest escort buying Barrie time
to defeat the British in the centre. 

Stark's Regulars unleash a devastatingly accurate controlled volley
which decimates one of Wales's State Line Groups

Whilst Winkler's Lights once again charge Greene's Skirmishers with
unsurprising results. Greene narrowly escapes with his own life, his command
wiped out to a man.

Singers Main Body deliver a controlled volley against Peartree's Militia
forcing the formation to break and wounding Peartree in the process. The volley
is immediately followed in the subsequent phase with a Thin Red Line command
which further reduces the Militia's number. Fortunately for the Militia the
British come up just short of the their target and are now unloaded....
Stark's line pour more misery on Wales's State line forcing a group to break for the rear.

Rebel Morale begins to crumble.

Barrie's State Line finally find themselves with a field of fire and deliver
an effective volley which combined with volleys from Peartree's Militia
decimates the British Main Body. Wales's remaining State Line group turn to face Winkler's
Lights who once agin withdraw to the relative safety of long distance behind the cornfields

Singer moves forward and with a very favourable run of Command Flags
rallies off a massive six points of shock steadying the Main body. Stark's Line pours fire into
an isolated group of Peartree's Militia who break and head for the rear.
Rebel morale continue's it's steady decline.

Lt Singer having made an admirable job of steadying the line, leads the survivors
in a charge against the rattled Militia whom unsurprisingly break leaving Francis Peartree
unconscious to be captured by the British. Rebel Morale completely collapses and Barrie's
force flees the field in complete disarray.
The British secured a crushing victory over the Rebels who struggled to make good their numbers being hemmed into a small corner of the battlefield. Of the Rebels, only Sgt Jonah Wales showed any real zeal but his forces were whittled down by some very effective skirmishing and controlled volleys delivered by the British.

Cpl John Winkler deserves a special mention. Massively outnumbered in the early stage of the battle, his boldness in taking the fight to the Rebel's gave time for Singer and Stark to engage the Rebel Main Body. His complete disregard for his own safety deserves special merit as not once, but twice did he personally lead a charge at point of bayonet, therefore blighting the Rebel attempt to turn the British flank. His men were a constant frustration to the Rebels with their long range sniping and tied up a significant proportion of their men allowing the British Main Body time to deploy from Column to Line. Gallantry medals were not even thought of for rank and file by the aristocracy, but had they been, Winkler would certainly have been in line for recognition. Lt Singer did see to it that post battle Winkler's food and rum ration was doubled which might help with his weedy constitution!

Lt Singer also impressed in this battle. With the main body beleagured by some very effective Rebel firepower, Singer's handling of the situation was exemplary in rallying in line and pushing on through the Rebel line to secure a convincing victory as well as capturing one of the Rebels significant local leaders. Post battle his peers begrudgingly welcomed the new Subaltern into the mess, whilst his men began to see him in a different light - maybe this fop might one day make a decent officer.......

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