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"Breed's Hill game at Cannon, Retford, UK" Topic

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538 hits since 2 Apr 2017
©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
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Gnu200002 Apr 2017 10:17 a.m. PST

Hi all

I out on a game of this AWI battle from 1775 at the Cannon show in Retford. The full set of photos can be found on my facebook page at:

but here are some tasters:

The battlefield before being cluttered up with troops:

British grenadiers attack Stark's men defending the rail fence:

The British noose tightens around Breed's Hill:

The 5th Foot finally break through the American lines. Shortly afterwards the remaining defenders opted to fall back before being cut-off.

Supercilius Maximus02 Apr 2017 10:52 a.m. PST

Looks like a splendid game. Which other shows will you be running it at? (Any answer that includes Partizan would be a good one!!!).

Gnu200002 Apr 2017 11:10 a.m. PST

Hi SM. Yes, the big outing will be to Partizan in May. Feel free to come and roll some dice. Maybe persuade Giles A to come along too…

I followed your Osprey with respect to the British Artillery, but I think there is a new view that two fewer 12 pounders and 2 more 6-pounders were actually taken (so 2x Howitzers, 2x 12-pounders and 6x 6-pounders). Which do you think is correct?

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP02 Apr 2017 12:01 p.m. PST


Supercilius Maximus02 Apr 2017 2:45 p.m. PST

Not come across that before, Steve; be interested to see where that came from.

Gnu200002 Apr 2017 3:02 p.m. PST

SM, I've been reading Derek Beck's "The War Before Independence".

In this he quotes letters from Howe to Harvey of June 22 and 24. This contradicts Cleaveland's letter of June 24th. Cleaveland, local RA commander, gives four light 12lb, four 6lb and four 5.5" howitzers. Howe gives six "field pieces", two light 12lb and two howitzers.

Not having seen these letters I can't comment on the interpretation. Beck suggests a change in equipment could have contributed to the error over supplying the correct size of shot to the 6lb. Potentially plausible. Then again perhaps there is a misreading and Howe's "six" refers to the size of field pieces rather than number – and also does he refer to the howitzers and 12lb guns by number of sections rather than pieces? Maybe he doesn't contradict Cleaveland at all!

Overall the book is well written but parts give me cause to doubt the interpretation of sources, particularly the description of British formations used in the final assault on Breed's Hill, where widely spaced single files many men deep are suggested – quite at odds with my understanding of contemporary tactics. Given this, I'm prepared for a misunderstanding of the sources concerning artillery.

Any views?

saltflats192902 Apr 2017 6:18 p.m. PST

Beautiful game

Viper guy Supporting Member of TMP02 Apr 2017 11:31 p.m. PST

Amazing work. What rules were you using? Also would you be willing to share the scenario?

Truly beautiful table and figures.

Gnu200003 Apr 2017 5:21 a.m. PST


Viper Guy, the rules are my own mash-up. Shooting and melee are a simplified versions from British Grenadier with a couple of tweaks. The command and morale system is my own.

The scenario was pretty much as you see in the photos. The game was played on a 6x8 Foot table, including the river. Ground scale as approx 1mm on the table being one foot (12" = approx 100 yards). Figure scale was 1:10. Most British battalions were 18-20 strong. The 63rd and the two marine battalions were 30-32 each. Grenadiers and light infantry 40 each which is slightly over strength but permitted 10x4 figure companies. The OOB followed the Boston 1775 Osprey fairly closely.
As discussed above, the Royal artillery had 2 sections of 6-pounders, 2 sections of short 12-pounders and a section of 5.5" howitzers. For ease I treated the howitzers and 12 pounders as a single battery who stayed on Moulton's Hill to bombard from a distance.

American units were 25 figures or 10 skirmishers in most cases. This required some rounding off of historical unit strengths but made for an easier game. 25 figures in the redoubt, 25 manning the breastwork, 25 guarding the fleches, 50 on the rail fence, 25 at the stone barn. A 25-strong and a 15-strong unit formed a reserve. A single 3-4 pound artillery section supported the rail fence. Charlestown was garrisoned by 3x10 skirmishers.

Game turns represent 5 minutes each. Kick-off was 15:45. Clinton is due to arrive with reinforcements at 17:00. American shooting begins to suffer penalty deductions from 16:30, worsening every 15 minutes as the ammunition runs out.

Virginia Tory03 Apr 2017 10:18 a.m. PST

Nicely done!

huron725 Supporting Member of TMP03 Apr 2017 2:48 p.m. PST

Wow fantastic. Love your Bunker Hill Battle.

Viper guy Supporting Member of TMP04 Apr 2017 1:18 a.m. PST

Thank you! Again, very well done.

Vespasian2804 Apr 2017 2:21 p.m. PST

Hi SM. Yes, the big outing will be to Partizan in May. Feel free to come and roll some dice.

If SM does roll some dice that day make sure he is on the American side otherwise the British are doomed!!

Royal Marine04 Apr 2017 3:55 p.m. PST

I trust the Royal Marines got a good walk in the park?

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