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"Hessian Unit attributes" Topic


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18th Century

3,813 hits since 11 Mar 2019
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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MiniPigs11 Mar 2019 9:04 a.m. PST

Do the Hessian have any special qualities that set them apart from other troops in the AWI. Are they more flexible, stouter under fire or better in melee? Or, are they simply British soldiers in blue face?

PVT64111 Mar 2019 9:08 a.m. PST

The British moved and deployed faster. the hessians certainly were not more flexible if anything they were more rigid.

historygamer Supporting Member of TMP11 Mar 2019 9:11 a.m. PST

Musket fire is musket fire. No difference.

They were not as fast and flexible as British troops in the field. BG rates them second line and that seems right.

The Jaegers were highly valued.

Some of the units were a grade above militia.

The officers were not particularly gifted (though professional). Von Heister and Knyphausen were not consulted, only given orders. Knyphausen's big solo command resulted in the muddled battle of Springfield, NJ.

The senior officers were older, often sick and could not take the field (why Rall ended up commanding at Trenton).

MiniPigs11 Mar 2019 9:18 a.m. PST

Werent the Hessians all natives of Hesse-Cassel? No better esprit de corps?

Also, when I said "flexible" I meant it in the more disciplined drill sense of the word (Able to change formation faster even if they marched more slowly) not the sense of able to operate in extended order or as skirmishers.

Winston Smith11 Mar 2019 9:59 a.m. PST

Even the regiments from Hesse Cassel were not all Hessians. Hesse Cassel followed the time honored practice of "conscripting" vagrants and vagabonds and foreigners. So much that Frederick the Great resented the Hessians sucking up all the available conscripts. Hessian Regiments marching to an embarkation port often had men kidnapped en route by Prussia.
There was no national identity. Loyalty would be exclusively to the Regiment.

dBerczerk11 Mar 2019 10:32 a.m. PST

The German troops -- much like the Anglo-Allied Native Americans; reportedly inspired fear in Continental and American militia ranks. Consequently, in our games Patriot forces apply a negative morale modifier when rolling to stand for a bayonet charge by Hessians.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP11 Mar 2019 11:32 a.m. PST

I think a "Cold Steel" attribute might be in order.

historygamer Supporting Member of TMP11 Mar 2019 11:42 a.m. PST

"The German troops -- much like the Anglo-Allied Native Americans; reportedly inspired fear in Continental and American militia ranks."

Fear, or anger that they were there. There were rumors that they ate children, etc., but those were soon enough dispelled. Their mystique took a huge hit at Red Bank, and a fatal one at Trenton, so that fear was pretty much long gone by 1777 onwards.

Bill N11 Mar 2019 11:50 a.m. PST

So what happens after 1777 that results in what seems to be a diminishing role for the German troops?

Winston Smith11 Mar 2019 11:59 a.m. PST

I don't see how a Hessian bayonet charge in a game should be more feared than a British one.
If your unit lacks bayonets, it is as likely to run from the one as the other.

historygamer Supporting Member of TMP11 Mar 2019 12:16 p.m. PST

The British ran at you, the Germans marched slowly forward. I know which one would bother me more. :-)

"So what happens after 1777 that results in what seems to be a diminishing role for the German troops?"

The double whammies of Red Bank and Trenton lowered the perceived value of the German troops in British eyes. On top of that, after the evacuation of Philly in 1778, the war became more static and the Germans were used as garrison troops more than field troops, with a few exceptions (Jeagers, von Bose).

The German troops and officers never really got friendly, and in some cases fist fights broke out between the two in NYC. The Loyalist troops really resented the "foreign" troops being brought over too, so more hard feelings. With few exceptions, the officers never really mixed either, and Howe and Clinton held von Heister, then Knyphausen (later) in low regard – calling for both of them to be recalled at different times.

As field service declined, desertion increased too.

23rdFusilier Supporting Member of TMP11 Mar 2019 12:43 p.m. PST

Also interesting is the rise in quality of Loyalist regiments while the Hessian quality declines.

In 1776 the Hessian troops are doing well (Long Island White Plains, Fort Washington) as front line troops. Then comes Trenton. In 1777 loyalist units are better organized and uniformed but still garrison or second line. After Red Bank Hessians and Loyalists trade places. The Hessians have lost confidence in themselfs; the Loyalists are feeling more confident.

jdginaz11 Mar 2019 3:25 p.m. PST

It wasn't so much that the quality of the Hessians declined as the British opinion of them declined. Of course they were convenient to have around to be the scapegoats when thing went wrong.

Winston Smith11 Mar 2019 4:05 p.m. PST

Or that the Hessians were not all that good to begin with.

23rdFusilier Supporting Member of TMP11 Mar 2019 11:27 p.m. PST

There is that!

historygamer Supporting Member of TMP13 Mar 2019 6:51 a.m. PST

So apparently the quality of the Hessians dropped off one the original group was supplemented by replacements – largely foreigners. They did not have any loyalty to the Landgraf, or interest in the state or national (???) military pride. This time period also coincides with increase as garrison troops.

Winston Smith13 Mar 2019 8:59 a.m. PST

If I were an itinerant sow spayer from Bad Tolz, or a wandering poet from Budweis, and I had a roudy night in the tavern, waking up to find myself marching down the road to Bremen in the uniform of the famous von Schwarzenegger Regiment bound for far off Amerika, my loyalty to the Landgrave might be suspect.

historygamer Supporting Member of TMP13 Mar 2019 11:57 a.m. PST

My understanding is the men were not impressed into service. Many were just foreigners who volunteered and had to ties to the Landgraf or Hessen Kessel

MiniPigs13 Mar 2019 12:56 p.m. PST

@ Winston Smith Very good, well done :)

You appear to have a quite vivid imagination, an admirable if unhappy quality, but you give me the impression that you frown on that same attribute displayed by others.

How do you reconcile that?

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP14 Mar 2019 3:49 a.m. PST

The jagers sent to North America and were excellent troops. And they were greatly respected by the Americans who fought them. They were excellently trained and led and were armed with an excellent rifle and were the equals, if not superior to, the American riflemen.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP14 Mar 2019 4:12 a.m. PST

Or that the Hessians were not all that good to begin with.

How much research have you done on the Hessians and other Germans that fought for the British?

The Hessian artillery contingent, three companies, took part 'in almost every battle, serving with different German corps or with the Royal Artillery.'-Frederick P Todd.

'The need for men skilled in woods fighting had been foreseen as early as 1776, and that need grew as the American Revolution continued…Because detachments were always being drawn off for special missions, the [Jager] Corps is credited with an impressive number of American battle honors including Flatbush, White Plains, Trenton, Brandywine, and Yorktown.'

'Though handicapped by the problems of obtaining qualified replacements, the Jagers were probably the most effective of British mercenaries, and were used as skirmishers, scouts, and snipers. They used hunting horns for signaling. Proud of their elite status, thoroughly disciplined, and led by veteran officers, the Jagers worked efficiently with line infantry, a technique the individualistic American riflemen learned the hard way.'-Frederick P Todd and John R Elting.

42flanker Supporting Member of TMP14 Mar 2019 6:27 a.m. PST

"the [Jager] Corps is credited with an impressive number of American battle honors including Flatbush, White Plains, Trenton, Brandywine, and Yorktown"

Were these distinctions awarded to the jägers by their Prince at home? No battle honours were ever awarded to British regiments for the American War (the system that we recognise today was not established until the C19th).

Winston Smith14 Mar 2019 7:36 a.m. PST

Or that the Hessians were not all that good to begin with.

I was talking about why the BRITISH in essence grounded the bulk of them after they failed spectacularly at Red Bank.
I wasn't talking about the Jaegers. I was talking about the line troops, the musketeers, fusiliers and Grenadiers. The BRITISH complained they were too slow, and the Landgraf, from Hesse, refused to give them permission to open up their formations. So, as noted above by several posters, they were in essence used as garrison troops.
Yes, I know about von Bose, one of the first units I painted.
Yes, I know that all commanders couldn't get enough Jaegers.
Yes, I know about the German troops that surrendered at Yorktown.
I was commenting on the BRITISH perception of the bulk of Hessian troops.

No, I do not have the linear feet or pounds of books that you probably claim. But one of my gaming buddies did research on Anspach troops (an ancestor) for his thesis and loaned me some of Bruce Burgoyne's work.
But aside from that, I see no need to engage in the usual "dueling scholars" discussion.

The bottom line is that few Hessian troops engaged in major action after Monmouth. But neither did British. It was mostly in the South, and mostly British and Loyalists, with Jaegers and not many either German troops.
Was there a reason the British sidelined the Hessians? My throwaway line that you pounced on was speculation.
The Hessians didn't fare all that well at Connecticut Farms or Springfield in the North, by the way, in 1780, taking major casualties in the Jaegers, and failing in their objectives.

Winston Smith14 Mar 2019 7:37 a.m. PST

The OP asked if the Hessians had any "special" qualities. Aside from the Jaegers, I would say definitely not.

Virginia Tory14 Mar 2019 8:30 a.m. PST

>mercenaries,

Not strictly speaking, though this is thrown out there a lot. They didn't have a choice. Mercenaries do.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP15 Mar 2019 4:43 p.m. PST

If you read any credible account of the battle of Freeman's Farm during the Saratoga campaign, it is quite evidence that the assorted Germans assigned to Burgoyne's expedition did quite well.

And that was not the only time during the war that they acquitted themselves well. Guilford Courthouse was another.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP15 Mar 2019 4:44 p.m. PST

The bottom line is that few Hessian troops engaged in major action after Monmouth. But neither did British. It was mostly in the South, and mostly British and Loyalists, with Jaegers and not many either German troops.
Was there a reason the British sidelined the Hessians? My throwaway line that you pounced on was speculation.
The Hessians didn't fare all that well at Connecticut Farms or Springfield in the North, by the way, in 1780, taking major casualties in the Jaegers, and failing in their objectives.

Sources?

Winston Smith15 Mar 2019 8:53 p.m. PST

If you read any credible account of the battle of Freeman's Farm during the Saratoga campaign, it is quite evidence that the assorted Germans assigned to Burgoyne's expedition did quite well.

And that was not the only time during the war that they acquitted themselves well. Guilford Courthouse was another.


Yes. If you insist, The BRUNSWICKERS did quite well.
But we're talking about Hessians, not generic Germans. And after Saratoga, the Brunswick troops were out of the war.
We are also not talking about "during the war". We're talking about whether the Hessians were in any way superior to the British. See the OP. Obviously the British didn't think so, since they consigned the bulk of the Hessian line units to garrison duty after Red Bank. With a few exceptions, like von Bose.

Are you going to claim that the Hessians did well at Trenton and Red Bank? Pray, do so.
The British certainly didn't think so.

Winston Smith15 Mar 2019 9:04 p.m. PST

The bottom line is that few Hessian troops engaged in major action after Monmouth. But neither did British. It was mostly in the South, and mostly British and Loyalists, with Jaegers and not many either German troops.
Was there a reason the British sidelined the Hessians? My throwaway line that you pounced on was speculation.
The Hessians didn't fare all that well at Connecticut Farms or Springfield in the North, by the way, in 1780, taking major casualties in the Jaegers, and failing in their objectives.

Sources?

Wikipedia, which is generally reliable when no politics or agendas are involved. The relative casualty ratios are instructive. Knyphausen had his head handed to him, and lost a ton of Jaegers.
Google "Battle of Springfield" and go to the Wikipedia article. That's where I got my information. Tear that apart. Not me. I'm only as good as my sources. Wikipedia is as good a secondary source as any.

But what do I know? My bookshelf is nowhere near as long as yours.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP16 Mar 2019 5:30 a.m. PST

Wikipedia is not a credible or viable source for historical documentation unless whoever wrote what article has listed credible source material. From that listing you might find excellent material.

But the articles are historically suspect.

Wikipedia is not a secondary source. Since it is touted as an online encyclopedia, then it is a tertiary source and an unreliable one.

Could you be a little more specific regarding Jager losses? What is a 'ton' of jagers? There weren't that many to begin with. And, apparently, both the Hessian and Anspach jagers were with Knyphausen.

Interestingly, some sources state that the British losses in the action are unknown (see Boatner's Encyclopedia of the American Revolution, 1047-1048-which is a reliable source)

The Hessians: Mercenaries from Hessen-Kassel in the American Revolution by Rodney Atwood disagrees with Boatner. Apparently Atwood took a look in the German archives and found that the Jagers and 85 casualties in the actions (there was more than one), which is hardly 'a ton.'

Johann Ewald, who was considered to be one of the best light infantry officers in the British army in North America, states that the jager casualties were one officer, and 22 other ranks killed, and 3 officers and 59 other ranks wounded. This data is from Ewald's Diary of the American War: A Hessian Journal. Again, hardly 'a ton.'

The action is also mentioned in Harry Ward's General William Maxwell and the New Jersey Continentals which states the British incurred 300 casualties.

A little solid research goes a long way.

So, guess again.

Winston Smith16 Mar 2019 7:52 a.m. PST

Kevin, how many Jaegers did Ewald start the battle with, and what were his casualties?
link
The Wikipedia article references Boatner, Fleming, Scammel, etc.

American losses were 59 killed and wounded. Jaeger losses alone were 85, which you admitted above. Out of how many Jaegers starting? Maybe your superior bookshelf can come up with starting numbers of Jaegers in the failed campaign/raid. The usual jaeger contingent was a company. That's worse than "decimated". That looks pretty much like a ton.

AGAIN, the main point here is that Knyphausen and his Hessians did not acquit themselves well. The jaeger rearguard "had to be rescued" by a British Regiment and the Queen's Rangers. Knyphausen only succeeded in burning the town on the retreat, which further endeared the Loyalists to the Hessians.
AGAIN, returning to the OP's question, the HESSIANS were not better than the British. Brunswick, Waldeck, Anspach etc are not who he was asking about.
Stick to the point please.

42flanker Supporting Member of TMP16 Mar 2019 10:40 a.m. PST

In English parlance 'a ton' has long been a casual reference to a quantity of about one hundred. So, actually, 85/100 would seem quite close. Just sayin'

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP16 Mar 2019 10:44 a.m. PST

Nice try, but no.

Winston Smith16 Mar 2019 11:01 a.m. PST

You're quibbling semantics there.
Combined American losses for Connecticut Farms and Springfield were 131. For British, including Hessians of course, it was 304.

For Springfield, American were 59, jaeger losses alone were 85, numbers you so thoughtfully provided and which agree with Wikipedia. grin
85 losses for a company, or even 2 companies, I would call "staggering". Is that a better word than "ton"?

Can we get back to the main point asked by the OP, please?
Did the Hessians have any special characteristics, other than slowness and inflexibility, that sets them apart from the British?

The raid was a failure for Hessian arms. As was Trenton and Red Bank.

MiniPigs16 Mar 2019 11:54 a.m. PST

@Brechtel198

Listen up. I've been a member for over a decade. I've started maybe 30 threads. People are free to give their opinions for purposes of wargaming; which involves moods and perceptions just as much as "facts and sources".

This isn't a pedants delight. Even if it was, and I dont mind a little cheekiness, you dont have to poison the atmosphere by chasing people around for proof. Take it easy, if you dont agree with something, state your opinion and kindly move on.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP17 Mar 2019 8:48 a.m. PST

So you have nothing of value to offer, either on the Germans in general or the jagers in particular?

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP17 Mar 2019 9:04 a.m. PST

Can we get back to the main point asked by the OP, please?
Did the Hessians have any special characteristics, other than slowness and inflexibility, that sets them apart from the British?

Do you want to go over the German contingents regiment by regiment? That can be done if you like. The 'special characteristics' have already been mentioned about the Jager Corps and their artillery companies. Anything else?

The raid was a failure for Hessian arms. As was Trenton and Red Bank.

Are you now contradicting what you mentioned in the same posting?

Regarding the Springfield action, which was actually more than one, while it was commanded by a Hessian general, von Knyphausen, it was made up mostly of British troops. So why do you characterize it as a 'failure for Hessian arms'? Do you consider it a success for British arms then?

As for the number of jagers in the expedition, Ewald mentioned that the jager commander of the expedition was LtCol Wurmb, who was the commander of the Jager Corps. There were five Hessian jager companies as well as one mounted company, and apparently there was also at least one Anspach jager company in the expedition. Ewald doesn't mention how many Hessian jager companies were employed but it would have been substantial seeing the size of the expedition. Further, it should be noted that the jagers usually worked with British light infantry and sometimes their light cavalry. The jagers were also employed as advance guard troops which translated means they would usually be engaged first and the first to sustain casualties.

Regarding the jager casualties, most of them were wounded and at least some would be slightly wounded. This tends to negate your 'ton' comment.

I highly suggest that you read Ewald and leave Wikipedia out of it as the overall 'summary' in Wikipedia differs somewhat from Ewald's account. And Wikipedia's numbers agree with Ewald, who also gives the names of the Jager officers who were killed and wounded. Those names are not in either Boatner or Atwood.

The 'scholarship' in Wikipedia is weak and there are too many errors generally made in their articles depending on who wrote them, and that we just don't know. Wikipedia isn't allowed in high school nor in graduate school as reference material. That should be an indicator of its general unreliability.

And it should be remembered that whatever German principality the troops came from, they were all referred to as Hessians, because the majority of them came from Hesse-Kassel. So when referring to the troops from the German contingents as 'Hessians' that is all of them, not just those from Hesse-Kassel.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP17 Mar 2019 9:22 a.m. PST

The jaeger rearguard "had to be rescued" by a British Regiment and the Queen's Rangers.

That is incorrect. The jagers were running out of ammunition and were relieved by the Leib Regiment and the Guards because of that fact. See Ewald, 245.

Bill N17 Mar 2019 9:55 a.m. PST

My. Primary source is better than your secondary source. The facts in my secondary source are more reliable than the facts in your tertiary source. Except when they are not. A tertiary source may provide accurate, relevant information more conveniently than a primary or secondary source.

Kevin, you asked whether we wanted to go over the Hessians regiment by regiment. I would suggest that to provide an accurate response to the original question we might need to go regiment by regiment AND year by year. The Jagers were not the entire contingent, and Ewald isn't exactly a disinterested observer.

Summer of 1780, Cornwallis is hard pressed for troops for his field army. So he turns to loyalists. Meanwhile four Hessian infantry regiments are serving garrison duty in Charleston and Savannah. Why? Inferior quality, prone to desertion, a perception they were less able to serve in detachments in the guerrilla warfare plaguing the south? Even if we accept the argument that he felt the posts needed more reliable troops than loyalists to hold them, that still means he thought they were less reliable than his British regulars. Then Bose shows up and Cornwallis incorporates it into his field army. Again why? Better quality, numerically stronger, can't spare other troops from their duties, convenience? So yes I do think if we are going to evaluate the Hessians I think it should be unit by unit and year by year.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP17 Mar 2019 11:58 a.m. PST

You may begin here:

King George's Army 1775-1783: A Handbook of British, American, and German Regiments by Philip Katcher.

The listing begins on page 108 and ends on page 127. Be careful as the infantry regiments went by chief's, not their regimental commanders', names.

42flanker Supporting Member of TMP17 Mar 2019 1:13 p.m. PST

"Whatever German principality the troops came from, they were all referred to as Hessians, because the majority of them came from Hesse-Kassel. So when referring to the troops from the German contingents as 'Hessians' that is all of them/"


I suspect that would depend on who is doing the 'referring', and when.

Winston Smith17 Mar 2019 2:08 p.m. PST

Kevin. Instead of playing your favorite game, which is "My sources are better than your sources", can you at least make a stab at what the OP asked?
Which is

Do the Hessian have any special qualities that set them apart from other troops in the AWI. Are they more flexible, stouter under fire or better in melee? Or, are they simply British soldiers in blue face?

All most of us are saying is that they weren't better than the British, and in MANY cases they were worse. Due in most part to interference from Court, they weren't allowed to improve and evolve.

Jaegers were very good riflemen, who needed to be protected by bayonet armed troops. No. I didn't get that from a book. I got that right here on TMP from people who know more about these things than I do.
I also learned from the same people that British LI incorporated rifles into their units. Very shortly the British LI developed very sophisticated tactics. Certainly not at Lexington Concord.
IN MY OPINION FROM WHAT I HAVE LEARNED FROM THEM ON TMP, the best troops to have in the AWI were British Light Infantry.
But like the "discussions" we have had about Continentals vs militia, there were never enough of the desired troop types.

Someone above described Ewald as not being a "disinterested" writer when it came to his own exploits. That is not a slur. I've never yet read an autobiography that was "disinterested". He was indeed a very good practitioner of partisan tactics, but he did have to go elsewhere to get promoted. Maybe he wasn't Hessian enough for the Landgraf.

Look. My interest here is gaming the AWI. In particular I'm interested in how to rate the varied troop types and putting on an interesting game.
I am not here to play the "my sources are better than your sources" game or the "I have more books than you do" game. Or the "I have had brandy and cigars in the library of X" game. I'm interested in the "play the game" game.
Since you must always must have the last word, have it. That's not saying I'm done on this thread. No, I've made that mistake too many times before. grin It's just that we have both said all that there is to be said and frankly, I don't think it's worth while. You haven't convinced me.

23rdFusilier Supporting Member of TMP18 Mar 2019 3:39 a.m. PST

I am sorry, I thought I was in the American Revolution board. Did I stumble by error into the Napoleonic boards? Sounds like it by the time here in this thread.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP18 Mar 2019 4:52 a.m. PST

I have found that excellent reference material is recommended on this forum and it is one of the strengths of TMP. And a good portion of it can be found on Google Books for download. As a former history teacher I firmly believe that the knowledge of the world is contained in books. And the issue on that end is determining whether or not the material is credible.

And Wikipedia is not a reliable source. If you actually want to be as accurate as possible, various source material should be used and I have found that Ewald is in that category.

You are entitled to your opinions, but you are not entitled to your own facts. Regarding the British Light Infantry, I would believe that John Stark might have some interesting comments on them. Further, they ran at Germantown and had to be halted by Howe.

And I'm not playing games or semantics. Solid research is the key to studying, commenting on, or referring to any historical period. And down playing those facts tends to diminish anything someone has to say which may or may not be valuable.

I don't care if you are 'convinced' of anything. However, you have made some thumping errors once again, and the worst one is relying on Wikipedia.

Winston Smith18 Mar 2019 5:16 a.m. PST

Answer the OP please.

Do the Hessian have any special qualities that set them apart from other troops in the AWI. Are they more flexible, stouter under fire or better in melee? Or, are they simply British soldiers in blue face?

I will freely admit that your sources are as usual better than mine. I will admit that Wikipedia, even when it reinforces YOUR statistics is inherently not as reliable as it should be.
Just answer the OP, and we can all breathe easy.

historygamer Supporting Member of TMP18 Mar 2019 6:02 a.m. PST

Let me have a go:

"Do the Hessian have any special qualities that set them apart from other troops in the AWI."

The Jagers were good Light troops, at least the Hessians were. The line troops fought in two ranks, close order, had old officers, were not view that favorably after 1777. The nature of the war changed as well, and so did their primary role.

"Are they more flexible…"

No.

"…, stouter under fire…


No.

"… or better in melee?"


No.


"Or, are they simply British soldiers in blue face?"

No. The Brits adopted open formations and moved much more quickly on the battlefields. Tactially, they were not as good as the Brits (IMO) in most cases. The Hessian Grenadiers are regarded favorably, there were some units that fought better than others (Lossberg, von Bose), others were garrison troops (von Huyn).

The generals were old and sickly and were not consulted on war planning. Knyphausen's big foray into NJ was not well executed, though he had faulty intelligence that he based his plans on.

Overall, they were average troops, performed their duties well enough in 1776, but the thought was the war would be over quick, so the Brits needed ready-trained troops in 1776 and that they were.

42flanker Supporting Member of TMP18 Mar 2019 7:46 a.m. PST

"They ran at Germantown'

Nice try but, no.

historygamer Supporting Member of TMP18 Mar 2019 8:09 a.m. PST

That was the Lights that ran, and sensibly so.

Winston Smith18 Mar 2019 8:39 a.m. PST

Regarding the British Light Infantry, I would believe that John Stark might have some interesting comments on them.

During the Boston time period which I specifically excluded because they were stale garrison troops. They got much better.
Once again you nit pick comments not germane to the question posed by the OP.
How many times must you be asked to answer it?

Basha Felika18 Mar 2019 12:59 p.m. PST

"And I'm not playing games…"

Isn't that the problem, Brechtel? The rest of us are, and the first few posts sought to provide game-relevant replies to the OP.

Not to say that your contributions and the discussion they provoke aren't interesting, but it's all at a rather more intellectual level than usually required when pushing toy soldiers around on the dining room table.

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