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Subject: Bennington rss

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Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
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Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Cuimhnigidh ar Luimnech agus feall na Sassonach! Erin go Bragh! Remember Limerick! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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I played this scenario to test it for Bill Bennett, who originally created it for Clash for a Continent: Battles of the American Revolution and French & Indian War.

The Situation
John stark, with militia, has surrounded a Burnswick contingent under Friedrich Baum. They are dug in but spread out. Both sides are awaiting reinforcements: Heinrich von Breymannis coming with more Germans, while Stark is waiting on Seth Warner and the famed Green Mountain Boys.
Baum is a 1/1, Breymann is a 1/2, Stark is a 2/1, and Warner is a 1/2.
Although historically Stark commanded only New Hampshire militia, several regular units are in this scenario to represent the fighting spirit that Stark instilled in his men.

Bloodbath
The battle opens with tremendous ferocity and the Americans succeed in overruning the central redoubt, but at high losses that include Colonel John stark, mortally wounded. However, the Tory militia counterattack and retake the central redoubt. To the north Baum, holding a ridge, throws back an infantry attack at the cost of his artillery, but the Americans attack again, and soon the ridge is in their hands. High losses force the Americans to await the arrival of Seth Warner and his Vermont troops.

Warner and Breymann
Both sides await reinforcements and reposition themselves, but with Stark dead the Americans cannot regroup many of the damaged regiments.
All at once Warner and Breymann arrive with reinforcements for each side, and the battle is begun anew. Breymann quickly brushes asides the Americans in the Southern area, but his march to Baum is slow.

Baum has ordered his Indians and some regulars to retake the ridge. Meanwhile the central redoubt is again overrun by the Americans at high cost to themselves. They cannot advance further, but it doesn't matter: the Germans retake the ridge and thus open up their escape path back to the main army under John Burgoyne. Bennington has ended in a costly American defeat.

Conclusion
Burgoyne will go into the Battle of Freeman's Farm with more men and higher morale while Horatio Gates and his army (historically Stark's victory was a major morale boost) will not be quite so plucky. The Saratoga campaign can still go either way, but the British situation is looking much better.

The Bennington scenario is good and balanced. I think it would be rare to see a lopsided American victory as that was the historical result. The only thing it needs is some light troops, considering the composition of Stark and Warner's forces.
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Iain K
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gittes wrote:
The Bennington scenario is good and balanced. I think it would be rare to see a lopsided American victory as that was the historical result.


Nice report Blackadder (you Git ), I would love to see pictures. FYI, you've used the word "gain" in place of "again" twice.

I know you like "Hold the Line" is there any reason that the scenario would not work with it?

As for the scenario being balanced ... that's great, but how likely is the historic outcome? Do you feel the scenario is true to history?

Balanced scenarios are great to play, but I begin to wonder about what they teach us, what if any historical significance they have if they rarely produce the outcome that occurred historically.
 
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Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
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Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Cuimhnigidh ar Luimnech agus feall na Sassonach! Erin go Bragh! Remember Limerick! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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Quote:
Nice report Blackadder (you Git ), I would love to see pictures. FYI, you've used the word "gain" in place of "again" twice.

I know you like "Hold the Line" is there any reason that the scenario would not work with it?

As for the scenario being balanced ... that's great, but how likely is the historic outcome? Do you feel the scenario is true to history?

Balanced scenarios are great to play, but I begin to wonder about what they teach us, what if any historical significance they have if they rarely produce the outcome that occurred historically.


Fixed the "gain" problem. Bennet asked me to see how it played out and I was impressed.

Of the five times I've played Hold the Line, the results of Sainte-Foy and Bemis Heights were very close to history, Camden was close enough, and Bennington and Trenton were pretty far from the factual record (Americans still won Trenton). The system isn't too great at simulating lop-sided battles, but I think if you are playing a scenario based on Trenton it must be seen as sort of a what if, because there would be little fun in playing a very historical version of Trenton.

The American victory at Bennington was due to Stark's leadership, Baum's poor deployment (which is well reflected here), and the sucess of the initial rush. In my case the American rush attack did not turn out well and the early death of Stark played a big part in the American defeat. That makes a lot of sense considering Stark's abilities as a leader.

When comes to simple wargames I rate gameplay above history so long as I feel history isn't being insulted.
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Bill Bennett
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The problem with too much adherence historical accuracy is that you end up with something scripted that leaves too little control in the hands of the players. In the actual battle, the Tory militia in the fortifications and the Indian allies essentially fled in the face of the enemy, leaving the Baum and his troops on the hill alone and surrounded. This would not make for a fun game. So this scenario is likely to give the British better than historical results, simply because their troops will stand and fight. But a historical result is possible, which I felt was the best balance I could strike between playability and history. I saw one play where the Americans won 9-2, which was very like the historical outcome. Just for the record, my four plays of the final version were two British victories (9-3, 9-8) and two American victories (9-2, 9-7).

You'll find HtL actually works better for Bennington than CfaC did, because the original game didn't have Tory militia counters.

And regarding Gittes comments on light troops, the two sources I have for this battle don't give detailed OOB's, but I am looking into picking up a new resource that does. Perhaps I'll update my scenario for HtL after I get some additional information.

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Bill Bennett
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gittes wrote:

Fixed the "gain" problem. Bennet asked me to see how it played out and I was impressed.


Since I forgot to say it above, thanks for the comments. I'm glad you enjoyed it.
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Iain K
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Good points well made Gents.

I don't have an interested in "scripted" simulations by-and-large. But I believe that the historical outcome should be possible, preferably as likely as it was historically.

Further, I like situations where the "what-ifs" can be explored. Different strategies, different reinforcements, etc - all letting us explore the historic situation. It sounds like your scenario falls in this class. One could remove the Tory militia and Indian Allies and play the scenario to see if they could win as the British for example.

That having been said, most battles were not "balanced" historically. It's been said that all battles are the result of surprise at some level ... the side doing the surprising almost always has an edge.

I appreciate the follow up, and look forward to trying the scenario myself.
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Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
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Louisiana
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Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Cuimhnigidh ar Luimnech agus feall na Sassonach! Erin go Bragh! Remember Limerick! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
badge
Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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Quote:
That having been said, most battles were not "balanced" historically. It's been said that all battles are the result of surprise at some level ... the side doing the surprising almost always has an edge.


Very true, but you do find the lopsided battles, like Culloden, don't get much coverage. Yet I think when playing a lop-sided battle balance shouldn't be a big consideration. However, I give the simpler wargames more leeway in this department.
 
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