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Commands & Colors: Napoleonics» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Saratoga 1815 AAR rss

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Laurence Cutner
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The September Tabscon was a great chance to try out my new scenario for C&C:Napoleonics representing an alternative War of 1812 where Wellington and Andrew Jackson face-off at Saratoga. Having an astute and quick thinking opponent was a great plus and I thank her very much for putting up with an old fart like me.

The battle starts off with a large professional British army made up of Canadian troops allied with Wellington’s peninsular veterans facing a similar sized US army composed mainly of various States militia bolstered by regular US army regiments. Jackson occupies the old Saratoga position on Bemis Heights with artillery placed along the front line bolstering his militia and dug-in at ‘The Point’ dominating the river approaches. The British plan of attack is obvious, with the KGL occupying the right flank with the only cavalry units available and the main part of the army positioned to attack either the fortified position on the right of the American line or to assault the centre. The US plan was to hold off the KGL with their cavalry (NY Dragoons) and to use their artillery to punish any British units foolish enough to advance into range. Wellington’s plan was to wipe out the American forces and open the way to Albany and New York. The US plan was to hold and defend while inflicting crippling losses on the enemy. The stage was set for slaughter.

The British attack opened with heavy artillery barrages that continued throughout the day. The KGL decided to hold back from advancing while letting the guns do their work. The British left and centre made gradual advances while doing their best to avoid US artillery fire doing too much damage. The rifle armed light infantry advanced and began a galling fire on artillery and militia gathered around The Point. Slowly but surely, the continued artillery fire and occasional volleys of rockets took their toll and the US artillery was worn down and finally only a battery of artillery on the US left flank was left. For a wonder, the rockets actually worked well and caused a panic amongst the US artillery in the centre and half their guns were lost in a confused retreat.

During this carnage, Packenham launched repeated assaults against the heights and, although he gained a footing on the hills at one point, was forced away with crippling losses. Elsewhere, the US militia was repeatedly targeted and had to be sent to reverse slope positions while US regulars took up the slack. The KGL and their US opponents skirmished back and forth for hours where a charge by the US dragoons caused 50% losses to a German square until being driven off the field by a counter-charge by the KGL dragoons. Despite strong efforts by both sides, the left flank of the US line was held till the end of the day.

Finally the American line had been thinned and in many places only weak militia were left to plug the gaps that became larger and larger. The US regulars had to stay close to the militia to ensure that the showers of rockets didn’t cause more losses due to panicked troops. The British army was also in a much weakened state as the losses caused by assaults on the line began to take effect. However, a final major assault penetrated the heights in the centre and a final attack caused the last militia unit to flee the field and the US army disintegrated.

This battle went down ‘to the line’ and the result was in doubt right to the end – what a great and balanced scenario. I really recommend you to try it.
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