Each year the Wellington Warlords (the wargaming club of New Zealand's capital city) host their annual wargaming competition, "Call to Arms".

At the 2002 event, one of the demo games at "Call to Arms" was a refight of the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, put on by Paul Crouch (3rd from left), Steve Sands (far left) and Roly Hermans (2nd from left).

The original battle took place on 15 March 1781, between General Cornwallis's 2,200 British troops and the 4,500 Americans under General Greene.

 

 

The British redcoats march out of camp on their way to do battle against the Americans. In the foreground are two cannons and some of their Hessian allies.

The figures and the scenery used in this game all belong to Paul Crouch. In the main, the figures are by Front Rank, but there are also a few Dixons and Foundry figures.

Paul, Steve and Roly are all firm "visual" wargamers, rather than "competitive" or "simulation" players. For them, the main thing is the game has to look good - to be a moving diorama, in effect.

 

A closeup of the British advance. You can almost hear the drums beating and the fifes trilling The British Grenadier!

Behind the redcoats is a battalion of Loyalists, wearing green coats and white trimmed hats.

The British flags are by GMB, who make the best flags around. Paul made the Loyalist flags himself. Note how the flags are realistically shaped - too often the effect of such beautiful flags is spoiled by having them standing out straight like boards.

 

 

On the left flank of the British advance are some British light troops, some German Jägers, and even a few Indians.

Paul's bases are beautifully done - each base is like a mini-diorama. And his figure painting is absolutely exquisite. He uses a black undercoat technique and acrylic paints.

 

 

The British advance steadily across the clearing towards the first fence-line, where a line of Americans can be see waiting. Behind them, way off in the distance, are more troops in front of the Guilford Courthouse.

The base cloth we used really sets off the figures well. It is green baize, but has been sprayed with a mixture of colours. Under the baize is an old carpet which has been laid over some pieces of wood, giving the effect of slightly undulating ground.

This phot has been retouched to make it look more real. Click here to see an even bigger version (104KB)!

 

Nervous American militia await the redcoats behind a typical switchback railing fence.

These are not the steadiest of troops. But if they can get off a good volley or two before they run, they might slow the steady British advance.

Steve Sands was busy for several nights producing much of the fencing used in our battle.

One of the features that really makes this game is the fact that all our battalions are big. Each unit has at least six bases of around three or four figures each. Anything smaller does not look anywhere near as good.

 

The British have forced back the militia through a line of trees. The militia stop, rally bravely, and try to hold the next fence-line. A British and Hessian volley rips through the air.

In the foregound is the last line of American defence. But these troops are no mere militia. These are the regular American infantry, the Continentals. They're made of sterner stuff, and the British might be worn down by the sniping of the militia before they get to Continentals' line.

 

A close-up of the British and Hessian volley. We were using a very simple set of rules called Gentleman Johnny's War, which made calculating the effect of volleys such as this very easy.

You can never have enough trees in a demo game, especially one set in America. Paul has a huge amount of Woodland Scenics trees, which really look good on the table.

For the sake of the simplicity, it was decided that trees only interrupt visibility, but don't hinder troop movements.

 

One of the British units charges towards the militia.

By sheer conincidence all the figures are posed perfectly in this photo, as if this was a set-up shot. The charging infantry are in a running pose, while those firing are pointing their muskets. Behind the fence, the militia take pot-shots.

 

No, the militia can't stand yet another British volley, so they turn tail and they're off. But, just as in the movie The Patriot, have they done enough to whittle down the British before they come to grips with the waiting Continentals in the foreground?

 

Our first sight of the magnificent Architectural Heritage model of the Guilford Courthouse itself. This is a miniature of the actual building. If you look very carefully, you'll even see the judge standing in the doorway, no doubt encouraging the steady Continentals lined against the fences.

Paul likes to dot his games with little bits of scenery such as the haystacks you can see in the picture. These are for visual appearance only, and don't effect play at all. They are simply moved out of the way when troops pass though.

 

From behind the Continental lines, you can see the last few militia, and way off in the distance a Hessian flag denotes the British advance.

The white house in the far background was hand-made by Paul many years ago.

During March in America, there wouldn't really have been autumn ("fall") trees! But the occasional touch of autumn colours in the trees just gives a lift to the table appearance.

 

 

The judge looks on as the battle rages between the British and the Continentals. In the end, the British manage to puncture the Continental centre and creep round their left, so the Americans have to yield the field, just as happened in real life.

Note the barricade of barrels in the foreground - another nice scenic touch.

 

You would think that General Cornwallis must be feeling pretty pleased with himself. However, in real life the battle cost him 532 casualties against the Americans' 260. So instead of pursuing his defeated enemy, he retired to the coast. If this game had been part of a campaign, the result might have been pretty much the same.

There is more fun with scenics in the background - an ammunition dump and wagons bring powder and balls up to the guns.

 

One of the most asked-about units in the game, but one which never really came into play, was Tarleton's Legion. This was because the main protagonist in The Patriot was apparently modelled on Tarleton (though one cannot say that the film representation was at all accurate!).

In the real battle the cavalry did get to grips, but in the game the day was won before they even got onto the scene.

 

So, just as in real-life, a marginal British win. But more importantly for the Friday Night Fusiliers, a win for presenting the sheer beauty of hundreds of exquisitely painted figures marching and fighting across a gorgeously terrained board!

A special thanks to Wayne Stack, a fellow Fusilier from the South Island of New Zealand, who took all these wonderful photos.

You can comment on this website by sending an email to:

Paul Crouch
Paraparaumu, New Zealand

 

LARGER IMAGES & FREE WALLPAPER

Want to see the five pictures on the right in a larger format? They've also been changed slightly in a graphics programme to make them look a little bit more realistic (removing base edges and so on). Just click on any of the images on the right, and you'll get the enlarged and improved versions.

These pictures are all 800 x 600 pixels - perfect for a desktop wallpaper! File size varies from 49KB to 104KB (but they're worth it!)

 

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This site designed by Roly Hermans. Visit his other (just as spectacular) wargaming websites:

- Battle of Saratoga - Freeman's Farm (in conjunction with Paul Crouch)
- Last of the Mohicans (in conjunction with Paul Crouch)
- Roly's Wargames Cabinet
- Gettysburg
- My 18th Century French Army
- Valeur et Discipline (Napoleonic French)
- Confederation of the Rhine
- Websites for Wargamers

And don't forget to visit our club site, also designed by Roly Hermans, the Kapiti Fusiliers Historic Gaming Club.