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The Orkney Wargames Club meets

in Kirkwall on Thursday evenings.


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The Battle of Camden, 1780

American War of Independence, Loose Files & American Scramble, 15mm

Our recent American War of Independence game using “proper” 28mm figures was fought using the British Grenadier rules. Well, for years our club’s “Rebel” sympathisers Jack Glanville and Dave O’Brien used to wargame the period in 15mm, using Loose Files and American Scramble. They’re a set of rules produced by Andy Callan, and first published in Wargames Illustrated back in 1987. The rebel duo were keen to lay on a game to show me how the rules worked, and this was it. They decided to refight the battle of Camden – a fairly large affair by American standards, where 4,100 “Rebels” under General Gates tried to make a fight of it against 2,200 British regulars and loyalists. Like the real battle, it wasn’t much of a contest…DSCF2795The first thing to understand was the notion of leadership – each commander had a rather obtrusive little pegboard display (left), and command “pips” had to be allocated to move, rally or join in a combat. Fortunately Jack Glanville was gentlemanly enough to show me how it worked as the game played itself out. Cornwallis really had two main commands – Lt. Col. Rawdon on the left commanding a largely loyalist force, stiffened by the 71st Highlanders, and Col. Webster on the right, with the good troops. Col. Tarleton commanded a small reserve – centred around the British Legion.DSCF2820I decided to launch an all-out assault on the American left – pretty much what Webster did back in August 1780. I soon discovered that American militia don’t put up much of a fight against bayonet-armed British regulars – within a few turns the American wing was shattered. A spirited charge by Armand’s Legion was the only sign of any American aggression on that flank, and it was easily repulsed by the British Light Infantry. While Tarleton busies himself mopping up the last few American units, Cornwallis and Webster set about turning their troops against the American right flank.DSCF2819By this stage my fellow British commander Gerry Henry had launched Rawdon’s troops against De Kalb and his American continental regulars. This time things didn’t go quite so well. His whole command was repulsed and sent reeling backwards. It was an impressive performance by the Continentals, but at that late stage the chance of turning defeat into an American victory had been lost. General Gates had fled the field (again), while General Cornwallis and Webster had turned the flank, and were poised to roll up what remained of the American line. At that point the Rebel duo conceded defeat, and we packed our toys away.DSCF2800I have to admit, I was quite impressed by the rules, and I can see how they’d work well for my 28mm figures. Jack and Dave plan to lay on another big game some time soon – probably the Battle of Germantown (1777), and they also wanted to refight Oriskany again, this time using the Andy Callan rules. Well, I really like British Grenadier, and I’m fairly familiar with the General de Brigade system, but I can also see the potential with this set. I’ll certainly give them another go. I’d even consider gaming the period again in 15mm .. although it really isn’t the same…



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