In speaking of the bravery of the men who comprised the militia, Young says:
"In those days, cowards did not come to Kentucky. Men who faced the dangers and difficulties of pioneer life were not only heroic, but they were fearless..."
The following pictorial chronicles my first attempt at play-testing this battle using my new and improved rules.
1. The first shot shows the militia, divided into 3 groups, 130-men strong, preceded by a 25-man advance guard. (The advance guard should be mounted, but I don't have the figures yet. Hey, Blue Moon! I'm waiting....)
2. The first hidden Indians show themselves. Fire erupts from the treeline and half the advance guard turns tail an flees. (My visual for routing troops is a "dust tail" of white cotton. It works better in drier climes, like the high plains of Montana. But it suits me okay.) The other advance guard base is disrupted (shown by the placement of a casualty marker.)
3. A closer look at the action.
4. More Indians pour out of the woods. Brandishing tomahawks. Some stop and fire their muskets. Colonel Trigg high-tails it!
5. Another close up. You can hear the war whoops! (Maybe that's just me, though...)
6. More Indians descend on the Kentuckians' right. Here you can see that one Indian base has been pinned. But the militia's right and center is in dire trouble. At the bottom is a hand-to-hand melee.
7. From the Indians' perspective.
8. The Indian base prevails in the tomahawk duel (the militia, though keen marksmen, have no bayonets). More Indians come to grips with the militiamen.
9. The Kentuckians' right has totally collapsed. During their turn, the whites attempt to form a solid line facing the savage onslaught. Some fire but other hold out for Reaction Fire during the inevitable Indian charge to come.
Not too bad, overall. At this point, I ended the affair and took the rules in for a tuneup. At issue was the fire/reload relationship. I was forcing rifle-equipped and untrained bases to reload after each shot (one of my new rules). It might have been more realistic, but it took away a lot of the hard decision-making from my original fire-reload rules. In the original, you only had to reload after 2 shots (on the assumption that a smart group would not discharge all their muskets at once, more or less). This created a conundrum during reaction fire as you don't want to find yourself unloaded within striking range of a strong melee opponent. So the 2-shots rule is back.
About the scenario itself, in order to avoid a completely historical result, I think I'll eliminate 1/3 of the 300 Indians. The Kentuckians stood a fighting chance as it was -- but just barely. If I had used the third group of injuns, it would have been a pretty short and uninteresting affair (at least for the militia player).
So with these changes in place, I think Dark and Bloody Ground is pretty well finished. It works well for irregular troops, white and red. Next I will test it using some regulars, like these guys I spent the past couple weeks painting:
|1st Massachusetts Provincial Infantry Regiment gearing up for duty in the coming Lake George Campaign, 1755.|