Call to Arms (Full Version)

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Raindem -> Call to Arms (1/31/2019 12:59:44 AM)

I will be playing the Americans and Ian is playing the British. For those not familiar with the scenario, it covers the entire American Revolution from April 1775 through October 1785, in 1 month turns. The map extends from Canada to Florida to the Illinois Territory at 5km. With such a huge map and relatively few units, you can march armies around all day long and not encounter the enemy. I think that scale combination provides a good feeling of fighting in the “wilderness”.

This is a long scenario (129 turns), so I won’t spend too much time on the details of all the little battles and skirmishes. I prefer short updates over large sweeping maps. This scenario simulates 10 years of warfare so I want to keep the updates concise.

Ian and I have a history with this game. He has beaten me twice, once from each side. So hey, at least I know the scenario is balanced! Besides, I’ve always said that I’m better at designing scenarios than playing them.

So, on to the game…

April 1775

The scenario begins with the opening skirmishes at Concord and Lexington having already taken place. The ”call to arms” goes out. The Minutemen spring into action and engage the British outside of Boston. Rhode Island contributes some cannon but the patriots are not strong enough yet to launch any attacks. And with the British seemingly unintersted in charging into the open countryside, a stalemate quickly ensues.


larryfulkerson -> RE: Call to Arms (1/31/2019 5:08:26 AM)


MikeJ19 -> RE: Call to Arms (1/31/2019 9:39:39 AM)

Have fun and I look forward to seeing the updates

Raindem -> RE: Call to Arms (1/31/2019 11:50:14 PM)

May 1775

Mostly a turn of manuever. I decided that my initial focus would be on the northern front. If I could capture Ft. Ticonderoga quickly, then an invasion of Canada proper was possible before the British had a chance to fortify it. Quebec and Montreal would then be in reach.

The map below shows my initial moves. Vermont’s “Green Mountain Boys” moved up the east side of Lake Champlaign to capture St. Johns unopposed. A couple battalions from New York’s Tryon County militia circumvented Ft. Ticonderoga to the west and made it back to the lake shore between Ticonderoga and Crown Point. Meanwhile the main force, several militia battalions commanded by Benedict Arnold, moved up from the south.

Elsewhere in colonies, militia are mobilizing at a fast rate and I put them to work securing their home bases. Outside of Boston an artillery duel has flared up. Minutemen were shelled by British warships in Massachussets Bay. In return, redcoats of the 3rd Regiment were hit by cannon fire from the Rhode Island militia. Light casualties on both sides.

Note on unit organization- Most militia in the American Revolution did not have official unit IDs. Nor did they have standardized unit sizes. The unit was generally referred to by the name of its commander (or sometimes by the name of the town/county that formed it). Thus “MD Militia Griffith” is a militia unit from Maryland, commanded by a fellow named Griffith. Some colonies did number their militia, such as “25th CT Militia”. Also note that today, we think of brigades and regiments as being roughly the same size and organized into divisions. But back then, regiments were organized into formations of brigades. The concept of a “division” as used in the 20th century had not yet emerged.


Raindem -> RE: Call to Arms (2/2/2019 2:11:26 PM)

June 1775

A couple small victories for the patriots. Ticonderoga was surrounded and quickly fell to a coordinated attack by the New York militia. And Portsmouth was captured in a surprise attack by the New Hampshire militia.

General Arnold sent a Penobscot Indian scout into Canada to report on the feasibility of capturing Montreal and/or Quebec. They sent runners back with the following information: “British regulars were spotted moving down the St. Lawrence towards Montreal”. Arnold wisely decided to hold up at Ticonderoga and await further information about British troop movements.

Note on waterways - Navigable rivers were used whenever possible by 18th century armies to move long distances. In WWII a major river was an obstacle. In colonial America it was a highway. Upon encountering such a river, soldiers would fell some trees, build a few rafts, and away they went. This is modeled in the scenario. Major waterways, such as the St. Lawrence River (pictured below) or the Hudson River, use a modified graphic tile from the Suez Canal terrain type. The graphic represents something between a super river and a shallow water hex. Waterways have roads running along their length that represent river movement. In the below screen shot the area between Quebec and Trois Rivieres is the waterway. The bridges along that stretch are forbidden to be blown by House Rule. Once the graphic changes to shallow water the road returns to its normal function. Although the soldiers could have continued rafting into the deeper water, they were just as likely to dismount and follow the shoreline.


Raindem -> RE: Call to Arms (2/3/2019 8:57:57 PM)

July 1775

Our Indian scouts in Canada were ambushed and killed. I'm not sure if it was by the British or their Indian allies. In any event the decision was made that Arnold and his army would remain encamped at Ticonderoga and proceed no further into Canada. The Green Mountain Boys were accordingly called back from St. Johns. Disobeying orders to avoid the enemy, they tried to capture Crown Point on the way back to Ticonderoga but were repulsed (although they were able to occupy it the following month).

Stockbridge Indian scouts also reported a British force that had been put ashore at Amboy, New Jersey. At first glance, the landing appeared to be too far south to be headed to New York. The closest town of importance was Princeton. If that was captured it would also put Philadelphia in danger. And the colonials were very weak in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania.


Raindem -> RE: Call to Arms (2/5/2019 1:05:12 AM)

August 1775

Not too much going on this turn. Britain continued their buildup in New Jersey. Indian scouts have identified three foot regiments, supported by a couple naval squadrons off shore. Still not sure which way this force was going to march.

With the capture of Ticonderoga, many British cannon fell into friendly hands. Those were transported down to Boston where the patriots, reinforced by additional militia, started to increase pressure on the British troops guarding the approaches. The goal was not to capture Boston, nor was it even to inflict casualties. The goal was to make enough of a demonstration to cause the British to get nervous about becoming heavily involved somewhere else. American forces were mobilizing at a faster rate than the British, and I wanted to buy some time by making them overly cautious. In real life the Americans captured Boston around this time, not long after the battle of Bunker Hill. Of course, with the advantage of hindsight the TOAW British player does not usually let their forces get into such a weak position.

sPzAbt653 -> RE: Call to Arms (2/5/2019 4:37:07 AM)

Nice work getting your custom unit icons to work within the restrictions of TOAW IV.

Cfant -> RE: Call to Arms (2/5/2019 7:34:10 AM)

Can you show your losses and your reinforcement-rate? Thanks for this unusual aar!

Raindem -> RE: Call to Arms (2/5/2019 12:14:00 PM)

The musket squads are what the continental units use for their main foot soldier. The militia squads are used, of course, by the militia. They do not get a specific rate of replacements. The pool is stocked with the disbanded remains of militia units whose term of enlistment is up.


Cfant -> RE: Call to Arms (2/5/2019 2:15:59 PM)

Cool. Is it allowed to blow bridges?

Raindem -> RE: Call to Arms (2/5/2019 2:31:44 PM)

Bridges that run across a river can be blown. Bridges that run along side a river cannot as per house rule. They are considered part of the waterway.

When I do the next revision I plan to modify the road tiles so you won't even see the waterway roads (or possibly make the roads look like rivers. Haven't decided the best way to go yet).

Raindem -> RE: Call to Arms (2/6/2019 3:47:14 AM)

September 1775

General Howe has taken command of the British force in New Jersey, so something must be in the works. My defensive preparations were as follows: The militia and continental troops from New York were to defend Long Island and the lower Hudson valley. Freshly recruited militia from Vermont took up blocking positions along the west coast of the Upper Bay. Troops from Pennsylvania, Maryland, and as far south as Virginia would form a line between General Howe and Philadelphia (which, if I had to guess, was going to be his objective). Unfortunately, New Jersey could only contribute two militia and a light dragoon to its own defense.


Raindem -> RE: Call to Arms (2/7/2019 1:15:49 AM)

October 1775

Very quiet turn. The campaigning season is nearly over so if the British wanted to start anything in New Jersey it would probably have to wait for the spring. It takes awhile to assemble an army in this scenario and even longer to get them ready for a campaign, due to the low supply rates. No Blitzkrieg here!

Raindem -> RE: Call to Arms (2/8/2019 1:23:33 PM)

November 1775

The only action this turn was a British probing attack out from their Amboy bridgehead. Still trying to get my defenses organized.

The EEV is still at 0 but should soon start to move up (I mean EVV. It used to be called the Event Engine Variable. I don’t know why they changed the acronym. I’ll never get used to it). The EVV determines when France and Spain enter the war on the side of the Americans. Starting around this time a certain number of points are automatically added each turn. Points are also added or subtracted for certain events on the battlefield. The better the Americans do, the sooner the French will join them. This was reflected in historical planning. The Continental Congress and General Washington often made decisions for the PR effect it would have upon the French. The patriots didn’t have to kowtow to the Spanish as much. Spain and France had a treaty and Spain would do whatever France did.


Raindem -> RE: Call to Arms (2/10/2019 3:58:57 AM)

December 1775

The first winter of the war has arrived and things are quite settled. Winters during the Revolution were especially harsh on the Americans, who could barely equip an army in good weather. Accordingly, there are additional supply and pestilence penalties for the Americans during winter months. Also, the scenario employs a Cease Fire each January, to reflect the period doctrine of suspending major campaigning activity during that time. There are some penalties for the British too during winter, but not as many. They usually just stayed indoors.

As the first year of the revolution ends, here’s a couple wide angle screenshots of the entire theater. I’ve added the names of the commanders so it’s easier to connect the action with locations on the map.


Raindem -> RE: Call to Arms (2/10/2019 3:59:58 AM)

Here's a shot of the southern colonies.


cathar1244 -> RE: Call to Arms (2/10/2019 11:44:47 AM)

Curious as to which sources were used to determine the degree of forestation shown on the map.


Raindem -> RE: Call to Arms (2/10/2019 1:01:34 PM)

I don't recall specifically, but there are many out there. Some hand drawn Revolutionary battle maps show specific groupings of trees here and there.

Modern surveys will show a forestation pattern much different from the 1700s. Modern forests are larger and tend to be more channeled by human development. We know that colonial America was heavily wooded with lots of marshland, but the vegetation would have been more spread out and random than what you see today.

cathar1244 -> RE: Call to Arms (2/10/2019 1:27:52 PM)

Thanks Raindem. I've looked for Civil War-era forestation maps of N America before, and was only partially successful.


Raindem -> RE: Call to Arms (2/11/2019 2:47:19 AM)

January 1776

Some of my militia have already started to disband on their own. In the actual war, most militia served a term of enlistment, usually 1 to 2 years. It seems odd that the side fighting for its freedom would do that, while the British soldier was in it for the duration. But that’s the way it was.

To model this, militia in the scenario will disband after their enlistment is up. I built in a variance so the exact date can’t be predicted. It makes for unpleasant surprises. A town that was garrisoned last month is now empty. The entire militia unit just packed up and went home. In fact historically, there were some American attacks that were planned specifically to occur just before a large group of militia disbanded. Talk about gamey moves!

Raindem -> RE: Call to Arms (2/12/2019 3:15:17 PM)

February 1776

Winters are not as harsh in the southern colonies and I wanted to take advantage of the down time. So I tried to take Savannah by sneak attack but failed. The 1st GA Continental moved down the Savannah river from Augusta and met up with the 1st SC Continental being transported by sea from Charleston. The attack was well executed but not strong enough to dislodge the enemy garrison, and the Carolinans were unable to land. With the British fleet emerging from port next month I doubt they will survive.


Raindem -> RE: Call to Arms (2/14/2019 2:43:22 AM)

March 1776

Luckily, the British did not send down a task force to blast the Patriots who were stuck in the bay off Savannah. So they hastily put ashore to the south of the city and resumed the attack (which again failed with heavy casualties for the Americans). The loyalists defending the city were tough indeed.

Up in New Jersey the front lines have not changed all winter. Howe continued to hold a tight perimeter around Amboy, while Washington kept the main force of Continentals well out of range of British cannon.

Some action has flared up in the middle colonies. Two regiments of Delaware continentals marched down from Wilmington and attacked the British garrison at Middletown. In Virginia, forces commanded by General Lee left their positions on the coast and attacked Petersburg. Both these attacks met stiff resistance, but were ultimately successful when pressed.


Raindem -> RE: Call to Arms (2/15/2019 2:15:22 AM)

April 1776

The redcoats in New Jersey started attacking this month, except they went north instead of south. This caught me off guard. They smashed through the militia line between Morristown and Newark. There was nothing left to prevent them from driving all the way to the Hudson. All I could do was apply a little pressure on their left wing and hopefully slow them down enough to give me a chance to fortify the lower Hudson. The map below shows the command structure. Putnam is in charge of all colonial forces in New York. Washington has command of the forces in New Jersey. Washington himself is still in Philadelphia, trying to muster up a few more militia before moving north.

I called up the Massachusetts Militia, which will appear next month. I have been wanting to increase pressure on Boston but the troops on hand are insufficient for anything but holding an outpost. Depending on how events go, I may be calling up the New Hampshire and New York militias as well over the next couple months.

Scenario note: The militia in this scenario are mobilized in 3 different ways. Approximately 1/3 of them mobilize on a specific turn, regardless of game events. Another third mobilize in response to a British invasion of their colony. And the last third are called up by the player via Theater Option. Regardless of how they mobilize, the terms of enlistment previously discussed apply equally to all three types.

We also decided to open up the northern front again. The objectives of Montreal and Quebec were worth at least a recon-in-force to see how strong the British were in this sector.

The one piece of good news this turn is the British abandoned Savannah and the GA Militia quickly occupied it.


Raindem -> RE: Call to Arms (2/16/2019 2:42:37 AM)

May 1776

Things are deteriorating quickly in New Jersey. The British have blown open my left wing, captured Morristown and Newark, and reached the Hudson. Only a handful of militia now stand between them and New York. I made some counterattacks at Morristown and Princeton. By choosing this route of advance, the British are going to present an ever extending left flank for me to chip away at.

Horatio Gates has taken command of American forces outside of Boston. Aided by the arrival of new militia called up last month, he made an all out assault on the British right wing at Lexington. After 3 bloody rounds of combat he took the ground. Historically, it reminded me of a Bunker Hill in reverse. Clearly, we will not take Boston using such methods.

In Virginia, Lee has taken his small but enthusiastic force and invested Norfolk. Initial attacks were unsuccessful, but we’re hopeful that renewed efforts next month will bear fruit. If the British weren’t willing to fight for Savannah (a Loyalist stronghold), I doubt they’ll expend much effort on Norfolk (a beehive of Patriot activity).

As mentioned in the last update, Arnold has cautiously advanced back into Canada. Our Indian scouts reported that the main British force under Carleton was at Montreal, but there was hardly nothing guarding Quebec - a garrison and a single unidentified foot regiment. We decided on a risky maneuver. The Green Mountain Boys would remain at St. John’s and try to pin Carleton, while the rest of Arnold’s “army” (I use the word loosely. He had but 4 tired militia battalions) would advance up the St. Lawrence, cross it at Trois Rivieres, and attack Quebec from the west.

Note that Arnold’s army was able to move from St. Johns to Quebec in a single turn (1 month). That’s over 800 miles, or around 26 miles per day. Foot regiments of this period were able to move much faster than the infantry units of the 20th century. Their supply tail was shorter (they foraged as they went), they had less to carry, and enemy units didn’t exert the same ZOC effect that they do now. Add to that the accelerating effect of waterways, and you are capable of moves like this one. Arnold reached Quebec, but didn’t have enough MPs left to attack this turn.


Raindem -> RE: Call to Arms (2/18/2019 1:36:38 AM)

June 1776

The Germans have arrived! Hessian forces landed at Quebec just in time to save the city. They counterattacked and delivered a crushing defeat on the investing Patriot army. Arnold’s HQ was destroyed, and the general himself was rumored to be a POW of the British. At Montreal, the King’s Royal NY loyalist regiment pushed the Green Mountain Boys out of St. John’s. I don’t think the British have enough force to threaten upper New York, but I had better start assembling forces at Albany just in case. In any event, it was clear we were finished in Canada.

In southern New York the British captured Ft. Lee, Ft. Washington, and most of Manhattan. Only the 1st New York Continental regiment is holding out in Harlem. Given these two negative turn of events, we will be calling up the New York militia. The way is also open to Connecticut, but I’m guessing the British won’t want to spread themselves out that much. They already have one long flank in New Jersey. They don’t need another in Connecticut. I also spotted a new HQ with the British regulars driving north. I think that’s going to be Clinton. Howe appears to still be in Newark.

Down in the middle colonies things are looking a little better. Lee has captured Norfolk. The 1st Maryland Continental, acting on its own initiative, routed the small British garrison at Baltimore. Everything south of New Jersey is now solidly under Patriot control, except for North Carolina. That colony is a Tory stronghold and we are going to need more than a few local partisans to push them out.


Raindem -> RE: Call to Arms (2/20/2019 2:41:39 AM)

July 1776

New York has fallen! Not an encouraging response to our Declaration of Independence this month. The British force was so strong that no attempt was made to counterattack. Instead, we fortified our positions along the lower Hudson and Delaware rivers in case the British moved into Connecticut or Pennsylvania, respectively. Putnam tried to escape to the eastern end of Long Island but he couldn’t disengage from the British 64th Regiment. It’s unusual for a unit to get zapped upon disengagement in this scenario, especially an HQ, but I guess it happens.

Our attacks around Boston, though costly and blunt, have started to wear down the enemy, I think. The British positions south of the city fell rather quickly this month and we were able to launch a probing attack into the city itself.


Raindem -> RE: Call to Arms (2/21/2019 2:02:03 AM)

August 1776

Things have settled down a little at New York while both sides consolidate their positions. The British are pushing out their left wing slightly in New Jersey, but it appears to be only minor adjustments.

Reinforced by Hessians, they have counterattacked at Boston and drove the Patriots back from the “Boston Neck” on the south side of the city. They don’t have enough to push into the interior, and we don’t have enough to capture Boston, so once again that position settles back into a deadlock.

In the north, with Hessian and Loyalist Canadian forces nipping at our heels, we continued the long retreat back to the south end of Lake Champlaign.

Cfant -> RE: Call to Arms (2/21/2019 5:58:58 AM)

Does the capute of New York (or Boston) trigger any events? In other words: Why is it important to take a city (other then beeing a supply point)?

Raindem -> RE: Call to Arms (2/21/2019 12:52:16 PM)

The reason the focus is on major cities is that is where the British supply is. It flows across the Atlantic in large numbers but doesn't move far away from the ports. So they have limited choices on where to operate. Eventually, the action will probably move inland.

Historically, the loss of a major city in the war was damaging to a country's prestige, but did not seriously affect it's war capabilities. Britain was not dependent on control of the cities to continue the war. And the Americans were only marginally so. So capturing a major city was meant to discourage the other side and cause them to sue for peace. In games terms, it's mostly about victory points. If the Americans can keep the VP total from falling too low, then France and Spain will eventually join our side. When that happens we will be strong enough to go man-to-man with the British in open field. Until then, the British are going to dominate the coast.

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