Saturday, December 7, 2013

Skirmish at Jackson's Tavern: Texas Revolution Battle Report

Mexican Cavalry column flanks the town, but not without taking fire from
Crockett's Tennesseeans.
                What's the best thing a historical wargamer can hear?  "Dad, can we play that game with the soldiers and the buildings?"  The answer, "Thank you God, they want to do something that doesn't involve the Wii!"  Enter the fictitious battle of Jackson's Tavern: 1835.   Small engagements took place across the border throughout the life span of the Republic, son loves to play with his Davy Crockett figure (Probably has to do with the fact that his modifiers make him almost god-like).  This game was based off a watered down (for 7 and 11 year olds) version of a set of rules I had been writing...but actually, the watered down rules play far better. (With simple morale checks, such as if you lose 25% of a unit it must fall back by one movement (5 inches for Infantry).

Mexican standoff at Jackson's Tavern.
       The Texian forces consisted of a company of Tenneseeans under Col Crockett, Texian milita, two 6 pdr cannon and one General.  Points would be awarded for the capturing of standards, Generals and Cannon.  The Mexicans consisted of two companies of infantry, a squadron of light dragoons and one General.

Mexican advance on the hamlet of  Jackson's Tavern

        My sons each commanded a wing of the Texian army and my plan was to attack their front with my infantry, while the cavalry squadron rolled up the flank and seized the artillery.  Sadly, my 7-year old made excellent initiative rolls and I made poor troop quality rolls (roll 1d6 to determine troop reliability:  militia, regular, or veteran).

Mexican center company takes fire, but assault's Jackson's Tavern, where
Crockett's Tenneseeans are barricaded.

    The center company assaulted the tavern, where Crockett's Tenneseeans were barricaded.  Four Mexicans were dropped by rifle fire outside the tavern, but still managed to make it inside.  Having killed him a bear at the age of three, David and his comrades were able to push the Mexicans back outside and the had to hand combat resulted in the rout of my center company.

Interior of Jackson's Tavern.  The soldados enter, but only one comes out.

            Meanwhile, my right flank moved on the Texian left, avoiding any serious hits from the 6 pdr battery, for the moment.  The shifted from company into line and assaulted the Texians at the stone wall.

Mexican Company in column.

         They quickly pushed back the militia from the wall to the dog trot cabin and took up a firing position at the stone wall. 

The Mexican company looking into the muzzles of two 6 pdrs of Los Piratas.
      We traded shots between the Dog Trot and the stone wall and then my dragoons appeared on the right flank of the Texian battery.  While their ranks were thinned by acurate rifle fire, courtesy of the "Gentlemen from the Cane Break", they still posed a problem for the exposed battery.   Unfortunately, the Tavern was no longer threatened by the Mexican infantry and my eldest son had the presence of mind to pivot his gun towards the squadron and deploy his Tennesseeans on their flank.

All that remains of the Mexican Dragoons after grape shot and flanking
fire from Crockett's company.

         The dragoons disappeared in a cloud of grapeshot and rifle balls and only four emerged to charge into the guns.  This, not before the left gun belched flame into my company at the stone wall, and the Texian Militia charged from the dog trot cabin.  The result was yet another broken unit.

The broken company retreats with the colors.

           My ragged dragoons and decimated companies were forced to straggle back, having lost and infantry standard and a cavalry pennant, not to mention my general with the Mexican reserve (who was unhorsed on an abortive counter-attack.  So, simpler is better regarding the rules.  The boys get bored if there are too many morale checks or modifiers.  We kept it simple with modifiers based on troop quality and "heroic characters", like Colonel Crockett.  All in all, a great game, I like losing as long as I'm playing with my boys.

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