A Battle Scenario from Real-life.

By Captain Johann Ewald, Field Jäger corps., edited by Mark Tully.

Here is a detailed description of an actual skirmish that would make a great tactical scenario. This skirmish took place on March 29, 1780, and was a prelude to the siege of Charleston.

"The army marched along the highway. Toward noon the vanguard encountered an enemy party of about one thousand men at the Governor's House, a good German mile from Charlestown. The jägers meddled at once with the enemy party and were supported by the light infantry. During the skirmishing the general officers reconnoitered from the upper part of the house. The jägers were ordered to attack slowly, since the generals were afraid of an ambuscade in this area, which was intersected by deep ditches and short bushes.

Meanwhile the enemy was forced back from one ditch to another up to an advanced flèche which lay almost under the cannon range of the fortifications, where severe firing occurred. Captain Bodungen, who led the vanguard, went around the flèche, whereupon it was abandoned by the enemy. But we had hardly mastered it, and had scarcely reformed a little, when we were attacked again with considerable violence and driven back, whereby three jägers were stabbed with bayonets. The light infantry came hurrying to our support, and the enemy was driven back beyond the flèche for a second time.

At that moment the Commanding General appeared and ordered us not to advance one step further, since it was presumed that the enemy merely intended to provoke us by his maneuver and lure us under the fortifications into a violent cannonade. The enemy, perceiving that his maneuver was not successful, attacked the jägers and light infantry once more with a complete brigade supported by six guns. At this time the English artillery arrived and opened fire on the enemy, who withdrew to the city but was not pursued beyond the flèche. The jägers were relieved by the light infantry.

Breed's HillThe Commanding General had the jägers assembled and personally extended his warmest thanks to them, while everyone in the army, under whose eyes the action had occurred, expressed thanks and delight to us. We had nine killed, five missing, and eleven wounded, and the light infantry probably had lost just as many. We counted over thirty dead of the enemy, among whom was a staff officer. The jäger detachment was assigned its post at Gibbes's plantation, and the entire army moved into camp at a distance of a good quarter hour behind the plantation. Colonel Webster and his brigade covered the rear."

Note how the main action centers around the flèche. The only thing required to replicate this scenario would be some sort of fortified position to act as the objective. For our purposes, a simple brush pile or abatis, a row of cheveaux de frize, or even an artillery emplacement could substitute for the flèche. Also note that the flèche changed hands a total of four times during this skirmish and the artillery doesn't come into play until late in the action. Ewald indicates very few casualties were taken -- about 80 out of perhaps 2,000 total troops engaged, which figures to around four percent.

A battle scenario like this one would make a fun, exiting, and educational departure from our typical tactical demonstrations. Ask your favorite field commander to give it a try!

SOURCE: Diary of the American War A Hessian Journal, Captain Johann Ewald. Translated and edited by Joseph P. Tustin, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 1979, p. 218-219, March 29, 1780.