Sunday, October 13, 2013

Don Featherstone Memorial Battle

Yesterday, saturday October 12th, 11 members of the Dutch Miniature Wargaming Facebook page got together in Zutphen and staged a spectacular battle. 

Two traditions of recent origin got together on this day. First, this was to be an evolution of the Wargame Beer Fests the members had staged on a smaller scale the previous year. Expanding from beer to wargaming would surely be a great improvement? The number of attendees proved us right! 

Secondly, we felt that honouring the recently deceased Donald Featherstone with a dedicated memorial  game would be a fitting way to pay homage to this grand- and godfather of tabletop wargaming, as have done many other wargamers all over the world in the past months. To add some formalities we played a Horse & Musket game, with 1/72 plastic figures while the players dressed in (at least) shirts-and-ties (All wore more clothes as well, fortunately....) 

Here the group assembles for a full dress group photograph overlooking the battlefield of 1st Saratoga: the battle of Freeman's Farm. Many thanks to Christy for taking the picture!

British (left) and Americans (right) ponder plans and gauge eachother's readiness....

General Arvid makes a forceful argument for the British battleplan.

The Americans look a little sceptical. What can they expect? Their historical counterparts dealt the British a heavy blow, so the bar is placed high in this game. The world is watching....

Doubt seems to haunt the British....

Dismissing any doubts, British columns march unto the field. On the opposite side, Continentals and militia scramble to take their positions. Light infantry and marksmen occupy the ground between the armies.

Frantic actvity on the American side.

General Jasper explains to General Hans Burgoyne why the Americans have just sealed their fate...

We played the game using the Black Powder rules and used the Freeman's Farm scenario as written, only with different rules for the British reinforcements in the person of Von Riedesel's column. Von Riedesel would be marching alongside Burgoyne in the distance and would only start marching towards the sound of the guns as soon as he heard them. Unbeknowst to both parties, it would take Von Riedesel (a Generalship 8 officer) at least 10 actions to reach the uper table edge. He might reach the table in as little as 4 turns, or many more....

Here British units on the right wing advance towards the American line, executing the hammer part of the British hammer-and-anvil battleplan. Swinging their right wing and center full force against the Americans and pinning the American right against the Farm, they hope to overwhelm the strongest American Brigade of general Poor.

"Oh my god..." thinks General Peter Arnold on the right: "Gates just might have been right after all...."

General Joop explains to Reinout that all options are nevertheless still open. 

An impressive Continental battle line faces some remarkably tenacious Indians and marksmen who held on to their ground despite being completely exposed and in the open. Shaken, but never stirred!

The British center comes to grips with their American counterparts. The British gun in the middle does its bloody work. The militia melts away...

It makes you proud to be British! 

The American side starts exchanging increasingly worried looks. Poor's Brigade starts looking poorer by the minute...

Heated debating. General Arvid has even lost his tie, most likely carried away by a stray bullet....

Here the British grenadiers, having brushed away the first American units with cold steel and some hot charging prepare to deal the final blow to the American center. Poor's brigade crumbles completely, leaving Morgan's handful to defend the farm with the help of Learned's wandering Brigade. 

And then came The End....

Just as General Rene Learned's troops have finally rallied (after about 8 missed command rolls and at least one blunder) and advance on the British left Von Riedesel arrives in his rear and shatters his brigade with deadly Hessian musketry! This seals the fate of the American army. Liberty may yet be a little further away than anticipated. Who likes tea that much anyway....?

General Burgoyne ponders his latest victory with soothing thoughts of brandy and that fox hunt he has promised himself.

The afternoon was suitably concluded with dinner and Christy's incomparable chili and bread pudding; more than enough for everyone! 

Many many thanks to Jasper who made the location possible, Christy for photos, inviting us all for dinner and your charming company and everyone for their impeccable sportsmanlike behaviour and good spirit, all of which made this a completely succesful day! And to Jack the Labrador for not eating one single soldier! 


  1. Great looking game Gentlemen and in the honour of the "Don" Don Featherstone, was a joy to read!

  2. Great write up JW. And thanks for fielding all your forces and terrain for this battle !

  3. Very nice looking 1/72 tribute game, especially the classic-wargamer look with the shirts and ties :-)

  4. What a marvellous idea and tribute. An historically-based wargame that brought friends together for wargaming, fun and camaraderie, how better to recognise the impact of the man?!!