On Sunday my buddy JJ was in town for business, and so I took the opportunity to schedule a Combat Patrol™ game with some of the HAWKs. The Mexican American War is largely overlooked by gamers, but it provides excellent gaming opportunities. We used the soon-to-be-released Napoleonic supplement for Combat Patrol™, written by Duncan Adams. While written for WWII, with a few adaptations, the rules work well for black powder era games.
The scenario was inspired by some readings of naval “cutting out” parties sent to capture and sail away with Mexican ships. In this scenario there was a ground assault by the Army along with a naval cutting out party in small boats.
The ships were moored at docks in a small Mexican village upstream from the Gulf of Mexico. The Mexicans thought that their mission was to protect the supplies in the town against US attempts to steal or burn them. They were allowed to place themselves anywhere on the map, but no two units could be within 18 inches of each other.
The American plan was to launch a feint from one edge of the table on land. This was designed to pull the Mexican from the town. Then they would launch the rest of the land forces and the naval landing party from the other end of the table. The American objective was less about the supplies and more about seizing a Mexican ship.
During the war, the Mexicans had very poor quality control in the manufacture of gun powder and used inferior bullets. As a result, their fire accuracy was very poor. To represent this, I gave most of the Mexican units an Accuracy rating of Green (possible ratings are elite, regular, or green). Also, as these forces were not main line Mexican soldiers, most of them had a Guts rating of Green as well (possible ratings are elite, regular, or green). Most of the Americans had an Accuracy of Regular and a Guts of Regular; although, there were a few that were rated as Elite.
The American plan was partially successful. Many of the Mexican units redeployed toward the advancing American feint. The Mexicans, however, were suspicious that there were more Americans coming from somewhere, so the left a couple of units on the ships and a couple more facing the other table edges.
Some of the Mexican cavalry had been deployed facing the board edge where the American feint entered. Duncan quickly found himself outnumbered three to one and tried to disengage. He forgot that cavalry gets to draw two movement cards, not one, and so spent a long time trying to get his lancers out of the woods. Eventually, the three US infantry units were able to gun them down with surprisingly accurate musket fire.
With the Mexican cavalry destroyed, the US infantry faced little opposition advancing toward the town. It was about at this time that the naval cutting out party arrived. Sadly I didn’t get any pictures of the sailors climbing aboard the first Mexican ship and engaging in hand-to-hand combat. In typical fashion for our club, the folks with the best odds failed and the folks with the worst odds succeeded. (Many of us are notorious in several states for bad dice — or in the case of Combat Patrol™, cards). The sailors climbed aboard the ship and did well clearing the decks.
Additional US infantry advanced into the town and managed to set fire to one pile of supplies. At this point, JJ had to head to the airport, so we called the game a draw. The Mexicans had retained the majority of their supplies, but it was likely the Americans were going to get away with one boat.
The Napoleonic supplement worked quite well for this game, and I am anxious to put the Mexican American figures on the table again soon. Watch for the FREE supplement to be released in late December or early January. We are just doing the final edits and formatting.