Jackson Gamers' 1846 Mexican War Skirmish Game
Santa Anna's Coach
Using a variant of The Sword and the Flame rules set by Larry Brom

We played this game on May 19th, 2007 at HOBBYTOWN in Flowood Ms. Ed Sansing was the game-master.

In the usual confusion after the battle, the personal coach of General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna went missing. The General was most concerned about the location of this vehicle, since it contained the army's pay-chest with six thoursand dollars in gold inside it.

A force of infantry and cavalry along with two light guns was immediately sent back to the last miserable village of Agua Caliente to try to locate the coach. The American vanguard was almost up to the town, moving along the same road, but in the opposite direction.

Thus began our skirmish game. The Mexican players were Jay Stribling, Phil Young, and Bill Hamilton. Each commanded two platoons of infantry (20 figures per company) and two troops of cavalry (10-12 figures per troop).They came onto the table (mainly occupied by the town of Agua Caliente) from the west. Jay Stribling commanded the Mexican guns - to very little effect!

The Gringo players, Sean Pitts and Jim Pitts, each led a similar force but with only one unit of cavalry each. Each American player had one gun with four crewmen.

Photo and commentary by Jim Pitts

The American force advances. Commanded by Jim and Sean Pitts, it consisted of three platoons of regular infantry, one platoon of volunteer infantry, one troop of regulat dragoons, one platoon of mounted volunteer rifles, and two artillery pieces

Photo by Jim Pitts

The image is a bit fuzzy but it shows Phil Young's cavalry command riding into the center of Agua Caliente. Phil Young commanded the central Mexican force. Jay Stribling commanded the right flank and Bill Hamilton commanded the left flank.

Photo by Jim Pitts

The Mexican Hussars of the Supreme Powers lead Jay's left wing as it advance to face the Americans. The Tulacingo Cuirassiers ride behind the hussars. The militia infantry trails, out of sight in the dust.

Photo by Jim Pitts

Two troops of Bill's Mexican militia lancers flee after rashly attacking the U.S. Second dragoons. Bill's Mexican and Jim's American infantry have been trading shots while the cavalry clashed.

Photo by Jim Pitts

The village plaza is littered with the dead and wounded horses and lancers after the attack by Phil's Mexican cavalry. Most of the Mexican casualties are hidden behind the 25mm Fender Washers, on which they are mounted.

Sean's American regulars and Jim's artillery had turned the plaza into an abbatoir when the lancers foolishly attacked them.

Photo by Jim Pitts

Jay's right wing mexican cavalry and infantry are beautifully arrayed, but did virtually nothing against Sean's volunteer mounted rifles and volunteer infantry who faced them. Phil's Mexican grenadiers, in red coats, can be seen occupying part of the village.

Photo by Jim Pitts

Sean's volunteer infantry, supported by volunteer mounted rifles opposed Stribling's command. The rules that we used, Larry Brom's The Sword and the Flame are shown in the background, along with the deck of playing cards, used to sequence movement and firing.

Photo by Jim Pitts

Another view of the dead littering the plaza, this time from the Mexican perspective. With an American infantry platoon and two guns controlling the plaza, the Mexicans were fearful of entering it again.

Photo by Jim Pitts

As some of Bill's Mexican infantry sluggishly move forward as one of Phil's men drives Santa Ana's coach away from the Americans. Since there were 6,000 dollars in gold coins in the carraige, the Mexicans were determined to get control of it so they could get paid!

Photo by Jim Pitts

Some of Jim's regular infantry surround and eventually defeat Phil's unit of Mexican light infantry while Bill Hamilton's Mexican infantry look helplessly at a stalwart line of regulars facing them.

Photo by Jim Pitts

Jim's gun fires across the plaza at a unit of Jay's Mexican infantry fuzzily visible through the dust. Unfortunatelt the shell buried itself in some loose sand and only one Mexican infantryman was wounded.

Photo by Jim Pitts

A detachment of Phil Young's grenadiers charge out of the shelter of their buildings trying to overrun Sean's gun. But they were leaderless and couldn't bring them selves to close with the Americans, fleeing instead back towards their own rear.

So - Who won this little action?

That depends on your point of view. We played 8 turns - as I recall. From a strict interpretation of the victory conditions, the Mexican forces found the carriage of General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna and got it off the table. However, the gringos inflicted many MANY more casualties than they received, so they are entitled to boast of a victory.

We went out for tacos and argued about it during the meal!

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