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Monday, April 16, 2012

Battle Road 2012

That is me at the far right in the red coat
Battle Road usually marks the official start of the battle reenactment season. As the first part of the day is at Minuteman  National Park there are some oddities. The Park service calls reenactments "tactical demonstrations" I'm not sure what they have against the term reenactment but there you have it. Now they also believe that its disrespectful in some way(?) for us to shoot directly at the red coats and and for them to shoot directly at us.  So the result is we engage at relatively long range and oblique our fire a bit to the right or left so that opposing lines do not actually shoot at one another.  To someone watching the event it should look like the troops are engaging but they really are not. Simulating deaths is also not allowed on park property for the same reason... I'm not a fan of either policy but its a lot better then what used to happen.  Back in the late 90's both sides would fire a "ceremonial" volley one after the other but they would not actually see each other leaving reenactors annoyed and spectators confused.
Francis, Will and Steven taking a break.

This year 4th Middlesex was at the far side of the orchard field to the right of Hartwell tavern.  This provided us with the awesome experience of hearing the 'battle' approach us.  Reenactors often talk about an experience called "period rush" a feeling just for a few seconds or a minute that you have time traveled back to what you are portraying. Well listening to single shots and volleys ringing out for an indeterminate period of time, getting close but not seeing any thing beyond smoke hanging over the trees it was easy to imagine the men of 1775 in the same position. When the Redcoats did make their appearance we very quickly got off 10 rounds (all we had be issued) and then fell back as they came on.

The fight at Tower Park was fairly standard except that my unit was in the field at the start and I hope we will get some more pictures as a result.  I was a regular grunt early on as we traded shots with the Redcoats slowly giving ground and falling back to the right into the woods.  Casualties are allowed here and as they mounted I was detached with 4 others to fill a whole that had opened up.  The action was very hot and we quickly found our selves running short of powder.  At one point with the 4th foot pressing in on us I actually resorted to having my party fire individual shots on my command so as to make sure we were not caught empty if the decided to push us. This sort of resource management is absent in most war games (and should be) but its one of those things that separates 'reality' form gaming.

The English moved on and we were "safe" so it was time to chase them (just what you want to do with an empty cartridge box) rejoining our company and becoming casualties to their rear guard.

Good start to the season. I hope to have more pictures to add soon.