Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Conwy Wargames Club Battle of Brandywine 1777

The first game of 2016 was January's Conwy Wargames Club meeting. Pete M had put together a scenario from the British Grenadier rules adapted for use with the Black Powder rules to refight the British main attack at the battle of Brandywine.

General Howe's strategy for 1777 involved marching a large British and Hessian army across Pennsylvania to threaten the rebel capital of Philadelphia. He hoped this would force Washington to face him in battle. They met at Brandywine Creek with Washington in a defensive position.

Howe devised an ambitious plan. He divided his army, tasking General Knyphausen to take half the troops and towards Washington and pin him in place while Cornwallis and Howe marched the rest of the army to the rebel right flank to descend on their rear.

Washington was taken by surprise, but like New York managed to escape with his army.

Our battle recreates the scratch defence Washington put together to hold up the British flank attack.

8x4ft board. Play was along the length of the board. A road ran length ways down the middle of the board representing the Dilworth to Sconneltown road.

The Americans 1/3 of the board which included a cross roads with building representing Birmingham Meeting House. The short length road ran down to the Brandywine Creek on the American left. To the left of the cross roads was a fence with could provide cover.

The creek was classed as fordable everywhere.

The British had 1 brigade deployed up to 1ft in and the remaining brigades coming on the board marching up the road.

All the Americans were deployed on the board in and to the sides of the Birmingham meeting house. 1 brigade was positioned marching up the road.

To drive the Americans from their positions, breaking as many units as possible and reaching their table edge.

Prevent the British forces reaching your table edge.

Order of Battle
British - Major General Cornwallis - Staff rating 9
Cornwallis - Staff rating 9
16th light dragoons
42nd Light infantry - tiny
1st and 2nd Light infantry (2 battalions)
Hessian Jager - small

Edward Matthew - Staff rating 8
1st and 2nd Guards (2 battalions)
Guards Light infantry - small

William Meadows - Staff rating 8
1st and 2nd Grenadiers (2 battalions)
Royal Artillery 6pdr

The above 3 brigades were managed as a single brigade for moral purposes.

Colonel E Donop - Staff rating 9
Lengerde battalion
Linsing battalion
Minnergeode battalion
Hesse Cassel 3pder artillery

Major General Agnew - staff rating 8
33rd, 37th, 46th, 64th Foot (4 battalions)
Royal Artillery 6pdr

The following reinforcements didn't make it to the board
Major General Grey - Staff rating 9
15th, 33rd, 44th, 55th Foot (4 battalions)

American - Major General Sullivan - Staff rating 6
William Woodford - Staff rating 7
3rd VA - small
7th and 11th VA (2 battalions)
6 pdr artillery

Charles Scott - Staff rating 7
4th VA
8/12th VA
Grayson Patton
3pdr artillery

General De Borre - Staff rating 6
2/4th Regiment
6th Regiment
German Regiment
2nd Canadian
6pdr artillery

William Alexandra - Staff rating 7
3/6th PA
9/12th PA
NJ Skirmishers
3rd NJ

Colonel John Stone  - Staff rating 8
1/3 Regiment
5/7 Regiment
3pdr artillery

How it played

Alex and myself commanded the Americans. Alex controlled General De Borre and Colonel John Stone and I the others.

The British were commanded by Dave, with Pete N commanding the Grenadiers and Chris the Lights, and Dickey the Guards
The American set up

Birmingham meeting house

The cross roads

The Americans have a brigade is column on the road commanded by William Alexandra

American left flank commanded by Colonel Stone

British right flank

British centre

British light infantry with the Guards behind

British grenadiers

Turn 1 and the American deploy their column off the road and the British advance

The British artillery opens fire

The American General De Borre's troops line the road and man the buildings on one side of the road

The Grenadiers keep moving forward

British skirmishers cover the advance of the Guards

Despite the American musketry and artillery fire the British keep advancing. By now the British had masked their own guns who fell silent. The lack of transport for guns on both sides really hampered their use.

Not sure we should allowed deploying in the stream. The dice show casualties. An interesting dilemma occurred in the game illustrated in this picture. The American and British units are all classed as standard size and clearly their frontages did not match. We therefore for melee purposes only allowed 1 unit to face off against 1 unit otherwise the British would have faced 2 standard sized American units to their 1. The discrepancy occurred because Pete used the force sizes for British Grenadier, which would have coped with the different sizes.

Alexandra's reserve brigade moves more to the left as the Grenadiers crunch in to Colonel Stones troops. Alexndra's skirmishers are seen moving back to the right to occupy a building

The lines meet

Lots of dice indicating mounting casualties but at this stage they are spread out across units

The American right hand brigade is pushed back. The British still hold the houses and the Americans have a second line.

The Chris's British break the American right hand brigade commanded by me but my second line stands. On the left a battalion of Grenadiers has dissolved from the combined artillery and musket fire followed up by a charge.

Chris's troops ready to advance but they have fresh Americans to their front and occupied houses to enfilade them on their right.

The victorious British keep on charging but come off the worst in the next melee. The red dice shows 4 stamina hits and the white 2 excess hits

Colonel Donop and his Germans arrive on the road.

Closely followed by a British brigade

The American centre comes under pressure but still holds. The British Grenadiers are pushed back.

The American right stabilises

The British focus on the American centre

The British left attacks

... and is thrown back

Some very tired gunners push their piece towards the fight

The heroic American guns hang on 

The British left advances again

The Americans see them off in the same old style

The American left starts to sort itself out having been driven back

The last line of defence Alexandra's brigade

The British left charges home

The British batter the houses and shore up their right flank 

The British attack on the centre

The guns arrive as the first British brigades break

The rear of the fresh British brigade on table. At the end of the game the British had 2 more brigades to come on.

Great game with lots of action. Victory went to the Americans as the British were unable to breakthrough and exit the American end of the board. The Americans had lost 1 brigades and the British lost 1 brigade, but it was their initial force which equivalent in size to 2.5 American brigades. The Americans had 1 fresh brigade, 1 not so fresh and 2 badly bruised brigades left against 4 fresh British brigades.