Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Hope on the road to Philadelphia, an AWI scenario

Steve hosted the game this week and set up an AWI scenario.  This had the rebels falling back towards Philadelphia and taking up a defensive position on the Feather Ridge near the settlement of Hope.  The settlement itself sits astride one of the roads to Philadelphia.

Sketch map of table layout
When the scenario opens General Harrison has one brigade (Clayton's) in position on the ridge and the brigades of Appleyard (on the left) and Brown (on the right),  making their best speed along the roads to take up positions on the flanks.  Each brigade contains a mix of Continental and militia infantry and a gun.  Brown also has a unit of light dragoons (Trimble's).

Clayton's brigade in position on Feather Ridge

Carruthers' brigade on the British right advances on Hope

The pursuing British forces are also divided into three brigades (from left to right, Arbuthnot, von Bingen and Carruthers).  Harrison's orders are to stop, or at least delay the British advance.  Clarke, the British commander has orders to press on to Philadelphia at his best speed.

Appleton's men defend Hope

Both Appleton and Brown have positioned their riflemen in the woods on their respective flanks and these began a harassing fire as the British troops began to enter the table.  For their part, Carruthers and Arbuthnot deployed their light infantry forward to try and screen the regular line infantry.  Whilst Arbuthnot's converged light companies made steady progress and forced Brown's riflemen to fall back through the woods, Carruthers' riflemen struggled.  When the fire from rebel skirmishers was supplemented by volleys from one of Appleton's Continental battalions increasing casualties forced the riflemen to fall back to rally.  Carruthers had to call on his elite grenadier battalion to 'steady the ship' and their line of steadily advancing bayonets 'encouraged'  the rebels skirmishers to fall back.

The Hessian advance
In the centre, Clayton had kept his skirmishers close to the ridge, so they were unable to hinder the deployment of Von Bingen's Hessians.  Nevertheless, the obstacle of the woods slowed the advance of the Hessian line battalions and for a time the jaegers were unsupported.  This did not seem to concern their Colonel, who pushed forward aggressively, forcing Clayton's skirmishers to withdraw when their losses mounted.  Harrison took the opportunity to trot over to Clayton and 'suggested' that perhaps an advance by one of his line battalions may force the jaeger back.

The converged light companies
Brown's skirmishers had by now been forced back by the converged light companies and the Continental battalion deployed in and around the Mills House was being attacked by two regular line battalions from Arbuthnot's brigade.  Brown had intended to make a stand on the ridge, but saw that his front line was unsupported and therefore ordered his two militia battalions forward.  His artillery remained on the ridge where it had a good field of fire.

The British on the outskirts of Hope
Clarke's plan was now becoming clear to Harrison (or so he thought).  The main effort seemed to be towards the settlement of Hope.  Von Bingen had committed his grenadiers and musketeers   to a frontal attack whilst Carruthers had two battalions advancing down the road, with his light dragoons covering the area between the road and the wood.  The first to suffer were the Light Dragoons.  They were staggered by a volley from the rebels in Hope and then sent reeling backwards by further volleys from the militia on the ridge.  As the hapless horsemen attempted to rally they suffered further casualties from Appleton's artillery.  For the time being they were out of the battle.  Appleton's artillery now turned its attention to the infantry columns approaching Hope.  As the range shortened the nearest unit suffered heavy casualties and was forced to fall back to rally.  General Clarke galloped across to assist Carruthers in re-establishing order in his brigade.  The second battalion sensing that speed was of the essence, increased its pace and outflanked the battery before it could reload.  Turning smartly to its flank it now threatened to drive the defenders from the lefthand part of Hope.  In response, Appleton moved two battalions over to counter this threat, though this left a single militia battalion to hold the ridge.

The imminent flank attack on Hope
Von Bingen's grenadiers approached the righthand sector of Hope and  began to fire volleys at the militia defending it.  At first their fire seemed to be having no effect, other than to sends chips of wood flying from the cabins' walls.  However, when a musketeer battalion added their fire the weight of shot proved decisive and the militia were seen streaming back up and over the ridge.  Clayton responded by sending forward one of his battalions to contain the Hessian attack

Clayton sending forward reinforcements
It was at this point that the day's gaming came to a halt.  The action was nicely balanced, with a slight edge to the British.  However, a couple of volleys could change everything!


  1. Would love to have seen how a turn or two more played out. The balance is very good and an interesting scenario that might work well for other periods if an equivalent of the militia could be substituted.

  2. Ah - yes, part two follows.