Sunday, 23 July 2017

Hope returns

This week saw the conclusion of Steve's AWI scenario.  Once again, here is the map of the terrain.

Beginning on the American left, the anticipated British attack on Hope struck home.  There was no time for a defensive volley as the two sides were immediately locked in a bloody struggle.  First the Americans gained an advantage, but the British then hit back.  Possession of the boundary wall was bitterly contested, but eventually, as if by mutual consent the two battered units fell back to recover; honours even.  However, there was no rest for the British as they were hit by a volley from a militia unit sent  by Clayton to support the troops in Hope.  Undeterred, the British turned about and fired such an accurate volley that the militia were driven back over the ridge.  Taking advantage of this diversion, Appleton moved the defenders of Hope up to the boundary wall and their volley tore great holes in the British ranks.  The cumulative effect of their casualties proved too much for the British infantry and they broke, running up the road towards their lines.  With the immediate threat to Hope removed, Appleton re-deployed his artillery to cover his left, particularly the open ground beyond the wood.  It was provident he did so as the militia riflemen came tumbling out of the trees, followed closely by the British Grenadiers.  The rifles struggled to reform on the ridge, sheltered by (an admittedly nervous) line of militia.  They were heartened by the sight of the advancing grenadiers being shredded by two salvoes from the artillery and added two volleys of their own which drove back the grenadiers into the wood.

In the centre Von Bingen continued to push towards Feather Ridge.  His Hessian jaegers got the better of Clayton's riflemen, who were driven back over the ridge again, but could make no impression on the Continentals on the ridge.  Indeed, the jaegers themselves were driven back and once the fusiliers were exposed to the fire of the militia on the ridge they too fell back to rally.  The Hessian musketeers restored the balance by driving back the Continental infantry, but then succumbed to fire from the American artillery.  Neither side could win a decisive advantage and the battle swung one way and then the other.  Von Bingen tried to gain the advantage by advancing from the section of Hope he controlled up onto the ridge.  The grenadiers led the way, but moved only a short distance before they were swept by volleys from the troops Appleton had moved to cover the road to Philadelphia.  The musketeers following them met the same fate, both units falling back into Hope to rally.  An attempt by Clayton to eject the Hessians came to nothing as his militia could make no impression in the face of volleys and determined resistance.

On the American right Brown was experiencing mixed fortunes.  He had managed to regain control of the Mills House and his other infantry had advanced to support this.  However, his militia had been unable to stand against the fire of the British line battalions (Fraser's Highlanders in particular causing heavy casualties).  This left his right flank 'in the air' as the militia had fallen back to the ridge to rally.  To try and stabilise his front, Trimble's Light Dragoons wee ordered forward.  As they advanced they saw the troops holding the Mills House running from the building, driven back by deadly volleys from Arbuthnot's men.  Undeterred, they charged home on the leading British infantry and scattered them.

 With their blood up they galloped on, but met Fraser's Highlanders.  This unit provided a much sterner test.  Already disordered by their previous melee, the American  cavalry were jolted by a close range volley.  In the ensuing melee their reduced numbers proved decisive, defeated and driven back, a further volley from Fraser's ensured that they took no further part in the battle.

Back on the American left, Appleton, decided to advance his riflemen again to oppose Carruthers' riflemen.  As they moved forward Carruthers ordered forward his light dragoons.  Sensing an easy victory the British cavalry charged the American rifles.  The British cavalry had already suffered significant casualties and this proved decisive.  Against the odds, the rifles prevailed  and as the British fell back they were hit by volleys from the infantry holding Hope, totally destroying them.

This proved almost the end of fighting on this flank, as Carruthers' brigade had suffered well over 50% casualties.  For his part, Appleton was content to hold his position, most of his units having suffered significant casualties.

The decisive action took place on the opposite flank.  Brown was still trying to rally his militia units. Harrison had galloped over to try and help, rallying the former defenders of the Mill's House.  These now moved forward into the gap created by the departing Light Dragoons.  Brown's leading units now found themselves almost surrounded.  The leading unit of militia suffered casualties from Arbuthnot's men around the Mills House.  They were then sent reeling by a volley from the combined light companies.  As they fell back another volley from the Mills House totally routed them.  The other leading regiment was forced back by volleys from Fraser's and now Brown had all his remaining units in retreat.

Fortunately for the weary soldiers on both sides, gathering darkness now led to a cessation of hostilities.  Harrison had managed to hold his position, but his men had paid a heavy price, most units were below half strength in the ranks.  Clayton had performed well, holding back the Hessians and helping Appleton when necessary.

General Clarke, once he received the returns from his brigade commanders decided that at least a day's halt would be required to distribute ammunition, treat the numerous wounded and bury the dead.  Harrison was therefore able to fall back unhindered to the next blocking position.

A very close battle due to Steve's well-balanced scenario.  He tried a new version of the brigade morale which related to units lost, rather than accumulated damage points as previously.  This meant that we had more units available for longer. (In the end only six units in total were lost).  This seemed to avoid the sudden collapse of a wing which tended to decide the game.

Here are a few photos of the position at the end of the game

Clayton on Feather Ridge

Brown's shattered brigade

The American position by Hope

The gallant defenders of Hope


  1. Fantastic narrative. Just like reading a historical account. Remind me what rules you are using?

  2. We use the Patriots and Loyalists rules. The principal change is to use d20 rather than d10 (link