Saturday, 2 September 2017

The Battle of Springfield 23rd June 1780

Steve and I fought this AWI battle on Thursday at my place, using Black Powder rules and the Rebellion supplement.

The British C-in-C was Lt. General Wilhelm Kynphausen with six brigades : Hessian Jaegers & 2 troops of 17th Light Dragoons under Colonel Wurmb, 37th & 38th Foot plus 2 6pdrs under an unidentified brigade commander, Colonel Lossberg with 3 Hessian infantry units plus a 4pdr gun.

In addition to this, Major General Edward Matthew had Colonel Howard's Guards (1st & 2nd Battalions plus a Light Company), Colonel Simcoe's Queen's Rangers Cavalry & Infantry plus Brigadier Cortland Skinner's New Jersey Volunteers with a RA 3pdr gun.

Up against them are Major General Nathaniel Greene playing a holding action with six brigades as follows :- Maxwell's New Jersey Brigade (2 regiments), Startk's Continentals (2 units plus a 6pdr gun), Israel Angell with a Rhode Island Regiment & a New Jersey unit & 6 per (all Continentals), Philemon Dickson's Militia (3 regiments plus a 6 pdr), Major Henry Lee's Legion infantry and cavalry plus a New Jersey Regiment, and finally Nathaniel Heard's Militia (2 regiments plus skirmishers).

Quite a clash !  Kynphausen has to try and smash his way through and disperse the enemy, Greene has to try and hold the line, to protect Washington's main force which is retreating behind him.

This view shows Dickinson's brigade occupying high ground on the American right, Angell's men are beyond them in and around Springfield village.

This is the view from the British side of the bridge leading to Springfield, British skirmishers line the river either side of the bridge.

Another bridge over the River Rahway sits on the British right flank, giving access to Vauxhall village.

It is here that the action starts - General Matthew sends forwards the light troops from Howard and Skinners commands. Skinner's artillery can also be seen.

Here's a clearer view of Angell's command defending Springfield. Beyond the church in the background, Maxwell and Starks commands are in reserve conveniently next to a tavern !

This is Dickinson's men as seen from the river line.

Facing them are 17th Light Dragoons - Hessian Jaegers are ahead of them, wading across the river.

Lee's skirmishers guard the bridge on the American left. Heard's men are seen in the background.

37th & 38th Foot are now thrown across the river left of the Springfield bridge

As Wurmb's Hessian Jaegers reach the other side and head towards a small stream

Lee's and Heard's men wait to fight for Vauxhall.

The Hessian foot have pushed through their light comrades and charge the hill.

Dickinson's skirmishers wisely retreat behind the Militia.

One Militia unit has entreated off the hill but the Hessians have been beaten back.

The Hessian reserve regiment now charges on the left,

gets to the crest of the hill, and receives fire.

The 37th Foot progress across a wheat field straight for Angell's infantry.

Over on the British right, the New Jersey Volunteers have crossed the river watched by Guards light troops.

And the Queen's Rangers are not to be outdone - they cross the river besides the Springfield bridge.

Battle rages on Dickinson's hill - the red mini dice show the casualties mounting up.

The 37th Foot have reached the fence line and one of Angell's units has fled !

Now the Guards battalions are committed to the fray as the New Jersey men have fled - they cross the Vauxhall bridge.

Simcoe's Queen's Rangers reach the fence line over the Rahway.

Dickinson's men have prevailed - the Hessians have gone !

Queen's Rangers cavalry move up to support their infantry.

The 37th have turned towards Springfield just as Maxwell's men arrive in the distance.

As the Guards start to form up on the other side of the bridge, Lee's cavalry appear

and charge straight into combat - with great success. The Guards are on their limit of 4 casualties after one round of melee !

The American reserves are now marching towards Vauxhall.

But Angell's men have fled Springfield !

The American right holds despite pot shots from the Jaegers.

In the centre, 38th Foot try to close up to support 37th Foot as the Queen's Rangers cross the ploughed field.

Maxwell sees this and amends his orders.

2nd Guards attack Heard's men who have crossed the river supported by Lee's infantry - the 1st Guards are still locked in combat with Lee's cavalry.

The impossible has happened - the 1st Guards break and Lee's amazing cavalry retreat disorganised but what a coup !

After so long in reserve, 17th Light Dragoons are now charging Dickinson's hill.

38th Foot have reached the fence line to support 38th but Stark's brigade has just arrived behind Springfield.

The 17th Light Dragoons have broken one Militia unit but become disorganised from musket fire.

Now Hear's men have gained a Guards scalp - the 2nd Guards have broken too.

The 37th & 38th are firmly in control of the centre for now but Stark's men get nearer.

At this point, Maxwell's men have turned their attentions to the Queen's Rangers, inflicting fire on them.

Maxwell follows this up with a charge order

The Queen's Rangers are disorganised and casualties mounting.

38th Foot are getting fire from Stark's gun and infantry. 

Undeterred, the second troop of 17th Light Dragoons is ordered to charge through their disordered comrades.

Take the hill !

37th Foot have pulled back to conform to a line with 38th and the Queen's Rangers.

The charge goes in against the Militia who are buckling.

Sabres against muskets !

Stark's infantry have hit the Queen's Rangers

and the melee is won

The Rangers flee.

The British Light Dragoons have beaten the American militia but have reached their casualty limit. They will have to pull back to reform.

However, one of Dickinson's militia units has charged the Jaegers beside the hill and defeats them.

By this point, Knyphausen realises he is vulnerable - the Americans are going to roll up his right flank and Springfield is now held by Maxwell and Stark and they are hitting the 38th Foot hard. The success of the Light Dragoons is not enough to save the day, his troops are ordered to pull back behind the Rahway.

This game swung backwards and forwards and Steve had to leave before we could conclude it, so the latter stages were fought solo on Friday evening to bring the game to a proper end.

More Black Powder on Sunday at Writtle - Napoleonic period next though.

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