Tuesday 2 November 2021

Battle of Brandywine

 Our last W.I.G. game was Brandywine and we had five players a side for this one. British : Me, Mike, Steve M, Ian and Stefan.  Americans : Steve C, Mark, Allan, Rafael and Graham.

The British have to force their way across the fords and defeat Washington's forces protecting the approaches to Philadelphia. In the real battle, Knyphausen's Hessians did this whilst Howe and the bulk of the British forces made an outflanking march around the American right flank.

In our game, we British commanders decided to send the two Hessian brigades to do the outflanking move whilst the British forces attempted the crossing.

The Americans were not sure if we would attempt a flank attack but we agreed to give them one turn's notice - they would have seen the dust of the approaching columns no doubt !

A view along the Brandywine showing the fords the British must cross. American forces are already on the table.

This is the view from the other end (where the Hessians will appear later)

American troops keep a watchful eye on the crossings

In this scenario, they were allowed up to 2 feet on.

American commanders discuss their situation !

They are keen to advance some units as close to the fords as time will allow

but here come the British ! It takes a turn to cross the water and they are disordered whilst this happens

More troops cross on the British left

Opposite, an American brigade awaits them on the high ground

British Loyalist troops approach the centre ford

No British can be seen over on the American left flank, leaving the commanders wondering whether to switch their forces or wait and see

It is eerily quiet over there

American skirmishers enter the big woods on the American right

Whereas the Continentals stay put on the hills

British troops "shake out" into line once they have crossed the fords

The Continentals fold back their lines as they see the first of the Hessians arrive on their flank

More British infantry prepare to cross the fords

British grenadiers wade across in the face of advancing American regiments

and the British Loyalist cavalry crosses further to their right

and without further ado they attempt a charge

and get shot to bits for their efforts !

The lead Grenadier battalion advances despite facing five enemy regiments !

The Hessians are now attacking in strength on the American right flank

So the Americans decide to send their cavalry across to support this sector

An American brigade prepares to defend their right of centre position

as the British lines advance steadily

Recognising that there will be no British attack across the right hand fords, American troops are released to support the centre

The remaining Loyalist cavalry charge the regiment to their front (despite having seen their sister regiment flee earlier)

British artillery is now deployed and firing over the other side of the Brandywine

The British grenadiers now receive some support as a second battalion joins them

and the third smaller battalion has successfully crossed the ford

British troops spread out further towards right of centre in an effort to support the Grenadiers left flank

and another brigade skirts the woods to add their weight to the centre

British and Hessian troops have forced the high ground and the American right is in jeopardy

More British infantry have crossed the ford and swung out on the Grenadiers right

The Americans feel themselves getting squeezed back on their right and centre

and British infantry sweep forwards on the centre right

Washington's concerns are mounting 

The Continentals on the American right have broken and fled

At this point, Washington declares the game up and announces the Americans are withdrawing.

We made our customary exit for the Rose & Crown pub after clearing away.

Tuesday 12 October 2021

Quatre Bras - the first Writtle Independent Gamers (W.I.G.) weekday big game

 Now most of our group are "of a certain age" i.e., retired and gainfully unemployed (!) and enjoy big battles fought using Black Powder, we came to realise that instead of hogging all the space at our Sunday Essex Warriors club, we could afford to set up games in the hall on a week day for a very reasonable rate and spread out as much as the rear of the hall allowed.  I have to admit this idea was "cooked up" in a pub some time ago and took time to be realised - but here we are !

So, we kicked off in September with the Quatre Bras scenario in the Albion Triumphant 100 Days booklet. Four French players and four Allied.

Gemioncourt farm was garrisoned by a small Dutch-Belgian Jager unit which defied all attempts by the French to eject them - in the end, the French decided to ignore them and press on - but it had cost the French quite a few casualties before they decided on this course of action !

French brigades advance right of Gemioncourt

as a much swifter advance on the French left develops

British troops line the hedgerows and one Dutch-Belgian horse battery is up on the high ground ahead of the Allied lines

Here we can see Bob, Steve and Martin on the left (French) and Stefan, Mike and Mark (Allies) watching the action

a French brigade swings round towards woods occupied by Rifles out on the Allied left

but the main thrust, understandably, is towards the centre and Quatre Bras cross roads

Here you can see the pressure building on Kempt's and Pack's brigades situated on the Allied left

The foremost French attack is facing the Hanoverians behind the hedges out by the windmill

Both sides had reinforcements arriving at set times - and the French had to see if a brigade was called away to help elsewhere (and it did, so they chose a light cavalry brigade as this was having little impact here)

Crunch ! A French brigade charges the Allied front line to the left of Quatre Bras

as a second brigade does the same beside them

Brunswick Hussars make their way through the narrow streets of Quatre Bras

Here we see the Hanoverians holding the line right of the village

British battalions join in the fight to stem the French attacks on the Allied left

A Scots battalion gives closing fire

and now the Brunswick infantry march on with Uhlans beside them - this was a daunting sight for the French attackers !

the French have brought up artillery on their right but have little to shoot at as their infantry are fighting in front of them

this is also a problem for the French infantry brigades coming up - there is no room for them unless the brigades ahead of them falter and fall back

this is the high tide of the French attacks but the Allies refuse to budge

a French cuirassier brigade now moves up towards Quatre Bras 

as more French infantry are thrown forward towards the Hanoverian position

A rare photo from beyond the French left - the windmill is visible on the left

An impressive sight - French columns executing the Pas de Charge

The Dutch-Belgian horse battery has been destroyed and the cuirassiers are intent on charging the crossroads

Closing fire by the Hanoverians

Hold firm, lads ! (The Brunswick Hussars are unable to proceed beyond the village for some reason)

The cuirassiers charge a Dutch-Belgian battalion which gets into square just but they are disorganised

but they hold for now 

The Hanoverians have seen off the attack to their front and the French have pulled back

Dutch Hussars tangle with French Chasseurs a Cheval

The French baggage and wounded sit beside a small farmhouse back on the French start line

The cuirassiers have failed to break through and the Allies have stubbornly held on all day

At this point, the French concede as at no time have they managed to break the Allied lines - and more to the point, by this time, the Rose & Crown was expecting us !

All in all, a good day and this bodes well for the future. We hope more players will be able to attend in the future for what will be a monthly big game.

October will be an AWI game - so watch this space !