Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Chadd's Ford: Maxwell's Delay - BatRep

Maxwell delays Knyphausen
The first phase of the Chadd's Ford battle begins.  As noted in the initial, set up posting (see Planning the Battle), Washington has arrayed his forces along the banks of Brandywine Creek to defend the fords.  Maxwell's brigade is scattered in an advanced position on the west bank of the Brandywine.  Greene covers Chadd's Ford while Sullivan protects Brinton's Ford.
Initial American Deployments
The British right wing under the command of General Knyphausen advances onto the table along the two roads heading east.  Kynphausen splits his command with Grant's brigade advancing towards Brinton's Ford while the general, himself, leads the remainder of his command down the road towards the Chadd's Ford crossing.  
Grant's Command
Knyphausen and Vaughn's Command
Sullivan's position overlooking Brinton's Ford
American guns overlooking Chadd's Ford
Greene's Command deployed around Chadd's farm
Greene at Chadd's Ford
Sullivan's at Brinton's Ford
With the bulk of the British right bearing down on Maxwell in such overwhelming numbers, I wondered why Maxwell would have taken up such an advanced position.  Was this deployment to delay the British from descending upon the creek before Washington's force was in place?  Did Washington plan on attacking across the Brandywine with Sullivan and Greene in an attempt to defeat the British right before the British left could engage?  Unsupported, surely Maxwell stands little chance of performing his task, does he?

Good questions.

Kynphausen's right column steps off with Ferguson's Rifles and Queen's Rangers in the van.  As the column approaches Kennett Square, the Queen's Rangers pour two volleys into Wayne's Light Infantry.  Wayne's L.I. takes casualties and retires from Kennett Square back to higher (and hopefully less hazardous) ground.
Queen's Rangers and Ferguson's Rifles lead the way
Wayne's Light Infantry
With numbers growing against him, Maxwell falls back to the heights overlooking the road. Both British columns press on towards the creek.
Vaughn with Knyphausen
Not having enemy opposition to his immediate front, Grant is able to push on towards the creek at a faster rate than Kynphausen.
Grant's column
As the firefight expands, Washington seizes the initiative.  Maxwell rides over to the Chester County Militia to rally them from disorder.  In skirmish fire exchanges, Ferguson's Rifles suffer from the fire of Wayne's L.I.
Maxwell delays the British right
The sound of volleys increases on the British right as the Queen's Rangers pour volley after volley into Greene's L.I.  Greene takes four hits, becomes shaken, passes its Discipline Test, and maintains its position on the high ground.

The bulk of Vaughn's command passes through Kennett Square and engages Stephens' Light Infantry.  Being in open order, Stephens' L.I. escape harm.
British right forms up into battle line
At Kennett Square, the 4th Foot passes through the buildings and brings fire onto Stephens' L.I.  Stephens takes one hit. 

Having suffered casualties at the hands of Wayne's L.I. on the extreme right of the British line, Ferguson's Rifles welcomes the arrival of the 23rd Foot.  The riflemen cheer as the 23rd passes through its ranks.
23rd Foot passes through Ferguson
The 23rd looses three volleys into Wayne's L.I.  The first volley has no effect but the second and third volleys manage to drop the L.I. to Shaken.  Wayne's L.I. passes its Discipline Test.  To pull off movement and reloading, Vaughn sends two Forced Orders to the 23rd; both of which the 23rd accepts.

Regaining the initiative (and essentially getting a double move out of Vaughn), Kynphausen orders the 23rd to carry the heights.  The 23rd advances to the base of the heights, fires off a volley, and then charges the light infantry.  Taking hits in the volley, Wayne's L.I. gives up the high ground before the 23rd can close.
23rd Moves,
and Charges
Near Kennett Square,the 28th Foot advances on Stephens' L.I. stopping to unleash a devastating volley.  Stephens takes two hits, becomes shaken, fails its Discipline Test, and retires.  Double timing into range of Greene's L.I., the 4th Foot fires into the light infantry to no effect.  Vaughn issues a forced order to the 4th and the 4th charges up the hill into Greene.  Greene's light infantry reacts to the oncoming British foot by skedaddling out of the way.

Seeing his defensive position collapse, Maxwell orders a general retrograde with his three, now shaken, light infantry regiments.  Plugging the center is the Chester County Militia.
Chester County Militia
The Chester County boys pour two volleys into the 4th.  The 4th suffers three hits.  For the 4th, three hits is not sufficient to trigger a Discipline Test nor cause them to go Shaken.
4th Foot takes a beating
On the British left, Grant's column continues its advance on Brinton's Ford.

Well, that concludes four turns of the Chadd's Ford battle.  Maxwell effectively slowed down Kynphausen's advance towards Chadd's Ford but to what purpose?  All four of his regiments are now shaken and will not likely stand up against pressure from the British in close combat.  The Americans can still dish out punishing volleys but then run the risk of being caught by the more densely packed British regiments.  It may be a race back to the ford.  Should Washington have crossed the creek and reinforced Maxwell?

What happens once the British reach the fords?  Breaching the creek and making a bridgehead on the east bank of the Brandywine may be a tough row to hoe for Knyphausen.  Sequential unit activation with multiple pulses may make the task easier, though.  Perhaps, counterattacks will be easier to develop too?

The rules used, Land of the Free, work with solo play too.  With more careful study during this solo exercise, the mechanisms are beginning to gel.  Multiple "move and shoots" by an active unit takes time to counter this, sometimes massive maneuverability and firepower.  For this phase of the battle in which light infantry were tasked with merely screening and delaying of a larger force, it worked.  We will see what happens when the close order troops clash.

Dropping the measurements from inches to centimeters to account for the difference between 28mm and 15mm is working.  Three cm move pulses at first seemed quite miserly but considering a unit can often have three move impulses per activation, that too works.  In march column a unit could move up to 18 cm in its three move pulses.  Firing ranges seem about right for the frontage of a typical unit. 

I like how a unit can be pushed beyond normal operations by its leader but not without cost.  A commander must issue a CP and the unit may follow or not.  Pushed too hard and the unit balks and disorders.  For Vaughn, he was able to press the 4th and 23rd beyond the ordinary.  We will see if his luck holds.  


  1. Interesting Report. Definitely a different game than our attempting meeting battle using the same rule set.

    1. We need to give it a few more tries before you discard Krone into the rubbish pile. I find many of the mechanisms interesting and agreeably abstract.

  2. Fabulous looking game, Jonathan. Great looking troops (and a lot of them at that) and terrain. You're already a seasoned vet with Land of Free :)!

    1. Thank you, Dean! Hardly a veteran but I am beginning to learn the routine and, perhaps, what NOT to do!

  3. Great report Jonathan - got the rules a few weeks back from a friend with intentions on a 15mm AWI project, but haven't got around to trying, let alone reading, them yet. I really like the sound of the Commander expending points in an effort to push the men, but at the risk of fatiguing or confusing them by a Disordered result. I look forward to your following report!

    1. Thank you, Soren. I will await your impression of the rules once you have had the chance for a good review.

  4. I love the Chester County militia, they look wonderful...as well as this game, beautiful battle lines...

  5. Great looking game and the rules sound very appealing. Not really my period usually, but I'll follow your future posts with interest!


    1. Aaron! Thanks for dropping by and glad you found something of interest.

  6. lovely games report Jonathan, the terrain,miniatures/units look great!

    1. Thank you, Phil! Hopefully, I can get around with a continuation sometime soon.

  7. Good looking game, nice report, and some good insights into how the rules mechanisms impact the game.

    1. Thanks, Peter! Perhaps I will gain even more insight as the game continues?

  8. Great looking tabletop, and lively read Jonathan! The command points sounds a bit like how you can push a unit in Impetus but with increasing changes of going disordered. That is a twist I quite like.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it, Monty! These rules have a lot of interesting details within. After our first group game, the guys were split on the rules. I need to convince them to give it another try!