Saturday, June 4, 2011

This week.......another AWI game

This weeks 28mm AWI game that I arranged at the SESWC was based on the battle of Bennington August 16, 1777 using Black Powder Rules. We used it as a test of an amended turn sequence which has been proposed in the “& Blenheim” rule modifications by Ian Hopping available on the Yahoo BP Forum. Though intended for the WSS I thought that they might be suitable for the AWI as well. My thanks to Jim Wallace of the Dumfries Wargames club who pointed these out to me at Carronade, the Falkirk wargames show.

Some History
The Battle of Bennington was a battle of the American Revolutionary War that took place on August 16, 1777, in Walloomsac, New York, about 10 miles from it’s namesake Bennington, Vermont. A rebel force of 2,000 men, primarily composed of New Hampshire and Massachusetts militiamen, led by General John Stark, and reinforced by men led by Colonel Seth Warner and members of the Green Mountain Boys, decisively defeated a detachment of General John Burgoyne's army led by Lieutenant Colonel Friedrich Baum, and supported by additional men under Lieutenant Colonel Heinrich von Breymann.

Baum's detachment was a mixed force of 700 composed of dismounted Brunswick dragoons, Canadians, Loyalists, and Indians. He was sent by Burgoyne to raid Bennington in the disputed New Hampshire Grants area for horses, draft animals, and other supplies.

The Setup
The game was fought down a 8ft by 6ft table. We used the standard movement and ranges given in the rules not the 66% version that we have used in many of our previous games. The terrain was assumed to be wooded except for an area of open ground in front of the farm and the Hessian redoubt. The 24 figure units were classed as standard units, the 12 to 16 figure units as small units and the 6 figure unit as a tiny unit. The figures are mainly Front Rank, with Foundry Jaegers and Dragoons and Old Glory Hessians.
Colin Jack commanded the British Army. Hugh Wilson and Dave O’Brien commanding the Patriots.

Hessian Infantry, Jaegers and the redoubt await the attack

Player Briefing and OBs

Lt Colonel Baum
You have been ordered by General Burgoyne to take an independent command and to raid Bennington in the disputed New Hampshire Grants area for horses, draft animals, and other supplies. This will also disrupt the preparations of rebel forces threatening the LOC of the British army.

You arrived at the hamlet 2 days ago and began collecting supplies. It was apparent at once that rebel forces were in the area of Bennington. Your force is encumbered by the supplies that have already been collected and cannot move quickly. Accordingly you put your command into a defensive posture and sent a courier to Burgoyne requesting orders and support.

Bad weather has hampered operations so far but it now looks likely that the rebels will attack in the morning.

An Indian courier has just arrived from Burgoyne stating that a reinforcement force under your compatriot Von Breymann has been despatched to join your command and should be with you tomorrow. Given this news you have decided to stand your ground and await the relief column.

Raiding force brigade of Lt Col Friedrich Baum
Grenadier battalion 24 figures
Jaeger detachment 12 figures
Canadian detachment 12 figures
Indian detachment 12 figures
Dragoon squadron 6 figures (on foot!)

Reinforcement column brigade of Lt Col Heinrich von Breymann
Fusilier battalion 24 figures
Grenadier battalion 24 figures
Artillery Gun & crew

Advance of the Massachusetts Brigade

General John Stark
You have been raising troops in New Hampshire to threaten the supply lines of General Burgoyne’s army advancing on Albany.

A detachment from the British Army has moved east into the New Hampshire Grants area. They arrived at Bennington 2 days ago and began collecting supplies. You at once have brought your troops forward from Manchester to confront them. The British force which seems to largely comprise German troops has taken up a defensive position west of Bennington. Heavy rain has delayed any action so far.

You have been awakened by the arrival of Parson Thomas Allen and a band of Massachusetts militiamen from nearby Berkshire County who insist on joining your force. In response to the minister's fiery threat that his men would never come out again if they were not allowed to participate, you said, "Would you go now on this dark and rainy night? Go back to your people and tell them to get some rest if they can, and if the Lord gives us sunshine to-morrow and I do not give you fighting enough, I will never call on you to come again”

So your force is now committed to attack in the morning.

New Hampshire and Vermont Republic brigade Col Seth Warner
Green Mountain boys 24 figures
Militia battalion 24 figures
Rifle detachment 12 figures

Massachusetts Berkshire County brigade Parson Thomas Allen
Militia detachment 16 figures
Militia detachment 16 figures
Militia detachment 16 figures
Rifle detachment 12 figures

Advance of the New Hampshire and Vermont Brigade

How the game played
The British army deployed in a defensive line midway across the table facing the open area. Colin deployed from right to left the dragoons holding a farm on the track from Bennington, the Hessian grenadiers in cover in an enclosed field, then the Jaegers, the Canadians holding a hilltop redoubt and finally the Indians in the woods on the left.

The Patriots had the Massachusetts Brigade commanded by Hugh on table on their right flank with the New Hampshire Vermont Brigade commanded by Dave of table intending to advance down the track to attack the dragoons and the Hessians.

The battle opened with the Massachusetts Brigade advancing with their rifles occupying a homestead in front of the Indians. The Indians charged into the rifles and after 2 turns of combat forced them to retire out of the homestead. The Indians then withdrew back towards their own lines.

The rest of the Massachusetts Brigade got into the open ground and then due to appalling command rolls halted for many moves under long range rifle fire from the Jaegers.

On the Patriot left due to equally appalling command rolls the advance by the New Hampshire Brigade down the track was painfully slow. The lowpoint of the advance was when the Green Mountain Boys (the best Patriot unit) blundered and retired 2 moves to the back of the column.

Canadians defend the redoubt

Eventually Dave got the New Hampshire brigade into a firefight with the Dragoons and the Hessians. His riflemen proved very effective in disordering the Hessians with almost every turn of fire. the Hessians held their fire saving their First Fire for a better target. The Green Mountain Boys were slowly advancing on the farmhouse held by the dragoons and to counter this the Hessians wheeled to bring them under fire. They gave them their First Fire and missed completely! This move revealed their flank to unit of the Massachusetts militia who finally passed a command test and charged into the Hessians flank. The Hessians broke in the combat and fled. They had proved to be completely ineffective throughout the game not causing a single casualty by shooting or in the final combat. Next turn the Massachusetts militia charged again and forced the dragoons to evade back from the farm.

Disaster strikes the Hessian Grenadiers

At this point the Hessian reinforcement column under Von Breymann arrived and advanced down the track to face the New Hampshire Brigade and the victorious Massachusetts militia at the farm.

The reminder of the Massachusetts Brigade moved against the redoubt . The leading unit was hit by 5 shots out of 5 from the Jaegers, Canadians and Indians and broke. The remaining militia unit boldly charged the redoubt unsupported and broke in the close combat with it’s Canadian defenders.

Hessian Reinforcement column arrives

The game ended at this point which I would classify as a draw. Amazingly good and bad dice rolling was a feature of the game from all the players.

End of game situation on the British right

Rule changes

Having played the game I think we agreed that the amended turn sequence suggested by Ian Hopping produced a better feel to the game. It stopped the apparent problem of units making long moves to close to short range and shooting after movement. However the ability to shoot and then decide to charge having seen the results of the shooting gives an advantage to the attacker. We thought this allowed units to better exploit success in a firefight. You can now actually charge a disordered opponent. We will certainly try this amended sequence in future games.

Here is my slightly rewritten version of the altered turn sequence.

Amended Turn Sequence
The sequence given in the rules is modified as follows:

Declare and undertake initiative movement – there is no change to the basic rules for this. All moving units to be marked as having moved this turn. (They cannot move again in Command Phase).
Any units charged may deliver ‘Closing Fire’ at the end of initiative.

Moving player carries out firing as per the rules.
All firing units to be marked as having fired this turn (for modified Command Penalties).

Give orders and move as per the Command phase of the rules.
There is an additional command penalty:
-1 if fired this turn”

Any units charged may deliver ‘Closing Fire’ if they have not fired before in this turn.

Conduct Melees as per rules


If using Brigade Morale because the Fire Phase is now before Command Phase, units that must retire due to being part of a Broken Brigade, now do so during INITIATIVE, not during the Command Phase.

Any unit that fired in the Firing Phase suffers -1 to its command. If it is part of a group of units that have been ordered (i.e. a brigade order) then the entire group suffers the penalty. Note that this is NOT cumulative for each unit that has been fired.


  1. Excellent report and fantastic photos.

  2. Great game and nice photos. I think we might give these mod's a go next time. Sounds good anyway but I guess the proof is in the pudding!