The Battle of Brandywine, 11th September 1777

Up until the 2000s, all of my wargaming stuff, aside from a small sci-fi collection, was 15mm or smaller.  In 2005 or thereabouts, my mate Jase Evans had been badgering me for a while to ‘do something in 28mm’, but neither of us had a clue as to what.

Then, as so often happens, several things came together as ‘enablers’: First my mate Mike Hickling (who then ran AB Figures here in Wales) gave me two packs of Foundry 28mm American War of Independence (AWI) figures – one of British infantry and one of Rebel infantry.  I like the look of them, so bought a few more packs from Foundry to make them up into full wargames units.  Second, another mate who goes by the nom-de-guerre of ‘Eclaireur’, had just released a new set of rules called ‘British Grenadier!’, which had been developed from the ‘General de Brigade’ Napoleonic rules.  Third, the Perry Twins (who had originally modelled the AWI figures for Foundry) at that moment decided to release the first of their superb AWI range… Within six months we’d spent a fortune and painted around 35 wargames units…

I must confess that I haven’t touched my AWI collection for a while now, but we did do some epic games from 2005 to around 2013, including some mega-games with ‘Eclaireur’ and friends at the National Army Museum.  The first of the AWI mega-games was the full Battle of Brandywine.  This battle appears in the British Grenadier Scenario Book #1 and can be played as two separate scenarios – Knyphausen’s frontal assault against Washington’s army across the Brandywine river, or the flank-attack by Cornwallis’ Elite Corps against Washington’s right flank at the hamlet of Birmingham.  These are scenarios I’ve played a few times and Cornwallis’ flank-attack is a particular favourite – probably because it allows you to get all those elite troops on the table and requires very little tactical finesse! 🙂

British Order of Battle

C-in-C Major General, Earl Cornwallis (Excellent)

Advance Guard Brigade (Under Cornwallis’ Direct Command)

Cornwallis

16th Light Dragoons – 8 cavalry (Line)
Hessian Jaeger Corps – 12 rifle-armed skirmishers (Elite)
Light Company, 42nd Royal Highland – 4 skirmishers (Elite)
1st Light Infantry Battalion – 24 figures (Elite)
2nd Light Infantry Battalion – 24 figures (Elite)

Guards Brigade of Brigadier Edward Matthew (Average)
1st Guards Battalion – 18 figures (Elite)
2nd Guards Battalion – 18 figures (Elite)
Guards Light Companies – 6 skirmishers (Elite)

Grenadier Brigade of Brigadier William Meadows (Average)
1st Grenadier Battalion – 24 figures (Elite)
2nd Grenadier Battalion – 24 figures (Elite)
Royal Artillery 6pdr Battery – 2 model guns (Line)

Reinforcements – Turn 2

Hessen-Kassel Grenadier Brigade of Colonel Emil von Donop
Grenadier Battalion Lengerke – 24 figures (Line)
Grenadier Battalion Linsing – 20 figures (Line)
Grenadier Battalion Minningerode – 18 figures (Line)
Hessen-Kassel 4pdr Battery – 2 model guns (Line)

Reinforcements – Turn 3

Brigade of Major General James Agnew (Average)
33rd Foot – 16 figures (Elite)
37th Foot – 16 figures (Line)
46th Foot – 16 figures (Line)
64th Foot – 18 figures (Line)
Royal Artillery 6pdr Battery – 2 model guns (Line)

Optional Forces (Present but not historically engaged)

Brigade of Major General Charles Grey (Excellent)
15th Foot – 16 figures (Line)
17th Foot – 16 figures (Line)
44th Foot – 12 figures (Line)
55th Foot – 12 figures (Line)

Rebel Order of Battle

C-in-C Major General John Sullivan (Poor)

(Lieutenant General George Washington (Excellent) arrives to take over on Turn 6)

Sullivan

Brigade of Brigadier General William Woodford (Average)
3rd Virginia Regt – 6 skirmishers (2nd Line)
7th Virginia Regt – 20 figures (2nd Line)
11th Virginia Regt – 16 figures (2nd Line)
6pdr Artillery Battery – 2 model guns (Line)

Brigade of Brigadier General Charles Scott (Average)
4th Virginia Regt – 16 figures (2nd Line)
8th/12th Virginia Regts – 12 figures (2nd Line)
Grayson’s/Patton’s Regts – 16 figures (2nd Line)
3pdr Artillery Battery – 2 model guns (Line)

Washington

Brigade of Colonel John Stone (Average)
1st/3rd Maryland Regts – 16 figures (Line)
5th/7th Maryland Regts – 8 skirmishers (Line)
3pdr Artillery Battery – 2 model guns (Line)

Brigade of Brigadier General Phillippe de Borre (Poor)
2nd/4th Maryland Regts – 16 figures (2nd Line)
6th Maryland Regt – 6 skirmishers (2nd Line)
German Regt – 16 figures (2nd Line)
2nd Canadian Regt – 18 figures (2nd Line)
6pdr Artillery Battery – 2 model guns (Line)

Brigade of Major General William Alexander (Average)
3rd/6th Pennsylvania Regts – 16 figures (Line)
9th/12th Pennsylvania Regts – 20 figures (Line)
Spencer’s Regt & New Jersey Skirmishers – 14 skirmishers (2nd Line)
3rd New Jersey Regt – 16 figures (2nd Line)

Reinforcements

(Starting on Turn 7, flip a coin for the arrival of Weedon’s Brigade.  It will arrive automatically on Turn 9 if it has not already done so.  Muhlenberg’s Brigade will arrive one turn behind Weedon)

Brigade of Brigadier General George Weedon (Average)
2nd/6th Virginia Regts – 20 figures (2nd Line)
10th/14th Virginia Regts – 18 figures (2nd Line)

Brigade of Brigadier General Peter Muhlenberg (Average)
1st/5th Virginia Regts – 12 figures (Line)
9th Virginia Regt – 20 figures (2nd Line)
13th Virginia Regt – 9 skirmishers (2nd Line)
6pdr Artillery Battery – 2 model guns (Line)

Above: On the Rebel right flank, Woodford’s Brigade takes up position along a road and fence-line, with Scott’s Brigade in support.

Above: On the Rebel left flank, De Borre’s and Stone’s Brigades also line the fence.  In the foreground are the 2nd Canadian Regiment (in brown coats with white facings) and on their left are the German Regiment (in blue coats with red facings).

Above: Cornwallis’ Elite Corps marches onto the field, no doubt slightly disappointed that Washington has already turned Sullivan’s wing to face the new threat.  Note that at this time I’d only painted one British Light Battalion and insufficient skirmishers, so the 2nd Light Battalion here is represented by the Queen’s Rangers (in green coats) and the Light Infantry Company of the 16th Light Dragoons (in Tarleton helmets).  The 42nd Highland Light Company is represented by the Highland Company of the Queen’s Rangers.

Above: As Conrwallis’ troops close with the Rebel line, they suffer a storm of shot from the thick Rebel skirmish screen, which is amply supported by artillery.  However, in the British centre, Meadows’ 6pdr battery and Von Donop’s 4pdr battery are finally coming into action to support the attack.

Above: On the British left, Cornwallis’ Advance Guard has pushed back Woodford’s vastly-outnumbers and outclassed skirmishers and is closely engaging Woodford’s main line.  Just out of shot, the 16th Light Dragoons look for an opportunity to turn the Rebel flank.

Above: On the British right, Meadows’ British Grenadier Brigade leads the way, with Von Donop’s Hessian Grenadiers in close support.  The Rebel artillery fire is strong in this sector of the battlefield, so the British Grenadiers deploy into open order.  This tactic will lessen their impact when they meet the enemy line, but it will hopefully allow them to close with the enemy without suffering catastrophic casualties (the British Army has learned a lot since Bunker Hill!).

Above: The view from the British right flank, looking toward the centre.  Note that as with the Light Infantry, I had only painted one Grenadier Battalion at this point, so a battalion of the 71st Highlanders was acting as stand-ins for the 2nd Grenadier Battalion (nearest the camera).

Above: Scott’s Brigade, on the extreme left flank of the Rebel position, pours fire into the British Grenadiers.

Above: In the centre, the Hessian artillery provides close fire support as Matthew’s Guards Brigade charges home on Alexander’s Rebels in front of Birmingham.  In the distance, Cornwallis two Light Infantry Battalions also charge the Rebel line and Agnew’s Brigade moves up in support.

Above: The assault by 1st Guards Battalion falters as it runs into heavy fire from elements of Woodford’s and Alexander’s Brigades.  The Light Infantry do what they can to distract the enemy artillery, but skirmishers can’t stop canister fire… Nevertheless, the 2nd Guards Battalion stands ready to renew the assault and Agnew’s Brigade has also now added its weight to the attack.

Above: Despite taking heavy losses during the assault, Meadows’ British Grenadiers break Stone’s Brigade and storm across the fence-line!  Seeing his left flank about to be rolled up, Washington gathers together two battalions of Alexander’s Brigade and launces a counter-attack from Birmingham.

Above: Not to be outdone, the Hessian Grenadiers launch their own assault on De Borre’s Rebels.  However, the German Regiment (some of whom are former Hessian soldiers) hold firm and repulse the Hessian attack.

Above: The 2nd Light Infantry Battalion, attacking into the muzzles of the guns on the left of the 2nd Guards Battalion, fared little better than the Guards and was beaten off with heavy losses.  However, Agnew’s Brigade was soon able to renew the attack and keep up the pressure on the Rebels.

Above: The long view from the flank.

Above: Another view of the same situation.  In the distance, a third battery of artillery (belonging to Agnew’s Brigade) has now deployed to join the other two batteries in pummelling the Rebel centre.

Above: Another view of the situation, this time from the Rebel centre.  In the foreground, the 2nd Canadian Regiment was starting to suffer under the fire of the massed British and Hessian Batteries and would soon break, followed by the rest of De Borre’s Brigade.

Sadly I didn’t take any more photos of the game, but it continued in much the same vein, with the British failing to make much headway in the centre.  However, the British and Hessian Grenadiers continued to roll up Washington’s left flank, pushing as far as Birmingham.  On the opposite flank, the Light Infantry Battalions, 16th Light Dragoons and Hessian Jaegers finally managed to turn the Rebel flank and Washington was forced to order a general retreat.

Models and Terrain

The figures shown above were mostly from my own collection, with some from the collection of Jase Evans.  Models were a mixture of Perry Miniatures and Wargames Foundry, with a few rebel skirmishers by Eureka.  Flags are by GMB Flags.  All terrain was provided by Martin Small.

The game was played in Martin’s shed, so space was limited – ideally the table would have been 5×7 feet, but on this occasion were were squeezed into 6×4.

This entry was posted in 28mm Figures, American War of Independence, British Grenadier! Rules (AWI), Eighteenth Century, Games, Scenarios. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Battle of Brandywine, 11th September 1777

  1. norm says:

    What a lovely looking game. I really like to see articles that have  28mm going onto a 6′ x 4′ as I feel this is such an honest situation that many of us have to compromise on, especially here in the UK, where modern housing tends to go for smaller rooms.

    • jemima_fawr says:

      Cheers Norm! Yes, it was a bit of a squeeze, but we managed. In retrospect, I’d have given the Americans more depth. The space over which the British advanced was just wasted space. So if doing it again, I’d shift the Americans forward 12 inches and bring the British reserves on table a couple of turns later.

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