This was a refight of the Battle of Brandywine 11 September 1777 played using Black Powder Rules.

The game was fought across a 14ft by 5ft table. This allowed the game to be played comfortably by 4 players a side. Kevin Gunn, Jimmy Conquer (Lord Howe), Colin Jack and Dave Paterson commanded the British and Ian Carter, Donald Adamson (George Washington), Olivier Lepreux and Hugh Wilson commanded the Americans. Hugh Wilson provided most of the terrain with a few extras coming from myself and Angus Konstam. I provided all but a few of the figures, the scenario and acted as umpire.

The order of battle was based on the troops we have available plus a basic assumption that the British outnumbered the Patriots by 10%. In total we had just over 1000 figures on the table. Infantry units of less than 20 figures were rated as small units. All the cavalry units were small. I gave the British units all the special rules they get in the AWI scenario in the BP rules (Crack, First Fire, Steady) plus in addition I made the grenadiers Elite 4+. The Hessians were given First Fire. Some of the continentals had First Fire and a few were also Steady. The Patriot militia were all Unreliable and I reduced the hand to hand dice, stamina and morale of the Militia by 1. The British commanders were all given a rating of 8. George Washington was rated an 8 and the other Patriot commanders as 7s.

The game was played with the 66% version of the BP rules - reducing movement, firing range, proximity and support distances to 66% but we retained the command radius at 12" given the size of the units. We used our standard modifications to the BP rules including the modified turn sequence from & Blenheim.

Here is the link to FlickR photoset with descriptions of the photos.

The main feature of the terrain is the Brandywine Creek which runs the length of the table. The creek is only crossable at the 5 fords shown on the map. Various hamlets were on the table but none of these we decided are substantial enough to be classed as a building under BP rules. Instead we decided that the fences around the hamlets provided only soft cover. The hills were classed as gentle rolling hills except for the hill with high cliff face facing Pyle's ford. That side of the hill was impassible. The fences and hedges used to delineate some of the roads were classed only as scenic effect, We used the following rules for crosiing the all important fords.

Crossing Fords
Only 1 unit a turn can cross a ford. It takes a move to cross a ford.
Small units can cross a ford in line formation or march column or if skirmishers in a skirmish line.
Standard units can cross a ford in march column or in a special 2 deep line. When in a 2 deep line their shooting and HtoH dice are reduced to that of a small unit. They can only form a 2 deep line when they are at a ford and as soon as they can after crossing they must revert to a normal line or march column.

map of the battlefield
The Patriots deployed with a Continental Brigade covering each of the fords. The Brigades were deployed by their number from right to left. So the strongest brigades were on the Patriot right. Did they suspect a flank march? The 2 militia brigades deployed to support the forces at Pyle's ford and Bristow's ford. The 2 field guns were assigned to cover the 3 central fords. The Patriot cavalry were massed to the left of the left redoubt. The Patriots started the game approximately 2 feet onto the table.

The British commander ignored the option of a flank march and decided to attack across all 5 fords. The British deployed as follows:
Skunks ford - 5th Highland Brigade plus British Legion Detachment
James ford - 8th Brigade (2nd Hessian Brigade) and 6th (Loyalist) Brigade
Bristow's Ford - 2nd Brigade and 1st Brigade
Chads Ford - 3rd Brigade and 4th Grenadier Brigade
Pyles Ford - 7th Brigade (1st Hessian Brigade) and British Legion detachment.

Importantly the British assigned a gun to each of the fords. This proved an important advantage on the flanks especially the left. The British had to be commanded to march onto the table and the 2nd brigade assigned to any ford could not appear until the first had deployed.

How the game played
The British commander decided to only order the brigades covering the flank fords to attempt to move on in the first turn. Seeing this the the Patriot commander decided that their units should advance rapidly to occupy their side of the fords. This proved an error as it meant that when the British troops did come on they could engage in a musketry duel with the Patriot units that had advanced to their side of the creek. Very quickly at Bristow and Chad's fords the Patriots lost 3 battalions of continentals who broke under the British volleys and artillery fire. Their break tests die rolls were appalling. The Patriots at the fords then withdrew back to safer positions waiting to engage the British when they crossed. From that point it is best to describe the action at each of the fords.

At Pyle's ford the Hessians tried to make use of their artillery to weaken the Patriots but it had only limited effect. The Hessians here had a defensive roll but they did eventually cross the ford but only after losing a battalion to the fire of the militia skirmishers. The jaegers proved effective in the broken ground on the far right. At the end of the battle the Hessians were still holding down 2 full Patriot brigades. The Patriot commander tried repeatedly to order one of his brigades to move to support the troops at Chad's ford but it was a thankless task.

At Chad's ford the 3rd Brigade and the Grenadiers engaged the continentals supported by 2 units of Patriot cavalry. The British got the upper hand driving of the cavalry. The key moment was when a continental unit was ordered to charge a british battalion in the flank - they blundered and retired 2 moves to a position behind the redoubts.

At Bristow's ford the first unit of the 2nd brigade crossed the ford and then for 7 turns was disordered by fire from the gun in the right redoubt and Patriot riflemen. This prevented any other British units crossing for that many turns. Eventually the Patriots missed and the British could get more troops across but it was a slow process and the British attack here was only seriously getting underway when the game ended.

Skunk's ford - the Highland brigade and the Legion cavalry attacked Greene's brigade. The Legion cavalry crossed the ford and in a mad ride galloped around the Patriot right flank getting to a position near the meeting house were they were ready to charge the rear of Wayne's brigade. They failed to obey orders and were then disordered by the fire of the Patriot riflemen. Just then the Patriot volunteer horse led personally by George Washington charged and broke them. The British cavalry commander then ordered the cavalry on the right flank supporting the Hessians to ride to support the highlanders. This caused some muttering from the Hessian commander who saw his mobile support disappearing. The highlanders steadily wore down and eventually wiped out Greene's brigade. A gallant last charge in their support by the Patriot volunteer horse saw them broken by the newly arrived British cavalry.

The decisive action was fought at James' ford which was the scene of heavy fighting between the Hessians and Wayne's brigade. The first Hessian unit to cross the ford was driven back. However the loyalists came up in support and this gained the Hessians the upper hand. Wayne was carried form the field wounded and George Washinton had to take over command of the brigade. The Hessian grenadiers who had now crossed the creek were ordered to charge the Massachusetts Light infantry - they blundered but still charged into the Massachusetts! Their closing fire was completey ineffective. At the same moment Lord Howe with a follow me order brought another Hessian unit over the creek in support. The Grenadiers broke the Massachusetts in melee and they fled but tragically for the Patriots they carried away with them George Washington who had been rallying that unit.

This broke the back of the Patriot defence. In all they had lost 9 units and their CinC against a British loss of 6 units. Wayne's and Greene's brigades were now out of the battle and a massive British force from Bristow's and Chad's ford was threatening the fenceline in front of redoubt hill. It was a British vistory.....

Overall it was an enjoyable game and it looked great set-up. The BP rules work well for large games - we played an enormous number of moves.

Here is the background, commander briefings and order of battle.

In late August 1777, after a distressing 34-day journey from Sandy Hook on the coast of New Jersey, a Royal Navy fleet of more than 260 ships carrying some 17,000 British troops under the command of Sir William Howe landed at the head of the Elk River, on the northern end of the Chesapeake Bay approximately 40–50 miles (60–80 km) southwest of the rebel capital of Philadelphia.
General George Washington had situated the American forces between Head of Elk and Philadelphia. His forces were able to reconnoitre the British landing from Iron Hill near Newark. Howe did not set up a typical camp but immediately prepared to march across the gently rolling country inhabited chiefly by Tories, with the expectation of making an easy conquest of Philadelphia. As a result, Washington was not able to accurately gauge the strength of the opposing forces.

After a skirmish at Cooch's Bridge south of Newark, the British troops moved north and Washington abandoned a defensive encampment along the Red Clay Creek near Newport, Delaware to deploy against the British at Chadds Ford. This site was important as it was the most direct passage across the Brandywine Creek on the road from Baltimore to Philadelphia. On September 9, Washington positioned detachments to guard other fords above and below Chadds Ford, hoping to force the battle there.

The British grouped their forces at nearby Kennett Square. General Howe decided to attack on the 11th of September.

American player briefing

Your objective is to prevent the British from crossing the creek and capturing your capital Philadelphia. Compared with last year your army contains far more regular continental troops and is less dependent on militia.

The line of the Brandywine is a good defensive obstacle though crossed by 5 fords on your front. The next ford is 12 miles upriver to your right. The high ground is on your side of the creek Two redoubts have been constructed - one at Chad’s Ford and another at Bristol Ford. The redoubts each contain a gun and can also accommodate a battalion.

Your army should be deployed to cover all 5 fords with at least a brigade assigned to each.

Decide on the deployment of your brigades and assign the reserve artillery to them.

American Forces
C-in-C General George Washington

1st Greene's Brigade
Continentals 3 units of 24 figures
Rifle Skirmishers 1 unit of 12 figures

2nd Wayne's Brigade
Continentals 3 units of 24 figures

3rd Stirling’s Brigade
Continentals 3 units of 24 figures

4th Sullivan’s Brigade
Continentals 1 unit of 24 figures
Continentals 2 units of 16 figures

5th Stephen’s Brigade
Continentals 3 units of 16 figures

6th Maxwell‘s Brigade
Virginia Militia 2 units of 24 figures
Rifle Skirmishers 1 unit of 10 figures

7th Armstrong’s Brigade
Pennsylvania Militia 3 units of 24 figures
Skirmishers 1 unit of 10 figures

Lee’s Cavalry
Continental dragoons 1 unit of 6 figures
Volunteer horse 2 units of 8 figures

2 heavy guns - 1 in each redoubt
2 field guns - can be assigned to any of the above continental brigades

British player briefing
Your objective is to bring the rebel army to battle and defeat it thus ending the war. Threatening their capital Philadelphia forces the rebels finally to stand and fight.
You know that your troops are far better trained than the rebels but you know from experience at Boston that the rebels are formidable opponents when manning defensive positions.

The line of the Brandywine is a good defensive obstacle though crossed by 5 fords in front of the rebel lines. The next ford is 4 miles upriver to your left. The high ground is on the rebel side of the creek They have constructed redoubts on the high ground covering Chad’s Ford and Bristol Ford.

Your army should advance to cross at least 4 of the fords including Chad’s Ford. You can attempt a flank march by crossing upriver from the rebels to fall on their right wing.

Decide which brigades will be committed to each of the fords and if required to the flank march and their order of march. Also assign the reserve artillery to brigades

British Forces
C-in-C Lieutenant-General Lord Howe

1st Brigade
23rd Foot 20 figures
33rd Foot 20 figures
45th Foot 20 figures

2nd Brigade
4th Foot 24 figures
De lancey’s 24 figures
Skirmishers 12 figures

3rd Brigade
21st Foot 20 figures
22nd Foot 20 figures
Skirmishers 12 figures

4th Grenadier Brigade
1st Comb Grenadiers 24 figures
2nd Comb Grenadiers 24 figures
3rd Comb Grenadiers 16 figures

5th Highland Brigade
71st Foot 16 figures
42nd Foot 16 figures
47th Infantry 15 figures

6th Loyalist Brigade
Loyal York 24 figures
Legion Foot 24 figures
Skirmishers 12 figures

7th Brigade - 1st Hessian Brigade
Grenadier Btn 24 figures
Fusilier Btn 24 figures
Fusilier Btn 24 figures
Jaeger Rifle Sk Det 12 figures
Artillery 1 gun

8th Brigade - 2nd Hessian Brigade
Grenadier Btn 24 figures
Fusilier Btn 24 figures
Musketeer Btn 24 figures
Jaeger Rifle Sk Det 12 figures
Artillery 1 gun

Reserve Brigade
British Legion (Dragoons) Det 8 figures
British Legion (Dragoons) Det 8 figures

British Artillery 3 guns
Can be attached to any of the British brigades