Monday, January 19, 2015

Battle of Trenton - Part 2

The situation at the start of Turn 5
We left off at the conclusion of Turn 4 and found that Colonel Rall had managed to shake out most of his soldiers into some semblance of a battle line on the east side of the town, along the Pennington Road. Two companies of fusiliers were deployed in the town making sure that none of the Americans could enter the town through the back door (from the west side of Trenton). 

The Americans have so far deployed all of Greene's division on the east side of town. This lot includes (from left to right in the picture below) Fermoy's brigade deployed at the intersection of Queen Street and the Pennington Road; then one section of Hamilton's NY Artillery also positioned in front of Queen Street; followed by Stephens' brigade facing off against the Rall grenadiers; then the other section of Hamilton's NY Battery on the small rise looking down King Street; and finally Sterling's brigade has moved down King Street to engage the 3 companies of the von Lossberg fusilier regiment.

American positions at the Queen Street intersection.
The Hessians won the initiative on Turn 5. I use an IGO UGO system in my rules, so usually the side that moves first can fire second, but for this game, I allowed the Hessians the first fire on any turn in which they won the initiative (done via a die roll).

The Hessians are formed in a loose battle line on the east side of Trenton, facing Greene's division and Washington. Glover and Sargent's brigades are still working their way across Assunpink Creek on the west side of town, positioning themselves to cut off any Hessian retreat to Bordentown. Mercer and St. Clair's brigades advance into the middle of the town, encountering light resistance from 2 companies of von Lossberg's fusiliers.

A general firing takes place on Turn 5 and both sides easily pass morale checks, due to casualties taken this turn.

General Washington and his escort of the Philadelphia Light Horse.

The Hessians won the initiative once again on Turn 6, and they used it to great advantage. Turn 6 would prove to be the high water mark of Hessian fortunes in this game. The von Lossberg fusiliers in King Street let loose a volley on Sterling's brigade, and Sterling's men routed. There was nothing in front of von Lossberg but a single cannon at the head of King Street. Colonel Rall, ever contemptuous of the Continentals, ordered a general advance to the east. The Rall Grenadiers were given Stephens' brigade a hard time, as the American casualties mounted, but the brigade held, perhaps because they were under the watchful eye of General Washington himself, who was positioned on the high ground behind them.

On the far left of the American line, Fermoy's brigade took a face full of lead and returned the favor to the von Knyphausen fusiliers, who routed down Queen Street. 

The von Lossberg regiment has cleared Sterling's brigade from King Street  during Turn 6.
So we start Turn 7 with fortunes looking fairly good for the Hessians on the east side of Trenton. The Rall Grenadiers are now in a shoot out with Stephens' brigade, while von Lossberg moves towards Hamilton's battery, their movement also potentially giving them a flank shot at Stephens. I was figuring that now would be a good time for the Hessians to fall back to the south side of town and high tail it to Bordentown. So I threw a D6 to determine what Colonel Rall would do: "even" and they retreat, or "odd" and they continue to attack. The die was cast and an odd number turned up. Rall continued to advance.

Colonel Rall orders the Rall grenadiers and the von Lossberg fusiliers to counter-attack Stephens' brigade and Hamilton's artillery now that the protection of Sterling's brigade is gone.

The American center was looking very thin at the moment, and if Stephens' brigade broke, then there was nothing in the center to stop the Hessians but one artillery piece and Washington's troop of Philadelphia Light Horse. However, once again, Stephens' men stood fast and refused to retreat or run away.

To the left of Stephens, Fermoy spotted an opportunity to wheel to the right and flank the Rall Grenadiers. His brigade had routed the von Knyphausen on Turn 6 so Rall's flank was wide open.

Fermoy takes advantage of an opportunity to wheel right and enfilade the Rall Grenadier regiment.

It was now Turn 8 and fortunes had changed considerably against the Hessians. The Rall Grenadiers were in a box with enemy to their front and flank. Mercer's brigade could be spotted working their way up the alleys in Rall's rear. The von Lossberg regiment over on King Street was likewise surrounded. Colonel Rall knew that to continue the fight would simply result in murder. And for what good? Colonel Rall decided to surrender.

Neither side knew it, but von Donop's brigade of two regiments would be arriving on the next turn, but they would probably been too late to change the outcome.

On the west side of Trenton, Sargent's brigade prepares to recross the Assunpink Creek bridge to attack Rall's troops from the rear. Only one compan of fusiliers is there to contest the bridge crossing.

Rall Grenadiers fall back behind the Pennington Road so as to avoid being enfiladed by Fermoy's brigade. Stephens' brigade has suffer the loss of two stands, but they are holding steady and keeping Rall attention.

End game: the von Lossberg fusiliers are surronded, with St. Clair's brigade attacking up King Steet while Hamilton's guns take a bead on the front of the battalion.

Sargent's brigade easily pushes the company of von Knyphausen fusiliers off the bridge and they advance up Queen Street in column.

Only the von Knyphausen fusilier regiment has any chance of escaping capture, although Glover's brigade can be seen moving up the Bordentown Road to intercept them on Turn 8.

Mercer's brigade move's into Trenton and threaten the Rall Grenadiers from the rear.

The rear guard of von Knyphausen's regiment provides cover while the rest of the regiment marches to safety.

I was very happy with the way that the scenario turned out. There was an opportunity for the Hessians to win on Turn 6 and Turn 7, but their good fortune swiftly disolved. Perhaps if von Donop could have arrived on Turn 7 then the Hessians could  have won the battle.

It was a near run thing for Washington, especially when he and his troop of horse were the only thing standing in the American center. Things worked fairly well using one of my battalions as an American brigade and a Hessian battalion as a regiment.

All in all, I think that Trenton can be a good war game scenario and I am interested in trying it again soon.


  1. Jim,
    My, oh my!! What a terrific looking table and game!! The table's appearance captured the look of the place and the figures are top notch. Well usual.

  2. Great report Jim, made all the better by the terrain and figures.

  3. Fantastic report and a wonderful looking game.

  4. Thanks for the AAR Jim. It looks like it worked well solo. The terrain and the troops were great. Earl

  5. May I ask what rules you used for this game ? , Tony

  6. Fabulous looking game and excellent report. I am tempted to try it out soon. Are you rules available? Colin

  7. I use my own one page easy to learn and use "Fife & Drum" rules for the AWI. Copies are free for the asking, just give me your email address and I will send them to you.

  8. Love it. great looking game, good scenario and a well written report. what is not to like.

  9. Wonderful AAR, Pictures & game. Inspiring... I'll tell you just how much in a separate email! Cheers, Rohan.