Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Battle of Trenton Terrain and Scenario

Trenton Overhead View

Last evening I cleared everything off of the war game table and set up my Winter terrain to depict the Battle of Trenton on December 26, 1776. This will be the first of a trio of games covering Washington's make or break winter campaign from December 25, 1776 through January 4, 1777 in New Jersey. I will also refight the 2nd Battle of Trenton (or Assunpink Creek) on January 3, 1777 and Princeton on January 3, 1777.

The game mat is a bespoke production from The Terrain Guy (sadly, no longer in business) with white flock adhered to canvas, along with a sprinkling of dark brown here and there that helps to break up the winter white look. All of the roads, winter trees and buildings were made by Herb Gundt (primarily for my Leuthen game) and the figures that we will use in the battle are all from Fife & Drum Miniatures, of course.

The Hessian soldiers are actually SYW Prussians from the Minden Miniatures figure range. In 2015, Fife & Drum will finally add actual Hessians to its range and I am looking forward to see what Richard Ansell, the sculptor, comes up with. Lt. Colonel Rall had approximately 1,350 men in his command at Trention, so that would work out to 135 figures using a 1:10 figure to man ratio. I plan to break this down into four battalions of 30 figures and an extra 15 jagers and/or artillery crewmen.

The American force is a little more difficult to pin down. The Boatner book indicates that Washington had approximately 2,400 men at Trenton whereas the Osprey Campaign book on the battle suggests that there were as many as 3,500 involved in the battle. Since there were seven Continental brigades in the army, I think that what I will do is have each brigade represented by one of my battalions of Continental figures.

So the Hessians will have 4 and 1/2 battalions of infantry and the Continentals will have 7 battalions of infantry, plus two to three cannon per side.

The game scenario will start with Washington's forces deployed as they would have been just prior to the start of the shooting, around 6:30 AM on December 26, 1776. I am not sure on what to do with the Hessian troops. Should I scatter the battalions around the town and develop some mechanism for activating each Hessian unit? Or should I just let the Hessians react once the Continentals fire the first shot?

Please feel free to scroll down and view the pictures - click or double click the pictures for an enlarged view.

British 16th Light Dragoon Vedettes on King Street

Lt. Colonel Rall's Headquarters on Queen Steet, looking south.

The Americans approach the town of Trenton at first light.

The Rall Grenadier Regiment in its quarters


  1. Agreed! Your games have a very distinct (and pleasing) look to them.

    Best Regards,


  2. That is a well laid out and aesthetically pleasing table.

    Nice job!

  3. Fantastic! I love the look of the table. I always wanted to do Trent. Small battle... but always captured my interest.

  4. DAF

    Excellent terrain as always. On reference material you might want to see if you can get the combined reprint of Samuel Steele Smith's two books on Trenton and Princeton (ISBN 9781594160912) seems cheaper in the UK than US. Very much worth the effort seeking it out and the original editions are somewhat scarce.

    Yn addition there is an online copy of William S Stryker's 1898 treatment of both battles here:

    You may still be able to get hold of the reprint edition that the Old Barracks published a few years back.

    I look forward to further reports

  5. Absolutely lovely terrain setup - really like that cloth and the winter trees.

  6. Thomas: thank you for the tips on the books. I will see if I can find copies as I would like to read more details about the battle.


  7. That is a very fine looking table! You can almost feel the cold from here...

  8. That is a stunning looking table and quite a coincidence since Trenton has come over my radar twice today already!!!