Many of you will have already seen Jonathan’s post on this our latest battle tracking history through the American War of Independence. With the result as they say in the bag I thought perhaps I would instead just share some lovely shots of the Lake District, with a Monday off it was one of those lucky days where weather is kind on the high fells and I made the most of it 😀
Thursday, 23 September 2021
When British Morale fails : The Battle of White Plains : AWI
Anyway enough of that nonsense and on to the battle report. Following the battle of Long Island Howe chased Washington’s army north after a small engagement at Harlem heights the two armies manoeuvred north and then east. Washington taking up a defensive position around the town of White Plains on the 28th October I think. As Gen Howe brought up the British army he sought again to outflank to American position, this time to the left. Seeing the move Washington dispatched a number of regiments to hold high ground beyond the Bronx River, Chatterton Hill.
I found this Command and Colors set up on the web and used this to develop our battle. It was to be a virtual game as usual so some simplification needed, for our game we agreed two key objectives for the British minor victory for the hill and a major victory for pushing through to the bridge cutting off the forces retreat route and effectively outflanking the main force. As most of you will know the British have struggled with these frontal assaults during this campaign so they do outnumber the American troops, although some of this is quality rather than quantity.
A nice painting of the American forces making their way up Chatterton Hill. On to the action 👍
American forces dug in East of the Bronx in front of White Plains, behind them the bridge.
General Leslie with the second Brigade ready for the assault his orders to take the high ground and outflank the Rebel position
Supporting him on the left German mercenaries and the 16th light Dragoons
The Americans are now in position on Chatterton Hill
Supported on their far right by New York Militia
A cheer goes up from the Hessian grenadiers as they are ordered forward led by a small unit of jägers they will likely make short work of the militia in front of them
General Leslie orders the second brigade to cross the bronx river
His combined light infantry unit leads the way
With other regiments heading for a Ford over the river
A ripple of gun fire from the far left as the jägers engage the militia
The British artillery opens up
But the American forces have been holding their nerve and open up a devastating volley as the British as they start to cross the river, even at long range it staggers the British advance
Seeing an opportunity some of the American forces in front of White Plains advance out of their defended position !
The first British casualties are the Light Dragoons (newly painted they didn’t stand a chance really) several are cut down and the rest retire (flee)
The rest of the British line holds but the advance as paused
Across the river the river the combined light infantry lead the way, they take the brunt of the next American volley and the British Morale has started to collapse. With only a few casualties the lights are pinned and then roll a double one and flee !
The leading Hessians suffer the same result in the same turn another double one and they run, lucky they have a chance to rally later
The American cannon at White Plains opens up as well
Seeing the British morale wavering the Americans chose to push forward !
Rallied the Hessians are back in the fight
Leslie leading a second British unit across the river starts to take the battle to the Rebels
But then calamity a stray shot hits the General and he is down
The British artillery continue firing but the British unit beyond them is broken when Leslie is shot
Lucky they too rally, but the battle is lost another British regiment (luckily I didn’t take a photo) rolled a double one morale test fleeing from the field
The rest of the army continues in pockets to push forward but inevitably they start to break as well, the Germans having had Von Rall flee with his unit and seeing the jägers wiped out also eventually fails morale test and pull back from the battle. The militia repeatedly failed to activate but when they did they were devastating in one turn killing five Hessians in one volley !
Despite Washington’s caution the troops beyond the Bronx buoyed by their victory advance down the hill presumably to take up a defensive position along the river ? The British morale collapse was a salutary lesson for Howe, unfortunately this may make him even more cautious in the future.
A fun battle despite the poor performance of the British. It certainly felt at the start the British had the upper hand and the rebels would struggle. The three failed morale checks in a two turns was pretty devastating stalling the assault before it got going. At least General Leslie died on the field so he doesn’t have to answer to Howe at an inquiry into the poor performance of his brigade. The really good part of this ongoing campaign is providing the opportunity to delve further into the AWI, learning more about the conflict and how it developed. Along the way my AWI collection has significantly expanded and I still have several units waiting in the line for painting.
A couple more photos from my recent walk to round things off
More to come soon 👍