Monday, 11 January 2016

AWI Battle of Monmouth

This weekend I managed to squeeze in a AWI game. I decided to refight a historical battle and selected the Battle of Monmouth from "Warmers Handbook of the American War of Independence 1775-1783" by Donald Featherstone.
The Battle of Monmouth was fought on 28th June 1778. The Americans (11,000 man) were commanded by General Washington and were attacking the rear of the British Column heading for Philadelphia under the command of Lieutenant General Clinton.
Confusion with the Continental Advance Guard lead by Major General Lee ended in a retreat. The British Rearguard (9,500 men) commanded by Lieutenant General Cornwallis saw this as an opportunity to seize the initiative. However, Washington arrived on the battlefield and was able rally the retreating American forces along a hilltop hedgerow and prepare a defence. Cornwallis pressed his attack and it is at this point the tabletop battle begins.
For information and maps I also sourced information from the following sites:

A 4' x 4' playing area seemed best for the battle with the following forces all deployed on the tabletop. Forgive the sketch, but I really didn't feel like using a presentation tool.
Sketch of the layout on a 4' x 4' table
2 Grenadier units (British and Hessian)
2 Skirmisher units (Light Infantry and Dragoons)
4 British Infantry units
2 Gun units

2 Skirmisher units
4 Militia units
4 Continental units
3 Guns

The objective for each side is to get a unit to exit the road on their opponents side of the table.
The Americans must have 2 gun and 1 Militia unit on Coombs hill, and 3 Militia units with the Commander defending the hedge. I chose Militia units to reflect the fragile nature of the units after a confused retreat. The remaining forces are in their 2nd line.

The British deploy all their forces within the first 2 rows of their side of the table. They may never cross the Middle Ravine to attack American forces on Coombs Hill.

Start of the game with both sides lined up
Special Rules
The following special rules were applied to my house rules based on One Hour Wargames (see top right of page for link).
  • American units behind the hedge get a +1 on their moral rolls.
  • America artillery on Coombs Hill do not get extra dice for enfilade fire.
  • Commanders on both sides can only issue orders to adjacent squares (rather than 2 squares away due to the smaller playing area).
Greene's Guns on Coombs Hill
On to the Game...
The opening couple of moves saw the British advice upon the 1st line of American defenders behind the hedge. The American defenders opened fire and the guns on Coombs Hill provided enfilade fire on the left wing of the advancing British.
From behind British lines as they prepare to advance
The American commander had to leave the 1st line defenders to organise advancing the 2nd line and preparing their defence. Meanwhile the British pushed up on the American left flank with a skirmisher, line and gun units. (Similar to the real battle with the British Light Infantry and 42nd Regiment.)
The assault on the hedge with American guns providing enfilade fire
The American line was for the most part holding firm, while the American guns on Coombs Hill helped in the elimination of the British Grenadiers. The American 2nd line of Continental units moved into position with a supporting gun.
American 1st line is wavering and Grenadiers soon to be eliminated.
The American defence of the hedge was over, but not without inflicting casualties upon the British 1st line of attack. On the American left flank American reserves were holding up the British forces, but taking casualties.
British ready to advance on the 2nd American defensive line
The British advanced on the American 2nd line. While they had more units many were in a state of exhaustion and the American guns continued to take casualties here and there.
The British assault the American 2nd line
On the left flank the American skirmishers retire after a few rounds of very effective shooting from the British Light Infantry. The American 2nd line shooting and supporting gun fire from Coombs Hill was forcing back the British units. The British assault was over due to exhaustion and casualties. (Many in the real battle succumbed to heat stroke.)
The American left flank falls back to nearby woods
In Summary...
This battle was drawn as it was in history (although both sides claimed victory). The British right flank advance was more successful than in history, but didn't do enough in this game to sway the battle.
The British attack evaporates and a draw in inevitable - end of game
The special rules worked out. Especially the hedge rule of +1 for moral. It proved useful on at least two occasions when the British rolled a number of sixes causing moral to be rolled for. I will be including this "hedge rule" into my house rules.

All in all a very enjoyable game and I'll soon be picking another battle from the many listed in Donald Featherstone's book to refight.


  1. Nice to see a set of rules producing a historical result!

  2. Well thought out AWI Battle for a 4'x 4', 15mm Game- well done!
    Do like your Peter Laing figures- splendid work Peter...also like your later game of Freeman's Farm. Regards. KEV.