Tuesday, 26 January 2016

AWI Freeman's Farm

I though I'd have a quick American War of Independence game before getting back to my SciFi campaign. After a quick read of Donald Featherstone's "Warmers Handbook of the American War of Independence" the battle of Freeman's Farm, 19th September 1777, was selected. Some additional reading and maps was sourced from  the sites britishbattles.com and revolutionary-war.net.
American forces begin their advance on Freeman's Farm
This was an interesting battle with the British holding the field of battle, but viewed as an American victory because the British could ill afford the casualties suffered on the day. Both sides each had about 3000 men involved in the battle.

The battle was fought in a clearing around Freeman's Farm. The British forces were split into three:

  • On the right wing commanded by Brigadier Fraser were the light infantry and grenadiers (for the game I used 2 x light infantry units and 1 x grenadier Unit)
  • The centre was commanded by Brigadier Hamilton around Freeman's Farm (for the game 2 x artillery units and 3 x infantry units were used), and 
  • The left wing commanded by Baron Riedesel would arrive later in the day (for the game I had 3 x infantry units arriving on turn 7).

The American forces are all on the board at the start of the game and split into two:

  • Facing the British right wing were Dearborn's light infantry and Morgan's riflemen (for the game I used 2 x skirmish units and 2 x infantry units all militia and armed with rifles).
  • In the centre readying to exploit the gap between the British right wing and centre were the remaining American forces available to General Arnold (for the game I had 6 x infantry).

Game setup
Special rules applied to my grid-based house rules based on the one-hour wargaming rules:

  • As most of the artillery were 3 pounders the artillery range is reduced to 3 squares
  • Freeman's farm just blocks line of sight and +1 to moral dice rolls
  • The creek is all fordable and +1 to moral if defending
  • American units cannot retire until turn 7 when the British left wing arrives.
The side with the fewest eliminated units wins.
Another view at the start of the game
The first couple of turns began with a general advance across the board by American forces with first contact made with the British right wing.
Contact with the British right wing of light infantry and grenadiers
 The Gap between the British forces meant the British command unit had to keep switching between the two groups of units which delays some responses to the advancing Americans. Although British attack dice rolls were consistently good and took their toll on the advancing American infantry.
Forces engaged around Freeman's Farm
First blood was to go to the Americans with the elimination of the British grenadier unit. Taking advantage of the gap between British units, and the American militia riflemen where able to flank the grenadiers and rolled 4 dice (+2 extra dice for a flank attack).  There on after not much happened on the British right wing as both sides light infantry exchanged attacks.
British support first loss on their right wing as the grenadiers are eliminated.
Around Freeman's Farm British shooting and artillery had caused a couple of losses for the advancing Americans. For the most part the British units had held the line with only one unit retiring due to a moral check, which was been in the British favour because a second volley was likely to eliminate it.
British units holding firm (mostly) around the farm.
Soon the pressure of the American attack, supported by additional units moving across from their left flank, was finally starting to grind down the defence around Freeman's Farm.
British forces very much under pressure at Freeman's Farm
The British left wing arrived on turn 7 and advanced as quickly as possible on American right flank. Both side exchange attacks and a couple more units were eliminated on both sides before the American's retired.
American forces retire with the arrival of the British left wing.

The American units were able to exploit the gap between the British centre and right wing effectively and switched units to support the attack on the farm. Units eliminated for both sides was even at 6 a piece. Technically the game was a draw (although one British units was one hit away from being eliminated).

The British artillery proved very useful in the farm's defence, while American riflemen with their addition range were able to inflict casualties forcing the British to advance.


  1. I really enjoy your AWI reports; being a big fan of Peter Laing it's great seeing the figures in action. I should look for Mr. Featherstone's book, I sometimes fight AWI battles and the scenarios you present look ideal for the period.

    1. Thank you for your kind comments. I have found the book to be really useful in setting up my armies, uniforms and understanding the fighting styles. The battle information provides a good overview along with tips for wargaming the battle. The only draw back I have found is the lack of a battle map with troop positions to support the description. For that I have found the site BritishBattles provides the maps.