Sunday 14 July 2019

The Battle of Hadley Hall - 22nd May 1778

It's been over two years since I have played any American War of Independence games in the shed-o-war (the last one was the Battle of Freemans Farm). I really like this period and the look of the games and Posties collection of figures are excellent. Four Rejects gathered to play with sides being decided randomly before any of us saw the setup. The two C/O's (Ray and Richard) then went into the shed and deployed their forces before calling in the second in commands (Surjit and myself). 

The Setup
This is a fictional encounter set around the rather grand looking Hadley namesake wasn't too pleased to be having a battle on his front lawn. I've no idea which side he sympathised with but as soon as the battle began he and his family wisely hid in the back yard. 

Order of Battle
This is the OOB that Postie drew up for us. To explain the letters next to the units mean the following; E means Elite; V Veteran; and T Trained. The number after that is how many figures are in a unit so you can see there is a lot of difference in sizes. 

British - c/o Maj-Gen Sir William Howe
  1st Brigade Col Meadows
    Combined Grenadiers (E) (20)
    Combined Light Infantry (E) (20)
  2nd Brigade Maj-Gen Grant (1)
    23rd Fusilers (V) (16)
    42nd Highlanders (V) (16)
    55th Line (V) (16)
    64th Line (V) (16)
    Medium Gun
  3rd Brigade Maj-Gen Leslie
    7th Fusiliers (V) (16)
    27th Line (V) (16)
    26th Line (V) (16)
    4th Line (V) (16)
    Light Gun
  4th Brigade Col von Lossberg (Hessians)
    Von Woellworth ex von Rall - Grenadier (E) (24)
    Von Knyphhausen Fusiliers (T) (24)
    Combined Grenadiers (E) (24)
    Light Gun
  5th Maj-Gen Ernst Von Prueschenk (Hessians)
    Jagers - Rifle (E) (16)

American - c/o General George Washington 
  1st Brigade Col Irving
    2nd Pennsylvania Line (T) (16)
    5th Pennsylvania Line (T) (16)
    7th Pennsylvania Line (T) (12)
    10th Pennsylvania Line (T) (12)
    Medium Gun
  2nd Brigade Gen Poor
    1st New Hampshire Line (T)  (20)
    2nd New Hampshire Line (T)  (20)
    4th New York Line (T)  (16)
    Sherburnes Additional (T)  (16)
    Light Gun
  3rd Brigade Gen Patterson
    8th Massachusetts Line (T)  (20)
    12th Massachusetts Line (T)  (16)
    14th Massachusetts Line (T)  (20)
    Webbs Additional (T)  (24)
    Medium Gun
  4th Brigade Gen Smallwood
    1st Maryland Line (T)  (20)
    2nd Maryland Line (T)  (16)
    3rd  Maryland Line (T)  (20)
    Haslets Delaware (V)  (16)
    Light Gun
  5th Brigade Col Daniel Morgan
    Riflemen (Rifle) (E)  (16)

The Action
I didn't, unfortunately, note down the positions of the various brigades. I have given myself a stern talking to and a slap on the wrist and promise not to be so lax in future!

Initial setup. The British are on the right commanded by Ray and Surjit. 

They check the rules for loopholes before play commences...

The Americans look across at a temptingly thin British line, knowing that they will take significant casualties if they attack. The plan, however, is to do just that. This is the strongest part of the American line and we have a chance (albeit a slim one) of breaking the British here. 

Meanwhile, on the other flank, my job is to pose enough of a threat to keep Surjit's Brigades here. I decided early on that I wasn't going to present myself as a target to British firepower until the very last. I keep some of my units behind a convenient hill and wait patiently. The bulk of my troops, however, are near the centre and I start with a feint forwards to keep Surjts attention. 

The advance begins. 

Richards lines move forwards. The first units to fire on each other are the skirmishers in front of Hadley Hall and they continue to exchange shot throughout the battle. 

Richard takes a closer look at the skirmishers. 

We decide that the British skirmishers are quackers so close to the duck pond (sorry, had to be said). 

Stirring stuff. This period looks so good...This reminds me of an advert I saw as a kid on the back cover of a comic book...

Years before I discovered wargaming as a hobby and clearly I was already hooked! 

Smoke fills the air as both sides begin to come within range of musketry fire. The British fire is deadly, but not enough to halt the American advance. 

Badley mauled by gunfire some American units still get in close enough to initiate a charge

Smoke a flame fills the air and the Maryland boys show their metal in melee. 

In the centre, I push forward to put some pressure on the British that have emerged from the woods. The Brits eventually fall back to protect themselves. Meanwhile other units under my command begin to exchange fire with some German units. 

Richards attack on the flank may be paying off. One of the Maryland regiments is in, with more ready behind to consolidate any gains made. 

Musketry ripples along the front and one of my Medium gans manages to unleash cannister on one of the German units. Casualties are high but these units are so large they seem to absorb whatever I throw at them. 

Success! The Maryland regiment has routed one of the British regiments. They follow up with a secondary charge into the second line of British units but this time don't do so well. We were actually hoping the Maryland regiment would run away, clearing the way for the units that followed, but they held fast and only fell back half a move...putting them slap bang in the way of their comrades following behind. 

The British have been trying to get more units into this fight and have now got one coming in from the side. The British ability to fight in Open Order is a real problem here. This means we lose once dice when shooting at them but they still get to fire back at full strength. Plus being British they get a bonus for British Volley fire and you can see the Americans have an uphill struggle on their hands. 

In the centre, I have been keeping within effective musketry range but trying to avoid a British Charge. My fire has been a bit of a hotch-potch with the usual poor dice rolls mixed with the occasional success. On balance, nothing to write home about. However, it has kept Surjit occupied and he seems to have ignored his C/O's plan to shift units towards the left flank. 

On our right flank, my heavily outnumbered revolutionaries have stayed out of fire behind the hill. If we can just win initiative I'll bring them forward but for not two units seem to have attracted the attention of four veteran British Regiments and a Gun Battery. 

On the far left flank, the Skirmishers continue to pick away at each other. No doubt the owner of Hadley Hall is most displeased with the occasional stary musketball as windows are smashed. 
Washington provides some welcome stability to units that would otherwise have crumbled by now. The Revolutionary advance continues. 

At last, we win initiative! My two flank units surge forward over the hill and unleash two very good volleys at the British. Huzzar!

In the centre, more fire from my troops whittles down one of the British Regiments but it just retires in good order out of close range. Cowards!

The American's push forward again. Another regiment manages to close with the enemy but British firepower is starting to take its toll. 

The British line seems to be holding fast and the Americans are bleeding themselves into the ground. One more effort and we'll see where we are at. 

In they go, but the British hold fast and the Americans are forced back again. 

Rather than continue fighting fruitlessly Washington asks Howe if he will allow the Americans to withdraw from the field. Howe being a decent chap agrees and the American loose, but with their army able to fight another day. 

Richard was recognised for Outstanding Leadership and Courage on the Battlefield. We gave it our best shot and almost managed to break through the British line. But almost of not enough and conceding defeat and securing an honourable withdrawal was the only option in the end. 

Despite being on the losing side (again!) I thoroughly enjoyed that game. I really do like the period and I think Posties home brew rules (called God save the King) work well. Not overly complicated but with enough flavour to give a real feel for warfare in the rebellious colonies. I just hope I don't have to wait another two years before we play this period again. 


  1. Replies
    1. When is your next visit to "the Shed", Fran? Ray is pining. Look at him. Wasted away to practically nothing, the poor soul.

    2. Thanks Fran. I really enjoyed it.

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks Tamsin. It was an excellent game, despite being on the loosing side.

  3. Great looking game and super report! Looks like a lot of fun all round.
    Best wishes,

    1. It was fun, but a tough ask for the Americans.

  4. Excellent game.Great report. Thanks.

  5. Lovely looking game and one full of action. Let's hope you get to play again relatively soon.

  6. Bloody Hell, you was quick!!!

    1. The TV wasn't on for a change so I was able to concentrate!

  7. The owner of Hadley Hall is a lucky (still alive?) man, he's seen a splendid battle with beautiful armies...Marvelous!


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