Sunday, December 27, 2015

Battle of Trenton 26 December 1776

Yesterday on the 239th Anniversary of the Battle of Trenton we played it out again using the Black Powder rules.

While historically he battle was very one sided we set up the scenario and the victory conditions to make conditional victory a possibility for either side.

The Hessians are greatly outnumbered and head to head battle will not go well for them.  Their objective is to preserve their force  in the face of overwhelming odd by retreating at least two Battalions across the Assunpink and exit the board.

The Americans are tasked with preventing their escape and routing/capturing at least two Hessian Battalions.

The American OoB:

General Washington-Commander in Chief

Green's Division- General Green
Stephen's Brigade
Stirling's Brigade
Mercer's Brigade
Fermoy's Brigade

Sullivan's Division-General Sullivan
St Claire's Brigade
Glover's Brigade
Sargeant's Brigade

Hamilton's Artillery-Captain Hamilton
3 Gun Sections

Hessian OoB;

Colonel Rall-Commander in Chief
Rall's Grenadiers
Von Losberg Regiment
Von Knyphausen Regiment
2 Lt Artillery sections
Dragoons detachment

Reference for OoB:

I also used another blog to help with troop positions:

Initial Deployments
In order to make the scenario work with Black Powder  some things had to be simplified.  There were more American guns, but only a few were in position for the attack, As a result the three American guns are put under the command of Hamilton.

American;s Advance on Trenton
Historically the Hessians were caught by surprise and slow to react.  To depict this, the Grenadiers and the Jagers are the only units that start on the board.  The remainder are in quarters.  To represent this starting with Turn 1 the Hessian commander will roll a D6 for each unit, 4-6 the unit is available at the beginning of the next turn.  All units will form up by Turn 4.

Others Special rules.
Heavy Snow-All movement is cut in half.  Infantry 6" Cavalry 9" and Commanders 27"  Commanders still have a 12" command radius.

First Fire/Wet Powder-American infantry all get first fire, but they must make a wet powder check.  the first time they are in range and attempt to fire roll a D6, on a result of 4-6 fire as normal with the bonus.  On a 1-3 they cannot fire that turn and lose the first fire bonus.

Jagers/Split Unit-  The Jagers start as two sections guarding the roads.  The fire and melee value is halved until they reunite.

Hessian Grenadiers are formed within 12" of center of town
Jagers form two units guarding the roads
All other units will form within 6" of the center of town when they activate

Artillery and Fermoy's Brigade form to North
Greens and Sullivan's Division are along the roads approaching Trenton
Sargeant's Brigade is detached north of the river on the far side of town and function as marauders.

American Artillery and Fermoy's Brigade deployed
The Battle:

The scenario played well and was done in under three hours.

The Hessians all formed on turn two with the exception of the two infantry units which did not arrive until turn three.

The Americans formed lines and confronted the Jagers driving them back.  The Grenadiers maintained good order taking up position behind stone walls and facing Hamilton and Fermoy allowing the other Hessians to form.
Grenadiers deploy to slow the American advance

The Hessian guns dragoons and helped to delay the American advance.   The Jagers were overcome and routed though just as the Hessian infantry began to form.
Hessian guns manned and deploy to face the onslaught
Jagers Break in the face of the advance
The Hessians were able to gain some hope when Sargeant's Brigade and St Claire's Brigade with routed due to combined artillery and infantry fire combined with poor rolls on the break test table.  This left the bridge wide open for a retreat.
Sargeant's Brigade advances to secure the bridge, but eventually breaks under fire

Unfortunately, there were just too many Americans and they were able to disorder the Hessian units at key times preventing them from taking advantage of the opening and allowing the Americans to get in close.  In addition, Rall missed  critical order  test leaving a unit in critically exposed in march column which the Americans took advantage.
Hamilton's guns pour into the Grenadiers
By turn 7 the game was up for the Hessians.  All three infantry units were disordered the previous turn so they could not move,   The Americans were able to deliver devastating fire forcing two break test which both failed giving the Americans a sound victory.
After Mounting a stalwart defense the Grenadiers finally break
Overall a great game and fun for both sides.  The after a couple more play tests I may tweak a few minor things.  I had giving the Hessians a low stamina which may need to be raised to give them a bit more lasting power.

The best part was being able to play it out on the actual anniversary of the battle.


  1. Great AAR, and scenario. I will try this myself soon!

  2. I have the unit label with stats in excel if someone needs them.

  3. Nice game report and scenario design.