|Pitzer's Crossing (Again)
|A year or so ago we played a cracking AWI game at Wally HQ, Pitzer's Crossing, adapted from a scenario in
Battlegames mag using our own rules. A few weeks ago I decided to re-visit the scenario but this time using
British Grenadier. Paul T, Derek and Nige turned up at the alloted time and place.....
The Command Challenge in issue 32 is a cracking AWI scenario. Written by Jim Purky (aka Der Alte Fritz).
From Jim's excellent blog he describes the action as "a 'defense in depth' situation with the defenders (the
Americans) initially outnumbered by the attackers (the British redcoats). The game is played along the vertical
axis of the table, which narrows the frontage for the defenders, making it a little more difficult to turn their flank."
Essentially three British Brigades, arrive on the table's eastern edge between points A and B, on turn 1 tasked
with capturing the rebel's supply base at Pitzer's Crossing. The Americans are aware of the British plan, and
have two Brigades deployed in defence but have decided to move supplies by wagon off table via point C,
although reinforcements are on the way to them. The British are aware that American reinforcements are on the
way and so speed is of the essence.
Looking West from the American deployment area towards the British position.
The battlefield consists of two low ridges both giving an uphill bonus to a defender. The area is crossed with
numerous fences all of which cost 1 Disruption Point to cross. In addition there are a few stone walls providing
cover and bonuses, mostly on the sunken lane leading to Pitzer's Farm. If a unit crosses Pitzer's Farm, Pitzer's
Crossing, or an area of trees, or touches it even partly, it also takes 1 DP as a none of tariff. The farm and village
provide some cover too. The ploughed and cropped fields are all aesthetic.
Looking East from the British deployment area towards the American positions
Nige took command of the Americans, with Paul T and Derek commanding the British. With Paul and Derek
never having played British Grenadier, and Nige not having done so for ages, I decided to umpire and possibly
taking over American reinforcements if, and when, they arrived.
I wrote out several differing order's of battle allowing players to choose a force suited to their tastes but all
broadly similar. It also makes it more fun when you don't actually know for certain what the enemy has and
allows you to replay the scenario with different forces.
Nige deployed his first American Brigade behind walls in the sunken lane leading to Pitzer's Farm. L to R
Delaware Regt (12 figures/1st Line) and 1st Maryland (12 figures/2n Line). Eight brigade skirmishers were
formed from detaching a base from each line regiment line to defend a fence in front of the sunken road. The
American C-in-C positioned himself slightly to the rear to add his support to any threatened section.
Nige deployed his second brigade on Oxbow Ridge - 3rd New Jersey (12 figs, 2nd Line) and 1st Pennsylvania
(Rifle) Regt (12 figs/1st Line) with Brigade skirmishers (8 figs/2nd Line) formed from detaching a base from the
two line regiments. Nigel randomly rolled a 6 for an Excellent Brigade Commander. He certainly looks like he
means business in the picture above.
The British players chose not to form brigade skirmishers and so both Paul and Derek fielded a brigade each of
three 16-figure Battalions (1st Line). Paul took overall command as C-in-C and Derek chose a Hessian Brigade
as the third brigade.
One of the accusations levelled at British Grenadier is that it is ponderously slow. Too slow infact to use in a
typical three hour evening game. I tend to agree. We play British Grenadier with 28mm movement, but 15mm
firing ranges. I know on paper it sounds like it shouldn't work, but in practice we've found it actually works
better. If you think about it, the musket ranges are really too long to use at 28mm scale with 15mm figures as
units then can fire effective at well over 100 yds.
I digress, keen to get moving and grasp the nettle, Derek launched his British brigade (on engage orders) at full
speed towards the Americans, picking up a DP for crossing the fence, but almost cresting Pitzer's Ridge. Derek
reckoned quite wisely that he could rally off DP's once he'd got into position, rather than stalling his advance in
order to do so.
Derek's Hessian Brigade then began to climb Pitzer's Ridge. Elite Jagers led the way for two regiments of
combined Grenadier Battalions (Minnigerode - 24 figure/2nd Line and von Linsing - 20 figures/2nd Line). One
the extreme left of the picture the Hessian Artillery (two model 3pdr guns/1st Line) limbered and moved onto the
crest of the ridge. American brigade skirmishers from the first brigade lined the fence in an attempt to make
The American second line began to cast nervous glances over their shoulders expectantly wondering where
their reinforcements were. An American Brigade was due to arrive on turn 3 with another on turn 4, both at
point D. I required Paul, the British C-in-C, to score 4 or more on a single D6 roll for Americans to arrive. Paul
Lord Derek's brits advanced with two dice of movement each turn. Numerous DP's were acquired but he is
getting there the fastest with the mostest.
Derek's Hessians prepared to assault the sunken road. Nigel's skirmish line wisely decided that discretion was
the better part of valour and withdrew in face of the Elite Jagers.
On the Hessians left Paul's British Brigade had steadily advanced, keeping station.
Having advanced rapidly with two dice each turn, Derek began to outflank the American position in the sunken
lane. Nigel's skirmishers from the second line advanced to try to provide some flank security.
Hessian declare a charge. However, they roll a 1 for their initial dice of movement and then fail the morale test
needed to close. [Doh] Bloody furreners! However all is not lost. The Jagers roll their first two dice of skirmish
fire and score double six - TWO HITS (2 DP) on Nigels Delaware Regiment. Nigel's boys take an extra 2 DP
having suffered a double. 3DP and 1 casualty in one turn. OUCH.
Derek's brigade was now in an excellent position to roll up the American first line from the flank.
With the Hessians forced to halt and remove their DP's before being able to assault, Nigel's troops in the first
line were forced to retreat in response to charges from Derek's force. The Americans were outflanked on the
left but also by Paul's British on their right.
Nigel's 1st PA of the second line wheeled round to face the threat, but were then charged by Derek's Brits. At
this point in the pic above, Derek's chaps have made their first dice of charge movement towards the 1st PA.
The combat was furious but Derek was beaten off with some deft high rolling from Nigel.
I might add at this point that the blue and red counters in the pictures are my order markers for British
Grenadier. The face down side has a sticker with the order type on it.
Nigel's first line had its orders changed to retreat to Oxbow Ridge. "You've done you bit boys...now b****r off."
Derek's Brits continued to roll up the American left. His Hessians baulked at moving forward, largely because
every time they tried to do so Derek rolled a 1 or 2 for movement, incurring another DP and preventing him
assaulting. However one Hessian Grenadier Battalion in a column, shown on the extreme left and have just
crested Oxbow Ridge. Paul's British have just crossed the central road and pushed back the American
skirmishers. All is looking very fortuitous for the forces of the Crown my Lords.
"With zeal and bayonets, forward!" Paul's 5th Foot then charged Nigel's 1st PA. I didn't give them a flank
charge as the unit wasn't entirely in a flank position, but I may well have should. Most of the Hessian Brigade
are still stuck in the sunken lane but one Battalion of Grenadiers is marching in column of march off to the left of
Not having given Paul a flank charge made no difference really as Nigel rolls a double six for combat and Paul
rolls poorly. The British 5th are thrown back in total disarray. There is a threat to Paul's Brigade General. Nige
rolls for it....double one. Paul's Brigadier flees in total panic, to be court martialled and shot at dawn the next
day for cowardice. Worse still the regimental colour of the 5th is.....CAPTURED! The 1st PA in the pic above are
proudly showing off their trophy. The Hessians have at last decided to join in with the British, and made a slow
Meanwhile, over the hill and far away....Whilst all the fighting has been going on elsewhere, a convoy of wagons
has painfully slowly been making its escape from Pitzer's Crossing supply depot. American reinforcements
whilst very slow to arrive (Paul rolled low almost every time for their arrival) eventually arrived in the form of
three more brigades. The Americans now have parity of numbers.
The 'Dandy Fifth' Brigade advanced from point C under my command. Turned to their left and with a timely
successful order change from Nige launch a assault upon the head of the Hessian marching column of
Grenadiers. Derek had rolled so high for his movement that the Hessians had become dangerously exposed.
I took command and rolled a six for movement the exact score require needing to hit in one turn. The Hessians
pass their test and stand but only count four figures in combat. Heavily outnumbered for combat calculation
score a modified total of 14 in combat! Derek rolls low as fortune shifts. The Hessians are routed, the nearby
units all pass their tests for seeing the rout, and the Hessian Brigade also passes a test for a unit having routed
from its command.
"On my boys. On to Victory!".....
...Well, not exactly as even using 28mm movement, we ran out of time [sigh]. Webb's Continental Regiment look
to the camera and pose for posterity after a serious job done on the Hessians.
'The Dandy Fifth' brigade in support of Webb's Regiment. Game is over. A draw. The Americans now
outnumber the Brits and are in better shape with three fresh brigades. However the other two American
brigades would be unlikely to stand more assaults, having avoided the chop by the skin of their teeth. The
supply column would probably make its way off table....but we'll never know.
A successful game though a draw. Everyone really enjoyed the game and its always a positive draw when both
sides are left being able to wax lyrical that they could perhaps had won in another couple of turns. Fantastic
fun and full of drama.
I realise I took very few pics of Paul's command. Here then are the 4th and 10th Foot approaching Pitzer's
Crossing. They look in fine fettle but the village they march towards if packed full of American Continentals and
Militia. By no means a given either way.
5th Regiment of Foot cowers miserably in the sunken lane, minus its regimental colour.
Hessian Linsing Grenadier Battalion, urged on by Baron von Lefley, who doesn't look at all pleased at their
sluggish performance. Still at least its better than their Minnigerode Battalion comrades who are leaving in the
distance with some urgency.
Figures mostly Peter Pig owned and painted by yours truly who also took the dodgy pics.
Don't forget I offer a (UK only) 15mm figure painting service.
C Pitzer's Farm A
Pitzer's Farm Walled Sunken Lane
Walled Sunken Lane Pitzer's Farm