Sunday, January 3, 2010

Battle of Princeton -- A Hold the Line session report

Young General and Old Warrior continued our occasional series of anniversary games with a refight of the Battle of Princeton, Jan. 3, 1777, on the 233rd anniversary of that key battle from the American Revolution, using Hold the Line.

As usual, the Hold the Line scenario is a rather stylized approximation of the battle, although in this case the battlefield was recognizably Princeton. There's Fox Hollow (the river), the hill (in the center) and Princeton itself, (the town on the left.)

Young General decided to place all his hopes on an aggressive advance by a small portion of his army, led by Washington himself ( a 2/2 leader) using the four regular infantry and the artillery in the top center in an attempt to grab Princeton by Turn 18 while earning 3 victory points. This gave up the American advantage of numbers, but the closeness of the final result implied this was a viable approach. If anything, he handicapped his chances by making a late commitment of Greene and a couple of units against the British force manning the fence. More on that later.

Washington's advance succeeded in fighting across Fox Hollow within the first dozen turns, but the British were able to counter this move with a matching force comprising two regulars, the dragoons and Mawhood. Meanwhile an elite unit and the British guns occupied the hill in the center.

Interestingly, Washington himself withdrew from the flanking attack and attached himself to a single regular in the center, leading them at double-time through the center of the British position, capturing two VP markers (which had pulled away from Princeton due to the threat posed by the flankers) and fighting his way right into the first hex of Princeton! He came very close to winning at that point, with 3 VPs and 1 hex of Princeton on Turn 18. Had he moved one turn faster he might have pulled it off. As it happened, though, the British had been racking up points by knocking out American units.

And in the British half of Turn 18 they caught a lucky break which brought the battle to an end at that point, as General Greene fell alongside the last elements of his regiment against the fence fine, which gained the British the last two VPs they needed. The final score was 6-4.

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