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Presumably you are talking about 4wd LOW?
Going forward, the 'trick' is when one front wheel is spinning freely,
it needs to rotate 3 revolutions before the other wheel which is on the ground will rotate with torque and pull you forward.
It takes those 3 revolutions before the brakes are applied to stop the freely spinning wheel.
It happened to me once at the off road course at a Jeep show. The 'spotter' told me what was happening.
Which is why I often turn on the rear locker so I at least have power to the ground with 3 wheels.
We don't have a front locker like on a Wrangler, the Cherokee applies the brake to the freely spinning wheel.

I think I have correctly explained this, any comments?

I have learned that 4WD is pretty much useless unless you have tires with a high coefficient of friction for whatever the surface is.
The tread pattern is also important.
On snow and ice you need really good 3-peak snow tires. Studs are even better.

Finally to try and answer your question: I think going forward or backwards works the same.
You will have weight transfer differences and reverse has a lower gearing.
Don't know about brake locking in reverse.
 

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Only the wrangler Rubicon has a front locker. The selec terrain settings change the programming of the BLD brake lock differential programming which is the ABS system braking individual wheels. Snow mode has the most aggressive BLD action with the exception of rock(which is available only in 4 low)
I've always found snow mode and ERS in 1 in 4 low without the locker works best if you aren't going to lock the rear end as the BLD will stop the wheels spinning quicker than other modes. On my ADII I used this mode frequently
 
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