Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Ligny Conclusion

After two more turns it is clear that the French are not up to the task of taking Ligny.  While they have ample infantry for another strong attack, their cavalry has been crippled in trying to hold the flank, suffering over 50% casualties and the Prussians have an unblooded brigade moving up to deliver a death blow.  This, in turn, would leave the French infantry columns extremely vulnerable to a flank attack.  Meanwhile, several attacks in the center have either been stopped cold or routed.   The only real success has been on the Prussian left.  But even there, the terrain and arriving reinforcements will enable a second solid defensive line to be established.

The French cavalry have been thrashed by the more numerous Prussian horsemen.

Fresh squadrons are in position to deliver a death blow and turn the French left flank.

Attacks on the Prussian center have failed.  The French unit in the foreground has just been routed.

These two battalions have been stopped cold by combined musketry and cannon fire.

Light infantry on the Prussian left has been successful, but a newly organized line awaits their depleted ranks.

The Prussians have just been too tough to dislodge.

On the Prussian right, several battalions have yet to fire a shot.
As the dust is settling, the French artillery was a huge disappointment while their Prussian counterparts were quite up to the challenge.  Additionally, the French infantry were continually unable to overcome the enemy's fire in trying to close.  In the rare times that they did, poor dice rolls seemed to always go against them.  The French cavalry fought valiantly, but could not overcome the numerical advantage of the Prussians.  The sniping of Prussian jagers proved to make a huge difference as even just one casualty was enough to lose several bonuses and allow the inferior Prussian horsemen to gain the upper hand.  In hindsight, the French needed to use their batteries to beat down the Prussian guns so that their infantry could get to grips with the poorer quality Prussian infantry.

It was a fun game.  I hope you have enjoyed the pictures and running account of the battle.  Happy New Year!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Ligny Part 3

I got in another turn yesterday.  On the French right there were some important successes.  The farm anchoring the Prussian left was taken and the light infantry holding the outskirts of Ligny were driven back.  However, the Prussians were able to change orders for a reserve regiment and it is on its way to bolster the sagging defenses on the left.

The farm is taken, but the artillery is proving to be a tough nut to crack.

French legions push back the Prussian light infantry.

Despite fierce resistance, the French are making headway.

A reserve regiment makes its way to reinforce the left.
The cavalry battle, however, was another story all together.  The Prussians aggressively attacked the French light cavalry and won every encounter, including a landwehr regiment counter-charging a unit of chasseurs a cheval.  The next turn will be critical, for if the French cannot regain control of this sector, their infantry will be hit in the flank and the battle mostly likely will be lost.

Prussian dragoons defeating a second unit of French lancers.

Prussian landwehr cavalry ready to attack the flank of the French light cavalry division

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Ligny Continued

The first three turns have seen the French send in their initial attacks without much success.  The Prussian cannon are holding back the Emperor's columns while the French guns have been very ineffective in making a dent on Ligny's defenders.
Prussian guns holding back the French assaults.

The elite 4th Leger is unable to close with this battery.  Casualties are mounting.

The defenders on the outskirts of Ligny have been particularly stubborn.
The cavalry battle has been pretty much a stand-off, but this is definitely in the Prussian's favor.  Prussian jagers have been able to empty some French saddles as they have approached the growing conflict.  The Prussian cannons have also done some damage.

The dead horses mark where entire stands of cavalry have been eliminated from the contest.

The Prussian horse is gaining the advantage, and the second brigade is preparing to enter the fray in the background.
The next turn saw a lull in the fighting between the cavalry.  Two French units were able to rally while others moved up to prepare to attack.

Rallied lancers move up.  The next turn should see things heat up considerably.

Prussian reserves move into position.
Around Ligny, the French were able to gain a foothold in the outskirts, but at a very high price.  A second attempt to take the guns on the extreme Prussian left was again unsuccessful.  The -3 for casualties from a blast of canister was just enough to stall the charge of the 1/4th Leger.  An assault on the farm also failed.  All in all, the Prussian commander is feeling pretty good about things at this stage.

Finally, a small success for the French.

The view from behind Ligny.  The town is still quite secure.

A second attempt to take the guns falls short despite the heroic leadership of the brigade commander.

The Prussian conscripts are holding firm on the left.

Fight for Ligny

Taking advantage of my Christmas break by getting back to Napoleonics.  I have a small corp of Prussians, made up of two infantry "brigades" and a division of cavalry.  They are taking on three French infantry divisions along with a light cavalry division.  The Old Guard is in support and will be used only if necessary.  Here are some pictures of the set-up and opening moves.
One Prussian infantry brigade is holding Ligny

The Prussian cavalry is posted on the right where the ground is more open.

The rest of the Prussian cavalry.

The second Prussian infantry brigade is posted to the right of Ligny and in reserve behind the town.

The Prussian left, anchored in some woods and a farm.
The French plan was to attack vigorously on the flanks in the hope of drawing off the Prussian reserves.  As the flank attacks went in, the French would pound Ligny's defenses with three batteries of artillery and harass it with skirmishers before sending in an assault on the town itself. 

The French light cavalry move out to attack their Prussian counterparts who are advancing to meet them.

A French brigade attacks the extreme left flank of the Prussians, hoping to turn it and force the commitment of Prussian reserves.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!

   It has been a wonderful Christmas Eve spent with friends and family.  Beneath it all has been the essence of it what makes this time so special.  I thank God for His indescribable gift, His son Jesus Christ.  We love because He first loved us.  As imperfect as I am, His grace has meant all the difference. 
   Thanks to all who have visited my blog over the years.  I appreciate your interest in my pursuit of our great hobby.  May the New Year bring many blessings your way.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

SYW Campaign Continues

Now that football season is over I was able to start up our military history club at school.  The kids surprised me by wanting to continue the campaign we started last year.  So after school yesterday we took up where we left off last spring.

This battle saw the Prussians desperately trying to cut off a bold Russian advance on their capital.  The Czar's soldiers had established themselves in a town atop a vital crossroads.  Three Prussian brigades blocked the advance and were awaiting reinforcements.  The Russians were more numerous initially, but were spread across the table and would need to consolidate.

The Prussian general was intent on driving the Russians out of the town and ordered his men forward.  They suffered from the fire of a Russian heavy battery, but two straight rolls of double six by a unit of jagers silenced the guns and gave the Prussians the momentum.

The Russians were hampered by the high die roll it took to change orders.  For most of the game they were stuck on "engage" orders and couldn't react to rapidly changing situations.  It wasn't until the last turn of our game that a brigade of light Russian cavalry finally was able to switch to an "assault" order.  This spelled the doom of a Prussian infantry brigade that was caught squarely in the flank.

As the crash of musketry and cannon began to diminish the game was declared a "draw".  The Russians, despite sustaining significant casualties, still held the town.  The reinforcing Prussian brigades were not able to break through the Russian line and force a retreat.

On the Russian left, cossacks hold back Prussian reinforcements.

On the Russian right, grenadiers try to stand up against cuirassiers.  They didn't.

At the end of the game, the Russians assured a draw by finally getting a brigade of cavalry to assault a Prussian brigade in the flank.

Prussian attacks go in against the town.  The game ended before they could achieve a victory.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Antietam Cornfield Battle

A friend came by this afternoon for a few hours of wargaming.  I had set up for the battle for the cornfield at Antietam.  My friend, John, took the Confederates and I commanded the Union.  We each had our hands full with six or more brigades apiece.  We managed to get through three turns and had a pretty good time in the process.  In the end, the Union attack had been beaten back with some significant losses.  But the rebel line had been roughed up quite a bit and reserves had been drawn into the fray, leaving Lee's legions vulnerable on the left flank where Doubleday's division would be arriving soon.

The highlight of the battle came at the end when Taliafero sent in a full strength crack regiment to mop up the remains of the 3rd Pennsylvania Reserves, down to two stands and in extended line.  The Union miraculously won this encounter by a single pip of the dice, but it was enough to make the Confederate general shake his head in disbelief.

The Yankees poised to attack

At the end of the game, a Union brigade prepared to brave the hail of lead.

The carnage in the area just south of the cornfield was considerable.

Grigsby's soldiers were successful in driving in the Union line along the Hagerstown Pike.  In the center of the picture, the remarkable 3rd Pa Reserves can be seen still holding despite severe losses.

From behind Lawton's line. In the fierce fighting here the southern cause lost a brigadier and a divisional commander.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Ripley's Station Part Two

 As 7:00 chimes in the Union cavalry is poised to make assaults on both flanks.  In the south, Smith's men charge through the woods at the thinly deployed lines of McMichaels's two dismounted regiments.  A hail of fire greets the blue clad cavalrymen and brings them to a sudden halt.  Smith can see rebel infantry coming up fast behind McMichaels' line, so he wisely decides to pull back.  However, he dismounts his two regiments on his left to face the rebel infantry there. 

McMichaels' troopers stop Smith's charge.

One of Rogers' regiments trying to regroup in the face of enemy fire

As the turn ends, a larger brigade of Union infantry shuffles onto the table via the Jonestown Pike.

Turn 6: To the north, Rogers' troopers splash across Brittle's Run.  One regiment is unable to brave the fierce fire of the line of Confederate defenders, but on the right, two regiments succeed in coming to grips with their foe.  The first round of the melee is a draw.  The second round, though, sees the Union cavalry overpower the rebs, driving them back fifty yards in disorder.
Rogers fails in his attempt to break the rebel line.
Smith draws back the two regiments on his right flank to allow Fredricks' massive brigade to attack down the Pike.  The dismounted 5th U.S. sends a volley at the 33rd Ga with telling effect.  One of the rounds finds General Turner, killing him instantly.
The 5th U.S. in a hot duel with the 33rd Ga
Parker's Confederate brigade comes on to the table just south of
Ripley's Station and march directly to the support of McMichaels' cavalry.

Parker's regiments advancing
Turn 7: On the northern flank, General Purdy urges his men towards Brittle's Run to continue to pour fire into Rogers' disordered horsemen.  Despite his "poor" rating, he is coming into his own this spring morning.  Just as the Union line appears to be wavering, a shell fragment tears into Purdy and mortally wounds him.  He is taken from the field to a nearby farmhouse, but his wounds will prove to be fatal by the end of the day.
Purdy's men firing into Rogers' disordered regiments.
To the south, General Fredricks hurries his men down the Jonestown Pike and deploys his lead regiment into a line of battle.  McMichaels' men are scurrying for their horses as Parkers men filter through them to take up a position behind the stone wall.  The rebel cavalry has done its job of keeping the Yankees from crossing Brittle's Run.  Now it will be up to the infantry to hold the line against a quickly growing host of federal troops.
Union infantry reading to attack south along the Jonestown Pike

Hart's brigade of infantry comes onto the table.
The Confederate cavalry has gotten the better of their Union counterparts this day, but just barely.  They have roughed up several Yankee regiments, but they have lost two brigadiers in the process.  This loss of leadership will make things difficult for the rebels in the next phase of the battle.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Battle of Ripley's Station RFF Report

Ripley's Station is a vital rail hub northeast of Richmond.  In April of 1862 the Army of the Potomac has launched a major offensive to seize it.  This has caught the Army of Northern Virginia somewhat by surprise.  The attack force is made up of a division of cavalry and two divisions of infantry.  The Confederates have rushed a division of cavalry and a lone division of infantry to drive off the attackers.  The action begins at 6:00 A.M. on April 18, 1862.

Turn One: Smith's brigade of the 1st U.S. cavalry division leads the attack.  It rapidly marches up the Jonestown Pike northwest of Ripley's Station.  Smith's task is to clear any enemy units west of Brittle's Run.  McMichael's small brigade of Condederate cavalry is desperate to hold off Smith's men and buy time for Grupier's infantry division to arrive and form a defense of Ripley's station.  Purdy's 2nd brigade of rebel cavalry is also approaching through the town.  Purdy's inferior leadership skills are apparent as his men sluggishly meander through the town.  This stall's Turner's men.
The 1st Ga moves up the Jonestown Turnpike to head off the Yankee invaders.

The 5th NY leads the way for Smith's brigade.
Turn Two: The 3rd Ga launches a rash attack against the 5th NY.  In the confused fighting, the rebs are fortunate to push back the bluecoats.  Purdy arouses his men to a more fervent effort, allowing Turner's men to get through Ripley's Station.
Turner's men move west of the town.

the 3rd Ga and the 5th NY collide on the Jonestown Pike.

Purdy's cavalry pick up the pace
Turn Three: It is now 6:30.  After two rounds of combat, the 1st Ga is defeated and forced to retreat.  But their sacrifice has allowed the other two regiments of the brigade to dismount to defend the crossroads. Roger's brigade of U.S. cavalry is following up Smith's brigade and moving to the left hoping to capture a small bridge over Brittle's Run.  The 1st Ma charges headlong into the 1st Va on the bridge and is able to force them back.  But while this is going on, two of Purdy's other regiments are able to dismount and prepare defensive positions on high ground.  Meanwhile, a second Confederate infantry brigade, Parker's, arrives on the field.
Parker's Brigade.
Turn Four: Roger's is unsuccessful in restoring order to the green 1st Ma.  This is unfortunate because it allows the rest of Purdy's men to come into line along the other dismounted regiments.  Further to the south, Smith puts his horsemen into line in preparation of charging McMichael's dismounted troopers.  Turner's Georgians advance onto the flank of the 5th U.S. and deliver a volley into their flank, but this merely disorders them
Purdy's men prepare defenses along Brittle's Run.

Rebel horse artillery unlimber on high ground ahead of Rogers' attack.

Turner's Georgians fire a volley into the flank of the 5th U.S., but to little effect.