Saturday, April 10, 2021

Longstreet's Assault: The Setup

 It has been a long time since I have had an ACW battle. I decided to tackle a large one to get as many figures on the table as possible.

I used Brad Butkoich's excellent resource as a guide.

The map was quite helpful.

Lots of background information gave me a good picture of the situation.

Perhaps the most valuable aspect of the book is the detailed army rosters that are provided, giving details such as weapon type and morale status along with the number of men in the unit.

My table was just the right size to fit the features of the map on to. I used my old Geohex to generate the contours and then put my mats over that. It was a bit tricky trying to keep the Geohex pieces from moving while placing the mat over them, but it worked out. If anything, next time I will make the features higher.

Once the mats were down it took me about an hour to place the roads, fields, fences, structures and woods. It was coming along quite nicely.

Next, I generated the labels for all of the units. This took awhile, but I enjoyed getting intimately acquainted with all the various commanders and their units.

Finally, the troops were placed in position as close to historically as possible.

An overview of the table looking west from Big Roundtop.

Law's brigade of Hood's division.

Robertson's brigade of Hood's division.

Benning's Georgia brigade in support. Anderson's is in the background.

Ward's brigade.

The Confederate gun line made up of batteries from the artillery reserve.

Looking north down the Emmitsburg Pike.

McLaws' division.

McLaws' divisional artillery.

Birney's position at the apex of the salient. The Peach Orchard is in the center rear of the picture.

The Wheatfield

Burling's brigade in support

From behind the Union line.

Vincent's brigade in position on Little Roundtop.

The 20th Maine, the "end of the line."

Another shot of the entire table.

I am fortunate to have space in my garage for my table, so I can leave it up. It will probably take a while to fight this out to a conclusion.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Sharp Practice ACW

 This small episode involves a small Union force given the task of delivering some supplies to the front line via a wagon. The force is comprised of a group of cavalry, five groups of zouaves, and a group of Berdan's Sharpshooters. There are five leaders in all.

The Confederates must prevent the train from reaching its destination. Ideally, they will capture the wagon and distribute its goods to their deprived comrades. This force has five leaders, two leading two groups of infantry, two leading a group of skirmishers each, and the last leading a group of cavalry.

Here is the battlefield:

The Union start with an army morale of 10, the Confederates of 11.

The Union Entry point.

The Confederate entry point

Turn One saw the Confederate cavalry enter and move 12 inches beyond the entry point. The Union cavalry entered as well, along with some supporting infantry gormations.

Turn two: both cavalry groups moved aggressively up the road. At the end of the turn they were in position to charge one another.
The cavalry face off

As other infantry units entered the game at the opposite entry points, the rebel cavalry's chip was drawn first and they charged. Unfortunately, they didn't have any flags on hand to avail themselves of the "Colt" option of firing before they went in. When the dust cleared, the rebs had been thrown back and had also lost their commander to a wound. The Confederate moral dropped accordingly.
The victorious blue coats

The defeated rebs

A Confederate formation moves into position to contest the road

Union elements are inching down the road at a leisurely pace

After three turns, the rebel moral has dropped three points!

On turn four the chips fell in favor of the Confederates. A group of skirmishers were able to fire at the regrouping Union cavalry and drive them off.
The skirmishers fire

The Union horsemen retire to avoid further damage.

Both sides brought more units into position on turn five. A second group of Confederate skirmishers were able to put some shock on the zouaves.
The Confederates are in position.

The formation of zouaves take some shock.

Turn six saw mixed results for both sides. On the rebel left its two groups fired at the sharpshooters. Remarkably, despite throwing 17 dice, no damage was inflicted. The green clad riflemen, however, did considerable damage to the rebs, even killing their commander.
The fallen Confederate leader

The unscathed Yankees
On the other flank, the Union was not as lucky. One of their groups suffered three kills on the first volley. Driving off the skirmishers in front of them only allowed the formation behind them a clear line of fire.

Turn seven saw more volleys exchanged. The Confederate right was in distress.

Turn eight was the tipping point of the battle. The chips allowed the Confederates to fire continuously into the Union formation on the road. Shock and casualties mounted, breaking the formation and driving back a unit. The Union moral dropped significantly as the rebel commander cashed in four flags to fire yet another volley into the already faltering Union line.

The struggling Union formation

The Union morale has dropped to five!

As the game was drawing to a close the chips once again favored the Confederate side. On turn nine, the zouave units on the road were both broken by double the shock and ran away. The result was a dip in the morale to just two. The rebels were also in danger of breaking as the leaderless units on their left suffered terribly from repeated volleys from the sharpshooters and zouves facing them.

Turn ten was the final turn. Both sides were on the verge of dropping to zero morale. Once again, the chips fell in favor of the rebels. The chip for the strongest Confederate formation was drawn with two flags available to it. "Rebel Yell" was declared. The grey line fired a volley into a group of zouves and then rolled three dice to see if they could close. Two sixes and a five were more than enough. The rebs were able to throw 14 dice to the Union's 7. The results were predictable. The Union group was destroyed and their morale dropped to zero. Additionally, two groups of skirmishers advanced on the supply wagon and would certainly be able to capture it the following turn. It was clearly a Confederate victory.
The Rebel Yell proved decisive.

Rebel skirmishers approach the defenseless supply wagon

It didn't all go the rebs' way, as this shattered group gives testimony to.

The losses were considerable.

The Union right was practically untouched, but in danger of being flanked at the end of the game.

A very close game!

I enjoyed the game. I got to have a cavalry charge and a chance to use "Rebel Yell." Very entertaining.