Thursday, July 28, 2011

Day four, week four

The last battle began today and things got off to a fast start.  Here are some shots.

Russians agains Prussians

More of the same

This, too

French taking on Austrians

Another view

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Day Three, week four

The second battles came to a conclusion today.  The Russians were clear winners over the French and Austrians.  The French started out very boldly and paid for it  when fired upon by four Russian batteries.  The Russian light cavalry were able to defeat their French counterparts on the left flank.  After several attempts, the Russian cuirassiers were finally able to switch to assault orders and proved to be the telling blow, destroying most of a French brigade and breaking the line to assure the victory.

On the other table a much more chaotic conflict took place.  The losses were high on both sides.  Cheers rose from the Austrians when a double six forced Fredrick the Great to check his own welfare.  To the horror of the Prussians, he was killed and things looked very grim for them.  But towards the very end of the battle, Marshal Daun was also subject to a test due to a double tweleve.  An eleven was rolled, indicating that a bullet had hit his pocket watch, demanding a second roll.  A one spot came up, meaning the watch was of inferior quality and the marshal was dead.  Both commanders had been killed!  Has that ever happened before.  In the end, the game was determined to be a draw.

So, going into the last battle tomorrow and Friday, the Russians are in first place with three points, the Austrians and Prussians both have two points, and the French have but one.  The last battles will see the Prussians take on the Russians and the French going up against the Austrians.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Week four, day two

We wrapped up the first of three battles today.  Both ended in draws, though the casualty lists wouldn't indicate that.  On the first table, the French were able to turn to the offensive on the last turn of the game and caught a Prussian battery completely unaware.  A stubborn French battalion held a small farm on the left flank against fierce attacks from the Prussians.  The Prussians came close to breaking through in the middle, but a cavalry unit faltered when it was opportunity charged by some French hussars, and that stemmed the tide.

On table two, yet another draw resulted.  The Austrians/Bavarians seemed to have the advantage at the beginning of the day, but a Russian cuirassier regiment rolled a double six in a mele and literally destroyed their Austrian opponent.  The Russians also concentrated their forces on the Austrian middle and caused a lot of damage there, though barely making up for the horrendous losses they suffered on their attack on the Bavarian brigage on their right flank.

At the end of the game, the French still held the dense wood

The farm on the French left flank held as well.

These Bavarians battered the Russian grenadiers

This is the beginning of the second game.  Notice how tidy the table is.

Game two on the other table.  Again, things start out looking pretty orderly

Monday, July 25, 2011

Week four, day one

The final week of Camp VIP is off and running.  Due to a clerical error we only had eleven students today, but a twelfth from the waiting list should be joining us tomorrow.

The three teams of three and one of two listened patiently as we went over the rules.  This group is the least experienced of any I have had, but they appeared to be getting the hang of things by the time the day came to a conclusion.  It appeared that the Prussians were gaining an advantage over the French on one table, and on the other, some extremely good first rolls by the Bavarian brigage blew some major holes in the Russian grenadiers, giving them the edge.  The inexperienced Russian players deployed their powerful artillery too far away to do much good on this first day.  They will probably correct that problem tomorrow.

Below are some photos of today's gaming.  To enlarge them, just click on the image.

The Bavarians deploy to receive an attack from Russian grenadiers.

A huge cavalry battle on the Austrian right flank.

The Austrian center

Both the French and the Prussians were eager to capture and hold this dense wood.  The French arrived first, thus giving them the advantage.

Both tables in action.  At the front of the photo, a French brigade was able to change to an "assault" order and attack the wood.  To their right a small brigade of dragoons was wiped out by superior Prussian numbers.  To their left, a fellow brigade holding a small farm is under intense pressure from a determined Prussian force.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Week three, day four

The second battle ended in yet another French victory.  Though it cost them many casualties, the companies assigned to delaying the British reinforcements did just that.  In the meantime, again at great cost, the French were able to take one side of the fort and had men inside at game's end.  The artillery was moving up, the works outside the fort had been taken and so the requirements for victory were met.

To make sure that everyone got to see lots of action in the final game, we set it up so that there were six battles within the battle; six separate objectives and twelve separate commands to try to meet them. 

I have learned a lot about the rules and the students have learned the basics pretty well.  I have enjoyed having each and every one of them in the class.

Here are just two shots from today.  Click on the picture to enlarge it.

In the second game, most of the action centered around the attack on the fort.

In our third and final game, everyone was involved and the engagments were fierce.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Week Three, Day Three

We bagan a new battle today having learned a few things from the previous one.  This time around the action got started much more quickly, but there were still a number of units that didn't get into enough "trouble" to suit their commanders.  We'll wrap this one up tomorrow and then have one last go on Friday.

The Indians have suffered the most in this scenario.  The meles have seen them get hurt particularly badly.  The fort, the main objective of the scenario, is still in British hands, but the garrison is feeling the heat and has lost its only artillery.

Here are some shots from today.  Just click on the picture to enlarge it:

The fort before the game started

French and Indians lurking in the woods.

The 28th Foot on its way to relieve the fort.

Colonial militia deployed to defend the bridge.

Students pointing out their troops

The fort at the end of the day.  Vicious fights took place amidst the field works.

Many a brave warrior perished in the middle of the table.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Week Three, Day One

This week we began a week of fighting during the French and Indian War.  I am using a new set of rules, so today was devoted to getting used to them.  It is more of a skirmish game, meaning the scale is much smaller, fought at the company level.  There are A LOT of dice, which means chance plays a bigger part.

Today's scenario was fictional.  It centers around a pastoral valley in the western fringes of the colonies.  The French and Indians have set out to destroy as many farms as possible as well as take the fort.  A wagon train has also come into play, trying to get much needed supplies to the garrison of the fort.

Though we are just learning the rules, there was quite a bit of action at one end of the table.  Below are some  pictures capturing some of the action.

These are the French and Indian players

These young men are commanding the British and Americans

Most of today's action centered around this small village.  American militia garrisoned the buildings.  A few turns later the advanced guard of the wagon train, three companies of the 28th foot, entered and a flurry of volleys ensued.  It appears that the French and Indians are getting the best of it here.

This is the fort at the opposite end of the table.  I made it out of match sticks and am pretty pleased with the end result.

The Virginia State Militia and the first company of the 42nd Highlanders have left the safe confines of the fort to seek out any marauding bands of Indians that have been unleashed on the farmsteads.

This is one of the French and Indian raiding parties itching to cause some havock.
The young lads were terrific today, bearing with me as we worked through the different tables to come to the correct results.  Things should run smoother tomorrow.

Friday, July 15, 2011

End of week two

The Battle of Antietam ended today, and it literally came down to the last roll on the last turn to determine the winners.  On the southern table, the Union was finally able to tear a hole in the Southern line, but at great cost.  On the northern table, the Yanks threw all they had at the exhausted butternuts and somehow the rebs held.  The final charge saw three fresh Union regiments in march column crash into the last available Confederate unit on the table.  Unbelievably, the dice were tossed and the men in gray won by just one pip, but it was enough to hold the line and win the game in that sector.

The kids were absolutely fantastic this week.  I am especially grateful to John and Brian who have been helping me out.  You guys have been terrific.

Next week I'll be trying out a new period, the French and Indian War.  This is more of a skirmish game with figures mounted individually in units of 12 to 15 men representing companies.  The first adventure will feature a custom made fort and several farmsteads that will need to be defended against a host of French and Indians.  Somewhere along the line a wagon train will enter the game trying to get supplies to the fort.  I think it should be a fun game.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Day Four, Week Two

Both sides continued to slug away at each other.  A Confederate counter-attack from the southern end of the line destroyed what was left of the Union left flank, only to see dust clouds swirling in the distance stirred up by fresh units in blue.

On the northern end, the Confederates have continued to be aggressive, but are now confronted with a huge gap in their lines.  A single brigade of reninforcements have arrived, but even greater numbers keep turning up to support the Yankee effort here.

So it will all come down to the final day.  Will the rebs be able to hold out until sunset and at least gain a tactical draw, or will the yanks burst through and destroy Lee's legions?  We'll know tomorrow.

Casualties litter the field after the Confederate counter-attack

The rebs try to organize a second line along the Haggerstown Turnpike

The huge gap in the rebel line

Looking north towards the cornfield

Union regulars try to take the stone wall a second time with no better results

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Day Three, Week Two

The day began with a lull in the action as both sides dressed their lines and licked their wounds.  But after the brief respite things picked up where they left off.  Reinforcements have arrived on both sides, yet at the end of the day the Army on Northern Virginia was in danger of being cut in half.  The Sunken Road position has been ruptured, although a second line of defense is being organized along the Hagerstown Pike.

On the northern table, things were a bit more sedate.  A huge conflict is brewing on the western flank with both sides hesitant to throw the first blow.  But something will have to give tomorrow.

Heartbreak at the stone wall.

Beginning of day three at the Sunken Road.

Action on the northern table.

A lot of action taking place in the cornfield.

Anderson's divion of Longstreet's Corp arrives to threaten the Union flank.

Some heavy thinking going on.

The Sunken Road at the end of day three.  D.H. Hill's brigades have been wrecked by a charge on their flank.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Day Two, Week Two

On the southern table, the Sunken Road saw intense fighting.
The three hours this morning went by very quickly as the battle really picked up on both tables.  On the north end, the Confederates continued to be very aggressive, hurling charge after charge at the Yankees.  But by the end of the day, the gray tide was beginning to recede.

On the southern table, two entire Union brigades were completely used up trying to take the Sunken Road.  Stubborn rebel resistance was slowly erroded, though, under the constant fire of the men in blue.  Confederate reinforcements were stalled upon their entry by a timely flank charge as they entered the table.  Things are looking very grim for the heroic defenders of States rights.

This is the northern table.  At the top of the picture can be seen the destruction that has taken place in the cornfield, just as it did in September of 1862.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Camp VIP Week Two

Week Two of Camp VIP got off to a great start today.  Several guys from last week joined a few newbies for this week to fight battles from the American Civil War.  Here are the two opposing teams:
The Rebel cause is in the hands of these fine young gentlemen
These handsome fellows hope to keep the Union in tact
The battle today was the opening of the Battle of Antietam.  We broke the battle into two parts, on two separate tables to make it easier to get at the figures.  Two Union corps were set to attack Stonewall Jackson's corp, but many other units are in the wings waiting for their chance to enter into the fray.
The Sunken Road prior to the battle beginning

Doubleday's Division ready for action

The Union commanders on the southern end of the field

The Sunken Road under attack

A Confederate charge through the cornfield took out a Union battery, but the Lousianans lost 75% of their number and were removed from play

This Union brigade learned the hard way that being hit in the flank by artillery can cause a lot of problems

The game is off to a great start.  The Confederates on the northern flank have been very aggressive.  In the southern portion they have been content to sit behind their stone walls and keep up a lively fire on the enemy.