Saturday, April 18, 2015

Shellbyville concluded

Turn 11- The struggle has become desperate at this point.  Divisional commander Cash is pushing forward his last reserves in Herringshaw's brigade while Karas is pressing his men to attack the rebel right flank which is being held by the battered rookies of the 4th Va cavalry who have taken up a line at the edge of a wood.
The depleted 4th Va holding the wood

Karas's men unleash a volley that does still more damage to the 4th Va
At the bridge, the 3rd NY charges the 5th SC.  The fighting becomes hand-to-hand. the 3rd is driven back, but they have bought time for the 118th NY to cross the bridge and form a line, but this fresh regiment of Heringshaw's is immediately disordered by well aimed cannon fire.
After the repulse of the 3rd NY, the 19th MS is able to go into line of battle
In the Confederate half of the turn, Dinwiddie tries to organize his men into an organized defense.  As he is doing so, the 2nd NY Lt. Battery hurls forth another deadly fusilade.  Dinwiddies is struck by a shell fragment and dies instantly. Now both infantry brigadiers are dead, leaving the foot soldiers leaderless.

Turn 12- Karas leads one of his regiments in a charge on the fragile 4th Va.  The Virginians hold their fire until the last minute and surprise the yankee infantry with a stunning volley.  When the smoke clears, Karas's horse is seen galloping off riderless.  His men press on, but are only able to just barely push back the rebel cavalry.

At the bridge, General Freeman is desperately trying to give orders to the cowering men all around him.  As he does, a reb cannon ball finds him and mortally wounds him.  There  is now no one to sort things out on the west side of the bridge.
The moment when Dinwiddie is killed at the head of his Mississippians

The 9th SC blazes away at Karas's men

The carnage just west of the bridge

The success that cost Karas his life
Turn 13- Too much has been spent to turn back now, so divisional commander Cash makes his way to the chaos west of the bridge.  He tries to rally the 108th Pa, but the men from the Keystone state have had enough and flee back across the bridge, leaving two thirds of their regiment dead on the field. One of Herringshaw's last regiments crosses the bridge in hopes of being able to tip the scales in the Union's favor, but the march column provides a delectable target for the southern gunners.  Scores of men are knocked down including the bold General Cash.

The rebel battery rolls a "10"

Cash rolls a "10" on the leader loss chart.  He is killed instantly
 And with his demise the battle ends.  All of the Union's general officers have been killed in action.  Freeman's brigade has suffered the highest number of casualties.  Herringshaw's men have faired only slightly better.  Karas's brigade is almost completely intact, but having no one to lead them can do nothing more than form a solid line in anticipation of the counter-attack that never comes.  The 2nd NY Lt. Artillery still holds its excellent firing position, but is critically low on ammunition.
The Union left flank is secured

For the Confederates, their losses have been moderate.  Culbert's cavalry has fought well and paid the price.  Herringbone's South Carolina brigade will need to be pulled out of the line to refit.  It will be up to Dinwiddie's Mississippians to hold the line until reinforcements can arrive.  Shelbyville has been saved, but just barely.

The casualties for the battle were as follows:
            Purdy's Cavalry                            360, including 2 guns
            Herringbone's (k) Brigade             360
            Dinwiddie's (k) Brigade                 80

Union   Cash's (k) Division
            Freeman's (k) Brigade                   880 (entire 6th NJ killed or captured)
            Karas's (k) Brigade                       120
            Herringshaw's (k) Brigade             600

The Union clearly paid a very high price in their effort to take Shellbyville.  Though most of the yankees were either trained or green, they fought bravely.  They suffered from the narrow approach to getting into the battle.  The Confederates, on the other hand, had the advantage of the higher ground and could find cover in the defense.  The most significant statistic, however, is the number of general officers that were lost on both sides.  I have never had such a staggering percentage of commanders fall in the same battle.

Final thoughts- This was a fun battle.  The random arrival of troops added an element of suspense.  The biggest problem for the Union was that they just had one crossing point.  That bottleneck proved to be their downfall.  The Confederate cavalry was hard pressed, but managed to tie up the yankee infantry long enough for help to arrive.

The Union artillery was splendid.  Time and again it bested its southern counterparts and then punished any infantry that tried to take up a position overlooking the bridge.  But the Confederate gunners certainly got in their licks, and three "10's", though depleting their ammo, also took out three yankee commanders.  And that was the real difference in the game.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Battle of Shelbyville Part 3

Turn 8- At long last, Freeman sees the head of Herringshaw's column advancing steadfastly up the road.  A courier informs him that Karas's command is arriving as well.  Stiffened with this intelligence, he decides to lead the 6th NJ forward to but time for the reinforcements to cross the bridge.
Herringshaw's brigade enters the field
Freeman leads the 6th NJ up the slope to slow down Herringbone's South Carolinians
As hundreds of muskets blaze away, the rebels get the best of the firefight.  During the Confederates turn, Greene's battery of the Lynchburg Artillery takes up a firing position squarely on Freeman's flank.
The Lynchburg Artillery takes up position on the Union flank
Purdy continues to pull back his cavalry.
The end of turn 8
Turn 9-  Herringbone is determined to drive the Yankees back, so he leads his men forward in a splendid attack on the 6th NJ.  At first, the men from the Garden State resist fiercely (a tie in the die roll), but the weight of numbers finally takes hold and the gritty regiment is all but destroyed with 70% of its men either killed or captured.
The rebels counterattack

The situation at the end of turn 9
At the very end of the turn, the deadly 2nd NY Lt. Artillery fires yet another blast, this time at the disordered South Carolinians. A 10 is rolled, casualties are inflicted and Herringbone is killed by a shell fragment as he was trying to reorganize his victorious men (a 9 rolled on the officer casualty table.)  Also during the turn, the rebel artillery blasted Herringshaw's 3rd NY as it tried to get across the bridge.  The head of his column is stunned by this ferocious fire.

Turn 10- All is confusion at the bridge.  Both sides are trying to reorganize as quickly as possible.  Excitement surges through the Confederate ranks as news of Dinwiddie's arrival spreads through the ranks.
Dinwiddie's Mississippi brigade comes onto the field of battle
As both sides attempt to regroup at the bridgehead, tragedy strikes the Union command corp when General Herringshaw is killed instantly by a well aimed cannon ball.  Confusion is reigning at the hotly disputed bridgehead.

Karas continues to urge his men towards the rebel right flank.  This could be the Union's best hope of a victory.
Confusion reigns at the bridgehead.

Karas's command

Karas presses his men forward, seeking to take the rebels in the flank
At the end of turn 10, the issue is still quite in doubt.  All of the available forces are now on the field.  It is now a matter of who can seize the initiative and keep it.  The Confederates hold favorable ground, but the Yankees have the advantage in numbers.  Also, the Union artillery has had its way with the rebel guns despite a large disparity in guns.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Battle of Shellbyville Part 2

On turn four the Union brigadier Freeman pulls back his left flank, but on the right he continues to blaze away at Purdy's dismounted troopers.  Freeman's men get the worst of it.  The 6th Va fails its moral check, breaks, and routs to the rear.  Dodson limbers up the remains of his battery to take up a better position within the town.
The 14th RI pulls back

The firefight continues on Freeman's right, but he takes losses
On turn five, Freeman decides to forge ahead despite the fact that his supporting brigades are nowhere in sight.  The 2nd NY Lt. fires into the flank of the 4th Va cavalry and takes out two stands.  This is too much for the green troopers and they mount up and hastily retreat to the west. Purdy withdraws his regiments on the left.  An eerie silence falls upon the field of battle.
The 6th Va rallies

Dodson's new position

Purdy's men break off the action and pull back towards the town
Turn six- The 2nd NY Lt limbers up and pushes hard towards the hill to gain better firing positions as the 4th Va has routed from the field.  The 14th RI moves to support the NY battery.  The 6th Va rolls a one and breaks for the second time.
The 4th Va runs.

The 2nd NY Lt and the 14th RI seize the hill

The 6thVa breaks yet again

Purdy's men now line the road east of Shellbyville
Turn 7- Herringbone's South Carolina brigade arrives on the field and makes a rapid march to the front.  At the same time, Langston's two batteries rumble into Shellbyville.  The weight of numbers has definitely swung in favor of the South.  Despite this, Freeman pushes one of his regiments across the bridge to maintain pressure on Purdy's thin line.  From the smudges of dust boiling up to the east, it appears that Union reinforcements are finally at hand.  The question is, will they be in time? 
Herringbone's South Carolinians finally arrive.

Langston's guns make their appearance in Shellbyville
The last action of turn seven is the firing of the 2nd NY Lt at Dodson's battery.  The fire is accurate once again and the rebel battery is all but eliminated.
The final shots of turn seven. Dodson's battery is silenced and Freeman is able to push a regiment across the bridge.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Battle of Shelbyville

I have been working on commissions for most of my hobby time, so it was time to set aside the brushes and treat myself to a wargame.  I hadn't played Regimental Fire and Fury for awhile, and I have enjoyed these rules for solo actions.  This game was a struggle for the town of Shelbyville in the the heartland of Virginia.  It is, of course, fictional as are the orders of battle. 

This scenario has Purdy's Virginia cavalry brigade guarding the approach to Shelbyville from the east.  Scouts have returned alerting Purdy to the fact that a Union infantry division is on its way to destroy the town, which is a vital supply source for the Army of Northern Virginia.  The cavalry general has sent out couriers to press for reinforcements, but until they arrive his four regiments and Dodson's three sections of guns are all that there is to defend the town with. (All of the remaining units to be engaged rolled a d10 to see when they would arrive on the field.)

Purdy's right flank


Shelbyville, with Purdy's defenses in the background

The western side of the table. No sign of reinforcements
The game began when Freeman's New Jersey brigade arrives on turn 1.  He is rather new to command and foolishly advances up the main road in march column.  Dodson's experienced artillerists give the 4th New Jersey a very hot welcome. (the battery rolled a 10, which was withering fire, but one section is now low on ammo.) Freeman's other 3 regiments march away from the road to form a line of battle.  The Union general wasn't expecting such a hostile reception.
Dodson's battery opens the battle and draws first blood
The 4th NJ loses two stands
Fortunately for Freeman, the divisional artillery, a battery of heavy rifles, is right behind him and should be able to take on the rebel guns.  With this confidence, he rallies the bruised 4th and sends the other 3 regiments forward.
The 4th VA hiding in the woods

The 6th VA behind its hasty works.

Freeman's right flank moves into position to engage the rebel line.
On turn three things really got going.  The Union artillery set to challenging Dodson's guns and the Union line of battle marched stoically into position to begin dueling with the gray-clad cavalrymen.  Dodson's battery was able to take out another stand of the 4th NJ, but the shotguns and hunting rifles of the cavalrymen did no damage to the Yankee soldiers.
Dodson's guns feeling the wrath of heavy rifled guns

The lines begin blazing away at one another.

On the Confederate left, a lot of noise but little damage done.
During the Confederate half of the turn, Purdy sprung his surprise.  The 4thVA had concealed itself in a thick wood.  While the 14th Rhode Island was fully occupied with firing at the 6th VA, the 4th moved out of its hiding place to deliver a stunning volley (rolling a 10).  This took out two stands of the 14th RI and disordered them.  But the 6th VA suffered significant casualties in the preceding firefight.  Purdy anxiously looked over his shoulder, but all of the approaches from the west were void of butternut columns.
The 4th VA's surprise

The 14th RI and 4th NJ have lost heavily
After three turns the rebels have managed to hold their line, but it is clearly an uneven fight and Purdy will need to concede his first line of defense and pull back closer to the town.  How much longer will he be able to hold out?  And Freeman is wondering where the rest of the division is.  Surely they can hear the sounds of battle.  Why aren't they rushing to his aid?  To be continued.

Friday, April 10, 2015

A new generation of gamers

I got to spend some time with my oldest grandson this past week.  I took along some Napoleonic artillery that I painted up for him.  He thoroughly enjoyed it and we played a few games.  We also put together some simple terrain to enhance the experience.

We developed some simple rules using one die to determine the outcome of individual combats.  It was fun to interact with him.