Friday, 30 August 2013

Randolph’s Ferry – Turns 1-9

The scenario allowed the Confederates four turns before the arrival on table of the first Federal troops so we skipped straight to the 10.30am turn with Dave laying out his forces accordingly. I was surprised to see just how far along the Old Pine Trail the leading Rebel brigades had advanced being only a mile or so away from Mt. Zion Church. At this stage of course I could not react to the enemy advance as it had not yet been 'officially’ observed. Visibility in our games is set at 20” plus 2” per contour for troops on a hill. Even then a courier must take the news of any enemy sighting back to H.Q. before the C-in-C is allowed to issue a change of orders.

Cleburne's Division advancing rapidly along the Old Pine Trail towards Mt. Zion Church.
 Polk's Corps moving up towards Ranes Farm.

My cavalry were under orders to advance along the Nashville Turnpike to Mt. Zion Church but they had standing orders to engage any enemy cavalry encountered along the way. At 11.00am, as he advanced at the head of his Division, General Kennet observed a column of Rebel cavalry making for Little Flat Top. The troopers were ordered to dismount and shake out a battle-line. By noon the blue and grey horse soldiers were engaged in a fierce exchange of carbine fire in the area between Little Flat Top and the Conrad House.

Kennet's cavalry pass Weber's Farm on the Nashville Turnpike.

Wheeler's cavalry are moving to occupy Little Flat Top.

 The result is the only action of the game so far - an exchange of carbine fire near the Conrad House.

Meanwhile, commencing at 11.00am, the Union infantry began disembarking at Randolph’s Ferry. The steamboats jostled for position along the banks of the Cumberland River trying to find space to land Rosecrans army – some three Corps plus the Reserve Artillery and supply train. Soon the area around the ferry was a hive of activity as the Federal infantry columns formed up and started to move off west.

Looking southwest from Danville towards Randolph's Ferry.
River transports start to disembark the Federal infantry.
The railhead at Danville.

McCook's Corps prepare to move off from Randolph's Ferry.

By 1.00pm most of the Army of the Cumberland is ashore and columns of infantry are starting to move out towards Franklin.

At around noon General McCook was alerted to the presence of a Confederate Division at Mt. Zion Church as his men crested Judah’s Hill. The Rebels had continued to make rapid progress forward helped by the timely playing by Dave of his ‘Foot Cavalry’ card – another new rule concept we were trying out in this game. However, McCook soon realised that Cleburne was isolated and without support and a courier was despatched to H.Q. to relay this useful information to Rosecrans.

A handy card for Dave to play where a rapid advance is required!

Cleburne's 'Foot Cavalry' advance into the fields of the Hendrick's Farm. They are now closer to the Union lines than they are to their own.

All this time Dave had been steadily bringing up the bulk of the Confederate forces to form a line from Ranes Farm to West Ridge. As the Rebel infantry brigades reached their allotted positions they began to entrench, it looked as if Bragg was going to adopt a defensive posture. However, as this part of the line was still unobserved, Rosecrans remained in ignorance of the enemy’s intention.

Polk's men are starting to entrench at the Ranes Farm.

The Confederate reserve artillery are in 'Grand Battery' on West Ridge.

Because of the ‘four turn’ first move and the subsequent lack of any serious combat we managed to play 9 turns in this first session of the game – both of us are anticipating that this will be a long game!

The table at the end of Turn 9 (click image to zoom in).

Situation map at the end of Turn 9 (click image to zoom in).

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Randolph's Ferry Scenario

Having collated all the rule changes that resulted from our last 6mm ACW campaign we have now come up with a fictitious western theatre scenario to generate a big tabletop battle to test them all. The OOB's will be loosely based on the battle of Murfreesboro . . .

The Army of the Cumberland under General Rosecrans is making an amphibious landing at Randolph’s Ferry near Danville, Tennessee. For most of the day it will be disembarking from transports on the Cumberland River and organising it’s base of operations in preparation to capture the town of Franklin, about 5 miles to the south west.

General Kennet’s Federal cavalry has already arrived by road to provide intelligence for Rosecrans about the movements of the enemy. The Confederate Army of Tennessee under General Bragg is known to be moving to protect Franklin.

  • Turn 1 is 9:00 am. The Confederates will start to approach Franklin at 9:00 am from the southwest, but the Union disembarkation ( at numbered points on map) will not begin until 11:00 am (turn 5). In effect this gives the Confederates four turns-worth of movement before any Union forces appear.
  • The Army of the Cumberland must attempt to capture Franklin, and Rosecrans should prepare a plan and write initial orders towards this goal - but the Army of Tennessee is not restricted to a defensive posture.
  • As well as the normal battle victory rules, the Union Army can win the game outright by getting an infantry brigade (in any condition) into the town of Franklin. Union Army Demoralisation level (DM) is 6, Confederate is 7.
  • The Army of the Cumberland has no ‘D’ grade commanders in this scenario, but Palmer’s Division of Crittenden’s Corps is rated GREEN. One Confederate Divison will be rated VETERAN. Two Union ironclad gunboats will arrive after the disembarkation is over to protect the Union base.

Click to enlarge

Battlefield - looking east to west

Franklin, Tennessee : strategic goal of the
Army of the Cumberland

Above, clockwise : 1) Union base of operations at Danville on the Cumberland River. 2) Looking southwest from the river towards the Conrad House.  3) View from Hendrick's Farm towards Mt. Zion Church. 4) Leggetts's Mill on Stone Creek.