Saturday, 7 September 2013

Randolph's Ferry - Turns 10-14

The second game session saw 5 turns played, taking us to 3:30pm on day one. Strategic movement, logistics and the ‘big picture’ are what make 6mm games appealing, so the fact that no serious combat is likely to happen before day two is not a problem !  Rosecrans has discovered that no military plan survives first contact with the enemy, and has scribbled up a storm of new orders. As Ian's opponent I am not privy to either the original orders or the new ones - but I am aware of rushing Union couriers, chaotic countermarching, traffic jams .... and grunts of despair accompanying each command test die roll ( always gratifying to hear). The chain of command involves die roll tests at every level, and with the usual surfeit of ‘C’ grade commanders, the Army of the Cumberland is an unwieldy juggernaut.

The only real action has been between the Divisions of Kennet and Wheeler, whose cavalry were embroiled in  back and forth skirmishing at the Conrad House for most of the day. By 3:00pm they had fought each other to a standstill with heavy losses all round, and both sides withdrew. The Rebs just about had the best of this encounter despite Ian playing one of our new experimental tactical cards :

The dismounted action lasted for several hours.

One of the new Union tactical cards,

I had slightly confounded Ian's expectations by opting for a static, entrenched defence ( I am not usually a great fan of  shovel-based warfare !). The scenario gave General Bragg enough time to heavily entrench a line more than two miles long, stretching north west from the fields of Ranes Farm up across West Ridge to the wooded slopes of Black Elk Mountain.

The Ranes Farm fieldworks - Black Elk Mountain and
Leggetts Mill in the far distance.

Massed Rebel batteries dug in on West Ridge. Entrenching takes three whole
 turns and can only be done out of enemy artillery range.

The extreme northern end of the Confederate trenches - Gibson's Brigade
 on Black Elk Mountain.

To the north, at Mt. Zion Church, I had rather recklessly pushed forward Cleburne's Division with an order to 'threaten the Union disembarkation zone' and 'take advantage of any weakness in the enemy deployment'. When subsequently revealed, Ian found these orders hilarious - McCook's entire Corps left the riverboats and marched straight at Cleburne, threatening to isolate and engulf him. I resorted to our initiative rule ( which allows a local commander to attempt to 'downgrade an army order that has become inappropriate or dangerous' ) and Cleburne successfully altered his 'engage' stance to 'hold'. After a flurry of couriers, he eventually recieved an order from Bragg allowing him to retire to the west.

Cleburne's men -  facing forward, but moving backwards !!

Federal artillery on Laurel Heights deployed within range of the Confederate rifled guns on West Ridge and fell victim to our new 'counter-battery fire' rules ( no, we didn't actually have proper rules for this before !). The Rebs managed to roll a 6 which not only eliminated 2 strength points  from one Union battery but blew up a caisson and deprived them of 2 ammunition points as well. Great rules.

 Federal artillery comes under fire from it's Rebel counterparts.

The Union army continued to fan out and roll across the Tennessee farmland towards Franklin. At 3:00pm, Fry's Division of Thomas' Corps was the last unit to come ashore at Randolph's Ferry.

Clockwise : 1] Looking southeast across the Union line of advance.
                    2] To the rear of Laurel Heights.
                    3] McCook's Corps pushes towards Mt. Zion Church.
                    4] The Union supply train prepares to move out. 


  1. Once again, great presentation, very very nice work! I do like the beautiful pics, and the lights. Great looking map too!

  2. As said above, I just like everything about the set up and game play. The tactical cards area good addition. An enjoyable read.


    1. The tactical cards have been an interesting addition to the game, their effect is not too dramatic but they add a little bit of uncertainty to game-play.