Sunday, 31 August 2014

Kernstown – turns 1-5

As this was to be an encounter battle we started the game without specific orders issued to individual regiments and with all units deployed in field column. We agreed that orders could only be issued once the two sides had spotted each other, which under the rules would occur at a distance of 1,000yds, line of sight permitting.

Tyler's brigade on Sandy Ridge.

Garnett's brigade hurry forward 'on the double'.

"Come on boys, lets get them Rebs!"

I quickly moved my columns down from Sandy Ridge with the intention of heading directly towards the stone wall whilst Dave pushed his Rebels forward from the opposite direction. By the end of turn 1 most of the troops were visible to both sides and we began to issue orders.

Garnett's brigade occupies the high ground south of the stone wall.

 The Union troops move forward towards the stone wall.

I ordered the 110th Pennsylvania and 7th Indiana to form line and then to press on quickly to take the wall where the skirmishers of both sides were already in action. To my surprise though Dave halted the bulk of his forces on the high ground south of the wall and deployed the 4th Virginia into a single line.

Tyler deploys his brigade into line.

 The 4th Virginia deploy into a single rank opposite the stone wall.

Dave's decision not to advance further gave my forces an important tactical benefit as my troops would receive a morale bonus for ‘hard cover’ as well as increased fire power for ‘resting weapons’. The Confederates on the other hand would receive a morale bonus for ‘high ground’ and were able to bring maximum fire power to bear from the 4th Virginia whilst keeping their reserves intact.

The battle-lines now fully deployed are starting to engage in a fire-fight.

General Garnett (looking suspiciously like Robert E Lee) takes up position behind the 4th Virginia.

Meanwhile Dave had ordered the 37th Virginia supported by the West Augusta artillery to advance into the wheat field in an attempt to turn my right flank. It was a bold move to bring artillery so far forward (something I had tried successfully in the last game) and soon the Rebel guns were blasting the ranks of the 1st West Virginia regiment with canister.

The West Augusta artillery unlimbered by the Glass Farm and about to fire cannister at the 1st West Virginia.

 Meanhwhile the 37th Virigina are trying to sneak around the Union right flank.

The situation at the end of our playing session half way through turn 5 (click on the image to zoom in).

To be continued.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Battle of Kernstown

Battle of Kernstown - 15mm ACW Scenario
March 23rd 1862, 3.00pm – 5.00pm (12 turns)

Jackson advances directly up the Valley Turnpike with the aim of surprising and defeating what he believes to be a single Union brigade at Kernstown. In fact the town is defended by an entire Union division under the temporary command of Col. Nathan Kimball.

During the morning Jackson attacks the Union line in front of the town but is checked and pushed back. Realising he can make no headway by a direct assault he decides to shift the bulk of his forces to his left in an effort to turn the Union right flank. This scenario is based very loosely on the action that followed.

The Confederate brigades of Fulkerson and Garnett are advancing with the aim of gaining the high ground of Sandy Ridge. At the same moment Tyler’s Federal brigade arrive to shore up the Union flank. All units begin the game in field column with artillery batteries limbered.

 Initial deployment of the forces - click the image to zoom in.

Order of Battle

Union Forces 
Third brigade (Col. Erastus Tyler)
1st West Virginia – Thoburn (10)
110th Pennsylvania – Lewis (12)
7th Ohio – Creighton (10)
7th Indiana – Cheek (14)
29th Ohio – Buckley (8)
4th US artillery

Confederate Forces
Fulkerson’s brigade
37th Virginia – Carson (10)
23rd Virginia – Taliaferro (12)
West Augusta artillery
Garnett’s brigade
4th Virginia – Ronald (14)
27th Virginia – Echols (10)
33rd Virginia – Cummings (8)

(the number of stands in each unit are given in brackets)

Victory Conditions
The Stone Wall – 2VP’s are awarded for control of the wall.
Glass Farm – 2VP’s
Sandy Ridge – 2VP’s for each Confederate brigade that reaches the ridge.
Marcauley House – 2VP’s for each Union brigade that reaches the house.
2VP's for each enemy unit routed.
1VP for each enemy stand removed.
The first player to amass 10 VP's wins the game.

Troop Experience Levels
Each player secretly rolls a D6 for each regiment at the start of the game and allocates experience levels as follows:
Confederates: 1 = green, 2,3,4,5 = hardened, 6 = veteran
Union: 1,2 = green, 3,4,5 = hardened, 6 = veteran

Leader Ratings
These are diced for by both sides as follows:
1 = poor
2,3 = unpredictable
4,5 = dependable
6 = bold

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Henry Hill – Conclusion

In the centre of the field the 2nd Wisconsin and 5th Massachusetts were now side by side and able to trade volleys with Dave’s 2nd Virginia on equal terms. The 2nd Virginia had started out as the largest unit on the table with 14 stands and I would have to bring every available Union rifle to bear if the Rebels were going to be shifted from Henry Hill.

Still standing like a stone wall - Jackson with the 2nd Virginia by Henry House.

The two sides blazed away but it was my Federals who blinked first as the 5th Massachusetts failed their morale test at the end of turn 9 and headed for the rear. With my left and centre in disarray any hope of a victory now shifted to the outcome of events on the right.

 The 5th Massachusetts break under the fire of the Virginians.

Since the start of the game I had been painstakingly manoeuvring the 79th New York forward on the extreme right of my line. They had experienced more than their fair share of disorder, firstly as a result of crossing Young’s Branch, and then due to the steadily rising number of casualties inflicted on them by the Confederates (for each 5 casualties suffered a unit must test for possible disorder). Now at last they were in a position where they could start to exchange volleys with the 13th Mississippi near Chinn Ridge.

The 79th New York square up to the 13th Mississippi near Chinn Ridge.

It seemed that the battle would be decided in this final fire-fight between the New York ‘highlanders’ and the southern boys from the ‘Muddy Miss’. In the end it all hinged on the round of morale throws at the end of turn 10 and it was the Rebels who emerged victorious as the 79th took to their heels in the last skedaddle of the day.

Game over - the 79th join the great skedaddle!

"Hey boys, last one back to Willards Bar is buyin'!"

At the end of turn 10 Dave had amassed 13 VP’s to my 7 VP’s a convincing win for the Confederates. Almost half of my infantry were now in full rout and they didn’t look as if they were going to stop running until they reached Capitol Hill. It was starting to look as if this would be a very long war.

 As the sun sinks over the horizon the Union army is in full retreat - this will be a long war...

We both felt that the rules had delivered an excellent game in what was a very simple scenario - basically one brigade in line advancing against another. The tactical detail involved in manoeuvring units and trying to get to grips with the enemy offered us a completely different experience from the army level 1/300th games we are used to, which was the whole idea. The only down side was the amount of paperwork we found ourselves doing but we have already had ideas about how to streamline that. We intend to try another scenario with the revised rules soon but I will probably write it up as a single post as I’m aware that the slow pace of a game like this makes multiple posts less interesting to the reader!

The positions at the end of the game - turn 10 (click the image to zoom in).