Monday, 29 September 2014

Battle of McDowell

Battle of McDowell – 15mm ACW Scenario
May 8th 1862, 3.00pm – 4.30pm (9 turns)

Following his defeat at Kernstown, Jackson takes his command down the valley in an effort to destroy the Union forces advancing from West Virginia. On the morning of May 8th he comes up against Milroy’s brigade barring his way across the Bull Pasture River and orders his men to occupy Sitlington’s Hill.

Meanwhile Schenk arrives at McDowell with his own brigade and being senior to Milroy takes command. Concerned that the Rebels may try to place guns on the hill that would dominate the river crossing, Schenk and Milroy agree to launch a spoiler attack. In reality Jackson decides that it is impractical to place any artillery on the hill and his guns are left in the rear.

The action starts at 3.00pm as Milroy personally leads the Union forces in an attack on Sitlington’s Hill. The Union player must achieve a victory by 4.30pm or the Confederates will receive substantial reinforcements and the game will end in a Rebel victory.

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

Order of Battle

Union Forces
Milroy’s Brigade
3rd West Virginia – Thompson (8)
82nd Ohio – Cantwell (12)
32nd Ohio – Swinny (10)
25th Ohio – Richardson (12)
75th Ohio – McLean (8)
12th Ohio artillery (2 guns)

Schenk’s Brigade (all units in fixed positions)
55th Ohio
73rd Ohio
1st Ohio artillery (5 guns)

Confederate forces
Stonewall Jackson
Gen Johnson (Conner’s Brigade, Army of the North-West)
12th Georgia – Hawkins (14)
31st Virginia – Jackson (10)
25th Virginia – Smith (10)
44th Virginia – Cobb (12)

(number of stands in brackets)

Victory Conditions
Sitlington’s Hill – 2VP’s are awarded for each unbroken Union regiment on the hill (all stands must be on the hill to qualify).
2VP's for each enemy unit routed.
2VP’s for each enemy brigadier killed
1VP for each enemy stand removed.
The first player to amass 10 VP's wins the game. If there is no clear winner by the end of Turn 9 the game ends in a Confederate victory.

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: 1,2,3,4, = hardened, 5,6 = veteran
Union: 1,2 = green, 3,4,5,6 = hardened

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

Special Rules
1. The 12th Georgia are armed with smoothbore muskets – normal firing rules apply but they are restricted to a maximum range of 200yds.
2. The Union artillery and infantry on and around Cemetery Hill and are tasked with defending the river crossings and may not move.
3. Milroy led the Union attack in person – to represent his exposure to danger Milroy must be attached to a unit at all times (he can change between units and can still exercise normal command of the whole brigade. If the brigade he is attached to is broken and he fails to rally it his command figure becomes a casualty).

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Kernstown – turns 5-8

Dave’s artillery continued to shower the 1st West Virginia with canister but despite this their morale held and the lads were able to reply with close range rifle fire. In the end it was the artillery whose nerve broke first and the guns were forced to limber up and retreat back down the Laurel Grove Road.

The 1st West Virginia see off the West Augusta artillery (you can just see a limber sneaking off between the buildings!).

 The 37th Virginia having turned the Union right flank settle down behind a rail fence to exchange shots with the 7th Ohio.

Meanwhile the battle in the centre of the field was intensifying and Dave took the decision to carry out a passage of lines by pulling back the worn out 4th Virginia through the advancing ranks of the 27th Virginia. At this point Dave revealed that the 27th were a 'veteran' unit and they were at full strength having been shielded from shot and shell by the ranks of the 4th.

The veterans of the 27th Virginia prepare to swop places with the rather jaded men of the 4th Virginia.

The 23rd Virginia belatedly get to grips with the 1st West Virigina near the Glass Farm.

 The Rebs got the best of a duel between skirmishers on the Union left flank but this had little impact on the outcome of the battle.

I was a bit nervous about being confronted by fresh ‘veterans’ particularly as both my regiments lining the wall opposite them were ‘green’. However I needn’t have worried because the Virginians stepped forward into a cauldron of fire from 13 infantry stands and my artillery and they were soon dropping like flies.

 As the 27th Virigina advanced they were greeted with a solid wall of flame from the Union line (+1 for resting weapons!).

As we moved to the morale phase at end of turn 8 it was crunch time with all the front line units having to test. My 1st West Virginians broke under the flanking fire of the 23rd Virginia but Dave suffered a worse result with both the 33rd and 27th Virginia taking to their heels.

The Rebel line starts to crumble...

...and then breaks completely (Dave has even added the correct regimental name to the flag of the 33rd VA - nice touch!).

So at the end of turn 8 the Union had amassed 11 VP’s (2 broken enemy infantry units, 1 broken enemy artillery battery, 4 enemy stands removed and possession of the Stone Wall) whilst the Confederates had only 4 VP’s (1 broken enemy unit, 2 enemy stands removed) – a convincing win for the North!

 The positions of the units at the end of the battle - turn 8 (click the image to zoom in).

Next game will be another of these 15mm ACW ones as we have been enjoying playing them and the rules are now 99% there. Meanwhile the flocking of the 1/300th armies continues – we hope it will all be over by Christmas!