Sunday, 5 October 2014

Battle of McDowell – turns 1-4

As our forces were already quite close together at the start of the game it was no surprise that the opposing skirmish lines were soon popping away at each other trying to get control of the ground between the main battle-lines. I had a fair bit of success in the initial phase of firing but Dave eventually found a dice that would give him enough sixes to gain the upper hand and it was my skirmishers who gave ground.

The Union skirmishers push forward eagerly!

The 75th Ohio cross the Bull Pasture River.

Men of Schenk's Brigade wait in reserve at McDowell.

The 31st Virgina deployed ready to contest any advance by the enemy along the Staunton Turnpike.

 General Schenk's HQ at McDowell.

I realised that there wasn’t going to be much room for tactical finesse in this scenario, my men had to push forward quickly and try to overwhelm the enemy line if I was to get any units onto Sitlington’s Hill and win the game. To that end I pushed the 82nd and 32nd Ohio straight at Dave’s 12th Georgia who had advanced slightly from the base of the hill and now looked to be in an exposed position. This negated the advantage I had in rifle range over the musket armed 12th Georgia but my men were soon deployed in supported line and concentrating their fire on the Rebels.

The Union battle-line advances towards Sitlington's Hill.

 The Rebs stand ready to resist the attack.

Dave wisely chose to withdraw the 12th Georgia just as I issued the 82nd Ohio with charge orders (we may have to wait for another game to test the melee rules properly) and they fell back again to the base of Sitlington’s Hill. We had decided to designate the hill as a ‘steep hill’ (in some accounts it is described as a mountain) and this meant that Dave could deploy the 25th Virginia in line along the crest and fire over the heads of the Georgia boys below. This of course effectively doubled the weight of fire the Confederates could throw at my line.

The 12th Georgia retire as my Ohio boys push forward!

The 25th Virginia deploy into single line along the crest of Sitlington's Hill.

Our playing session finished at the end of turn 4 and we were both surprised at just how much action had taken place. On the face of it a few units slugging away at each other in line should be quite boring as a game but somehow the tactical detail of the rules are making for yet another gripping little fight. So far the VP totals are low – 2VP’s to the Confederates and 1VP to the Union – but it will probably change fast when we resume play.

The situation at the end of Turn 4 (click on the image to zoom in).


  1. Great stuff as usual Ian, and Dave is working his magic with those skies.

  2. Thanks Lee - you're right, Dave has done a brilliant job with the photos!

  3. Once again, great pictures, very atmospheric...excellent job!

  4. Beautifully painted figs and awesome terrain!

    1. Thanks Lord Hill - coming from you that is praise indeed!