Yippee, I can report that we have completed another campaign game of Longstreet. It’s been a long time since the last game and we had a couple of aborted attempts due to my work and other things but it’s finally in the bag. Both Ernie and I were a little rusty on the rules but had a smashing game in the end. Longstreet and the campaign keeps providing fun and exciting historical feeling games.
The first thing was to work out the table to fight over and the roles. It was no shock Ernie won the scouting roll (he had bonuses and rolled a 6 as well) and his decision put me as the attacker on the hills scenario we had rolled up. Much of the extra terrain was hills and woods. I put the extra woods all around the base of the hills and even on them. The idea was to limited the union Art fields of fire which it did wonderfully. Ernie put some rocky rough ground on one side of the hills and a smaller hill on the other side.As you can see in the setup pictures, above and below, Ernie had to set up to defend both hill tops and I decided to mass my attack on the right side of my table side. I aimed to go up the open area and along the rocky terrain then hook into the hills. The theory was this should allow me to offset the numerical superiority he has and attack in strength before he could bring all his force to bear. Well that’s the theory anyway – pick my fights and win them. So predictably in the first few turns my force moved forward as fast as possible. The artillery deployed on the hill as support for the attack and to help defend the flank that I expected/knew the union forces would counter attack on. My large unit of recruits were on that flank – the idea being they would employ a shoot and scoot type defense to hold up the attacking union forces. This was to buy time for the main units to hit and win the game.
Rather than using my Cav as a mobile/flanking force as I have done in several games, this time I moved them up fast and then dismounted them. They were to attack the small union unit in the woods on the hill. That should stop them flanking my advancing units and open up the hill for a later combined assault. To do this the smaller unit entered the rocky terrain and the other deployed in the open and a firefight started. Unfortunately, I soon realized even with my forces outnumbering them 2 to 1, the union troops were firing volleys vs. my skirmish fire. This was not a firefight in my favor… My units soon started losing bases so something would need to be done here sooner vs. later unless I got really lucky (which is always an unlikely event).
With my Art deployed though they started shooting at the formed union forces. The Confederate recruits deployed into a line to provide the largest firepower and blocking force. I initially moved them into the rough ground to avoid the union forces getting behind my advancing troops. Later in the game I pulled then out as the recruits themselves became the target as you’ll see.
My other art unit just visible at the bottom of the picture below, was targeting a 2 base Union regiment at the top right of the picture. I knew I would get a ‘free’ base killed if I could kill one of them (1 base units are auto broken). But a Light Rifle artillery on a hill had some negatives to hit and even if I did rolling the kill was elusive. I did eventually manage that in the end it took over 4 turns of shooting to make it happen. During this time the 3 seasoned infantry regiments were making their way through the open terrain heading towards the union guns and regiments, aiming to attack them and then turn to go up the hill. The art killed unit unit just before the foot would have had to deal with them.
Meanwhile, as predicted the union forces on the other hill had not been idle. They were moving to the flank of my attack. You can just see the tip of my recruits regiment on the left of the picture below. So they were making a concerned effort to turn the flank and the plan to defend against this with a single unit was starting to make me feel a little nervous.
Below you can see the most of my forces before we really started to get close to the union forces. To save some movement across the table I had played confusion card on the large unit regiment on the flank. This moved them a full turn of movement forward. It brought them into charge range for the next turn. Ernie had played ‘not on the map’ putting rough ground right in the way of my guys moving forward. We used a couple of cards for that but I should really make a couple of special terrain pieces for this as that’s a very common card to be used. The recruits are still in the rough terrain but they were nearly in shooting range of the union forces now.
Below you can see the rough ground better – and that 2 unit of infantry which is still surviving the rifle shots! Luckily I think next turn it died as otherwise my troops would have been too close and would have blocked the art shooting. You can also see my larger dismounted cavalry have lost three bases in the firefight with the union on the hill in return of killing one base. This kept the union unit occupied but it was not really a successful use of resources…My next turn I charged my dismounted Cavalry and the larger infantry and played the modification card to have them all be eager troops. Unfortunately, that did not help and they all lost their melee’s – giving Ernie as many EP’s as myself and killing 3 bases of my own forces! So much for the glorious attack, but heck it was a start. The dismounted cavalry were not being effective in shooting but looking back at this their attack had a slim chance. I did it for the EP’s and to try to see if I could get lucky and break that stalemate. With this the forces were in shooting range and firefights broke out all across the table. Losses started to occur gradually in various units. The next big decision point though was a large union charge. This gained Ernie another EP’ but just like mine was not successful across the board – like him I had a good defense card which helped. In the end this killed more of his troops and none of mine. Mid to late war hand to hand can be risky with smaller units and more veterans around. Even the recruits won their fight but that was helped by outnumbering the attacking union troops.At the time Ernie played some good interrupt cards and basically stopped me counter attacking. I lost a turn and all 6 of the reasonable cards in my hand! I thought was starting to get the upper hand and then that gave him 2 turns in a row. That could be a game changer. Luckily for me his second set of charges and shooting continued to not be that effective and he was killing his own troops as fast as mine.
After this I also had a couple of good firing phases which meant that as well as continuing to move my forces up I could keep the pressure on his troops. I even managed with the light rifles to kill a base of the limbered union art – ‘a case of beer for those troops’ I feel. The loss of a turn made me concentrate a little more on shooting, getting as many bases as possible into range which actually seemed to work out better for me. Neither of us had good melee attack cards it seemed but my seasoned vets were more successful shooting. The dismounted cavalry were in the hills on the woods skirmishing with the union reserve at the top of the hill,as their opponents had finally been cleared out – at the cost of the small discounted cavalry unit. Meanwhile my recruits were holding their own vs. the union forces which were coming their way. This was helped I think by many of the attackers also being recruits or cautious, but I had some good rolls for them in combat. Checking the broke boxes I had 11 or 12 in bases down but Ernie had jumped to 17 in a couple of turns of really good shooting from me and some repelled assaults. So at the end of my turn all I needed to roll was 3 or higher to win the game on one die. Guess what I rolled… Well…so the game continued. In this scenario as the attacker I had to kill a base in my turn to check if I won so there was no point hanging around. In this potentially last turn Ernie went for it and charged my troops (earning an EP) but again I had a good defense card and rolls so he was not successful in breaking a unit, which is that he really needed to do to win. In fact repulsing those meant I just had to kill a single base to win. So that was the task. The next turn I got a rebel yell card (finally the first of the game I had at the right time to use in combat) and so attacked where I could – this time with overpowering odds. In these circumstances the Rebel yell is powerful and even though I had killed a base in shooting the attack was successful. A fitting end to a Rebel victory and meaning it was unnecessary to roll for the end of the game – I had won! So, overall another great Longstreet game. We both enjoyed the game. In the campaign as we now move into 1864 and our forces are a mixed bag its turning out that shooting seems to be a much more important aspect than the headlong charges of the earlier games. The higher proportion of veterans, seasoned and even cautious troops definitely affect the success of charging and whether that’s actually worth it. I suspect we both lost as more troops in failed charges than we did killing opponents in successful ones!
Period Style report
So here we go again for my ‘in period’ view of the events of end 1863…
So here are the standing at present and the changes to our forces. The camp sequence again hurt my infantry units, with me rolling enough 1’s to cause attrition in most units. I am starting to see the creep to cautious troops in my force as well as Ernie’s now which is a bad sign in both forces. Last time I managed to avoid most of that by having the right campaign cards but that did not happen this time. Ernie got one of those instead. Both of us got a promotion, me through a campaign card and Ernie through a great roll promotion roll. I also got the engineering personality the turn so digging in may be more of a factor in the last few games – lucky I painted up some field works pieces.
Colonel Hector Archibald – 6 eagles, 40 EP
- Add a Nap and howitzer art unit
- Add sharpshooters
- +2 bases
- Add Engineering officer profile
- See the elephant
Colonel Ambrose Burnside – 4 eagles, 25 EP’s
- Add 2 light rifles for the art
- Name in the papers (+1 EP)
- +1 base to a unit
- Hail to the chief (one unit recovered from cautious to seasoned)
- See the elephant
- +1 base