So after another gap playing other games, including Sam’s new game Blucher, Ernie and I continued our campaign and had the first game in 1864. Note, some of the photo’s in this are a little off on colour – my iphone is completely to blame for that, not sure what it did. This is game 7 of 9 in the campaign and the tide is definitely turning for my rebels in the overall war at this point. However, at the start of this game I won the roll for deciding whether to attack or defend and as we were playing the farm scenario I decided to defend. Above is my initial deployment, looking from the left to right sides. There was plenty of terrain in front of the walls/hedges I could defend (I need to bring in scale walls next time). As per the scenario I had to have some troops in reserve so I kept all my cavalry units and one unit of artillery back. Really I forgot about the 3rd Art unit so they were REALLY in reserve. I also deployed a little back from where I could in most cases, just to be able to react to Ernie’s deployment, as I had to deploy all my stuff first. You’ll notice right at the top my lone rifle battery set up in the obvious corridor that the union troops may use to try to flank my position.
Opposite, was the deployment Ernie used. He split is force into two, one on each flank. This caused me some concern as his troops outnumber mine. If I was lucky though it also meant I might be able to focus on just one of the groups and defeat them vs. having to fight his whole force at once. It also meant that there was little likelihood of any troops attacking my main art regiment which was deployed in the center of the table. So that would need to be moved.
It was a bold deployment by him but required the right timing for it to surround my troops and hit them at the same time. Below you can see his troops in the right of side of the table after their first moves. The Union troops moved forward though the terrain on that side of the table. Although not a massively powerful force it kept my troops on that side of the table in place. Below you can see my troops I had on the left to counter those above. I moved them forward and angled them to the side to match the Federal troops moving up. These guys were definitely in the defensive mode for me, as I really just wanted to hold the federal attack in this side of the table. Meanwhile, on the right Ernie also moved the troops forward as well. On this side though I had a plan. I had put the 24th Georgian Infantry (who had the sharpshooters advantage) right on the corner of my troops behind a woods. They moved from the wall/hedge into the woods so they could skirmish and engage the oncoming enemy. The idea was to ensure that the Federals did not dally and wait for their troops on my left to get into attacking position. I also moved a unit of veterans (the 2nd Alabama) to the wall and shuffled the central art unit across so the union troops on the hill would either have to hide over the crest or at least take fire. I needed to ‘win’ here before the left side could get around and over power me – or at least hold until my reinforcements came on the table, and I would not be so out numbered. Further along that line on that right side my recruits dug in at an angle. These were there to ensure no flanking moves and to provide me a reserve if I needed it. Ernie’s Federals sent a unit of Light Rifles to a woods across from them and out of sight of my lone Light Rifle art on that side. They spent the rest of the game peppering my recruits at long range. In the end I lost a couple of bases – but that was with me usually burning a card or two each turn to save as many hits as possible on them. I believe they did worse than they should have really so I was lucky. My lone Light Rifle art did start taking shots at the Federals and started to cause a few hits. Over the length of the game it managed to destroy one of the smaller Federal units (it started with 3 bases) and take a base off another unit. Overall that’s not bad and well above average odds I think. This really did helped in the wearing down of the attacking forces. It also shows our experience with the Art in this game. It can be very powerful or really not do much – it’s quite random.
My skirmishers started to have the desired effect early on – even with some awful rolls. Below you can see an example. The six was the one normal skirmish roll – needing a 6 to hit and getting it! The other 4 dice just needed 5+ to hit and all missed. Still that caused a hit and then a kill. Sitting back would not be an option for the Federals unless they wanted to just continue to take the skirmisher shots where they were at a disadvantage. So that part of the plan was working and Ernie seemed to have no plans of staying back anyway. Part of my divide and defeat separately plan required slowing down the force on my left. The not on the map card helped as the marching Federal forces found a swap right where they thought the ground was open that they could use to swing into my troops. This caused a delay and some re-planning for those troops which was exactly what I wanted to happen. Nice to have the right card to play at the right time! Back on the right the skirmishing was causing the Federal forces to focus on them as well as slowing dropping a base off their units here and there. Some of the Federal forces had moved on the hill in front of my art and other veteran troops I had defending the wall. So the right hand side had moved a little more to the central which likely would help me as well. It provided more targets to shoot at if nothing else. When the Federal troops got lined up for what seemed to be a charge in the woods I backed my unit out and moved it back to the wall. This provided another turn of skirmish shooting for me. My central Art unit also did themselves proud and took out a Federal battery in counter battery fire. This needed a 6 to hit but did it and it helped reduce the central threat even more. Federal casualties were starting to mount now while I had taken just a couple of bases. On the left the troops moved around the swap. It seemed that Ernie did not want to spend extra cards moving though it so that gave me a clue that he must have some good cards and was setting up for an attack. This really reduced the immediate threat from the left side of the table though. I just had to defend/defeat the attack from the center and right. In response to the thread I moved on of my units to the left flank so that it could get involved in the center and right. The Federal units obviously moved up to get into an charge positions for one push on the hedge/wall. One of my personality cards helps with this. Although the move did not immediately bring lots of extra guns to bear for my side it would help if they charged next turn and would help shooting in a couple of turns. Below you can see the Federal units on the right of the table in position for the charge. You can also see the Federal rifles at the top which had continued to bombard my dug in recruits. The charge did not go to plan though. I had an interrupt card which caused confusion on one of the units – which reduced the number of bases charging to less than 10 (after my shooting the previous turn) – meaning no EP’s for Ernie and more importantly, stopped the unit which was going to hit my recruits. My units fought well, so the attack on the wall was thrown back. As an added bonus the attacking units retired but were still be in prime target positions for my troops. The attacking federal units were all down to below half their starting strength by now.With my turn the volley and skirmish fire continued on the units still exposed from the last turn. They started to really suffer from all the musketry. The Confederate Art was a fine form as well and the bases were piling up in the Federal dead box. My this time the Confederate cavalry had heard all the fighting and had come on to the right side of the board – i.e. the right number of turns had passes and I could bring on my reserves. My plan was to reinforce success and drive off the Federal Rifle Art shooting at my recruits and then swing around to hit the back of the much reduced Federal units in the right/center. Their long movement would mean that was possible if they stayed mounted. However, the turn after their appearance and before they could really do anything the game was over as the casualties I had caused was enough for me to win the game!
We discussed this game afterward and just like the railway embankment game we played where I was the attacker, this is a tough scenario for the attacker to win. You need a good plan to do it. A massed attack in force with reserves can do it but it is bloody. Another option would have been for Ernie to play the long game and try to bombard me and win by making me burn through the deck. That’s tough as the attacker though. Neither of those are easy to do just like the surrounded attack which he tried. As it was I managed to foil the planned envelopment, which would have been hard to stop if he had pulled it off. I dealt with one part of the Federal force while the other really did not get into the game.
Period Style report
So here we go again for my ‘in period’ view for the spring of 1864…
So here are the standing at present and the changes to our forces. Neither side really got hurt or helped too much by the camp this time and there was some interesting cards. We both lost some very small units though in camp. I have to say I think I may have had a better of the campaign section this time than Ernie as the difference between the sizes of forces is smaller than it has been for a while. But I’m now down to a single Cavalry regiment in my force and the sabotage will not help my card deck at all in the next game.
Colonel Hector Archibald – 6 eagles, 45 EP
The card changes that were made to my force were:
+3 bases to the 24th Georgia Infantry
+2 bases to the 2nd Alabama
+2 bases to the South Carolina 8th
2nd Alabama Cavalry become eager
South Carolina 8th Infantry become vets
Colonel Ambrose Burnside – 4 eagles, 27 EP’s
The card changes that were made to Ernie’s force were:
+Sabotage for the start of the next game
+1 base on the 15th Michigan
Add repeaters to the 42nd Pen
Add a light rifle to the 5th united states Art to replace the one lost
Add sharpshooter to the 1st Michigan Volunteer & 50th Pennsylvania Infantry
17th New Jersey infantry become veterans