EXERT FROM APPENDIX 1 from Don Featherstone's Battles With Model Soldiers
(The book that got me started.)

"Nothing in these pages is a dictate, no word says you must or you shall do it this way. On the contrary, the book sets out from the very beginning to stimulate the reader to think for himself, and to use what he has read merely as a foundation for efforts and ideas which reflect his own temperament and character. Only in this way will he obtain maximum satisfaction from the hobby of battling with model soldiers."

-Don Featherstone 1918 - 2013

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Howdya like it now?

There were a lot of things I should probably have been doing today but while I am not technically a father, I tend to enough critters to qualify in my books and I had the afternoon to myself. I briefly thought about clearing off the table and getting the new cloth out but that seemed like a lot of work for an off the cuff play test so I just cleared the big fences and houses, dropped in an old log cabin and hauled out the ACW lads to try the proposed 20 man units. The scenario was a simple equal force encounter with victory being based on control of the road junction and ford. Each side had 2 brigades of infantry, each of 3 regiments as well as a battery with 6 gunners and an independent cavalry unit of 6 figures.

After a brief, inconclusive (and pointless) clash between opposing cavalry units, the armies deployed. The Confederates had been first on and kept the initiative through most of the game allowing them to seize the objectives, forcing the Federals to attack. 

After pouring fire into the village at the crossroads, the Yankees assaulted but were repulsed and, after the brigadier was hit,  routed. A second attack eventually succeeded in finally taking the village but a counter attack soon threw the Yankees back out, bringing the US 1st Brigade to shaken in the process. A 2nd regiment broke but the third one hung on for the rest of the game, keeping up a sporadic fire.

At this point, things looked bleak for the Federals, the Confederates now had the objectives and a superiority of forces. In other circumstances it might have been time to go home but the Civil War wasn't well known for giving up hopeless assaults at the first sign of trouble and the Rebel artillery was temporarily out of action having just limbered up to come forward. The Federals closed up to medium rifle range and opened up. There was no real reason for the Rebs to counter attack rather than sustain the firefight until the Yanks became shaken and went home but for some reason they thought they saw a chance to break them quickly and avoid the mutual blood bath. It almost worked, they sent 2 regiments reeling but didn't quite inflict enough damage, and then Brigadier Kinch went down.  The attack stalled, took heavy losses and fell back shaken. the battle of attrition was on.
It took several more turns of musket and cannon fire but the Yankees finally broke, a few hits before the Rebs would have. The Reb counter attack and some stubborn Yankee regiments had turned a sure thing into a near run thing!

Just a small, simple game taking about 2 hours but I liked the feel of the larger units and I liked the flow of the game which had a good feel. If I had triple the number of regiments,  it would make for a full day's game and might call for a turn limit. Brigade sizes for the early war seem to vary from 3 to 5 regiments. Three worked well but I may settle on four as a standard bringing me back to a Division of 12 regiments per side plus a Cavalry division and of course guns. That should be enough to keep me busy.  

So I'm going to go  ahead and reorganize the existing figures, painting more where needed to match existing poses and trying to make units distinct in some fashion. I'll also give each regiment a flag and a name now that the org is set. When Jerry surfaces again, if he wants to stick with our agreed on 3 stand units, I can just leave a few stands on the shelf.

On to Lentulus' 10mm tricorne lads for the 2nd game of the day and a look at heavy cavalry vs infantry.

17 comments:

  1. Having had four ancestors who served in Confederate units, I saw "Yahoo!" at a victory by the South.

    If curious, the units they served in were (as I recall):

    9th Texas Cavalry
    2nd Arkansas
    57th Virginia
    23rd or 26th Georgia (I'm not sure which right now)


    -- Jeff

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    1. I'll make a note of those Jeff. Would you prefer an infantry brigade or a cavalry brigade?

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    2. Infantry . . . the Texas regiment was apparently deployed against Indians, not Yankees.


      -- Jeff

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  2. How well did the rules work for the "village fights" . . . attacking/getting-repulsed; attacking/succeeding; and attacking/regaining the village?

    Were there any surprises? Or did the rules work as you'd hoped?


    -- Jeff

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    1. I think I missed a reply to a previous comment on buildings. In the 40mm game there was an assault on a fortified building as well as the heavy bombardment but I will run one of Grant's city fight scenarios to see how that goes.

      As for this game, things went as anticipated but then the village rules haven't rally changed in substance in 9 years.

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  3. I notice that the 1/72 ACW artillery batteries have two cannon and six gunners, which looks good of course, but am I right in thinking that, with bigger figures, one could field just one gun model and six gunners and the net effect would be the same, given that firing is per two gunners rather than per gun? I think I've got that right but thought I'd better check.

    I hope the extended play-testing works out well, it all looks very promising.

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    1. Steve, yes they other day I ran the batteries as single guns with 6 crew since I had been contemplating using Charge! for a while. I've tried both ways, by gun or by crew in the past but going by the gunners seems to be the most flexible and simplest system, esp combined with the revised morale/disorder, it allows batteries to be worn down or temporarily silenced.

      I sometimes field 1 gunner per actual gun and technically one could even do 1 howitzer crew and 5 gun crews if one didn't find that too fiddly (I can't be bothered).

      yes I hate to jinx things but looking good so far.

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  4. "Brigadier Kinch went down."

    An incalculable loss - akin to losing to McClellans and a bushel of Burnsides!

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  5. I'm hoping that Brigadier Kinch was only wounded and that he shall return in later actions.


    -- Jeff

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    1. Not to fret Jeff, didn't even knock the pipe out of his mouth.

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  6. Ross: Have you discarded the Card activation option?

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    1. Cesar, I have for now to make my life easier. Once I am sure that the rules are set. I will experiment to see if the cards will still work without any changes and if so then I will include it as an option again. I expect this to be the case.

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  7. I prefer the card activation . . . for me it creates more tension . . . and choices of what brigade to activate (not knowing who will move next).


    -- Jeff

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  8. Jeff, once upon a time I preferred it, partly for the reasons you mention, and I still think its good for confused situation but for pitched battles in particular, I think it allows too quick a response to unexpected enemy actions. Unless of course you are using a system like yours with orders which can't be easily changed right away. With the initiative system you always have to remember that the enemy might get 2 moves on you and do something unexpected so you have to be like a boy scout and be prepared.

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  9. Great to see Airfix soldiery battling on other tables! I have occasionally thought of organising my batteries as one gun apiece, but with the number of gun crew to represent the guns of the battery. Thus, a 6-gun Union battery would be represented by a gun with 6 crewmen; a 4-gun Confederate battery by a gun with 4 crewmen. My present system has one gun representing 4, but 2 CSA models and 3 USA, constitute a wargames battery, but at 8 and 12 guns each, represent two real batteries. I've never been 100% happy with this system. Of course, an alternative is to have 1 gun representing 2, but that comes with other difficulties (one being that you would need a heck of a lot of guns to be representative in armies like mine).

    The problem I have is making up my mind about this! Mind you, a lack of gunner figures doesn't help...
    Cheers,
    Ion

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  10. Ion, I have to admit that I am enjoying having the 20mm lads, esp the old Airfix on my table more than I expected. I've tried it both ways, in part it depends on whether the rules count tubes or gunners for effect. Having gome back to counting gunners, I can use one gunner per gun and the number of tubes can be varied to look right. Things vary but roughly, an average battery seem to have taken up roughly 1/2 the frontage of an average battalion so I try not to stray too far from that. So at the moment, since I have expanded my Regiments, I'll go with 2 guns and 6 to 8 gunners per battery. And yes more gunners would be good. Especially more Airfix gunners! I'm thinking of going Jacklex & Rose for the rest of my artillery.

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