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

Friday, August 28, 2015

First Hants Gap

The good news is that Hearts of Tin still does what it was designed for and I don't foresee any major problems with Saturday's multi-player game and that the 4'x5' table had plenty of room and could easily have accomodated two people sitting facing each other.

General Kinch puffs on his pipe as he dictates orders for the attack. 
The inevitable bad news is that after more than 2 hours of running back and forth around the table, often several times per turn as I moved troops, chased the tape measure, hunted for more markers, move casualties from the corner of a table to a regrouping area off table, etc (all good exercise for me!), and after throwing seemingly endless handfuls of dice, few of which were decisive (though several could have been if the roll was different), and placing and replacing endless marker dice, I was hot and both physically and mentally worn out. Without the uplifting energy of competion, the finish was met with almost as much relief that it was nearly over as excitement as to whether either side could manage a win.

I was especially interested to confirm that the business of tracking hits and removing stands with its attendant direct, drastic drop in effectiveness and frontage just doesn't work for me any more , at least not in a solo context. Leaving aside some theoretical qualms, the practical business of bringing troops out and then quickly stuffing casualties here and there to be sorted later as I try to keep the action rolling. Not bad with a dozen stands but with 40 to 50 stands being removed over 18 turns, they can get a bit mixed or lost.

But on to the game!

About 6 turns in. The Reb cavalry has been sent to probe and "amuse" the Yankee left. They do so well enough to draw in some reserves but are maybe a bit too aggressive with their dismounted attack and also suffer heavy casualties. 

The infantry soon catches up and the attack is pressed all along the line but is held. 


Across the road a desperate stand by a 20th Maine Wannabe repulses a series of attacks by total of 4 Reb regiments before the last strength point is ordered  to fall back in good order. It almost makes it to safety but is overwhelmed by concentrated long range artillery and musketry as it nears safety. It has, however, cost the Rebs precious time. 

An overview around turn 12 of 18. Everywhere the Federal line is under pressure. The Rebs have lost almost twice as many stands but they have more to lose and by replacing worn units with fresh ones,  have yet to lose a regiment. The Union commander, either misunderstanding his orders  or else losing hope of victory and opting to go for a draw,  has ordered his men to give up the ridge  and slowly fall back as the sun sinks towards the west.


Time grows short! Kinch's orders are to have a substantial force break through and exit the battlefield before dark. Only 4 turns remain.  The enemy regiments have suffered heavy losses. A mounted cavalry charge is sent in in hopes of breaking through. They face the steadiest volley of the day and are mown down. There is no stopping the Rebs now though. Charge follows charge interspersed with the fire of 4 batteries which have come forward. Regiment after regiment of Yankees breaks and streams to the rear but as darkness descends not a single Reb regiment has broken through. Kinch calls a halt. His division will camp on the vital gap and pursue in the morning.  A tactical victory but a strategic (and scenario) draw.
The board is now reset to the proposed 40" x 56" table with the excess blocked off. A replay of the scenario using in Army or Square Brigadier is now scheduled for Sunday or Monday if all goes well.

But first, 10mm Hearts of Tin tomorrow!

13 comments:

  1. Those Airfix Civil War dudes have a presence all their own don't they? A fine account, and, as usual, an evocative series of accompanying pictures.

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    1. Thanks. Nothing says "wargaming" to me quite like Airfix ACW.

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    2. Airfix ACW, and the Platteville Valley is where I started!

      Ross - a question if I may - we played a game using Hearts of Tin (see my blog) last Friday and had a couple of questions... how does defensive fire work, not sure we saw why you would do it rather than save your fire for the melee?? Do you have any specific distances in mind for retreat or retire moves??

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    3. Steve, before I answer, 2 quick apologies.Last year, or early thus year I seem to have lost the ability to post a comment on your blig and I haven't gotten around to checking it out. 2ndly if Im going to offer rules I should keep the links and available versions current and verified and I've slipped here with HofT. I was surprised that the the link to that edition was still valid but the current version which I've promised my fteind Lentulus will stand isn't posted.

      Anyway the way melees were handled in the version you have was a shortlived departure from the way I've been doing it since 2003 when the earliest one came out. Normally defensive fire is just the ordinary melee roll by infantry or artillery that have been attacked this turn, but rolled and casualties applied before the other side rolled rather than being rolled simultaneously. In this variant where the rolls weren't simultaneous, the only readon to use that version of defensive fire would be if you had some sort of shooting only bonus, say sharpshooters.

      The retreats are usually a normal move.

      I enjoyed the game report and will take another stab at leaving a comment.

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  2. Great pics and minis, 20th Maine Wannabe was the unit of the day! Love the first photo with the generals...

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    1. Thanks, I really must mark regimental names on my units.

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  3. Every time I see Airfix ACW figures being used it makes me want to dig mine out and get a game in with them. I recently bought 6 Airfix guns with crews. It might be time to organize them and get them in the field.

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    1. I'm always surprised at how little room they take up.

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  4. Excellent action Ross- do like the cotton wool gun smoke - adds much to the atmosphere. Way back in 1977 I was just about to buy a whole swag of AIRFIX Union and Confederate from Mr Shannons News Agency/ Hobby Shop- enough multiple boxes to refight Gettysburg- alas, I did not have the funds to do it- and have ever since lamented missing out on these fabulous AIRFIX figures. KEV.

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    1. I left my original small Airfix ACW army with the club in Montreal when I left but started to rebuild in in x 83 when I was short of wargame opponents and short on cash. When I revived it a few years ago it was supposed to stay small, then I was given about 500 figures painted by various Halifax gamers and in need of a home where they would get to play.

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  5. Hi Ross:
    A terrific looking table. I love your ACW battles.

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    1. Thanks, its one of the few things I still do and primarily think "wargame" rather than "toy soldier"

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    2. Thanks, its one of the few things I still do and primarily think "wargame" rather than "toy soldier"

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