Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Gettysburg: OB and Rules Rethought and Reposted (and Updated)

Note: I really should stop blogging when I'm still recovering from the flu and short on time to boot!  The original post was not ready with rules ideas not fully thought through let alone tested. Then I accidently wiped it out. So, its basically gone, and this is a new post to replace it.

I am still trying to wrap my head around the very different scale from what I am used to. With one hour turns, 2,000 man "units" and  each square being over 700 yards, all tactical detail is out of place and artillery has to close in to what looks like medium rifle range to my Airfix guys. When I tried the layout on my flocked cardtable board, I only needed 2/3 of the small board and the area from Culps Hill to Little Round Top fit but it just looked wrong vs the size and density of the figures. I was tempted to give it up and go back to a Hearts of Tin derivative using 500 yds  per square (which is where the confusion came in yesterday) but I persevered and found that the portable board with fewer large squares is a better fit and gives the same general effect as the full table but  covering only 1/2 the battle field whereas the full table can hold all of it (with a bit of scrunching).

I'm not sure yet if I'll like the look or the rules despite some brief testing today but it will allow me to fit most of most large ACW battles of my table as a playable afternoon game which means, at the moment,  it will give me something different from my other collections and periods. Of course I still have the option of bathtubbing the battles using the Square Brigadier.

Please Note that the following rough ideas have been replaced by The Square Major General.

Scales and Organization.
Each Grid Area is a distance of around 500 to 750 yards varying by scenario and table size.
Each "unit" represents an average of 1,500 to 2,000 men or 20 guns depending on scale.
Units are grouped into Divisions with a Division Commander.
Divisions are commanded by a Corps Commander.

Rules Summary. as of 24 Dec 
Initiative. At the start of each turn each side rolls a die. The high score may choose to go 1st or 2nd that turn. A tie uses the sequence from last turn. One side may be given a +1 for a given scenario.
Bombardment Phase. Both Player's resolve Artillery Bombardment and Skirmisher Fire.
1st Player Moves or Rallies units.
2nd Player Moves or Rallies units.
Combat Phase. Both Players resolve Skirmish Fire and  Combat between adjacent units.

Bombardment and Skirmish Fire.  Both player's may roll for the effect of artillery bombardment and skirmish fire by units which are not adjacent to an enemy then the hits are applied. Artillery which bombards may not move that turn.
Infantry and dismounted cavalry roll 1 die per unit at ranges up to 2.
Artillery rolls 2 dice against a target within 4 areas.
-1 die vs a target in cover.
Effect: Each 5,6 hits

Infantry 1 in woods or other bad going or if having fired skirmish fire this turn, 2 in open, 3 if column on road.
Artillery 1 in open woods or across ford or passable hill, 2 in open, 3 on road,
Cavalry 1 in open woods or across ford or if having fired skirmish fire this turn, 3 mounted in the open, 4 in column on road.
Must face corner or edge after move.
A unit must halt when moving adjacent to the enemy. A unit moving into an area containing an obstacle such as an abatis which is adjacent to the enemy becomes disordered.

Detached Units and Generals.
If a Division Commander is not within 6 areas and line of sight of his Corps Commander he must roll 4,5,6 to move. If a unit is not within 3 areas and line of sight of its Division Commander it must roll 4,5,6 to move.

Must be adjacent to an enemy. If there is an enemy sharing a side it must be the target. If there is no enemy sharing a side then an enemy sharing a corner may be fought. If there are 2 equal priority targets a unit may split dice.
All units roll a base of 3 dice.

+1 if unit did not move this turn
-1 die if the enemy is fortified
-1 die if disordered or flanked or if the enemy is defending a terrain obstacle, steep hill or cover.

Effect: Each 5,6 causes a hit.

Combat Resolution. Once all hits have taken effect, remove any units that are destroyed. Any unit that is adjacent to an enemy and suffered more hits than it took from skirmishing and combat  must retreat a full move in disorder. If, after retreats are carried out,  mounted cavalry are still adjacent to enemy they must retreat a full move in disorder.

Disorder. Disordered unit may not move except to retreat if adjacent to the enemy. A disordered unit which does not move may remove the disorder.

Morale. Regular units are removed after 4 hits, Elite after 5, Green after 3. A Division which has lost 1/2 of its units is demoralized and its units may not move adjacent to the enemy.

Order of Battle for The 1st Day at Gettysburg, adapted from Fire & Fury.
The scenario runs from 10:00 turn to 17:00 turn
or 8 turns.

CSA  (2 Corps Cdr, 4 Div Cdr, 15 inf units, 6 guns )

On Table (10:00)
Heth  Div Cdr
4 Infantry
2 Guns

12:00 Chambersberg Pike
AP Hill  Corps Cdr
Pender  Div Cdr
4 Infantry  (Deployed)
2 Guns

13:00 OakHill
Ewell Corps Cdr
Rodes Div Cdr
4 Infantry
1 Gun

14:00 Harrisburg Road
Early Div Cdr
3 Elite Infantry
1 Gun

USA  (2 Corps Cdr, 6 Div Cdr, 2 Cav, 10 Inf, 4 guns)

On Table (10:00)
Buford Div Cdr (May be ordered by Reynolds)
2 Cavalry
1 Gun

Reynolds  I Corps Cdr
Wadsworth Div Cdr
1 Elite Infantry
1 Infantry

Doubleday Div Cdr
2 Infantry
1 Gun

11:00  Emmitsburg Rd
Robinson Div Cdr
2 Infantry
1 Gun

11:00 Taneytown Rd
Schurz Div Cdr
2 Green Infantry

12:00 Emmitsburg Rd
Howard XI Corps Cdr
Barlow Div Cdr
2 Green Infantry
1 Gun
Von Steinwehr
2 Green Infantry
1 Gun


  1. Ross Mac,

    I am really looking forward to seeing this battle taking place on your wargames table!

    All the best,


    1. I was planning on using my main table but might just use my card table instead.

  2. Tough opposition for the Union on Day 1. All those green XI Corps troops - yikes.