Catching up on and experiencing something new while it is still 'the buzz' is a rare pleasure for me these days and since it seemed to fall in one of my corners I admit to having been curious so I wish to thank the generous and always inspiring Bob Cordery (wargaming miscellany blog ) for his gift to me of Thomas' book. Of course one must be careful of who you give gifts to and in a week or so I will be trying out and reporting on the brand spanking new copy of Bob's When Empires Clash which came with it!
But first, since I normally play impractical games (not my definition) and have normally played scenarios for the last thirty years and since OHW includes a few new ones and some variations of some old favorites, I decided to see if a OHW wargame could be expanded to suit what I've been calling my little table.
|The Zouaves prepare for their first action.|
I started by converting the map. Ordinarily I would usually stretch the map but since part of the defending force was parked on a big hill on one end of the table, I decided to square the board up by using some impassable terrain. I thought about ignoring the grid but decided to stick with it which gave me a field of 9x9 squares. Easy peasey, each of the 9 squares on the map became 9 squares on my table. (hmm as I type this, it occurs to me that if I shrink distances and use 1 table square per map square, I could deploy 9 scenarios on table simultaneously forming a sort of on table mini campaign, but not today).
|The Opening Positions. The Rebs can only activate one unit from the force on the hill but if it is destroyed they may then activate another.|
Next I turned to forces. It felt like time to get my 1/72 ACW troops out. If nothing else there were Cesar's Zouaves who had not yet 'seen the elephant'. Since my units are nearly 5" wide, 3 such regiments nicely take up the same ground as 1 unit in the original so I deployed a three regiment brigade for each scenario "unit". Another option would have been to roll 3 times on the unit chart but I didn't think of that at the time. Since it was not uncommon to go into battle without cavalry but very rare for a division to engage without artillery, I only rolled for options with artillery for the 4 unit attacking force. I then attached 1 battery to each brigade. For the 6 defending units I rolled twice on the 3 chart instead of once on the 6. Since they were supposed to have an incompetent commander, I let the dice decide whether or not the artillery was present.
The Rebs deployed Featherstone's Elite Brigade of veteran Airfix figures in town supported by Taleri's Brigade. Kinch then deployed a scratch brigade of cavalry and 2 brigades of infantry on the hill in support of a mass of 3 batteries with orders to open fire and keep it up until there were no Yanks left.
The Yanks sent 1 brigade against the town with another in reserve while sending an elite or Zouave brigade to screen the flank and drive off the supporting Reb brigade.
|The Zouaves launch their first ever charge, driving back the Rebs and capturing General Kinch during the pursuit.|
They kin fight!
Seeing the supporting Reb brigade preparing to counter attack the town to its flank, the Zouaves lowered bayonets and charged. The sight of the colorful metal Zouaves must have unsettled the enemy and they broke one unit and sent a 2nd one packing without taking a scratch. They even managed to nab General Kinch before he could see what was happening through the pipe smoke.
On the flank one lone regiment and a battery stood threatening the Reb massed guns to deter them from firing into the flank of the division as it attacked. The Reb guns were on fire and even after growing support from more Yankee batteries, at the end of the day the Reb guns took out an elite regiment and 2 batteries in exchange for 1. They couldn't stop the attack though and the Yanks, despite heavy losses, were no where near collapse when the sun went down.
I couldn't help but wonder if I should have activated an infantry brigade first but that will have to wait for the next play through of the scenario.
Yes that means that even though this was an impractical game (some folks just don't know when to let things go!) played with 400 1/72nd miniatures on a 4 ft x 5ft temporary table over the course of an hour and a half, the scenario provided the basis of a fun, engaging game. I look forward to playing it again and trying more of them. I might even try Thomas's rules on the bigger surface using triple size armies. Maybe.
|Around turn 10 of 15. The Yanks have taken the town and the Rebs are running out of troops to counter attack with. It may come down to whether or not the artillery can break the Yankee morale by itself.|
I probably won't have time until the weekend but I think I'll replay the game using an ACW version of Tin Army with each unit being treated as an entity rather than as 3 stands grouped together.