Saturday, September 23, 2017

WBTS via Vassal - Weeks 57 to 60

The eighth cycle of 1862 begins with a siege.  Porter attacks the Confederate defenders of Alexandria.  As this is part of the Siege Combat (Monthly Strategic Turn) [13.41] he does not need to be activated.  He is on the 111-131 column of CRT 3.  Porter uses 1 supply and both sides lose 2,000 men.

Washington is under extended siege as the Confederates in the fort at Alexandria cut the water supply path and the large Confederate army astride the railway line to Baltimore blocks the rail supply path [13.39].  So Washington won't be producing supply.  The units in Washington have to live off supply in the city, but can do so for only one month, however this doesn't seem right as there is a good supply path by road to Baltimore.  Regardless, Washington is in trouble, as are the two Confederate blocking forces.

Supply for the Union is 180 minus 20 for the Washington being cut-off, plus 5 from carryforward. Total of 165 for 10 personnel points.  They augment a 3-3 to a 10-3 and commission a naval flotilla.

The Confederates carryforward 100, receive 60 for major cities and 6 from seaports.  Total 166 for 5 personnel points.  They build 5 garrison factors.

The Confederates deploy new 10-3 divisions to Richmond and Raleigh and a 3-3 to Memphis.  Holmes appears in Richmond.  This is not taken well as 5,000 men leave the militia in Virginia.  2,000 go home in Texas.  Beauregard is given command of the Cavalry Corps and his corps is retired (there is no rule for such a removal of HQs, but it seems reasonable).

The Union deploy new 10-3 divisions to Baltimore and Philadelphia, a 3-3 to Cincinnati and a 2-4 to Cairo.  They finish building their fort between Washington and Annapolis.  They would like to build more, but don't have enough supply to complete them outright.  They have 84 supply.  An army HQ lapses as there is no one available to take command of it.  Curtis takes command of a corps in Washington.

There are no partisans, but another cadre appears in Tennessee.

Union supply is 45 using 17 rail.  They now have 39 left.  They broadcast supply to Thomas and Crittenden.

Confederate supply is 30 and 9 rail.  They have 126 left.  The garrison of the fort at Alexandria surrenders due to lack of supplies.

The Confederates get a political point for having isolated Washington.

Week 57

The Union get the 5 chit.  Things keep going from bad to worse for the Confederates (maybe).

In the West Pleasanton is ordered to Cairo to collect the cavalry.  This will give him a good cavalry corps ready to fight any partisans that dare appear.

Halleck takes the war to Georgia, capturing Rome and Kingston and getting closer to the prize of Atlanta.

The new 10,000 man division is marched to Baltimore and the 10,000 man division there sails to Alexandria.  That frees Porter to conduct the master stroke.  A small band of militia are forced march to clear the bridge, they perish, but not in vain as the way is clear for Porter to take his 15,000 men and sweep round and occupy Manassas Junction.  He does just that, dooming the Confederates on the Potomac.

McClellan activates, but his position is as good as it gets.  Porter has repaired the bridges between Alexandria and Washington. He orders an empty supply train to Alexandria which is then provided with supplies shipped in from Baltimore.  He moves Keyes to take over from Rosencrans so the latter can take his cavalry and totally seal of the rebel host marooned at the gates of Baltimore.

Crittenden, Banks and Pope must be dazzled by Halleck's advance on Atlanta and just read the despatches, awestruck.

Hooker descends on St Marks, FA.

Buell crosses back over the Mississippi to reinforce Thomas.  The Confederates have 81,000 men around Memphis and the Union only 51,000, but the Confederates aren't able to get all their troops into battle.

The Confederates send Magruder with 22,000 men to confront Porter.

The new division in Raleigh is railed to Augusta.  Van Dorn and 4,000 men are railed from New Orleans to Holly Springs in north Mississippi.  He is to collect some reinforcements and then reconquer central Tennessee.  Jackson takes the initiative to send him 11,000 men who he hopes will be more effective attacking where the Union ain't.  Hardee sulks because he wants to lead to reconquesta.  Huger keeps quiet as he likes it in Memphis.  [Aside: having looked at the experimental leader rules, the Confederates could really do with Van Dorn as a cavalry commander at this stage.]

Polk is happy in Little Rock.

Floyd is very happy in New Orleans although the gossips say Mrs Floyd isn't that happy.  He is tempted to rearrange the defences now that Van Dorn has fled, but is annoyed to find that Van Dorn has done a good job of securing the Mississippi delta.

Buckner still awaits orders in Brunswick.

A Hill completes the recovery of the North Carolina coast, and then leaving his division in Wilmington and takes the midnight train to Augusta.

Beauregard inspects his new command at Leesburg, but doesn't have the initiative to get out while he still can.  Johnston doesn't want to flee, he wants to attack.  He doesn't.  So it's over to Magruder to attack.  He doesn't.

 The catastrophe in the East 
(for both sides and the rules as well I think)

The West
where Van Dorn is ready to strike east

Week 58

The Union get the 4 chit.

Pleasanton is ordered to Columbus, he will be Van Dorn's shadow.  He also sends 4,000 men by paddle steamer to Nashville.

Halleck arrives on the outskirts of Atlanta.

Curtis comes out of Washington, picking up troops from Alexandria and securing Porter's right flank. The Confederate railroad repair unit is overrun.  Rosencrans is sent to join Porter, but with his cavalry he presents a much more serious threat to the Confederates.

McClellan, Keyes and McClernand await developments.  Porter stays put.  If he can hold, Rosecrans will be able to slip round causing the Confederates a whole world of pain.

Hooker bides his time.  He has his sights on Chattahoochee, but it requires careful planning.

Pope, Crittenden and Banks still seem bewildered in the Tennessee mountains.  They are not moving.

Sumner sends his reinforcements from St Louis to Rolla and then heads on to Springfield to collect the rest of his army.

Buell, with Thomas and McDowell, thinks about attacking Jackson.  And he does!  It is on the 131-160 column of CRT 3.  The Union use supply and inflict 10% casualties on the Confederates, suffering the same loss in men themselves, 4,000.  The Union victory is short lived as Thomas is wounded and will be out of action for eight months.

Aside: I reckon I am over committing my leaders.  If I had stuck with the optional rule [26.2] I would have been very reluctant to commit leaders as the risk is death on the throw of a 1 and a wound on a throw of a 2 with a six sided dice.  Too a high risk except for desperate battles.  Also, one would have prepared for the risk by having replacement generals handy.

Van Dorn reaches the Tennessee.

Bragg is sent to Culpepper Court House with 10,000 men from Richmond.  Hindman is left defending Richmond with 4,000 men.

A Hill is told to get moving to Atlanta.

Hardee sends reinforcements to Jackson so the latter can now make a counterattack.  He does!  Its on the 91-110 column of CRT 4.  Jackson uses 2 supply and is able to adjust the outcome to a 5% loss for him versus a 10% loss for the Union (3,000 to 5,000)  The Union retreat.  Buell has a lucky escape due to staying behind at Army HQ.

In a last chance to breakthrough, Johnston attacks Keyes on the 131-160 column of CRT 2. The Confederates use supply.  There are no losses and Keyes retreats.  Johnston has a lucky escape like Buell - it pays to be an army commander.


The Confederates desperately need to go first in week 59.

Week 59

They do, the Union get the 2 chit.

Johnston does his best to try and extricate the trapped troops.  Beauregard is sent back to try and keep the rear open.

In the west Van Dorn keeps heading east.

Hardee brings up more supplies so Jackson can keep attacking.

Bragg helps shore up the Confederate line in North Virginia.

Johnston considers an attack on McClellan, but can't get the orders out in time.

Jackson attacks Buell again, on column 91-110 on CRT 4.  The Union use 1 supply, the Confederates 2.   It is a bloody outcome, the Confederates lose 11,000 men (25%) to the Union's 8,000 (20%).

Rosencrans is ordered towards Leesburg, tightening the second noose. Militia are pushed into the valley blocking the Confederates' supply from that source.

Porter has the initiative to send a small force to bolster Rosencrans.  Everyone else in the East stays put. The tension is very high over who will get to be present at the Confederate surrender.

Everywhere else people are glued to the telegraph office waiting for the news from Washington.

 It just keeps getting worse for the Confederates.

Week 60

The Union get 1 free in initiative.  Will it be enough to doom the Confederates on the Potomac?

The Confederates tell A Johnston to pull out.  He orders Breckenridge to try and push Rosencrans aside in a march attack.  He fails with both sides losing 1,000 men.  Magruder tries also to push Rosencrans out of the way, but fails.

Van Dorn is ordered to retake Decatur and Huntsville.  He does, but loses 1,000 men in the process.

Buckner gives up waiting for orders and decides to march down to liberate Florida.

A Hill makes it to Decatur, GA.

Jackson decides to attack again, but goes into a rage after reading despatches from the East.

Breckinridge fails to attack, but Magruder does.  He has to attack across a river, but is on the 201-250 column of CRT 3.  Magruder uses supply, which he luckily has, and suffers 10% casualties (3,000 men) but inflicts 40% on Rosencrans who loses 2,000 men and is forced to retreat.  A supply line is open to the Army of the Atlantic.  Rosencrans is wounded and will be in hospital for seven months.

The Union order Curtis to counterattack.  It's a march attack on the 91-110 column of CRT 1.  To the Confederates' dismay it is successful.

McClellan shows initiative and swings down crossing the Potomac and then strikes the under belly of the surrounded Confederates.  Both sides lose 1,000 men.  McClellan, carefully leading from the rear at the Army of the Potomac's HQ, narrowly avoids becoming a casualty.

Hooker languishes in the Florida swamps.

Halleck, Banks, Crittenden and Pope display no initiative what so ever.

Likewise Buell, Pleasanton and Sumner in the West.

Farragut pulls the US navy back up the Mississippi to maintain contact with Buell's Army of the Missouri.

McClellan could attack, but thinks he's done enough.

 The East - where it has all been happening
The grey stacks north of the Potomac are doomed

The West - where the action is very different to that in the East.


Union losses have been 16,000 compared to the Confederates' 20,000.  This is before the surrender of Lee's army, 55,000 men.  And then there is Johnston 51,000 men who were sent to the rescue but are now trapped.

The Red Badge of Courage 1974

I enjoyed this movie that I found on You Tube.  It was very close to the book and had good atmospherics.  However there was something that didn't quite work for me.  Having given it some thought, and in watching some modern TV, the acting style in this movie was too reminiscent of soap operas.  Not that it was melodramatic or anything like that, it just rang false.

The reason I went for the 1974 version was that it was in colour. I'm now thinking that Richard Thomas as "the youth" aka Henry Fleming, looks better in black and white rather than blue and gray.
Next is to watch the 1951 version, available on You Tube.

Southern Hemisphere Open Skies

Today I took part in Stephen's demonstration game at the new miniature gaming event for Perth called the Southern Hemisphere Open.  Stephen's game was part of the NWS' contribution.

 As it was his game and his models he got the unenviable job of flying five Albatross scouts.  
I had a miserly two Snipes.

And on my first shot my guns jam.
Even though my pilot had the special ability to reduce this occurrence.

Coming and going

 A hit!
One down, four to go.

 My other Snipe has had to break off.
It took 14 damage and can only take two more.

 My remaining Snipe keeps fighting,
although heavily outnumbered.

 Getting a shot at the Hun leader.

 Some near misses
Collisions are a frequent risk in Wings of Glory

  By the end of the allotted time, my remaining Snipe had 12 damage points.

10, 9, 7, 1 the damage on the four remaining German planes.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Built Up Area Combat - Another Test

Last night at the club I enlisted Mark B to help me do some more testing of built up area combat for Napoleon's Battles.

I used the same forces as in my previous test and much the same deployment, although this time I had both Prussian units deployed to get maximum benefit of the BUAs.

End of Turn One.

The French advance and have incurred significant casualties from the Prussians defending the villages. 

End of Turn Two

The French have deployed into line ready to attack.  Prussian fire combat remains on target and they are bringing up their battery.

First French attack.

The French were disordered going in, but fought well, however they were still repulsed.

End of Turn Three

The French have recovered and further deployed ready to attack. 

A major attack is made on the left hand village.

Both brigades attack.  The first is repulsed, forced to withdraw when it became disordered after a tied combat roll caused two casualties each.  The Prussian defenders were not disordered by this as their disorder number is increased by one for the occupation of the BUA.

The second brigade manages to inflict a casualty on the Prussians which causes them to reach their rout number.  The French occupy the BUA.  As well as being disordered I ruled that this was also an automatic change into column and, after a bit of thinking, that it actually represented them deploying into the BUA, so that they were considered to be filling all of it.

The Prussians counterattacked.

As the BUA is rough terrain, if the French brigade were considered to be where they were placed, then the Prussians couldn't reach them.  But as they are actually in the process of occupation, they are lining the perimeter etc, so combat occurs. 

End of Turn Four

The French light infantry on the right had been dispersed by accumulated fire casualties.  The brigade that had successfully occupied the BUA on the left were driven out by the Prussian counterattack and dispersed by accumulated casualties as well.  With two units lost, game over.

This test allowed me to work out an important aspect to occupation, namely that the unit will count as being in column, but occupying the area.  However I might need to do a further test.

WBTS via Vassal - Weeks 53 to 56

The war has now been going for a year.  To put a northern slant on it, the enemy is at the gates.  The South expect to isolate Washington in the next few weeks and that should put an end to the War of Northern Aggression before much longer (about week 60 is my guess).

The Union recieve 170 supply plus 20 from liberated towns after allowance for loss of their own towns (Hagerstown).  Total of 190 for 10 personnel points.  Really need to do another volunteer call...

The Confederates carryforward 26, receive 6 from seaports, 60 from major cities and 69 from towns. At total of 161 for 5 personnel points.  They produce 5 garrison factors.  They really need to implement a draft.

The Union augment a 3-3 to a 10-3 and build a River Flotilla and a Siege Train (they must expect to still be in the war in five months time).  They are left with 90 supply.

The Union deploy two 10-3s and a garrison factor to Baltimore, a 10-3 and 4-3 to Washington, a 3-3 to each of Evansville, Cincinnati and Philadelphia, a 4-3 and 3-4 to Cairo and a 3-3 and 3-4 to St Louis.  The ironclad is finally commissioned in St Louis.  A fort is commenced between Washington and Annapolis, but it is only half finished.  And infantry and a cavalry HQ are created in Baltimore. Rosencrans joins the Union in Baltimore and Porter in Washington.  The latter takes over Heintzelman's old corps while Rosencrans takes command of the cavalry corps, populated with the cavalry that was previously McClellan's.

The Confederates deploy two 10-3s and a railroad repair unit to Richmond, a 10-3 to Raleigh, a 3-3 to Charleston, a 4-3 to New Orleans and Little Rock and a 10-3 to Memphis. No partisans appear, but a cadre is created in Alabama.  They could create more coprs HQs, but don't.

The Union consume 48 supply and 12 rail, leaving them 12 supply and 28 rail.  In sending Banks to Chattanooga, I thought it was a Union supply source, but on checking it is only Knoxville and Bristol.  Realising that I would have forced marched the brigade Crittenden sent into East Tennessee so as to establish a Consumption Supply Path for Banks.   I have now done that, only to have the brigade perish in the forced march, but still it saves Banks.  Supply consumption is unchanged.

The Union broadcast supply to Crittenden's supply train and Buell.

The Confederates consume 36 supply using 10 rail.  They distribute 10 the the supply train in Memphis and create a depot in New Orleans which they put 5 supply into.  This leaves them with a round 100 supply which they hoard.

The Union raise Missouri militia in St Louis and Kentucky militia in Columbus.

Week 53

With the start of the 7/62 cycle there is now a new initiative chit pool.  It comprises 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 with the Confederates able to pick the 3 chit [26.3].  I think I will continue with the Confederates pick, as certainty is an advantage.

The Union get the 2 chit so the Confederates will be going first.  What to do?

North of the Potomac Lee has 57,000 effectives (I checked and a strength point represents 1,000 men and sounds so much better).  On the south bank of the Potomac the Confederates have 46,000.  In the same locale the Union have 190,000 men.  They also have five named commanders to the Confederates two, although the Confederates have the better quality.  Lee must attack!

But he needs reinforcements first.

A Johnston and the Army of the Atlantic is activated which in turn puts Breckinridge, Bragg and Hindman in command.  They in turn can activate the various extra divisions.  There are 46,000 men around Richmond.  30,000 are sent north with Breckinridge.  Bragg is left in Richmond while Johnston and Hindman go after Curtis.  The Railroad Repair Unit is sent to Clarksville, VA, to rip up some tracks so as to undertake the repair at Manassas Junction.

The cavalry are ordered to reunite in Leesburg.

The third free initiative must be spent in the West.

The West is no easier than the East.  Polk can stay in Little Rock.  That part of the Trans-Mississippi is safe, but at Memphis it is a different story.  It will all depend on how the ironclads perform...

Jackson can command 57,000 men to attack Thomas' 31,000.  It is what is expected of him.

D Hill is ordered to cross the Mississippi with the new 10,000 strong division and occupy Marion. Jackson and Hardee will have to cover Memphis and watch Thomas and Halleck.

Hardee decides to take 4,000 men to Memphis, leaving the rest of his force with Jackson.

Van Horn realises that the fort covering Lake Pontchartrain is not occupied.  This would permit the Union to supply any troops that might want to besiege New Orleans.  He leaves his 3,000 men to defend Mobile and hurries back to New Orleans, as he knows Floyd won't have the initiative to do anything.  He is right, Floyd is busy writing his acceptance speech.

Buckner retakes Brunswick (not that it is of any use with its rail line busted).

A Hill forced marches and retakes Morehead City, another city that had its rail line wrecked.  He loses a 1,000 men during his march.  There are Yankee militia camped outside, but without a leader they will do nothing.

Beauregard leaves his 3,000 man strong division in Winchester and moves to Leesburg to be where the action is (also, being a four star general, he can command some of the cavalry).

In a very tricky move, Lee takes just 12,000 men and does a march attack on the 4,000 garrison troops that are between him and Baltimore.  This low level attack guarantees they will have to retreat, whereas if he had attacked with all his troops, they would merely have taken a casualty and stayed in place.  Lee narrowly escapes being killed when his own side mistakingly fire on him as he is returning.

Magruder sends reinforcements to Lee.

Lee fails to attack, obviously unnerved by his lucky escape.

Jackson finally attacks Thomas on the 161-200 column of CRT 4.  Jackson uses two supply, Thomas one.  Both sides lose 15% and Thomas has to withdraw.  Maybe Jackson was right not to attack, his losses are 9,000 men compared to the Union 5,000.

The Union send the new ironclad down to join Farragut at Fort Pillow.  He now has two ironclads and three river flotillas.  Total strength is 70 to the Confederates two ironclads at 40.  These are not favourable odds for either side:

The ironclads are immune from loss if they pass their SNAFU roll (and as both sides have a naval commander this means as long as they don't roll a six).  The Union have an advantage with a 1 die roll modifier (up or down) as Farragut is a 2 leader while Buchanan is a 1.  More Union ships are expected in two months time, so they have the ability to recover.  Regardless, no naval combat this week.

Keyes is ordered to clear the Confederates on the Washington Baltimore line and does a march attack to force them back.  McClernand is them ordered to do the same thing to the Confederates holding the Leesburg bridge, but he fails to dislodge them with both sides losing 1,000 men.

Rosencrans sits in Baltimore. Porter sends reinforcements to McClellan.  McClellan in turn shuffles troops to bolster Keyes.

Curtis decides he's needed at home and takes his reduced division to Washington, via Port Tobacco, losing a 1,000 men on the way.

Hooker assesses his options.  There are certainly lots of opportunities.

Buell and McDowell go to watch the boats.  Thomas pulls back to Union City.  A River Flotilla guarding the Tennessee River is sent to join Farragut.

Pope twiddles his thumbs, as does Banks and Halleck, but Crittenden, perhaps influenced by Grant, shows some initiative.  He heads up the Tennessee.

Sumner and Pleasanton are in the far west and seem intent on staying there.

Much to his horror, McClellan realises he could attack, he is the Army of the Potomac after all and can command all those corps adjacent to him.  He writes to his wife telling her how awesome this is. Of course he doesn't attack, but says he could if he wanted to.  McClernand could have attacked as well, but didn't.

All quiet on the Potomac

Week 54

The Union get the 1 chit.  Better than the 0 chit.

The railroad repair unit rips up two sections of railroad.  There is lots of grumbling from the work gangs.  Breckinridge is ordered to secure Lee's rear.

In the West Jackson sends troops back to support Memphis.  He has a plan.  Buchanan sails his ironclads down river - any Yankees coming after him are gonna have to get past Memphis.  The other generals in the west all stay put.

Van Dorn could go and confront Hooker, but thinks better of it as it would leave New Orleans unnecessarily exposed.

Bruckner is told to go to Atlanta.  He starts to think about it.

J Johnston takes the Army of the Atlantic north, leaving Hindman and Bragg to defend Richmond. Beauregard gets ready to cross the Potomac.  Magruder waits.  Lee plans his attack.  He has 58,000 men, there are 51,000 at Washington under Porter, 44,000 with McClellan and 41,000 with Keyes. Attacking the latter two might induce them to retreat which would put him across the rail line.

Lee attacks Keyes on the 131-160 column on CRT 4.  Lee uses two supply.  He takes 5% losses and inflicts 10% on the Union, forcing them to retreat.  The Confederates lose 3,000 men to the Union's 5,000.  In a bold, and possibly game winning move, Lee advances.  But wait, there's something wrong...  An orderly rushes up as Lee slumps in his saddle, slips sideways and falls to the ground.

The Union get McClellan into position for a massive counterattack.  None of the other Eastern generals do anything.

Pope returns to Nashville to get supplies for the railway repair unit.  Banks, Crittenden and Halleck do nothing except read the dire reports from Washington.

Thomas moves to Fort Pillow.  Buell uses this as an excuse to stay on the opposite bank.

Sumner and Pleasanton are both on the move.  They race to St Louis for reinforcements.  Sumner wins.

McClellan comes close to attacking, but doesn't feel it would be appropriate to disturb the mourning of the passing of General Lee.

Meanwhile Hooker, quickly decamps from Proctorsville and lands in Mobile Bay and attacks the garrison of Mobile.  The Confederates hang on (Mobile is a city so they don't have to retreat), but they lose 2,000 men to the Union 1,000.

Week 55

The Union get the 5 chit.  This gives them a double move.  McClellan is given a free initiative and also activates Keyes and Rosecrans (as he is in charge of the Army of the Potomac HQ).

Pope is told to get on with the rail line repairs.  Crittenden is encouraged to link up with Banks. Banks likewise is told to cooperate with Crittenden and between them they get the rail bridge repaired and Dalton,SC, and Cleveland, TN, captured.

Finally, the new 10-3 division that was deployed to Cairo is shipped down the Mississippi to reinforce Thomas.  Buell and McDowell remain opposite Fort Pillow.  Thomas looks at his options and decides he is best to stay put.

Pleasanton reaches St Louis.

Hooker does a march attack and destroys the last defenders of Mobile.

Halleck gets his act together and sets off into Alabama.  Maybe the sound of banjos spooked him?

McClellan has everything in place for an ideal attack to clear the Confederates off the railway line. He has 100,000 men, almost double the Confederates.  He starts to write the orders, but decides to start on his acceptance speech instead.

The Confederate's big 10,000 man strong infantry division in Raliegh is railed as far as it can get towards Atlanta and then starts marching, fast.

The rail repair unit is now brought towards Manassas so it can start doing its job.

J Johnston is sent to rescue Lee's army which is in deep shock over the loss of its beloved general.

Beauregard, Breckinridge and Magruder all send support to J Johnston, not that they have much to spare.

Bruckner stays in Brunswick waiting for orders to go to Atlanta.

Van Dorn and Floyd argue over who is in command of New Orleans and nasty rumours start spreading that Van Dorn is "known" to Mrs Floyd.

Jackson tarries in Humboldt instead of going after Thomas.  Hardee is bewildered in Memphis where he has 20,000 men.  Huger is no help.  D Hill however thinks he best return and crosses back over the Mississippi to reinforce Memphis with his 10,000.

Polk sits in Little Rock.  He has 10,000 men in three divisions organised as a corps.  With the absence of Union generals in the Trans-Mississippi he could be doing something.

J Johnston has an opportunity to attack Rosencrans who he out numbers two to one, but fails to take it.

The death of Lee has left the Southern hopes perilously stranded.

Week 56

The Union get the 2 chit, which means they will have the benefit of going last, but the Confederates get a back to back move.

The railroad repair unit does its thing.

I've just realised that the Confederates spent all three of their free initiatives last week in the East.

The 10,000 man division from Raleigh is still officially in the East and it is ordered to continue its journey.  It force marches without loss to secure Atlanta.  This removes the possibility that the Union could have made a free occupation of that victory city.

Jackson is told to get Thomas.

Hardee pulls more troops into Memphis.  D Hill and Huger have a chat.  Polk ain't budging from Little Rock.  Van Dorn sends a brigade to reclaim Proctorsville and wishes Floyd would go with it.

Buckner is still awaiting orders.  A Hill decides to start returning to Raleigh.  Bragg and Hindman stay put defending Richmond.

J Johnston, with Breckenridge, does a march attack on Rosencrans, hoping to bust through to the beleaguered Confederates.  He fails.  But he did make contact.  Beauregard and Magruder stay put.

J Johnston lost his pencil in the hasty attack and now can't write orders for an attack.

Jackson pauses to read a newspaper article that claims he is "no action Jackson."  This makes him so angry he is unable to attack.

The Union order Pope to complete railroad repairs in Tennessee and for Crittenden to get on with his march to Atlanta.  Banks and Halleck complain that they were going to march on Atlanta.  

Hooker destroys the railroad in Mobile.  He sends the fleet to scout around the mouth of the Mississippi to look for opportunities.

Buell looks on while McDowell takes the opportunity to send a small division to occupy Marion.   Thomas taunts Jackson, although he is secretly glad he hasn't been attacked.

Pleasanton and Sumner are busy trying to get reinforcements in St Louis.

Porter prepares to move against the Confederates in Alexandria, but doesn't.  This might have been a better use of Union free initiatives than the action to threaten Atlanta.  However McClellan gets the initiative to order Porter to take his corps over and besiege Alexandria.  I've never been sure just when troops are meant to be in or out of forts.  The Confederates want to be out.  This reduced Porter's chances to one in three, but he makes it and the Confederates retreat into the fort.  McClellan also orders his generals to retake Harper's Ferry and Hagerstown and to reinforce him for a big attack.

But there are no attacks along the Potomac.

 The East

The South East

The Mississippi


The lost Union 14,000 mean to the Confederates 18,000.  Unless they can win around Washington they are in big trouble.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Terrible Swift Sword

Finished the second volume of Bruce Catton's American Civil War trilogy.  I've been reading this while playing War Between The States and it made an excellent companion.

Not that I've read a lot about the ACW, but I highly recommend this series.

I will now start reading the third volume, Never Call Retreat, but when I next come to play WBTS I might read Battle Cry Freedom which has been recommended and/or the Shelby Foote trilogy (and watch those DVDs I have some where).

Monday, September 18, 2017

Built Up Area Combat Test Game

After two games based on Ligny I wanted to make sure I was getting the fighting for the villages working well.  To this end I decided to do a careful walkthrough of the process.  The Napoleon's Battle rules I now use are unfortunately a bit of a mix of the 1st, 2nd and 4th Editions as well as some of my own adaptations.

 The are two villages that straddle le ruisseau vert,
on the right Grand Vert (GV) and the left Petit Vert (PV).
In the distance there is la colline très verte which gives these locales their names.

The Prussians, with a division sized force supported by a 12pdr battery are defending.  A unit of landwehr (20PrLW) are deployed in GV while a unit of line infantry (20PrLN) have moved into PV (but not yet deployed).  A further unit of 20PrLN is in reserve, ready to counterattack.

PV has a defensive value of +1 while GV is +2.  Both BUAs represent rough terrain, but also crossing points for the stream.  Elsewhere the stream is considered to represent a 1" width of rough terrain that can only be forded in column.  The idea to incorporate the stream in the BUA came from playing Ukraine 43 and also fitted in well with the Ligny maps I have been working with.

Two small French divisions approach.  The 12th with a brigade of light infantry (16FrLT) and one of line (20FrLN) will head towards GV while the 13th with two brigades of line infantry (16FrLN) will tackle PV. 

It is 1815 and the superior commanders, including Napoleon, are considered to be off table.

The 12th advances to within 2" of GV.

As does the 13th with PV.

At this range they are well within (long range) fire combat, but also able to change formation in order to prepare for close combat.

After the French move the Prussians can fire.  For GV the range is measured from any point on the perimeter (4th Ed).  The 16FrLT is their target and the outcome is 5 -1 (deployed in BUA) to 6 NE (no effect).  The competitive die rolls are the first number in bold.  In PV the Prussians fire with out the -1 deployed penalty.  The outcome is 4 to 6 NE.

The French then return fire.  Against the unit deployed in GV they need to double the opponents die roll (4th Ed).  The 16FrLT get 7 +1 (FrLT fire factor) -2 (target in cover) to 2 which is double and Prussians take one casualty.  The 20FrLN get 7 -2 to 1 which is another double and takes the PrLW to two casualties which disorders the PrLW (whoops - I realise later that being deployed increases the disorder number by 1 in the 4th Ed).

Against the Prussians in PV, where the French just need to score higher in the competitive die roll after subtracting 2 for target in cover, both units fail to score any casualties.

It is now the Prussian turn.  The units in GV and PV are out of command.  This does not stop the garrison of GV from recovering its order.  The unit in PV tries to self order (4th Ed [10.4]), but fails. If they had succeeded they would have a half move which would not be enough to permit a formation change, which is what they need to do to deploy into the BUA from their location.  

I have a house rule for when a unit can move, but does not have enough movement to change formation: 
  • A unit that is not in DISORDER or marked as NO MOVE but does not have enough movement to complete a formation change, may make that formation change, but is then marked as disordered. 
Aside: Remember a unit that recovers from rout reforms in any desired formation and facing, so the same thing could be achieved by voluntarily routing in place (taking 1 loss) and then rallying, which to me means it can be done, but the mechanic, in this case, would be a little perverse.

After the Prussian's move (or don't as in this case), the French fire.  Against GV the FrLT get 4+1-2:1 which is a double and therefore inflicts one casualty.  Amazingly the 20FrLN get 8-2:3 which is another double raising the casualties on the PrLW to 4 and therefore removing a base and disordering them.  As already mentioned, my big mistake is forgetting to increase the PrLW's disorder number by 1 for being deployed in a BUA, which would have made it 3 and therefore the 2 casualties inflicted in one fire phase would not cause disorder.  In marked contrast the fire against the Prussian in PV, a much easier target, has no effect. The return fire inflicts one casualty on the French in front of PV. The PrLW can not fire as they are disordered.

End Turn 1

The FrLT deploy into line and close with the defenders of GV.  The FrLT can do this as they still have 2" of movement after a formation change.  The other French units just deploy into line and move 1".

None of the fire combats are effective.

The close combat is 4 +2 (FrLT in line factor) against 5+1 (PrLW in "line" factor) -3 (for being disordered).  As they are disordered they do not get the +2 defensive benefit for being deployed in GV.  Also note the FrLT had deployed to line to attack, I was not giving them their line factor for attacking at BUA, as changed by the 4th Ed, as my opinion is that attacking in column against anything represents a hasty attack compared to being in line which represents being prepared.  This is all to do with a unit's posture which I attempted to previously articulate in this post back in 2015.

The first French attack on Grand Vert.

The result of the combat, being a delta of 3, meant the PrLW routed.  The FrLT occupy the village which in the case of a BUA it means fully move into the area, but are disordered (normally it is just a 1" advance to "occupy the ground" without disorder).  They take 1 casualty as a winner's loss.

In the Prussian turn the PrLW succeed at a self rally (4th Ed [10.3]).  The unit in PV is still out of command, but is also now pinned by the French and unable to change formation,  The PrLN that was in reserve counterattacks GV.  The Prussian commander moves to put the other infantry units in command after positioning the battery to support the counterattack.

Only the French facing PV can fire and they have no effect.  The Prussian fire is more effective and a casualty is scored against the troops in GV by the attacking PrLN and against one of the units by the Prussians in PV.  The artillery, despite its better factors, did not score a hit: 1+2 (Pr12# artillery fire factor) -2 (target in cover) to 9.  Note that even though the FrLT are disordered they still get the fire combat benefits from being deployed in a BUA (they definitely count as a target in cover, but I am not sure they should count as deployed).

Aside: If a unit wins a combat against an enemy deployed in a BUA, do they count as deployed when they occupy the area?  I have been playing that they do.  The alternative is that they move into the BUA in their formation and disordered.  In the absence of enemy action the next turn they would recover their order and the following turn, assuming they are in command, be able to deploy. I am now thinking that they should occupy the BUA changing to column formation if not already and be marked as disordered.  This occupation should be "thorough", by that I mean the unit should not be able to lurk over an 1" from the BUA perimeter to avoid subsequent enemy artillery fire.  Of course if that was what was wanted, they could be pulled back in their next movement phase, if in command, rather than being left to recover their order.  The change to column and the disorder represents the outcome of the extenuated advance to clear the BUA of deployed enemy.  When they are able to change formation they can then deploy, noting that I require the unit to be wholly in the BUA to deploy rather than the "deploying forward" mechanic of 4th Ed [4.2.3].

Prussian counter attack against Grand Vert.

The close combat was 10 -1 (PrLN in column factor) to 8 +2 (FrLT in line factor) -3 (disorder).  The FrLT suffer 2 casualties and as they are disordered they must withdraw.  The outcome is 1 +6 (FrLT response number) -3 (disordered) to 4 +6 (PrLN response number).  The delta is over the FrLT's rout number and in addition to their 2 combat casualties and previous fire combat losses takes them over their dispersal number.  This is a good outcome for the PrLN as it means they don't take a winner's loss, although some argue that they should, the 4th Ed rules are specific, page 49: "No matter what happens to the unit attempting to withdraw, the opposing unit does not take a winner loss." Personally I have never cared for the Withdrawal rule.  It was optional in the 1st Ed but then became basic in the 2nd Ed and subsequent editions. I would prefer to see it as an extension of the combat procedure so that casualties are capped at the rout number.  However further consideration, and research to see if there was any commentary about it by the original authors, will have to wait.

Now things get interesting.  The FrLT doesn't of course just disappear.  I reckon it needs to make a notional rout move (there is still a decent sized body of troops fleeing the enemy as most dispersals occur around the 50% level of losses).  A deployed unit making rout or a withdrawal move out of a BUA does so in column.  The first inch of such a move must be directly back away from the attacker. It would also be from the centre of the BUA perimeter.  In this game it meant going straight back into the supporting FrLN brigade, disordering it.

The PrLN occupy GV becoming disordered.

The Prussians have recaptured Grand Vert.

End Turn 2

Now the French 13th Division attacks PV, sending in both brigades.  The fire from the Prussian defenders is ineffective.  The return fire from the French however disorders the Prussians (remember these Prussians are not deployed, so a double will inflict two casualties and that is just what the French got with their second brigades fire: 8 -2 (target in cover) to 3.)

The close combat at PV is 9 +2 (FrLN in line) to 5 -1 (PrLN in column) -3 (disordered).  The delta is capped at 4, the PrLN's rout number.  The French take a winner's loss and just advance an inch to occupy the ground, not the BUA.

In the Prussian turn the troops in GV recover their order.  The PrLW are sent to confront the French in PV.  However, even though they are in cover the French score well (9 -2 to 3) and the PrLW disperse. At GV the fire combat is ineffective.

The Prussians have lost Petit Vert.
Their general is now trying to rally the evicted troops.

End Turn 3

The FrLN in PV advance so that the unit is within the BUA's foot print.  Even though in this scenario the BUA counts as rough terrain, it doesn't have any prohibitions on units in line.  The other brigade of the 13th uses another of my house rules to change formation and orientation so that it can advance on GV.

My house rule for formation change is: 
  • A unit that is to change formation picks one of its bases, turns it to which ever direction is desired and then forms the formation around that.  This can include maintaining the current formation, but changing the facing (such as turning to the flank).  
Aside: I came up with this when working on my Waterloo scenario and found it essential for the Prussians advancing in march column.  It is similar to how formation changes are done in Fire and Fury (roughly same scale and troop quality).  I do realise that the change to facing is in direct contraction to 4th Ed, page 42, but also note that changing from square or coming out of being deployed in a BUA (which is a formation change) allows a change in facing, as does recovering from rout.

The remaining brigade of the 12th Division attacked GV.  Prussian fire inflicted one casualty on it. All other firing was ineffective.  The combat was 1 +2 to 10 +2 +2.  The French loss is capped at 4 and the Prussians take a winner's loss.  The French rout to their general and hope to rally, keeping within 3" (the movement for FrLN in line) so they can attack again.

In the Prussian turn their routed unit rallies, forming line ready to counterattack PV.

The French have no targets in range or arc to fire at.  The Prussians in GV fire at the routed French unit: 2 -1 (deployed unit firing) +2 (target is routed) to 2.  The difference is just enough to cause a casualty.  Which means the unit must make a rout move and therefore lose another casualty.  The attached general stays with it.

End Turn 4

The routed French brigade fails to rally, but the brigades of the 13th Division deploy, one to occupy PV the other to form line in preparation to attack GV.

In the fire phase the French score 1 casualty on the defenders of GV.

Then the Prussians start to advance.  In the subsequent fire phase no casualties are caused.

End Turn 5

The French rally and start to advance on GV.

At GV the fire is ineffective, but at PV the Prussians score a hit which reduces the French defenders to three bases.

In the Prussian turn they attack PV.  Again the fire is to no effect for both sides.  The combat is 3 +2 (PrLN in line) to 5 +2 (FrLN in line) +1 (PV defence value).  The difference is 3 which disorders but does not rout the Prussians.  They must withdraw and do so successfully (10 +6 -3 to 2 +6).

End Turn 6

The French attack GV.  The Prussian artillery score one hit on the defenders of PV (I am not worrying about the rules for BUA reduction or starting fires) and the garrison of GV score a hit on the French attacking them.  The French return fire is ineffective.

The combat for GV is 7 +2 to 7 +2 +2 which is 9 to 10 (modified die rolls a capped at 10 and also can't go below 1).  The French suffer one casualty.  No one is disordered so there is a second round: 6 +2 to 6 +2 +2 which produces 2 casualties and disorders the French.  They withdraw without further casualties.

The Prussians do not move.  None of the subsequent firing causes any casualties.

End Turn 7

The French launch another attack on GV.  The firing is insubstantial, although a casualty is caused to the French garrison of PV.

The combat is short and sweet 1 +2 to 8 +2 +2.  The French brigade loses 4 and disperses.

Jeu terminé, homme

There is nothing for it but to try this little test encounter again.