Myself and Des have embarked on a new CoC PSC, and one that is very intriguing indeed. It is produced by PTO Games and you can pick up here from Wargames Vault https://www.wargamevault.com/product/151925/Crossroads-Closing-the-Gap. It is set in Normandy right at the end of the fighting there and in particular the 4th Canadian Armoured Division’s attempt to bottle up the German units retreating from the Falaise pocket. The campaign focuses on the actions around the village of St. Lambert-sur-Dive carried out by a battle group consisting of B Coy/Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders and the tanks of C Sqdn/South Alberta Regt under the command of Major David Currie (who would win the VC for his leadership in this battle).
The German’s have a mixed force consisting of an infantry platoon that fights for the first 4 battles falling back after each one no matter the result who then hand over to a Fallschirmjager platoon who conduct the fighting in the village itself, both of these platoons also have the chance to pick up the odd panzer here and there too. The Canadians are limited to one platoon which receives only one limited amount of replacements inbetween the two halves of the campaign and they are also limited to the the 15 Sherman’s of the Alberta’s so if they somehow lose all of their tanks they don’t receive any more – they do also have a platoon of M10 Achilles on hand too though.
As usual I will be playing the Germans but unusually to me we are playing in 15mm. I’m going to go with some characters from my previous campaigns but splitting them into the two different units, so meet ze gang cos the herr are here…
Heer Zug Kommandant: Unterfeldwebel Hamann, 26, Bavarian, the company gambler and was a journalist.
Erste Gruppe (Black): Obergefreiter Schürrle, 22, from Pfalz, a city lad from Ludwigshaven.
Zweite Gruppe (White): Gefreiter Rösler, 22, Thuringian, a former gamekeeper.
Dritte Gruppe (Red): Obergefreiter Pogatetz, 21, An Austrian, from Graz, nicknamed ‘Mad Dog’.
Fallschirmjager Zug Kommandant: Leutenant Hitzlsperger (der Hammer), 23, Bavarian, former banker, he is tall and thin.
2nd in command: Unteroffizier Klopp. 26, Wurttemberger, a strapping bloke and former gamekeeper. Quite religious.
Erste Gruppe (Black): Unterfeldwebel Völler, 24, Hessian, Party member, model citizen and popular in the unit.
Zweite Gruppe (White): Obergefreiter Rumminigge, 21, Westfalian, country lad.
Dritte Gruppe (Red): Stabsgefreiter Krankl, 25, Another Austrian, a thin and pale city boy from Vienna.
We have already fought through the first two fights and I will be posting the write ups either later today or tomorrow.
The other weekend saw myself, Philip and Ru descend on Desmondo’s shed o’war to take part in another of his magnificent D-Day games (which have been documented here before). Once again I would be taking the part of ze Germans mainly as I had a very heavy night the night before so had hardly any sleep plus a quite substantial hangover so needed to reduce decision making as much as possible!
In a nice change from previous attempts at this scenario Des had increased the run in for the assault wave which helped Ru get to grips with the rules for the game and also increased the chances of things going wrong a bit too. After each landing craft or DD tank is moved we check to see if they ‘drift’ left or right and if they hit another vessel then things can go bang or head downwards quite rapidly and there’s also the added joy for the DD crews that they might get swamped. These fun and games did lead to Ru losing his Company HQs although nearly all of the DD tanks made it to the shallows and now I was hoping for the chances of the incoming vessels striking mines working in my favour to further write down the attackers. This didn’t go so well with only two boats hitting a mine which caused heavy casualties to one of Ru’s platoons although Philip’s lads fared a lot better, just being badly shocked. It was going to be a tough fight for the defenders.
Once on the beach I could start to engage the invading forces but unfortunately for me the two AT guns I had off table positioned to fire down the beach both had very, very low amounts of available shots (I rolled for this before we started and had 1 shot in 1 gun and 2 in the other!) so I had to choose the right moment to use them and also hope that when those moments did come up I had the dice available to activate the guns. Luckily for me they did and although one of my 3 shots missed the other 2 both brewed up vehicles (Ru’s Fascine carrying AVRE and Philip’s Sherman Crab) as they reached to bottom of the ramps of the LCT’s blocking the way for the following vehicles to exit. This would force the craft to back up and land again which would not only slow things down for the Brits a tad but also would mean that they might strike a mine whilst doing so, which unfortunately for me didn’t happen.
So, the majority of the assault troops were now ashore and so was a fairly sizable amount of supporting armour and various Funnies all intent on giving me a very hard time. My MG nests, infantry and mortars were doing their bit now too as was the one artillery strike I managed to call in but I couldn’t prevent Philip’s infantry from making it to the sea wall in front of my position even though they were caught in a particularly harsh bout of firing from my lads (a double phase was involved) and suffered quite a few casualties. Ru’s command was heading over to the right away from the defensive nest and hence suffered less casualties, all his tanks being safe as the AT gun facing that direction was about as accurate as a fairground air rifle! Pretty soon the Brits started knocking out the AT bunkers by concentrated fire from DD Shermans and AVRE’s chucking their dustbins of doom at me and the writing was pretty much on the wall from then on.
Ru was the first one to get off the beach with his Shermans and Infantry taking advantage of the AVLB bridge and then proceeding to blow chunks out of the right hand side of the post whittling down the defending infantry in short order before then starting to advance his infantry further inland. Phil had his bridge up against the seawall shortly afterwards and tried a rush with an infantry platoon first which I managed to repulse whilst he dropped a fascine on the left of my position which enabled a DD and a bulldozer to exit the beach. I managed to knock out the bulldozer by a lucky shot on the driver. It was about now when the second wave consisting of another Infantry company plus armour was heading into the beach and Philip took command uttering the famous phrase “Don’t worry I know what I’m doing” and then promptly colliding two of his boats together sinking one! I then added injury to the many insults we were all chucking his way by hitting another boat carrying his Company HQ in with a mortar stonk, killing the CO. Meanwhile on the beach, he was having a better time and decided to stop fannying about and launched an AVRE up his bridge which proceeded to literally crush the resistance of the infantry at the front of my position whilst also shrugging off an attempt to knock it out from my remaining AT gun. When he managed to take out this final surviving AT asset with his infantry pouring up the bridge behind now unopposed, with Ru’s Shermans behind my position and the second wave landing I decided the gig was up and I chucked in the towel.
Once again it was a bloody marvellous day’s wargaming all carried in the greatest of sprits and I’d like to thank Des for hosting us and Ru & Philip for being such great opponents, what the hobby is all about.
Last Saturday saw me once again round Des’ for another bash at his Longstreet’s Attack scenario. I would be playing with Per again and this time we were joined by John, a real life former General and a fantastic bloke to boot, and we would have also been playing with Dave Brown too but he had come down with Covid so had to drop out. Due to Dave dropping out Des joined me on the Confederate side and we got to it. This time round all the tweaks that we had discussed from a month of playtesting the scenario, and a Zoom call Des had with Dave, were put into place and it made a very nice difference to the game. As Des is planning on writing the scenario up for a possible magazine article or to post somewhere I won’t go into them here but I can assure you that it is a scenario that is well worth playing, this was the 3rd time for me and I had a blast each time.
Again I won’t do a blow by blow account as the day was pretty full on and I didn’t make any notes during the game. By the time we finished off the game Des’ second wave had just managed to gain a foothold in the Wheatfield and he was gearing up for another assault on the ridge in the centre after the first attack was successfully repelled by Per (whose dice rolling was on fire all day which helped considerably!). To the right of this however, his Texans had been wiped out in their attempt to take the ridge and next to them my Georgians had finally managed to take Devil’s Den but at an awful cost and were just about to be counter attacked. There was no way that they would have been able to survive this as all the remaining units were very near dispersal and that would have opened up a huge gap on the right of the line here which the flood of reinforcements the Union side were receiving could have exploited given time. Meanwhile over on the extreme right, my Texans had been wiped out in their attempt to turn the Little Round Top position but the Alabamans had very handily kicked the Federals off of the feature and were preparing to advance on the new, frankly terrifyingly strong, line that John had prepared to meet them.
As usual it was an absolutely cracking days wargaming, played in the best spirit and with tons of great fun moments in it. Anyway, here’s another large selection of eye candy to enjoy – remember if you click on a photo it enlarges!
Last Sunday saw me round Des’ again and once more taking on Per in a ‘training’ game of Picket’s Charge rules. Des is running this game a few times over the next few weeks so this was a shakedown of a ‘light’ version of the full the scenario (with a reduced OOB) to see if any tweaks were needed to it and to enable us to get a handle on the rules for the big, multi-player game in a few weeks time. Once again Des had put on a stunning looking game, in fact both Per and I stopped and said ‘Bloody Hell!’ when we first entered the shed!
I won’t go into a blow by blow of the game as it was just a training game but it was lots of fun with both of us suffering at the hands of the dice gods, I lost 2/3 of my off table artillery support but Per rolled bad in melee and testing for morale which hurt his sides performance quite badly. My Rebel force did have the upper hand at the end of the day’s play having taken the Devil’s Den and successfully kicking the 20th Maine and their mates off of the Little Round Top as well as completely smashing the main Union line. However all these gains might have been temporary as a large Union reserve force was bearing down on the victorious Confederates at the Devil’s Den and there would have been more arriving if we were playing with a full OOB. A cracking game and I’m looking forward to another go on Sunday and the big one later in the month. Cheers to Per for being a top opponent as usual and Mr. D for inviting us to play, it’s an absolute belter!
Anyway, here’s a lot of lovely eye-candy to get your mince’s round…
(All images are clickable if you want to see them larger)
Another Sunday, another trip round Des’ for a game and another belter. We were joined once again by Phil plus wargaming luminary, and top bloke, Per Broden to play a game of Phil’s excellent Plains War rules ‘Crazy Horse’s Fury’. Once more I would be donning the headdress of a Chief of the Lakota defending my pony herds and village from the not so tender attentions of Des & Per in charge of the Long Knives.
This won’t be an in depth write up as the game was a fantastic swirling fight along the whole length of the table with charges, massive melees, units retreating, routing and feinting all over the place, dismounted cavalry blowing away swathes of braves before being hit in the rear or flank, my Chief very nearly copping it and Crow Scouts. Always the Crow Scouts.
The game was an absolute blast as usual with the balance toing and froing all the way through and I just managed to pull of the narrowest of narrow victories right at the end of the day after very nearly losing the village and my chief. The women and children could sleep soundly without fear, the ponies were moved to safety, much coup was won or lost and many weapons were recovered. Oh, and the battle site lived up to it’s name with the US Cavalry rolling more 1’s than I’ve ever seen in a game before and only winning the initiative twice all day, brilliant!
The rules were nice and easy to get back into although we all did suggest some tweaks when Philip asked us and some might be added soon, when he has finished re-jigging things I shall ask if it is ok to post them on here so that people can download them.
Anyway here’s tons of pictures to look at and hopefully enjoy, remember if you click on them they get bigger! Terrain is Des’, figures are all Philip’s and 15mm.
Sunday saw myself and Philip pitch up at Des’ shed o’war to play the second game in his set of linked battles of a (fictitious) British attack on German positions north of Caen in 1944. I had played the first game against Des a few weeks ago but I stupidly forgot to charge my phone so couldn’t take any pictures hence the lack of report on it! Figures and models are all 15mm from Des’ stunning and impressive collection and all the lovely terrain is his as well. Rules used are our dice activated version of IABSM -I Aint Been CoC’d Mum, as seen in the 2019 Lardies Annual.
‘O’ Group, Btln. HQ, 14 Essex Regt, just North of Plessy:
“Right then chaps, listen in. Yesterday ‘A’ Company tried to break through and suffered a bloody nose from some very determined defenders from Kampfgruppe Darchin. However they did manage to write down the Jerry forces (we expect the defenders to be short at least one platoon and definitely 2 Panzer IV’s) and secure a good start line for todays attack running through the two orchards and the village. 1 Platoon from A Company has remained in the north part of the village and will be under command for today’s action, you will also be supported by battalion 3″ mortars and a troop of Churchills from Brigade’s attached Squadron, I have ordered up a stonk from the Gunners too which will be your cue to get the ball rolling. Your task is to take the remainder of the village and breach any further defences to open the road to Caen. I’ll leave you to co-ordinate with mortars and tanks. Good luck.”
‘O’ Group, C Coy. 14 Essex:
“Alright then everyone it’s our turn now. When the artillery starts to land on the orchard behind the village I want 9 Pltn to push forward a small patrol from their position in the right hand orchard through to the end of the orchard across the road to try and spot if the Jerries have anything in the Farm complex or along the hedges between there and the orchard that is getting stonked, once patrols are back then to advance through orchard, take any enemy under fire and develop attack either on the farm or into the central orchard beyond the village. 7 Pltn is to move through the orchard it is located in on the left to the end nearest enemy and then locate any enemy in the wood to the front. Once located enemy is to be engaged with fire then assaulted if feasible. 8 Pltn is to deploy behind 7 Pltn and pass through on my order to carry on the attack on the left flank which will be the main effort. Once they are moved through then 7 Pltn will act as Coy reserve. 1 Pltn, A Coy is to clear the rest of the village and then will be deployed to either support the attack on the woods or to the right flank. Troop of Churchills to be deployed as I see fit to either shoot infantry into positions held by enemy or tackle any armour. Once the line of the wood to the farm has been secured then await further orders. All clear? Good. Questions?”
And so we began…
There was a German blind in the village immediately to my front which I quickly scouted out to find it was nothing more than a few stay behinds making noise as cover for the enemy to withdraw. With that knowledge I started moving 1 Pltn forward all the time trying to spot any nasty surprises in the wood to the left. At the same time I moved my own patrols forward on the right (dummy blinds) to try and spot any Germans in the farm or in the vicinity of the central orchard. As both dummy blinds spotted nothing I then moved 9 Pltn forward until they reached the end of the orchard where they finally were fired upon by the survivors of the enemy section that had withstood the pre-game stonk of the orchard. They also drew the attention of a Panzer IV lurking next to the farm! 1 Pltn had also spotted a Panzer IV lurking in the wood and both platoons swiftly got their 2″ Mortars busy smoking the enemy tanks to block their view. 1 Pltn quickly dashed for cover in the houses and gardens to avoid the incoming HE fire from the tank but also sent their PIAT team forward in a dash to the garage building at the end of the village. This building looked like it could be used to get a tricky shot away on the tank in the woods and 216 Jenkins on the PIAT quickly made his way up stairs and to the window. Having a spring action bomb thrower came into its own as he managed to get a couple of shots away (try doing that indoors with a Bazooka or Panzerschreck!) which didn’t do any damage but this attention and the smoke blocking its view caused the tank to withdraw. Meanwhile 9 Pltn was quickly winning the firefight with the Germans in the central orchard whittling the defenders down quickly.
Next up 7 Pltn advanced through the orchard and spotted an enemy AT gun and immediately took it under fire from 2 sections and the platoon 2″ mortar, pinning the crew and causing casualties. About this time too the Company CO along with the 3″ Mortar FOO moved into the rear of the village and immediately got on the blower to bring down fire on the German section in the central orchard to help nullify the threat there and to help the attack progress. The mortars came in quickly and bang on target (a feature of the day happily for me!) and with the combined efforts of the fire from 9 Pltn and the stonking pretty soon the defenders were all killed with only their NCO seen legging it for safety. Now that this position was cleared 1 Pltn was ordered up out of the village to move towards the vacated enemy position. I also called the Churchills forward to advance between the village and 9 Pltn on the right as I now knew the location of the enemy tanks and thought this position would be a good one to hold them in before committing them further.
Over on the right 9 Pltn pushed a section along the hedges towards the farm to check it out which was countered by the Germans moving their Panzer IV across behind the farm on our right flank and firing on them, which was quickly countered by a smoke round from the 2″ completely blocking it’s view causing it to withdraw and allowing 9 Pltn to move the PIAT team forward under its cover. With that threat dealt with 9 Pltn then advanced the remaining 2 sections out of the cover of the orchard aiming for the hedges to the left of the farm which unfortunately wasn’t as empty as I thought and erupted with the terrifying sound of a MG42! The resulting fire decimated one section and caused casualties in the other one supressing them both. However fire from the third section lining the hedge, the platoon mortar and supporting fire from the tanks and 1 Pltn quickly eliminated this new threat and the lone survivor was seen abandoning the MMG and making for the rear.
Meanwhile, over on the left flank, 7 Pltn had slipped a section out of the orchard tasked with working around the flank of the enemy AT gun which was still being shot up by the rest of the platoon to assault what remained. Unfortunately they instead were taken under brutal close range small arms fire from an enemy infantry section located just inside the treeline. Although the section suffered terribly the enemy also suffered from a withering fusillade from the remainder of the platoon which quickly either killed or routed the ambushers. With the threat of the enemy infantry gone and the AT gun also neutralised 8 Pltn pushed quickly through 7 Pltn’s position and deployed ready to push through the woods with 7 Pltn now moving into reserve as per plan. 8 Pltn were soon in action as their left hand section made contact with the retreating crew of the AT gun and much to everyone’s surprise came off worse in the ensuing close combat! Then the tank that had been in the wood earlier appeared at the rear of the wood and started lobbing very inaccurate HE shells about (poor Philip had terrible luck doing this all day much to my amusement). 8 Pltn quickly pulled their men back and the shout went up “Bring up the PIAT”, and with that the plucky team dashed forward through the trees but couldn’t quite get into a position to get a shot off. Luckily for them though the German tanker ordered his vehicle to reverse and the driver gave it a bit too mush and the metal beast presented itself side on, the first shot from the PIAT missed but the team worked quickly and got another off which slammed into the tank and caused it to brew up immediately! With the enemy seemingly cleared from the wood 8 Pltn then sorted itself out into formation to await further orders.
And then the tank battle started. After being thwarted in its attempt to chew up 9 Pltn by judicious use of smoke the Panzer IV on our right moved round to the left of the farm again and started to engage the Churchills and a tank duel quickly started which seemed to take over the battle for a good while, and resulted in one Churchill being knocked out but the Panzer IV suffering slightly from non-penetrating hits that caused it to briefly pull back out of line of sight of the remaining two British tanks. This was also when a third Panzer IV revealed itself and lurched forwards making for the right of the wood and looking to insert itself between 8 & 1 Platoons whilst using the orchard to cover itself from my tanks. Once again the shout went up for the PIAT and the ever ready Jenkins from 1 Pltn rushed forward into the road through the orchard and with his last 2 rounds dispatched the advancing Panzer. With the death of this tank the Churchill troop commander ordered his other surviving tank to sweep round the orchard along the main road to try and take the remaining Pz IV in the flank either dispatching it themselves or in concert with his tank. Sadly this wasn’t to be as the Germans had a Jenkins of their own and it was ambushed by a hidden Panzerschreck team as it neared the burning wreck of the recently brewed up panzer.
Taking stock of the situation I knew that I had wiped out one enemy section, one was reorganising and badly shot up in the cornfield on the left past the woods, one MMG and an AT gun were also kaput and 2 tanks were knocked out but I knew the enemy must still have some troops left so I decided to soften up some possible locations before renewing the attack. I had already been mortaring the wood to the rear of the battlefield as I figured that is where I’d place an AT gun if I was defending but now decided to switch fire to the two buildings either side of the road just past the wood. After I had stonked this position for a bit I was going to push 8 Pltn through the wood to take the buildings and hence secure the exits from the village. 7 Pltn were to get ready to advance through 8 Pltn once this was completed whilst over on the right 9 Pltn, whose two sections still stuck in the open were now taking harassing fire from the remaining panzer, would try to go for the PIAT hat-trick whilst the remaining Churchill moved up to help. 1 Pltn was to wait for the last Pz IV to be taken care of before moving into the central orchard and setting up a base of fire to help 7 & 9 Pltns to advance further.
Unfortunately for me my mortars, which had been spot on all day, now decided to go way off target and the stonk on the two houses landed way off over on the left flank landing on the shot up enemy section in the cornfield. More misfortune followed as the two sections from 8 Pltn that I was moving up under cover of the barrage stepped out a bit too lively and just broke cover from the woods triggering an ambush by an enemy section lurking in the flowerbeds, the devastating close range fire saw the PBI take casualties and they fell back to the edge of the wood. Luckily the mortars were dragged nearly back onto the original target and the ambushing German section now found themselves under the fire of the battalion mortars. However this didn’t mean the end of the suffering of 8 Pltn as a MMG configured MG42 now opened up from the edge of the cornfield further piling on casualties and causing the 2 sections to break back through the woods. While this sanguinary scene was playing out over on the right 9 Pltns PIAT team had worked its way along the edge of the farm through the pigsty and was ready to fire a shot off on the last panzer. Philip was now fully suffering from PIAT terror and switched the tanks full attention on the plucky team killing one of them and causing the survivor to fall back into the pigsty (insert own jokes here!). What this did do, however, was to allow my Churchill to move up into a position to take the German tank under fire again which it did, and whilst hitting the target didn’t cause it to brew up it did convince the already rattled crew to bail out and head for the rear.
With this action we decided to call it a day. Philip’s lads had put up a very spirited defence causing a lot of casualties to my lads with both 8 & 9 Platoons suffering a section+ losses each and my supporting Churchills down to 1 tank too. However with my mortars now on target and causing casualties to the Germans in the flower beds and the largely intact 1 & 7 platoons ready to move forwards once the mortars had finished their work we said that the Germans would have withdrawn and the Brits would have consolidated on the line they held from the far edge of the wood, the central orchard and along to the farm. So the scene is set for the next battle when B or D Company take over but will probably be facing a fresh German unit.
Many thanks again to Des for putting the game on and for Philip for being a cracking opponent as usual, it was a tense but fun affair with a grate narrative and some fantastic bits of action. Also I do have to say again what a joy it is playing on such a terrific table, top work Des!
Just a quick photo dump of a visit to the NAM yesterday with some chaps from the club. I hadn’t been for years and I must say I really liked the new look, a lot lighter and a good flow to the building.
Some cracking exhibits to be seen, a particular favourite is the order from Raglan to the Light Brigade at Balaclava. There was a brilliant room dedicated to the Sherwood Forrester’s Yeomanry from WW2 which was in equal parts informative and moving.
A few months ago I had the pleasure of popping round Des’ for a game of Napoleonics using his fantastic collection of 15/18mm kit and his fantastic newly finished buildings. I really should have posted about it a lot sooner but got hit with a lot of life shit recently – moving flats and spending some time being really quite ill due to Shingles, 2 bastard colds and a dose of COVID which has really made me lose the old mojo! Sadly with the passage of time the details are a bit vague so here’s a bit of a photo dump as it was a cracking day’s wargaming as usual.
I was playing as the Austrians and had command of 2 Brigades of line infantry and a Brigade of Kurassier with a Brigade of Grenadiers in reserve and was tasked with forcing the French forces in front of me to retreat from their position, especially the beautiful village to my left. My plan was to ignore/mask the village and to concentrate on forcing the French back from the ridge in the centre so that it might maker the occupation of the village untenable. Failing this I would assault it with the Grenadiers when they arrived. The cavalry would swing round the right flank to hopefully distract or pin French forces enough to prevent them from interfering whilst the assault on the ridge went in. Nice and simple.
The game was a blast and I tried to do something very strange in a Napoleonic game – I tried very hard to keep the battalions spaced out so that they would be able to deploy into line and not crammed ‘unrealistically’ together as is seen so often. It was a struggle but not impossible to do and it meant that I had to attack in two lines which I thought was ace! Apart from the struggle for the hill which swung back and forth there was a fantastic clash of Cuirassiers on the flank which was made all the better because Des had the Saxons out – possibly the best looking cavalry ever fielded. We also had a good conversation about why do rules have such set, rigid turn sequences and maybe it’s time that they were done away with – but there will be more about that in another post soon.
Hello there! I had planned on doing a couple of posts recently but got hit with a double whammy of us moving flats and my PC dying. I might get something done using my phone (like now!) when and if I get some spare time after the move on Saturday.
Once again I made my way round to Des’ magnificent Shed o’War for another game and this time it was for a game of my first wargaming ‘love’, ACW. We would be using Des’ lovely 15mm collection and the new edition of the excellent Fire & Fury brigade level rules.
The scenario we would be playing is the Battle of Prairie Grove where a small Union force of 2 brigades from the Army of the West is chasing a Reb force from the Army of the Trans-Mississippi that has turned to engage at the great defensive position along the wooded ridge and hopefully destroy the pursuing force before the rest of the army catches up. The Confederates had more bases in their units but the Union had a qualitative edge, I was taking the role of the Union commander. The one thing changed from the scenario as written was the dismounted cavalry was replaced with infantry.
My plan was quite simple: I was going to take the Rebs under fire with the batteries of Herron’s Division from the Knoll and once I had seen off or destroyed their batteries, I would advance Orne & Huston’s brigades to ‘The Bench’ and try and work round the flank or assault their line if it had been weakened by my artillery once it had switched targets from the enemy guns. I was expecting another Division to enter the battle between points A & B on the map and would direct them as required but my initial thoughts were to use them to aim towards the Morton house to threaten the other flank of the Rebel line and tackle any reserves that might be lurking along the road.
The first few moves whizzed by as I moved my 2 batteries onto the knoll and edged my infantry forward to support them whilst engaging the Rebel artillery with Murphy’s battery from Crawford’s hill which was not going very well as they constantly failed to do much damage, luckily for me though neither was the enemy guns and soon the Knoll guns were in place. I used these to hit the small brigade of McDonald at the very end of the enemy line and soon I had caused it enough damage that it fell back out of the line and the guns turned their attention to Blocher’s battery and Shelby’s Brigade. The Rebel artillery was giving as good as it got however and one of the batteries on the Knoll became damaged but the concentrated fire of both batteries did manage to damage Blocher’s battery too and cause casualties on Shelby’s brigade which also fell out of the line, whilst further along the ridge Murphy’s battery had finally got the range sorted and had forced West’s battery to fall back damaged. Taking advantage of the fact that the Rebel guns were now weakened and another brigade had fallen back I pushed the infantry to the bottom of ‘the Ledge’ where they were in dead ground and unable to be fired at from the ridge above. Now I wanted to soften up the defenders with my guns before advancing and I also moved Orne’s large Brigade to the left to take advantage of the space where McDonald’s & Shelby’s brigades used to be.
It was about this time that my first reinforcing Brigade appeared over on the right but this good news was tempered by the sight of a mass of Confederate Infantry & Artillery appearing on the roads opposite, I quickly ditched any idea of attacking obliquely into the flank of the enemy before me and realised I’d have to use the reinforcements to tackle the newly arriving enemy forces head on. I therefore advanced my new Brigade forward a short distance and shook it out into a supported line to wait for the rest of its Division. Pretty soon the rest of Husson’s Division’s brigades with their attached 3 batteries of guns had arrived and I wasted no time in advancing them towards the masses of enemy advancing down the road, shrugging off the attentions of enemy artillery as they did so. My own artillery was also now in play and the concentrated fire of all 3 batteries was beginning to tell on the green rebel troops, causing them to become disordered and silencing their batteries.
Now, as twilight started to fall, the battle moved into the final stages as the infantry started to get to grips with each other. Over on the left I had decided to launch Huston’s brigade forwards in a charge on Fagan’s Brigade to tie them in place while Orne’s Brigade got into position on the left, unfortunately this attack which was stopped cold by the fire from the enemy infantry and the remaining guns across the road and a quick counter attack saw my brave boys retreating back to the safety of the foot of the shelf. However the Rebel infantry was now disorganised and Orne’s fresh and large unit slammed into the enemy line, bundling them back at an angle with some loss and destroying the remainder of Blocher’s battery. This did leave the victorious Union troops with enemy troops moving up on their flank but they were still fresh and in good order so would easily be able to turn to face the new threat with confidence.
On the right two separate attacks went in. The small but veteran left hand brigade of Husson’s Division attacked the equally small enemy brigade in front of the Morton house and won the contest handily but was then counter attacked by a newly arriving Rebel Brigade and even though they saw off the first attack, they were then hit in the flank and were forced to retire back to the gun line. Meanwhile, over on the right of the Division the other, larger, veteran brigade moved up to tackle the huge, but green, Confederates deployed near the Wilson house. This contest was in the balance for a while with the Rebs holding firm initially (I rolled a 1!) but the better experience of the Union forces began to tell and the Arkansas boys were soon falling back through the Brigade behind them.
It was at this time that Des decided that he would use the failing light (we had played 12 turns of 15)to cover his retreat and fall back as he had taken significantly larger losses than me (15 Infantry & 2 Guns vs 8 Infantry) and I had 3 fresh and better quality brigades plus a distinct advantage in guns with which to carry on the fight with, and so I managed to take the victory. As usual, many thanks to Mr Darkin for the game, it was a great blast and an interesting scenario plus it was great to be involved in some ACW action again – we’ll definitely have to play it again but switch sides.