Longstreet’s Attack 2: 28mm ACW, Picket’s Charge

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!

Longstreet’s Attack #1, 28mm ACW, Picket’s Charge

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)

Prairie Grove, Arkansas, December 7th, 1862: 15mm ACW, Fire & Fury

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.

Map of the battle from the Confederate Lines

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.

Colours 2019 Preview: ACW, Battle of Antietam. 15mm Fire & Fury.

I don’t know, you wait ages for some ACW action then…

A few weeks ago now I had the absolute pleasure of being invited round Andy’s to take part in a playtest of the Antietam game that he and a few of the South London Warlords are putting on at Colours this year. As I was supposed to be playing in Daren’s Kursk game I wouldn’t have been able to join them so jumped at the chance to have a go (even more glad now as we’ve had to call off the Kursk game so I would have missed it at the show!). As any of you might remember from the stunning Plancenoit game Andy put on I was dead keen to check this out, especially as we had been privy to snaps of the build from Andy over a good number of weeks as he made the terrain and it was looking ace.

The rules used for the game will be the new edition of Brigade Fire and Fury, which are great by the way, and the figures come from Andy and Des’ beautiful 15mm collections. I won’t bore you with a detailed AAR as this post is just going to be a feast for the eyes but it was a tough fight and you could see why it was such a bloody one historically. Doug and I, playing the Confederates, were gradually pushed back from the Western Woods and the hill by both weight of numbers and weight of shot (the massed Union guns were brutal!). However this came at a huge price to the attacking Union forces and when we finished the Rebel reinforcements were just arriving to knock them back again. Des was completely made up that his lads had made it to the Sunken Lane despite some accurate and deadly long range artillery fire from my guns but he didn’t manage to break into the position at the first go – again we had to stop just as things had got interesting!

It was a marvellous day’s wargaming and many thanks to Andy and Mrs. T for being such great hosts and Andy, Doug and Des for a great game. I’m sure it is going to be a wow game for all you lucky punters at the show!

All pics are clickable for a better view.

Ream’s Station: 15mm ACW Brigade Fire and Fury @ Martin’s no.2

A few weeks after the last big bash at Martin’s I had the pleasure of being invited round for a one vs one game. The battle was an interesting one with the Union set up in field fortifications having advanced to cut a railroad and awaiting the inevitable counter attack from the Confederates. I took the Union army and it was a really great days wargaming.

Apart from the forces in the field works I had a Brigade of infantry returning to my command and the possibility of some cavalry turning up later if certain things happened. I quickly decided on a nice simple plan. I was going to hold with my infantry and, if Martin did not swing round towards where they were stationed, I was going to move my cavalry on the extreme left of my position out of the works and combined with the Infantry brigade returning towards the same flank use them to try and roll up the Rebs as they attacked.

In the centre Martin chose the direct approach, and he wasn’t mucking about either, launching his troops into a charge without even trying to soften me up with artillery first. This bold style nearly paid off as the initial assault managed to destroy my forward battery and push back one of my brigades, however I did managed to hold the line and Martin’s lads were forced to retreat with both of us suffering quite a lot of casualties. It was taking him longer to get the attack going on the right and I had a chance to whittle the attackers down by fire before they managed to charge home and this attack failed to break into my positions and was repulsed with somewhat heavy losses.

Over on the left my mobile infantry brigade was moving into position to try and catch the assaulting Confederates in the flank when a Rebel Cavalry Brigade appeared behind them. Luckily my own cavalry had cleared the trenches by then and moved out to screen the rear of their footslogging comrades and pretty soon they were heavily engaged with their southern counterparts. I also decided to withdraw the remaining troops from the first line of works to the second so that the fresher brigades could take the brunt of any new attacks.

Martin was reinforced with a fresh Division of infantry and they were soon ready to get stuck in after the survivors of the first assault and their artillery had taken my defenders under fire with both sides dishing out casualties on each other. My outflanking brigade had their attack stymied by Martin redeploying a unit to counter the treat and were also seriously under threat of being hit in the jacksie by the chasing Reb cavalry which had brushed aside my own donkey-wallopers attempts to prevent them doing so.

The new assault from Martin’s good quality and large Brigades crashed into my defences and this time they were able to get a foothold in the position and combined with some deadly artillery fire falling on my supporting and outflanking units this time managed to take the second line of entrenchments, and soon a couple of my brigades were breaking and I decided that the gig was up and conceded the game. I did think after rebuffing the first assault I was in with a chance of winning, especially if my flank attack succeeded but unfortunately this ended up fizzling out and I was unable to hold against the second assault.

Big thanks to Martin for a cracking game as usual, always a pleasure playing against him as he’s a true gent, and I to get to use his lovely collection of figures too!

Game at Martin’s: Battle of Stones River, 15mm ACW BF&F

Back in May myself, Des, Andy, Ian and Doug met at Martin’s for a Brigade Fire and Fury bash in his lovely shed o’war. I must admit I was not familiar with this battle so was looking forward to it once Martin told us which one it was. Apparently he had put this game on at Salute 25 years ago but had not played it since so thought it apt to use as a training game for the new edition of the rules.

Morning cuppas consumed saw us in the shed being briefed on the ensuing battle. I was on the Union side along with Des and Doug, with myself taking Crittenden’s Corp, Des Thomas’ and Doug McCook’s. The traitorous Rebel’s were handled by Ian, Andy and Martin taking control of Polk and Hardee’s Corps. At the start of the battle the Reb’s were all, with the exception of a cavalry brigade, on table with a total of 5 Divisions that controlled 20 Brigades. We had 8 Divisions with 25 Brigades under command at the start of the battle plus a Cavalry brigade with a couple of Brigades off table so forces were quite equal to start off with but tipping towards a Union advantage later in the day.

The Confederates did have one advantage though. Apparently Rosencrans, commanding the Army of the Cumberland, had planned an assault on the extreme right wing of the Confederate positions near the fortified hill, however the Rebs had also planned an attack for an hour earlier and so were going to catch us off guard. This meant that most of our units were locked in place until certain times and Doug’s lads would have to roll to see if they were completely caught with their pants down and sipping their morning coffee or had managed to get into line when they were attacked. Apparently the General in charge of the right wing where the Southern onslaught would fall tried desperately to get Rosencrans to listen when he told him that he believed they were massing for a surprise attack along his front but he chose to ignore him and concentrate on his own plan. So things had the chance of going very wobbly very quickly and Des and Andy telling horror stories of when they had played the scenario before at the WHC didn’t help our initial morale!

With this information in place though we decided that we would carry on with our left wing attack with me committing 2 of my Divisions to it once they were activated whilst my 3rd Division filled in for Des’ one in front of the Rebel trenches in the centre so that he could move it across to assist Doug’s lads in what we were expecting to be a valiant but doomed holding action/phased withdrawal. Andy kicked things off in his usual laid back style smashing into Doug’s boys as they were having their morning coffee, but luckily for us the boys in Blue were quick to get themselves sorted out and they managed to survive the first onslaught quite well. This battle between Doug and Andy’s commands carried on all day see-sawing one way and the other but with Doug having to give ground constantly, albeit whittling down the attacking Confederates all the time.

As soon as his Divisions had been released and I had taken over the trenches in front of the Rebel position in the centre, Des launched himself at Andy’s troops too which managed to stabilise the centre of our line and also managed to blunt an attack from Ian’s troops as well. Again things turned into a right ding-dong battle here too and both sides lost a lot of troops. Our reserves had started to arrive though and we were confident that they could tip the balance and be used to launch a strong counter attack as the Rebs were quite worn out from attacking nearly constantly all day.

Meanwhile whilst all this was happening I had been slowly but surely making my way round the left flank to get ready to assault the Rebels on the hill (I did have a hard time with failed movement rolls and kept going half speed which didn’t help), I also made a bit of a grand battery and started shelling the bejeezus out of Martin’s lads that were dug in facing my lads in the trenches and the plan was to attack him as soon as my flanking force went in and the artillery had softened up the entrenched troops enough.

Unfortunately for me we ran out of time – it was the first real test of the new edition of the rules so time was lost in sorting out queries etc – but all in all it was a great game. The fighting was pretty intense and I loved having an ACW bash again and I must say I liked the new version of the rules. As usual it was a pleasure playing with the chaps and big thanks to Martin and Susan for the lovely lunch too!

Battle of Glendale: Fire and Fury AAR

Finally my internet/computer problems seem to be over and I can finally post this!

I had the immense pleasure in taking part in an all day 15mm ACW Fire and Fury game at the Warlords last Bank Holiday. The battle we were undertaking was the what-if version of the Battle of Glendale from the Fire and Fury Eastern Battles scenario booklet and it was one hell of a tough fight!

The battle (also known as Frayser’s Farm) was the penultimate battle of the Seven Days and is known as a great missed opportunity for the Confederate’s as a lack of co-ordination saw them miss a chance to cripple the Army of the Potomac while it made a stand to enable its huge supply and siege train to escape. However, after having had a go I can see why this didn’t happen as our refight basically ended with much the same result as the real thing, the terrain was terrible and caused untold problems throughout the game which was in the balance right up until the end.

So after setting the table up (it did take a while as there are a LOT of trees!) and getting the troops on the table we were divvied up into two teams and we had a well earned cuppa whilst making our plans.

I was on the Confederate side, along with Andy (whom I was fighting against in the big Dresden game from last year) and Des. We had 175 stands and 12 batteries from:

  • AP Hill’s Division (Andy) – Archer’s, Field’s, JR Anderson’s, Branch’s, Gregg’s & Pender’s Brigades. 2 Batts.
  • RH Anderson’s Division (Me) – Hunton’s, Wilcox’s, Kemper’s, Jenkins’, Pryor’s & Featherstone’s Brigades. 3 Batts.
  • Huger’s Indpt. Division (Des) – Mahone’s, Armistead’s, Wright’s & Ransom’s Brigades. 1 Batt

And the following entered behind Longstreet during the battle:

  • DR Jones’ Division (Me) – Toombs’ & GT Anderson’s Brigades. 2 Batts.
  • Magruder’s Division (Andy) – Cobb’s & Barksdale’s Brigades. 1 Batt.
  • McLaws’ Division – Semmes’ & Kershaw’s brigades. 1 Batt.


Martin and John (an actual American who was visiting from LA) took the Union and they had (from right to left on the field) – 223 stands & 10 batteries in total.

  • Slocum’s Division (Martin): Taylor’s, Bartlett’s & Newton’s Bgdes. 3 batts.
  • Kearney’s Division (Martin): Berry’s, Birney’s and Robinson’s Bgdes. 1 batt.
  • McCall’s Division (Martin): Simmons’, Meades & Seymour’s Bgdes. 3 batts.
  • Hooker’s Division (John): Carr’s, Grover’s & Sickles’ Bgdes.
  • Sedgewick’s Division (John): Burns’, Dana’s, Sully’s, Caldwell’s and Meagher’s Bgdes. 3 batts. (Only Burn’s Bgde started on table, rest arrived later)

Frayser's Farm map

Looking along the Union line (from their left flank) at the start of the battle. All us Rebs had to do was take that road on the right – that’s all we had to do….

Our plan was quite simple as the terrain and troop density prevented much fancy manoeuvring: to hit the Union hard to weaken his line ready for our reserves to break through to the road, all we needed to do was to have an unspent Brigade on that road at the end of the game to win and all we needed to do was advance about 2 feet to do it so, easy right?

Anderson’s and AP Hill’s Divisions. I (Anderson) was going to pin the Union lads to our front by ‘getting stuck in’. Andy (Hill) was going to feint an attack on the Union left and then concentrate an attack to the right of the road.

Union force over on the extreme right, these boys proved to be tough.

‘The Neck’, this is where I was planning on making a decisive breakthrough in conjunction with Des’ lads. The chaps in the light blue coats are the Irish Brigade, we didn’t like them…

A view from General Huger’s perspective. Big blue wall of doom!

So we got to it, with the first moves basically involving Andy and I slightly re-organising our forces for the coming attack and moving up our Guns to take the Union line under fire as soon as possible. Over on the left Des suffered a set back straight away as Martin’s guns damaged his only battery with their first salvo. there was a special scenario rule concerning the guns to my immediate front and the chance that they might skedaddle at the outset, Martin rolled well though and they stayed put which did mean I as wary of just launching a charge at his line whilst they were still OK so elected to take them under fire from my infantry from the relative safety of the woods.

After damaging one battery and silencing another I decided it was time to get moving (urged on by shouts of ‘hurry up and get stuck in’ from over on our left!) once I was happy that my lads were all in the correct formation, my Brigades were quite small so needed to line them up to get ‘supported line’ bonus for the charges. So I ordered my brave lads forwards across the field to our front only to discover that only half of my brigades wanted to move, the first of many multiple failed activations us Rebs rolled during the battle.

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This initial attack was somewhat successful and I managed to punch a hole in the Union line, gaining a foothold in the woods across the field. However, as my attack was not supported by the remainder of the Division it was quickly pushed back itself by a Union counter attack launched by Kearney’s Division supported by the remains of McCall’s. This then was the pattern for the rest of the day with me launching attack after attack on the Union line only to be pushed back by either fresh brigades or a counter-attack from the previously beaten enemy. This attritional fighting was somewhat successful as by the end of the day we had gained the field to our front, and had taken a few batteries of guns and worn down a couple of brigades in doing so but at a high cost to Anderson’s Division which had two broken brigades and the remainder in a worn or spent state themselves.

Andy assisted in this sanguinary battle by launching his own attacks too with brigades from AP Hill’s Division and he managed to get further forwards, a few times reaching the road only to be hurled back by the newly arriving Yankee brigades of Sedgwick’s Division. This fight was equally as brutal as the one that Anderson’s lads were having just to their left with the balance switching one way and the other, and with some devilish dice rolling going on for both sides helping too! However, as was the case for me, Hill’s lads were just about held by the enormous Union brigades to our front even though they too made some gains, wore down some brigades and took a couple of batteries they ended the battle exhausted. However, Andy very nearly broke through right at the death with McLaw’s fresh Division only to be thwarted by Sedgwick’s final fresh brigades as the last of the uncommitted troops were thrown into the fray.

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Over on our right Andy put Magruder’s Division in the line facing off against Hooker’s Division who had moved forwards slightly and looked to be readying for an attack on our flank. This proved to be a feint however and once Magruder’s boys were in line he advanced on the Union brigades sending them reeling back. For a moment it looked as if a victory here was well on the cards but Hooker countered and this time it was the Reb’s turn to suffer (aided by some fantastic dice by John) and they streamed back to their start line along the creek and the fight here sort of fizzled out as both sides recovered.

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Out on the left Huger had been advancing steadily towards the brigades of Slocum’s Division whilst suffering terribly from the Union artillery which he was unable to respond to due to losing his only guns to that lucky shot at the start of the battle. His Wright’s Brigade that came on at the extreme left of the line along the road over the swamp fought a gallant action in isolation against a larger Union force and was ultimately pushed back, however it did keep them out of the line facing the rest of Huger’s lads. Once the main attack went in here I had managed to bring up a brigade from DR Jones’ Division to hit the angle of the Union line between the forces fighting Des and those facing me at the Neck, unfortunately their transit through the woods took ages (I rolled terribly time and again for activation with the brigades only moving half speed time and again) so the impact wasn’t as strong as I’d hoped and at the end of the day the battle here was the same as on the other parts of the battlefield with the Union holding out after some ferocious fighting.

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So after a whole day’s fighting the Confederates had been held all along the line whilst losing a small amount of ground in the centre which is just about what happened in the real battle. Andy did manage to get to the road on a couple of occasions but the Union reinforcements were just too much for us and he was beaten back and even though we did cause some serious damage to the Union forces we had taken quite a few casualties ourselves.

The end of the battle. Union have held all along the line. Just!

Another view.


  • CSA: 44 stands lost, 10 stands skedaddled, 4 stands captured, 2 Divisional commanders captured
  • USA: 28 stands lost, 3 stands captured, 5 batteries captured


It was quite an exhausting fight, everyone said how tired they were at the end, but well worth the effort. Big thanks go to Des for putting on a great game once more and to Andy, Martin and John for being proper gents and making the whole day such an enjoyable experience. For me days like this is what Wargaming is all about.