Saturday, 27 September 2014

Rebel Yell and Yankee Cheer

anAndy and I decided to play an American Civil War game at the Hamilton Road Gaming Group this Saturday. Martin had gone to his ancestral home for the weekend and Bear gladly laid aside role-playing to be the Southern gentleman he'd like to be. As a pleasant surprise, Mark showed up and played. So Bear (or I should say "Beauregard") and I handled the Confederate forces while Mark and Andy controlled the Union which was made up of only Zouaves! We used our home-brewed ACW variant of Iron Ivan's This Very Ground. All photos are by Andy.

Beauregard and I won the roll and moved first. Each player had four units of infantry and a cannon. We set up 12" from the table edge and moved in. I faced Mark who advanced in march column with one unit in skirmish order holding the forested edge of a plowed field. Andy moved over an abandoned camp ground toward a small woods and pond with a farm house and summer kitchen across a small road. Beauregard advanced toward that farm house with one unit on his far right to observe and block a similar unit of Andy's in those woods. I advanced toward a fence line with two units and the cannon and advance on my far left with two unit to the edge of a wooded area.

My troop advance in loose order through a group of cows who have broken into the field. They're just window dressing. Mark's cannon missed my troops and he claimed a cow got in the way. We called "BBQ!" and he said I had to cook since he brought the meat. He didn't say if he wanted it Texas-style, Carolina-style, or Cajun-style.

Bear/Beauregard's first unit comes up to the pasture wall, having been ignored by a more mannerly group of cows.
The sheep and the dog in the foreground are minding their own business as well.

Mark's Zouaves take up a position at the rail fence. The left hand unit soon went prone.
So, Padre Mike: more Zouave envy?
From then on it became a fire fight. Three of Andy's unit and his cannon exchanged fire with Bear's three units. Bear's cannon was slowly being man-handled into place but found the way blocked by a bog. Some counter-battery fire began and Andy lost three of his five artillerymen on his gun while Bear lost three of his four gunners, leaving the intrepid gun captain to load, aim, and fire the field piece,

Andy's gun shows itself in action with a reduced crew while two of his Zouave units clamber over the rail fence into the fenced-in wooded area.
Mark and I exchanged fire over the small road. One of my units, deployed in close order, had had enough and charged the Union troops in front of them. That surprising melee lasted three turns! It see-sawed back and forth until all I had left was my drummer and his sword while Mark had an officer and one rifleman. His other two units kept firing at my unit in the woods until it was whittled down to the officer only. Yet neither unit broke in morale!

A view over the plowed field at the firing lines. The close order Confederate unit at the far end of the line was soon to charge the Federal defenders of the fence line. The loose order unit in the woods kept getting shot at by the other Federals and finally found itself down to one man left by the end of the game.

More fire fights through the farmstead. The summer kitchen on the left was in Rebel hands and was filled with Southern infantry. This is as close as the troops on this end got to each other.

Meanwhile in the woods on the far end of the battlefield, Andy's flank guards eyed Bear's troops and both just stared at each other. Yes, units were tied up for the whole game but neither unit turned the other's flank.

In the end, Andy and Mark confessed that the Union battle plan was to sweep away my troops in a right hook to hit Bear's flank while holding Bear's attention with Andy's troops. This didn't happen. Although I was seriously slapped around a bit on the north side of the battle field, I did bloody Mark's (military) nose and kept him from sweeping the flank. I was cautiously advancing with one unit which could have flanked his prone unit if I hadn't been concerned about an attack on that unit's flank by a line of Zouaves in the woods far in front of me. Both my cannon and Mark's were intact and could have added to the party had they not been screened by our own troops. We decided that neither side could do much and called it a day.  Following this we sat and discussed a plan Mark has for a future game which might include heavy fortifications, amphibious landings, and unlimited infantry for the attacking force. Sounds good but probably won't be realised until after the Christmas holidays.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, Ray. Andy has some nice terrain.

    2. Total Zouave envy. Ah reckon I'm fixing to git me some Zouaves! Them fellers are shore purty!

    3. ... an' y'all cen use 'em fer that there Franco-Prussian unpleasentness if the mood hits y'.