This week, I was able to be there. Martin, Kevin, Derrik, Bear, and Brian all showed up and a friend of Bear's stopped by for a time. Andy was "under the weather" and couldn't make it. We played our American Civil War variant of Iron Ivan's This Very Ground. Andy has more figures for this period than I do and has a large green ground cloth. Since I didn't know he was not coming, we scrounged up a green PVC sheet that Kevin had squirrelled away at the library for just such a situation. Martin and Bear brought their ACW figures which, added to mine, made a respectable force for each side.
We decided to do a small version of the first day at Gettysburg with Buford's dismounted Federal cavalry attempting to hold off the Confederate advance down the Chambersburg Pike. Derrik and Martin pushed Federal lead while Kevin and Bear captained the Confederate side. (No surprise there for Bear.) I served as referee and Brian kibitzed or served as war correspondent for Harper's Weekly.
The Federal cavalry (2 units of 15 troopers each with a cannon in support) set up to start the game. Each full turn, the Federals rolled for reinforcements. (a 7+ on a d10 was what was needed.) All of the Confederates were on the board at the start.
|Martin's company of dismounted Union cavalry|
|Derrik's company with the cannon and the colonel commanding|
|A ground level view of Martin's horse soldiers|
|Two of the Rebel artillery pieces|
|Kevin's troops with the Texas state flag.|
Yes, the gun crew in the foreground is in Federal uniform.
Let's call it a "loan."
|Some of Bear's force - some rather idiosyncratic Rebs here.|
|Bear wanted a different outfit so I painted these up as a Virginia company.|
|The Stonewall Brigade? Why not?|
|May as well take cover while you can!|
|Some of Kevin's troops in the railroad cut which served as heavy cover|
since it actually is a locomotive-sized trench.
|The original gun in support of the cavalry in their fall-back position.|
|Derrik's dismounted cavalry behind the crest of the hill with a small wood to their left.|
(I'm rather embarrassed to say that I forgot all my trees.)
Kevin proclaimed that Martin has broken the game and we all roared with laughter. I gave Martin a much-deserved award... which I'll say more about later. It made for a wild few minutes.
By this time, the union had received reinforcements - over three turns, two infantry companies and a cannon had arrived. One company reinforced Derrik's troops and hunkered down behind the hill along-side of the cavalry. The other company, from the 42nd Pennsylvania Reserves - the "Bucktails"- came up fast to help Martin and took up a position in the small woods on the hill that had been Martin's original set-up. The reserve cannon set up on the edge of the board and began to bombard Kevin's troop in the railroad cut.
Bear charged the Bucktails with his Virginians and a serious and desperate hand-to-hand battle started in the woods.
|Martin's troopers facing the Southern onslaught just before hitting the back-slope.|
|Bear's right flank unit is about to get the Remington treatment from the cavalry.|
|The Virginians advance toward the Bucktails.|
|More of Bear's troops with their colonel move toward the cavalry held hill.|
|Well, the Bucktails got the worst part of the melee - the Pennsylvania boys were wiped out!|
|The Rebels capture the Union gun and make faces at the gunner and the colonel.|
|The rest of Bear's right flank and centre companies slug it out with the cavalry.|
|Kevin's companies hold the railroad cut.|
|A close-up of Bear's colours.|
|The colonel and his adjutant... who actually is holding a Bible.|
Isn't there a line in a movie: "We Southerners like our men polite, religious, and a little crazy."
|The 146th New York Volunteer Infantry, just after the volley.|
The four blue bingo chips represent the smoke and the necessity of reloading.
|The Virginians watch the Zouaves' advance from their hill vantage point,|
Now, the most important part of the day. With Martin's "pistol volley" (something more appropriate for Thirty Years War trotting cavalry. Can you spell "caracole", Martin?), he was immediately inducted into the ranks of the holders of the coveted "Golden Mentula Mustalae" award. In my previous wargames group, we often awarded this geegaw to the player who pulled the most overtly-legal-but-of-dubious-morality-and-ethics move of the game. A small statue/figure of a badger in Highland kit (in either gold or silver depending on the seriousness/originality of the move) was awarded to that player. It is a high honour, accompanied with gales of laughter, awarded especially to the guy who can take a joke.
|Imagine this in gold or silver.|
|So as of 7 February 2015, Martin is the FIRST (but surely not the last) Canadian recipient of the revived|
MENTULA MUSTALAE AWARD in gold!
"Mentula Mustalae" could be translated roughly as...
Oh, dare I write it?
... "weasel dick."
Luckily Martin can take a joke better than many.
Our plan for next week is Napoleonics! We're considering French vs. Ottoman Turks using the Shako rules. Should be quite a mess.