Sunday, 5 July 2015

A House Divided... ... can make for a good game!

July 4, 2015 --- At the request of a few of the historical players at the Hamilton Road Games Group, an American Civil War game using our "home-brewed" variant of Iron Ivan's This Very Ground was set up. Bear (in his persona of Col. Beauregard Clemens Bayer) and Wayne (who had played Iron Ivan games before, just not this one) ran the Confederate side while Brian and I ran the Union troops. Andy set up the terrain and took over on the Rebel side when Wayne had to leave by mid-afternoon.
Each commander had three 12 man squads and a 12-pounder cannon (6 crew). The Federals also had a small (6 man) section of sharpshooters. In our variant, the usual personal weapon is the rifled musket with a range of 25", while the sharpshooters carried a sharpshooter's rifle with a 36" range. The cannons range was up to 60" so just about the entire board was in range. We chose the 12-pounder Napoleon cannon because it was the most common. Smaller calibre cannon were found but not often.

(Andy and I took all the photos.)

The game table at the onset of the whole thing. Anything 2 inches outside the rail fences was considered light woods.
Beauregard contemplates his strategy.

Wayne's troops line up to enter.

Good beans!
This is a piece of cloth Andy found somewhere which really looks good as a cultivate field for a game like this.
If you turn it over, it's a dark brown or black with some green lines, so it looks plowed and early in the season.

Brian and I won the initiative roll and moved first. I pushed on section in skirmish order into the woods on my right flank while I brought up the two other platoons in loose order. My gun stayed where it was, behind the rail fence and my sharpshooters moved up along the hedge line in skirmish order. Brian sent two sections into the woods and brought one up through the pig-sty to a stone wall. His gun faced Bear's along the outside of the fenced-in compound. Wayne and Bear pretty much mirrored our deployment and first move. No one was in musket range right off, although my cannon did some damage to one of Wayne's sections which stayed back at the rail fence at the start line. 

Both sides tried to come to grips as soon as possible. Wayne (and later, Andy) and I exchanged a lot of musket fire. Bear quickly brought up two sections to occupy the rail fence in the middle of the farmstead and the farm house. A third section came to the corner of the rail fence to oppose Brian's skirmishers in the woods. In the mean time, Brian's cannon took out four of Bear's gunners and soon after Bear's gun silenced the Union gun by wiping out the crew. Brian's skirmishers finally cut Bear's artillery crew down to one man - who could still fire the gun, but had a serious problem loading it and a bigger problem turning it. The Confederate section along the rail fence facing the woods went prone (an variant move for us.) which makes them harder to hit but really vulnerable in combat. Basically their opponent gets a free hit at the prone troops who could fire but can't realistically fight hand-to-hand from a prone position.

Beauregard positions his leading section in the bean field.
Each section was 10 muskets, one officer, and one drummer or standard bearer.
The musician/standard permits a quick reform of the unit after a voluntary retreat or "ski-daddle."

Zouaves of the 146th New York cross the pig sty to take position on the stone wall.
Their lead is the sergeant seen closest to the camera. The green bingo chip means the unit has been activated that turn.

Confederate standards making a quick advance... too quick for my camera to catch.

Bear's Virginians take cover at the rail fence.

Brian measures a movement as his skirmishers advance.

The 146th take the wall.
The yellow chips indicate that the unit has fired a "half volley." It will take two turns of doing nothing to be fully reloaded.
(Perry plastics)
On my side of the table, my cannon did pretty good service keeping the Rebs' heads down. Wayne's/Andy's eventually took out two of my six crewmen, the loss of whom didn't slow my rate of fire. My lead unit advanced to the rail fence in the centre of the field where they exchanged fire with the Confederate troops across the field. Their shooting was better and my unit was eventually reduced to the officer, the drummer, and one musketman. My second section shifted right and moved over the rail fence and into the woods to join my right-most section in opposing the gray-clad skirmishers there. In the centre, my squad of sharpshooters picked off one or two Confederates but were eventually wiped out as well.

My two centre sections advance. The rear-most continued to shift to its right until it moved over the fence.
The advance at ground level.

My troops have come over the fence and the Confederate skirmishers await their next move.

The sharpshooters skirmish across the field and hedge.
(Perry metals)

Wayne/Andy's troops move along the edge of the woods.

"Them's are the fellas what shot down the sharpshooter, they are!"

My cannon in the process of reloading.

Andy took control of the Confederate left when Wayne had to go, and he began a slow pull back. He decimated my one section but pulled his two sections in the woods back. His gun had taken casualties from some counter-battery fire but was still in action. The question soon came up: do we want to continue? Andy felt that it was time to pull back and leave the field to the Union, although the Union had lost a cannon, the sharpshooters, and the majority of one of my sections. I more or less controlled the centre of the one side of the farm, while Bear controlled the other side with troops in the farmhouse. Brian considered charging Bear's prone troops which would mean negotiating a rail fence while charging. He'd get a free hack at Bear's prone unit, but getting there was the problem. Then would come the troops in the farmhouse. The section of the 146th at the stone wall was more than one charge move away, so they'd most likely sustain heavy casualties before hitting the untouched unit in the farm house. 

That's where we left it. Probably a winning draw for the Union since it was time for the Southerners to withdraw and fight another day. We cleaned up and discussed next week's event (reenacting), politics, and other innocuous treason.

A view of the action in the woods from another perspective.

... and from closer to the ground.

In a final desperate attempt to defeat me and to confuse me,
Andy deployed the elite Alabama Ent Brigade.

Meanwhile at home, some of the beasties who share our yard help themselves to some extra bird seed.
On the way home from church today, we stopped at a hardware store for a tape measure.
I saw this beauty in the parking lot and brought it to Beth's attention. Now Beth loves Italian exotic cars,
so we had to take a few photos. She said he hadn't DRIVEN one of these in 35 years!
That's right; She said DRIVEN. My wife has had such adventures!
A Dethomaso Pantera choice.
Next week, a "time-line" reenacting event. I'm looking forward to this.

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