Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Stones River Visit

I was able to attend a living history event at Stones River recently and was able to observe the firing of a six gun Federal battery. It was great see see the crews in action and hear the roar of all six guns firing! I knew two of the gunners and after the event me and my family were invited to done some period coats and take some up close and personal pictures with the guns! It was a great experience and a huge "thank you" is definitely owed them!



6 gun Federal battery deployed 

The crews preparing to fire and stop the Rebel assault at Stones River! 

Yours truly! 

with the kiddos

horse artillery? It was fun loading up the guns and caissons. 

video

Valmy 1792

I've always been drawn more to the earlier napoleonic battles like Valmy, Marengo and Egypt. "Revolutionary Armies" did a kickstarter not too long ago for Revolutionary French and I picked up a couple units! Here is my first painted unit - the 42nd line.

They are only painted to wargames standard, but they are great sculpts from Michael Percy (Three Armies) and I think the white uniforms really make them pop!

I'm looking forward to painting more and playing out Valmy on the table top! Anybody else out there interested in early napoleonics?

Good gaming - Cory







Friday, September 21, 2018

The Assault on Fortress Rosecrans -



This is the most recent climatic battle from our internet gaming campaign group! Some of you might also find it interesting. Thank you to Brett Kvisle and his group for setting up and playing this game and the excellent AAR! My apologies for getting this out late!

Narrative - the CSA Army under Hood, running low on supplies, made a gallant assault on Fortress Rosecrans near Murfreesboro, TN. The fort was well armed with heavy cannon, abatis, ditches, and 25' earthen walls, but not many men. There was definitely a chance of success for the Rebs but they knew if would be a costly undertaking!

The Assault on Fortress Rosecrans December 3rd, 1864- These unit stats are for brigade Fire and Fury.


Summary of Losses
Union Losses - – 3 bases of infantry, 1 heavy gun destroyed and 1 heavy gun damaged

Confederate Losses – 26 bases of infantry, 4 bases of cavalry, 1 gun destroyed  and 3 guns damaged. A heavy blow to The Lost Cause. 




Federal Order of Battle:

General George Thomas (Hancock) – 1 Corp Leader Ex
Garrison Brigade
Col Mike Bradford (Gibbon) – 1 Leader
Unit 1 (Hall) - 3 / 2/ 1
Unit 2 (Webb) – 3 / 2 / 1
Unit 3 (Harrow) – 3 / 2 / 1
2nd corps artillery – 1 of 4 starts limbered near warehouse Gordon

Gen Hay’s Division (Garrad) – 1 Leader
Unit 4 (Willard) - 3 / 2 / 1 3 bases
Unit 5 (Carroll) – 2 / 1 / -
Heavy artillery (siege / fortress guns) batteries:
Lunette Rousseau - 1st corps artillery – 1 of 4 

Lunette Granger - 1st corps artillery – 1 of 4 gun damaged 8.30-9.00 
And then captured
Lunette Cittenden - 1st corps artillery – 1 of 4 gun damaged 9.30-10.00

Lunette McCook - 1st corps artillery – 1 of 4
Battery Mitchell – 2nd corps artillery – 1 of 4
Heavy batteries fire canister 6” with 13 fire points

Reserves
Unit 6 (Cutler from East wall) – 3 / 2/ 1 (had to roll to for)
Reserves – entered turn 3
Please Note: A destroyed Union gun in the fort can be replaced in 3 turns (lots of equipment) if no enemy troops are within 4”.

Deploy Federals first – they may deploy anywhere within the fortress.
Victory Conditions – Union wins if Confederates fail to occupy the fortress by 4.30pm (sunset). If they have troops within the fortress by 4.30pm then the game can continue until 10.00pm using night rules. If at any point the Confederates incur 30%+ total army casualties then they must retire.








Confederate Order of Assault on Fortress Rosecrans December 3, 1864
General Hood (Robert E Lee) – Army Commander Ex
Gen Cheatham (A P Hill) - 1 Corp Leader Ex
Gen Cleburne’s Division (Heth) – 1 Leader Ex
Govan’s brigade (Davis) – Ex 5 / 3 / 2 3 bases
Lowrey’s brigade (Pettigrew) – 5 / 3 / 2 5 bases
Granbury’s brigade (Archer) – Ex 5 / 3 / 2 1 base
Smith’s brigade (Brockenborough) – 5 / 3 / 2 5 bases
Cleburne’s artillery (3 guns) 1st div artillery 1 of 2
1st div artillery 2 of 2
 + 3rd corps artillery 1 of 4

Gen Brown’s Division (Pender) – 1 Leader
Gist’s brigade (Scales) – Ex 5 / 3 / 2
Maney’s brigade (Thomas) – 5 / 3 / 2 3 bases
Strahl’s brigade (Lane) – Ex 5 / 3 / 2
Vaughn’s brigade (Perrin) – 5 / 3 / 2 1 base
Brown’s artillery (3 guns) 2nd div artillery 1 of 2
2nd div artillery 2 of 2 gun damaged
 + 3rd corps artillery 2 of 4 

Gen Bate’s Division (Anderson) – 1 Leader
Tyler’s brigade (Wilcox) – 4 / 3 / 2 2 bases
Finley’s brigade (Mahone) – 4 / 3 / 2 4 bases
Jackson’s brigade (Lang) – 4 / 3 / 2 2 bases
Bate’s artillery (3 guns) 3rd div artillery 1 of 2 gun wrecked
3rd div artillery 2 of 2
 + 3rd corps artillery 3 of 4 gun damaged
3 batteries in reserve (3 guns) 1st corps artillery 1 of 4
1st corps artillery 2 of 4
1st corps artillery 3 of 4
Forrest’s Cavalry Corps – 1 leader Ex
Chalmer’s division (Yellow caps) – Ex 7 / 5 / 3 2 bases
Jackson’s division (wide brimmed hats) – 7 / 5 / 3 2 bases
1 artillery battery – 3rd corps 4 of 4

Deployment - Confederates come onto the table once the Union has set up. Cheatham enters anywhere on the Eastern edge and Forrest anywhere on the Northern edge.
Victory conditions – capture Fortress Rosecrans before losing 30%+ of the army

Attack starts at dawn (7.00am) and ends at dusk 4.30pm if the Confederates are not inside the Fortress. If they are then the battle can continue in the dark until 10.00pm. If the Confederates incur 30% total casualties they must retire.
Please Note: After 2 hours from the first shot fired by the Confederate artillery they start to run out of ammunition. Turns 1-4 normal, turns 5-6 half fire points, turns 7-8 one third fire points, turns 9-10 one quarter fire points, turns 11 onwards no ammo.
7.00 – 7.30 – normal fire points. Confederate guns moving
7.30 – 8.00 – normal fire points. Confederate guns moving
8.00 – 8.30 – normal fire points. Confederate guns moving
8.30 – 9.00 – normal fire points
9.30 – 10.00 – normal fire points
10.00 – 10.30 – normal fire points
10.30 – 11.00 – normal fire points
11.00 – 11.30 – half fire points
11.30 – 12.00 – half fire points
12.00 – 12.30 – 1/3 fire points
12.30 – 1.00 – 1/3 fire points
1.00 – 1.30 – ¼ fire points
1.30 – 2.00 – ¼ fire points
2.00 – to games end Confederate artillery is out of ammo except for cannister.

Assault on Fortress Rosecrans December 3, 1864 – After Action Report
The Players: 1st & 2nd nights
Union: Brett
Confederates: Steve
Umpire: Brett
I was to play in the event of even numbers but umpire in the event we had an odd number of players. 
The Union Army was tasked with holding Fortress Rosecrans. They did not have a lot to fight with but were protected by a -3 for cover and a +3 for protection in hand to hand. The Confederates cannot count the outnumbered factor in the hand to hand while attacking the fort and are disordered the whole time that they are between the abatis and the fortress walls because of the difficulty of crossing the abatis and then the ditch and then climbing up to the fortress walls. 
The Union set up first. They were permitted to set up their infantry with 2” distance between the stands (extended line). This meant defending the entire fortress walls to cover all possible assault points. 
The Confederates decided to mass their attack in the centre. Feeling confident that the Union were unlikely to come out and attack them they advanced at the speed of their limbered artillery. The Union decided to concentrate on the limbered artillery rather than the infantry and successfully wrecked 1 battery and damaged 3 others before switching targets to the infantry
The Confederates advanced with their infantry just behind their artillery and just out of an effective bombardment range from the Union guns.
The Confederates massed their artillery and concentrated their fire on Lunette Granger and Lunette Cittenden until they managed to damage both heavy guns in those Lunettes. Then the Confederate infantry surged forward. 7 Confederate brigades managed to cross the abatis with a number ready to cross in the next turn.
It was extremely difficult for the Confederates to attack the Lunettes because once they crossed the abatis they were disordered until they managed to defeat the defenders and cross the walls into the fortress. Given that the move was on a ratio of 4:1 between the abatis and the fortress walls it meant that the Confederates could only manage 4” per turn on a good throw. It took most Confederate brigades 2-3 turns to cover the gap between the abatis and the walls. Combined with the occasional bad throw meant that some brigades took even longer. 3 brigades which were down to 2 bases each actually threw so poorly when they were spent that they quit the field.
This was the first assault on a fortress that I had ever defended against and the first time that Steve had ever commanded an assault. Needless to say it needs to be extremely well planned and executed. The Confederates managed to damage the heavy guns in Lunette Grainger and Lunette Crittenden. I thought it was going to be easy for the Confederates but then they crossed the abatis and masked their guns. Then it became difficult to get to grips with the Union troops who were protected by a +3 defensive factor and a -3 shooting factor for the Confederates.
The difficulty of crossing the area between the abatis and the walls meant that the Confederate attack was going in piecemeal which made it easier to defend against. The Confederate brigade that successfully stormed Lunette Grainger should have consolidated its position by going into line and firing into the flanks of the Union defenders. This would have caused the defenders to turn their attention inwards and so helping the Confederates to cross the gap. However, buoyed by their initial success they charged out of the Lunette and smashed a Union brigade. However, this in turn gave the Union defenders the opportunity to turn their attention on this brigade and killed 3 of it’s 5 bases. 
The Confederates had just managed to take Lunette Grainger and then they hit the 30% casualty figure (not including artillery). As we did not know whether the artillery should be included or not we decided that we should finish the Confederate turn. A number of poor throws saw 3 spent brigades quit the field on the last turn, then exceeding the 30% threshold. 



Result: Game ended at the close of the 11.30am turn with a win to the Union forces

Losses:
Union: 
Garrison Brigade
Col Mike Bradford (Gibbon) – 1 Leader
Unit 1 (Hall) - 3 / 2 / 1
Unit 2 (Webb) – 3 / 2 / 1
Unit 3 (Harrow) – 3 / 2 / 1
2nd corps artillery – 1 of 4 starts limbered near warehouse Gordon

Gen Hay’s Division (Garrad) – 1 Leader
Unit 4 (Willard) - 3 / 2 / 1 3 bases
Unit 5 (Carroll) – 2 / 1 / -
Heavy artillery batteries:
Lunette Rousseau - 1st corps artillery – 1 of 4 

Lunette Granger  - 1st corps artillery – 1 of 4 gun destroyed & Lunette Grainger captured
Lunette Cittenden - 1st corps artillery – 1 of 4 gun damaged

Lunette McCook - 1st corps artillery – 1 of 4
Battery Mitchell – 2nd corps artillery – 1 of 4
Heavy batteries fire canister 6” with 13 fire points

Reserves
Unit 6 (Cutler from East wall) – 3 / 2 / 1





Confederate:
General Hood (Robert E Lee) – Army Commander Ex
Gen Cheatham (A P Hill) - 1 Corp Leader Ex
Gen Cleburne’s Division (Heth) – 1 Leader Ex
Govan’s brigade (Davis) – Ex 5 / 3 / 2 3 bases
Lowrey’s brigade (Pettigrew) – 5 / 3 / 2 5 bases
Granbury’s brigade (Archer) – Ex 5 / 3 / 2 1 base
Smith’s brigade (Brockenborough) – 5 / 3 / 2 5 bases
Cleburne’s artillery (3 guns) 1st div artillery 1 of 2
1st div artillery 2 of 2
 + 3rd corps artillery 1 of 4

Gen Brown’s Division (Pender) – 1 Leader
Gist’s brigade (Scales) – Ex 5 / 3 / 2
Maney’s brigade (Thomas) – 5 / 3 / 2 3 bases
Strahl’s brigade (Lane) – Ex 5 / 3 / 2
Vaughn’s brigade (Perrin) – 5 / 3 / 2 1 base
Brown’s artillery (3 guns) 2nd div artillery 1 of 2
2nd div artillery 2 of 2 gun damaged
 + 3rd corps artillery 2 of 4 

Gen Bate’s Division (Anderson) – 1 Leader
Tyler’s brigade (Wilcox) – 4 / 3 / 2 2 bases
Finley’s brigade (Mahone) – 4 / 3 / 2 4 bases
Jackson’s brigade (Lang) – 4 / 3 / 2 2 bases
Bate’s artillery (3 guns) 3rd div artillery 1 of 2 gun wrecked
3rd div artillery 2 of 2
 + 3rd corps artillery 3 of 4 gun damaged
3 batteries in reserve (3 guns) 1st corps artillery 1 of 4
1st corps artillery 2 of 4
1st corps artillery 3 of 4
Forrest’s Cavalry Corps – 1 leader Ex
Chalmer’s division (Yellow caps) – Ex 7 / 5 / 3 2 bases
Jackson’s division (wide brimmed hats) – 7 / 5 / 3 2 bases
1 artillery battery – 3rd corps 4 of 4


Summary of Losses:
Union Losses - – 3 bases of infantry, 1 heavy gun destroyed and 1 heavy gun damaged

Confederate Losses – 26 bases of infantry, 4 bases of cavalry, 1 gun destroyed  and 3 guns damaged


Thursday, September 6, 2018

Campaign Game - The Battle of Murfreesboro - December 1, 1864

Background - I'm running an ACW campaign game set during Hood's 1864 Franklin / Nashville campaign. The campaign includes players from across the globe maneuvering their troops across middle Tennessee. We have players from the USA, Australia, UK and Germany. The time zones can make it challenging it times, but I just chalk it up to "fog of war" and inconsistent courier communication. The generals have a lot of control over the direction their troops will move, but as the GM I add to the narrative by slowing things down due to weather, skirmishes, local commander's decision's, logistics, etc., and I can speed some things up too for similar reasons - spies, unknown fords, back roads, etc.

This is a fun AAR from Brett Kvisle's group in Australia that played out one portion of this battle on the tabletop. In the potion of the battle Gen Stephen Lee's corps was across Stone's River from the Union corps of Gen. Smith. Skirmishing and artillery fire and a perceived advantage caused local CSA brigade and divisional commanders to attack across the river, drawing the entire corps into the fight. As they say...the rest is history ... in miniature! Here are some pictures a well as the OOB's and AAR.

Thanks for playing this game, Brett!







Union Order of Battle Murfreesboro December 1, 1864
General Hancock (Gen Andrew Smith) – 1 Corp Leader
Gen Gibbon’s Division (McArthurs) – 1 Leader
Hall (1st brigade) - 5 / 4 / 3
Webb (2nd brigade) – 5 / 4 / 3
Harrow (3rd brigade)  –  6 / 5 / 4
2nd corps artillery – 1 of 4 & 2 of 4

Gen Hay’s Division (Garrad’s) – 1 Leader
Carroll (1st brigade) –  5 / 4 / 3
Willard (2nd brigade) – 5 / 4 / 3 lost 4
Smyth (3rd brigade) – 6 / 5 / 4
2nd corps artillery 3 of 4 & 4 of 4

Gen Wadsworth’s Division (Moore’s) – 1 Leader
Cutler (1st brigade) – 8 / 6 / 4 lost 1
Meredith (2nd brigade) – 7 / 5 / 4 lost 5 (4 dead + 1 captured)
1st corps artillery – 1 of 4 & 2 of 4

Reserves – enter turn 3
2 batteries in reserve  - 1st corps artillery – 3 of 4 & 4 of 4

Deploy Federals first – they may deploy anywhere west of Stone’s river.
Victory Conditions – As the extreme right flank of the army they must prevent the CSA from inflicting 30% casualties on them. (They must withdraw toward Nashville in that case.) The round hill, near the farm in the middle of the table is the key to holding the flank of the Union army and their position will be untenable if captured by the Rebs.









Confederate Order of Battle Murfreesboro December 1, 1864
General Longstreet (Gen Stephen Lee) – 1 Corp Leader Ex
Gen Hood’s Division (Johnson’s) – 1 Leader
Law (Dea’st brigade) - 6 / 4 / 2 lost 2
Robertson’s (Manigault’s brigade) – Ex 5 / 3 / 2 lost 3
Anderson’s (Sharp’s brigade)  –  5 / 3 / 2 lost 2
Hood’s artillery (3 guns) – 1 of 2 destroyed
- 2 of 2
 + Corps artillery 1 of 4

Gen McLaw’s Division (Stevenson’s) – 1 Leader
Barksdale (Cumming’s brigade) –  8 / 5 / 3 lost 3
Semmes (Pettus’s brigade) – 7 / 5 / 3 lost 3
McLaw’s  artillery (3 guns) – 1 of 2
- 2 of 2
 + Corps artillery 2 of 4 

Gen Picket’s Division (Clayton’s) – 1 Leader
Kemper (Stovall’s brigade) – Ex 5 / 3 / 2 lost 2
Garnett (Gibson’s brigade) – 5 / 3 / 2
Armistead (Holtzclaw’s brigade) – Ex 4 / 3 / 2 lost 2
Picket’s artillery (3 guns) – 1 of 2 damaged
2 of 2 damaged
 + Corps artillery 3 of 4

Reserves – enter turn 2 on road from Murfreesboro
3 batteries in reserve  - 3rdt corps artillery – 1 of 4 + 2 of 4 + 3 of 4

Deployment – may deploy anywhere east of Stone’s river. The river may be crossed only at roads and 1 ford to the east of the round hill near the loop in the river.
Please Note: any troops exiting off the north table edge since they may factor into the next battle.



Battle Murfreesboro December 1, 1864 – After Action Report
The Players:
Union: Richard
Confederates: Jason
Umpire: Brett
I was to play in the event of even numbers but umpire in the event we had an odd number of players. 
The Union Army was tasked with avoiding 30% casualties whilst at the same time preventing the Confederates from capturing the hill next to the farm which sat between the 2 roads. The hill was considered essential for anchoring the right flank of the Union position at Murfreesboro. Its loss would have been a disaster for the Union troops in and around Murfreesboro. The Confederates had more and better troops and more artillery but were faced with having to cross the Stones River. They only had 2 bridges, 1 marked ford and 1 unmarked ford in which to cross.
The Union were to set up first. This meant screening the entire front to cover the 4 possible crossing points. Given they just didn’t have enough troops to adequately cover all positions and have a reserve they set up their troops in line as follows. McArthur’s Division occupied the woods to the north and across the road supported by 2 batteries, Garrad’s Division had 2 brigades in line on the edge of the woods in the centre and the 3rd brigade on the critical hill in the centre with artillery support. Moore’s Division set up in line in the southern part of the central wood and covering the Franklin Rd with one brigade whilst the second brigade was in line with 2 batteries on the feeder road next to the farm. All Union guns were trained on a potential attack point.
The Confederates decided to hold with Clayton’s Division in the north, cross with Johnson’s Division in the centre and attack with Stevenson’s Division along the Franklin Rd. This was the weakest Union division and the most thinly manned part of the Union position. A breakthrough here would see a fight in the open with no cover for the inexperienced Union troops.



The Confederates made 2 tactical errors. They tried to push their artillery across the unmarked ford in the centre to capture the hill located in the bend of the river ahead of their infantry believing the Union with relatively inexperienced troops would remain defending the edge of the wood. The artillery moved too slow. They should have crossed with infantry first to create a bridgehead to protect the artillery coming across later. In the south they decided to continue in march column once they got across the bridge on the Franklin Rd rather than delay a move to form up into supported line.  They were eager to establish a bridgehead and again thought the Union would be reluctant to give up their defensive position.
The Union commander recognizing the rashness of the Confederate advance attacked out of the wood in the centre with the 1st and 2nd brigades and severely shot up the lead Confederate battery which was forced to retire thereby making the other 2 batteries also retire. This action halted the Confederate attack in the centre and gave the Union control of the hill in the bend of the river for most of the game. In the south seeing the Confederate’s advance in march column a move too long Moore’s sent the 2nd brigade charging along the Franklin Rd and straight into the first Confederate column. Unbelievably the Confederate artillery threw a 10 and inflicted 2 losses on the Union 2nd brigade. These 2 aggressive actions by the Union player effectively thwarted the Confederate attack in both the centre and south. 
The fight in the centre for the hill and in the south along the Franklin Rd continued all game. Each side had their opportunities but just when you thought it was all over for one side or the other a great throw or a terrible throw would balance it out again and the struggle would continue. 
The Union forces basically fought the Confederates to a standstill and although the Confederates managed to finally take the hill in the river bend and establish a bridgehead in the south on the Franklin Rd they lost too many men to continue the attack without reinforcement. 
The Union forces although in better shape also do not have enough strength to throw the rebels back without some reinforcement because there are too many Confederate batteries now sighted on crossing points. 



Losses:
Union: 
Garrad’s Division
2nd brigade – 4 bases
Moore’s Division
1st brigade – 1 base
2nd brigade – 5 bases (4 dead + 1 captured)

Confederate:
Johnson’s Division
Dea’s brigade – 2 bases
Manigault’s brigade – 3 bases
Sharp’s brigade – 2 bases
1 battery destroyed
Stevenson’s Division
Cumming’s brigade – 3 bases
Pettus’s brigade – 3 bases
Clayton’s Division
Stovall’s brigade – 2 bases
Holtzclaw’s brigade – 2 bases
2 batteries damaged


It was a win to the Union. 

Campaign Narrative - the CSA, sustaining heavy loses and gaining no ground,  must fall back and regroup. - Cory