Monday, June 23, 2014

The Great Cavalry Raid - ACW

Yesterday Myself, Brian Buskell and Dave Lowe decided to do something a little different for our ACW gaming, instead of the normal set piece battles I decided to try our luck in running a game where a Confederate Cavalry Division of three brigades (ten regiments) and two batteries of artillery conduct a raid into Maryland with the mission of destroying two sections of railway lines.

The Union players mission was two fold, one was to try and stop the raid and destruction of the railway line and two was to kill or capture as many of the pesky 'Reds' as possible.....hmmm easy you say? Not really as I though in a few little funnies for the Union player which added a good deal of the 'fog of war' into the game. So first after all other movement was conducted on the table, the Union player rolled a six sided dice and halved the result, which meant a roll of six or five gave the Union player three new regiments to bring onto the table. However there was more to come, he then have to roll to see what type of unit it was... a roll of 1 meant artillery, 2/3/4/5 meant infantry and 6 was cavalry. Quality of the unit was then rolled for...1/2/3 meant green/militia, 4/5 meant line/regular and 6 was veteran or elite. Then finally after all the rolls he had to roll to see from which point on the table each unit was to enter, I had four entry points, which were entered on a roll of 1/2/3/4 for each pint and then a 5/6 meant he could choose the location in order to mass troops or units.

So there was a little messing around with the dice however it worked out well and kept the Confederate on his toes and a little nervous on each roll. For the Confederate player in regards to the destruction of the rail line, he had to dismount one of his regiments and task them to destroy the rail. This meant that with the making of fires, lifting of the tracks, the heating of the track and finally bending the track beyond use would take that unit five turns carry out the task. Each other unit from the brigade had to hold back the ever increasing numbers of Federal troops.

Eventually after eight turns Brian (the Confederate player) managed to destroy two sections of the railway track and completed his mission. However Dave (the Union player) did manage to inflict some rather high casualties on some of Brian's units which include the capture of a horse battery and a complete regiment of  Confederate troopers on the last turn..but still the track was destroyed and it would take a number of days to a Confederate victory.

One of two Union cavalry regiments who were the first to the scene. This particular regiment came on as veterans and would eventually capture a rebel artillery battery and defeat a veteran Confederate cavalry regiment...not bad lads not bad at all.

Confederate cavalry dismount and form a heavy skirmish line as Federal cavalry enter the battle scene.

The only Federal unit allowed on the table during the first turn was a local militia unit which was only called together just a few hours before when the alarm was raised that there were raiders in the area. The boys took a few casualties from rebel artillery and small arms but preformed their duty well throughout the game.

A Confederate horse battery unlimbers on and sends a few rounds into oncoming Federal re-enforcements.

One of two veteran Union regiments to enter the field of battle (I made the veteran units Zouaves so that they were easy to recognised on the table from the numerous other units). However these lads really did not see much action but their presence did I feel force the Confederates to chance the dispositions and withdrawal routes.

The town militia take up positions behind a rail fence and fire a few volleys across at the rebel dismounted cavalry.

The other veteran Union regiment enters the board in support of a line unit just to their front.

The rebels try a desperate charge into opposing Federal dismounted calvary. The charge was successful however they were soon counter charged by the arrival of three Federal infantry regiments.

One of the Confederate Cavalry Brigade commanders re-thinks the situation and suggests to the divisional commander that with the arrival of more Federal infantry it might be time to withdraw?

With pressure mounting on every turn and more Union troops closing in, time was running out for the rebels to complete their mission.

with the presence of a complete Federal infantry brigade plus supporting artillery the Confederate cavalry start to disengage one brigade at a time.

With the rebel right flank withdrawing pressure is maintained on the centre in hope of forcing another rebel cavalry brigade to withdraw...however this brigade held firm a couple of more turns and just long enough to destroy a length of track.

Federal infantry surge forward firing as they go and inflict a number of casualties on the withdrawing rebels.

Veteran Union cavalry also pursue but on foot this time..however the horse holders have been called forward and the lads will soon mount up.

The heavy Confederate skirmish line still holds but only for another few minutes as Union infantry start to make their numbers felt.

With the Union left secured Dave reforms his infantry brigade into march columns in hope of catching a few more rebel raiders before they leave the area.

The Confederate Divisional commander noting that enough damage has been done orders the remaining two brigade to disengage. 

And disengage they do, however one battery is caught in the flank by Dave's veteran cavalry and are captured. The lads then charged on and hit an other rebel cavalry regiment in the flank capturing a number of their men and forcing the rest to flee.

With his cavalry attacking the Confederate cavalry on the left Dave keeps pushing his infantry along the turnpike hoping to cut off the rebels retreat.

Dave's troops make it just in time. One of Brian's units is slowed by the thick scrub and soon realises they will have to fight their way out or surrender

The rebel cavalry charged and pushed back one of Dave's regiments only to see it reform. Brain's lads were caught and after making another charge, which failed to break through they surrendered. Thus ended the game, A Confederate victory but one not without loss.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A Battle Without Valour - North West Frontier

It has been a long time between games but when working away from home for weeks at a time there is not much I can do about that. However when I get home I just have to make up for lost time and last night we did just that.  Both myself and Brian Buskell have been working on our Colonial collections for sometime and always try to play somewhere in the colonies at least once a month. This month we took the Imperial Armies back into Northern India where an incursion by a column of Afghan Regulars and local tribes have stirred up rather a spot of trouble for the local authorities.

So with myself and Dave on one side and Brian on the other and with 1200pt armies each we fought a rather hard and bloody battle over a two hour period with a mixed bag of results. The British objectives were naturally to defeat the enemy but also to take the village and push the Afghans back up the pass and away but to were they came from.

Thus with a very much Indian Army (eight companies of Indian troops and only two British) we slowly moved up the valley in a two battalion frontage. Dave's first objective was to capture the village, which was strongly contested by three companies of Afghan Regulars. This he did but the village was soon recaptured again and by the end of the night it had changed hands several times but eventually ended up in our hands...good work Dave 'Old Fruit'. Incidentally it was Dave's lads who did most of the fighting and I only really had to contend with a bunch of unruly Afghan cavalry who were easily repulsed with well aimed volley fire and a dashing charged by the Bengal Lancers.

Dave's two Highland companies however advanced well forward of the other supporting companies and after clearing a few skirmishers from a small ridge line just north of the village found themselves attacked and pushed back off the ridge by an overwhelming number of fanatical Afghan warriors. The two companies would eventually take 50% casualties from the encounter but still remained a a good front and held their ground after another charge.

By the end of the night the Imperial forces had only managed to take the village and did not have enough firepower or numbers to push the remaining Afghans from the valley. But the Afghan regulars had taken quite a battering in the fight for the village, the defending battalion took 75% casualties and had to withdraw from the fight. Afghan cavalry on the other flank were also effectively engaged and defended but their sacrifice was not in vain as the managed to hold the advance of the Imperial forces long enough to stop them effectively from supporting the attack on the village. So in the end with both sides taking numerous causalities we called the game a draw.

Afghan regulars in a secondary support position behind the main Afghan line

Three companies of Afghan Regulars fought in and around the village for much of the game...the goats were there too..

One of two artillery sections deployed on the Imperial side. This one is a nice Perry Miniatures mountain battery.

Ah the cream of the Army...Highlanders

The initial Afghan set up saw them occupy both the village sections

Afghan cavalry, two warrior  and one regular unit

Looking south from the rear of the Afghan position 

The first attack on the village goes in

and is successful 

The Afghan Army command stand. All the Afghan forces were painted by the talented Leroy Simpson.

The Afghan commander, Brian Buskell, looking over the battlefield with a rather sheepish smile on his face....planning his next move

A squadron of Bengal lancers advance up the road

My newly painted and based Indian Guides came under repeated charges from the Afghan cavalry and stood firm helping to hold them in check.

No! no! don't shoot the goats....

Two fierce warrior bands prepare themselves to repel the non believers 

The highlanders advance well out of supporting range of the other units in their column and soon route the skirmishers from the ridge.

However on the other side stands the mighty Afghan horde 

Including artillery...nasty 

Afghan warriors charge and push the Highlanders back and retake the ridge.

Then finally in the second last turn the Afghan regulars are finally pushed out of the village....but at a blooding cost.