Saturday, 26 November 2016
"Always make your opponent think you know more than you really know"
This quote is attributed to General Phil Sheridan but it reminds me how difficult this is to replicate on the wargames table. I have kept the historical context in mind while planning the attack and defense in a solo game of the Battle of Stones River using Regimental Fire and Fury. The scenario had the Confederated approach a prepared Union position. The Confederate commander decided to attack from the South and Demonstrate/ Support the main attack from the West like this.
By the end of turn 3, the Confederate advance had gone well. There were 8 cannon attacking the hinge of the Union position and had forced their troops to abandon one of their key positions. The Union troops facing the main attack were forced to retire deeper into the woods. They quickly reformed and were reinforce by a second brigade from the Union reserve. The Rebels would face a strong counter attack if they made a move to occupy the abandoned Union position.
Rebel batteries advance
Turn 2 Rebels pour across the cornfield
Turn 3 Union key positions in Blue
Union troops advance to engage the open Northern flank
Rebels prepare to take the Union key position
Turn 4 - The Rebels struggle to consolidate their gains on the southern flank while the Union troops fall back into the tree line to avoid the murderous Rebel cannonade. Maney's Rebel division advances into the cornfield following the Union retreat. Robert's Union Division advances slowly through the difficult terrain in the north threatening the Rebel flank there.
Turn 4 overview from the south
Rebels in the Cornfield
Mahey's Rebel Div breaks cover in the west
Robert's Union Div threatens from the north
Turn 5 - The fighting in the southern woods intensifies with close range musket volleys and a bayonet charge. The Union forces are clinging onto the key position with one unit and a battery. They are hoping their attack from the north will arrive in time to force the Rebels to withdraw some troops from the main attack to deal with them. Union Brig General Schaefer is shot from his saddle. This will sorely hamper Union command control at a vital time next turn.
Union batteries in the rear
Union reinforcements poor into the woods
Union troops press the attack in the north
Turn 5 overview
Rebels bayonet charge routs a green Union regiment and a limbered gun
The Rebel commander realized that he could not shoot the Union troops from their position and prepared to assault them in hand to hand all along the line. He was motivated to press on as the Union flanking maneuvers in the north began to bear fruit. Over the course of the next two turns the Union slowly gave up ground and was eventually driven from their key position. The cost was high as both sides had reached heavy casualty status. Battle honors goes to the 21st Missouri and their brave Colonel for being green troops and repeatedly pushing back veteran assaults before having to retreat with Rebels on both flanks.
Battle lines meet in the Woods
Union troops occupy the Rebel defenses in the north
Victorious Rebels unopposed in the centre
Whew! This ruleset is not holding up as a solo game. Too many troops to manage by myself. Turns took about 2 hours each and it began to feel like a marathon. It would be way faster with 4 players a side and I will have to try to make that happen at some point. I will continue to look for rules for the period that are faster play. Perhaps Black Powder as they just released the expansion for the Civil War. In the meantime, there is always Battle Cry to scratch the ACW itch.