After starting a game based loosely on the first days battle at Gettysburg the club got together to finish the battle. The Confederates still had the goal of taking the town. Playtesting this new set of rules developed by a friend of a member of the club we had gotten a number of turns in the first week. The Union infantry under my command on the right flank were holding up a group of rebel infantry. The Union left side was doing less well having forced the rebels to form line and hold up but the dismounted Union Cavalry had taken some casualties and I was trying to withdraw them to form another line.
(Click photographs for a larger image)
Confederate Infantry pushing through the woods
Both sides received reinforcements to start the game. The Confederates received another infantry unit on the Union right and the Union received two infantry units and an artillery piece coming through the town. Kind of like General Reynolds marching up through Gettysburg on the first day of the battle of Gettysburg. This is important as I needed forces to stop the Confederates from breaking through my somewhat battered cavalry and reaching the town.
Confederate forces break forward on Union left flank
While I had one cavalry unit mount up and fall back a second dismounted unit on the left was retreating after going shaken. The commanding Union General I had moved the artillery from the right flank to the town to help stop the rebel advance. The new Union infantry moved through the town to block the Confederate infantry who had crossed the river at the bridge and were now heading down the road towards the town behind a line of skirmishers. The other Union artillery piece I moved up on the hill next to the town which offered a commanding view at the oncoming Confederate troops.
Union Cavalry riding off to threaten Confederate Artillery
Before I could totally reorganize my cavalry Rick the Confederate commander deployed both his batteries and started to fire. Fortunately the damage was minimal. My guns were also not doing a lot to his skirmish lines. At this point the battle really became too separate battles between the left and right. Both nights that was largely true but even more so now.
Addressing the Union right side first the Union infantry was lined up in the center next to road in two lines at the edge of the woods I started to rack up casualties forcing morale rolls on the Confederates who pulled back to reorganize and consolidate after losses. I moved a Union infantry unit through the woods on their right to also block any flanking moves and fired into the Confederates at close range to inflict more damage on the infantry. The far left of these units saw a Union infantry unit trading fire in the woods with one Confederate unit mostly coming out ahead.
Union infantry hold up the Confederate attack on the right flank
The right ended the night with the Union infantry in line doing constant damage from the woods and forcing morale rolls taking out stand after stand forcing a consolation of units by rebel commander who had the Union outnumbered. The Union infantry on the left side of the road was charged but as they were out of command and could not form out of skirmish had to fall back disordered.
The Union left was a separate matter altogether as two of the cavalry units on the far left of the field I was able to get back into good order dismount and form into line to face any troops coming out of the woods on the far flank. In the center I had a fresh cavalry unit and flanked it on side with the new infantry units that had arrived on the field. They were supported with a gun on the hill and one on the edge of the town. These guns at long-range were not particular effective against the Confederate skirmish line but were giving them pause. Perhaps the most important move of the game was made when attaching the Union commanding officer I moved a totally fresh cavalry unit I had withdrawn early in the game from the bridge around the field in the center to threaten the rebel gun line.
The Confederate commander surprised me by turning both guns 45 degrees and one infantry unit to face that direction. I thought oh no I was in for it but really this was good for me. Though his artillery did damage the guns stayed pointed in that direction the whole rest of the game which was good for me. The cavalry made the morale roll after taking casualties and dismounted going into skirmish on the next turns to lower my risk of damage. Meanwhile the union got a flank shot on the artillery with a gun killing all his horses. This meant one gun would only be able to prolong for the rest of the game. My center took no fire from the guns for the rest of the night which was fine by me.
The Union moved two battered dismounted cavalry units on the left up and fired into the rebels coming up out of the woods and one failed morale going disordered. Meanwhile I had moved up a dismounted unit in the center flanked by a fresh infantry unit. Union forces had also moved up a cavalry unit and very uncivil war like charged the infantry forcing a skirmish unit back in disorder avoiding the charge and stopping 1 inch from an infantry unit in line. This looked like trouble but low rolls meant only one casualty was taken in the fire phase. Meanwhile a Confederate unit in attack column had become open to one of the Union guns and took hits as in the rules there is a modifier to fire into attack columns. The infantry in the center and dismounted cavalry that had moved up out of long-range also shot up the oncoming Confederate infantry.
At this point the night was up and everyone agreed the game had been very enjoyable. Rules questions had been written up for the designer on such subjects as charges, skirmishers vs lines and the way parts of the rules are written. The Union right flank was a total success in my estimation. The Confederate forces had been bottled up and were just taking casualties. I even still had an untouched reserve to commit or send to the other flank which was more likely. Originally I had planned to charge out of the woods with a supported unit when the Confederate infantry was close but my fire was affective I just stayed back and inflicted casualties.
On the left the Confederate artillery had been largely neutralized as they had redirected towards the flanking cavalry unit. The Union center was not only holding but looked poised to cause some damage forcing back one unit and hurting two others with a fresh uncommitted infantry unit in reserve. The Cavalry if they got to charge in the next turn who knows it most likely would not come out well against the unit in line but again it would buy time but as it was already nightfall that was not an issue.
Union Infantry that held the entire game
So the Union dismounted cavalry did much better than I expected them to do. Better than General Buford’s at the battle of Gettysburg and they were successful in holding up the Confederate advance when outnumbered for the most part. The rules flowed for the most part and will be tweaked some no doubt to be even better. Even if the rules are not published I expect they are rules the club will use in future games as they are faster than Johnny Reb III.
Lots of room for discussion with these new rules
After discussion the three of us who were present decided on something new for the club we would play samurai. Rick is going to bring his samurai figures and put them on Del’s bases and we will use Killer Katana rules which both Rick and I have copies of . A new experience for the club which sounds really good.