Friday 23 September 2016

Another 28mm ACW Black Powder Game

Hangman's Creek Scenario from the Black Powder Rules.

For those who don't know it, the scenario is basically a surprise attack by 3 Confederate Brigades across a wide front on the Union forces.  The Union troops have a brigade in a camp on the left flank, another to the south of the town of Hangman's Creek in the centre (but off the table) and a third brigade stationed around a gun foundry on the right with only one of their regiments on the table.  There are a line of Union pickets, part of the centre brigade,  thrown out some distance in front of the Union forces.  The Union forces are only 'activated' when they hear firing from their pickets.

As with the other scenario Bob and I tried in the Pike and Shotte rules, this too is based on a 12 foot by 6 foot table, so needed so adjustment to fit on my table.

In addition to the scenario, there is a battle report, describing how the authors played it, the issues and outcomes. In this scenario the game opens with the Union picket on a hill towards the leading edge of the table.  The authors in their play test and retired the pickets to the edge of some cornfields as the Confederates approached over the hill. I followed this thought and immediately was able to reduce the table width by doing away with this hill section.  The Union Camp and the town of Hangman's Creek straddle a road on the opposite side of the table and by 'imaging this space' but not putting it all on the table I was able to reduce the width to the 4 foot space I had available.  I did something similar with the table length reducing it from 12 feet to 8 feet and also had smaller units of 18 figure regiments, rather than the 36 man units the authors used.  Thus the space for deployment was also reduced. 

The Confederate position having advance down the hill to the edge of the cornfield,
The Forces

3 Infantry Regts
4 Infantry Regts
3 Infantry Regts
3 Infantry Regts
4 Infantry Regts (including pickets)
4 Infantry Regts
1 Gun

1 Gun

1 Gun

1 Cavalry Regt

The Confederate forces

 The Union Forces.  These show the troops in the Brigades not their starting positions.

The Union Camp

Union Centre. (my Zouavre Brigade, I know for the purist, the regiments probably never all worn their full Zouavre uniform but I just liked the idea).

The Foundry

The Confederates left and centre brigades advanced, whilst the brigade on the right facing the Union Camp didn't respond to orders.

The Zouavre pickets were some conversion I did before Perry's released their excellent set and I just swapped their heads with the Perry new ones.  The Picket opened fire but were clearly rattled by the appearance of so many confederates as they only managed one hit which was saved.

The whole Confederate line surged forward with 3 command moves. Even using a 50% movement and fire range this was a truly huge advance.

The Union troops by comparison either made single or no move in response to orders.  The Union troops in the Camp managed to form a line and get the Cavalry mounted and moving.

But with the advance of my Confederates being so quick, the Cavalry found themselves with nowhere to go and swiftly dismounted to fight on foot.

My advance continued with none of the rebel brigades failing to move.  This caught the union forces in column or on roads with only one or two units able to deploy in line.  I realised afterwards that I made a mistake laying out the terrain and made the road by the foundry run alongside instead of in front of it, thus restricting the Union deployment. 

Taking advantage of the Union troops not being able to fully deploy, my two leading regiments charged home.  Both took hits on the way in but got to grips.  I lost this hand to hand combat but they hung on in there...

...whilst I won this one and broke the 'Black Hat' regiment.

The Union gun was engaged in counter battery with my artillery suffering hits and leaving the field.

Meanwhile in the centre, as a result of my rapid advance and their own slow response to orders, the Zouaves were pinned back to the table edge having no room to manoeuvre or break out of the town  I think Bob could see the writing on the wall.

On Bob's left my Confederate brigade was engaged in a fire fight with two of Bob's regiments and the artillery (which wasn't doing too well and taking hits).  

As on the other fronts, my advance simply robbed Bob of the space to deploy, thus allowing me to out number him even when the total number of units were even.  Having weakened one of his units seriously in the fire fight the order to charge was given to the entire brigade. 

The closing fire saw one of my units thrown back, but the rest went in

The charge and subsequent hand to hand combat broke the union front line and the supporting units who failed their morale test. With only one unit left standing and heavily outnumbered Bob decided to withdraw it to cover the retreat of the other forces.  The cavalry remounted and followed the rest of the brigade.

Over at the Foundry, although I had some initial success with the Black Hat unit and the gun, my regiment engaged in hand to hand combat and its supporting unit finally broke and ran.  Bob having also exceeded the 'Stamina Level' for his unit also took a Break Test even though he won (hope we got this right) and the unit retired along with the supporting units.

Having more units left in tact, the Brigade (or what was left of it) occupied the Foundry building and celebrated a hard fought victory!

In and around the Town I could make no progress, it was all too crowded and we decided it was a draw.  

The hardest fighting was around the union camp as can be seen from the casualty markers!

As Bob said, Lee commented that  'It is well that war is so terrible - otherwise we would grow too fond of it'  or indeed as the Duke of Wellington pointed out, 'Nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won'.

The scenario states that the Confederates aim is to capture all 3 points, the Camp, the Town and the Foundry.  Capture of any one is a totem victory, 2 sites are classed as partial victory and all 3 an outright victory.  So the Confederates won a partial victory (helped in part by my laying a bend in the road by the Foundry in the wrong direction!).

It was an enjoyable game and a scenario we would never have thought to try otherwise.  In the end in spite of my complaints about the size of table etc, because of the speed of my advance we more or less ended up fighting on the final quarter of the table!

The figures were Perry plastics with the except of the 'Black Hat Regiments' which were conversions made by Jack Alexander.  Jack also made the Foundry building and all of the rail fencing.


  1. Fantastic report and wonderful looking game!

  2. Hi Rodger, thanks for your kind words, much appreciated.

  3. Enjoyable battle report. I always thought it was a dud scenario IE Confederates had no chance. But I see now that they do I must try it myself!

  4. Hi David, I know what you mean about the scenario. I think I was very lucky.