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.

Tuesday 6 September 2016

28mm Thirty Years War Pike and Shotte game

Bob laid out the 'Blood On The Danube' scenario from the Pike and Shotte rule book for a Thirty Years War game using the rules.

In this scenario part of the Swedish army is sent to chase down the rear guard of the Catholic Army. To add spice to the game the Catholics have stored the imperial war chest in one of 3 locations; a Manor House on their left flank; a Windmill in the centre; and another building on the right flank.  We didn't have a windmill so Bob substituted with another building. Finding the treasure wins the game.  

Bob commanded the Catholic forces using a random selection based on a dice roll to  decided which building would house the treasure.  and I took on the task of commanding the Swedes.

The starting forces.  The Swedes

The Catholic Forces

In the example in the 'Pike and Shotte' book the advancing Swedes suffered badly from the artillery on the hill. In our game, I got 3 command moves and was on the guns before they had much chance, helped by the narrower table width. On reflection Bob probably should have had a round of fire before I moved to reflect the closer distance.   Anyway, the closing fire stopped one regiment, but the other closed and engaged the gunners.

Elsewhere my Swedish infantry engaged Bob's musketeers.

My Pikes made short work of the musketeers and the gunners fled.  Bob brought up his supporting central infantry. On his right we got back to the brigades failing to follow his command and masses of cuirassiers sat and watched.

I fared better and my dragoons made the walls and hedges on the left and starting taking pot shots even managing to hit someone.  

In the centre the Catholic artillery pieces were removed from the table and Bob moved his infantry brigade forward at a pace to confront the Swedish infantry.

The Swedish Guards, having failed to move initially advance into the fray.

Having seen off a group of Catholic musketeers the Swedish and Catholic pike units got to grips.


On Bob's right his cuirassiers and infantry finally got going.  My problem was that I had only deployed Dragoons to hold the position.

Could I find the treasure before the hammer blow fell?

All I thought I could do was throw forward my remaining infantry and cavalry in the hope that it would deflect the attack by posing an alternative threat.  The dice were with me and all my brave lads advanced.

Bob's infantry responded likewise and a tussle ensued

However his cavalry weren't so keen.

A gap opened up between the Catholic right and centre and I felt the need to exploit this by advancing my Finish Cavalry, some of the best on the table, to exploit this in the hope of crashing into the rear of Bob's infantry who were stoutly holding the centre. 

Of course, as you do, when enthusiasm takes over control, I forgot that this same cavalry were supporting my dragoons and were the only thing that could stand against Bob's cuirassiers!  Worst still they then stopped and didn't respond to orders!

Bob moved a unit of cuirassiers to thwart the advance, leaving the 'Windmill'/ house in the centre undefended.

All the time I had a unit of cuirassiers just standing around who suddenly woke up and got a 3 command move.   They took passing fire from the Catholic infantry, but nothing could stop them on their quest and they were able to take advantage of a gap that had appeared on Bob's left flank to reach the 'Windmill' (or house).  

This revealed a 'pay master' in charge of the Catholic treasure who was the worst for ware and resulted in a win for the Swedes.  

This was a very fortunate outcome as Bob was about to crush my dragoons on my left flank and had a large unit of cavalry ready to exploit any sniff of victory by his infantry in the centre and on the left. 

A very enjoyable game were we got more things right with the rules and spent less time looking things up.  I was very lucky with my initial infantry move being able to overwhelm the artillery and on more looking at the rules, probably got less artillery hits than I should have but we live and learn as they say. The similarities between these and the Black Powder rules in places also helped to speed up game play.

Following a request on The Miniatures Message board about the figures used in the game I have amended this blog.

These armies grew out of Bob’s ECW armies which were based on 300 plus figures from Irregular Miniatures. Some Renegade figures were added and we played a few games. The figures languished for several years until Warlord brought out their plastic TYW range. Bob added more units and turned his ECW armies into Swedish and German Imperialists.
Used with Bob’s Poles and Turks we are able to game a range of armies and conflicts.

All Bob’s figures are based for a particular set of rules with 4 infantry or 2 cavalry on 50 x 50mm square bases. Three bases form an infantry or cavalry regiment. These work fine with Pike and Shotte and Black Powder as well as other stand based rules.