Monday, August 26, 2013

"Albueraesque" meeting engagement Battlegroup Boston Game Day August 24, 2013 with Carnage and Glory II

On Saturday, August 24 a group of gamers met at the Hobby Bunker in Malden, MA as part of Boston Trained Band's annual game day. Rob Walters of Eureka Minuatures ran what he described as an "Albuera-esque Meeting Engagement" with British and their Portugese Allies taking on a much larger French force. Of course the Brits were ensconced on and behind a hill. Chits were used to show the location of troops on the reverse slope but they did not appear on the table top until they moved out of position or the French topped the rise. Rob used his beautiful French Revolutionary Eureka figures supplemented by Foundry Napoleonic troops for the British, Portugese and balance of the French. Carnage and Glory II computer moderated rules were utilized for the battle. Scott Montietth took the French Cavalry and the infantry in the center while Steve Umbrell took the infantry brigade on the French left flank. They were later joined by Rich Wallace who commanded the very large French reserve brigade. On the British left,Dave Soucy took the British and Portugese Cavalry, a Portugese infantry brigade with their two gun batteries posted on the hill and a brigade of British comprised mainly of Scotts on the center hill. I commanded two British brigades, one on the center right portion of the hill and a second on the right hill along with 3 batteries of British 6 pounders.
Scott Montieth is an excellent cavalry commander but appears to have met his match with Dave Soucy. The French moved first and advanced their cavalry to narrow the field of engagement. The British and Portugese cavalry changed into line and advanced onto the field. The forces were fairly evenly matched, two British Guard Dragoon units (heavies), two KGL hussar units, and two Portugese units versus two French heavy units and four dragoon units. In the foreground you can see the slope the British and their Portugese Allies are defending, with the units on the reverse slope shown with a round poker type chip. The British batteries are on the far right flank and are content to soften up Steve Umbrell's advancing French brigade while the British light battalions advance a bit to harrass the approaching French.
The Portugese horse artillery advanced onto the field on turn one, deployed and hosed down the French heavies. On turn two the British had the initiative and took it. They charged the French cavalry catching them flat-footed for the most part. The Portugese line cavalry defeated two opponents, one regular line dragoon and the French heavy who received the whiff of grapeshot from the horse battery. The KGL hussars were defeated the British heavies sent a third French unit retreating in disorder to the rear. Dave's brilliant charge and follow on the next turn broke the French cavalry brigades morale and took them out of the game for all intents and purposes.

The French continue their advance toward the center hill. The Portugese infantry deploy to meet them in the area between the cavalry and the hill while their two batteries take pride of place on the hilltop, supported by British infantry with two light battalions (combined for each brigade) on the first level of the slope. Scott seems to pointing in disbelief at his rapidly diminishing cavalry brigade.
The French advance in the center continues.
The French are forced to redeploy on their right wing to counter the cavalry threat. Many of their units form square and the Portugese horse artillery redeploys to take advantage of the juicy targets. The French likewise, deploy a battery to check the British cavalry's challenge to their flank. (See below)
The advancing French columns paid a price but quickly dispatched two of the three combined British light battalions deployed forward of the crest. The unit pictured is Dave's Scottish brigade combined light battalion which was a veritable "Rock of Chickamagua", breaking all French attempts to disperse it during the game.
In order to counter the increasing French pressure (their reserve brigade has entered the field); The Scotts bring a small battalion forward and the British center brigade deploys a second battalion as their first unit, the Middlesex battalion has charged the French column which had dispersed the brigades combined light battalion; as does the right flank brigade which had earlier marched one battalion into the gap between the two ridges.

The Middlesex battalion did a very un-British thing, they chose not to fire before meleeing the French column. This is usually a good strategy in Carnage and Glory II, in this case it wasn't. The result was the melee was drawn. The next turn the French added a second column to the melee and sent the Brits packing. Earlier in the turn a French battalion which had been absorbing the Portugese batteries cannister fire for four turns received a result I had never seen before. Battalion wiped out! So long boys. Ouch. Our four hour game slot was coming to a close. Dave charged his cavalry on our left flank, losing one round when his troops were shot from the saddle and sent packing on their second round of action after dispersing one of the remaining French dragoons which had not reached the safety of its own lines. The fresh Portugese cavalry went into a French unit in line and dispersed it continuing into the flank of a French battery - victory for the Portugese, and a French unit in square, victory for the French with an end result of the Portugese cavalry falling back 150 paces, disordered.

On the French left wing Steve had been taking a pounding. As the game came to an end he sent a column up the right hand slope and took out one of the three British batteries. The British deployed their remaining reverse slope unit and came forward to support the remaining guns as the game came to an end. I think all of us would have liked to have played a few more rounds and seen what happened when the French engaged around the center hill. All in all, it was a fun event. Thanks Rob!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Crysler's Farm C&G ii (Play test)

One of the great things about using Carnage and Glory II, is the different outcomes that different strategies and different players can produce.  Below you will read about the first play test of Crysler's Farm scenario (War of 1812) historically fought on 11-11-1813.

Great Britain   Morrison’s Corps of Observation                                                   Defend Orders

Corps       501          LTC Morrison                           Active      B+            (1400 paces)           “”

2-in-C      502          LTC Harvey                              Active B   (800 paces)             “”

                503          LTC Plenderleith      Active B   (250 paces)             “”
                                501          49th Regiment of Foot            0/304      B+ (sk)
                                502          89th Regiment of Foot            0/240      B+ (sk)
                                505          89th detachment     0/144      A- (sk)

                504          LTC Pearson The Advance       Active B (225 paces) “”
                                511          49th Elites                                0/100      A- (sk)
                                512          Canadian Fencibles 0/108      B- (sk)

                506          Major Heriot           Lights      Active B   (225 paces)   “”
                                514          Canadian Voltiguers               0/150    B- 
                                515          Provincial Lt Dragoons            0/25        C+ 
                                516          Mohawk Warriors   0/50        B

                507          Captain Jackson Artillery Active B          (225 paces)  “”
                                517          Royal Artilley (1)     0/50 (2) 6 pounders C+
                                518          Royal Artillery (2)   0/25 (1) 6 pounder C+
519          Yeo’s Sloop                             0/50 (1) 24 pounder C+

Strengths                                Losses/Active
                                                0/1096 Bayonets
                                                0/25        Sabres
                                                0/75        Artillerists
                                                0/3          Cannon
                                                0/1196 Total of All Arms
Victory Conditions:                  Retain five unrouted units on the field (minor)
                                                Cause half of the US forces to route off the field (major)

US   Forces
Wing Boyd                       202 Brigadier General Boyd        Active        C-                    (1100 paces)  Attack orders

1st Brigade                        210  LTC Coles                                                              Active C+  (500 paces)                      “ “
                                                                        202               12th US Infantry            0/369          C- (sk)
                                                                        203               13th US Infantry                                    0/391          D+ (sk)        

3rd Brigade                       205 BG Covington                              Active C-    (350 paces)  “”
                                                                        207               9th US Infantry                                       0/468          C- (sk)
                                                                        208               16th US Infantry                                    0/377          C  (sk)
                                                                        209               25th US Infantry                                    0/562          C (sk)

4th Brigade                       206 BG Swartout                                 Active  C+                         (350 paces) “”
                                                                        210               11th US Infantry                                    0/449 C+ (sk)
                                                                        211               14th US Infantry                                    0/267 D+ (sk)
                                                                        212               21st US Infantry                                     0/632 C          (sk)

Boat Guard                      212  LTC Upham                                  Active B     (225 paces)   enroute  with attack order
                                                                        222               Boat Guard                                              0/600 C+ (sk)
Cavalry                                208 Major Woodford                                               Active C-    (175 paces)  enroute
                                                                        218               2nd US Dragoons           0/150

Artillery                             211 Captain Knox                               Active B     (225 paces) enroute with attack order
                                                                        220               2nd regiment of artillery  0/78 (3)  C  6 pders
                                                                        221               2nd regiment of artillery                0/75  (3)  C  6 pders

Strengths                          losses/active
                                                                        0/4115  Bayonets
                                                                        0/150          Sabres
                                                                        0/153          Artillerists
                                                                        0/6                Cannon                                                       0/4418 Total of all arms

Victory Conditions:  Drive the British from the field

Rich Wallace and Scott Monteith eyeing their commands. Note the gulleys and the bridges which crossed them which have been removed.  The same muddy fields and fencing are in play.
The US troops, three brigades, approach the British skirmish line deployed at the first fence line. 

The British initial dispositions along the fenceline with their left on the swamp and their right on the river. Only one artillery unit is being used by the British in the play test. 

The initial British artillery fire targets the 2nd US Dragoons. sending them to the board's edge.
Rob Walters commands the British right flank.

The dragoons had advanced quickly to the second gulley. Attracting the artillery's attention.

Rob ably manuvered his unit of Provincial Dragoons on the flank of the US advance.  The artillery having forced the first unit in the US left brigade to withdraw and put a hurt on the second.  Rob advanced Captain Barnes detachment towards the weakened Americans.  Rob had not read the OOB and did not realize how weak his forces truly were.  Lesson from this trial run, each stand to represent 100 figures. 

The dragoons have stymied the US advance in the middle and Rob has learned to his chagrin how brittle his right flank detachment is.  On the US left flank the British are forced back from the fence line.  The US artillery have arrived and are beginning to tell on the British troops. 
The US forces are pushed forward on their left flank. 

The British attempt to form a new line to their rear.  LTC Plenderleith's command's brigade integrity is effected.

The British unit of detachments routes back to the Farm buildings and attempts to rally.

The provincial dragoons are sent running by the US infantry who turn their flank.

Garrisoning the farmhouse will hopefully assist the units to rally.
The advancing US artillery has other ideas. At this point the British morale falls below 75%.  The US gets a minor victory. 
Mike Paine brought along The Helm, the club award from Huzzah 2012 for most participation by a club.  We have been taking pictures with it wherever club members play during the past year.  Left to Right- Rich Wallace, Scott Monteith, Peter Lowitt, Rob Walters and Mike Paine on camera.

Cryslers Farm 11-11-1813

I ran this game using Carnage and Glory II computer moderated gaming system at Cold Wars (March) and again at Huzzah (May 4, 2013). US General Wilkerson, under pressure from Secretary of War Armstrong, has finally gotten his troops from one side of Lake Ontario to the other and has begun marching along the north side of the St Lawrence River towards Montreal.  He hopes to rendevous with General Hampton who is moving up from Plattsburg to join him.  A British Corps of Observation under Colonel Morrison has moved down from Kingston and is following Wilkerson as he moves east toward Montreal.  Wilkerson is focused on his gout which has him bedridden aboard his headquarters boat while the transport vessels begin to run the first series of rapids along the river.  He orders General Boyd, a political appointee, to turn around and sweep the British aside, after all, he outnumbers them about 4 to 1.  The British are waiting at Cryslers Farm, supported by a few sloops and gun boats attempting to interfere with the US running the rapids.  Its two O'clock in the afternoon.  Snow flurries are beginning to fly.  Why did the Wilkerson wait until November to invade Canada? 
Three US players battled two British and Canadian players.  Historically, the US attack was made in a piecemeal and disjointed manner.  The field of battle itself played a large role in the event. The dark brown area represents muddy fields (poor ground) which I entered into the computer as crossing disruptive terrain.  The St. Lawrence River formed the British side's right flank with a swamp anchoring their left.  The British main line waited behind a fence line for the American advance whilst Mohawks, Canadian Voltigeurs and other skirmish infantry commanded by Major Heriot formed a skirmish line to their front.  The muddy field was bordered and bisected by fences, further slowing down and tiring the US forces. 
Pete Landry, AJ Wright and Ed Stevens move forward the US Forces.  They were all grade C troops facing Grade B British troops. 

The Americans force the skirmisher back.  Methodically using engineering moves to remove fences as they advance.  The British Artillery spit cannister into the advancing troops. 
In order to better reflect the lack of cohesion amongst the US forces I had each brigade commander role a dice.  The lowest die roll was unable to move for that turn.  It worked out pretty well. 

Recent archeological digs on the battlefield site found 24 pound shot which could only have been fired from the naval sloops harrassing the US transport running the rapids.  The wood brown waters of the St. Lawrence contain a British Sloop and cannon which seems to be intimidating the US forces.  You will note the three brown linear marks on the terrain.  These are gulleys running in from the St. Lawrence.  The British had burned the bridges during their withdrawl toward Montreal.  More disruptive terrain.  The 2nd US Dragoons under Major Woodford (Rob Walters) have appeared on the field and are staying out of arc of the sloops guns. 

The US largest unit (each stand represents about 100 men) has been absorbing much of the British artillery and infantry fire.  Their return fire has impact the British left flank command.  Note one US unit has routed to the rear.  Another fresh unit has formed column and is advancing towards the swamp and the Mohawks holding that flank. 

The fire continues hot and heavy on the British right flank.  Brigade integrity has kicked in and the US brigade can no longer advance towards the enemy. 

The high watermark of the American advance. The US infantry  has pushed the Mohawks out of the swamp and Plenderleiths two units have fallen back along with their artillery.  A unit of Canadian fencibles had formed into column and marched over to form on the US infantry's flank.  The large US infantry unit had finally succombed to exhaustion and casualties and has routed from the field.  Two of the three US brigades have brigade integrity issues.   The third is readying to perform a passage of arms to get into the fray and the dragoons are preparing to advance. 

At this stage the US Army morale drops below 75% and the US leaves the field of battle.  A major British victory.  This was the first time the British won this scenario.   Good job done by Richard Wallace and Steve Keyer as the British Commanders.  Thanks to all who played.  The US artillery had yet to make an appearance.  One thought was to hold off on the US assaults until the artillery and cavalry arrived.  Maybe next time....

City Point ACW using Carnage and Glory II at Huzzah May 2013

Rich Wallace ran an American Civil War game at the Huzzah conference in Portland Maine over the weekend.  Its a "what if" encounter between a Confederate force lead by Kirby Smith comprised of three + brigades lauching a surprise attack on the Union supply base at City Point.  I helped Rich play test the scenario and the two games couldn't be more different.  In this game I commanded one of two Union Brigades encamped in the area who must be activated by orders before we could respond to the rebel's presence.  A third Union command comprised of a battery, two dismounted cavalry units and another unit, the New Hampshire Volunteers who were also in camp, was commanded by the third Union player. 
The photo shows the battlefield looking towards the confederate objective, the brown barn and supplies surrounding it. My brigade is encamped to the right of the barn, a brigade of Union Zouaves is encamped in the woods to the left of the barn and the union battery can be seen to the left of the commanders house where one of the cavalry units is located.  The second is in the orchard on the right of the field.

A close up of the Rebel objective, the City Point supply center.  Rich did a great job creating this event.
The Union battery.  Note the dismounted Confederate Cavalry hiding in the woods just beyond it.
First turn.  The rebels come on the board and mostly remain out of site of the Union battery, except the regiment on the center left which the union battery spots and fires upon, sounding the alarm.  Note the second dismounted confederate cavalry unit is advancing on their union counterparts in the orchard in the foreground.
Another perspective on turn one from the Union battery. Note the rebel field works.  They had been able to sneak forward undetected and begin construction to emplace a battery.
The Union command sent dispatch riders with orders to his two brigade commanders.  The Zouaves were the first to respond.  It took another turn for the rider to reach my command.  In the meantime the Union Commander in Chief mounted up the cavalry unit at the house.

The dismounted rebel cavalry moved to the flank of the Union battery and shot at it.  The Union could not respond without changing the facing of their gun (there were three stands of artillery in the battery).
The Rebel battery completed their engineering efforts and were emplaced in the battery on turn two. Two additional Rebel brigades deployed onto the table.  The Rebels deployed one unit in open order to screen their advancing columns. 

During the previous turn the Union Cavalry had changed formation into assault column and been able to move to shelter on the side of the Stone Building used by the Union as their headquarters. The unit launched a charge on the open order rebel regiment.  Our hope was that this would slow down the Rebel assault which we could see developing along the orchard side of the table(our left flank).  The rebel brigade of three regiments moving behind the unit in open order were unable to get around the attack. One unit penetrated the orchard to join the dismounted cavalry regiment.  The open order unit was able to form hasty square in an attempt to repell the Union horse soldiers.

In this shot the Rebels have formed hasty square.  Note the large brigade on the right advancing toward the battery.

Rich always has something cool to add to his games.  In this case its the use of an off-board ship, the Cairo, represented by the monitor type ship seen above which steamed onto a neighboring table where Germans were racing to seize a bridge over the Scheldt from Dutch and French forces in 1940.  The Cairo could lob howitzer fire into the center of the table as long as Union troops were more than 300 paces away from their target.
The next turn the Union Cavalry continued their charge into the next rebel regiment (note their first target of charge with the red marker adjacent to the battery).  The Rebs had interpenetrated two of their units in their retreat. The one regiment that had successfully made it into the orchard continues forward, joining the dismounted cavalry in moving toward the orchard's edge. The union cavalry in the orchard moved out the orchard.
My command moves into the woods and fields to anchor our left flank and guard the supply point.  The New Hampshire Volunteers have also arrived on the field and formed up in front of my troops. 
The Zouave Brigade advances to the headquarters building and the second cavalry unit has followed the direction of their counterparts and formed up into assault column. 

The log jam created by cavalry.  One rebel regiment disperses and the second has retreated back to the battery with a red market.
Charge!  The rebel brigade on our right charges the battery (by this point in the game the battery was suffering severe fatigue and was firing with diminished effect. 
What works for one flank can work for the other.  The second union cavalry unit charges, hitting an open order unit and following through into a second rebel infantry regiment.

Over on the Union left flank the New Hampshire Volunteers and charged the dismounted rebel cavalry and seen them off.  The rebel infantry regiment has formed line outside of visual range (100 paces) in preparation for smacking the Granite Staters. 
The Rebel charge takes the union battery, but the Union cavalry send two more confederate regiments into retrograde motion.
Note the two units with red markers. The Louisiana Tiger Zouaves can only look on while their colleagues are smacked by the horse.
The rebels assault the New Hampshire Volunteers, unfortunately for them they attached their commander in chief, Kirby Smith, to this engagement.  Another rebel unit charges the retreating union cavalry.  My union brigade moves up in support.
The union zouaves move up and begin to exchange fire with the rebels on our right. The cavalry continues to attack sending yet another rebel command scurrying away.
Kirby Smith is killed and the rebel assault falters 50 paces from the New Hampshire Volunteers. The Rebs charge on the exhausted cavalry unit is more successful, sending them packing through the gap we created to assist them to our rear.
End of Game.  My brigade has yet to fire a shot.  The Union Commanders forces (the battery, two cavalry units and New Hampshire Volunteers) have shown off the enemy with our other two brigades barely firing a shot.  In the playtest I played a confederate and it was a slug fest in the wooded area shown in the foreground and around the headquarters house.  This game was totally different. 
Rich Wallace deservedly won the best game of the morning.  Congrats Rich! Another awesome teddy bear fur game terrain that was a great piece of eye candy.  A fun time was had by all!