sunnuntai 12. helmikuuta 2012

Battle of Belmont

Let's start with a couple of overviews of the table.

The Union advances a bit. Mostly through a swamp.

Confederates in their camp... a ruse. Some of those regiments are actually in the cornfield hidden from the Union troops because of a small raise.... we have an ambush.

And using Wellingtonesque tactics, a charge goes nicely with an ambush.

With one section damaged the Union artillery limbers up and relocates quickly while their infantry gets into firing distance...

...routing one Confederate regiment while others just retreat.

Same situation. The new movement trays REALLY speeded up the game.

Union troops angrily chase the retreating Confederates...

...who move rather slowly but at least manage to rally the routing regiment.

Some fighting in the cornfield.

And some retreating.

The 2nd Union brigade gets into firing distance of the smaller part of Confederate camp.

First retreating regiment manages to get back into camp.

Union presses on towards the main camp and storms the smaller one in one sweep!

Confederate guns escape to the bigger camp while the infantry regiment tries, in vein, to repel the union troops. Also one unlucky regiment tries to find a way to get into the camp all the while being shot to pieces by Union troops.

Union gets their artillery back to front -this doesn't look good.

Trying to maneuver out of the artillery's firing arc.

Union regiments creep closer and open up.

Plenty of fire and smoke but little effect. Confederates had to this point of the game rolled at least eight "2's" while shooting. But this was soon to change to 8's, 9's and 10's.

half of the Confederate reinforcements arrive by ferry and start flanking the Union occupied part of the camp.

Since outnumbered and with little hope of overrunning the camp, Union decides to skedaddle.

Right Union brigade retreating in good order...

...while the left is still duking it out.

Confederates swiftly follow and engage and around this time Union got the heavier casualties marker.

The whole left Union brigade is routed and one regiment in the right one is pummeled into oblivion.

Confederates surge into close combat. The Union left brigade's regiment manages to win the melee even if it was routed and got the enemy into flank -go figure. On the Union right flank the already mauled regiment got beaten but the regiment next to it managed to give the Confederates a good trashing.

Thanks to Aksu, Janne, and Mr V for coming over yesterday and gaming the Battle of Belmont, Ulysses S. Grant's first outing as a Union general ... well, he might want to reconsider those future White House ambitions!

Grant's goal was to storm and burn Camp Johnston, which was being used to stage Confederate troops along the Mississippi. As the long Union march column approached the Confederate breastworks, it began to deploy along the road in preparation for the march through the swamp and forest towards the camp. This was a cautious approach (as opposed to continuing as far as possible along the road), but as the Union cavalry pickets discovered the Confederates had a surprise prepared. Hidden along a slight rise in a large cornfield, three regiments of CSA Tennessee Militia launched themselves onto the surprised Illinois Cavalry, which soon withered under the weight of numbers, and then drove off the Union artillery which had been approaching along the road.

This changed the Union plan, so that McClernand's main force began to march obliquely towards the cornfield while Dougherty's smaller supporting brigade deployed on the left and began to make its way towards the Confederate redoubt. The overzealous Confederates found themselves in a bit of a pickle, pinned to front and without room to maneuver. Fortunately for them ... I misremembered a rule and the pinned regiment was allowed to "voluntarily break away", starting the long process of the Confederate retreat towards the camp, which proved singularly uneventful in the face of some truly bad dice rolling. Things began to swing in the Union's favor as Dougherty's 7th Iowa stormed the Confederate redoubt protecting the flank of the main camp, routing the 2nd Tennessee and driving off the CSA artillery.

McClernand's regiments were also in position along the wood line to launch their assault on the main camp, just as Confederate morale began to falter under the weight of heavy casualties ... and then the Confederate reinforcements began to arrive! Brought in by steamer, two brigades of CSA infantry began to deploy on the flank of Dougherty's men, who were still jammed into the redoubt trying to redeploy. As one brigade pinned Dougherty's men, the other began to advance towards the Union landing point, and the entire Union army was ordered to break off the attack and retire. McClernand's men were able to do so in relatively good order, although they suffered heavy casualties as the newly invigorated Confederates left the camp to pursue them. Dougherty's men, however, caught between opposing forces and unable to redeploy, did some "voluntary breaking" of their own and streamed away in confusion.

As the Union was unable to storm the main camp, while the Confederates were able to inflict heavy casualties on the Union, the game was a solid win (3-0) for the CSA.

I was perhaps a bit heavy handed in making the Tennessee Militia somewhat too strong and resilient, and allowing the "ambush" to catch the Union so unprepared (and at close range), however the Union plan also unwittingly played into the Confederate strengths. Add to this some lucky rolls for reinforcements, and the game was actually much closer than it looks. Given another few turns, or a bit more historically brittle opposition, the Union could have stormed the camp. All in all, the game played fairly quickly and was certainly eventful!

Wikipedia entry of the battle

Janne (afteraction report by Chris)
(Played: Feb 6th at Chateu d'Tenwolde. GM: Chris. Confederates: Janne, Mr V. Union: Aksu, Chris.)

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