Monday, July 06, 2009

Pickett's Charge Reversed

So I finally got to put my ACW troops to some service a week or so ago; getting myself into the regular monthly Civil War game at Leeds Nightowls.

The rules used were Fire and Fury, which under the guidance of Mark (the clubs de-facto historical gaming numero-uno) seemed pretty straight forward, giving a balance between simple mechanics and command and control nuances.

As the title suggests, the scenario was based on Picketts Charge at Gettysburg; but due to figure ratio's and such like, we had the Union as the ones on the attack instead. Here we can see some of the Confederacy on a slight rise behind lines of abatis.

The layout was actually tiny. Rather too small to my mind, but then I'm used to big tables, and in a busy club environment you get what you can. Still 4'x4' meant that the entire field of battle was packed with troops, my boys taking up the left flank of the attack.

So myself and a young guy called Tom, on my right, set out to achieve what the Confederates historically could not. A tall order I think. We had only 5 turns in which to get across and remove the South from the hill; and so we set off at a breakneck pace, buoyed up by our ignorance of the rules and the belief that so many of our troops being identified as elite must help.
Here Neil, our opposing commander, consults with Mark on the situation as the Union weathers his variable artillery fire to advance:

Somehow, My flank avoided the slaughterous fire of the Napoleons and reached the abatis intact; from there we prepared the enemy with fire for the assault.
In the distance, despite horrific losses, Toms men were still closing with the enemy, and feeling outclassed at range in big guns, Tom was even attempting an 'Artillery Charge' with his token battery; he was determined to get it to canister range!

In the photo above it's literally 'Blue on Blue' fire, there were too few confederate models so we improvised!
Within three turns we were both managing to assault the flanks of the enemy position, and we both managed to hold parts of the hill momentarily. But nowhere could we make the critical penetration; the enemy were too well supported to be moved. For my men, some of them had begun to waver, a regiment can be seen quitting the field below:

And so the attack began to run out of steam; the Confederates began to get cocky and started advancing off the hill, impatient for some action of their own. Tom's artillery charge resulted in one rushed firing of canister before the battery was overrun by greycoats. On my flank the Texans began to enfilade my lines, making my position untenable, and beginning a fighting withdrawal. Neil had every right to a small grin at our expense; his losses were negligible, whilst we had suffered casualties in excess of a third of our men.

All in all a great little game; whilst the American Civil War may only remain a 'side project' for me, the rules made this historical refight excellent fun, and the sight of 300 or so painted figures crammed onto a little table was most pleasant.
Here's to the next one!

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