Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Battle of Ox Hill ACW

Official report of the recent action at Chantilly, Virginia, September 1, 1862
( Also referred to as the Battle of Ox Hill )

With Union forces retreating following the Battle of 2nd Manassas, Jackson sent Confederate forces against the Union right to try to disrupt the attempts to fall back and reform.  General Pope who had lost all aggressive strategies ordered the retreat to continue.  Generals Kearny and Stevens took it upon themselves to turn and face the pursuing Rebels and attempt to slow their flank turning action by standing at Chantilly.  Rebel troops were forced to turn and face the blocking movement resulting in the action between the Little River Turnpike and Ox Road.

The game attempted to simulate that small action by setting the defensive Union line and letting the Confederate forces try to skip by the front and continue the flank move.  With the Union lines holding firm Rebel units battered the far Union right to the near breaking point.  With losses mounting on both sides the musketry duel continued into a stalemate where the Union troops could neither advance not permit their units to retreat.  Confederate units kept up the pressure but could not muster up enough strength for the final push to the flank and crossroads.

The Union left held firm and prevented Rebel forces from reinforcing the flank move.  The action ended with both sides refusing to yield keeping up a deadly firefight.  The Union forces were awarded a minor tactical win as Rebel forces did not reach the vital crossroads.

Note: The pictures are in no particular order.

The figures used are mostly Musket Miniatures (metal 22mm) and classic Airfix HO plastic ACW. Also represented are Revell and IMEX.

Rules were the old version of On to Richmond. Units were regiments rather than OTR's brigades. Regiments portrayed are not necessarily the regiments that were actually at the battle.

The 7th WI advances to meet the Reb attack on the Union right.

A look down the line at the 5th NY and 14th Brooklyn. The card markers are used for unit placement, brigade names and the Generals in charge.
Part of a Georgia Brigade make their way across the deadly ground led  by the brigade general.

Looking down the Confederate battle line, Alabama Regiments.
The Alabama Brigade crosses the fence to take advantage of a weak Union center.

Getting ready to advance

Nice ground level shot!

The battle heats up around the Reid House. At least three units have morale markers!
Initial Confederate deployment. One regiment is well in advance of the main battle line.

A Union regiment (75th PA) makes it was across a wheat field in attempt to outflank the Confederate advance. They would fail.

A unit of dismt Union cavalry add pressure to the Reb left. The dismt cav figures are plastic and from IMEX.

The two LA regiments on the Union right suffered from uncanny Union marksmanship. This unit is already at 2/3 strengthen and its early in the game.

Confederate pressure in the center would destroy the 14th Brooklyn Zouaves.The 2nd South Carolina is about to cross the fence.
Airfoil Georgia Rebs delay the Union left by taking cover behind the fences in the area.

The 14th Brooklyn had a morale loss that resulted in a rare revenge move that resulted in their destruction.

The 14th Brooklyn down to 1\3 strength.

The game board. The markers are for IDs and deployment positions. 

The Confederate Matthew Brady takes the picture of three eager "secesh."

No color pics in 1862!

Part of Branch's Brigade (Airfix figures)

The 2nd South Carolina Regiment that screened the Confederate center advance.

The rules call for 6 stand units. The number of figures on a stand are irrelevant but eye appeal is important too!Here are two regiments of Musket Miniatures. Musket Miniatures was sold and at the time of this writing nor longer available.

Nice shot of the 14th Brooklyn, the 5th NY Zouaves and a section of rifled artillery.

A Union battery makes it way to the crisis developing on the Union right.

Part of Branch's Brigade front view.

One of the nice buildings that added so much to the game.

The road to Centerville and some more buildings.

The Confederate right flank tasked with protecting the Confederate attack on the left flank.

The game board featured cultivated fields to cross that were so typical in the ACW.
The 6th, 7th WI and the 2nd US Cavalry did their job in preventing the "secesh" from talking the crossroad.
The 2nd US Cavalry using their carbines.

Nice shot of the Reb advance. The Confederates advanced boldly but it wasn't quite enough. For the Union though it was as Wellington said of Waterloo-a near run thing!
You have to love Zouaves.

The Union battery on the right. Revell figures I think.

The Union left starts its advance.

For a while it looked as if the Confederate right might collapse but they held on. This Reb unit is at 1\2 strength.

Doesn't look good for the boys in blue! Flank is in the air!

The Union right falls back to protect the critical cross road. The Union suffered terribly but denied the enemy the crossroad.
A splendid time was had by all-thanks to JZ, JR and MS!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Creeping Tide_1

This scenario was titled Creeping Tide_1 and it was stolen from John Tiller's excellent PC game titled East Prussia 1914.

The German 37th ID supported by Landwehr and Jaegers were tasked to delay an advance by two Russian Infantry Divisions-the 6th and 8th.

This game featured only the assault of the Russian 6th ID.

The order of battle was:

Russian OB

2nd Army, XV Corps, 6th Infantry Division

2nd Brigade

24th Infantry Regiment (Simbrisk) 4 Bns + MG Co asset 
23rd Infantry Regiment (Nizovskiy) 4 Bns + MG Co asset 
6th Artillery Bde. Div. #2 Bde asset (76.2 Putilovs)
Oren Cossack Regt. Bde asset

1st Brigade
21st Infantry Regiment (Murom) 4 Bns + MG Co asset 
22nd Infantry Regiment (Nizoh-Nov) 4 Bns + MG Co asset 
6th Artillery Bde. Div. #1 Bde asset (76.2mm Putilovs)
Oren Cossack Regiment Bde asset

Divisional Assets
15th Howitzer Division (122mm howitzers off board) 
15th Sapper Bn. 

The opposition from the German 37th ID was as follows:

German OB
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8th Army, XX Corps, 37th Infantry Division Infantry Brigade 75

Infantry Regiment 145 3 Bns + MG Co asset 
Infantry Regiment 150 3 Bns + MG Co asset 
FAR 73 (2 Bns) Bde Assets (77mm Krupp Whiz Bangs)

Landwehr Regiment 18

Landwehr Infantry Regiment 18 3 Bns + MG Co. asset

Division Assets
FAR 82 (2 Bns 150mm howitzers- off board) 
Pioneer Bn 28 

This was the first game in which a formal trench line was in play. In this case the trench effectively blocked the main road and route to the major objectives. The trench line was supported by batteries on either side as well as the reserve unit of pioneers.

One of the German improved positions held by a MG CO and supported by a battalion of infantryin the woodline.

German improved position on their left flank. One battalion of infantry supported by the regimental MG CO.

The Russian right flank prepares to advance. The card system restriction meant that their assault would come too late to matter.

The Russian center-again the card system restricted their use because of the time limit set in the game.

The Russian left flank made an assault against the village and was partially successful but could not hold. The picture shows the first two battalions as they make their way across a killing ground.

Another view of the Russian left center.

Russian high-tide. Two battalions have penetrated the village and another has pushed back the German artillery while another engages the trench line. 

The Russian right flank advances toward the end of the game. The infantry is supported by a Cossack Regiment and a MG CO mounted in a cart.

The Russian left pushes forward crossing an important road.

Two battalions of Russians approach the road they must cross. They must also take two improved positions.

One of the improved positions. The Russians would make some headway but the game was called when the turn limit was reached.

A few more turns and the Russians might have broke through on their right. Here you can see the German improved position taking losses while two full Russian regiments bear down on them.

The game ended on turn 12. The Russians were unable to attain any of the victory conditions. The German player deployed his "free units" well and got exactly the cards he needed to meet the threat to his right flank. The Russian left did launch a spirited attack with good cards but it was not enough. 

Victory belonged to the Germans and MS. The Russian players were JZ and JR while I was the judge.

The game has led me to further tweeks in the card system. The next game will involve a replay of the same scenario with the new tweeks.

Historical Note: Due to the firepower of massed artillery and the machine gun it didn't take long before the infantry formations started to open up in extended order to reduce casualties. 

We try to represent this in the game by having the battalions have three companies in line (3 stands) and one company in reserve behind the line. 

As the war continued the formations switched to three companies up in extended order with one in reserve and eventually to line in open order.  At that point because of casualties frequently there was no reserve.  Trenches provided security.

By 1917-18 the major powers had all adopted open order not in line with hopefully another battalion in support.