Saturday, January 11, 2020

Marathon DBABR

DBABR stands for DBA followed by my initials. DBABR bears little resemblance to DBA 3.0 as my version evolved from a solo version of DBA 1.0 authored by my friend Jim. I simply added a few things like double sized elements for the purposes of looks and some morale rules to avoid endless recoils. If you are interested in the changes you can find them at this link-An Explanation of DBABR

I prefer doing historical battles when possible and generally use the excellent maps found at Command and Colors Ancients map scenarios.

In the case of this game I used  the Don Clarke's Marathon variant found at the site. I convert the CCA counters to corresponding DBA elements. My friend Mike who supplied all the figures for the game set up his table and we played the game.

The letters in the OB refer to morale. L is for levy, O is for ordinary and V is for veteran.  Morale is tied to the number of recoils a unit can endure before destruction. The other standard rules for destroying elements still apply.

The Order of Battle looked like this:


Callimachus Greek Right full die roll pips to move)

3-Sp, V
1-Ps, O

Themistocles  Greek center, full die roll pips to move

3-Sp, V

Note:We decided prior to the game to play the center Greek in single rank since historically that's what they did. In the game this closed the gaps on the map. Although we use the maps we do adjust somewhat for the game board and\or historical reasons. Nevertheless, the maps are excellent templates for a historical battle.

Miltiades Greek left, full die roll pips to move

3-Sp, V
2-Ps, O

The distance between the two armies was reduced from our usual 18" to 12" to facilitate the surprise charge by the Athenians. The full die rolls for movement pips also helped the Greeks to close in a more coordinated fashion.


Unkown Commander Persian left, 1\2 die roll pips to move

1-LtSp\BW, O
1-Bw, L
1-Ps, O
1-Cv, V

Datis Persian Center, full die roll pips to move

4-Lt\Sp, O
2-LtSp, O

Ataphernes Persian right, 1\2 die roll pips to move

1-LtSp\BW, O
1-Bw, L
1-Ps, O
1-Lh, V

Note: The CCA categories do not translate perfectly to DBA elements, so educated, subjective guesses had to be made.This was a difficult game to have play balance. When I set up a historical scenario I want to use what history I can but at the same time give the side with less advantage at least a 33% of achieving victory. In this case that was very difficult to do given there was no room for the Persians to maneuver, the distance between the battle lines was only 12" and the Greek morale was vastly superior to the Persian. All these modifiers were in my opinion accurate but probably reduced the Persian side's ability to win to 16% rather than my rule of thumb 33%.

Nevertheless, the game was a lot of fun and the result very historical and the beer tasty!

I will use the pictures below to explain some the action.

The initial set up. The Persian left borders the sea, the right borders hills and the terrain to the rear is swampy. Clearly, the Persians had no idea the Greeks would attack.

Another view of the initial set up. The single stands of the Greek center are clearly visible. The Persian center would have one shot to break through the Greek center before the stronger Greek flanks would make short work of the weak Persian flanks.
Neat shot of the Greek center who would have to hold the Persian center.
The Persians recognize the danger and prepare to advance thus minimizing their Bw advantage.
This unit of hoplites were painted to be Athenians in the charging position to represent what happened at Marathon. My friend Mike was happy to use them in the Greek center.
Another shot of the same unit charging.
Nice aerial view of the initial set up. The figures are 1\72nd Zvezda, Hat and Italeri.
First stand advance of the Greeks. This is the Greek left and Persian right. The Greek Ps would be eliminated fairly quickly. The Greek commander used them to absorb Bw fire which they heroically did. To win a DBABR battle elements defend as core are more valuable than the ones not. Ps are rarely core and so they were expendable in this game.
Greek right, Persian left. The Persian Ps would defeat the Greek Ps opposite of it and check the hoplite unit, not once, but twice. It is very hard to do that in the rules but in my opinion the possibility has to be there that even the worst unit has some chance of success against their betters.
I was the Persian player. At this point  I'm thinking I have one shot at breaking through the Greek center that has been weakened to one rank of elements. 
On my turn I did move up my center. The small green die shows that one hoplite unit picked up a recoil from Bw fire. In order for the Persians to stand a chance in melees they have at partially fragment a Greek line of battle before closing.
There is no way I'm stopping this steam roller although the Greek Ps would perish soon.
The Persian left after defeating the Greek Ps. As stated above the Persian Ps on the flank would check that phalanx 2x before being destroyed. 
The clash in the center. Two Persian elements have suffered recoils and one Greek.
My goal was to try and get past the powerful Greek flanks and smash the Greek center before my flanks were totally crushed. It was a simple and forlorn plan.
My plan is being thwarted-note the 2 recoils on the Persian center\left.
Here the Greek center has suffered two recoils and in fact the one of the right has 2. Being veteran they could absorb three before being destroyed. 
The large die keeps track of pips. The Greek left is about to roll over the Persian right.
I was able to stabilize the Persian center for one turn and it gave me a "high tide" moment, literally, one moment.
Recoils all over the place. When ordinary elements suffer two recoils they suffer a minus one to their CF.
Not good, nearly all the elements in the Persian center have a recoil.
The Persian center is collapsing but still managing to get a recoil on the Greeks here and there.
The inevitable demise of the Persian left.
The remnant of the Persian right. With no room to maneuver the Persian cavalry played no role in the game other than to occupy space and then head for the ships! 
Good shot of the center conflict with recoils on both sides. The Persians are about to be flanked however. Show over.
The remnant on the Persian left. They are about to head for the ships too!
Greek flanking results in the center. The two Persian units managed to destroy one core hoplite unit before getting flanked themselves.
End game. The Greeks destroyed eight core units to the Persian one-a historical lop-sided victory and splendid time.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Loyalist Legion for the AWI

I've been way behind with the blog but here are some pictures from a fairly recent Rebels and Patriots game.

The basic idea behind the game was a Loyalist force (Tories) have been returning from a raid in New Jersey. A Patriot force of militia has been tasked with stopping them.

The Patriots won a narrow victory as the Tories could not break through. The key fighting took place around the farmstead.

Some of the pictures were posed prior to the game.

Tory Dragoons (Tarleton's) and Emmerich's Mounted Chasseurs.The figures are a mixed bag from  Irregular Miniatures, Historifigs (formerly Scuby) and Airfix

Patriot Militia, figures by Accurate.

Tarleton's Legion Cavalry as Shock in Rebels and Patriots. Figures are 20mm Irregular Miniatures from the UK.

Patriot Militia again.

Emmerich's Chasseurs

Patriot Militia, all Airfix!

The collection of Patriot Militia was painted over 40 years ago. All Airfix! They have stood the test of time.

Airfix conversions. In Rebels and Patriots a unit like this represent mounted skirmishers.

Irregular Miniatures dismounted Dragoons attempt to hold the farmhouse against Rebel militia.

Tory Dragoons in the lead folioed by Tory military followed by the Volunteers of Ireland (Loyalists is red coats) All are Irregular Miniatures. 

The Queen's Rangers. The figures are Historifgs (formerly Jack Scruby. The scale is 25mm but they fit well with Airfix or 20mm figures.

The Royal Regiment of New York or Johnson's Royal Breens. Figures by Airfix.

Patriot militia. The flags are hand painted. Figures by Airfix

Virginia Patriot rifle regiment

The Volunteers of Ireland get in front of the Tory Militia.

The Queen's Rangers and dismounted dragoons hold part of the farmstead but can advance no further as just about everything else has collapsed.

A saber charge by the Tory Dragoons almost turned the tide but they stalled and were shot up beyond repair.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Maney's Brigade at Perryville

In September of 2019 my wife and I traveled to South Carolina to visit her sister. While there we took in some Civil War sites which included  Fort Sumter. On the way home we stopped in Kentucky to visit the largest Civil War battlefield in the state, Perryville.

I plan to discuss the visit to Perryville along with the excellent book that I purchased and then read about the battle on my other blog. The book is Kenneth W. Noe's,  Perryville-The Grand Havoc of Battle. I also purchased from the visitor center at Perryville, Stuart W. Sandler's, Maney's Confederate Brigade at the Battle of Perryville.

Sandler's book is a in-depth study of one Confederate brigade at the Battle of Perryville. It's a Civil War nerd's dream of detail and research crammed into 170 pages or so. It's especially valuable to the war-gamer who wishes to focus on a single brigade's contributions in a particular battle.

After the introductory pictures shown below I'll describe how I used the material in the book to recreate in simulation form the actions of Maney's Brigade at the Battle of Perryville

An excellent map from Civil War Trust showing the movements of the armies that ended up in mid-state Kentucky.

The visitor center at the Perryville battlefield. I believe the staff member told me they were planning a larger facility. For the size, this one is very good and it features a museum relevant to the battle.

The cost. Most of the Confederate dead are unknown and were buried in a mass grave. This marker is dedicated to Sgt. Harris Cope, 16th Tennessee

The typical terrain of central Kentucky featuring rolling hills.

This incline is steep. Maney's Brigade was tasked with reaching the top which was held by a Union battery and infantry.

At the visitor center they tell you most of the battlefield is "as is" meaning crops and grasses were high and along with the hilly terrain visibility was limited.

If you take the extensive walking tour plaques like this one describe what was going on. The plaques are well done and feature numerous quotes by the participants. 

A better view of the rolling terrain. Artillery batteries could often see a long way but often did not have a clear view of a target due to the dips in the ground.

12lb Napoleon stands guard on one of hills.

I tried to reproduce the effect of the terrain on my 4' by 4' game board. The rules we used were Rebels and Patriots. To reproduce the actions of a little more than a brigade on a side in a small space I had to fudge the scale while using the rules pretty much as is.

In this game a unit represented a regiment. As you can see from the OB all infantry units had either 18 figures or 12 figures. The rules feature units for 6 figure units but I didn't include any. I also use two gun models for a battery for looks purposes, It does not have any effect on a gun's profile meaning two models fire as one gun. It seemed to work fine.

I gave each side officers that improved discipline within 12". I did not use the honor system in the rules.

Close order and first fire were eliminated from the game since the battle was well in progress by the time Maney's brigade reached this point the action. Range was also restricted to 6" for close 12" for long. The artillery had a 24" range. Part of the reason for this is the side of the game board but the other reason is the broken ground of North America.

Civil War re-enactors often do "impressions" of a real person. This is my impression of the role Maney's Brigade played in the battle. It is not exact-only an impression and it was a lot of fun.

Only the discipline modifiers were used from the unit profiles.


Maney's Brigade

41st GA, 18 models, Discipline=0
21st TN, 18 models, Discipline=+1
6th TN, 18 models, Discipline =+1
9th TN, 18 models, Discipline =+1
1st TN, 18 models, Discipline=+1

Turner's Battery, Discipline=+1

Elements of Stewart's adjacent brigade assigned to support Maney

15th TN, 12 models, Discipline =0
38th TN, 12 models, Discipline=0

Union OB

In my scenario the focus was on Maney's brigade which faced elements from at least two Union brigades. The OB represents elements from those two brigades.

80th IL, 18 models, Discipline =-1
105th OH, 18 models, Discipline=-1
21st WI, 18 models, Discipline =-1
123rd IL, 18 models, Discipline=0
79th PA, 18 models, Discipline =+1
1st WI, 12 models, Discipline =+1

Parson's Battery, Discipline =+1
Stone's Battery, Discipline =+1

Maney's Brigade came very close to being the instrument that nearly rolled up an entire Union Corps. At this point in the battle some Union regiments were already tired and falling back. The discipline factor above reflects those units. Some Union regiments could not move until a certain turn was reached (activated). In another case Stone's Battery would have to withdraw if certain Union regiments were routed. This was unknown to the Confederate player. The 15th and 38th TN from Stewart's Brigade must align with Maney's brigade and must attempt to pace them. In addition to that they could stray farther than 12" from the board edge on which they placed. These fog of war rules for the scenario.

I used one of my colorful Zoauve units although no Union Zouaves were present.  The figures are Musket Miniatures. (painted as the 14th Brooklyn)

This unit is a combination of Irregular and Musket Miniatures. It could not activate until turn 3.

Airfix crews with Musket Miniatures guns.

Each unit had a unit ID as shown here.

This unit represented the 41st GA the only non Tennessee unit in Maney's Brigade. It was a new unit to the brigade designed to bring the brigade up to strength. Most of these figures are 20mm Irregular Miniatures

Turner's battery the background  giving cover fire to one go Maney's TN Regiments. (Musket Miniatures for the infantry)

Turner's Battery. The crewmen are from Irregular Miniatures (20mm) and the guns are again Musket Miniatures. They made a fine line of ACW artillery.

Turner's Battery caisson with Airfix crew.

Bring up another gun!

Another one of Maney's TN regiments. The figures are Musket Miniatures with an admixture of Revell poses. I like the standard with the Perryville battle honor!

Overview of the Union center and left flank at the start of the game. The units in the large field could not activate until turn 3.

The Union right flank.

The Confederate left flank and part of the center.

The Confederate right flank. The two units on the far left of the picture are represent the units from Stewart's Brigade.

The 1st Wisconsin. The figures are from the excellent ACW Strelets sets.

The figures here are from the Strelets Confederates skirmishing set. Excellent figures! 

I only use two models for the one gun in the rules so this picture was taken prior to the game because I though it was cool. The crews are IMEX as are at least a couple of the guns.

Division commander Cheatham giving Maney his orders.

I just enjoy these two vignettes.

Nice close up of Turner's Battery

Rally boys, rally! The center figure is from the Strelets Union Staff set and the other two are Musket Minaitures.

A Union regiment consisting of Musket Miniatures. They were marketed as 22mm. It was an excellent and exhaustive line. The line was sold and the new owner has put them back on the market and then took them down repeating the process at least twice for some reason. I've only found some on eBay as of late.

Three os the TN regiments of Maney's Brigade. Excuse the South Caroline flag. The figures are classic Airfix and part of my Hampton's Legion impression.

Most of my infantry units for Rebels and Patriots have 18 figures. It's easy enough to reduce them to 12 figures if needed. The rules are glorified skirmish rules built around "a company." The authors suggest that scale does not matter much so call your units what you will and it will not affect game play. I admit I find this a little awkward but in this case it worked very well. 

An IMEX vignette-guns to the front!

The 1st WI would die to a man after a heroic stand.

Another Union Infantry Regiment-mostly Musket Miniatures with a few Irregular. My interest in 20mm (1/72nd) figures dates mack to my earliest days of wargaming when all we had were Airfix figures and Roco Minitanks.

Another pregame picture. I use the same figures for other sets of rules and a three model battery is a possibility in some sets.

The figures are mostly Irregular but there a few Waterloo figures as well. Irregular and Waterloo figures are close to 20mm and mix well.

The carpet squares represent farm fields. They had an affect on visibility. Having walked the actual battlefield it's hard to minimize the effect of terrain. A rifled musket might be effective out to 300-400 yards but if you can't see more than 100 yards in front of you it doesn't matter much.

The Union position looked intimidating to the Confederate player and indeed it was since two Union batteries over looked portions of the battle field. The Confederate player did not realize that 1\2 of the Union infantry were already fragile and that if some routed at leas tone battery would limber up and move away.

One of my two Newline 20mm CSA regiments. Excellent figures, a bit chunkier than most 20mm but look great in their own units.

Stone's Battery awaits the Confederate advance.

Portions of the 1st Wisconsin-my home state!

The two units represented portions of Stewart's Brigade assigned to align with Maney. They had limited flexibility. As it turned out they both survived nicely and were critical is a very narrow Confederate victory.

Maney's Brigade would carry the day but by a slender thread. The unit in the back is the 1st Tennessee of Company H fame. Atkins is quoted in the book.

Almost a ground level view of the beginning go the Confederate assault.

Here they come boys!

The Union Regiments in the field were exhausted already and had poor discipline to start the game.The 21st Wisconsin posted in the back of the field could not even see what was going on. By the time they could move the Confederates were on top of them and they routed just as their historical counterparts did.

The 123rd IL would virtually destroy the 41st GA with help of Parson's Battery.

The 41st GA begins their advance.

Historically Parson's battery performed heroically but was over run. In the game it survived.

Across a deadly field.

It looks bad here for the Rebs and it kind of was. However, the 1st WI is at 1\2 strength and would soon rout thus forcing the withdrawal of Stone's battery. The Union left then collapsed saving the day for the south.

The Union right held firm but would have to withdraw best they could.

This is a pretty good aerial shot of the initial set up. The fields were all high grass or corn and did provide cover.

The view from the Union side.

I was very well pleased with this game.