Saturday, April 25, 2020

Solo Battle of Mill Springs, ACW

This is my second attempt at a solo game. This time I choose the Rebels and Patriots rules from Osprey and the figures from my ACW collection.

Context of the Historical Scenario 

The scenario was drawn loosely from the Battle Of Mill Springs, KY (Logan's Crossroads) in January, 1862.

The Confederates were on the offensive so I elected the Union side to be the AI.

The conditions for an attack were atrocious. The terrain was difficult, it was raining, visibility was limited and most of the Confederate forces were armed with smooth bores with many being flintlocks!

Despite the obstacles Confederate General Crittenden went on the offensive to catch the Union forces off guard and gain an entry into eastern Tennessee, a pro-Union area of the state.

The Indiana and Kentucky troops that met the initial attack were tasked to hold back the Confederate advance until other Union regiments could form a line of battle. Because of the terrible terrain of woods and ravines the initial Confederate advance by the 15th Mississippi could not be co-ordinated.

I sought to reproduce on a small scale some of the challenges to the CSA forces. The Order of Battle below reflects the initial push by companies of the 15th Mississippi supported by a few companies of the 20th Tennessee.

I modified the Rebels and Patriots rules for solo purposes.

Union OB

3 Companies of the 10th Indiana, 18 figures each, veteran and aggressive, rifled musket (RM)
1 Company of the 1st Kentucky Cavalry (Union), 12 figures with Lt. Infantry capability, Breech Loading Carbine (BLC)
1 Troop of the 1st Kentucky Cavalry (Union), 6 figures, mtd. skirmishers, (BLC)

Confederate OB

5 Companies of the 15th Mississippi, 18 figures each, (RM)
2 Companies of the 20th Tennessee, 12 figures each, (SB)

I did not use the point system for the OB but a quick estimate showed me the game was roughly equal in number of points.

Description of the action

Two of the three 10th Indiana companies were positioned behind a fence line while the third was tasked with being reserve and a link to the KY Cavalry on the Union left.

The five companies of the 15th Mississippi were just about to enter the ravine (special rules to get through it). Their frontage was roughly equal to the Indiana troops but were stacked up in the heavy terrain.

The two companies of Tennessee troops were opposite the Kentucky cavalry.

I use a card system for solo games and include a "bonus" card for each side. The bonus card allows to actions per turn. Where it pops up is great fog of war and it can be decisive.

I initially got something going with 15th Mississippi with two companies getting through the terrain in good order. The other three tended to get bogged down.

The two companies of the 15th Mississippi had good cover until they emerged from the tree\ravine line and approached the clear farm field bordered by the fence. While I did not allow volley fire I did allow first fire.The 10th Indiana companies behind the fence did hold their fire until the 15th Mississippi emerged from cover (this was diced for) and the result was an assault that fell well short of the fence line. In fact one company would rout and the other would fall back, rally and try again only to rout on the second effort.

Meanwhile the two Tennessee companies advanced on the Kentucky cavalry driving back the skirmishers but stalling where the cavalry was concentrated dismounted in hard cover.

The Confederate first push stalled along the entire line inflicting few casualties on the Union forces.

I decided to regroup and work off the disorder markers and give it another go.

I had some initial success toward the center of the game board against the Indiana company that was the link between the other two companies and the KY cavalry. I managed to get two fires on the unit in the same turn and it routed-the only success the Confederates had.

The two Tennessee companies tried another push but one was shot up in disorder losing half the figures and the other routed.

The remaining three Mississippi companies were so disordered by the terrain that I could not swing them away from the fence line and try to take advantage of the Indiana company routing. I had to concede the AI did it's job in delaying the Confederate advance. In fact had the Union been reinforced they could have counter attacked against a disorganized Confederate command.

The game was a lot of fun and I think I did a good job with play balance.

One of the 10th Indiana Companies on the Union right flank. (Musket Miniatures)
The tan areas are the ravines the 15th Mississippi had to get across. The trees represent woods throughout the board. Except for the clear area by the field everything was at cover.
One of my Newline CSA units.
The Union right center and center companies of the 10th IN.
This illustrates how hard it was working through the terrain. Both companies behind the ravine have fallen back in disorder. The other company got bogged down and as it turned out it was a good position as long as they stayed there!
The Tennessee companies on the CSA right. They were armed with smooth bores and had the poor shot penalty because of it.
Close up of Union unit. The figures are 22mm Musket Miniatrues 
Confederate unit of mostly Musket Miniatures but some Irregular poses mixed in.
These Confederate figures are from the Confederates Skirmishing set by Strelets-an excellent set imo! 
Old MacDonald's farm.
Confederate high tide. Got to the edge of the field before being driven back into the ravine.
The 10th Indiana captain steadies his companies on the fence line.
This is what it looks like when your left flanks skedaddles! 
This was part of the initial advance. The two lead units would get through the terrain but would be unsupported.
Both units of the 1st Kentucky (Union) Cavalry 
I had a chance in the center but it fizzeled.
One unit has fallen back and the other will shortly! 
I had some high hopes at this point in the game. Note the casualty markers.
The dismounted cavalry were more than a match for the 20th Tennessee.
This is the company of the 10th IN that would finally rout.
Initial Union IN deployment
This Tennessee company would not rally and eventually routed!
The TN unit on the left got shot to pieces but would not rout!
Second turn advance of the 15th Mississippi. It took 2-3 turns to work through the ravine.
I just liked this pic. Newline Designs


Phil said...

So many beautiful units here Bruce, great report, makes me want to play again ACW...

Bruce Roeder said...

Phil, your website inspires me to improve mine. Thanks for stopping by!