Tuesday, June 20, 2017

ACW, Kettle Creek 1862, Black Powder, Scenario and AAR

Forno´s Brigade moving along the broken up railroad. Bristoe Station is in the background

The Little Wars Stockholm Wargaming Club held a club meeting last Saturday. During this meeting We ran a session of Black Powder. The scenario picked for this occassion was the battle of Kettle Run, a battle that took place during the American Civil War. The rules used was  as mentioned Black Powder, and We also used the supplement Glory Hallelujah. 
In this report I will give you the full stats of the game. As always building a scenario for a wargame demands certain compromises when it comes to playability vs historical facts. The main main is to build something that the players enjoy playing. My main resource for building this scenario is the Scenario boklet "Across Deadly Space" by George Anderson and Ryan Toews. It has been published by Potomac Publication and sold as a PDF on the Wargamers Vault webpage. Some data, especially the ones concering the commanders, has been gathered from a number of sources and might be a arbitrary, but I do think they capture at least a part of the personality behind the commander in question.
In the final part of this report you will find a a short description how the game was played and a few notes regarding the historical outcome.

The historical background
The battle took place after Mclellans failed Peninsular Campaign. General John Pope had been 
appointed CinC for the so called Army of Virginia. McClellan was out of the picture, at least for the 
moment. Pope wasn't a modest character, and he boasted that he had the skills necessary to bring war to a descisive victory. His ambitious plans would eventually lead to yet another Northen disaster in the Eastern theatre, the battle of Second Manassas. 

The battle of Kettle Run was initiated on the 27 of August 1862. Stonewall Jackson had been raiding Union depots around Manassas. To protect his main force at Manassas he had posted 3 brigades with Major general Richard Ewell near Brisoe Station. A Union force lead by Joseph's Hooker closed in on Ewell's force and the Union and Cofederate forces clashed near Bristoe Station. The Union forces were larger than the Confederate ones. Ewell faced a dilemma. If h stayed than he risked getting a sound beating the Union force. If he withdrew he would no longer protect Stonewall Jacksson's main force. 

The objective of this scenario
The Uinion forces will try to force the Confederate forces out of their positions in the two major wooded areas in front of Bristoe Station. If the Union manage to drive out the Confederates out of first of the two wooded areas then it will be minor Union victory. If the Union capture bothe wooded areas then it will be a major Union victory. All other results will be Confederate victory.
The Union will make the first move. The scenario last 10 rounds, with a possible prolongation with two rounds. When reaching round 10 the Union player rolls a d6. If the result is 1-2 the game ends. After round 11 one rolls the die ones more. If the result is 1-3 the game ends. The side that has taken least losses can add +1 to the result if they so chooses.

The units are deployed according to the map below

Union units are blue and Confederate units are grey. Objective 1 is referred to the text as "the western woods. Objective 2 is referred to as the eastern woods. To win a major victory in the game the Union player must capture both objectives. If the Union player only capture objective number 1 then it is a minor Union Victory. The map is based upon the map of Kettle Creek found in  "Across a Deadly Space" 

Bristoe Station

A few other shots from Bristoe Station

Confederate Artillery positioned on the partially wooded hill just south of Bristoe Station
Lawton´s Brigade positioned just in front of the battery above

The Southerners all start on the field. The Union 3rd brigade also starts on the field. The first `Union brigade enters on turn one by mobile deployment( they arrive on the field if the brigade commander rolls a successful brigade order) somewhere along the western Edberg of the battlefield. The second brigade(the Excelcior Brigade) arrive on round three, so where along the western edge of the board. The Union artillery is split between the Excelsior and the 3rd brigade(the Union player choose how to divide the artillery).

All slopes are open terrain. All wooded areas are tough terrain and units can only move at half movement rate.


Notes regarding the stats
For those of you that are not familiar with Black Powder I first want to give you an idea what the stats mean. It can be useful if you wish to try the scenario and convert it to another set of rules. In game Black Powder you basically play with units that are large, Normal, small or tiny.
Large units have:
Hth 8 Shot 4 Morale 4 Stamina 4
Normal units:
Hth 6 Shot 3 Morale 4 Stamina 3
Small units:
Hth 4 Shot 2 Morale 4 Stamina 2 Rifled Musket 

Tiny units were not used in this game at all. 

Second Division, Third Army Corps
Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker, average, 8, Aggressive

First Brigade
Brig. Gen. Cuvier Grover, average, 8, Decisive

1st Mass.
Hth 6 Shot 3 Morale 4 Stamina 3 Rifled Musket, Uptity , First Fire

11th Mass. 
Hth 6 Shot 3 Morale 4 Stamina 3 Smoothbore Musket, Uptity , Pour it on, First Fire

16th Mass. 
Hth 6 Shot 3 Morale 4 Stamina 3, Rifled Musket, Uptity, First Fire

2nd N.H. 
Hth 6 Shot 3 Morale 4 Stamina 3, Rifled Musket, Uptity, First Fire

26th Pa. 
Hth 6 Shot 3 Morale 4 Stamina 3 Rifled Musket, Uptity, First Fire

Second (Exelsior) Brigade
Col. Nelson Taylor, average, 8
70th N.Y. 
Hth 6 Shot 3 Morale 4 Stamina 3 Rifled Musket, Uptity, First Fire

71st N.Y. 
Hth 6 Shot 3 Morale 4 Stamina 3 Rifled Musket, Uptity, First Fire

72th N.Y. 
Hth 6 Shot 3 Morale 4 Stamina 3 Rifled Musket, Uptity, First Fire

73th N.Y. 
Hth 4 Shot 2 Morale 4 Stamina 2, Rifled Musket, Uptity, First Fire

74th N.Y. 
Hth 6 Shot 3 Morale 4 Stamina 3, Rifled Musket, Uptity, First Fire

Third Brigade
Col. Joseph B. Carr, average, 8, Head Strong
5th N.J. 
Hth 6 Shot 3 Morale 4 Stamina 3, Rifled Musket, Uptity, First Fire

6th N.J.
Hth 6 Shot 3 Morale 4 Stamina 3, Rifled Musket, Uptity, First Fire

7th N.J. 
Hth 6 Shot 3 Morale 4 Stamina 3, Rifled Musket, Uptity, First Fire

8th N.J. 
Hth 6 Shot 3 Morale 4 Stamina 3, Rifled Musket, Uptity, First Fire

2nd N.Y. 
Hth 6 Shot 3 Morale 4 Stamina 3, Smoothbore Musket, Uptity, Pour it on, First Fire

115th Pa. 
Hth 6 Shot 3 Morale 4 Stamina 3, Rifled Musket, Untested, Uptity, First Fire

Attached artillery
D, Pa. Lt. Art. - 2 Rifled cannons 
E, 1st R.I. - 2 Smoothboore cannons
E, 4th U.S. - 2 Rifled cannons, elite

Ewell's Division
Maj. Gen. Richard S. Ewell, superior, 9, Timid, Low Independance
A gaming note: Ewell is not normally a timid commander, nor did he lack initiative  and aggressiveness, but in this battle he seemed to be rather nervous about his army's predicament and he was working hard to get Lee´s approval to withdraw. He was also man dependent upon clear and specific instructions. In this case he seems to lack such instructions.
Early's Brigade
Brig. Gen. Jubal A. Early, superior, 8, Head Strong

13th Va. 
Hth 6 Shot 3 Morale 4 Stamina 3 Smoothbore Musket, Rebel Yell, First Fire

25th Va. 
Hth 6 Shot 3 Morale 4 Stamina 3 Smoothbore Musket, Rebel Yell, Pour it on, First Fire

31st Va. 
Hth 6 Shot 3 Morale 4 Stamina 3 Rifled Musket, Rebel Yell, First Fire

44th Va. 
Hth 6 Shot 3 Morale 4 Stamina 3 Smoothbore Musket, Rebel Yell, Pour it on, First Fire

49th Va. 
Hth 6 Shot 3 Morale 4 Stamina 3 Rifled Musket, Rebel Yell, First Fire

52nd Va. 
Hth 4 Shot 2 Morale 4 Stamina 2 Smoothbore Musket, Rebel Yell, Pour it on, First Fire

58th Va. 
Hth 6 Shot 3 Morale 4 Stamina 3 Rifled Musket, Rebel Yell, First Fire

Hay's Brigade
Col. Henry Forno, average, 8

5th La. 
Hth 6 Shot 3 Morale 4 Stamina 3 Smoothbore Musket, Rebel Yell, Pour it on, First Fire

6th La. 
Hth 6 Shot 3 Morale 4 Stamina 3 Smoothbore Musket, Rebel Yell, Pour it on, First Fire

7th La. 
Hth 6 Shot 3 Morale 4 Stamina 3 Smoothbore Musket, Rebel Yell, Pour it on, First Fire

8th La. 
Hth 6 Shot 3 Morale 4 Stamina 3 Smoothbore Musket, Rebel Yell, Pour it on, First Fire

14th La. 
Hth 6 Shot 3 Morale 4 Stamina 3 Smoothbore Musket, Rebel Yell, Pour it on, First Fire

Lawton's Brigade
Brig. Gen. Alexander R. Lawton, average,8

13th Ga. 
Hth 8 Shot 4 Morale 4 Stamina 4 Rifled Musket, Rebel Yell, First Fire

26th Ga. 
Hth 6 Shot 3 Morale 4 Stamina 3 Rifled Musket, Rebel Yell, First Fire

38th Ga. 
Hth 6 Shot 3 Morale 4 Stamina 3 Rifled Musket, Rebel Yell, First Fire

61th Ga. 
Hth 6 Shot 3 Morale 4 Stamina 3 Rifled Musket, Rebel Yell, First Fire

Brown's Md. Bty. - 1 light smootbore cannon 
Latimer's Va. Bty   - 1 smoothbore cannon 
D'Aquin's La. Bty. - 1 Rifled  canon
Dement's Md. Bty. - 1 Smothbore cannon
Johnson's Va. Bty. - 1 light Smoothbore cannon
Balthis' Va. Bty. -1 light Smoothbore cannon

The game
In our game the Union was handled by my two Miniature Mayhem compatriots Ulf and Pål. Facing them(and posing as Cofederates) was Michael, Søren and Andy. On the side cheering whomever he felt needed it we had another Michael aka Dalauppror.
Just like Joe Hooker the Union side started out with a major assault on the Cofederate lines in the western wooded area. The Confederates took a massive beating, but somehow they held their ground. 

The intial Union assult on the Confederate lines around  the wooded area to the west(Objective 1)

Jubal Early(Søren) kept his position at the wooded area to the east. Forno(Michael) moved in all his units into the western woods. Lawton(Andy) followed suit.
As the first Union assault stalled the second Union wave moved in. The Excelsior brigade ignored the battle in the western woods and moved towards Jubal Early's brigade.To counter this Jubal Early's brigade  then started to move up some of his units along the flank of the Excelsior brigade. This eventually proved to be a crucial move.
The battle turn into a situation were the brigades of Forno and Lawton was facing the bulk of the Union forces. For quite some time it looked as if the Union forces would break through Forno's brigade. If that would have happened the Confederates would have been flanked and the Union would at least have won a minor victory. Forno's brigade took quite a lot of casualties. 

The Excelsior  Brigade is moving in - this is the second Union attack wave against the first objective

The Excelsior Brigade is slugging it out in the Woods. The trees have been removed in order to make the situation playable.

Another shot of the previous situation. Please note that one Union unit is about to flank the southern edge of the Confederate line. If this attack would have succesful, and if Lawton´s Brigade hadn´t arrived in time this would have led to a Confederate disaster.

Lawton´s Brigade is moving up to strengthen the line behind Forno´s depleted units. Bristoe Station is in the background

The Height of the Battle, in this situation all was in the balance, though if looking carefully to top of the picture one can see Confederates moving up on the Left flank of the Union line. This would be the thing that tipped the balance.

The Excelcior brigade moved up a fairly large battery of artillery along the road leading towards the eastern wood and the second objective. Somewhere near the wooded hill in the northern part of the battlefield they encounter several Confederate units. This was a risky situation for both parts. Getting pounded by the battery would lead to a fire storm with the Union player throwing dices against any single unit nearby. Storming the battery straight on was not an option. However the Confederate player choose to sacrifice a unit in order to let others sneak past the battery. After all the battery could not reach units moving in the woods. Eventually a unit managed to open fire on the battery from the flank. The battery was now easy prey. With the loss of the battery all chances for a continued Union advance was gone. The game was over and the Union had lost this battle.

We had quite a large gameboard, but most the gaming took place on just half of it.

The Situation towards the end of the game. The Union now has quite a lot of artillry close to the Confederate line.

The move that ended the game

The historical outcome
In the historical battle the Union did seriously threaten the Confederate positions in the two wooded areas. Eventually Ewell got the approaval to start a withdrawal. Using the final hours of the day the Confederates left the field to the Union. If this was a true victory might be a bit unclear. The battle did not lead to any strategic victories and the whole campaign was decided by the battle of second Manassas, which was a Confederate victory.

Friday, June 16, 2017

The Siege of Vienna 1683 continues

There has been a period were there has been a lot of gaming and not so much reporting. It is time to update this blog and report what has been going on.

The work on the Muskhem Mayhem Rules continues

We keep on working our own Musket Mayhem rules and in this context the “Siege of Vienna project” continues. I bought some ruined walls at Salute this year. The main idea was to create the walls of Vienna…sort of. During the siege the walls were indeed more or less torn down and much of the fighting took place among the rubble.

Creating a true siege game is difficult. I we have yet to try to stage one. What we have done is creating few scenarios that feature sections of the ruined wall.

When there is a wall or some kind of fortification involved then game balance becomes an issue. In our first game we just ran a straight forward game with two forces of equal size. In order not to give the “defender” a major advantage both sides deployed on roughly equal distance from the wall. The idea is to create a situation in which the attacking side has already breeched the wall and the defender rushes to stem the tide. The Austrians usually played the defenders.

We played that kind of set up a few times. Usually it ended in a draw or a slight success for the defender. In our last game we opted for a situation in which the defender started with a smaller force and later on would receive reinforcements The reinforcements could also, given a bad die, be canceled. The final game was of course the most balanced scenario. The reinforcements did not show up and the Turks almost won the day. The Austrians were saved by the bell.

The board without the minis. This is supposed to be the outer defence works of Vienna.

The Defending austrians are moving in

The left flank of the Austrian defence

Enemy at the gates! The Turks are comming!!

The defenders are rshing towards the breeched wall.

The Turks are supported by hoards of horse archers

The Austrian hero and defender General Von und Zu Kessel, together with his pet pig.

The defender needs to reach the  gates before the Turks starts to move in...

The Turks is almost inside...

The Fighting has started along the wall...

The heavy artillery has been deployed...

Turkish skirmishers are probing the Walls...

A breach in the wall has been located by the Turks...

The Austrians tries to stem the tide....the 10 turns of this scenario is almost over. The left flank of the Austrian line would hold for long...if not for the comming twilight and the setting Sun.

What can we expect next?

We will keep on tweaking the rules as well as the “Storming the Wall” scenario. There we be reports on test using the rules in other periods as well. We have tried them on an ACW-scenario, and we will have to report more about that later on.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Winged Hussars, Vienna 1683

The Vienna 1683 project continues After learning few harsh lessons trying to defeat Turkish opponents using mainly infantry I decided to field some more cavalry. You can read about these bungled attempts to save Vienna in the last posting. So I painted up some Polish Winged Hussars.

Now you may ask if one field these last knights of Europe side by side German/Austrian Infantry? The history books actually says yes. The Poles lacked infantry so they had rely on musketeers from the German Empire i for fire support. The Winged Hussars also launched a number of smaller attacks prior to the main effort, thus one can readily field them in a minor skirmish. Reconnaissance by sucidal attacks seemed to have occurred a few times Involving these heavily cavalry men.

 The miniatures are all from Warlord. It has to be one of their finest miniatures available. Crisp details and a joy to paint.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Vienna 1683, Defending the Hills

Austrian defenders

The Battles for Vienna 1683 - Defending the Hills

By now we are well on our way with our new theatre of war - Vienna 1683.  We have painted up a Turkish and an Imperial German/ Austrian force.

The historcal events these games are basen upon took place in 1683. The Turks Siege Vienna and a relief force was sent from the rest of the German empire(and Poland) to break the Siege. IT all culminated with the battle of Kahlenberg on the 12th of September 1683. The Turks were utterly defeated and the siege was lifted. The battle of Kahlenberg was also one of European history's greatest cavalry battles. Especially the Polish contribution consisted of large contingents of cavalry. The perhaps best known part of this contribution was a force of Winged hussars - the last armoured knights of Europe.

The initial stages of the battle - the Austrians have just deployed on the hills in front of the village

The Austrian Commander Colonel Wolfram von und zu Kessel with his pet pig

After the siege followed a campaign hat would oust the Osman empire from much of present day
Hungary.  It is also in this campaign that the name Eugene of Savoy was first made known.

In our games thus far we have had two very different armies pitted against each other. One highly mobile(the Turks) and one that relies more on cohesion and fire power(the Austrians). If the Austrians stick together and first delivers a coordinated volley the result is often devastating on the other side. If the Austrians fight in piece meal then the execellent close combat fighting abilities of the Turkish side turn the whole Austrian effort into Shish-kebab.

The ambition of the  Miniature Mayhem team is to create a set of rules that would span from the late 1600 century to the mid 1800. The name given to these rules is Musket Mayhem. Unfortunately we have to change the name eventually, since name may already been used for a gaming app on IOS.
 A slight change of the otters and the addition of an extra word might do the trick. Since the project is still in development we will not make any name changes just yet.

When changing theatre we have to consider amendmens to these rules in order to make the rules fit into a new situation. After all the ambition is is to create a set of rules that somehow mirrors the general themes of musket combat prior to the advent of rifle dominance. The Turks are given very
good close combat fighting values and a firing doctrine that allows them to fire at will(but with slightly lower effect). The Austrian army relies on volley fire and fire discipline. There are som really good close camp at unit on the Austrian side, but the painter has not yet made ready for the field. There are for example the Austrian grenadiers as well as the heavy cavalry of the Poles(especially the
 Winged Hussars).

The Scenario "Defend the Hills"

The field of battle. Two hills in front of an Austrian village

The Austrians deploy with the heavy cavalry defending the flank

The Turks are moving in...

Another view of the battle field

The heavy cavalry was the key to defend the flank. They soon got caught up with other tasks....and the Austrian defence fel apart

The Austrians retreat in order to stage working defensive line...

The heavy cavalry tries to plug the holes

The retreat soon turned into a rout...
The attacker took some beatings fromt he Austrian heavy cavalry, but this is the last picture in which the Austrians preformed well...the author stopped taking pictures after this....

This village was about to be sacked...

In our games to this date most battles have been won by the Turk. The Austrians have failed to coordinate their efforts. A good example is the game that took place last week.  The game situation are as follows. The Austrians are to defend a village. In front the village there are tow hills. A third of the Austrian command are supposed to be deployed by the hills, the rest in the village. The Turks arrives on the short side of the table on the opposite side seen from the village. It is essential for the Austrian player to swiftly move up the main force to the two hills in order to form single cohesive force, if they are to stand a chance against the Osmans. Another alternative would be to let the lone third abandon the hills and move to the village. The later alternative is punished by the victory conditions of the game. The initial order for the Austrians is to hold the hills or suffer victory points. However one loses victory points if one looses units. Thus the Austrian player has to make an important decision. In our game the Austrian tried the first alternative. Unfortunately the force in the village got stalled and the defends of the hills deployed a bit too exposed.  It ended in major disaster and the game was clear Turkish victory. The hill defenders got mauled instantly and the slow main force could not turn the tide. Instead they ended up in an other debacle - they got flanked. The high mobility of the the Turks makes this a tough scenario for the Austrians. 

The scenario itself is a good one borrowed from one of the scenario books of CS Grant. However we need to do few adjustments in order to make the scenario work for this particular  theatre of war. The Austrian players( they were two in this game, among them yours truly) also need to rethink their basic tactics until next time. More games are to follow.....