Monday, May 14, 2012

Forney's Fields - Gettysburg

The scenario is taken from Enduring Valor - Gettysburg in Miniature by Scott Mingus. This book is a fantastic resource for anyone interested in the 3 day battle at Gettysburg. The game is set to last 8 turns.

On July 1, 1863 at Gettysburg Pennsylvania elements of Doubleday's I Corps clashed with elements of Rode's II Corps along the Mummasburg Road just northwest of the town. In this battle General Ewell ordered Rode's division to break the right flank of the Union's I Corps that was held by General Robinson's 2nd Division. In our game Iverson's brigade leads the attack in the center of the board with Daniel's brigade on the Confederate right flank and O'Neal on the left flank. In the historic battle this was a piecemeal attack by the Confederates so leadership and special rules were assigned by game master Chris .

Confederate Set Up:

Iverson's Brigade

Center: General Alfred Iverson Leadership Rating of 7
OOB: 5 NC, 12 NC, 20 NC, 23 NC  All veteran rifles

General Iverson will move across the field under fire and assault the Union left position since General Daniel's leadership rating is suspect due to thack of command and control as per the scenario.

Daniel's Brigade

Right: General Daniel Leadership Rating 6 - troops in column do not get the free move while in column
OOB:  32 NC, 43 NC, 45 NC, 53 NC 2NC Btn
General Daniel is ordered to support Iverson's assault on the union left. It's really 50/50 for each activation attempt.

Left: General O'Neal  Leadership rating 6 - troops in column do not get the free move while in column.
OOB: 3 AL, 5 AL, 6 AL, 12 AL, 26 AL and Robinson's Sharpshooters. General O'Neal sets up off the table.

Note that there is no overall Confederate commander as the Division Commander Rodes was not present at this part of the battle. This proves crucial in command control and explains the uncoordinated piecemeal attack by the Confederates. The scenario states that the brigades of O'Neal and Daniel were to support Iverson and there was a lot of uncertainty on the field.

Union Forces Set Up:

Baxter's Brigade

Union Right: General Henry Baxter
OOB: 12 MA, 83 NY, 97 NY, 11 PA, 88 PA, 90 PA
General Baxter is holding a hill and is facing threats from the north and west.

Cutler's Brigade

Union Left: General Lysander Cutler
OOB: 76 NY, 95 NY, 147 NY
 Cutler is holding the northern tip of McPhereson Woods and are given hidden set up. This area must be taken by Generals Iverson and Daniel.

Arriving Turn 4: Gabriel Paul
OOB: 94 NY, 104 NY, 107 PA, 16 ME and 13 MA
General Paul has not arrived and is not on the table.

The confederates are given the initiative since the Union is in a defensive popsition.

In the opening move Iverson moves his brigade across the Union center in an attempt to take the woods. The Union's lack of artillery helps the Confederates move quickly. The Confederates are slowed by the many fence lines and lose 6" of movement at each obstacle. The Union forces in the woods hold fire and remain hidden. In the actual battle the union held fire until the Confederates closed to within 80 yards.

 O'Neal fails to move and does not enter. The Union infantry waits patiently on the hill top. A unit of Robinson's Sharpshooters is alread deployed and fires with a disorder result. The union forces return fire with no effect.

In the second turn the Confederates plodded along in the center as Iverson rolls successfully as does O'Neal. The Confederate troops on the left finally begin to arrive! Now the Union forces rise up and deliver a crushing volley. Iverson's leading unit is hit 3 times and the result is no saves. The unit is shaken and the Union Generals rejoice in their fortuitous turn of events. The emotional rollercoaster begins early for both sides. Then the union center opens fire causing a disorder result on a supporting rebel unit. The attack in the center appears to stall for Iverson.

During the second turn the Union right scores a disorder result on the Sharpshooters who have been harrasing them. They finally see the approaching rebel units who are hell bent on taking the hill. The Union players stays on the hill and knows he has a great defensive position. There is no need to rush down and attack. They again exchange fire and disorder the sharpshooters.

The Confederate right flank under General Danial has still not moved. Rolling a 6 or less is very difficult indeed. This is where I miss having the +1 bonus for being in column. Remeber we took it away to keep the conditions true to the battle and reflect the peicemeal assault. Oh the pain...oh the agony!

On turn 3 I roll very well and Iverson gets 3 impetus. I moved the supporting units up to firing positions and deploy in line. Iverson's men shoot well but the Union defenders shrug off the hits. a disorder result is achieved and I hope to keep the Union force pinned down. The remaining 3 units take position as General Daniel conitnues to move to the extreme flank....go man go!
Having the disorder result really hurt the attack. The brigage loses that extra punchneeded to drive the enemy from the field. This was a bad position to be pinned down as the enfilading fire really takes its toll over the next few turns. I moved a bit too close to the center.

General O'Neal moves boldly along the left flank pressing the Union right. The sharshooters provide a skirmish screen so the assault can hit with the full force as intended. The Union forces begin to move aggressively and drive the sharpshooters away. Turn 3 ends with Oneal ready to assault the hill.

A second unit of Iverson's is broken

The Union right flank is in disorder with one shaken unit

General Iverson rolls for 2 impetus for the next turn and moves quickly to the woods. He is just short of engaging in melee. The union forces under Cutler respond with lead and disorder the assaulting units and inflict 3 hits resulting in another shaken Confederate unit. At this point Iverson's brigade is almost broken. Thank goodness I rolled well at each time a unit was shaken and kept the force on the field. Now that 2 units out of 5 are shaken the brigade is almost forced to retire. O'neal has better luck and causes multiple disorders and gets a shaken result on a Union infantry unit. The assault continues.

Iverson finally makes an effort to assault on the following turn, there were a lot of fences to be crossed. The Union unit under Cutler is shaken and disdordered. The Yankee forces stay put and try to hold the key position. The shaken unit is forced to retire on the poor result from the ensuing dice roll. Hopefully enough units can follow up and hit the flank even harder. It's anybody's game at this point.

On the Confederate left the Union exchanges fire as the opponents slug it out. O'Neal's forces try to soften the resistance on the hill but Baxter does not give an inch. The Confederates keep up the pressure hoping the Yankees buckle. It's all hand-tohand if  O'Neal wants to take the position. Cold Steel will rule the day.

The Union center is resolute in holding their position. A formidable position for sure. In the actual battle Iverson advanced on this position losing 900 of his 1400 men. Would it be suicide to do the same?

"Uh Oh", as quoted by me on turn 5

The Union reinforcements begin to arrive as they gain impetus to finally enter. They missed out on turn 4 due to a high command roll.

On turn 6 General Iverson's forces finally take the woods. The Union brigade is now in trouble as several units are shaken. The brigade holds ground in the resulting roll. Cutler's brigade takes up defensive positions on the ridge next to the woods. A sole unit remains in the woods giving th Union some hope in reclaiming or at least contesting the position. We decideed that the Union infantry was in defensible terrain allowing it to stay. Off in the distance a steady drum beat can be heard over the musket fire and screams of dying men. Reinfocements have arrived. 

Now the Union reinforcements are moving up fast as General Paul from Wadsworth's Division of I Corps closes in on the fray. The strategy of General Iverson is changing from assault to defense and he must now hold what has been won. He knows he must must give the rebels a chance at winning or at the very least a respectable draw by keeping a grip on McPhereson's woods. On turn 6 General Daniel finally advances to support Iverson, but there isn't much left of Iverson's brigade left to support. Danile's brigade moves into firing range and deploys in line. 

On the left flank General O'Neal has his hands full. The disorder results from Union firing slow the advance. A unit manages to advance in the extreme flank and tries to break through. If they succeed the flank can be turned and the Confederacy will carry the battle.

O'Neal begins the assault on turn 6

Fighting along the road...hand to hand.

The sole unit from Iverson's brigade holds on and Daniel moves in support. General Paul's blue bellies are advancing in column. A fight for the woods is about to take place if they can reach each other before turn 8.

Gen. Daniel reaches the wood...and Paul is closing in as well

 On the final turn the Union column close in but fail to change to line. The woods are contested but Gen. Paul is caught in a precarious position. The union has the added benefit of command and control as the Division commanders can issue orders when the brigadiers fail to do so.

Gen. O'Neal is repulsed in the final turns of the game. On turn 7 the brigade got in trouble and on turn 8 they were driven back. The battle on this flank could have gone either way but the dice gods favored Billy Yank.

O'Neal is driven back.
The game of 8 turns lasted 2 hours and the game was very close. In the actual battle Gen. Iverson failed and was accused of cowardice and being drunk. The Union also carried the battle until Gen. Ramseur advanced in support of Rodes and drove back the elements of I & II Corps on the first day.

Well another successful game of Black Powder. Until next time.

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