Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Grand Theater map for east seaboard ACW

 I have been busy with map merging and making tools for use in a proposed ACW theater level campaign system.

So far the map seems to be in order ...

based on merging two era maps
each hex is approximately 6 miles across
or one day's march for infantry

I wanted something that could be used in a larger context and needed to really cover the whole of the big battles of the American Civil War eastern seaboard theater.

This way we can work from the 'known' of the era as the maps would have been shown to the commanders of the time.

More tools need to be designed for the command functions and some play-testing to see what else might be missing.

My aim is to be ready to run a campaign game of 1863, post Chancellorsville, with the intention to generate a large field battle (the history led to Gettysburg) which could be put on over a weekend this coming July.

Those of you who have game'd in my 1813 and Waterloo set-ups know what fun and tension can be generated.

Watch for recruiting in the near future.

Friday, April 07, 2023

Bull Run 2.0 - Operational maneuver and tactical battle

 At long last the many items I have been building for battles have come into use in a single day of action.

I set up the two players with their own map and set of troop markers and 'blanks' for enemy detection marking.

We started the situation as of 15 July 1861, then commenced with deployments.

I added a 'wrinkle' in that naval action could bring in a brigade along the coastline as far inland as the junction of the Occoquan and Bull Run, as well as anywhere on the Virginia coastline.

16 July


The Confederate player settled in with a conservative deployment, strictly to gain contact when the Union arrived ... not to engage.  Messages were sent for urgent troops to Richmond and the army of the Shenandoah.

17 July

The Union command went with a fairly basic approach ... advancing with two divisions towards the junction and using the naval action to 'distract' and possibly pull in the rebs ...

18 July

By the 18th of July, the Confederates knew that help was coming and that they only needed a day more delay to have some troops arrive and a further two days to have the big Army of the Shenandoah come to aid the defense ...

19 July

More maneuvers were attempted by the Union, to fully gain the Confederate flank, but reports of railway departures from the south and rumors of other troops coming got the Union commander concerned enough to push for a battle situation.

21 July

By the end of the 21st of July the Union commander knew that he could not wait any longer, settling on an attack in the later morning of the 22nd.

Confederate reinforcements were set to arrive in the afternoon of the 22nd, it would be a close call as to the outcome ...

22 July - day of Battle

Bull Run moving north to south across the field

on a southern hill the larger formation of infantry covered Ball's ford

a northern ford, was overlooked by Cocke's Brigade

Union troops all arrived in columns

they were all on the field in 15 minutes

by 11:30 am the Union troops were maneuvering

An amazing lucky shot from the lone Confederate battery (scoring a 10!) on the column of Sherman, saw the Colonel mortally wounded. (again Sherman would die on the field)

high noon and the commanding general arrives

already the death toll on what would become
'the bloody hill'
had begun

'the bloody hill' filled with Union dead as a second
Confederate charge was successful

the sweep down the hill would destroy Rickett's battery

2:15 pm would see the start of the Army of the Shenandoah
arriving, including a brigade by rail!

after arriving by rail and being ordered to attack
Union Brigade under Franklin, Bartow's Brigade
was utterly shattered in the hand to hand battle

3 pm and the Bull Run was again in no-one's hands

a critical moment for the new commander of
Sherman's Brigade, again a failure

by 3 pm Confederate command was comfortable
that the Union could not win the day ...

Schenk is about to be shanked ...

Union artillery failed to score any hits
(the 1 die roll)

Jackson's Virginians
'stand a wall'
at Ball's ford

final turn as the battle was ended at 3:30 pm

the south hill would collapse as Franklin's command
would flee across Bull Run in panic under the weight
of fire from the rebels

Schenck would also flee across the Bull Run

Sherman's third commander would need to move south
and use the rail trestles to cross the river as the
Confederates controlled the fords ...

That was a great day of game in exploring the 'what if' of the battle of Bull Run 1861.

I have also been busy mustering more forces to get a Shiloh battle put together, though there is a rumor of a Gettysburg battle on the horizon ...

new metal getting ready ...