WS&S

Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy

Friday, April 14, 2017

Crisis Point VI - Andreivia (Dawn of Freedom)

Last weekend I travelled up to the small village of Dungworth near Sheffield, UK to take part in Crisis Point VI. This years theme was our fictional Black Sea nation of Andreivia, but in a change from our usual early 1990's games, we set this years event just after the end of the WWI in 1918/1919.














Check out my blog for full AAR's and more information on the game. Rules used were Arc of Fire and the figures are 20mm (1/72).


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Campaign Game. Part Six. Some questions answered and more story narrative.


The current location of all forces.

I have now reached a point at which a few questions need to be answered.

(a) What is the make up of Major General Fremont's force currently encamped just north west of Langchester?

(b) What decision will he come to on receiving rumours that Jackson's Division is at Langchester?

(c) Once the above two questions are answered, we need to know which of the two columns is the real Confederate Corps.

(d) Where is Colonel Ashby's marauding cavalry regiment?

For each question I will give a couple of options, and a roll of the die will decide.

So for (a)

an even roll will mean the whole of his 2nd Brigade plus one cavalry and one artillery battery are detached and currently located at Westwich, some 18 road miles distant.

Or

an odd roll, just the 54th and 58th New York plus one cavalry and one battery under the command of Brigadier General Bohlen, are at Westwich.

I rolled even, so the former is the case.

Now we know this information, I can give some logical options for Fremont.

An even roll, he holds his ground with his single brigade and investigates Langchester.

An odd roll, he breaks camp the following morning and heads back north toward Millwick. Deciding his brigade will not be able to hold out against Jackson's Division until help arrives.

The result will stand, even if the enemy force reported at Langchester turns out to be the ghost army.

I rolled an odd, so Fremont and his brigade will be on the road by 0600 Tuesday morning, heading north.

(c) This one is easy, if I roll an odd number the column at Langchester is the ghost, even then it is the real Corps of Jackson.

I rolled odd. Jackson is at Oxmere, and the ghost army at Langchester is removed from the map.


Finally we can now assume that Colonel Ashby was privy to Jackson's intended route and so he will be operating in the vicinity of Kegford, Hindbrook and Loxleigh 'K11',' 'N10' and 'Q9' respectively. 

The narrative can now continue.

1830 hours, Monday 7th April 1862.
Ashby's Cavalry Regiment. Loxleigh.

It had been a very productive day for Colonel Ashby and his regiment. He had watched the whole of Bank's Division load up, form up and then set off south toward Presthall. That information had been sent via a pair of his troopers to General Jackson, who, if the schedule had been maintained, would now be camped in and around Oxmere.

He and his men had spent the rest of the day chopping down telegraph lines, great swathes of posts now lay on the ground useless. He had managed to isolate Kegford, Hindbrook and Loxleigh, and in doing so, every town south of them, not only from each other but also from all points north.


The day was made complete when he intercepted a Union supply wagon train heading south on the Harfield to Loxleigh road. The Union Lieutenant commanding it had the sense to offer no resistance, so both he and his men were allowed to go free, Ashby had no intention of being burdened with prisoners. He had even allowed the Union soldiers to keep their weapons, without them they could, and probably would be attacked by the locals. He and his men helped themselves to flour, meat, beans and decent coffee. The rest they passed onto the local Virginians, it would be distributed among the farms and towns nearby.

1903 hours, Monday 7th April 1862.
2 miles south of Hazelford on the road to Oxmere.

In the gathering gloom of dusk, both patrols had almost collided as they raced in opposite directions along the road. Captain Joshua Reid was leading a patrol of men from the 1st West Virginia Cavalry, they had been observing the camp of Jackson's men at Oxmere. The captain had quickly realised he was looking at not a single division, but two divisions of the enemy. Information that needed to be quickly passed to Brigadier General Shields, just six miles away at Hazelford.

Ironically, Captain Isiah Goldburgh and his patrol of troopers from Munford's Cavalry Regiment, had discovered, and had been observing the Union division belonging to Shields as they made camp in and around Hazelford. He too was now hurrying back to report his findings to Major General Jackson.

'We saw the blue bellies at about the same time as they laid eyes on us. There was some confusion as at first, they coming up the road from Oxmere, we was a thinking they were another patrol of our regiment. Old Jamie, our sergeant was the first to draw his pistol, them boys is carrying the stars and stripes, he yelled. We all went for our pistols and carbines, and those Yankees did the same.

It was all smoke, noise and chaos, as we charged into each other, though charge might be too fine a description, we was so close together, the horses had barely the space or time to raise more than a trot. I emptied my six gun at some blurred shapes ahead and some passing down my flank, not rightly sure if I hit anything though. In less than a few seconds it was all over, them Yankees disappeared up the road and we carried on down it.
It was later, I discovered a bullet lodged in the pommel of my saddle!'

Trooper Fred Gunder, Munford's Cavalry Regiment.

Apart from the damage to Trooper Gunder's saddle, and one Union trooper who was wounded in the ankle, the encounter had been bloodless.

2100 hours, Monday 7th April 1862.
HQ of Jackson's Corps, Oxmere.

Generals Jackson and Ewell stood at the folding table in the command tent, on it lay a map, and various sheets of paper. The troopers from Colonel Ashby had arrived and delivered the message about Bank's Division being on the move, not only that, it contained details of the units which composed it. Further, just under an hour ago, a patrol sent out north had found Shield's Division only six miles away at Hazelford.

'Richard we have the perfect opportunity to destroy two of the three enemy divisions in our area of operations.' Jackson was smiling, a rare thing for him, he glanced down at the map again before continuing. 'With that melee between patrols on the Hazelford Road, we can assume that General Shields now knows we are here, but if Colonel Ashby has done his work, he will be unable to tell anyone about it.

General Ewell nodded in response, 'We know the make up of Banks' Division, but not where it is at this present moment, How far south from Kegford has he advanced?'

It was Jackson's turn to nod. 'We should have that information within a few hours.'

On receipt of the message from Colonel Ashby, Jackson had ordered a patrol to make all speed up the road that Banks. Division would be travelling, and report on its current location.

'Dependent on that information, I believe we will have the opportunity to engage and defeat Shields, before facing Banks.' He slapped his fist into his left palm. 'We will never have a better opportunity, We have the advantage in numbers, a corps against two separate divisions that cannot quickly come to the aid of the other.' He pointed to the mountain range that ran between the two roads on which the Union divisions were now located. 'There is no way across those mountains for men on foot, let alone wagons and artillery, No, both would have to pass through Oxmere if they wished to assist their comrades.'

Richard Ewell agreed with his boss, this was indeed a perfect opportunity to strike a blow against the enemy. 'Will you take Shields first Thomas?

Jackson nodded, 'That is my thinking Richard, I will take most of the corps and head for Shields at Hazelford, I want you to remain here with a mixed brigade to hold off Banks should he appear, though I imagine Banks to be a good deal further away.' He pulled out a pocket watch, glanced at it before continuing, 'The longer that search patrol takes to return, then the further away Banks must be. If Shields stands and fights, he will be defeated in plenty enough time for us to return here, resupply ourselves and then head off to defeat Banks.'

The search patrol returned just after 0400 hours on Tuesday morning with the information that Banks and his division were camped at Presthall, Fourteen miles away!

Join me in he next part to see if Shields stands and faces Jackson.









Friday, April 7, 2017

Campaign Game. Part Five. More narrative and regiments on the move.

0700 Hours, Friday 4th April 1862.
Moorburn or Ashchester.

Colonel Turner Ashby, glanced down the length of his regiment of mounted men, satisfied, he rode to the head of the column. He gave a final salute to Major General Jackson, who stood on the porch of his headquarters. He raised his right arm and swept it forward, a signal for his troopers to advance. Shouts of men mixed, with the jingle of riding tack and the sound of creaking leather along with the footsteps of the horses, as the commands rippled down the column, announced that Ashby's Cavalry Regiment was on the move.

Ashby knew the mission was fraught with danger, but the majority of his regiment had been raised in the very territory they were headed for. Local boys from Langfold, Oakley and a score of other towns and farmsteads. They had volunteered for service last year, now they were going home. Jackson had supplied him with the latest information regarding the whereabouts of the Union troops. A line extending east to west from Portsdale through Kegford to Millwick, and possibly, from the latest information, Westwich too. In fact the Union troops had barely moved over the winter, making themselves at home in the towns, though they received little hospitality from the Virginia residents, who, almost to a man supported the southern cause.

The local knowledge of the countryside they would operate in, would give him a distinct advantage over the enemy. Even now he was recalling secret little paths, known only to someone born and raised in the area, he doubted there was so much as a blade of grass anywhere to the north, that was not known intimately by someone in the regiment.

The town now gave way to the Spring countryside as the column headed north, Turner Ashby at its head, was smiling.

1015 Hours, Friday 4th April, 1864.
Divisional HQ, Banks Division, Kegford.

Some three hours later, and around fifty or so miles to the north, Major General Nathaniel Banks was not smiling. He was pacing up and down his office, clutching a message he had received by telegraph from Washington less than thirty minutes before.

'Jackson's Division is believed to be in the south of your area.' He turned to to the major who was acting as his aide and held up the sheet of paper. 'That is about as much use as telling me that there is a needle in a haystack.'

The major remained silent, his boss wasn't expecting a reply from him.

'Seek out, bring to battle and destroy the enemy force,' Banks continued, still pacing the room. 'Easy to say, not so damn easy to do.' He stopped and looked down once again at the sheet in his hand before continuing. 'You have sufficient forces at your disposal to quickly expedite such an operation, it is imperative that Jackson is either destroyed or pushed back to the south. The divisions of Major General Fremont and Brigadier General Shields, are urgently required elsewhere.' He screwed up the message and threw it at the wall.

The major waited silently.

The general stood before the map on the wall. His three divisions were currently in excellent defensive positions, Jackson would be unable to slip past, more importantly they were no more than a day and a half's march away from each other, should support be needed. He knew he would have to reply to Washington soon, and the message would need to placate the high command.
His index finger moved down the road from Kegford, through Presthall to Oxmere. Some 23 miles. He then did the same from Portsdale to Hazelford, a distance of 12 miles. That would still cover all the roads leading north in the central and eastern sectors, with the added bonus of placing Shields Division only six miles from his own.


The problem was in the western zone, Fremont's Division was already stretched to cover both Westwich and Millwick. The force at Millwick could advance down to Langchester, his finger traced the route, that would put it just 20 miles from Oxmere. The problem was the other force at Westwich. If it advanced south, it would be really out on a limb with little chance of any support should Jackson choose that route north. He would telegraph John Fremont and James Shields before answering Washington, and seek their opinions on the general move south.



So with troops about to hit the road, it is time to think about the daily weather. The average temperature for April is 64 degrees Fahrenheit, with 11.7 rainy days in the month. Let us round that up to 12 days. For each day I shall roll a D6 with the following possible results.

1 – Heavy rain.
2 – Light rain.
3 through 6 – Dry.

The average rainfall for the month is 75mm (3 inches), so hardly monsoon type weather, even so, dirt tracks in any sort of wet weather, with men, horses and wagons will quickly turn it to a muddy morass. In heavy rain I will reduce movement by 3 miles or one campaign square per day. Light rain will only affect movement if it occurs on two consecutive days, or indeed follows heavy rain.

Rolling for the next four days produced the following:

Friday 4th April – Light rain.
Saturday 5th April – Dry.
Sunday 6th April – Heavy rain.
Monday 7th April – Dry.

Movement rates will only affect the travel on Sunday.

We know Jackson intended to set off north on Saturday morning, a dry day.
I have attached the map below, the full map first to get a general view, and a more zoomed in, and easier to read, close up of the southern section.



Confederate column B began Saturday morning at their camp at Ashchester, a decision had to be made on which route north they would take, either westerly via Barport and Norden or the more easterly route via Ottermere and Whitehalgh, an odd or even roll of the die, set the column off on the latter route. By 1600 they were making camp by the bridge over the Little Swale River at 'C25.' Sunday's heavy rain slowed down the advance a little and camp was made at F21 just south of where the Swale and Little Swale Rivers meet. At 1400 on Monday they reached 'F17' Langchester, and as this had been chosen as an advanced supply base, a halt was ordered.

Confederate column A could go north via Foxwell and Henhampton or less likely, Foxwell to Keldon. A die roll decided on the former. At 1600 Saturday they reached Henhampton, by 1600 on Sunday they camped at 'M22' some three miles north of Middleholm, Finally they reached Oxmere around 1500 hours on Monday, this was the site of the advanced supply base, so the column halted here to await its supply train to arrive later in the day.


Turning to the northern half of the map. All the Union divisions stayed in their starting positions until Monday morning. This was again decided by a die roll, they could have moved on either Saturday, Sunday or Monday.

Shields Division reached his planned destination of Hazelford by 1600 on Monday. Banks Division was headed for Oxmere, but had stopped for the night at Presthall, Finally, Fremont's Division,(Fremont 'b') or at least a part of it, I rolled a die and Major General Fremont was with this portion of his division. Moved to 'F16' some three miles north west of Langchester at 1600. The detached portion of his division had stayed put in Westwich. (Fremont 'a')


Putting the positions of both Union and Confederate on the same map, gives us an interesting situation at 1600 Monday. Fremont's weakened division is just three miles from Confederate column B and Shields Divison is just six miles from Confederate column A.

The next thing to do is see who puts out scouts, pickets etc. and if they find each other. Already rumours abound, about Jackson's force being close to Langchester or Oxmere. Also remember Ashby's Cavalry, they set off a day earlier than the rest of the Confederate Corps and by 1600 on Monday are in the rear of the Union forces! More of them later...


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Campaign Games. Part Four. Narrative, the first map movements and thinking aloud.


0615 Hours, Thursday 3rd April 1862.
Moorburn or Ashchester.

An oil lamp still burned on the table before the standing, hunched figure of Major General Thomas Jackson. Its light losing the battle of dominance with the rising sun of the new day.

Jackson paid little heed to this duel of light sources, his eyes moving slowly over the map laid out before him. The verdant and lush Virginia countryside, reduced to black and brown lines on the heavily stained and creased paper.

He had risen long before dawn, dressed and breakfasted, even though he had not had above five hours sleep, and Thomas could sleep, he was noted for it. Anywhere, anytime, any place, and at the drop of a hat too. But this morning he had some thinking to do, he would take a nap later, if time permitted.

His Corps had moved fast and had only arrived at this location as the Sun was lowering to the horizon last night. The men needed a couple of days to rest, it would also allow for supplies to catch up. One of his two cavalry regiments would only get a single days rest, he intended to send them out tomorrow. They would head north and act independently, gathering information on the enemy as well as causing mischief behind their lines. He particularly wanted the telegraph lines cut, to isolate the enemy divisions from each other and Washington too. The rest of his Corps would begin the march north on Saturday.

Any other general would have his subordinate commanders gathered around the map as he explained his plans, and would listen to suggestions or doubts from them. But Thomas 'Stonewall' Jackson, was not any other general. Much to the chagrin and annoyance of his senior officers, Jackson rarely divulged what his plans were to anyone else. This could, and often did, lead to problems on the field, but it was, and always had been, his way. Jackson was in command of a Corps, and even his fellow senior officer, Major General Richard Ewell, who commanded the other division of the Corps, was not privy to his thoughts.

Jackson stepped back from the table and extended his right arm high above his head, he needed to equalise the blood, he was convinced that this was a necessary exercise and carried it out a number of times each day. His officers and men had grown used to this odd behaviour from their leader, and paid little attention to it, apart from the odd wry smile or shake of a head.

He had made his decisions and would now issue the orders to set them in motion.



Position of all forces at 6am Thursday 3rd April 1862

The overall map is not too clear, so I have added top and bottom views as well. I am not very good with computers, and this is the best I can do.

Fremont's Division has been divided to cover the roads north, placing troops at both Westwich and Millwick.  What the make up of forces is, we will not know until either of them come in to contact with Jackson's Corps. At that time I will roll a die to determine the strength, and in which location the divisional commander has chosen place himself. Banks and Shields have their full divisions at Kegford and Portsdale respectively. Though I shall roll to see if either or both, send out scouting parties. The same with Fremont.



In the southern sector, Jackson's Corps will either be at Ashchester or Moorburn. Both columns will remain on the map as they advance, only when contact with an enemy unit is made, will we know which is the real and which is the ghost column.

Further on the map, the large areas of blank squares, are of course, not blank at all. They will be covered in mountains, hills, forest etc. but for now they need not be shown, it will just clutter up the map. But an example is the road from Ashchester, the starting point for column B to Moorburn, column A's location is a meandering road, probably skirting around mountains. Other blank areas will be similar and I shall fill in the details, as and if, required.

The rules, as already mentioned, will be Black Powder, with the addition of the Glory Hallelujah! supplement. However, I will not be using the double six as a blunder rule, it will simply be a failed order. Also each brigade commander will issue orders and roll, much like a multi-player game, assuming it is a large action. Not just one chance for each side before a failure ends the turn. It will still allow for the fog of war, with one brigade following its orders, but the other possibly failing and not moving at all.

Also the turns in BP equate to activation's on both sides, first one, then the other. I am going to call one game turn a period of thirty minutes. So four turns on the table top will equate to two hours on the main map. This will allow possible reinforcements to continue to approach the field of battle, as well as ordinary movement on the map. The rest of the world continues and is not frozen because a battle is taking place.

As you can quickly see, a battle that starts soon after sunrise, could feasibly last all day, with two table top turns representing an hour, a total of 12 to 16 hours of daylight, giving lots of turns on the table. Assuming of course, that the battle started at first light. I expect many encounters will take place with far less time to deploy and fight. Movement on the main map, will allow me to work out the time of day that the two forces collide, and so give me the maximum number of table turns before darkness intervenes.

When forces do meet, they will need to deploy as in real life, no instant neat lines formed up for battle, for example, if it is a full division, it will be strung out for a couple of miles or more, still marching. They will take time to come up to the field and deploy. This will be represented in the game mechanics.

I have waffled on long enough, but there is lots more to explain. I shall cover other points as and when they arrive, for fear of driving you away out of boredom.

As a reward for your perseverance, a few shots from previous battles.












Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Campaign Games. Part Three. Maps, Rules & Solo System.

A decision needs to be made on which, of the many rule sets to use for this period. For a number of reasons I have chosen 'Black Powder' and its supplement 'Glory Hallelujah!' from Warlord Games. I have many rule sets, and that is the problem. All have good and bad points, but all of them take time to learn and master, this set is quick and easy to learn, gives a reasonable feel for the period, especially with the rules included in the American Civil War supplement.

The other reason is that I have, by the same publisher, 'Hail Caesar' and 'Pike & Shotte.' As I also have armies for those periods, once you have learned the basic rules, the other publications just add period specific amendments, so making it easy to switch from one set to another, without having to re-read the rule book, in an effort to reacquaint yourself with the game mechanics.



An invaluable source of reference is Donald Featherstone's 'Wargaming Campaigns,' it contains many fine ideas, some dated, it was after all published originally in 1970, and has been the inspiration for this very campaign. Long out of print, it has been resurrected by John Curry as part of his 'History of Wargaming Project.' Well worth the money.



I have done a little more work on my very cheaply made and hand drawn map. It is scruffy and amateurish, but it is perfectly fine for the job in hand. I have now added the names of the rivers and also done a rough notation of distances in miles between towns etc. Once the game begins, I shall have to figure out the best way of recording map movements for the blog, probably using some software which will allow me to draw on the photograph of the map, or I may just go old school and use physical markers of some sort, photographing the result.



The following are better sized images of the top and bottom of the map, to make it easier for you to read.Whilst the top half of the map is in view, it may be a good time to start talking about how the game mechanism will work for solo play.

We know from the OOB, that the Union has three divisions to deploy in this sector of the map, how do I decide where to place them? You will recall that part of the Union brief is to prevent Jackson exiting the northern edge of the map. There are four roads exiting that edge. Starting in the west at grid square 'C1' 4 miles north of Langford, 'J1' 4 miles north of Moorbrook, 'M1' 5 miles north west of Barbeck and finally, 'Q1' 14 miles north and west of Harfield.


It is time to put my Union general(s) hat on,to work out not only the best place to position my divisions to prevent Jackson's escape north, but also to seek and destroy him, which is the other part of the Union brief.

It would make sense to give the three divisions a sector each, The eastern sector seems obvious, base the division at Portsdale 'P12' that would block two of the exit roads.The central sector would warrant a force being placed at Kegford 'K11.' The western sector is more of a problem. Placing the division at Langfold 'C2' would definitely block the final road, but is too far north and hardly in a threatening position. To keep this division, roughly parallel, and within supporting distance of the central division, it would seem logical to place it at Millwick 'F13' or Westwich 'C14.' Indeed this division will probably need to divide its strength between the two locations.
All three divisions would probably have small scouting and probing forces strung out to the south of their positions too, All of that will be decided by rolling a die and consulting a table of options for each situation.


Turning to the southern section of the map, Jackson's Corps moving in from the southern edge could be at either Moorburn 'K31' or Ashchester 'B30.' Jackson being the man he is, will be keen to go on the offensive. He will hope to catch and destroy one of the Union divisions, and possibly even a second, if he can keep them apart.

His corps will have two counters on the map, one will be a decoy or ghost army, the problem is neither the Union generals, nor I, will know which one of the two is real until contact is made. Just as with the Union forces, the routes taken by these two forces will be determined by die rolls.

Once contact is made, and the location of the real force is known, options on routes would allow the Confederates to once again have two counters, starting in the same location, but able to fan out, assuming of course that the Union forces lose contact, otherwise only the real force will be on the map.


So, the planning is now almost over, the research done, I now need to create some options for both sides as mentioned above and let the dice decide.

Thank you for taking the time to read this series of articles, the comments I have received are really welcomed and appreciated and spur me on even more. The series has received a lot of views, so I must be doing something right!

Join in the next part of the series, when each side will begin to jostle for position on the map.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Campaign Games. Part Two. Research Required.

So after deciding the basic idea of the campaign we wish to fight, drawing a rudimentary map, be it real or fictitious and selecting the time period and location. What now?

I am afraid there is a lot of research to be done before a single figure is placed on the tabletop or a handful of dice are lovingly caressed. I did warn you it entailed a lot of work. Fortunately, with the wonders of the internet, we have access to virtually unlimited information, which may of course be accurate or not. You have to sift through and separate the wheat from the chaff.


Confederate forces prepare to defend a position against the arriving Union troops.


For myself in this campaign, after drawing the map, I now needed to work out a movement rate to use on it, for the differing troop types, along roads or even across country. I created the following tables.

Movement – Roads

Unit Type
Miles per Hour
Miles per Day
Miles per Week
Union Infantry
1.5
12
72
Rebel Infantry *
2
16
96
Cavalry
2.5
20
120
Foot Artillery
1.5
12
72
Horse Artillery
2.5
20
120
Supply Wagons
1.5
12
72


Movement - Cross-country


Unit Type
Miles per Hour
Miles per Day
Miles per Week
Union Infantry
0.75
6
36
Rebel Infantry *
1
8
48
Cavalry
1.25
10
60
Foot Artillery
0.5
4
24
Horse Artillery
1.25
10
60
Supply Wagons
0.5
4
24

* to simulate 'Jackson's Foot Cavalry'

 I won't insult your intelligence by going through the tables, I believe they are easily understood. I will though mention a couple of points behind my thinking.

Horse artillery, will be a single battery attached to the Confederate Cavalry brigade, all other batteries will be Foot Artillery.

I was going to give cavalry a movement of 3 mph on roads, but rather than bring the horse artillery up to that speed, I dropped the troopers speed by half a mile an hour.

Finally, I debated on the speed of Jackson's Foot Cavalry, they really did clock up an incredible rate of march during that period, Don Featherstone put them at the same speed as the cavalry. However, I decided on making them half mph faster than their Union counterparts. This will still give them four miles per day advantage on a normal road march.


A small table laid out awaiting the arrival of the troops. Roads were of paramount importance for movement, even if little more than dirt tracks. You simply didn't wander across the open countryside without good reason.


You can quickly see how the above tables will allow me to track movement on the map. The reasons for the distances covered is to me, reasonably sound.

Troops march for a total of eight hours a day, four hours before noon, a break, with a further four hours in the afternoon. They could do a forced march for a further four hours, but that would cause fatigue. Fatigue will affect the units performance in battle, and at some point the troops will have to rest for one or two full days to recover.

Also the figures for miles per week, add up to marching for six days, they rest on the seventh.


Confederate troops newly arrived down the road, deploy for battle.


I next researched weather, time of sunrise etc. See the table below.

Weather Conditions – Averages per month.


Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Precipitation (mm)
75
93
79
95
90
88
87
75
Wet Days
11.7
12.7
11.2
12.1
11.1
9.3
8.9
10.8
Average Temp.(F)
64
72
80
84
83
76
66
56
Sunrise (am)
6
5.3
5
4.3
5.3
5.3
6
6
Sunset (pm)
7
8
8.3
8.3
8
7.3
7
6



With the above information, and a die roll or two, I know the times of sunrise, sunset, possible temperature, likelihood of rain etc. Important facts, especially for determining the effect of consecutive days of rain on the mostly dirt roads. 

It will also allow me to work out how many hours of daylight, and so the number of game turns on the table, that an actual battle can last for, before darkness forces a halt.

For the curious, the above table is specifically for Staunton, Virginia. I did have to alter some sunrise and sunset times, as of course they didn't go in for daylight saving time back then!


'Hey Sarge, do we put the clocks back tonight?'

Things are starting to come together now, One of my favourite tasks is working out an Order of Battle (OOB) for any game, let alone a campaign game.

Here is my OOB for the campaign.

Confederacy

Jackson's Division

Stonewall Brigade 2nd, 4th, 5th & 27th Virginia.
Taliaferro Brigade 47th, 48th Alabama, 23rd & 37th Virginia.
Artillery Poague and Cutshaw's batteries, 2 guns each.

Ewell's Division

Trimble's Brigade 12th, 21st Georgia, 15th Alabama & 21st North Carolina.
Taylor's Brigade 5th, 6th, 7th & 8th Louisiana.
Artillery Lusk and Raines batteries, 2 guns each.

Cavalry Brigade

Munfords Regiment
Ashby's Regiment
Chew's Flying battery, 1 gun

Union

Bank's Division

B-G A.S. Williams. 1st Brigade 5th Connecticut, 28th NY, 47th Penn & 1st Maryland.
B-G G.H. Gordon. 2nd Brigade 27th Indiana, 2nd Mass, 29th Penn & 3rd Wisconsin.
Cavalry Brigade 1st Maine & 1st Michigan.
Artillery 'M Batt' 1st NY & 'F Batt' Penn.

Fremont's Division

B-G J. Stahel. 1st Brigade 8th, 39th, 41st & 45th NY.
B-G H. Bohlen. 2nd Brigade 54th, 58th NY, 74th & 75th Penn.
Cavalry Brigade 4th NY & 6th Ohio.
Artillery 1st NY Batt & 12th Ohio Batt.

Shields Division

B-G E.B. Tyler. 3rd Brigade 5th, 7th, 29th & 66th Ohio.
B-G Carroll. 4th Brigade 1st West Virginia, 7th Indiana, 84th & 110th Penn.
Cavalry Brigade 1st & 2nd West Virginia.
Artillery Rigby's Indiana Batt & 2nd Maine Batt.

So finally, some troops are listed, 'Are we nearly there yet?' Well, not too far to go now, but as this is a game being played solo, I have to factor in some further mechanism's, to take most of the control and decision making out of my hands and put them into the hands of the dice god.



In the thick of the action.

In the next part I will describe the solo mechanism's, and give more details of the home drawn map, and how it will enable me to set up a realistic table when forces collide. There is also the not so small matter of lines of communication.
Musket balls and bread are not a infinite commodity, and they don't magically appear via a time warp or magic carpet. This is a campaign not a throw down battle right?

Campaign Games. Part One. Are they worth the trouble?

We all agree that fighting a tabletop battle should be fun, exciting and thought provoking. If you don't, then you wouldn't be a subscriber to this blog or even bother to read this article. Some of you may know, from previous posts on this and my own blog, plus comments on Tabletop Commanders Paint & Chat sessions, that I love a back story.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with a throw down game to pass an enjoyable hour or two, just rolling dice and pushing the metal or plastic around the table. It is after all why most of us research, buy, assemble, paint and base our figures. Watching them successfully smite or run from the enemy, depending on how the dice god feels at the time of course.


The Marquis of Newcastle's 'Lambs' defending a ruined church against the Parliamentarians.


The ominous sight of approaching enemy musketeers. The English Civil War.


As much as I enjoy those throw away type battles, I am always looking for what happened before, the circumstances and maneuvering that led to this battle, and what will happen after. In our throw down games, this is of little consequence, but if the battle was part of a larger affair, then the result could be critical for both sides.


The Union Army of the Potomac ready to march.


The answer could well lay in a campaign game, it does entail a lot of preparatory work, which you may or may not have the time, or the wish to undertake. You also need an opponent, or do you? more of this in a future part, who is happy to give up a substantial part of his or her time also. There will be a need for record keeping throughout the campaign, which again, could put a lot of people off.


A heavily protected supply wagon ready to hit the road in a Wars of the Roses battle.


The wargaming legend Don Featherstone, captured my imagination with his book, Wargaming Campaigns. It contains many ideas and also some examples of possible campaigns. The one that always appealed to me was his ideas for 'Jackson in the Valley,' a campaign game based on that epic series of battles in 1862 in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia.

A Greenspan map of the Shenandoah Valley during the American Civil War.


I decided to create a campaign game, based on the writings of Featherstone. Though I have chosen to draw a fictitious map on which to move and fight my armies. For anyone choosing to fight a campaign, a map is probably the very first consideration,be it real or imaginary.


My campaign map measures 96 miles from top to bottom (north to south) and 54 miles east to west. Each square measures 3 miles top to bottom and left to right and therefore contains 9 square miles. (More of this map in future postings)


The next thing to decide is the purpose of the whole campaign. As mine is based on Jackson's exploits, then three Union divisions are tasked with finding and either destroying Jackson's force, or driving it southward off the map. Whilst also making sure that Jackson does not slip past them and exits the northern map edge.
Jackson will have a corps, consisting of just two divisions, so is immediately outnumbered 3-2 if, and it is a big if, the Union can find him and concentrate all their forces against him in a large battle. Jackson's brief is to tie down as many Union troops as he can, for as long as he can, without his force being destroyed.

The gamer now needs an Order of Battle (OOB) for each force, movement rates for the map, weather conditions, temperature, dawn and sunset plus a number of other factors.

I shall show those and give my reasoning behind them in the next article in this series.

I will leave you with some photographs of previous battle using my 6mm ACW armies, hopefully they will whet your appetite for more of the same when the campaign begins.






Friday, February 17, 2017

Wargaming Economics.

I am currently about to embark on an Imagi-Nation project, I wanted to do a period I had never visited before, so when Warlord Games announced the impending release of the 'Marlborough Starter Army' these sculpts are the former Wargames Factory figures, I took the plunge and pre-ordered two boxes.

I saw it as a reasonably cheap way to build up two armies. You can see for yourself just what comes in the box which is priced at £85 on the Warlord site, no doubt it will appear cheaper elsewhere soon.
Counting each figure, I counted rider and horse as one, plus the cannon as a single figure also, you get a total of 126 figures in the box.

That works out at 67 pence per figure, which for 28mm is very acceptable.





They are also producing box sets of single foot regiments, these are priced at £16 which equates to 66 pence a figure for infantry.





The cavalry come in at £20 giving £1.66 per mounted figure.





Finally, also £20 is the artillery, containing three guns, twelve crew and three mounted officers. This comes out at £1.11 per figure.




Of course, Warlord offer multi-buy deals, an infantry brigade of three standard boxes will set you back £45 instead of £48 if bought individually. The cost per figure being 62.5p. A cavalry brigade of two boxes is £36 instead of £40 giving £1.50 a figure. Finally, a battery of artillery consisting of two boxes comes in at £36 again instead of £40 if bought individually. At a cost of £1 a figure.

Using the above multi deals were possible I worked out that to recreate a starter box set would cost:
Infantry brigade deal £45 plus one single box £16 = £61 (96 infantry figures)
Cavalry box £20
Artillery box £20

A total of £101

So as to be expected, the starter box gives better value, being saving you £16, which of course you will probably end up spending on an extra box of infantry.