Wednesday 23 February 2022

Game day and some new purchases.

 Postie brought me a couple of things this morning I’ve been waiting for quite eagerly.

First up is Stuart Insch’s new publication ‘Against Spain’ - Wargaming the sieges of Havana and Manila 1762-1764.

74 pages of excellent content covering the background to the campaigns and the history of what took place before giving you 6 scenarios - all small scale actions but conversing a wide range of actions - naval landings, raid on camps, storming the walls etc lots to really get your teeth into and if you wish using a variety of troops. I will be reading this tonight for sure.

It’s available from Stuart at where more information is available.

The other item that arrived was

This small game covers the Prussian attack on Plancenoit at Waterloo. An often overlooked action and the importance it played in preventing the French reinforcing their attacks on the Allied lines. 

This was reviewed by Norman on his Battlefields and Warriors blogspot and is a small enough game to play either solo or against an opponent in a couple of hours and has some really interesting mechanics. I hope to have a dabble with this over the weekend.

Finally I managed to get a game in, this was a continuation of the Gettysburg scenarios published in Summer Storm - in my humble opinion and excellent publication for gamers

Today was the third scenario in the book Blocher’s Knoll. This engagement took place to the North of Gettysburg on the first day and involved the Union XIth Corps against men from Early’s Division. The Union troops had advanced to protect the flank of 1st Corps.

Union commander of the 1st Division Brigadier General Barlow noticed a prominent rise further north of his position and decided this would be a better defensive position so he ordered his two brigades to advance onto the knoll . It was an exposed position and Confederate artillery converged their fire from several directions this coupled with a strong Confederate infantry attack sent the Union troops back through Gettysburg this was in spite of an attempted Union counter attack. 

So on paper there wasn’t much difference in numbers although the Confederated did have slightly more artillery.

The game was played using Bonnie Blue Flag, the Confederates receive two further brigades of infantry arriving top right of the map (2 and 3). The Union receive one brigade of reinforcements arriving on bound 6( point 1 bottom centre). The game is due to last 10 bounds. In addition to the troops on the table the Confederates also have 2 batteries of artillery off table the shaded areas top left - (4 and 5) the Union player has the option of using Von  Amsberg’s two batteries to suppress the rebel guns the Union player cannot move his guns if he chooses to do this. So today I was playing Union against Mark’s Confederates.

The opening moves were pretty much as expected I gained the initiative for the first three bounds and I’d decided to push Von Gilsa’s troops to the fence line to slow Gordon’s and Doles troops, in support I was also sending two regiments of Ames men to match off against Doles against the fence line.

Von Amsberg’s men were ordered to advance and outflank Doles and his two batteries were providing suppressing fire on the off board artillery Krzyzanowski was ordered to move to the centre to the rear of the knoll in preparation of holding the hill should Barlows men fall back.

It appeared to be all going much to plan the main problem was that whilst troops at the fence line were causing casualties among the Confederates they were able to withdraw them and replace with fresh troops whilst the Union couldn’t. The Confederate artillery on their left flank had been attempting long range firing at Union troops on the knoll with mixed effect they had caused one unit to retire but XIth corps commander Major General Schulz had rallied them and put them back to full strength. Hays Brigade and Early were advancing up the centre to support Gordon whilst Hokes brigade were slowly making their way down the stream to outflank the Union.

Come bound 4 and 5 Doles and Gordon’s brigades launched their main assault on the fence line and succeeded in pushing the Union troops back and the first cracks began to appear the 153rd PA was engaged in melee and suddenly surrendered together with the brigade commander Von Gilsa!

Bound 6 saw the arrival of Coster’s brigade on the Union right, but the signs of change began to appear, the Confederates gained the initiative and carried on pushing with their infantry towards the knoll. The two off board batteries were no longer suppressed and began to cause casualties amongst Von Amsberg’s men causing the 61st Ohio to retire from the fence line and their flanking of Doles brigade. But it was in the centre where the dice gods suddenly removed their favour, the on board batteries opened fire on the 25th Ohio who were on the top of the knoll, The unit had to score 40% or more four times, the highest they scored was 35% suddenly the 25th had evaporated! 

This run of excruciating dice throwing continued into bound 8 where three more Union regiments disappeared amidst musket balls and cannon shot. 

Come bound 9 Costers brigade had secured the Union right and Krzyzanowski was lined at the base of the knoll covering the retreat of Barlow’s survivors.Whilst Von Amsberg’s men were not seriously threatened by the Confederate infantry the off board Rebel artillery were causing attrition amongst his men the Confederates had not lost a unit, whilst many regiments carried casualties no one had left the field of battle whereas the Union had effectively lost two brigades, two commanders and a battery. Major General Schulz had no option but to call retreat and take the troops back through Gettysburg.

An excellent game with some great replay value, rules held up well I added house rules for Officer casualties as I can’t see any in the main rule book. Roll on the next scenario.