A place for me to show off all my wargames stuff.

American Civil WAr

25/28mm American Civil War

Nigel put on a game of good old ‘Fire and Fury’. It had been years since the last time I had a game of ACW using those rules but as expected I fell right into his trap.

The scenario he put on was a quite simple attack defence affair with a couple of Confederate brigades of foot with a few cannon supporting them trying to oust a fairly similar number of union regiments from a defensive position at a river crossing. It was a great game though. The Union dismounted cavalry took an amazing amount of shifting and the lines of infantry surged and recoiled across the battlefield in that manner which is peculiar to F&F and both exciting and excruciating as a player.

If you have never played F&F I urge you to do so, it is always an exciting game and predictably the outcome was that feeling that begins in the pit of your stomach and you know is going to cost you ££’s especially as Nigel had put the game on using 25/28mm figures! It was also a bit of a perfect storm as only matter of a couple of weeks away was the Gateshead wargames show. After a quick chat with Nigel it was decided that what he really needed was a few more Union infantry…

At the show…I picked up a couple of boxes of Perry plastics – Union Infantry and Cannons with limbers. Also Old Glory UK had a stand and it has to be said that I really like their miniatures, so I picked up a Union regiment pack from their 25mm range too. I also had a bit of luck that one of the traders had a single ACW mounted commander for sale at a discounted price!

Here are the plastics, painted and in the process of being based…and then with the bases partly done.

ACW (7)ACW (5)

ACW (4)

The Perry plastics are really good, the miniatures went together well and they have a decent amount of detail. The artillery pack is fantastic since it provides a good amount of options but most importantly (to me) the three cannon it contains all come with a limber! Of course it would be even better if they had horses but its not a great chore to get horses especially when you can swap one of the cannons + limber with a mate for them (thanks Nigel!).

As I have already said, I do really like Old Glory miniatures and these ACW were a joy. There was a large variety of poses in the regiment pack – in fact I don’t think any two miniatures were actually identical! Here is a photo of them undercoated and dry brushed with white prior to painting:

ACW (6)

And then a photo of the completed Division awaiting the bases to be completed:

ACW (3)

For painting these I used Vallejo ‘Oxford Blue’ for the main dark blue of the Union coats and I mixed up a light blue just using what I had to hand for their trousers. I was not too fussed about the actual shade of the blue for either since there was not such good colour control during manufacturing back then anyway.

For the bases I use a slightly different method these days since reading Henry Hydes ‘Wargaming Emporium’ ( a very fine book). In there he talks about his method of mixing sand with PVA glue and then using a cocktail stick to spread it around the base. This is the method I use now, but I also mix some of the paint in with the sand so that it makes painting it afterwards easier. I have found that using this method is much easier than painting a base with PVA and then sprinkling sand on it because it is less messy and also gives a bit more depth to the look of the base.

The paint I use is ‘Dancing Bear’ emulsion from B&Q, its only a few £’s for a tester pot and goes a very long way.

When this is dry I dry brush the base coat with ‘Lions Slumber’ from the same B&Q range, this gives (I think) a very natural earth look to the bases and they are then ready for flocking. For these I used some static grass and a some fine whitish gravel (ballast from N-gauge railway I think).

Photos of the completed division all ready to go! Note the missing horses on one of the limbers – this has since been rectified.

ACW (2) ACW (1)

Flags are currently simple colour printouts so will be replaced with something of higher quality at some time in the future…

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Terrain Board

I used to have a large amount of 6mm American Civil War miniatures but about 5 or 6 years ago I sold them all and collected 10mm scale ACW instead.

Before I sold them I ran a fantasy campaign based on a struggle between North and South for the control of some important valley. The campaign ran for a few weeks and seemed to be enjoyed by the folk that took part…anyway here are a couple of pictures of some 10mm ACW on one of the terrain boards I made for the campaign.

All the terrain boards have long since gone in the bin and this is the only photo of one that I have. From memory this was supposed to be some town at an important pass that led into the disputed valley, the buildings in the photo are 10mm scale but originally the town was 6mm scale too. The photo from the side shows the construction (polystyrene ceiling tiles).

I think I made about 6 or 7 boards, they were custome made during the week between campaign moves to represent the area that was being fought over – I must have had a lot of spare time then! Although they could be fitted together that was not the intention at the time. I also had a couple of terrain boards that represented the battle field of Bull Run too, wish I had taken some photos of them now…

Whilst browsing on my computer I cam accross this battle report from the campaign. Remember this is all made up but based on the results of the table-top battle fought using Fire & Fury rules. Thanks to Reg Hardy, Allan Aitken and Scoot for their generalship during the campaign although I cant remember who was in charge of what! Obviously terrain features that are mentioned refer to made up places on the campaign map.

THE BATTLE OF UNION ROAD.

 The union 19th Corps of 6,400 men, 1000cavalry and 16 guns under Franklins direct command pushed Walkers division (5000men + 16 guns) southwards down the Union road for two days. Walker not having sufficient strength in numbers elected to retreat ahead of the Union force rather than stand and fight an engagement he was doomed to loose. Luckily for Walker Franklin, advancing at the speed of his supply train, was content to force him down the road and away from the important supply depot atUnion so did not capitalise on his superiority in numbers nor make any attempt to close the gap between the armies which stood at about 3 miles.

The pursuit southwards was marked by numerous inconclusive cavalry skirmishes between the scouts of both sides in which the vastly numerically superior Yankees were unable to gain any advantage over the superior quality rebel cavalry. The cavalry of both sides merely prevented each other from effectively gauging the strength of their opposing force.

By the end of the second dayWalkerhad retreated as far south as the Hardy Woods past Charlestone hill which was occupied by Green’s division. Having now gained the advantage of both a defensible position in the wood and with his right flank secured by Green on the imposing high ground of Charlestone Hill,Walkerelected to stand and give battle.

The union scouts reported toFranklinthat resistance was stiffening and thatWalkerhad stopped retreating on the edge of Hardy Wood. They also confirmed the presence of some 2400 men on Charlestone Hill.

 Since it was obviously Walkers intention to give battleFranklindecided not to risk a night engagement but to rest his volunteer troops and engage the rebels at first light.

Walkerhis men tired and worn from the long chase rested his men too, tired from the long march many of the veteran confederates slept where they fell. Walker entrusted the safety of his men to Green who perched on the dominating height of Charlestone Hill would be able to provide ample warning of any night attack.

The next morningFranklinroused his volunteers. For many of the officers and men this was their first engagement and the confusion delayed the initial deployment from first light as planned until 09.00.

This was fortunate forWalkeras it allowed time forTaylorto arrive and take command of the ensuing battle. The rebels of Greens command took up a defensive position on the high ridge of Charlestone Hill and awaited relief fromWalker.Walkermeanwhile was having difficulty in organising his troops due to the dense woodland hampering the delivery of orders and supplies.Walkerwas not able to bring his troops to readiness until after 09.30.

Franklinexpecting a rebel advance quickly attacked the isolated Green with the brigades of Shaw and McMillan. A punishing fire fight developed with the numerically superior yankee brigades having a devastating effect on the thin rebel line which occupied the ridge. Green expectingWalkerto come to his aid desperately clung to the dominating position. MeanwhileTaylorobserving the distant fight from the valley floor was watching for Green’s planned fighting retreat, unaware that a Yankee cavalry patrol had intercepted the order.

 Greens small force of seasoned veterans, tired from being on the alert all night and severely depleted from the fire figth where quickly overwhelmed by Shaws ferocious assault when it finally came. Trapped against a cliff and feeling betrayed by Walker, many of the Confederate elite surrendered to the surprised volunteers of Shaws brigade.

The complete destruction of Green’s division had taken a mere 2 ½ hours with very little losses to the Union brigades.

 Spurred on by the speed with which the high ground had been taken the Union volunteers surged forwards.

 Seeing the stars and stripes flying over the crest line, and eager for glory, Lucas led his brigade of Yankee cavalry ahead of the main battle line and towards the distant rebel lines. Advancing apidly in column of march Lucas was surprised by a salvo from the hitherto unknown rebel artillery. The veteran and well placed guns of the army ofLouisianafound the straight files of the cavalry an easy target. After a mere thirty minutes of gunfire, Lucas was left with less than half of his troopers standing, the sudden reminder of the capability of their opponent was a sombre lesson for the volunteers who fled the field in disarray.

The swift destruction of the cavalry put the wind up the Yankees and the advanced slowed to a steadier pace.

Secure in their defensive position Walkers brigade held their ground and awaited the oncoming blue line.

The assault did not come until mid afternoon when McMillans brigade charged into Scurry,s rebs on the rebel right flank at approximately the same time as Benedict took his brigade up a steep rise against Randals veteran brigade. Both brigades where swiftly and easily beaten back by the battle hardened confederates.

Recognising the importance of breaking the Confederate right flankFranklintook personal command of McMillans brigade and led them forwards once more into Scurrys brigade. This was a fateful decision for the Union cause, in the ensuing struggle Scurrys brigade led personally by Walker not only repulsed McMillans brigade but also captured Franklin. McMillans shattered brigade played no further part and began to retreat towards the union camp.

WithWalkerinvolved in a desperate melee andTaylorunable to effectively command from the edge of the wood the newly arrived rebel brigade of Stone comprising of 800 veteran troops who had marched all morning to join the fray made a disastrous decision. Stone witnessing the destruction of McMillan set off in pursuit in an attempt to capitalise on the situation. What the impetuous Stone did not realise was that the hitherto untried brigade of Dwight comprising of 3400 volunteers was also advancing to fill the gap. The two brigades did not sight each other until it was too late and in the ensuing melee over the battered rail fences of the Union road, Stones veterans where soundly beaten.

At this point Dwight lost command of his raw troops who boyed on by their easy victory over Stone recklessy advanced into the awaiting Confederate lines defending the edge of the wood. Dwights brigade suffered an horrendous pounding as the waiting rebel line poured shot after shot into the hapless Yankees. To make a bad situation worse the volunteers had inadvertently exposed their flank to enfilade by canister from the rebel guns. The loss of 1200 men was too much for the volunteers who lacking the nerve of veteran troops began to fall back.

The impetuous advance of Dwight’s brigade marked the highpoint of the union advance and their repulse signalled the start of a general disengagement by the union army. Unable to capitalise on the union retreat due to supply problems caused by the poor terrain (the destruction of Dwight had caused the confederate infantry and artillery to expend most of their ammunition)Taylorwas unable to order a pursuit and the two armies disengaged at 16.00.

The Union attack had failed to effectively assault Walkers Division and had suffered heavily in the attempt including the loss of the army commander. However the almost total detruction of Greens command and the inability of the Rebs to make an effective pursuit render this battle only a marginal Confederate victory. The cost in veteran confederate troops and the ensuing effect on the continuing campaign remains to be seen.

UNION

CONFEDERATE

Brigade

Total Losses

Brigade

Total Losses

Dwight

1200

Randal

400

McMillan

1200

Scurry

0

Benedict

800

Waul

0

Shaw

600

Stone

400

Lucas

600

Bagby

1400

 

 

Major

1000

Total

4400

Total

3200

Total losses as reported and include all those missing form post engagement roll-calls.