Monday, September 24, 2012

Let the Antietam Campaign roll on - Doc's Confederates finished (almost)

Well, wouldn't you know it - after having a less than successful run at the last encounter, it seems I am still well and truly bitten by the ACW bug because I've been furiously painting and collecting ever since.  I've got the WWII Greece/Crete campaign project and another company of German paras (das ist Fallschirmjaeger miene Herr!) to finish plus my brigade of FPW Wurttemburgers, now the last packs from Foundry have arrived.  Then there's some more French line and I don't even want to think about my Bavarian regiment!  Oh yeh, there's still the Poles to do and more French AND Perry's are releasing plastic Austrians which I will now have to have...  the fun never ends!!!    So what did I do?  I did what any lunatic wargamer would do - start another project!  At least this time I can say I've also finished it...  sort of.  You see I just got my Sash&Sabre artillery limbers and dismounted cavalry and...  well, you get the picture.  More lead to paint up!  Anyway, I've finished most of my Rebs, starting with the cavalry.

Reb cavalry take the field - huzzah boys!

Now I'm not sure of the make - they could be Redoubt - the figures aren't bad and the horses very good indeed, nicely proportioned sculpts.  One criticism - very skinny gun barrels on their shotguns which threaten to become sawn-offs every time they are bent.

The officer figure is of course a Perrys from their Confederate Brigade commanders set.  Fits in rather well with the others, whatever make they are.


The scenario for the next battle has just been released - the third of the battles for the mountain passes - this time Crampton's Gap.  Although we aren't actually gaming for a few weeks, amongst the Confederate forces named at the battle are the redoubtable Cobb's Georgia Legion.  By happy coincidence that happens to be in my most recently painted units!  The 'Georgia Grays' are a rather nice looking unit, which I have actually found the flag they carried and made it up with my graphics program.  See what you think.

What a grand old flag with the very biblical 'The God of Jacob is With Us'  emblazoned on it.

Of course most will recognise the Perry's plastic 28s.  Two boxes worth to be precise has given me 34 stands (@ 3 figures each) of infantry, plus a few odds and sods such as another command stand still to be made up (into another Georgia regiment methinks).  I've made one regiment in hats, another in kepis and the other two mixed.  I confess that they are easier to paint up than most - although you have to have a bit of variation even with a basic uniform - maybe even more so with  your basic blue or gray.

 To add a bit more variation I've done a few basic conversions on some of the figures so I've got a different flag bearer or two and some are carrying muskets in different poses.  And the corporal below at the end of the line directing traffic.

Ahhh, the joys of plastics - slice 'n dice 'em as you please!

Well, that's enough from me for the moment.  Heaps more to show when I've done a few of the Sash&Sabre figures up - and I'll give a little critique as well.  And then there's the Battle of Crampton's Gap - against hordes and hordes of them thar Bluebellies!!!  Might jess sit down a spell fust and have a sip of ol' Jack Daniels before I give them fellers some cold steel.  Yeeehar!!!

            Doc Reb 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

ACW - the Antietam Campaign - second battle of Foxes Gap

We finally got to fight the second of our battles of the Antietam campaign using my portable game table 
(post back in May last year) at a mate's place - we took over Cam's lounge room for the occasion - a good if not snug fit with seven of us playing!  I completely forgot my camera to record proceedings but fortunately Bluebelly commanders Ian and Greg DID remember so all the pics are theirs - generously submitted to my blog, so at risk of consorting with the enemy - thanks guys!

Our table set-up - the Rebs converge along the roads closest and top right.

Dispositions at the start of the game

Due to the absence of one of our commanders, I got a changed command (at the last minute) from Drayton's Georgian & SC boys to Colquitt's Brigade (13th Alabama & Georgia Regts) of Hill's Division, which resulted in my coming in from the extreme left (along left hand road closest in above pic) in two separate groups. I also had one battery of guns which did some initial damage then promptly ran out of ammo on my first roll of the dice!  Unfortunately Doug also ran out of ammo in the initial turn which meant that I spent the rest of the game trying to get my battery close enough to the ammo wagon to replenish.  

Doug's position in the centre - note all the 'out of ammo' markers - the powder wagon is in the background behind the hill.  It took most of the game to get there, replenish the Reb's holding the hill, then get close enough to replenish my guns to the left (out of picture) who were then promptly masked by Doug's advancing troops!

And that was to be the tenor of most of my game - didn't get involved until the last two turns then couldn't turn their flank.  I really rolled like crap time and again - and that'll do it to ya every time!

Greg's Union troops from Wilcox's 1st Division line up along the fence

Both Ian and Greg played very coolly and were never in any real danger from us - as the casualties on the flank suggested at roughly half a dozen stands apiece.  Elsewhere on the table it was a different result - in favour of the Union almost from the start.

Andrew's Massachusett's boys line up on the left, with artillery pounding the centre of the Reb line.

Most of the action took place in the centre and left as Doug (senior Reb cmdr) took over Drayton's Bde holding the the farm in the middle of our lines and Stuart with Ripley and Anderson's Bdes did an ambitious sweep around the right to try and force the Union forces (two divisions worth!) back on themselves.  Andrew and Cameron's Union 1st and 2nd Brigades manfully held off Stuart's Reb onslaught, although we did score plenty of hits on the pesky Bluebelly gun battery and force it to skeedaddle!  

  The Union left comes under increasing pressure

The problem for the Confederates is that we were running out of time.  Union reinforcements were pouring in all the time while the additional Reb division (Hood's) was still miles away.  We had to try and force the Union forces back before we were outnumbered and forced to retreat ourselves.

Stuart really gave it a good shot and came mighty close but in the end couldn't break through.  The steady stream of Union troops reinforcing their lines meant that once the steam went out of the Reb assault, we were faced with annihilation if we had persisted as the odds turned decisively against the Confederates.

Cameron's Bluebellies just manage to hold off a desperate Reb assault as more reinforcements arrive in the nick of time. 
Note that Union battery in full 'skeedaddle' mode down the turnpike behind them!

In the end the odds became just too great - some of those Union regiments had as many as 20 stands!

Titanic and desperate struggle on the centre/left

Doug and I tried to do the same thing on the Union right flank but couldn't quite bring it off.  Only time so far the rules let us down as there was no way I could engage all our attacking units (the one behind above) - had I been able to do so it would have been quite a different story but - ca la guerre!
Da boyz  at the end of the battle - victorious Union (save Greg who took the pic) and not-so-victorious Rebs.  

The Rebs sensibly decided to call it quits and withdraw after the attempt to turn the other Union flank failed. We lost about twice that of the Union forces which would have been OK had we have broken them but we narrowly failed - twice.  Hood's reinforcements would not have reached us in time. Andrew tells me that historically the Rebs got a real drubbing in this initial encounter - so we did well in comparison (cold comfort).

Thanks to Andrew for devising the campaign scenario and Cameron for kindly lending us his lounge room as a battlefield for a day! (Nice venue Cam!) and all for a congenial and fun afternoon.  Will keep you all posted with our future battles - and will remember to bring my bloody camera next time!