ANTIETAM/SHARPSBURG in 6mm (V)

Visits: 47

Guess this afternoon I will proceed to reenact the first clash between Hooker and Jackson… it is slow sometimes I agree… but I am still experimenting with command&control and combat mechanisms. It must be tiresome to follow… but at least you have plenty of pics (curiously enough my mobile phone does it better than my old camera)…

My table is flat (got criticized by that in facebook) which does not mean the real terrain was flat at all that is taken care of by visibility options but also the fact that once firing starts smoke and noise will prevent God’s Own View… I mean it is probably God’s Own Scale… but the troops engaged where “lost” in the chaos of the firefight.

One of my phobias concerning Toy Soldiers is stands “balancing” in imposible positions over railroad scenery modeling terrain… sorry chaps… but this is what it is… neither troops fighting on top of woods a la LITTLE WARS TV way (which has very good points and creativity -aka Trafalgar- but not that particular one!)

Hope you follow me.

Enjoy!

Aerial view.
Hooker’s attack
Lees’s left flank
Sumner’s advance
Lee’s HQ with foreign observers…
Bottom right Burnside’s bridge
Confederate Army of Northern Virginia… Sunken Road represented by a rail fence.

ANTIETAM/SHARPSBURG 1862 6mm SOLO WARGAME (IV)

Visits: 39

It says wargame in the title… but this is an exaggeration… call it Umpire’s delight (Impartial), Chaos&Casualties, History on the Tabletop, Epic Brawl, Attrition for hours!… a lot of names come to my mind with no real effort…

Funnily enough bickering/arguments between wargamers do not concern me at all… by example I started the battle setting the table and the troops (Armies in 6mm please) without a hitch, I even switch brigades from one Corps to another if wrongly deployed… anything goes… I am reading for the umpteenth time rulesets and books about the ACW and ANTIETAM/SHARPSBURG in particular… and so far have gotten to a lot of conclusions…

FIRST: NO need to write down all the possibilities of movement and distances the troops can manouever… if not in contact with the enemy it is pretty straightforward… and that’s that!… easy enough to my satisfaction (SOLO).

SECOND: I will pass of generals characteristics as in Altar of Freedom for example (a good set of rules for multiplayer games).

THIRD: ALL movements count as simultaneous as the fire from guns and muskets… I will do my own table about that…

FOUR: ONLY three status for Brigades, say FRESH/ORGANIZED (1); HAVE BEEN ENGAGED/TIRED/DISORGANIZED (2 ) (synonymus in my book); SPENT/RETREAT TO A SAFER PLACE/NO USEFUL AGAIN EXCEPT IF ATTACKED (3)… more about that third category later on but it means basically you can not use them anymore in that battle… NO running out of the table… just a safe distance. Brigades of (1) and (2) categories can recoil, retreat, and do “things” until they go (3)… meaning they can be rallied and pushed forward again… NO BRIGADE CAN STAND MORE THAN 4 CHAOS FIGHT (all fighting is chaotic…and there is or will be a lot of compulsory movements… that would be the more complicated thing to translate in writing I guess) NO plans resist contact with the enemy.

FIVE: There would not be Victory points neither a “clear result”… once the slaughter stops Armies will stop fighting and as in real life you (ME) will count casualties (more or less) and for once would like to see a result similar to the one in real life… Armies would have done what they intended to do but once a third of the brigades of either Army (or both) are in the (3rd) status call it SPENT… Battle stops… and I do not give a damn which Army retreats first for ressuplying/reorganizing etc. CONSIDERE THAT SIMULTANEOUS after truce to get the wounded etc.

Quite strange?… simply my way of seeing things… I do not particularly relish in ACW medical services (William Holden or not), amputations, and the rest… a hellish place to see a battlefield after an engagement… let’s consider my way an eagle eye (or fly on the wall) approach to those epic brawls.

Chaotic Fight will please you or not but I intend to explain in detail (more or less), the same way Division Generals are not considered in detail in some rules I use them when Corps Commanders are Killed or Wounded… have to write my blank cards using BELLO LUDI as a model to resolve ties… “Colonel gets the jivers and runs to the rear as in real life happened”, “Out of Ammunition”, “Sudden Panic”… the lot what!

Hope you enjoy a bit!

Seen from Sharpsburg…
Hooker’s Corps is out of the North Woods…
First Zoom
Second Zoom.
Confederates
Aerial view of the REBEL Army!
Other Union Corps approaching!
Detail
Frontal view of the Confederate deployment in front of Dunker Church
More aerial view.

ANTIETAM/SHARPSBURG 1862 (III) 6mm (My Way)

Visits: 28

Remember I am still experimenting devices and mechanisms (NO AI thanks GOD!). It is interesting (maybe) the things I have cumulated over the years thinking they would be useful for a wargame. Some had not even 6mm in mind at the time!

I still have no definite (read exact or concrete) idea on how to use the playing cards… but usually “chance” and “resolve ties” are already on my mind! And NO I do not know if they are still produced Google on FOURNIER PLAYING CARDS and investigate yourselves (Any set of cards would do really… but it satisfies my aesthetics senses). Dice you know are basic in any wargame…

I first calculated the average men per Brigade at Antietam using OSPREYS, ALTAR OF FREEDOM and SEARS books… Confederate Brigades are smaller but the stands are of equal measure as Union one’s (bigger Brigades, smaller divisions, smaller Corps)… so the value proportion is around 6/4 (or evidently enough 3/2).

I still doubt if I will generalize to ALL Brigades or give some a + and others a – … keeping the whole balance jus to add variety… still working on that! (looks like Altar of Freedom but it is not).

Been a solo player I decided a lot of automatisms would help the flow of the game… no fancy micromanagement of brigades… they search and fight each other matter of fact!… More on that in the future. Attrition and Struggle foremost in my mind… also the notion (IMPORTANT) that Tired and Spent Brigades are very important concepts!

I do not like record keeping, I do not like dice on the table, (I will throw dice and turn cards on another auxiliary table)… but experiments are getting closer… will probably use too my own version of the BELLO LUDI Cards…

Well, enough for today…

Enjoy the pics!

ACW Poker Cards by Fournier
Union
Confederacy
Tons of dice! Different sizes (and got more average dice out of the pic)
Hooker’s Corps about to get out from the North Woods.
Union with markers (blue dice)
Confederates between West Woods and Dunker Church… going to wheel I guess…
Frontal view of the “REBS” (Jackson’s Corps)
Other Corps’s in movement… (UNION)
Crossing Antietam Creek (SUMNER Corps).

ANTIETAM/SHARPSBURG (II) (First move…) I am experimenting with my home rules.

Visits: 27

A word of advice… I am doing my own thing so do not expect to enjoy this (the pics maybe)…

A bit of an explanation (not excuses)… I have a lot of ACW Rules, even 6mm specific one’s but SOLO wargaming is not on the designer’s minds at all… I understand and not complaining at all… I can not BID against myself (see POLEMOS) the best presented are ALTAR OF FREEDOM (one cheer for the USA chaps of Little Wars) but I have to make adjustments to play them solo…

NOT that I will use them as my basis at all, but I mostly agree with several concepts… let’s mention an example… BRIGADES of UNION and CONFEDERACY had NOT the same number of men at all… one bigger one medium one small whatever… if McClelland had 82000 men present at ANTIETAM and Lee (around 44000) and the number of brigades is lets say 45/37 something has to be done to “adjust” the numbers. The numbers in each brigade of the Confederacy has to be “reduced” to get the desired balance of forces (I will try to do this with small coloured dices in the rear of each Brigade). YOU have been advised! I am still experimenting.

To avoid an absolute GOD attitude in which I will represent each Commander in Chief (both sides), each Corps Commander, and even Divisions and Brigade decisions… some way to introduce “chance” “fog of war” and “several impromptus” must be decided by the turn of a friendly (or NOT) card… more in next chapters or Posts… got plenty of those cards (as you will see).

BUT

It is a big BUT … my main approach to enjoy myself is acknowledging the fact that everyone of those little toy soldiers KNOWS perfectly why he is there… to fight the enemy… everyone of them is holding to his musket and saying his prayers… but he is determined to fight it out! (So no need to encourage them at all to do their business… they know)… When those Armies met it is for deciding an outcome (Lee’s first Invasion… say no more… read History… no place here for History lessons)… (McClellan worried to lose the engagement and permit the fall of Washington!… always too worried by the numbers of the enemy!).

If you follow this posts you will see my trial and error… I do not care to make mistakes… I am learning myself!

So there you are… enjoy the eye candy!

Hooker’s Corps moving into the fray (there is no fray yet of course… but they are searching for trouble if you know what I mean)
Lateral view (North limit of North Woods).
Jackson is deploying his extreme left and Stuart’s cavalry is kept back in reserve.

Eagle Eye view of Jackson’s Corps on the Confederate left flankl

Antietam/Sharpsburg 1862 (6mm) My Own for once! (I)

Visits: 27

At last! I could do it…

Finally I must say the choice (difficult) I did to sell my 25mm Collection and go 6mm has payed off! (I know not everyone’s taste 6mil) what you lose in uniform detail you gain in playable surface for the scale… same table… but lots of room to manoeuvre if you know what I mean…

A couple of thousands of minis but it does not look crowded at all. Mainly Baccus and Rapier minis (mainly painted by Robert Jackson (90%) and Turbil Miniatures), Leven and Baccus buildings (REVEILLE by Daniel Hodgson), Trees are Baccus as Bridges and “fields”.

I will use this FIRST Wargame to develop my Own House Rules (SOLO or MULTIPLAYER) mainly adapting and reforming mecanisms of POLEMOS (BACCUS) ALTAR OF FREEDOM (Little Wars TV) Fire&Fury… and what not!

Making the river is quite cheap. And the woods are not “compact” I can move the stands of tress to make them passable. The Cornfield has no corn because I do not like troop stands floating over scenery… MY taste!.

Interested in the concepts movement, attrition, spent forces, General’s limitations, and mainly Historical Reenactment, Fictionnal Wargames with more freedom will come later.

Absolutely satisfied (if such thing exists) with the layout and minis… at last Armies look like Armies and terrain is wholesome…

I will probably do a movement a day not decided with 1/2 hour or whole hour’s span of time of a wargame period… will remain experimental for a while until satisfied. Trial and error etc.

Enjoy! (I do)

Starting the set up.

No Armies yet… just a peaceful countryside…
Union Forces in place (not yet deployed)
Sharpsburg
Burnside and Porter (and general reserve)
Union Center to Right flank (anticlockwise) Sumner, Franklin, Mansfield and Hooker.
Mc Clellan’s HQ and Cavalry in reserve.
Hooker’s
Two Divisions Corps…
Three Divisions Corps.
Full UNION view (Times of arrival or engagement NOT simultaneous)
My Old Wargames table (permanent once retired)
Confederates Deployment
Ready to Start I guess… (On the right lower part Hill’s forces coming from Harper’s Ferry)… not yet “on the table”.
Detail
Confederates Center and Right (Bloody Lane with the rail fence)
Jackson’s left flank with Stuarts’s Cavalry.
Another view!

After 2016… (I)

Visits: 794

Full Union Army Baccus (and a bit of Rapier) 6mm is what I have mainly done using three Painting Services and only adding details myself (as some bits and flags ). 2020 pic.

By 2016 I had sold my 25/28mm collection -a hard but sound decision- , as a result of a deep crisis with that scale, I still like them mind, in fact I liked them so much that I already considered them Military Modeling stuff of the first order. The standards of painting had improved in a way that you can extend this to 15mm and lower, but let’s leave it at that. They are too expensive and beautiful to be handed and grappled (to do not say dropped) by uncaring hands. For me, by now they are minis to be displayed in cabinets. They seem to do some lot of skirmishing nowadays. The point is clear.

Since then I have built a small collection of 6mm, it is small because of the scale but also because I concentrated on some periods and I did not ” let myself go” as I did in my youth/middle age adopting now a more prudent way of amassing minis. They are mainly Baccus because of the sheer quality of the minis and because they suit my taste, but another reason is that the range -catalogue- is quite extensive (which permits proxies) and growing which is a bonus (and a temptation). But not exclusively, I have some Rapier ACW too. Curiously for such small things they do not seem to mix very well, but this is just a matter of taste, do your own thing, it’s ok. It is always a matter of taste and in my case of “numbers”, I own now more ACW minis that I ever got in 25mm -and have BOTH Armies when in our youth my brother build the Confederates and yours truly the Union- My 25mm ACW troops went to the collection of my brother and where reunited with the opposition once and for all. Even in 6mm there are differences of measure so check compatibility before buying. Adler seems to steal the show with Napoleonics (some say the are big-headed minis… but for what I have seen in FB they look superb), got problems ordering from them BTW, I placed a small order of ACW minis and after quite a long wait (for me) it got returned to them… was not refunded and that was the end of the story, I must say -philosophically- that”shit happens”, but emails from them are not in the same level of friendliness as Baccus one’s.

ACW is my more orthodox approach to wargaming.

Me going to 6mm was a slow process: I already had the Crimean Light Cavalry Brigade of Tennyson fame (Baccus Napoleonic proxies). But after a stop or pause of several years I steadily built other periods. First of all I ordered from a painting service -more about that in an specific post- Roman Republic and Carthaginian Units to use in a board-game grid of a very old game (Metauro) whose 54mm plastic original figures had disappeared from the Earth after several generations of my family playing with them. I was pleased by the look of them Baccus -Up to that moment I had doubts about the quality/presence of Infantry minis in 6mm scale!-

All right then, I went Colonial British Khaki, I specify so because I am not doing some of the periods I used to enjoy in 25mm and on the contrary going for some who were neglected for lack of time or cash or space. It is important to say for your info that I do not build the Opposition anymore, gone are the days of painting hundreds of Zulus, Dervishes, Fuzzy-Wuzy, Pathans, Afridis, Ghazis, Plains Indians and what not; I never preach or try to impose my ideas and do not believe in proselytism so as a mainly solo wargamer it is my decision and that’s that. Talking about “cash” I did self-imposed a condition to my wanderings, or several as it is: 54mm toy soldier collecting will not exceed the volume of the cabinets that exist (and not going to build more “cabinets”) meaning if I want to buy something… other parts must go to make place. And the funds raised by selling my 25/28mm stuff and a large part of my Playmobil Collection will pay for the 6mm venture (not that in the end I do not indulge in investing more in a monthly pocket money basis), but I seem to keep financial matters under control… more or less.

Von Bredow’s Death Ride in Baccus 6mm (the Dragoons are out of the pic because some sources say they were detached from the final Charge). They appear in another pic in this Blog.

So, Colonial Brits with Bengal Lancers and Indian Regiments, Custer’s 7th (only Custer battalion), The French in North Africa aka XIX Corps late XIXth Century were added to the Crimean Cavalry, also a one off Von Bredow’s Cavalry Brigade from the Franco-Prussian War (the famous Death Ride) and last but not least the ACW with both sides present, meaning Billy Yank and Johnnie Reb. The ACW was my first love and a period played extensively with my usual wargames companion, my little brother (ten years younger than me and steadily going to sixty!). I think it was the Prussian General Von Moltke who said he was not interested -in the ACW not the age of my brother- because it was an affair of “two mobs chasing themselves in the woods”, I respectfully disagree. I will detail why I love it in subsequent posts.

American Civil War (I)

Visits: 669

Baccus 6mm Rebels deployed. Painted by Turbil Miniatures.

ACW was my first love, it still is, and thats that. The main reason of wargaming again the ACW (must be my sixth try), this time in 6mm, is because it is well balanced and a “compact period” 1861-1865.It all started with John Ford and the movie “THE HORSE SOLDIERS” which I saw so many times when a child that it left an everlasting impression, and I did not dig all the nuances until I was older, for me it is a masterpiece of condensation, nearly everything on the ACW is there. If you add to that my old 54mm soldiers, AIRFIX 20mm period, MINIFIGS, FOUNDRY. DIXON, TO THE REDOUBT, PLAYMOBILS and finally BACCUS… Well… Recurrent is the word you are looking for…

Of course it was not only the movies… I enjoyed reading SHELBY FOOTE three Volumes, a real tour de force! So packed with information that I had to read slowly to digest it -meaning I read a lot of other books at the same time- even about the ACW too!

Of course refighting historical battles as they do in LITTLE WARS TV is Ok, but I always enjoyed “doing my own”… it is very hard to simulate in the Tabletop the disinformation of the real Generals (The overestimation of The Southern Armies numbers by the Union Generals -aka little Mac- is a well know fact!). Still even so Bull Run (1st Manassas) is a favorite up to a point… But to be honest I mainly I build a scenario with a bit of fog of war, try to enlist some generals from my brother downwards and that’s it. Fictional battles are for me so much more fun after-all, in real war you can not pitch Stonewall Jackson against U.S.Grant for example… in real life they never fought each other.

But, apart from other lines of entertainment with Baccus figures, at the moment it is the ACW who wins all bets. I have the Armies, the scenery and the will, but must write some easy to understand home rules for my grandchildren, always have loved simple rules but with a twist some place.

Confederates deployed for action.

So, to sum up my progression: I started wargaming when a kid in a rudimentary form on the floor with 54mm “rubber” soldiers (1). I then -in my early twenties-discovered the plastic AIRFIX whole range in 20mm -in fact 4 different boxes; Union Infantry (blue), Confederate Infantry (grey); Artillery (medium brown) to be used for both sides; and finally US Cavalry (Blue) that you had to paint for the Rebs- and went for them boxes like the quest of the Grail! (2).

In due time I discovered MINIFIGS 25mm, then based at Southampton, so I graduated to “metal” and their Catalogue (which I still have) was my companion for years! (3). I still recall the sorrow when a Zouaves unit got “lead rot” and become unusable… of course I dutifully bought them again and painted them even better… those were my painting years. Afflicted by a bout of Napoleonic megalomania I swapped my 25mm Union Army for my brother’s Napoleonics (same trade mark) to do not have to transport them up and down because we lived 200 Km away from each other. It was a satisfactory solution, and I went to complete all Napoleonics nations as a result.

Then FOUNDRY started an ACW range and I could not resist buying ACW UNION Cavalry under “THE HORSE SOLDIERS” influence, by then I was mixing riders and horses (Dixon) and making conversions -nearly military modeling- one thing lead to another and I got some Artillery… and then why not? some Infantry -you need some at Brandy Station I reasoned- of course I bought the Confederates too… That was my fourth effort! (4). Finally, crisis struck again and my faith in 25/28mm was shattered… regretfully I sold them all. Some of them -those Union painted by me- became property of my brother who had the Rebs and no crisis of confidence with that scale. We even exchanged some Napoleonic’s for them… I kept the 25mm Napoleonic’s longer than the rest… but they were sold too in the end!

With the funds obtained I started building Playmobil Armies for my (then) first two grandsons… once organized I thought it was a way to confront brother against brother in a too realistic way and scratched out the project… Sold them all again. (5) And went “tricorne era” fictional Playmobil Armies much more clean in spirit, and much more toy soldier like, a la Charles Grant Jr.

And where was I?… Reading Practical Wargamer… and there I found Baccus ACW Cavalry on the cover of one number!… nothing less than East Cavalry Field (again)… months of musing about it… I bought POLEMOS ACW rules from Baccus… and fell in l love with the color pics (eye candy) -Rules as it is I prefer my own as always- And then to make a long story short I went Baccus ACW 6mm for both sides (6).

Do not pity me!… I had tons of FUN in the whole process that lasted years and years… and I am certified as SANE.

So there you have it, I have build six times the period and have read a long list of books about it, by the way Paddy Griffith is very good at it!. There are two very good books to own by him: BATTLE IN THE CIVIL WAR Generalship and Tactics in America 1861-1865 with stunning artwork. And then BATTLE TACTICS OF THE CIVIL WAR. As per uniforms information the best to my knowledge apart from the Osprey’s, old Blanford, and Troiani’s and Kuntsler’s and Rocco’s paintings the best single volume is: La GUERRE de SECESSION Les armées de l’Union et de la Confederation- by HEIMDAL in France.

Very good textbook.
Excellent Illustrations. A must have book.

Now, as I have in my modest collection enough troops to have fun -megalomania is a pest to avoid- and all the references of the Baccus Catalogue! I am satisfied. I must confess the range is splendid and one of the best in Peter’s production.

I use the ACW limbers and caissons also in colonial affairs mind, and also the horses for dismounted Cavalry. I even have some Rapier Union Infantry to add a bit of variety to the collection and also Rapier Cavalry on both sides. I even mixed minis from other periods getting French with kepi from the Franco-Prussian Baccus range too… anything to add variety. Im my opinion one of the best Baccus packs is ACW7 because it has hat and kepi figures and some with rolled blankets across the chest -always a favorite of mine- so, if I started anew building Baccus ACW Armies I would surely get all the packs but ACW7 would have the lion’s share of the purchase (the only drawback is ACW7 has only one standard-bearer!).

If you are new to the period I can recommend:

ACW Filmography: GONE WITH THE WIND, THE HORSE SOLDIERS, GODS AND GENERALS, GETTYSBURG, THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE, THEY DIED WITH THEIR BOOTS ON, GLORY, MAJOR DUNDEE, SHENANDOAH, THE FIELD OF LOST SHOES, CLASS OF 61, RIDE WITH THE DEVIL and THE GOOD, THE BAD and THE UGLY… to name about a dozen… real fans should also see THE BIRTH OF A NATION and THE GENERAL (Buster Keaton) both silent movies.

ACW Bibliography: THE CIVIL WAR (Shelby Foote), THE CIVIL WAR (Bruce CATTON’S trilogy), CLASHES OF CAVALRY (Thom Hatch), BATTLE TACTICS OF THE CIVIL WAR (Paddy Griffith), BATTLE IN THE CIVIL WAR: GENERALSHIP AND TACTICS IN AMERICA 1861-65 (Paddy Griffith), DON TROIANI’S CIVIL WAR, BATTLEFIELD ATLAS OF THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR (Symonds), All Ospreys on the subject MAA and Campaign, “THE” Blandford book about Uniforms: UNIFORMS OF THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR 1861-65 -the first one I ever bought myself!- LA GUERRE DE SECESSION (HEIMDAL Jouineau-Mongin), THE QUEST FOR ANNIHILATION (Cristopher Perello), GETTYSBURG (Stephen W, Sears), GETTYSBURG: THE STORY OF THE BATTLE WITH MAPS (David Reisch and David M. Detweiler), THE CIVIL WAR: THE STORY OF THE WAR WITH MAPS (same), and of course hundreds more…

And as an afterthought on ACW Historical Fiction: THE KILLER ANGELS, SHILOH, THE HORSE SOLDIERS, CONFEDERATES, GONE WITH THE WIND, THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE, THE MARCH, STONEWALL’S GOLD, UNTO THIS HOUR, THE NORTHERN WOLF SERIES (5 books I guess) RUTLAND’S BLUES AND GREYS, CIVIL WAR STORIES (A.Bierce)… Frank Yerby, John Jakes, even the great Bernard Cornwell did 4 novels (probably not his best novels though) about it!

ACW (II)

Visits: 647

Initial Union Army minus special stands. 36 brigades of Infantry + 11 Artillery Batteries + 7 Brigades of Cavalry + Command stands… wagons… Foreign observers etc etc etc. A two years work Mainly painted by Mersey Wargames Painting Service and bits by yours truly. I have a lot of Union Cavalry stands “extra” by using my Little Big Horn US Cavalry stands (Because they are slightly Converted ACW)
Union special stands… in some cases alternatives to the above.
Initial Confederate Army. Three Corps, 27 Brigades of Infantry. 7 Artillery Batteries. 7 cavalry Brigades + Command stands etc etc etc. mainly painted by Turbil Miniatures Painting Service, a third by Mersey Wargames painting Service and as always little details and flags added by me.

Confederate Army special stands.
ACW landscape… read future battlefield. Baccus and Leven items of scenery done by REVEILLE.

Well, this is the end of the ACW project. On the pics above you can see the results of pestering painters (and paying them of course!) the last two years. This is my more orthodox project so far, even have the POLEMOS rules (in fact it all started with a pic in the cover of Battlegames (nº15) featuring East Cavalry Field at Gettysburg!) then I bought the Polemos rules got hooked by the colour pics and the rest you know how it goes. Of course readers know that I did not stop there and added a lot more of Brigades of Infantry, Cavalry; Caissons, Wagons, Divisional Commanders and what not!… LOL (see elsewhere in this web page).

Thr POSCA markers I use to alter details here and there… those Regiments have had a change of flags and kepi colour changes a posteriori of the pic!
The Union stands from above with different kepis on the flanks so to represent a Brigade of various Regiments as mentioned in Posts in Baccus Forum.

Well, here they are after the POSCA treatment, Greg provided them with dark blue kepis and grey kepis, so far so good. But after reflecting a bit and perusing the HEIMDAL book I decided to change the colors of the headgear because there were units like that -obscure militia maybe but they existed- So that gave me a sort of “twin” units or “mirror” stands, now I have Blue clad Confederates with red kepis and sky blue kepis, and Grey clad Union stands with red kepis and sky blue kepis… as you can see in the pic. I thought that this permitted more flexibility and the stands are going to be used not only in First Bull Run (First Manassas) but also later on in the big battles of 1862 and even 1863… after all the flags are all important in 6mm scale.

There you can see how easy it is to “customize” a bit, and it is really fast I assure you.

One of the books to have about uniforms… in fact it aglutinates the two previous volumes by the same authors.

ACW (III)

Visits: 752

Scenery in the period is really easy to find, In fact in 6mm a lot of items can be used in different periods like Trees, Bridges, Fences, Fields (ploughed or not), trenches, tents etc.

I wanted to explain -yet again- why I find so interesting the ACW. A quite modern Republic, with a great Constitution and not even a Century of existence torn apart by a political argument (and two very different ways of life). Was a State paramount in legislation inside his border limits? or do the Central U.S.A administration superseded those and could prevail over the State decisions?… in fact that was the original dispute brewing for years until it exploded. Of course the matter of slavery was a very important issue but it was “used politically later on” because the Constitution allowed it! Of course it was also the time of abolition everywhere around the world and the Confederacy “way of living” or economy if you prefer was doomed as it was.

Stonewall Jackson Foundry 28mm.

You have a war to wargame that starts at Bull Run / First Manassas with similarly clad (some Union Regiments wore grey and some Confederacy wore Blue) amateur Armies. And from then on until Appomattox you have practically all, Attacks, Defenses, Infantry entrenching, Sieges, Cavalry Raids, Cavalry Battles, Mini-Campaigns as Jackson’s Valley one!, Outflanking moves by whole Armies… the change from Napoleonic Warfare to nearly WWI tactics and above all a list of colorful characters, General Lee, who was offered command -and refused loyal to Virginia- of the Union Armies at the beginning of the crisis -tell me which other war has that characteristic- General Grant who understood modern war and was all business, Sherman (a total war believer), Sheridan, Longstreet, Beauregard, JEB Stuart, Custer, Kilpatrick, Gregg, Buford, Meade, Picket, Hood, Johnston… I could go on and on. Even fanatics of naval warfare can have their day. Railways, Telegraph, Balloons, Ironclads, it is really a fascinating period…

U.S.Grant, same as above.

Rules aplenty exist -I work my own as usual- but some commercial one’s are very good, I used Fire&Fury with great satisfaction. You will pay your money and get your choice. I am quite liberally minded and do not preach or ask for proselytes -perish the thought- One of the FUN of the period is the sheer incompetence of generalship -not exclusively in the Union side- political appointed Generals who could not command a corporal’s guard. I love chance cards in my games, you know what I mean, you throw a six and have to turn a card… lol… The First division has lost its way and would not come at all; The ADC with the orders has been shot and you know nothing of the change of plans; A fall from a horse has injured and incapacitated the leader of your Cavalry; and so on… but all this is not “original”.

Been solo has its rewards too. But a multiplayer game is real fun.

I fondly remember a Napoleonic game (Yes I was a Napoleonic geek for thirty years) I staged for several people -my brother and his friends from Barcelona- a long time ago… Aspern-Essling it was (but the players did not knew)… As the umpire I decided (or ruled) that commander and sub-commanders could only speak to each other when in base contact… all other communications where via couriers galloping with written messages!… I nearly died laughing seen the expressions on the faces of the Generals when reading messages!… puzzled does not even begin to describe it! long time friends did not understood the written instructions!… we had FUN!… lots of FUN and that is what is all about.

ACW (IV) Special Stands

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Pontoon Bridge (Baccus) and Cavalry wading special stand. painted by Mersey Wargames.

As a corollary, when at the end of building Brigade stands I stopped to think a bit, I decided to put variety and glue the minis differently on them stands, after all the 60×30 stand was already paramount in my Armies and had a lot of two lines of 12 + 4 skirmishers in front so… those questions come to my mind:

1) How do you represent the feat of the First Minnesota at Gettysburg?, it was a single Regiment NOT a Brigade who charged by orders ALONE! into a Confederate Brigade who was superior in numbers and also outflanked them on both sides… HOW DO YOU DO IT?… Don Troiani’s paintings as an inspiration… but not exclusively that. I am not shouting excuse the emphasis.

2) At the end of the ACW there were Rebel Brigades reduced so much that in fact had the strength of a Regiment…

Well, all of that put me in gear to do some special stands, the theory was completed: I did build new stands in the following manner:

  1. Using the standard 60x30mm Baccus stand I represented units understrength, meaning NOT the usual two ranks of 12 minis and 4 skirmishers in front.
  2. I represented isolated units with flanks unprotected -aka 1st Minnesota at Gettysburg- Using fewer minis in the center of the stand with no skirmishers and still two ranks.
  3. In the same stand I will put side by side two units with their colours but much reduced -Confederates- to represent late war status.
  4. Last but not least that induced other supporting ideas… why not push forward both lines and eliminate skirmishers from the picture making some minis in the rear rank a bit not aligned -that represents stragglers or tired soldiers trying to catch up- a new stand to give variety to the tabletop- and what about mounted officers of the Brigade?… THE MEN MUST SEE US TODAY!… just another variation… and so on… (still not shouting).
  5. And in my final order I included Brigades with flank refused, as in Little Round Top extreme of the line.

I did the drawings and schemes and post them to Greg at MERSEY WARGAMES PAINTING SERVICE, those “new stands” will gave my own rules more scope for variety.

I am probably not the first to realize the flexibility of the system that enables a more liberal composition of the minis glued to the base -I am not claiming originality at all- but I guessed it would be a good idea to post my thoughts about them.

Hereby find the instructions and diagrams -scanners attached- for the painting of the ACW Infantry and Cavalry.

1.- Union troops are absolutely REGULAR in dress, blankets Black tarpaulin (Impermeable gear). Only one Regiment of coloured troops (NEGROES) with white officers. Hats always black.

2.- Confederates mainly butternut and dark brown blankets. I appreciate if bits of grey showing be that kepis, jackets or pants in 50% of the  minis.

NOTE: These typed instructions have pre-eminence over the diagrams, in case of conflict between the two follow the present text. Of course, clarifications can be provided.

As you know these stands have NO skirmishers, have the standard double line (pushed forward because NO skirmishers) always central command strip with flags in the centre in the first rank -officer to one side, drummer at the other- with independence of the gluing of the minis on the stand which is the purpose of this present order: ADD VARIETY TO THE ASPECT OF THE STANDS. All minis are facing forwards, even when refused flanks or catching up… no minis running away. Remember NO NEED TO GLUE FLAGS ON THEM, just paint the guidons on the cavalry.

Diagrams to make myself understood by a painter of minis more than a thousand miles away! -Greg is REALLY helpful-
Diagrams above underway… painting by Mersey Wargames.
The above stands finished with flags etc. Mersey Wargames Painting service and final touch by yours truly.

A.- Union Infantry stands:

A1.-    Number one on the diagrams, 20 minis glued as shown with margin at the sides, meaning as together (centred) as on a typical stand of 28 minis such POLEMOS.

There are two minis “catching up” at the rear, not much distanced, one and two base width is OK (on the diagram looks much distorted). All kepi with blanket.

A2.-    Same as above but a mix of kepi and hats. 4 minis in the rear rank “catching up”. Always same criteria as on A1.

A3.-    24 minis + Mounted Officer at the front (from the Cavalry packs), It is a standard POLEMOS stand with the addition of the Mounted officer instead of skirmishers and 3 minis catching up in the rear rank. Minis glued more forward to permit that.

A4.-    12 minis. All black hats. Centred in stand. Flanks unprotected.

A5.-    20 minis. Right flank refused. Same as above.

A6.-    Stand with two small Brigades. 24 minis + Mounted Officer. First rank of the rear Bgde.  and Second rank of forward Bgde.  can be aligned.

A7.-    Same as A5. But the other flank refused. (Left). 20 minis.

A8.-    Put as many kepis as possible in that one… at least 50%. Very similar to A1 but those are Coloured troops with white officers. Two minis “catching up”.

Had to find stands to fit the width of the BACCUS Bridge. I did also other Special stands of course see ACW II.

B.- Confederate Infantry stands:

B1.-     Number one on the diagrams, 20 minis glued as shown, meaning as together (centred) as on a typical stand of 28 minis such POLEMOS. But right flank refused as in A5. Mixed lot. Use different colours for hats.

B2.-     Same as above but left flank refused.

B3.-     12 minis + Mounted officer.. All “straw coloured” hats. Centred in stand. Flanks unprotected.

B4.-     Stand with two small Brigades. 24 minis + Mounted Officer. First rank of the rear Bgde.  and Second rank of forward Bgde.  can be aligned. Quite as A6.

B5.-     Same as B4 minus mounted officer. When aligned like this they have to match B4 and B6 position glued as to look a “LINE”. In fact it would look as an standard POLEMOS stand with two sets of colours, no skirmishers and pushed forward.

B6.-     Same as B4 but symmetrical, see diagram. 

TOTAL of 124 infantry minis and 3 mounted officers. (Include 9 command strips).

For the Infantry stands you will need 14 units of 60x30mm bases NOT INCLUDED.

ACW Cavalry Stands:

Colour of horses predominantly Dark and Red Bays, some Black. All buglers on white horses. Mix a bit.

C1.-     60x30mm stand with 9 minis (UNION) wading a river as mentioned in previous emails:

The idea is to have in a 60×30 Baccus standard base of 9 figures unit in column wading a river… IN LONGITUDINAL WAY DIRECTION FRONT OF 30mm … that means: To cut the bases of the first three (command) and the last two troopers, and the whole legs of the horses (4) in the middle of the base, glue them like that in a more or less “disordered way” but still in column… and paint the base sky blue… as WATER.

C2.-     Same as above but Confederate. (No butternut)

C3.-     A typical Cavalry Brigade of 9 minis (UNION) as per POLEMOS… but in arrow formation as seen in the Forum in Baccus webpage. Officer forward and troopers on each side a bit behind each time, so that the extremes are the more back figures. Quite straightforward.

C4.-     Same as above. Confederate. (No butternut)

Now, what to do with the remaining mounted minis?. NO officer’s left but still guidons (standard-bearers) and buglers.

Please use 30×30 stands on the rest, groups of 4 minis, 2 in front 2 behind as you have done for me repeatedly.

C5.-     4 Union stands, guidon on front rank (right side), bugler front rank (left side). Two troopers behind. Please mix hats and kepis.

C6.-     2 Confederate Stands same as above. (No butternut)

C7.-     4 Union stands with 4 troopers mixed headgear.

C8.-     2 Confederate Stands with 4 troopers as C7. (No Butternut).

Some Special Stands with customized flags (Custer at the LBH is not ACW of course) but the purpose of the pic is to show how easy is even in 6mm.