ANTIETAM/SHARPSBURG 1862 in 6mm (VII)

Visits: 46

There are seven Posts so far… but that does not mean it equals seven turns or seven hours… so do not extrapolate please… it is a slow and quite parsimonious tale.

After chaotic fighting for the cornfield Hooker’s First Division retires and he throws in his other two divisions supported by Artillery. The Confederates also replaced their tired troops by fresh one’s and the fighting continues.

Sumner is advancing as planned and so is Mansfield!

The morning goes on… but the day is young yet… Burnside continues doing nothing… (except sending cavalry patrols to find a ford) McClellan is worried by his imaginary inferiority in numbers (THAT is very difficult to translate to the tabletop… but I guess having Franklin and Porter in RESERVE account for that!).

I can only play about an hour or so a day (and not everyday because real life intrudes a lot… but it is fantastic to have a permanent table in a safe place!… you know what I mean…no one is messing with the tabletop at all… but me)

So far so good. satisfied… still working on mechanisms but the battle flows quite right!

Enjoy!

Follow up…
The Rebs have the cornfield (again)
Union passage of lines (retreating through fresh advancing Divisions…
Louisiana Tigers advancing…
Union fresh Brigades attack!
The clash!
Not through yet!… more to come…

ANTIETAM/SHARPSBURG 1862 in 6mm (VI)

Visits: 66

As promised… a division of Hooker’s Corps goes forward, a Brigade simply refused to move so instead of 4 brigades only 3 make the attack… Confederates have their problems too. All that because one thing is “to move around in the countryside” and other to move against an enemy. (Dice involved simulated field of vision and local orography… but also excuses -read officer’s characteristics-to do not move…).

So I used red and blue dices to show the relative strength in numbers of Brigades. Those are added to a six sided dice result and there must be a real difference in pips to have a decisive result (one or two pips difference are ignored)… More in following attacks. Brigades have a tendency to stand or even recoil quite easily… more difficult to press attacks… There was even a case of enfilade fire that did not succeed!… I had fun (not guaranteed)!

As I have said before 4 turns is the maximum “time” (time is flexible again) a Brigade can stand on the frontline fighting… afterwards must retire tired even if victorious… some exceptions will be worked on further on. This is shown with the use of white and black mini dice. So in fact I micromanage the fights that seems “hours” to participants… while the rest of the Corps (both sides) await results.

Quite if not completely satisfied with the first experimental solo rules… ties where resolved with the turn of a card for each side… if that also (it did not happen) was a tie I have gone to the deck of ultra rare or unpredictable tides of war situations that happened in real life.

My kind of “game” is quite impartial and develops like a film or scene… I am an spectator of it… but I expect Armies to behave like the Historical one’s. So far so good.

More next days.

Enjoy!

Some Brigades get lost or simply not move. Uncoordinated movements.
Long distance firefight. Skirmish.
Firing inside the Cornfield.
General view of First Division (Union) attack.
Sort of Climax.
Still polishing rules but satisfied.
End of first fight! (for the moment) Yellow markers means it is the end of the fight for those Brigades.

ANTIETAM/SHARPSBURG in 6mm (V)

Visits: 67

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: 58

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 (6mm) My Own for once! (I)

Visits: 46

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!

Custer & Little Big Horn

Visits: 88

Since I saw Errol Flynn killed by Anthony Quinn in THEY DIED WITH THEIR BOOTS ON it become a lifelong interest… I was puzzled as a child because it seemed to me the US Cavalry HAD to WIN no matter what… of course real life is not like that… I guess I have already mentioned that on other Posts in this Blog but nevertheless…

It has been a rewarding passion mainly reading&collecting books about it and trying to understand what happened that 25th of June… of course all films (but Little big man) related to and hundreds (literally) of miniatures for wargames purposes (in 28mm, 15mm and 6mm to do not mention my 75mm Playmobils).

After 70 years exposed to it I have come to the conclusion that Custer was put on a NO WIN – NO WIN situation… mainly by fate and circumstances but also for bad scouting, not believing his own scouts, and betrayed by his own experience fighting Plains Indians… the whole Reno Benteen paranoia is simply that a paranoia… the Native Americans where there in enough numbers (ask Crook), interior lines of communication, perfect ground for his tactics, and the will to fight for survival. The Indians Won. That’s that.

A magnificent American drama for the Centennial of the Nation.

Not much to enjoy about that of course… but a fascinating subject. There are a lot of trash books about it (and films too)… I can recommend the opus of Frederick Wagner III THE STRATEGY OF DEFEAT and the novel (fictional-history but it reads as History) A ROAD WE DO NOT KNOW.

Be impartial!

One of my childhood obsessions…

New Home

Visits: 103

It was not easy to transport this part of my 54mm collection but it was worth the effort believe me!

After all I am going to play one against the other, and game them alone too (one at a time) depending on scenarios.

Enjoy!

The French Foreign Legion in a big cabinet at the ex-office… 99% DORSET
Same for the British around 1880 99% REPLICA

American Civil War (I)

Visits: 705

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 (III)

Visits: 785

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.