Wednesday 25 April 2018

Back in the Desert 1967 Arab/Israeli War

Putting aside all the American Civil War obsession and I managed a third game yesterday which I will blog later in the week. We squeezed in a return to the Sinai Desert in 1967. No real historical context to the battle but we had two roughly equal armoured forces looking to capture the high ground in the central part of the battlefield. A fun way to get my small collection of Arab/Israeli takes onto the table 😀. I didn’t take too many pictures....fair to say desert conflicts in 6 mm are not as photogenic as 28 mm ACW ! However.......
Israeli centurions pushing forward
Arab forces move rapidly to take the high ground
SU-100’s cross the valley supported by heavily armoured JS Tanks
A full battalion of Israeli Super Shermans
Israeli Magach’s open up at long range
Starting to cause casualties amongst the Arab T55’s
A wider shot of desert the Arabs having the advantage by taken both hills
Advancing PT76’s are too weakly armoured and are badly mauled by the Magach’s 
But the super Sherman’s aren’t able to hold the high ground
Stalin’s best push across the open ground
...and the Israeli centurions can’t react quickly enough 
Tanks from both sides are in flames....but the Rab forces are getting the bets of it
The Magach’s can fight at long range but are unable to move forward to take the objectives
The depleated Arab Forces hold the high ground to claim a minor victory

A fun game and nice to get the Arab Israeli forces back on the table 🙂

Monday 23 April 2018

The Battle of Cookesville : 1862 ACW

Martin came over at the weekend so we could combine our ACW collections and play one of our ‘big Sunday games in the dungeon’. When we combined each Army had a handsome four Infantry brigades, an independent Cavalry Brigade together with supporting artillery 7 or 8 Guns per side. The scenario which is non-historical is based loosely on the scenario in the Black Powder main rule book, although heavily modified.

The Union Forces have been caught in camp, the four Brigades entering from designated positions where they are encamped on the edge of the town of Cookesville which lies just off the battlefield. A small number of Union pickets have been deployed in a ploughed field in the direction the Rebels are thought to be advancing from. The Rebel army enters the battlefield from randomly selected Brigade positions. As it turned out one of these included a flanking advance from the Rebel 2nd Brigade who had found a crossing of the small stream running through Cookesville. The Union Forces have a slight advantage in numbers with 17 infantry regiments (Rebels had 15) and an extra artillery piece. The confederates have a slightly better deployment and the advantage of the high ground. From a practical basis we had planned to use black powder but ended up using my amended Bolt Action Rules. They need some very slight further amendments around morale after this battle but worked well otherwise.

The initial deployment after the first turn or so
Union 1st Brigade has to enter from their encampment, beyond them the 2nd Brigade
The Union 3rd Brigade entering by Cookesville Church
Rebel 3rd Brigade enters on one of the hills
Union 4th Brigade arriving from the other road from Cookesville, squeezed in by the stream they find it hard to deploy
And come under immediate attack from the Rebel 2nd Brigade who have flank marched and deployed very quickly into line !
The Rebel 4th Brigade rushes forward from the woods
The Rebel 1st Brigade enters from around Martin’s Farm
Massed Infantry of the Union 2nd Brigade striding forward across the turnpike
The 2nd Brigade has a powerful artillery battery which sets up in the trees by the road
The Artillery from the Union 1st Brigade deploys in their camp to get into action as soon as possible
Ranks of Rebel infantry slogging through the muddy ploughed field (it goes without saying that with this number of troops deployment was a real challenge for both armies it was going to prove to be a battle of attrition)
The Union 1st push forward into one of the corn fields under cover of their guns who target Rebel forces on the high ground
The 2nd Brigade advance to the turnpike and enter the ‘Wheatfield’
Union 3rd Brigade having marched from the town choose to turn to the west to march towards the bridge
Eventually the rebels entering from the Wood (one of two Louisiana Brigades) advance beyond the log cabin
The flank attack has deployed with supporting artillery on the small hill, luckily for the Federals they can’t hit a barn door and barely score a hit all battle

An overview of the battle at this stage
The Union 1st Brigade with greater numbers looks to directly assault the high ground, but the rebels are particularly hard to shift 
In the centre the Louisianan’s have formed up and chase off the pickets to secure the ploughed field
Union 4th Brigade makes very slow progress, unable to deploy properly they get very bogged down
The battle enters a period of ferocious exchange of fire across the whole battlefield but it is unclear where a break through might come ?
Hand to hand combat on the far flank
Federal reserves from the 3rd Brigade wait to be ordered forward
A view from behind the Rebel lines, again the Rebel artillery is ineffective but are taking casualties themselves from the Union Guns in the camp
Now at the stone wall the Louisianan’s stop to exchange fire with the Union 3rd Brigade
The combat on the far side of the stream
.......and in colour 🙂
Part of the Union 3rd Brigade look to flank the flankers but are not quick enough to make it count
Having weathered the first assault the Rebels rush down the hill 
Things are now incredibly tight all along the battleline with front line Regiments being badly shot up and reserves eager to get into the fight
The 1st Brigade bringing up reserves to hold the left flank counter attack
The battle at the stone wall, one notable feature of the battle was the number of Regimental officers killed ‘‘tis lowered morale and may Regiments only stayed in the fight with the support of Brigade commanders
The union artillery has concentrated on the Rebel guns and by the end of the battle only two of the Rebel guns were still operational.
The Rebel cavalry brigade were much more active than their Union counter-parts who never fired a shot. The Rebels eventually advanced to shoot into the flank of the Union 3rd Brigade
The Louisiana Brigade at the stone wall, but they are reluctant to break across the open ground
Beyond the stream Union Zouaves of the 4th Brigade charge into combat 
Captured in a period shot.
The final position on the left of the battlefield.

At this point it was clear that despite many hours of fighting neither side could gain a significant advantage to call it a victory. The union forces were winning on the left with numerical superiority, the centre was a stalemate across the walled field. On the right fighting around the bridge was ferocious but no side could get a breakthrough. As darkness fell the two generals chose to withdraw with their armies substantially intact.

The Rebels had lost a significant number of regimental officers and almost all their artillery, the Union had defended their position. Strangely perhaps this battle reflected too closely the nature of the ACW, with vast numbers of troops slugging it out but unable due to the nature of the combat to bring a decisive victory or to knock the enemy army out, both have survived to fight another day on another battlefield.

Final thoughts at the end this was a massive battle and thanks to Martin for the enthusiasm and patience to stick with it. It was visually stunning and every now and then we just had to stop and stare 🙂 The rules worked really well giving a good game, easy, fun and mentally stimulating. Future games will see a slight amendment to the morale checks. The scary thing is I have quite a lot of stuff to paint and can see us looking to fight some more historical battles in the future. As always happy answer any questions....😀