Monday, May 6, 2019

Cavalry in the Shenandoah-Little Wars 2019

This is the third and final entry for Little Wars 2019.  In addition to running three events myself, I assisted my good friend and gaming mentor Mark Anderson with his ACW Fire and Fury game.

Mark is a veteran gamer of probably close to 50 years with a very sizable miniature collection.  He owns the largest gaming miniature collection I have seen in person and it is probably not an exaggeration to say it numbers 40,000 or more figures in various scales from ancients through WWII.
Shenandoah Valley
He hosts a weekly gaming group at his home that meets probably 40+ times a year.  I was fortunate enough to be invited several years ago after meeting at Little Wars and since then myself as well as well as my boys have attended countless times.   The group meet to refight many historical battles in miniature.   While Mark hosts in his home and has a massive collection many of the group members bring and put on their games throughout the year.  This is a great way to playtest new ideas for upcoming conventions.  On any given week you can expect to find between 6-12 gathered to refight the event planned for that week.
Captured wagons being escorted
I tell you this so you understand that Mark does not do anything small.  His submission for Little Wars this year was no exception.  He decided on a hypothetical ACW scenario revolving around a Confederate Cavalry raid North to capture supplies and wagons and the ensuing Union response to try to recapture or destroy the wagons before they could get to safety.  In total each side had 2 cavalry divisions with Artillery and the confederates had a brigade of militia in addition.
Garrison duty
The rules used were Regimental Fire and Fury.  We enjoy both the Regimental and Brigade Fire and Fury for ACW.  We have also used the rule variants to run a number of AWI battles.  They perform very well and are great for a convention game as they are easy to learn, have a very well one quick reference sheet and produce somewhat realistic results.  This is where I and a handful of other "Irregulars" came in to assist Mark in judging and interpreting the rules for the 12 players who had signed up to play in the six hour event.

Rebel Militia

The gaming table was 6x15' and had more 15mm ACW cavalry then I had seen in any event.  We had play tested the scenario a couple times in the months prior to make sure it was somewhat balanced.  The Confederates start on the North end of the table escorting a large wagon train with a goal to get them off the southern end of the table past Winchester, while preventing the union cavalry in pursuit from destroying the wagons and capturing buildings.
Guarding the population center

Once all the players arrived they were divided into teams.  I did a quick explanation of the rules following the turn sequence and how to use the QRS.  Mark did an overview of the scenario and issued OoB as well as orders to the commanders.  The teams briefly divided to form their strategy and then the battle was on.

The OoB and orders were as follows:

Federal Order of Battle                 Low Casualties



1st Cavalry Division          BG W. Merritt Gallant   6,560 Cavalry 24 Guns
 
1st Brigade        BG G.A Custer Gallant                                        1,760     Troopers 6 Guns

1st Michigan     Crack 12-8-5       Beach loading Carbine          480         9,8,7 Stands
5th Michigan     Crack 12-8-5       Beach loading Carbine          480         9,8,7 Stands
6th Michigan     Crack 10-7-4       Beach loading Carbine          400         8,7,6 Stands
7th Michigan     Crack 10-7-4       Beach loading Carbine          400         8,7,6 Stands
6th Battery N.Y. Lt.            Veteran 3 sections 6-3” Rodman Rifles

 
2nd Brigade      Col. T.C Devin Able                                              1,600     Troopers 6 Guns

4th New York    Veteran 12-8-5  Beach loading Carbine          480         9,8,7 Stands       
6th New York    Veteran 10-7-4  Beach loading Carbine          400         8,7,6 Stands
9th New York   Veteran 10-7-4  Beach loading Carbine           400         8,7,6 Stands
17th Penn       Veteran 10-7-4  Beach loading Carbine             400         8,7,6 Stands
2nd U.S. Battery B             Veteran 3 sections 6-3” Rodman Rifles

 Reserve Brigade   Col. A. Gibbs Able                                         1,600     Troopers 6 Guns

1st U.S. Cavalry   Veteran 10-7-4  Beach loading Carbine         400         8,7,6 Stands
2nd U.S. Cavalry Veteran 10-7-4 Beach loading Carbine          400         8,7,6 Stands
5th U.S. Cavalry  Veteran 10-7-4  Beach loading Carbine         400         8,7,6 Stands
6th PennsylvaniaVeteran 10-7-4  Beach loading Carbine         400         8,7,6 Stands
2nd U.S. Battery D             Veteran 3 sections 6-3” Rodman Rifles

 

2nd Cavalry Division                          BG William Averell

 1st Brigade  Col. J.M. Schoonmaker Able                               1,600     Troopers 6 Guns
8th Ohio            Veteran 10-7-4  Beach loading Carbine           400         8,7,6 Stands
14th Penn         Veteran 10-7-4  Beach loading Carbine            400         8,7,6 Stands       
22nd Penn         Veteran 10-7-4  Beach loading Carbine           400         8,7,6 Stands
1st New York    Veteran 10-7-4  Beach loading Carbine           400         8,7,6 Stands
5th U.S. Battery H      Veteran 3 sections 6-3” Rodman Rifles

 
1st Brig., 2nd Division IV Corps       Col. ATA Torbert Able       1,920

1st New Jersey Veteran 12-8-5 Rifled Musket                          480         9,8,7 Stands
2nd New Jersey Veteran 12-8-5 Rifled Musket                         480         9,8,7 Stands
3rdNew Jersey  Veteran 12-8-5 Rifled Musket                         480         9,8,7 Stands
4th New Jersey Veteran 12-8-5 Rifled Musket                         480         9,8,7 Stands
 5th U.S. Battery                 Veteran 3 sections 6-12pdr Napoleon’s

 
 
General Merritt,
The enemy has just completed a successful raid into Clarke County with the objective of securing supplies they need desperately. A convoy of captured wagons has been sighted entering the Valley with the objective of reaching Winchester. You are to take your Division into the Shenandoah Valley to capture or destroy those wagons. You are also ordered to take Winchester, either occupy it or burn it and its’ railhead. You are also tasked with destroying all the farms and Plantations you can.
 Assigned to you for this mission is your 1st Cavalry Division and 1st Brigade 2nd Division under BG Averell. 1st Brigade 2nd Division from VI Corps is also marching to assist you but we are not sure of when they may arrive.
 We have managed to out flank and penetrate the Valley with 3 of your 4 Cavalry Brigades. The enemy has brought up an Infantry Brigade to form a rear guard protecting the convoy at Dalton. Another Infantry Brigade may have been spotted protecting the bridge over the Shenandoah River near Winchester. Local guides tell us there may be a ford over the Shenandoah, this could be helpful. We believe Winchester to being held by Confederate cavalry and possibly the HQ for Wade Hampton’s Cavalry Division.
 We anticipate a tough fight, your forces are not strong enough to win this fight with frontal assaults only, stay mobile, maneuver where possible to gain an advantage. Remember your cavalry will have a hard time against his infantry. Destroy as much as you can and withdrawn your troop to our lines in Clarke County.
 Good Luck,
 Phil Sheridan
General Commanding

Confederate Order of Battle

 
A.N.V. Cavalry Corps  Maj. Gen. Hade Hampton, Gallant    4,800 Troopers, 16 Guns
                                                                                                                                                                               
3rd Cavalry Division     Maj. Gen. Fitzhugh Lee, Gallant        2,400 Troopers, 8 Guns
Lomax’s Brigade          BG L.L. Lomax, Able                        1,280 Troopers, 4 Guns
5th Virginia            Crack     12-8-5   Rifled Carbine                 480        
6th Virginia            Crack     10-7-4   Rifled Carbine                 400
15th Virginia          Crack     10-7-4   Rifled Carbine                 400
Chew Battery       Veteran               2 Sections 4 12pdr Napoleon’s
 Wickham’s Brigade    BG W.C. Wickham, Able                    1,280 Troopers, 4 Guns
1st Virginia           Veteran    12-8-5  Rifled Carbine                 480         9,8,7 Stands
2nd Virginia          Veteran    10-7-4  Rifled Carbine                 400         8,7,6 Stands       
3rd Virginia          Veteran    10-7-4  Rifled Carbine                 400         8,7,6 Stands
2 Virginia BatteryVeteran 2 Sections 4 3’ Rodman Rifles
 
4th Cavalry Division   Maj. Gen Willman H.F. Lee, Gallant    2,400 Troopers, 8 Guns
 Chambliss’ Brigade  BG J.R. Chambliss, Gallant                  1,200 Troopers, 4 Guns
9th Virginia              Veteran 10-7-4  Rifled Carbine               400         8,7,6 Stands
10thVirginia             Veteran 10-7-4  Rifled Carbine               400         8,7,6 Stands
13th Virginia            Veteran 10-7-4  Rifled Carbine               400         8,7,6 Stands
Pegram’s Virginia Battery             Veteran    2 Sections 4 12pdr Napoleon’s
 Gordon’s Brigade    BG J.B. Gordon Able                           1,200 Troopers, 4 Guns
1st North Carolina Veteran    10-7-4  Rifled Carbine               400         8,7,6 Stands
2nd North Carolina  Veteran   10-7-4  Rifled Carbine              400         8,7,6 Stands
5th North Carolina  Veteran    10-7-4  Rifled Carbine             400         8,7,6 Stands
Hart’s S.C. Battery Veteran 2 Sections 4 3’ Rodman Rifles
 
Johnson’s Militia Brigade    BG R.E. Johnson, Able             1,200 Troops, 2 Guns
16 Virginia     Trained 10-8-5   Rifled Musket                       400         8,7,6 Stands
19 Virginia     Trained 10-8-5   Rifled Musket                       400         8,7,6 Stands
6 Militia          Trained 10-8-5   Rifled Musket                       400         8,7,6 Stands
3 Virginia Battery  Veteran 2 Sections 4 12pdr Napoleon’s
 
 General Hampton,
As you know the Shenandoah Valley is the breadbasket of the Confederacy more now than ever before. It is vital we defend as best we can. Last week General H.F Lee took his4th Division into Clarke County on a raid to capture supplies for the cause. He has been very successful; he is currently escorting a convoy of captured wagon through the lines to Winchester.
He is being pursued by both infantry and cavalry formations. I have placed a Gen. Johnson’s Infantry Brigade under your command to help cover their retreat and protect the valley. Gen Chambliss’ Brigade is escorting the wagon’s while Gen. Gordon’s has been sent forward to help cover the retreat.
Gen. Fitzhugh Lee’s Division is currently in and about Winchester. He tasked with protecting the Valley, Winchester and the captured supplies are a priority. Use the Infantry Brigade and your Division’s as you see fit. Lomax’s Brigade is at your Headquarters in Winchester and Gen. Wickham’s Brigade is off the table near Winchester. The fate of the nation is in your hands.
Yours,
R.E. Lee
Commanding, Army of Northern Virginia
 
Scenario Rules
No Road Movement Turn 1
Unit may not charge from off the table the turn they enter
 Point Costs
Each building destroyed or held at the end of the battle    5 pts
Each Wagon destroyed or captured.                                  10 pts
Bridge Captured                                                                 10pts
20% chance per stand to fire a building
 Contested Artillery Fire     1-5 Hits enemy, 6-10 Hits friendly
 

The battle developed as it did when we play tested.  The Confederates achieved some early success keeping the wagons just out of reach of the Union pursuers.
On the move
 The Confederate cavalry were divided into 1 division returning from the raid with another posted in the valley with the command in Winchester.
Deploy to meet the invaders
 The Union pursued the wagons as well as sent Custer South in an attempt to flank and cut off the rebels before they could escape
Long lines of cavalry
 Along the way the Cavalry from both sides as well as the rebel militia clashed at numerous points.
 While the Union managed to destroy a few wagons it appeared the Confederates would be successful in their objective early on as the Union was not able to achieve a decisive breakthrough
Here come the Blue Bellies
 The Rebel infantry took up a very strong defense in the center allowing the wagons to pass and attempted to hold off the pursuit.
Go Around if you cannot go through

Holding strong
 Many charges were made and checked as the union invaders tried again and again to break through to destroy the supplies.
Contested ground


Formed for the charge

Wagons hotly contested

Rear guard action
As time was about to expire the Union made a final valiant attempt to breakthrough the rebel lines and get to the wagons.  This time they were able to maneuver a lone regiment ahead of the wagon train and successfully cut off the escape route securing a narrow victory.

It resulted in a great day of gaming in which both sides seemed to enjoy themselves in what proved to be a nail biter right to the end.

As always Mark pulled off another epic event and exposed several new players to wonders of American Civil War gaming using Regimental Fire and Fury.

Not wanting to rest on their laurels the group has already been working for several months to prepare for a refight of Austerlitz later this year in 15mm.  In fact, much of the terrain bards used in this battle were newly constructed for the upcoming campaign and repurposed to represent the Shenandoah.

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