Thursday, 19 May 2016

The Battle of Gettysburg

We've been following the 4th Texas Infantry through every engagement of the American Civil War.  From a minor scrap with McClellan's Peninsular army a year ago, we're now in Pensylvannia fighting the infamous Battle of Gettysburg - the war's bloodiest engagement, and one which would later come to represent the 'High Water Mark of the Confederacy'.

For this battle, we were representing part of the Texas Brigade's assault up Little Round Top, through the boulder-strewn Devil's Den.  We are using 6mm Baccus figures, and my own home-brew rules called Two Splendid Lines.

Special mention is also due to Dan and Michael (both members of our SB5 gaming group).  They let us use their newly-converted attic for the inagural game!  Here's to many more...

Battle Report

You can see above how the battle began.  A simple brigade attack, straight up the hill into the arms of a well-defended position.  A tough prospect, made much more difficult by the trees and boulders of Devil's Den.  My plan was to use the terrain to my advantage, getting as much protection as possible.

Here you see the action at the top of Little Round Top, from the Federal perspective.  I'd put my half of the regiment (marked 4 TX.) into column to snake through the boulders, but the Yankees took advantage of this to pour some canister fire into my tightly-packed columns.  I lost about half of my strength getting up the hill, and had to pause to redress the lines.  Fortunately, the added steadiness of both the colours and the colonel stopped them from running, although they were shaken.

The 44th New York is brought round and deploys its flank companies to try and block my skirmishers, under the command of Ollie.

Here, a lucky dice favoured the South.  After an exchange of fire, Ollie charged forwards with nearly 200 skirmishing Texans.  Dan, commanding the 44th, very sensibly elected to give ground rather than stand and be swamped - a perfectly common historical option to prevent the charge 'connecting'.  Unfortunately, the men got a little carried away and once he'd started them withdrawing, he couldn't stop them!  With a few more volleys, the New Yorkers were gone.  Very few casualties, but a good example of how momentum and fear, combined with crowd mentatlity, can lead to some astounding battlefield results.  Dan was very unlucky here as he had only a 10% chance of this happening.

Things started to unravel for the Union here, but they did not give up!  While Ollie worked round their flank, I reformed into line for a charge and had to withstand more vicious canister and rifle fire while I prepared.  I lost another 20% of my regiment in a single volley!

Soon after this picture was taken, the top half of Mike's 140th New York swung back round to refuse the left flank (exactly as Chamberlain of the 20th Maine famously did at just this moment in real life, about a quarter mile further south).  It was to no avail though, as...

The main body of the 4th charges!  With the added effect of flanking fire, and the withdrawal of Hazlett's guns to stop them falling into enemy hands, the 140th soon withdrew.  The 4th Texas stood proudly at the summit of Little Round Top!  However, as you can see, the 16th Michigan managed to drive off two shaken Confederate regiments with a gutsy charge!

Historical Accuracy

This deserves a mention here.  All our previous battles have roughly followed the pattern of the real-world history, but this was very different.  In real life the 4th attacked up the hill twice before withdrawing with heavy loss.  I ascribe our success to three factors:
  • Additional freedom in executing orders.  I had the chance to order columns, double columns and skirmishing attacks - it brought me much closer much more quickly, but I probably wouldn't have been allowed to do this!  Brigade attacks needed everything 'up front' to break through and complicated tactics like this would have left much more to go wrong.
  • Good command and morale dice.  The colonel's +D3 morale was crucial to maintaining enough order to stand and then make that final charge.  Also, the boulders aided as well since cover gives a +1 morale bonus.
  • Dan's bad Give Ground dice.  Rarely does a game turn so dramatically on a single roll.  This basically was the first domino that went, allowing me to break through and start rolling up the line.  Although we agreed that, shortly after the battle ended, I would have withdrawn the 4th.  The Confederates had no reserve left to put in by this point and my 300 men were now down to about 140.
That's it!  What a smashing game, very well fought by our two volunteer Union commanders and we've scratched that ACW itch for a while... until next time, which is Chickamauga...

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Valhallan Inquisimunda Team

A couple of weeks back I showed you some pictures of my converted heavy bolter team and officer.  They're the first 40K models I've done in a while (the first 28mm for that matter), and I'm pretty pleased with them.

They're for an Inquisimunda/Necromunda/Kill Team campaign we have coming up.  We just like to mash the rules up until we have something vaguely playable.  Anyway, without any more ados:

The whole team.  In game terms, it's a platoon command squad with a flamer and a separate HB team.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

PC Game Review: Battlefleet Gothic Armada

There are probably many wargamers out there who don't play PC games - so turn away now!  This is for those of you who haven't heard about Battlefleet Gothic Armada which was released a few days ago.  I'm highlighting it here because it's a very faithful copy of the original BFG game, and for those who used to (and still do) play, I'd recommend it highly.  SB5 are currently addicted to it...

It's a basic naval combat simulator.  A big 2D board, ships that move around and fire at each other.  Special abilities, experience, upgrades for your ships - that's pretty much it.  And that's what I like about it, it's so straightforward and unpretentious, it just allows you to drool at the lovely pictures.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Valhallan Heavy Bolter Team

Those of you who've had the misfortune to have been following my blog from the Early Days will remember that it started out as a 40K blog.  Indeed Palladian Guard is the name for my beloved 40K army.  But I soon decided that Warhammer wasn't really for me any more.  The game was getting silly (and expensive) - but I still cherished a lingering love for my first wargame.  After some successful patrol clash games, I sold most of my tanks and just kept a 1,000pt all-infantry force.  To be honest, there's been so much historical wargaming going on since then that I've not played a game of 40K in over a year.

We are, however, very irreverent when it comes to rules.  We pick and choose what we like - for instance we still play Third Edition rules because those are our favourite set.  We loved Inquisitor, and we also love Necromunda - so we've decided to start an Inquisimunda game.

What's Inquisimunda?  Well, you make a squad of about 5-10 models.  No rules, restrictions or anything like that - as long as it's sensible by consensus.  Then, you use a made-up hash of 40K and Necromunda rules to fight a nice little skirmish game.

The beauty of this is that you can get some models of whatever army you like!  In my case, Valhallans:

Friday, 25 March 2016

1:2400 Russo-Japanese War Ships

Things have been very ACW-heavy for the past few months, so to prove I have other things on the go I thought I'd share my progress on these Russo-Japanese War ships.  They're from the Tumbling Dice 1:2,400 Age of Battleships range, covering roughly the 1890s to 1910s.

I picked a few up at my last Partizan visit.  Suitably impressed, I've been slowly adding to the range with a view to playing out some RJW naval actions.  These are all based on circular MDF bases, with 'No More Nails' glue sculpted into water.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

The Battle of Sharpsburg

The Battle of Antietam, or Sharpsburg as it was known in the Confederacy, remains the bloodiest day in the history of the United States to this day; 25,000 casualties of whom 4,000 were killed.  So it was not without some trepidation that we embarked on our latest game of Two Splendid Lines, following the history of the Fourth Texas Infantry through the Civil War, battle by battle.

For those who've missed the preceeding posts, TSL is a 6mm game based on the Give Them The Cold Steel ruleset.  It focuses on the morale and tactical dynamics of regimental-level combat - all about the snapshot of a battle.

Saturday, 13 February 2016

The Flag of the Fourth Texas

It's been a little while since I've done a post, so a quick update to whet your appitites for the forthcoming campaigns.
  • The Two Splendid Lines campaign is on hold for a few weeks.  The next battle, Antietam, requires six regiments so I have a lot of painting to do! 
  • I'm writing a series of linked games for Battlefleet 1900, where a team of players takes command of a single ship and leads it to glory.
  •  There's a 40K campaign in the works, using 2mm models and rules based on our Cold Steel super set.
You want pictures you say?  Well, how about the regimental flag of the 4th Texas.  My very patient mother (who still helps her 26-year old son with sewing all his costumes together) made us a very nice homespun regimental flag.

The Battle of Second Manassas

Welcome to the latest episode in our Two Splendid Lines 6mm campaign.  This is a series of linked battles, following all the battles of the Fourth Texas through the Civil War.  We've already fought Eltham's Landing and Gaines' Mill, now it's time for Second Manassas, or Second Bull Run as it's known up North.  Roll call, for the officers of the Fourth Texas Infantry...

Monday, 11 January 2016

The Battle of Gaines' Mill

Welcome to the first proper game of Two Splendid Lines, our 6mm regimental-focused ACW game!  I think I'll let the pictures (properly captioned) do most of the talking.  This was a small snapshot of the 4th Texas attacking the Federal positions on top of Turkey Hill at Gaines' Mill, June 27th 1862.  As part of our campaign we are playing every battle in which the 4th Texas participated in, in order.  We had a minor skirmish at Eltham's Landing last week, but this is the regiment's first pitched battle...

The basic situation.  The Texans start in the gulley on the right, and have to advance up the hill and take the defences.