We played a WW2 game using my 20mm collection. The scenario set was for the British to capture a bridge over a river, with naturally the Germans trying to stop them. The bridge could not be blown as “Hitler” wanted this for the forthcoming German counter attack to drive the invaders into the sea! We used Take Cover rules for this game. The British players had 2 infantry battalions each supported by a Troop of Churchill tanks and off table 25pdr artillery battery.
The German players had a horse drawn infantry battalion supported by a company of Stugs and some regimental support, engineers, infantry gun and A/T platoon. In addition once attacked they would receive reinforcement from the SS in the form an armoured panzer grenadier company and a company of Mark IV's. The British players advanced as rapidly as they could, which was quite slow owing to the movement rate of infantry on foot and the Churchills. The German players held their fire until the British got within close range. The Stug company advance on their left to engage with a squadron of Churchill tanks.
The British player attacked the first line of German defence and with mortar and off table artillery support pushed the German out of their trenches. The Stugs meanwhile were devastated by some great tank firing from the Churchills but being hit very hard by a battery of 25pdrs. Alan in charge of the artillery smashed the Stug formation after rolling all sixes in his barrage. The oncoming Mark IVs also took hits from the Churchill’s and artillery. At the end of the evening it was declared that the British were looking very likely to achieve their objective.
Since the first game in the war room the fitting out has almost come to end. Our carpenters have done an absolutely amazing job in creating bespoke tables, draws, and wall units! The toilet is finished as is the kitchen area. Mrs W is delighted there are no more tea and coffee runs. Pictures are now up with a white board. Book cases have been installed and filled with rule books and magazines (not sure why I keep the latter but I have not had the heart to get rid of them!).
A few more tweaks to go and I have left one corner to fit out which is being kept back in case I buy something that needs a different storage facilities. Mrs W has been worried that have moved out of the house into the “War Room” as it has taken far longer to unpack and organise that I had imagined. We had our second game in the War Room (please see my blogs on our mega ACW game) which was a great success and I look forward to many more over the years. Pictures below showing the interior, storage units and tables. It also shows how the big table is put together before anything gets put onto it. The dream has come to reality..
The Union Army of Cumberland’s (AoC) 2nd and 3rd Corps were pushing forward to reinforce their success in the centre but getting across the board was going to take time. The Union AoC 3rd Corp (Simon) pushed forward quickly and engaged Polk’s Corp. The Union Cavalry was still struggling to find a gap in the Confederate flank on their right. The dice gods did return to Union and Brian as the day starting finish by throwing 4 tens with 6 rolls in his shooting mowing down 2 exceptional brigade commanders as pressure mounted from Longstreet, Ewell’s and A P Hill’s corps.
We decided to call it a day on the completion of a full turn and looked at the table. It was agreed that that the Reb’s had won the day and were looking likely to roll up the Union Centre. On the Confederate right Polk and Hardee were under much less pressure than they were on day 1 and the Union Potomac 1st Corps was looking very exposed being pushed so far forward with enemy troops to its rear. It was a great game that was fun and fast moving. As the table was so long it was very difficult to gauge what was going on elsewhere on the table and your focus was on your own small part of the battle giving a real flavour of what is was like to be a Corps commander at the time. It may be going well for your command but the battle maybe falling apart elsewhere.
The final “Butcher’s Bill” was Confederate; 137 infantry stands, 27 cavalry stands and 6 guns. The Union was 235 infantry stands, 8 cavalry stands and 10 guns. Losses per Corps were as follows; Union Army of Potomac 1st Corps 55.2%, 2nd Corps 84.62%, 3rd Corps 12%, 5th Corps 56.9%, 6th Corps 73.02%, 11th Corps 76.19%, 12th Corps 45.65%, Army Reserve 33.3%, Cavalry Corps 30.8%. Union Army of Cumberland (AoC) 1st Corps 6.06%, 2nd Corps 0% and 3rd Corps 13.92%. Confederate Army of Virginia; Longstreet 25.81%, Ewell Corps 11.83%, A P Hill Corps 37.25%, Cavalry 72.97% (Cavalry Corps 100%!) Army Reserve 18.75%. Army of Tennessee Hardee’s Corps 57.61%, Polks Corps 16.42%
On Saturday morning. Feeling refreshed and rearing to go again we removed all out of ammo and disorder markers. We decided that no stragglers would return and the units would fight as they finished but all front line units would need to pull back at least 6 inches from the enemy but could move up to 12 inches back from the enemy to give at least one movement distance between the two sides. This gave the players a chance to re-order their troops and get some them back into a command and control structure.
The Union players divided up the Army of Cumberland (AoC) 3 new Corps between the players, AoC 1st Corps was given to Brian and Alan to reinforce their battered Corps (2nd / 5th and 11th Corps). The AoC 2nd Corps was given to Chris to support the Union attacks on Hardee’s Corp by his 12th Corps, Alan’s 1st Corps and Jonathan’s 3rd Corps. The AoC 3rd Corp was given to Simon which arrived on their right with orders to press forward and attack Polk’s Corp and Confederate Army reserve. Ross unfortunately could make the Saturday and his Corp was divided between Peter and Rob. Rob taking over McLaws’ Division. Peter taking over Hood’s and Pickett’s divisions. Ewell’s corps with no enemy to face with the withdrawal of the Union 5th Corps was turned about in March Column with Early and Johnson’s divisions being brought up to support Longstreet. Rodes Division was being marched along the road at the Confederate rear to fill the gap that appeared between Hardee and A P Hill’s Corps.
The Confederates wasted no time in pushing forward their best troops from Longstreet and A P Hill’s Corps pushing back the remnants of the Union 2nd / 5th and 11th Corps. In one devastating attack across the line (thanks to the dice gods too) they destroyed 6 Union brigades forcing Alan and Brian to commit units of the AoC’s 1st Corp piecemeal to plug gaps in their line. The pullback had given Noel with Hardee’s Corps some breathing space and some of A P Hill Corps under Peter helped relieve the pressure on the centre by moving towards their flank and the Potomac’s 1st Corps stated to look exposed being pushed so far forward in the gap between the two armies.
The Union Cavalry on their right was finding it difficult to get a flanking position with pressure from the Reb’s artillery reserve, command and control issues and the broken ground found on that part of the field. Attacks on Polk’s Corps were made by the Union 3rd and 12th Corps although the weight of Reb’s artillery made the attacks difficult to push through. However the Union 1st, 3rd and 12th Corps were battering Hardee’s (Noel) Confederate Corps.
However on the Confederate right Ross living up to Longstreet’s legacy crashed his Corps into the Union lines. The dice gods finally abandoning Brian after being the chosen one in many games resulted in his two Corps taking a fearful pounding driving them further away from Simon’s 5th Corps and Army reserve. Longstreet was fully supported on their left flank by AP Hill Corps (Peter) which was also moving to their left to help relieve the pressure on Hardee’s Corp. The Reb cavalry (Rob) was changing at everything to keep Longstreet’s flank protected and prevent the Union 5th Corps from linking up with their comrades, destroying a Union brigade in a lucky pincer movement. That was the high tide of the Reb Cavalry as the entire Corps was destroyed leaving JEB Stuart to control a damaged horse artillery battery. Their effort was not in vain as Ewell’s Corp (Rob) finally arrived and smashed into the Union 5th Corps and army reserve protecting Longstreet’s right flank and pushing the Union forces into the corner of the table.
Pressure from Union forces in the centre and their right drove back Hardee’s Corps further splitting the Confederate army and Polk’s Corps although under less pressure than Hardee’s was also pushed back to a new defensive line. As day One ended the Confederates had opened a large gap in the Union Line and Longstreet Corps was widening the gap with supporting attacks from A P Hill’s Corps (Peter). At last the dice gods changed for Hardee’s Corps and the end of day 1 they threw back the last Union assaults of the day, preventing a collapse of the centre. The “butcher’s bill” for the first day’s action was for the Confederates; 69 Infantry Stands, 27 Cavalry Stands and 4 guns. For the Union; 105 Infantry Stands, 6 Cavalry stands and 7 guns. What was left to ponder for the next day; could the Confederates take advantage of their success on their right? Could the Union players destroy the army of Tennessee and in particular Hardee’s Corps before the pressure on the right grew too great?