Thursday, 10 March 2016

American Civil War - Battle of Antietam

Hi everyone!  This is a repost from Palladian Guard, showing what some of our chaps got up to recently with our new 6mm game.  Once this is fully playtested we're hoping to make a full participation game for everyone.

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.

This is how the battle opened.  The infamous Miller's Cornfield is towards the top, and the Federal attack is coming along the road.  Hood's now-famous Texas Brigade is hasilty deployed - the 1st and 5th Texas are just off the top of the board at this point and don't take any direct part in the battle.  We're facing off against the equally tenacious Iron Brigade...

 From our angle you can see the challenge we face.  The ground is difficult and varied, which means it will be difficult to attack in line - but the fact that there's a regular U.S. Army artillery battery preculdes a column approach!

This is how the Federals begin.  Because of their slightly awkward start, they can't deploy in a full line as the 19th Indiana advanced too quickly.  The 35th New York, on the other end of the line, would have to stand in front of the guns to complete the line.  Instead, the 19th forms an impromptu line with the 7th Wisconsin and the New Yorkers march by the flank (ie. sideways) to get behind them in support.

Contrary to experience and practice, the 19th Indiana let loose a battalion volley at 80 yards.  This sounds bad, but is actually ideal for the Confederates - at that range the majority of the shots will fly high, and the entire regiment is left standing there with empty muskets.  Still, we lose about 20 men in one volley!

 In response, I double my regiment forward to about 40 yards, fire a volley of my own just as the Yankees are reloading, then charge!  At that very close range the fire of my Texans is much more devastating and the 19th are forced to withdraw in disorder, to avoid being impaled.  However, I can't advance any further myself because my own ranks are disordered from all the running and the men are tired.  I've just won a little bit of ground.  Reading the official records, this is how about 95% of all bayonet charges went, and accounts for the low casualty figures.  They were shock weapons rather than physical ones.

The other two regiments put up a brave fight.  The Georgians and Hampton's Legion cannot advance any closer because of the vicious canister fire from the artillery, so with their flanks secure they expertly alternate their two regiments to hold off our three - one fighting, the other resting.  To break the stalemate, I despatched my lieutenant colonel with two companies of skirmishers to go into the woods and harras the enemy.  This prevented the 19th Indiana from rallying, and also stopped the 'recovering' regiment from resting so easily.  Also, they scored a big hit when Brigadier General John Gibbon was shot in the upper arm and carried from the field.  (Our fate dice showed that he subsequently died following an unsucessful amputation).

With this, the Federals started to withdraw, but there was no way our shattered brigade could advance any further.  We soon withdrew - both sides had been stopped, but at tremendous cost.  Out of 422 men, the 4th Texas lost 43 killed and 64 wounded (a slightly smaller proportion than in real life).  I quote the following passage from the colonel's report after the battle:

No words can convey the depth of emotion and admiration I hold for the men of the 4th Texas; they responded instantly to whatever order I gave as if on the parade-ground and seemingly disregarding the scores of dead and wounded about them.  Each man who stood on that field deserves, and has earned, a higher praise than I can herein give.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Assualting the trenches part 2

Good morning and welcome to the assault on the trenches from my perspective, the defender.
As Coldsteel eluded to this will be a 4 part post and next time I shall have the job of trying to dislodge his poxy Space Marines from those trenches I only just managed to hold.

We don't tend to play huge point games for 40k, not just because of the space needed but for sheer time factors. I hardly moved at all and we spent nearly 6 hours at Games Workshop HQ playing this game! But we both fancied getting our whole collection out and onto the field. So without further ado let me introduce you to my Tau.

My Left flank - Kroot in the first lines, XV8 suits and broadsides in the second line with XV108 Riptide, XV09 and Hammerhead Support

My Right flank, Fire warriors in both lines with Hammerhead support
My army comprised of the following:

1x Commander in XV8 suit with 2 XV8 crisis bodyguards
1x Cadre fireblade

1 x XV108 Riptide
3 x XV8 crisis suits
2 x 4 XV25 stealth suits

11 x Fire warriors
12 x Fire warriors 1 x Devilfish transport
20 x Kroot with 2 x krootox

Fast attack
3 x XV09 hazard suits
2 x 5 Path finders

Heavy Support
1 x R'vanna experimental battlesuit
2 x Hammerhead Gunships
3 x XV88 Broadside suit

I decided to put my R'vanna, XV09 and Riptide stationed on the bridge to help which ever side Coldsteel pushed hardest. The Path finders and Stealth suits were split on both flanks. My right flank I placed both my Fire warriors with a Hammerhead and Crisis suit support. My left I left rather lightly defended with the kroot up front and a Hammerhead, Broadside and Commander to support.
My thinking being that Coldsteel would rather face relatively weak Kroot than face the massed volley fire of my Fire warriors. One he took the bait I was planning to reinforce in strength across the bridge. The battle turned out very differently..........

The Fire warriors see the bait has not been taken and the are the intended target!

As you can see Coldsteel decided to put his best units against my strong gun line.

I luckily managed to get the first turn. However my dice rolling was poor to say the least. I only managed to destroy the Vindicator! Tau excel at shooting but are basically made of cardboard, they can dish out a whole lot of hurt but cant take it in return! My long range meant I would have at least 2 turns of unopposed shooting, but I had just wasted one!

This Quickly turned into a battle of two sides so I will briefly cover the holding action on the left flank. Coldsteel pushed up a Dreadnaught and tactical squad with scout squad support.

The holding action begins

The Kroot started to take casualties and eventually fled the battle.

The Kroot valiantly held for as long as they could

After pulling my Riptide and XV09 suits away from the left to deal with the impending terminator assault I was forced to push my commander into the front line to hold my left with broadside support.
Broadsides search for their next target
Luckily this managed to hold my left and we pretty much fought each other into a standstill here. Now onto the main event the right flank.
The R'vanna locks onto the Centurion devastators
Despite being hit with volley after volley the Space marines weathered the storm
Slowly the Space marines advanced, shaking off multiple hits from my ionised weapons. I managed to take out a tactical squad and the devastators lurking in a building but still the armoured warriors advanced.
The Fireblade shouted inspiration to his troops! FOR THE GREATER GOOD!
Finally the inevitable happened. The terminators hit home, and hit hard they did. The Tau are pathetic at combat. My first squad was wiped out. The crisis suits sent in to hold the line suffered the same fate.
The Terminators hit my first line

Terminators mop up
While what was left of the Terminators peeled left to mop up my Path finders and Stealth suits, his commander dealt with my XV09 suits that managed to arrive in the fight. Even with Space marine killing weapons these were quickly dispatched!

The terminators finally fell to my massed fire from the second line, and the R'vanna's duel with the Centurions ended with their death. Dans reserve bikers flew up the table and locked my R'vanna in combat until the end of the game. Tying up my most deadly asset while his flying gunship continued to strafe my lines.

His commander and what was left of his command squad turned their eyes to my second line. Despite only being two strong they weathered my fire and took out a second complete squad!
Coldsteels command squad breaks cover to assault while his bikes move to pin my R'vanna

The Slaughter begins
After decimating my right flank I finally managed to put an end to his commander with a well placed Hammerhead round. With us pretty much having fought each other to a standstill we decided to call it there. I managed to hold the trench lines but at such a high cost it wasn't much of a victory.

Aftermath on the left flank

What was left of the right flank
The Glorious dead 

As you can see we both were left with very little. It was a hugely enjoyable day and the next round shall be played next month. I am not looking forward to trying to dislodge Space marines from prepared defences. But that is for another day.