Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Antietam 1862, The Afternoon. Game at NBHW.

Saturday 23rd September saw the conclusion of the Battle of Antietam series of linked games at New Buckenham Historical Wargamers. Two previous games on Friday nights, game 1 game 2, had seen the Confederate forces in the North fall back to the 'sunken lane' position, with the attacks of the Union I and XII Corps, with support latterly arriving from II Corps, proving successful but costly. Only the artillery from Hooker’s I Corps would remain, now attached to a weakened XII Corps.

The Field of Battle.

The Confederate starting positions around Sharpsburg.

Union starting positions and the Confederates'
 formidable defensive line along the sunken lane.

The Confederate reception committee at the sunken lane.

Confederate left flank.

Sumner’s II and Mansfield’s XII Corps now pressed their attacks once more in an attempt to force a lodgement in the Confederate line. Before part of this line was the Roulette farm, still held by a Confederate brigade of Jackson’s II Corps as a kind of forward bastion. This was assailed three times before the Confederate force defending this position was driven out. XII Corps’ brigades were losing the will to continue but II Corps was lining up its troops to smash through where XII Corps had been checked. At the same time the lead division of Franklin’s VI Corps began to arrive in support.

II and XII Corps attack, Roulette Farm still holds out.

Roulette Farm assaulted.

To the south Burnside’s IX Corps was heavily engaged from the start, sending a division to demonstrate against Snavely’s Ford with the remainder of the Corps attempting to storm "Burnside Bridge". The first two attacks were valiant in their execution but were beaten back with heavy losses. The Union frantically brought up more artillery in support as the third assault on the bridge went forward. Despite the sight of the carnage around and on the bridge from the previous two attempts this Union charge cleared the bridge and the following brigades of this successful attack quickly formed up on the Confederate bank. The Confederate I Corps under Longstreet re ordered their lines and prepared their few reserves to take the bridge back.

The initial assault at Burnside Bridge.

Assaults continue.

Confederate support begins to arrive.

To the north, II Corps went in with every leading brigade they had that could get forward. Fighting raged along the natural defensive line that was the sunken lane, and at points the Union troops broke in only to be checked and thrown back with the rest of the tiring men under Sumner.

II Corps break into the sunken lane

Can the supporting brigades arrive in time?

Rebs fling in reserves against the Union breakthrough.

No, the Rebs manage to repulse the attack just before
the supporting brigades can attack. 

However these constant rolling attacks were having a wearing effect on the Confederate forces too. They were running short of reserves to plug any future Union breakthroughs and there was still no sign of A.P. Hill's fine division arriving. McClellan seeing the breakthrough at the sunken lane finally relented to release Porter’s V Corps, only one division at a time mind you, and these welcome troops started to advance on the Middle bridge.

Further concern came for General Lee as the leading Union brigade of the 1st Division of II Corps, making a flanking attack to the west of the West woods, drove forward with great determination, driving back the Confederate forces before them and threatening to turn the entire Confederate line along the sunken lane as well as forcing Lee to beat a hasty retreat to avoid capture.

General Lee and the Rebel left under threat.

Support from the centre stems the threat to the left.

With VI Corps rapidly forming to attack the sunken lane from the front once again the battle was hanging in the balance, but sadly time was running out as Longstreet sent his Confederate troops forward to retake and clear “Burnside Bridge”. Despite fearsome numbers of Union cannon drawn up on higher ground near to the bridge, Longstreet's boys advanced through the Union storm of shot, shell and musketry and drove those Union troops that had crossed, back over the bridge. However the bridge itself was now a bloody no man’s land.

VI Corps arrives ready to continue the assault on the sunken lane.

The Confederates send in reserves to take back the bridge.

The umpire called the game as a hard won victory for the Confederacy as they held a slim 100 victory point margin over the sorely tried Union army. We all felt a second day would have given a clearer result but what a game it had been, yet another memorable gaming day at NBHW.

Many thanks to all who contributed troops, terrain pieces and especially to Richard for organising another brilliant ACW game.

For a lot more photographs see the club Facebook albums Here and Here

Tony.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Antietam 1862, The Dunker Church. Game at NBHW.

Friday 18th saw the continuation of the Battle of Antietam at NBHW. Once again there were six players with, this time, two umpires. This game was once again run using a locally tweaked version of the original Fire and Fury rules in 15mm. It followed on from the previous game, link, and saw the Union forces, having captured the cornfield, continue to advance on the Dunker Church and behind it the Sunken road. As usual I commanded on the union side hence many of the following pictures are from that view point.
Richard's AAR follows the photographs as well as a link to the club album.

The field of battle, Dunker Church in the centre, Sunken road
to the left.

From the Union end of the table with II Corps marching on
from the left.

The to and fro fight for the fence line forward of the Dunker Church.

Union zouaves get stuck in at the fence line.

Union support moves up through the Western wood.

II Corps still arriving

Rear guard action at the fence while the rest of the Confederates
form a new line to the south.

And still they hang on!

Final positions from the Union side.
II Corp's 1st Division deploying on the far right while it's other
divisions form on the left.

And from the Confederate end.
A new defensive line ready for the next game.

Historically, Sumner also attempted to march from the East of the field to the West to get around the flank of the defending Confederates with Sedgewicks Division but was hit in the flank by a strong Rebel attack and it was left to Mansfields XII Corps to press onto the Dunker Church. In this battle, the Union II Corps achieved the hard march to the Western Flank, deployed and started their advance without serious opposition. Earlys brigade and Hoods Division extended the defensive line to the West of the Dunker Church and awaited the inevitable Federal assault. Meanwhile the huge but green brigades of XII Corps engaged the Starke's veterans along the fenceline and refused to give ground. Sheer numbers held them in place until joined by the remaining brigades. Confederate countercharges failed to send the bluebellies back to the Cornfield and persuaded their commanders that further assaults would be futile. At the same time the Union guns accross the Antietam Creek had scored some notable hits against the Rebel batteries on the Dunker Knoll. Jackson's position was becoming more exposed and he ordered a staged withdrawal of Lawton's Division back to the line of the Sunken Road where the fresh veterans of McClaws Division had already deployed in support of DH Hills and now Hoods Divison. Meanwhile French's Divisin of II Corps had successfully deployed on the ground in front of Roulettes Farm which was now the only forward defended confederate position held by Ripley's Brigade. Great play by both sides . The next and final battle on Saturday 23 September will be an amazing game.

For a lot more photographs see the club Facebook album here.

Tony.





Wednesday, 23 August 2017

The "Other" Partizan, Wargaming Show

Sunday saw a trip up to the Newark Showground for the second or "Other" Partizan show of the year. Now settled into this venue the show provides a good atmosphere to view, play and shop with good light and plenty of walk way space. The car parking is easy and plentiful and even the catering is good and reasonably priced with a decent sized seating area. But onto the important bit, the pictures of some of the demo games that caught my eye.

40mm eye candy




















28mm ACW game



And finally the purchase pile. With my British Peninsular War force nearing completion the "shiney shiney" bug bit and with the finale of the Battle of Antietam due soon at the club and the big Gettysburg game coming around again in 2018 some 15mm ACW have appeared on my radar. Specifically V Corps of the Army of the Potomac, the 1st Division and artillery starting the collection.
Having a new club member move in around the corner collecting confederates also helped twist the old arm, possible local evening games :)


There were also the usual and eclectic range of participation games within the venue which I completely failed to photograph although I'm sure they will appear somewhere in our club album knowing the photographers click happy finger.

Tony.