Friday, February 26, 2021

"One Hour Wargames" - Scenario 22 - "Ambush" - Set Up and Game

DG and I are into our 3rd or 4th game of DBN of the year (albeit virtually, and via Battle Chronicler [clicky]) but there's no comparison with getting some metal on the table, and for a quick solo game there's no beating One Hour Wargames.

In the delightful walk through of the scenario's, we're now up to no. 22, and another one of those lovely mismatched scenario's that give a challenge, both on the table, and in solo play.. 

It was a toss up which period to use for this game, I was thinking either ACW or ECW as I've added units to both projects this year and it's always nice to see them on the table, but given the last OHW game I played was with the ACW troops, I plumped for ECW for this game..

No spoilers (after 21 reports you should have got the message by now and already bought the book! )

So a mismatched scenario - in this game Parliament are besieging a fortified manor house held by a small Royalist garrison, but unbeknown to them, there is a Royalist relief force about to make it's devastating presence known..

Forces were diced for on the random table as written in the book, with the single exception that the skirmisher/levy/zouave column was replaced with dragoons, as none of the troop types fitted the ECW period we were playing in. All troops are "regular" (so +1 morale) but just for a little variety/fun, strength points were decided by random (2D6 halved and any half points rounded up).

Parliament OOB:
  • CinC - Charles Essex
  • 4 Regiments of infantry - Charles Essex's brigade
  • 1 regiment of cavalry (Trotter class) - Sir John Gramson's Regiment (naturally!)
  • 1 unit of dragoons 

  • Unit SP's MP's
    Sir Charles Essex's Regiment of Foote 4 5
    Sir Henry Cholmley's Regiment of Foote 6 7
    Lord Mandeville's Regiment of Foote 5 6
    Lord Wharton's Regiment of Foote 4 5
    Sir John Gramson's Regiment of Cavalry 4 5
    Col. James Wardlowe's Dragoons 4 5
Parliamentary OOB

Royalist OOB:
  • CinC - Sir John Belayse
  • 2 regiments of foot - being most of John Belasyse's Brigade (Pennyman's are absent)
  • 1 piece of artillery - a Falcon - which will form the garrison of the fortified manor
  • 1 unit of dragoons

    Unit SP's MP's
    John Belasyse's Regiment of Foote 4 5
    Thomas Blagge's Regiment of Foote 6 7
    Garrison artillery (Falcon/Light) 2 3
    Colonel John Innes's Dragoons 3 4

Royalist OOB - the artillery are already deployed in the manor house

Rules are my homegrown one's (which you can find here [clicky])

Table as follows...   fortified manor house upper left quarter - woods (open) cover the bottom of the table...  no hills other than the one the manor house is on, all going other than the wood and that hill is good (so fields are just for show)..

...and so on to the game...   which was quite funnest game I think I've had in some considerable time...  and turned out entirely differently top the way I expected!

Initial dispositions were as follows, and the Royalist plan of action was very simple "kill the mostest the soonest" to paraphrase another Civil War general..   the scenario allows a period of surprise where the Parliamentary forces cannot react in any way, while the numerically inferior Royalists have to inflict as much damage as possible on the bigger Parliamentary force..

Royalist strike/relieving force deployed at the edge of the woods to the left

Launching their attack from the wood, the Royalist troops swept down like a howling banshee on the unsuspecting Parliamentary troops. The Royalist Dragoons inflicted the first casualties causing, Lord Mandeville's to break and run in panic (they failed their "test to stand" upon being contacted, and as a resulted routed and took a strength point hit) - one down, five to go..

Next blood went to Sir Tomas Blagge's, who similarly caught the Parliamentary dragoons napping and did the same to them! Two down, four to go...  

"Snake eyes dammit, err.. beggin' your pardon father"...

No Parliamentary moving or firing and it only remained for the Royalist artillery to throw snake eyes to end the turn..  all in all a good start for the Royalists but surely it can't continue!?

On to turn 2 then, and the victorious Royalist dragoons charge on and hit Wharton's in the flank, while Blagge's do the same to Charles Essex's. Both Parliamentary units fail their tests (all of the Parliamentary units were throwing high which is the very opposite of what they needed) and break and run...  end the turn with the Royalist artillery throwing snake eyes again and it was a bit if a sublime to the ridiculous. Four down and two to go!

Start turn 2 - first Parliamentary casualties head for the edge of the table (bottom)
Same turn different view..
Turn 3 and the Royalists continue their advance - the Dragoons crash into the flank of Sir John Gramson's cavalry regiment while Blagge's march on (their dander well and truly up) and do the same Cholmley's. Gramson's fail their test to stand and rout straight from the table, but in a triumphant first for the forces of Parliament Cholmley's stand! Unhappily though, they are beaten in the melee (flanked and already shaken) and break and rout...  six down and none to go... 

Start turn 4

Elsewhere Belayse's finally get into action catching the retreating Charles Essex's who promptly surrender (all routing units automatically fail the 'test to stand' in my rules - they either lose a strength point and continue routing, or surrender...), two of the other routing Parliamentary units also fail their morale checks and rout from the table...

Game over end turn 4...!

End of game

Post match analysis:
  • The rules played well - nothing in the rules caused the total breakdown of the Parliamentary force...  that was just down to poor dice throwing... as I get older the mental narrative of the game becomes more and more important, and in my head I was seeing a cold, damp dawn, with Parliamentary pickets sleepy and unobservant, their compatriots asleep and waiting the battle of the next day safe in their superiority whilst unbeknownst to them Royalist eye's have them under observation from the darkened edge of the woods to their left...  "on my command, unleash hell"..
  • Despite the ease with which they won the game this is a HARD scenario for the Royalists to win being four to six, the only thing that made this game easier for them was the fact that they got the artillery in the initial random force selection..  they really need to make the most of those first few 'surprise turns'
  • I'd forgotten the +1 morale but when I looked back there were only two/three occasions where it would have played a part, and in both cases from memory, the bonus would not have made a difference.

Friday, February 19, 2021

62nd Ohio Infantry Regiment

Frances Bates Pond
During the American Civil War the state of Ohio was to raise over 260 regiments of infantry/cavalry/artillery for the Union cause -  that's just over 300,000 men!

The 62nd Ohio Infantry Regiment was originally mustered and organised in Zanesville, McConnellsville, and Somerton, Ohio, beginning September 17, 1861, and officially joined the army for a term of three years service on December 24, 1861, under the command of Colonel Francis Bates Pond (that's him to the left). 
The 62nd remained at Camp Goddard until January 17, 1862, when the regiment was given orders to to travel to Cumberland, Maryland. 

The 62nd travelled the 200 odd miles via the Ohio Central Railroad and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and on February 3, the regiment moved further east (again on the Baltimore and Ohio) to Great Cacapon Creek, Virginia. 

On March 10, the 62nd marched to Strasburg, Virginia via Martinsburg and Winchester, and returned to Winchester the following day. 

Map courtesy Wikipedia

On March 22, the regiment was on picket duty near Winchester, but when the battle broke out the next day they were ordered to the battlefield, where it was originally posted to a position on the left of the Union line as part of Sullivan's brigade, along with the 13th Indiana and the 39th Illinois. It would appear that there baptism of fire was not a bloody one, there main role was to face off the Confederate feint on that flank under Ashby

The day after the battle, the 62nd advanced with the rest of the Union army three miles past Strasburg. On March 25, the regiment marched to Mount Jackson, where it engaged in a skirmish with the Confederates. 

The regiment went on to serve with distinction through the Seven Days Battles, the Battle of Fort Wagner, the Siege of Charleston, the Siege of Petersburg, the Battle of Chaffin's Farm and the Appomattox Campaign.

About Sept. 1, 1865, it was consolidated with the 67th Ohio, and became the 67th

The regiment lost a total of 244 men during service; 11 officers and 102 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded, 2 officers and 129 enlisted men died of disease.

...and what of  Francis Bates Pond? 

Pond was born in 1825, at Ellisburg, Jefferson County, New York. He entered Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio, in 1841, and graduated with honours in 1846. He spent the next three years in Kent, Ohio, one year as a teacher and two as a book-keeper for Charles and Marvin Kent. In 1850 he went to Harmar, Ohio and taught classics at the Harmar Academy. He began studying the law in 1849 in Cleveland, and continued in Marietta in 1850. He was admitted to the bar 1852 at Malta, Ohio, and three years later elected Prosecuting Attorney of Morgan County, Ohio. During the Civil War, at the Battle of Deep Bottom (siege of Petersburg), he was wounded, and lost sight in his left eye. He resigned in November of that year (1864).

In 1867, he was elected to represent Morgan County in the Ohio House of Representatives for the Fifty-eighth General Assembly. In 1869 and 1871 he won election as Ohio Attorney General. He was Ohio Attorney General from 1870 to 1874, and in 1879 he was elected to the Ohio Senate from the Fourteenth district (Washington, Morgan and part of Noble County), for the Sixty-fourth General Assembly, and re-elected to the Sixty-fifth in 1881. A number of sources also show him as a general in the army, so a successful man by all accounts.

Married three times, he died aged 63 on November 2, 1888, at his home in Malta, Ohio as a result of the wound he received near his eye in the Civil War which he had suffered with for nineteen years (!)


Friday, February 12, 2021

1st Battalion Virginia Infantry (Irish)

Maj David Benjamin Bridgford
For a change, and because it's been a while, and because Sean at Newline Designs was running a New Year sale () I decided it was time to add some reinforcements to the American Civil War project..  and first up some Confederates...

After some interesting research into the history of the regiment I had a whole better understanding of what the background was to these Virginian regiments I have been adding to the project.. these are the eighth of them by the way!

When Virginia seceded from the Union (on the 17th April, 1861), the state government looked to create an army of two regiments of artillery, eight regiments of infantry and one regiment of cavalry. The troops in these units were expected to enlist for three years, but because most of the men joining the colours expected the war to be short, most chose to enlist in volunteer regiments where they only needed to serve for one year. As a result only one battalion sized infantry unit of the provisional army came into being- the 1st Battalion Virginia Infantry (Irish) - these guys, and my first regulars as the other Viriginian regiments in the project are volunteer. 

The battalion was organised and formed in May 1861 (just one month after seccession!), and the volunteers consisted mainly of Irish laborers from towns and cities such as Norfolk, Alexandria, Covington, Richmond and Lynchburg (as an aside, is there any other nation in the world, apart from perhaps the Scots, who have fought in so many wars as the Irish?). 

Although most of the men were Irish, the unit was officered by native-born Virginians, many of whom had been trained at the Virginia Military Institute and at West Point. The five companies were mustered into Confederate service on 30th June 1861 as the 1st Battalion Virginia Regulars.

Company A ( Captain Benjamin W. Leigh)
Company B ( Captain David B. Bridgford)
Company C (Captain Thom)
Company D (Captain Seddon)
Company E ( Captain James Y. Jones)

At Kernstown they numbered 187 Officers and men (quite a small regiment then), and were in Colonel Jesse Burks brigade under the overall command of Captain David B. Bridgford (that's him top left). At the start of the battle they were assigned to provide infantry support to the Confederate artillery, and specifically to Captain Carpenter’s Battery [clicky].

The regiment remained in position with Carpenter’s guns, under fire from Union artillery on Pritchard’s Hill for around 90 minutes, until at approximately 4.30pm they were ordered to move a half-mile to their left front, where the main battle was now being fought. 

In their new position they provided flank support for the Confedferate attempts to outflank Pritchard’s Hill and were poitioned to the rear of the Rockbridge artillery.

As we've already seen in other unit histories, the main focus of the Conferate fighting at Kersntown was the long low wall on Sandy Ridge which both sides had initially raced to occupy - the Confederates had got their first, but after that, the contest had swung both ways for nearly two hours. Late afternoon and the 1st Virginia were ordered to move again, towards the top of the Ridge and into the battle for the stone wall. Confusion lead to three companies (including Bridgford) moving to the left of the line and two towards the right. 

From Bridgford's own recollections:‘[The] position was directly opposite the enemy’s line, at a range of not more than twenty yards. We immediately took part in the action. The firing was general and continuous along both lines. The ground we occupied was soon dotted with dead and wounded men. The fire of the enemy was exceedingly severe. The colors of the battalion were planted on the crest of the ridge by Color-Sergeant Kenney…’

Casualties were beginning to mount and included second Lieutenant Heth of Company D, and acting Sergeant-Major James Duggan from Derry who took a horrific wound to the face.The two separated companies of the battalion (under Captain Thom) suffered similarly, but had twice repelled Union assaults, with Thom himself taking a bullet to the left breast, which was stopped from entering his body by a copy of the New Testament in his pocket (!).

When the Confederate line began to crumble/retire and was forced into retreat (blaming lack of ammunition), the 1st Virginia retired with the rest of the army, back down the Valley Pike where happily the Union army was too disorganised to give chase.

Deployment of the 1Va.[click to embigen] source below

Bridgford reported 47 casualties after the battle, the regimental rolls including 6 killed, 20 wounded and 21 missing, although the unit’s muster rolls indicated 59 killed /wounded /missing - 30% losses..

The regiment continued to fight with Jackson’s army during the Valley Campaign, they then became the Provost Guard for Jackson’s Corps on 11th October 1862 (Bridgford was promoted to Major at the same time), and for the entire Army of Northern Virginia after the Battle of Chancellorsville in May 1863. Despite this provost role the regiment was noted for it's desertion rates, and poor discipline. The regiment (missing most of it's original Irish contingent by then) surrendered with the rest of Robert E. Lee’s army at Appomattox Court House in 1865.

After his promotion to Major, Bridgford became Provost Marshall to Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson in January 1863. He survived the war and surrendered at Appomattox before eventually dying in 1888. I had to chuckle - he had two children, a girl and a boy, and the boys first name was Jackson..  clearly Bridgford was an admirer.. 

Figures are Newline Designs 20mm painted in January/February 2021, I chose the patchwork grey/brown look for the uniforms, that I see in my minds eye for the finacially challenged Southern regiments. The flag is entirely conjectural - I never found a depiction on line while doing research - so I took one of the Virignia regimental flags from the excellent site, updated the regimental number, and added an entirely romantically-based harp in Paint, and there you go...! 

Friday, February 05, 2021

Wargamer's Newsletter - "English Civil War Rules"

Absolutely chuffed to nuts to have these in my hands as of this week.. a real slice of history complete with typed text and original spelling mistakes and also "anomalies" (see musketeer movement for an example it varies between 12" and 9" depending on section­čśü).. but in summary...
  • this is a game for friends - the sheer number of opportunities for varying interpretations means they aren't really suited to tournament play!
  • Individually based figures
  • No figure scale, so no guidance on unit sizes - his pike stand example has approximately 36 figures though
  • Firing per group of 6 (that seems standard for Featherstone rules of this period) so units of 24 or 36 make sense
  • The morale rules for units the first time they are fired on look fun!
  • I like the mechanism for altering the percentage of casualties according to the range
  • Movement/firing only by written orders, but there is no turn sequence - I suspect the intent is that everything is simultaneous. Non-moving units take priority in any firing but how the order of who does what for the rest is decided is not mentioned. I suspect morale is done right at the end.
  • I love the occasional design inputs to explain why rules are written as they are..

Click on any of the following for a bigger view...

A real blast from the past..