Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Rebel Yell, Yankee Hurrah!

Last night was the first time in about a year I have managed to get my ACW troops on the table, albeit I was umpiring and not playing, I took along some extra troops in case we had to shoe someone in in which case I would have played but we had two vs two and that was more than enough for a small demo. I checked over my scenario books but most required a larger table than 6x4 and those that would fit either had too many or too few troops, so ostensibly the aim of the game was to capture the crossroads, the Union needed it to outflank the Rebs and the Rebs of course needed it to stop this.

The battlefield

 I took along my vast collection of fences, you need a lot of these for ACW and some buildings, the club provided the trees, hills and fields, it looked fine, I also provided the troops, we had two brigades from Hood's division, Stuart had George T. Anderson's Georgians while Andy had the Texans, for the good guys we had the complete First Division, Julian having the famed Iron Brigade and Rob the Second Brigade, both sides had one battery of artillery.

The Texans.

 The Federals had decided to hit the Confederate left, the Iron Brigade ploughed forward while Rob sent a couple of regiments over to help while making a play for the crossroads, leaving his left flank held by two weak regiments supported by the guns. From what I gathered the Reb plan was for  Stuart to advance while Andy more or less held his position.

The Iron Brigade advances.

Stuarts brigade bravely advanced to meet the Iron Brigade but it was obvious the Federals had the numbers and he wisely retired as men started to fall, Julian followed up and formed a firing line and proceeded to whittle down the opposition. The Union guns on the other flank were also taking a toll on the Texans while the Confederate artillery was at times blocked or ineffectual, although they did not really have a decent target.

The Georgians retire to the woods.

 Two of Stuart's regiments broke for the rear after taking horrendous punishment, but managed to halt in the woods although putting them back in the line would have been the act of a very brave commander, the brigade by now had retired into the woods and was still holding on despite being outnumbered and outgunned. The Texans on the other hand had been outflanked, lost a regiment and forced to fall back, once again blocking their artillery.
The Union artillery spot the First Texas.

The Union now held the crossroads, belatedly the Texans moved forward against the Federal left and the First Texas carried out a desperate charge against their tormentors, half way across the cornfield the Union artillery found them and loosed a devastating salvo, this stopped the Texans in their tracks. The game was up, the Union had taken the crossroads, the remnants of the Georgians were about to be flanked and driven from the woods while the Texans were in an untenable position.

How did the wargame go, very well considering the four guys were new to Johnny Reb, although Andy and Rob played a game when I first turned up about two years ago but I don't think that counted for experience. I kept a loose reign on the game and it flowed well, within a few moves everyone could work out their own shooting and morale, it looks complex from the playsheets but really is basic and quick. If I had been Stewart I would not have advanced so far and would have fired on the Iron Brigade much sooner than he did, Julian got in a good volley at the beginning and continued with this effective fire, he quite rightly decided not to throw any charges in as they were not needed, but as the Georgians crumbled a couple at the end would have sealed matters. Despite all this the Georgians fought well, especially the green 59th. The Texans were the key, they should have advanced on Rob's weak flank despite the artillery, this could have been masked by skirmishers and it would have been doubtful, but not impossible, for the small Federal regiments to have held them up. Andy also should have moved his guns to support the Confederate left or at least cover the crossroads better, they did move but too late.

This of course is easy for me to say as I have played JR2 for over 25 years, but I was not wrestling with a new set of rules and under pressure as the shot and shell whizzed by. ACW is played at the club and Longstreet, Black Powder and Fire and Fury Regimental are used at times, I don't mind using any of these rule sets but Johnny Reb remains my set of choice and has served me well for a long, long time.

I hope the lads enjoyed the game as much as I did watching.


  1. Good AAR George! I've played BP for Naps and it works quite well I think. No idea though if it would give the right feel for ACW - the Perry's certainly think so!?
    See what you mean about fences... I've got 14 feet of hedge for Normandy but even so there never seems to be enough!?

  2. I might possibly have around 80 - 100 foot of ACW fencing, straight, snake, picket, walls and the X type. I used to have a 9x5 foot table in my loft and we had very big games often commanding up to three brigades each. Happy days.

  3. Blimey! That's enough to enclose a real garden! :o)
    A group of us used to do very big games of WFB many years back. Looked awful but was a real hoot.