Sunday, 17 March 2013

Sharpeville Turn 9

Having located Jackson’s Corps I’ve decided to go ahead and attack the enemy in the hope that not all of Longstreet’s force will be able to make it to the table in the coming battle. Our rules for battles allow the defender to have a full “march to guns” move after a contact is declared and also choose the terrain squares that will be represented on the tabletop (the contact square must be one of the four central squares).

The area outlined in black is the battlefield Dave has chosen. Any forces outside the battle
area may attempt to "march to guns" if they have sufficient CP's available.

As attacker I have only half the usual number of CP’s to expend in my own “march to guns” turn to try and get as many of my off-table units as possible to the scene of the action - I threw a 6 on my CP die roll giving me the maximum 7 CP’s. The movement limitation meant it was not possible to bring up Sigel’s Corps but, with Heintzelman and McDowell already on the table area, I have just enough allowance to bring on Porter and Tompkin’s Cavalry.

The battlefield - time to study the terrain and make plans!

This will give me a healthy 21 infantry brigades, 2 cavalry brigades and the artillery reserve available for the coming struggle, although the off-table troops will have to arrive and deploy onto the battlefield in column of march. What scouting I have managed to do suggests that Longstreet will not be putting in an appearance along the southern table edge and is more likely to be in a position behind Jackson – well, that’s what I hope!

So, the action will now transfer to Brother Against Brother where the forthcoming Battle of Sharpeville will soon be fought.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Sharpeville Turns 7 - 8

I’m continuing to play it safe for the moment by avoiding contact with the enemy and concentrating the army at Sharpeville. Tompkins cavalry have withdrawn slightly but I now have the Corps of Porter, Heintzelman and McDowell positioned closely to the town.

My forces are achieving a reassuringly tight concentration around Sharpeville.
Unit symbols with red text on them denote troops deployed in battle-line.

My scouts report that Jackson’s entire Corps is now assembled due east of Sharpeville but there is still no news of the whereabouts of Longstreet or the enemy Artillery Reserve and Wagon Train. Stuart’s Cavalry have also given us the slip – which is always a bit of a worry as Dave has a tendency to do nasty sneaky things with them!

My dispositions at the end of turn 8 - Bayard's Cavalry (to the south) are
now desperately seeking the whereabouts of Longstreets Corps!

So current thinking here at HQ is that the best course of action is to try to bring on a battle as soon as possible in the hope of catching Lee off guard. It’s just possible that the enemy forces are quite widely separated and to strike now, on ground of our own choosing, might give the best chance of success on the battlefield.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Sharpeville Turns 5 - 6

Well, I didn’t see that coming – it’s 9.30 and Jackson is on my flank! As you know, I had been expecting some activity on my left but nothing like this. Somehow Dave has managed to manoeuvre Jackson’s Corps to a position due east of Sharpeville and then cross Berry Creek forcing a contact with Tompkin’s Cavalry.

Ewell and A P Hill have come out of nowhere to land square on my left flank!

However, in the best tradition of Dad’s Army I’m not going to panic! Porter’s V Corps along with Army HQ are being hurried forward (due to a lucky 5 on my CP die roll) while Heintzelman concentrates his men at Sharpeville.

Tompkins retires whilst the rest of my army is
continuing to concentrate at Sharpeville.

Discretion being the better part of valour, I have withdrawn Tompkin’s troopers conceding Dave his first Victory Point (VP) of the game (VP’s are awarded for forcing an enemy map unit to retreat as well as for occupying Victory Locations and winning battles).

The situation at 9.30am - it would be nice to know where the rest of the Rebel army is!

If the Rebs don’t try to initiate a battle next turn then I may soon be in a position to do so myself. Either way though it looks as if Dave may succeed in forcing a battle that negates my superiority in numbers as Sigel’s Corps will have to remain at Fremont to protect the VP site there.

If you want to see what those darn Rebs are up to click here.

Sharpeville Turns 3 - 4

I’ve just completed the 8.30am turn and we’ve had our first sighting of the enemy. Stuart has moved Robertson’s Cavalry Division to a position east of Sharpeville (near the Schimmel Farm) where he has been scouted by Tompkins troopers from the square above. This is hardly a surprising development as by now I was expecting to detect at least one of the Rebel Cavalry units as they move forward on reconnaissance.

The situation to the east of Sharpeville at 8.30am. Roberston's Confederate
cavalry have been scouted near the Schimmel Farm

Meanwhile, Schenck’s Division of Sigel’s Corps has reached the town of Fremont while Bayard’s Cavalry have pushed on south as far as Roswell without making any contact with the enemy. In the centre McDowell’s Corps, with the artillery reserve, is nearing Sharpeville while Porter’s V Corps and Army HQ are yet to make a move at all.

Sigel's Corps are securing Fremont while Bayard pushes
on seeking contact with the enemy.

The burning question being asked here at Union HQ is of course “where the heck is the rest of Lee’s army?” Perhaps it is still a little too early to be expecting any contact with the enemy infantry because they are hampered by the same CP movement limits as we are. So for the moment I have to put myself in Dave’s shoes and think what I would do in his place?*

The position of the Union forces at the end of Turn 4.

My answer; I guess he would be moving towards the Union left, where the terrain is more open, knowing that at least part of the Union army will have to stay and protect Fremont. Such a move would stretch my forces and negate the northern superiority in numbers in any table battle. The fact that the first contact has been made on my left helps back up this theory so for now I am working on the basis that Lee is moving northeast.

*You are more fortunate than me because you can find out what Dave’s up to simply by clicking this link to his Wilderness Tavern blog.

Sharpeville Turns 1 - 2

“Let us understand each other. I have come from the West, where we have always seen the backs of our enemies; from an Army whose business it has been to seek the adversary and to beat him when he was found; whose policy has been attack and not defense.”

General John Pope issued a famous proclamation after assuming command
 of the Army of Virginia - I'm not intending to tempt fate in the same way!

Well, to be honest I’m not feeling quite as confident as General John Pope did at the start of the real 2nd Manassas campaign. Granted I do have to move forward and secure the towns of Fremont and Sharpeville (worth 2 VP’s each to the Rebs) but I wouldn’t classify this as “attack” more like “move forward a bit and hold ground”. I always find the start of any new campaign a bit nerve wracking – imagining irrationally that Dave has somehow moved the entire Confederate army into my rear, but once the two armies start to make contact and I get some idea what he’s up to I’ll begin to relax a little.

The situation at the end of turn 2 (7.30am) - no enemy in sight yet.

Map movement is restricted by a Command Point (CP) limit, modified with a die roll, which means I am unable to move all my forces each turn. This restriction has really made me aware not to move my various Corps too far apart because they need to be mutually supporting in the event of a table battle. In particular I need to make sure that the Artillery Reserve and the Supply Train can reach the scene of battle or I could find myself in quite a fix.

Heinzelman is almost at Sharpeville now and should be able to enter the town next turn.

After 2 turns I have managed to get Heintzelman’s Corps into a position just east of Sharpeville with Tompkin’s Cavalry Division covering his flank. Meanwhile, on the opposite flank, Bayard’s Cavalry Divison is approaching the outskirts of Fremont with Sigel’s Corps trailing a little way behind. My immediate aim is to deny possession of these two VP locations to the Rebs and then bring forward the remainder of my army in support.

Don't forget, if you want to know what's going on over the other side of the hill you'll need to visit dave's blog Wilderness Tavern.

Sharpeville - Initial Deployment

Those of you who follow my other blog Brother Against Brother will know that I am currently engaged in a series of American Civil War games with my brother Dave. We are just about to embark on a mini campaign and Dave has come up with a cunning plan that allows us to use concealed movement on a Microsoft Word map document we will be emailing back and forth.

 Pope's HQ is currently with V Corps 'Army of the Potomac' at Horsehead Creek.

Now, because both of us will be posting battle reports on Brother Against Brother we’ll be recording our individual map moves on our own blogs safe from prying enemy eyes. I’ll be posting my moves here whilst Dave will be posting his on his new blog Wilderness Tavern. For those of you who want to follow the campaign and action, with full insight into our brilliant strategic and tactical thinking, you will need to follow all three blogs.

 The full Union deployment - nothing too surprising. To be sure of winning I need to keep control of the towns of Freemont and Sharpeville (currently designated with a Union flag).

For now I have started the ball rolling by deploying my troops along the top edge of the map. I’ve then used the ‘transparency’ option in Word to turn the unit graphics invisible and emailed the map back to Dave who will now deploy his troops along the bottom edge. We have some basic rules for moving and scouting and when one of us finds an enemy occupied square he turns up the transparency again to reveal the enemy units there. Of course the other player won’t ever know he’s been scouted unless a battle results – it's really an updated 21st century version of the old Featherstone matchbox system!

I have a plan – of sorts – more on that next time…