Sunday, 20 November 2016

OHW - The Campaign - Part Two

Brigadier General Frank Frey, Confederate divisional commander, screwed up his eyes as he scanned the enemy before him. He watched as horse teams struggled to pull their cannon up the hill opposite. That piece of high ground, along with the crossroads his own troops currently held, would be the key to this part of the battle. He knew on his left flank, Bear would do all he could to throw the Yankee's back.

The pain shot through his feet as he adjusted his position in the saddle, Dale Norbeck grimaced and tried to ignore the pain. He too was watching the enemy deploy and immediately saw that they had set up two batteries in good positions for both attack and defence. He would have to take those crossroads, and at the same time hold this small hill.


Scenario Two will be a continuation or rather an extension of Scenario One. We have already seen Brown's Brigade triumph and push Bear Moulden's brigade back. This is the other brigade in each armies division. Although the scenario says no reinforcements available, Two units of infantry, one of them Zouaves, led by General Brown had started to head East on the Union turn nine. So if this battle is still raging by Union Turn 10, those reinforcements will indeed arrive on the table.



The battlefield map. The objective is to occupy both the hill and the crossroads to win the scenario.


A roll of the dice, gave the Confederates exactly the same make up of force as in Scenario One.


The Union rolled a 1 and so exchanged a unit of Zouaves for an artillery battery. Both sides have a regiment of cavalry.


The field laid out ready for battle, the ground should be light green, though it doesn't show up in the photographs.
 

Eye level view from the crossroads to the hill.


Union deployment, cavalry on the left, artillery on the hill.


Brigadier General Norbeck looked along his line, he would advance on the enemy, but only after the artillery battery had got off a couple of salvos, hopefully they could do something about the enemy guns. He disliked sending his men across open ground into the mouths of cannon.


The men of the left flank would have no such luxury, they would have to face a storm of iron if they wanted to take the crossroads.


Brigadier General Frey, had the self same problem, he knew his boys would have to take that hill defended by an artillery battery. He had split up his own batteries, one defending the crossroads and the other ready to support an attack, or indeed defend against one.


Looking along the Reb line.


Frank glassing his foe.

I had intended to use micro dice on coloured plastic discs of varying colours to show hits taken by units. But of course, search as I might, I cannot find them, so it will have to be normal sized dice.

A brief explanation, each unit can take 15 hits before it is removed from the table, so hits 1 - 5, will sit on a yellow disc, 6 - 10 blue, and finally 11 - 15 on a red disc.


The Union battery opened up, it was also the pre-arranged signal for General Brown on the right flank to begin his attack.



The balls landed among the Rebel cannon, causing death and destruction as they bounced and ricochet through the battery.


The shaken gunners rushed to return fire.


But, maybe due to what they had just experienced, their shots failed to score on their opposite number.


The other battery, more composed let rip on the advancing infantry.


Balls finding their mark.


Still on counter battery fire, the Union guns opened up once again.


Again they put heavy fire down on the Confederate battery causing more hits, the disc being blue indicates a total of 7 hits.


At this point, General Norbeck ordered the right flank to advance off the hill in column.


 'The drums started a beating and the officers began hollering. Our regiment moved forward and down the slope of the hill. Another regiment followed along behind us. The cannon were booming, ours and theirs, but none of it seemed to be coming our way.'

Private Gavin Booth, Norbeck's Division.


'Hold steady lads!' Sergeant Bob Smith walked up and down behind his company of infantrymen. 'Them blue bellies are sure as hell getting a hot time from our big guns,' he stopped and winked at a nervous looking young man, or should that be boy? His eyes wide with fear.
Bob smiled. 'Why there won't be any of them thar Yankees left for us to kill at this rate.' It caused a ripple of nervous laughter along the men and even the boy smiled.' 
Right on cue, the guns fired again!



For a third time, the counter battery fire had no effect.


Whilst close to Bob Smith's boys, the battery did another point of damage to the Union Infantry before it.


Once more the Union battery hits the enemy cannon, now pushing it to 11 hits.


Red disc plus a 1 = 11 hits.


The lines of blue continue to advance across the field.


Giving up on counter battery fire, the Rebel battery turns its guns on the approaching infantry. They score only a single hit!


Men are falling dead and wounded, but not as many as should have.


The other Reb battery engaged the oncoming cavalry, and missed with the lot.


The Union battery on this occasion failed to score a hit.


Some respite for the gun crews.


The Union line now moved into musket range and braced themselves.

'Cannon balls landed among us, and men were blown away, or left with hideous wounds. A man's arm, still clutching a musket landed on the grass not two paces from me. Now those damn Rebs are taking aim with their muskets.

Private Gavin Booth, Norbeck's Division.



On the Union left flank, the cavalry dismounted and prepared for action.


Combined musket and artillery fire should have blown away the leading Union regiment, but the poor confederate shooting just continued on this flank, Private Booth had no idea how lucky he and his buddies had just been.


The awful confederate marksmanship continued on the other flank, when again the combined fire of and infantry regiment and artillery scored just a single hit.

'Reload, reload! shouted Bob Smith, 'What the hell are you shooting at, them Yankees is on the ground, not flying! Keep your barrels down, remember your training.'


The Reb cavalry too dismounted to face the enemy.


The Union artillery select the only target now open to them, and score three hits on the infantry regiment in the centre of the Confederate line.



Musket balls fly and and men drop out of line.


In the centre, neither of the infantry regiments, Union or Confederate, are within musket range.


The dismounted cavalry conduct their own battle on the flank.


Artillery and musket fire rip into the regiment containing Private Booth, they take horrendous casualties.


The central infantry division, wheels and moves into musket range of the Union centre.


On this flank too, the Confederate shooting finally comes good and a second Union infantry regiment is devastated and close to breaking.


The Reb cavalry have no so such luck.


General Norbeck stands on his stirrups, ignoring the searing pain in the soles of his feet. Looking along the line he can see his units taking a terrible punishment, He senses the enemy may be close to breaking and just hopes his boys can carry on fighting a little longer.


The endless crackle of muskets and boom of cannon continues, and men continue to fall dead or wounded.




In an instant, the picture changes, another accurate volley of musket and cannon, destroy the leading infantry regiment.




At the same time the left most flank infantry regiment is also hit by the same combination of arms, it too is destroyed, the survivors running or limping to the rear.


Frank sees the two Union infantry regiments rout, looking at his own battered command he wonders if it is enough.


Even the Reb cavalry find their shooting starting to pay off, with a hit.

 Just like all good serials, I will end this part here.

Can Frank's Division hold on?
Will the Union line recover?
What happened to Private Booth?

All these questions will be answered in the next post.

 You may remember Private James Boyle in Scenario One, well the real James was kind enough to supply a letter written by his ancestor, I enclose it here.

 "Dearest Mother,

I have received your latest letter and I must say it warms my heart to read your words. We have just returned to camp after a terrible fight, and I must say that I am quite surprised to find myself in one piece. It was a most terrible affair, and it would seem that the whole of the Confederate army was shooting at us. We were able to drive the Secesh off the hill and it was a most joyous sight to see them running. Joe got hit pretty early in our march up the hill. It wasn't until after our fight was over that I found him. He was a right dreadful mess and I would guess that it was the rebel cannon that had killed him. The watch in the package was his. I know Lucy will be saddened by the news, but maybe having his watch will help cheer her up. I must bring this letter to a close. Fear not Mother, for I am safe.

Your loving son,

James"



4 comments:

  1. Great!!! What a difference it makes to add a story to the game, errrr.... battle! Loved it. At the same time, you KNOW that a game is being played, which makes it more interesting for us wargamers.

    Going good - prolly not for Mr. Booth though. Lol.

    ~K

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Kurtus, I am enjoying the story telling almost as much as the battles, really enjoying myself.

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