Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Fight at Sawmill Village

 It's a fine Spring day somewhere in North America, sometime in 1861. War has broken out between the Union and the Confederacy and Generals Guildenstern and Pender have each declared their loyalties for their respective camps. Each has a Division short of a regiment and a gun at their disposal. Both have been ordered to sieze the Sawmill Village that lies astride the Great North-South artery, the Reservoir Road. As can be seen, from the daguerrotype above (doubtless taken from the basket of a daring ballonist) the field is of the simplest - the eponymous Village, the Sawmill, the Wood, the Old Dover House and, of course, the dispositions of the contending Parties.
 Not lacking in Dash, Penders' brigade and a half advances in accordance with orders. The Alabama Volunteers peel off to the left to mask the woods, whilst the Texas Infantry and the 6th VA along with the half-battery advance, the former directly upon the village, the latter to the northernmost edge of Twin Peaks in order to dominate the village.
 The Union Regiments in obedience to their instructions from Gen'l Guildenstern form up in column, the 6th US Infantry southing it around Sandy Hill, whilst the Maine Regiment norths it. The gun mounts. 18th West Virginia goes into open order preparatory to entering the Wood.
 Sigh. The advance continues from the Confederate side.


Ditto from the Union side. NOTE: I was considering double moves from here to speed matters along!

 . 
 Move the third - the Alabama Vols enter the wood, note that they have decided skirmish order is best.
 The Confederate gun can just draw a line of sight to the 6th US Infantry and fires at long range. The shot goes astray. The Union gun replies with a shot at the Texians, taking down one man.
The infantry in the woods open upon each other at long range the Maine Regiment suffering 5 casualties and the Alabama Volunteers three in reply.

High drama in the woods.
The Colonel of the Maine Regiment decides to charge the enemy, but his men, perhaps a little rattled by their casualties refuse. The Confederates counter-charge. the Maine boys manage to stand it but - oh, at what a cost!
The sad outcome.
They suffer 17 casualties to the Alabamians 5 and are forced to retreat, being well-and-truly below half strength.

 On the other side of that gory field the advance continues. The Union Artillery shave another pair of casualties from the Texians whilst the Confederate gunners perhaps should have spent less time in the saloon and more on the firing range.
 On the fifth move, the 6th US Infantry occupy the village and prepare to hold out.
 Meanwhile the Union Gunners realise their peril. Rattled, they swing their gun about and fire an ineffective shot off against the advancing Alabama Volunteers.
 A furious exchange of musketry around the Village smashes the Texans - 16 casualties are suffered in return for four inflicted and they reel back in panicked flight. Sadly though, the 6th US Infantry suffer a further 11 casualties from the 6th Virginia and the Rebel Gun and are themselves forced to retire.

Rebs in the trees
 There comes a point in a battle where a commander must decide whether to persist with his endeavour - in the hope that he might win through against the odds and all good sense -  or to discontinue with a useless effusion of blood. Guildenstern wisely decided that with only one regiment in "fightable" condition, he might do better to withdraw, save what could be salved and retreat with dignity rather than risk a rout. His army could lose only a further four figures before reaching break point (50% of the Army's figure strength) whilst Pender was comfortable in the knowlege he retained 61 of the 88 men he started the battle with.

13 comments:

Archduke Piccolo said...

A brisk little action - one that could go either way. I recall playing this as a club ACW game some 25 years ago, my Confederates coming on the hill end. Unfortunately, I allowed the Union some repeating carbines or breechloading rifles in units slightly weaker in number. Result? The CSA came a distant second...

Excellent scenario for a first encounter in a campaign.
Cheers,
Ion

Archduke Piccolo said...

I've just noticed the header. It's been a bit of a while!

Old School ACW said...

Yes indeed! 16 months or so!

Greg

tradgardmastare said...

Splendid looking game,I look forward to more...

Matt said...

Welcome back! Excellent little report by the way.

Cesar Paz said...

Very interesting report and a really nice old School setup. Thank you for sharing it with us.
Have the rules worked well?
Regards, Cesar.

Ross Mac rmacfa@gmail.com said...

At last! But worth waiting for. The figures & terrain & game have come together just the way I've pictured it since you started.

Mark Dudley said...

Excellent set up and report

Did you use your ACW version of the War Game rules?

Old School ACW said...

Thanks for all the kind comments gents.

The rules were the "Easy-Peasy" ones linked at the top of the page. Musketry is a wa-a-a-y too deadly, I think for realism, but I think that suits bloodthirsty little boys. I may do a version of the rules for grown-up boys as well.

Archduke Piccolo said...

Had a look at the Easy-Peasy rule set. Good, simple, and Old School. In my view, a good place to start: you can add bits if you need them; nothing needs to be taken away.
Cheers,
Ion

Old School ACW said...

Thanks Ion, I'll keep fiddling to decrease the deadliness of the musketry and to try to add more of the ACW flavour!.

Best,

Greg

Mark Dudley said...

Very nice and simple rules.

Might try these out on my six year old.

To cut down loses from firing you or use one dice per two figures.

Is the melee also too bloody ?

One question what is the advantage of being in open order ?

Cheers

Old School ACW said...

Hello Mark,

Please be my guest!

I was starting to think on the lines of throwing one dice per group of figures (to hit) and then dicing for casualties (roll a d6 - 3? Ok, remove three casualties!). Still too deadly - I may have to check what the Don or the Brig. say.

The melee is pretty damn' bloody. More or less based on TSatF but without the pushbacks. I think you'd recover most of them in a campaign context as the injuries would in "reality" be slight. Perhaps half of them could be just counted as "knock-downs".

Ooops. I forgot about open order - 1, you move faster (20 cm) and 2, you take less casualties from gunfire; -1 per each firing figure.

Hope that helps,

Greg