Friday, 7 August 2015

Longstreet - the Muleshoe

Last Thursday at the uni we played a game of Longstreet, Sam Mustafa's 'petit-tactical' ruleset. Our resident Longstreet expert, Caesar, was in the midst of house moving so it was down to me to come up with a scenario and provide all the necessary....
 
 
I have really enjoyed reading Ralph Peter's fictional history series, and in particular have always wanted to recreate some of the scenarios he recounts in his account of the Wilderness campaign of 1864, 'Hell or Richmond'...
 
- there are so many intriguing 'what-ifs' when some Brigadier or other stumbles across an unguarded sector and a way to outflank the entire enemy army, only to be pooh-poohed at Division!


But for this evening's gaming something more straightforward was required, so Colonel Emory Upton's imaginative assault on the Muleshoe Salient on May 10th seemed to fit the bill...

After several days of fruitless and uncoordinated attacks against the well entrenched Confederates, Col. Upton sought permission to try a new tactic which would favour speed and concentration over firepower...
 
He would form an attack column of 12 regiments formed into four lines of three regiments each, a human battering ram which would overwhelm the defenders of the western face of the 'muleshoe' salient.  
 
The historic infantry forces both attacking and defending were halved. I wasn't sure how many guns the Rebels had in the Muleshoe, so I settled on 4 light rifles, to on a platform allowing overhead fire to the front of the sector, the other 2 in a lunette protecting one of the flanks.


The confederate player had enough space to line both his regiments in the forward earthwork, trusting to the fall back rules to allow him to occupy the second, or could split his forces between the two. If feeling really adventurous, of course, he could detach one through the artillery lunette out to the woods and outflank the assault - but that force would really have to shift!


In the end Alan - Kaptain Kobold - who did a great batrep of the game here:
http://hordesofthethings.blogspot.com.au/2015/08/the-mule-shoe.html
opted for a straightforward in-depth defence...
 
The game opened with a Confederate artillery salvo, but the Rebel redlegs didn't do too much damage and the boys in blue duly closed without pausing to fire back...

Alan did decide to redeploy the battery in the lunette though - a fairly slow process with Longstreet...
 
 At this stage I had no idea how the scenario would fare - would the Union infantry be blown away as they got hung up on the disordering and bad terrain on the abattis strewn approaches to the redoubt, or would the defenders be overwhelmed in the first combat...


At least it looked pretty before the guns got ranged in properly, as Bryan and Caesar went in with studied precision....


And the good Colonel Upton was able to lay his sword on the Rebel earthworks...
 
The avenging sword of victory, indeed, at least at the first redoubt....Now in the first draft scenario, in seizing the first redoubt, the Union reached its shatterpoint, so the game was a Confederate victory. But Alan, with due Southern courtesy, agreed to play on as we amended the scenario conditions, incorporating the defences into the Confederate shatterpoint calculation....

 
It looked like Alan had been wise to relay those guns, and indeed they reaped a grim harvest...

 
But by now the Union were well into the Confederate defences and the fighting was tough and fierce, as on the day, with the Colour bearer of the 44th Georgia suffering 14 bayonet wounds before leaving the field...
 
Longstreet's combination of dice and cardplay really did add flavour and granularity to this relatively small scale action...

 
The Union continued to fight their way into the defences, bypassing those Rebel gun positions that had survived this far..
 
And were able to take the second earthwork too....  
 
Unfortunately, historically, the gallant Union troops now had to return to the Union lines as the coordinating attacks and reinforcements had been botched. The survivors only had the satisfaction of hearing the Confederate officers fail to get their men to counterattack - the Rebels had had enough!
The final scenario and orbat can be found on the Longstreet scenario bucket on the Honour forum here:http://www.sammustafa.com/honour-forums/longstreet-scenario-bucket/spotsylvania-the-muleshoe-10-may-1864/?PHPSESSID=d7907ccae3ee79ed78da42be42b663f7

7 comments:

  1. That's a great AAR - very sporting of KK to allow the scenario to continue with revised victory conditions :)

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    1. Especially as I then went on to lose :)

      In truth the game finished rather quickly and it was partially due to the normal Longstreet victory conditions over-riding the ones Ralph had written for the scenario. My suggestion was to combine the two objectives by factoring the capture of the earthworks into the normal shatter-point calculation.

      I still won the scenario AS WRITTEN :-D

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  2. Nice report, very impressive assault!

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  3. Nice write up and lots of great pics, thanks!

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