Saturday, 9 December 2017

Black Powder - Murfreesboro


The good news is this will be a shorter batrep that usual since MS Photos decided to do a disappearing trick with half of my photos - you can't delete a single photo of your own without a confirmation process more stringent than launching a Polaris ICBM, but MS can make half a folder disappear in a puff of smoke! OK rant over, now for the fun stuff!


On Saturday, 8 wargamers met up at the new Hall of Heroes venue in the heart of Campbelltown's CBD to replay the battle of Murfreesboro. This battle was otherwise named after the Stones River...



Terry did a great job of researching the scenario and setting up the table, and added a few ingenious house rules and twists to reflect the features of that battle in the Western Theatre. Apparently something special was going to happen on Union move 4. Reinforcements no doubt!




All of the Confederate troops were armed with shorter ranged smoothbores, but which gave them an extra dice at close range to 'pour it on' - in the close country around Murfreesboro, a definite advantage in my view, particularly as the two armies started the scenario well in contact!


The battlefields was dominated by large tracts of open woodland, which provided light cover but limited movement to one bound per turn, no matter what the command roll. The Union army started the battle on the back foot, spending the early morning concentrating on making a good breakfast - not unwisely in my view - a good soldier is always on the lookout for his next meal or kip...


Therefore only Johnson's Bde, nearest the camera in the photo above, on the Union side was allowed to activate during turn '0'.


My overall plan, as Union Commander, was for Alejandro, on our extreme left flank, to advance forward where he was unopposed, and roll up the deep Confederate right flank...


Meanwhile Craig and our new mate Dave in the centre...


and I on the right, would simply contain the outnumbering Confederate hordes to our front and hope that they would be drawn off as Alejandro threatened their open flank..


The Confederates pressed forward eagerly enough in the front and right...


but, enjoying the cover of the light woods, we were confident we could hold...


Pretty soon we were engaged in firefights all along the line - but Alejandro's flank march into the Rebel deep flank was foiled by the difficulty of moving in the woods, and Breckenridge unhistorically moving off his hill to meet him - despite having a Staff Rating of 6!


Given the obvious difficulties, I asked Alejandro to abandon the whole idea of pressing forward on the flank and come and support Craig and Dave in our centre, which was looking a little swamped... However Alejandro was getting stuck into Breckenridge and felt he should continue with at least half his force - which proved to be a wise call, as that rebel brigade broke next turn...



But it was in move 4 that Terry, as scenario designer, struck his blow. He secretly gave orders to Dave, a newcomer to the game and thus only in command of a single Union brigade, Sheridan's, to carry out his move before anyone else...Running low on ammo, Dave retired his entire brigade from the centre of the Union line to the edge of the table!


Fortunately, and realistically, Terry had not informed the other Confederate players that this was going to occur, so they did not have a handy reserve in the vicinity to exploit the gap left in the Union centre...


Which a lucky command roll allowed Craig and I to plug with our second line units...


So that the line was restored, albeit now a very thin blue line...


However the Confederates had also received some grim punishment, and were not likely to be able to break through any time soon, so we called the game after move 5.


Always great to play a historical scenario with an umpire or scenario designer who can introduce quirks from the actual battle. A good looking, exciting game in great company. I think our Black Powder novices from Yass, Dave and Bruce, who had dropped in for a look but soon found themselves as brigade commanders, had a good time too!

18 comments:

  1. And we had a good time too, looking at this beautiful report! Great pictures, this table is very impressive, and the mix with reenactors is a good idea...Great one, Sparker!

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    1. Thanks so much Phil - yes necessity is the mother of invention - but I might use reenactor photos even when my computer doesn't eat half my photos!

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  2. Even with half your photos gone, you still give a cracking report. Howz the new place?? I also like the mix of pics of the 1:1 scale troops, very inspiring. Geez there must be a huge following of reenactors to put on a show like that!

    Cheers
    Caesar

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    1. Thanks Caesar! Yes the new Hall of Heroes is very spacious, and the parking issue can be overcome with a little coordination. Miss the old place though!

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  3. Great account of an interesting battle, well done.

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    1. Thanks Robbie - yes I don't know much about the Western Theatre at all, so I learnt a lot about this interesting battle...

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  4. Hey Sparker! Wonderful report. Can I ask a question... where did you get those reenacting photos? I'm looking for some for a project, and those are GREAT... by any chance, do you own those? Thanks! -Lord Ashram

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    1. G'day My Lord - thanks for the kind words. As for the photos, I just did a Google images search under both 'Stones River' and 'Murfreesboro' and up they came - that said I've had to crop, invert and so on to get the images I needed to tell the sorry tale of Sheridan's bde nicking off in the middle of the battle!

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  5. Very nice report there. On another note I see the R.N has a new big bugger off shiny boat.....ship...large grey thing...( costing lots of money that could have been used on the army but still. ) Now you have two of them......when you getting the planes to go with them ??

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    1. Thanks Gunner Max! Yes yes - having both aircraft carriers and aircraft to fly off them would have been too expensive apparently - Kings Troop RHA would have had to go, and we can't jeopardise the safety of the realm by getting rid of our most modern guns, now can we!

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  6. Wonderful AAR Sparker and great to see so many wonderful troops out on the table looking so splendid.

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  7. Good looking game, especially with all of the trees on the table for an ACW game.

    Jim

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    1. Thanks Jim - yes pretty essential for this field!

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  8. My dearest Sparkles

    It's good to see you out and about gaming.

    Merry Christmas to your fine self and the Long Haired Brigadier. May the season be restful and profitable in miniature military items terms. 8O)

    Salute
    von Peter himself

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