Diced for scenario and for sides - the Rebs charged with attacking across "Catfish Creek" to seize the crossing and conduct follow-on operations turning the Union Right flank in a major battle. First Brigade on the Rebel left was to demonstrate at the actual bridge while Second Brigade conducted the crossing at a ford located down stream.
|Starting points. Reb First Brigade (3 regiments) demonstrate against the actual bridge. Reb 2nd Brigade (4 Regiments) attack across the ford (visible upper right of pic)|
|Union reserve atop the hill overlooking "Stephenville" and the Catfish Creek Crossings.|
|Union troops would go stationary blocking the bridge.|
|Union Division Artillery cross-attached from Corps. They would eventually move down and cover the ford.|
|Union forces covering the bridge. You can't tell, but the Union Battery has a straight line of sight down the turnpike and can see the approaches to the bridge.|
The first shots were fired by the union artillery at the actual bridge against the Rebel limbered battery without results (damn saving throw!). Meanwhile the rebels at the ford positioned perfectly with 2 Batteries setting up to shell the approaches and the covering units. While not close range, they will still have 4 dice total to offer cover fire. The plan is to shell the Union positions for 2 x turns before launching the assault at the ford...
|Union forces score a hit! Only to have it negated by the save...|
|Rebel forces mass at the ford. It's becoming apparent that the ford is the Rebs' main effort|
|Rebel forces demonstrate at the bridge|
|2 Batteries offer their fire at the Union defenders at the ford.|
|The Rebs are in position and the artillery begins its work. Most of the Yankees are unaffected by the shelling.|
|That Battery would eventually make its way into the clearing between the 2 union regiments, meaning the assaulting Regiment would have to assault Smooth bore field pieces from the front.|
|Rebs massing for show|
|Rebs forming for the next assault...|
|Before the first reb assault|
|The first Regiment goes in!!|
|And is ultimately wiped out. 2 attack dice are nothing against 5. The Artillery and supporting Infantry Regiments will need clear fire lanes to support the next charge. A costly mistake...|
|intense rifle fire. things are getting hot as the regiments on both sides firefight.|
|Next full-strength Rebel Regiment crosses. They are automatically disordered crossing the bridge and fail their morale test. They then disorder the unit behind them as well. It's not looking good for the rebel main effort.|
|meanwhile a union Regiment is knocked out due to high casualties but the brigade passes its exhaution test barely. THey commit the Division reserve down at the ford.|
|The battery covering the ford is tired, but still functioning! One more assault and they might go.|
Force Ratios: The old maxim that attacking forces need a 3:1 Ratio at the attacking point is, in my opinion, validated here. Unfortunately they faced a very difficult choice because 3:1 was almost impossible to achieve crossing a Bridge and fighting. There was only room for 1 Regiment. I found out as the game progressed a few things:
1. The best way to silence an enemy battery is with stationary musket/rifle fire. Sorry but it's true. No saving throws here - if you can spare the manpower.
2. Manage your fire lanes so your units can join in the melee and provide the covering fire you need. The Rebel plan was sound, but at the moment of execution, it was found that there was not enough room to deploy both covering Batteries and Regiments. so if that becomes the case with you:
CHANGE THE PLAN!
Without the room for the dedicated units to provide fire support, why go in the way you said you would? "Well sir it's orders" I guess so. But I knew the second assault would fail right after the first one failed.
I started seeing more success when my Regiments became stationary and were able to equally exchange fire with the yankees. 5 dice against 5 dice instead of 2 against 5. A few more turns of that, and there would have been a better opportunity to carry out the assault.
Recommendation for river crossings: Send up "shock" troops to exhange fire with the enemy while your assaulting teams are behind them, waiting for the word to go. The level of war is such that you don't have to worry about what happens when the assaulting regiments move "through" your shock regiments. Let the captains down on the line straighten things out!
Prepare for high casualties among the assault units. If your order of battle doesn't support the river crossing, think about involving more units. I think in this case the rebs had the people to do the job, but committed them without timing the support piece properly. The fire support plan started getting results, AFTER the assaulting regiments were toast.
And of course - if there isn't enough artillery, quit!