Monday, February 16, 2015

Gettysburg Day 2: The Peach Orchard Battle Part I

Here and there I've been playing a round or two at a time of my Peach Orchard scenario for Black Powder with some interesting observations and some unusual turns of events. (to me, that's NOT a good thing).

The Mississippians approach the 68th PA and trade shots.  As what actually occurred, the 68th got the worst of it...

During the actual battle, Barksdale's Mississippians charged with such fury, they cut through almost every Regiment they came into contact with.  This game had some different twists.  In order to give them the proper amount of "gusto," I gave them the "ferocious charge" special rule and any Regiment they charged had to pass a break test prior to even delivering closing fire.

The middle regiment would get mauled by Union artillery fire.
 The attack stepped off OK enough, with 1 Regiment out of contact on the Confederate right.  They had to roll a different order with negative modifiers, but still with Barksdale's "9" staff rating, they managed to keep up.

Rebels reach the Emmittsburg road.

Barksdale with dark hair...(I actually have a 15mm figure of him - just haven't painted it yet)
 The rebels upon reaching the road halted and began a fierce firefight with the yankees.  I actually ran out of casualty markers things got so ugly.

The yellow die indicates a disordered unit.

The 68th PA on the left reaches its casualty breakpoint of 3 hits and Barksdale's men are starting to take casualties now.  Time to charge!
 The obstacle of the fence along the Emmittsburg road presented something of a challenge, costing half movement to cross over.  Lucky for the Confederates, they rolled well and were able to cross, advance, then charge right into the blue-belly ranks.

Good rolling also ensures Kershaw's left-most Regiments show up in the nick of time.
 Kershaw's South Carolinians arrive on the field in time to maul De Trobiand's lone Michigan regiment guarding the left flank of the Peach Orchard.  I ran out of infantry so I had to use cavalry dismounts to model them!

Kershaw's men trading fierce fire with the yankees in the Peach Orchard.

Almost all Yankee units have some casualties by now, except for the Zuove unit in the center, who miraculously have not taken any hits.
 The Rebel charge goes in, with all Yankee units taking their break test in terror of Barksdale's howling banshees.  The right-most PA Regiment (already at their 3 hits/casualties, and disordered) evaporates after rolling a "3" and the Rebels march right through their position.  This forces a reserve Regiment to wheel around, refusing the brigade's right flank.

The PA Regiment shown here would evaporate following their break test.

The Zuoves in the center hold firm and fight.  The Rebel Regiment was pushed back - an a-historical result!
 The Rebel assault against the Peach Orchard is successful and the 68th Pennsylvania melts away into history.  The Peach Orchard itself, save for a lone Michigan Regiment will be in Rebel hands by turn's end.  The Wentz property, however, is still a formidable position held by III Corps.

Meanwhile, in the Peach Orchard, the Rebels smash into the 68th PA, who evaporate from the assault.

Kershaw's Regiments in the lower left of the picture, currently "mopping up" will eventually be forced to make a supporting attack across the Wheatfield road into a hornets nest of yankee troopers.
 So while the Peach Orchard attack goes in successfully, only half of Barksdale's men are successful in securing a toe-hold on the Wentz property and have now lost 1 Regiment in the attack.  The yanks refuse a flank and have more reserve units to throw in if necessary, including a 3" Battery.  Meade would be furious!

Union flank refused.  During the actual battle, Barksdale's men wheeled in the opposite direction.  In this battle, they will wheel to their right in order to crush resistance here.

Kershaw's men move in for the kill.  You can see behind them, the rebels have occupied the Peach Orchard and are preparing to wheel left themselves to engage the Union troops on the Wentz property.

Still a tough nut to crack!  3 Union Regiments, with 2 of them uncommitted.
 So the fight for the actual Peach Orchard is over and the fight to push out Graham's Pennsylvania Brigade is on.  With 2 Artillery Batteries in position, and 2 fresh Regiments, it's going to be an even tougher time for the rebels to push them out.  This is Civil War combat at its most brutal!

Graham surveys the carnage.

The Peach Orchard is ours!  Now we need to rally off some of those hits!

Kershaw's firing line.  Time to charge in and brush those people aside.

Well it's not the most historically accurate battle I've ever participated in, but it's not bad.  It wouldn't have been much fun if all Barksdale's men did was brush the Yanks aside.  Still though, the ultimate gauge of a rules set is delivering somewhat historically accurate results.  Time, and a few more turns will tell how this battle will turn out.

Reading back on some of my past Black Powder battles, the lessons learned must always  be re-learned.  The Rebel artillery should have been brought up along with the infantry to blast away at the defenders.  Close range delivers 3 vital dice and some nasty morale modifiers for artillery.  Something to remember as Barksdale consolidates his position.

Speaking of Barksdale, the loss of his center Regiment tore a nasty hole in the line and now he will have an extremely difficult time coordinating orders.  In fact, most regiments will now suffer -1 or -2 to their orders and no brigade orders allowed, probably for the rest of the game.

The Yankees have the benefit of a consolidated line and have no problem maneuvering troops into position.  Their uncommitted battery, however, will have to commit itself and very soon if they're to have any hope of resisting.

Tune in later this week for Part II!


  1. I'm throughly enjoying these battle reports. I've done ACW with Black Powder and found the results quite enjoyable - note that I didn't say "I won." Any day you get to push figures is a victorious day!

    1. John,
      Agreed! Black Powder always gives a good time regardless of the outcome. And you're quite right - any day you get to move miniatures on the table is a good day!

  2. Great report- really enjoying it. You have some lovely figs and terrain and its nice to see you enjoying it

    1. Thanks Paul! It's great to actually get a chance to use it!