Dave was over yesterday and we played the entire Confederate assault against Seminary Ridge late on the afternoon of July 1st, 1863 at Gettysburg. I was able to teach Norm's excellent "Two Flags - One Nation (TF-ON) rules to Dave in a turn or two and we set about playing.
Readers will remember a few weeks ago I crafted this scenario from Scott Mingus' "Enduring Valor" Gettysburg scenario book for "BattleCry." Since the troops were already on the table, an outing with the hex-based TFON rules was called for!
|Dave serving as General Pender positions his troops on move 1|
In TFON speak - all troops for this scenario are "seasoned." The Iron Brigade are not elite to reflect their exhausted status on the afternoon of July 1st, 1863. The Rebels must inflict 40% casualties and capture one of the 2 geographical objectives by Turn 10! This stipulation would create an intense nail-biter of a scenario that could easily have gone either way.
|General Pender with the assaulting Regiments of Scales' Brigade in the cornfield south of the Cashtown Road.|
Dave chose a slightly different plan from his predecessor, Brian, who weighted his entire assault on the Union left. While Dave did select the Union left as key terrain, Scales' Brigade was certainly not idle during the engagement.
I learned my lesson from 2 previous walk throughs of this scenario, and reinforced Biddle's Philadelphians as well as shifted the Iron Brigade down to try and cover the gaps.
|Note 2 Regiment-Deep defense on the left with Biddle's troops.|
Dave had a bit of trouble coordinating the advance of Perrin's Brigade on his right and the command rules ensured the advancing troops had to wait for their comrades to catch up. This exposed them to fire from the Union units on the hill.
|Dave's advance in line abreast against the Union positions! Note the single, lonely regiment of Confederates lower left, awaiting the advance of their comrades|
|Holes start to open up in the Union line as troops from Biddle's Brigade retreat under pressure from the intense firefight breaking out along the line.|
After 3 or 4 turns, Dave gets the hang of it and is "dangerous" now! He starts assaulting Seminary Ridge and goes in with the Cold Steel. Wadsworth's troops are pushed back in the center and Dave claws his way onto the ridgeline in the center!
|Scales' North Carolinians break through in the center!|
The battle see-saws back and forth with the Rebels pushing forward onto the ridgeline, and swift Yankee counterattacks pushing them off. The combined 2/7th Wisconsin is suffering greatly and almost routes off the table until they are put back in the line by Meredith!
|Fighting around the Lutheran Theological Seminary is particularly fierce!|
Dave and I are loving the back-and-forth struggle for the ridgeline and now that close combat has been joined the game gets even more tense and exciting as casualties mount on both sides. As expected, Rebel casualties are particularly high but the decision making becomes nerve wracking for both of us! Do you shoot and try to inflict even more casualties? Or do you move to consolidate your position?
Dave has multiple regiments in reserve and commits them to the assault! For a number of turns, the Rebels grab a toe hold on the hill, only to be pushed off. By turn 7, Dave has 3 Regiments already on Seminary Ridge who, by taking their capability test all route off of the ridgeline and back into the cornfield!
|Rebels are now on the backside of Seminary Ridge! This single South Carolina unit is on the objective, but the Rebels are close to taking 40% casualties! The tension is mounting!|
|Rebels also breakthrough at the Lutheran Theological Seminary!|
|Attacking the 19th Indiana now, my last remaining fresh unit!|
|Rebels pushed back up the hill off of the objective, for now!|
|come on boys, they're gonna break!|
|Rebels pouring up the hill!|
|General Pender directing his men personally!|
|Gaping hole torn open in the Union line as Biddle's men give ground|
|More rebel assaults up and down the line as the yankee troopers consolidate their position on the backside of the hill.|
2 Brigades are intermingled on the backside of the hill due to retreats and the command situation becomes confused with Iron Brigade troops mixed up with different commanders. Doubleday is needed to sort it out, but he's sorely needed on the left to back up Biddle's men who are fighting for utter survival!
On the end of turn 9, Dave has a single, unsupported Regiment physically on the objective. If he can hold it one more turn and I can't force him off, the Rebels will clench a victory. If I can push him back, the Union will "win" the day and would likely have retreated off Seminary Ridge in good order, having bloodied Pender's Division and blunted the all-out assault. What will happen next?
|Biddle's men fighting with the South Carolinans on the objective. Another unsupported assault will have to go in! "you men are on your own - take that ground now!"|
|Pennsylvanians steeling themselves to assault!|
|South Carolinians preparing to meet the assault!|
The assault goes in and the Union carry the position! The South Carolinians retreat off of the objective on Turn 10! Talk about a nail biter right down to the bottom half of the last turn!
A photo finish and we had a great time. Norm's rules are very good at delivering a fun and plausible battle with tension, drama, and excitement. Dave really enjoyed these and is now counted among the Norm-o-philes who have played and immensely enjoyed Norm's Napoleonic, World War II, and his American Civil War rules! A couple questions did come up during play that I wanted to post in case Norm sees this:
1. Do enemy units block command distance? In the final assault, Biddle was physically with the 80th New York Regiment, however there was a Rebel Regiment of South Carolinians in between Biddle and one of his Pennsylvania Regiments. The command distance to go around those Rebels was more than 2 hexes. We played this as "out of command." but I thought I'd ask here since I couldn't find it in the rules (doesn't mean it's not in there - just that during the heat of battle I couldn't find it!)
2. A unit going into charge takes fire from the defending unit who successfully passed their capability test and issue a volley of 4D6 at the charging unit. The charging unit takes casualties - does the charging unit have to another capability test right before the close combat? If it fails, does it have to break off the combat? Or does it just go into close combat with -1 D6 for disorder?
3. Can an artillery unit pivot within its hex prior to firing? i think the answer is yes.
4. When taking a capability test immediately after being fired upon, do you count the Heavy Casualties that you just incurred in this bout of firing? (I have 2 HC markers, and take 2 from firing this turn and now have to take a capability test. I am not disordered yet. Is my capability test -1 or -2?)
All said and done, this was a GREAT game and a perfect way to spend a relaxing Saturday afternoon gaming.