Copyright © 2017, Paul Scrivens-Smith

Copyright © 2017, Paul Scrivens-Smith

All rights reserved. This work may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, without the prior written permission of the creator.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

A brisk action at Hawkes Farm


Thursday saw another meeting of the Madison Tea and Crumpets Wargames Club for a bash at Sharp Practice American Civil War. With an ice storm coming in the event was in the balance, but in the end Drew and Bruce were able to make it to mine for the game. 

Besides getting the table set up with the weather making the game doubtful I'd not done much preparation so we settled on the 'An Encounter' battle, both sides would be about 110pts, this may seem a lot to Sharp Practice players used to earlier conflicts, but the basic 1863 Confederate force is 88 points!



Drew would play the Union, as is his way, while Bruce and I played the Confederates.

Confederates:
  • Leader, Status III
    • Three groups of 8 Infantry with rifled muskets
  • Leader, Status II
    • Three groups of 8 Infantry with rifled muskets
  • Leader, Status I
    • One group of 6 Skirmishers with rifled muskets
  • Leader, Status I
    • One group of 6 Skirmishers with rifled muskets
  • Leader, Status I
    • One group of 8 Cavalry with a variety of firearms and cutlery


Union:
  • Leader, Status III
    • Leader, Status I
    • Three groups of 8 Infantry with rifled muskets
  • Leader, Status II
    • Two groups of 8 Infantry with rifled muskets
  • Leader, Status II
    • Two groups of 8 Infantry with rifled muskets
  • Leader, Status I
    • One group of 6 Skirmishers with rifled muskets
  • Leader, Status I
    • One group of 6 Skirmishers with rifled muskets
  • Leader, Status I
    • Medium artillery piece with 5 crew.


I've cracked on with quite a bit of painting Confederates, so no longer have to use the dismounted cavalry as Skirmishers and can field more groups of infantry. For the first time we would be fielding an artillery piece on the Union side.

The Confederates had a starting Force Morale of 9 while the Union started at 11. The Union deployment point was central while the Confederate one was on their right flank.




In the initial phases both sides moved to shake out their lines, the Confederates anchored their right on a scrubby hill with a unit of skirmishers while the infantry shook out their lines and prepared to advance, the left flank was secured by another unit of skirmishers on another scrubby hill. The Confederate cavalry were pushed out to the left to hopefully gallop down the turnpike and get into the Union rear.

The Union pushed a unit of skirmishers through Hawkes farm and placed their main infantry block in the centre, one smaller block was making poor time through a wooded area that must have been much denser than the scouts suggested, on their left another formation of infantry supported by skirmishers would attempt to push the Confederate skirmishers from the hill.



First casualties of the day were inflicted by the Confederate skirmishers on the left, firstly knocking out a couple of the Union skirmishers sent against them then subsequently felling the lieutenant leading the infantry formation ranged against them who struggled back to his feet and bravely carrying on.

The first humorous random event of the game happened when the gunnery sergeant commanding the Napoleon stepped in a steaming pile of rancid coyote dung reducing him to Status 0, oh how us Confederates made mirth of this, however as the crew loaded the gun using command chits the next random event saw them getting a bonus firing action, not so may smiles as one Confederate group suffered 5 shock!



The Union certainly were getting the worst of the random events, after firing off a desultory volley at the Confederates facing them the main Union group was suffering from damp powder. 

On the Confederate left the cavalry shook out before the skirmishers in Hawkes farm, the Union skirmishers fired several times at them but the horsemen swept past and were soon galloping up the turnpike so the Union skirmishers turned their attention back to their front so that they could support the Union troops in the centre. The Union quartermaster would need some investigation today though as it was also found that these troops were also suffering from a supply of damp powder.



Things now started to move the Union way, unable to make headway in the dense woodland the Union troops had about faced and were now moving back across their rear to cover against the threat of the Confederate horse, one volley at effective range was enough to see off the rebel cavalry who skulked off to regroup. On their left some concentrated volley fire from the Union line and supporting skirmishers saw the Confederate skirmishers driven off, although with the wounded Federal lieutenant they we not able to easily capitalise and take that position. 



The Union centre was looking rather shaky though, with only the sporadic support of the Napoleon as the gunnery sergeant was distracted by the stench emanating from his boots and the damp powder the Union line was soon broken with panicked troops retreating before the advancing Confederates, however we'd run out of time and everybody wanted to get home before the foul weather hit so we call it a minor Union victory as they had a Force Morale of 7 to the 4 of the Confederates.




More images of the battle, many courtesy of Drew.









Monday, 8 January 2018

Colonel Frenchs' Coffin


Camp fever had ravaged the Confederate army in there winter quarters outside of Rainton, many men had died including the much respected Colonel French. Determined that his body should be returned to his dear Martha. Major Markgraf and his men loaded the lead-lined coffin aboard a cart and set out to escort it to the rail-head.

News of the movement of Confederate troops and wagons soon reached the Union forces and a detachment under Major Binsack was dispatched to intercept them.



On Thursday evening we played the Escort Duty scenario, with the random allotment, both sides were at 92 points. Seth would play the Confederates and I'd assist, Drew would play the Union assisted by Bruce when he arrived later.

Confederates

  • Leader, Status III
    • Preacher
    • Three groups of 8 Infantry with rifled muskets
  • Leader, Status II
    • Two groups of 8 Infantry with rifled muskets
  • Leader, Status II
    • One group of 6 Skirmishers with rifled muskets
  • Leader, Status II
    • One group of 6 Skirmishers with rifled muskets


Union

  • Leader, Status III
    • Leader, Status I
    • Water cart
    • Three groups of 8 Infantry with rifled muskets
  • Leader, Status II
    • Three groups of 8 Infantry with rifled muskets
  • Leader, Status II
    • One group of 6 Skirmishers with rifled muskets
  • Leader, Status II
    • One group of 8 Cavalry with breach loading carbines.


Both sides rolled for Force Morale and both would be starting on an 11.




The Confederates deployed and had one free move which they used to push towards the left hand route across the table. The Union deployed their cavalrymen and shooting their powerful breach-loading carbines from horseback they soon wiped out the Confederate skirmishers nearest to them.

The line of Confederate infantry following up engaged in a desultory firefight with the cavalrymen but little effect was felt by either side.



The main body of Confederate foot including Colonel French's coffin initially made slow progress but soon the pace was quickened and the Union foot rushed across the table to block their shortest route. Major Binsack halted his line and ordered his men to take a careful aim and fire upon the Secessionists, but the volley was ineffective and a pall of powder smoke now obscured his troops.


Major  Markgraf push his troops on, now limping from a sprained ankle he had picked up crossing the small copse of trees. Captain Greene commanding the supporting block of Confederates saw his opportunity, in rushing to block the advance the Union flank was rather exposed. With a Rebel Yell the Confederates were soon among the Union ranks who fell back in great disorder.



However the day was not done. Lieutenant Halphern commanding the Union horse had seen the threat and was already moving to support the Union position. Quickening to a gallop the Union cavalry with sabres drawn crashed into the rear of the victorious Rebels who broke and ran.



With the time getting on and a collapsing Force Morale it was decided that again the Blue Bellies had carried the day. Another instalment next week.

Thanks to Drew for the additional photos, many more images below!

































Sunday, 7 January 2018

American Civil War: Confederates (6)


Painting in 2018 starts the way that it ended in 2017 with more work on the American Civil War forces and terrain for our Sharp Practice games.

Our games so far have been rather limited as I only have enough Confederates painted to be able to field the most basic of forces, even having to use the dismounted cavalry as skirmishers to make up the numbers. This weeks painting update means that I now have a dozen infantry that I can field in this role instead freeing up the cavalrymen for their proper duties.

These twelve figures are all made up from the components of the American Civil War Confederate Infantry box painted in a mixtures of greys, butternuts and browns.






You may recall from an earlier blog update that Victoria had surprised me with a Warbases water cart, well there were more surprises in the form of a turnip cart and a couple of draft horses to pull them. Both carts saw service in Thursdays game of Sharp Practice.





Finally added this week - only just completed for the blog update were a couple more pieces from the Warbases range that Victoria had bought for me, firstly an outside privy.


A chicken coop, I based the poultry separately, they can be used - with much mirth - when we roll the 'stampeding livestock' random event. Those birds can cause a nasty peck!