Thursday, 7 December 2017

Mark VI Lt Tanks for 1940/1 Desert


I took the opportunity this week to finish off some early WW2 Desert British Light Forces for the upcoming start of our Desert Campaign.

So here we have three MkVI Light Tanks to add to the available Recce units.



All three are 28mm models from Warlord Games, 2 have Warlord Commanders and 1 is from Perrys, the above model is the C version with a 15mm Auto Cannon.



The remaining two tanks have are the B version with the Besa MG. Decals are from Doms Decals (yes I know the 54 is for a later motor battalion, it's my own tabletop numbering).



While I was on the light forces theme, I had a rogue Morris CS9 armoured car hanging around to make up a Sqn, so with the paint out, I finished that off as well.



The vehicles are painted in Caunter Scheme (my version, which is correct, thank you) and are perfect for the early war time frame that our games take place in.

The Analogue Hobbies Winter Paint Challenge is nearly on us again and my plan is to get through loads of Desert Vehicles during the three month, with the Blitzkrieg Miniatures half price offers my house is full of unpainted Desert stuff.


I have a small unit of SYW Art on the table and then it will be full on prep for the challenge.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Battle of Champion Hill 1863 - Scenario/AAR

Lorings Division at the start of the game
It's that time of year again, blow the dust off my big 6mm ACW collection and do a bit of Johnny Reb 2 gaming. A firm favourite since my late teens it's always good to come back to a spot of JR2.

It's always a challenge to select a decent battle with so many to choose from. Last year's Gaines Mill battle saw me having to knock out a quick Division of Confederates  even this year's more modest battle needed a rapid paint job on some more Artillery for both sides.


The scenario was inspired by the Champion Hill game in the book above. Although this (and the War in the West book) are for the Across A Deadly Field rules (or JR IV as they should be called. They are packed with great info, maps and orbats, which can be used for any rule set. Highly recommended.

The Corner
Top tip for any rule writer, STOP messing about with your basing between rule versions ! If I have painted 3 Corps worth of Union and 2 Corps of Confederates for one rule system I am not rebasing them repeatedly for what are essentially upgraded versions of the same game ! Rant over.

A J Smith's troops move up.
Historical Background

Champion Hill was without doubt the pivotal moment in the Vicksburg Campaign in the East, Grants Union Troops attacked Pembertons Confederates who had formed a defensive line along a ridge which overlooked the Jackson Creek.

The edge of the Confederate line formed an L shape with S D Lees Alabama Brigade holding the Left flank. Grant ordered a general attack along the line with the main thrust coming at the junction of the L shape.


The battle on Champion Hill raged back and forth but the Rebels just didn't have enough troops in the area to hold out indefinitely. Pemberton pleaded with Loring to send Confederate units from his quieter sector of the Battle but he refused.

The timing here was crucial, Grant attacked in force again on the Hill and broke through just as Loring decided to send help. It was too late, the Union Army was victorious. Pemberton had no choice other than retreating the 20 miles to Vicksburg where they eventually surrendered after a siege.

Blairs Union Troops prepare to advance
Set Up

We used the whole of our 12 x 6 ft table using 6mm Adler Miniatures and Johnny Reb 2 rules for the battle, which uses a 20 to one figure scale.

Deployment areas are as shown on the map.

The game begins at 11.30 am (JR2 has 15 minute turns)

I have included a detailed orbat below, I normally put this first before the AAR but I have had some right issues with this post formatting wise. I imported the orbats in from Excel and it seems to have caused a shed collapse in the old computer.

Confederate Mounted troops to the rescue (they weren't actually needed)
AFTER ACTION REPORT

Well it's not every day that you completely change the course of History is it, this refight was one of those days. In what seemed like a shoe in for the boys in dark blue it all went quite wrong, quite quickly.

The battle neatly breaks down at the start into three very separate fights,
  1. The action at the bottom of the table where AJ Smith and Blairs Union Troops attack the Confederates along Coker House Ridge.
  2. Osterhaus trying to break through the Rebel troops barricaded in the woods to the East of Champion Hill
  3. The main attack on Champion Hill itself
Bowen waits to either be attacked or support Champion Hill
In the 1st area the 4 Union brigades are never really going to trouble the Confederates lining Coker House Ridge, outnumbered and disadvantaged in terms of terrain it's very much a no go in terms of a break through.

Union Troops deploy opposite Coker House Ridge.
However they do have an important role in the battle, the more Confederates they can hold on the ridge and prevent from reinforcing Champion Hill the better chances the main assault should have.

As the Confederates wait.
I played this part of the Rebel line, Ian the troops opposite, we had our own little battle that had no real effect on the main event to my left. I managed to get the mounted elements of my force and Cockrills Brigade in motion towards Champion Hill, but events in that location meant they weren't actually needed.

Jacksons small but potent force lie in wait.
In the woods to the East of Champion Hill the small brigade of lightly armed Rebels waited behind their barricades for Osterhaus to attack.

No matter how hard they tried the Union Troops just couldn't break the thin grey line. Garrards Union Brigade battered against the wooden barrier but it was in vain, high casualties and poor dice routing the Brigade.

Finally the Union Troops break through the woods
It took some doing but finally the Union Troops broke the small brigade of Confederate troops but it was too late in the day. The battle had been decided on Champion Hill itself.

Over on the Hill things were rather less sedate, things went badly wrong for the Union troops from the get go and it really didn't get much better.


Turn 1, the beginning of the end
Logan's Union Division was the first to come a cropper,  with a Brigade Commander called Leggett, who would have thought !

Some relatively long range Artillery fire and the skirmish line from Lee's Confederate units caused some reasonable but not usually final damage to Leggetts troops before the curse of the dice arrived. I can't recall ever seeing so many 2s and 3s with 2d6 in such a short space of time, units were going backwards initially and then after another set of what can only be described as "poor" dice one Union Brigade was off the table and on the way home.

The main Union attack on Champion Hill looks unstoppable
The Union Commander came on to Champion Hill in Brigade Column, no messing about here, great for assaulting positions, if you get in, but very heavy on casualties.

The first column hit the 56th Georgia Regt causing it to rout, things were looking up for the boys in blue.

1st blood to the Union
But with the earlier rout Lee was able to bring his troops off the hill and onto the flank of the advancing US columns. It wasn't pretty as the casualties mounted up, with a bit of time to breath the Confederates reorganised the lines and waited for round two.

The new CSA line
The extra casualties on the advancing Union Brigades proved crucial, as did some spectacularly poor dice throwing (again), tests were failed and two more Brigades were routing.

Has someone seen a white rabbit, RUN AWAY !
The next two Brigade Columns with the help of some Rebel fire and more, you guessed it, poor dice, saw the routing columns and decided that attacking the hill was not such a good idea after all.

With 5 brigades lost in a short space of time and Confederate troops redeploying from other areas of the Battlefield to strengthen those units on Champion Hill, the Union Commander called off the attack and the Rebel Yell of victory sounded along the line.

Grant will not like what he can see.
So there you have it history changed, our result would certainly have altered the course of the Vicksburg Campaign but would it have changed the outcome ?

So that's ACW for this year, our next battle sees us staying in the US, but travelling further back in time to the AWI and Monmouth Courthouse, see you there.

UNION ORBAT

All Union Commanders are +1 apart from Grant who is +2, all troops have Rifle Muskets.

All reinforcements arrive either on road A or B in column with the guns of the brigade at the rear. New reinforcements cannot enter the table if the entry point is blocked. Entry points and times are shown next to the Brigade Commanders.

For units on table at the start of the game see the above map for deployment areas.

Number of figures at the start of the game are shown in the third column, with losses in our game in the final column. I have also added a note is the entire Brigade had routed at the end of the game.

Apologies for the amount of text before a picture, for some reason the program wouldn't let me post in the imported orbat.

 
Garrards Brigade advance towards Confederates barracaded in the woods

Ulysses S Grant ( Turn1 @ B)
Ex Army Commander

Corp McClernand(Turn 1 @A) Ave XIII Corps Com
Div Osterhaus (Turn 1@A) Ave (XIII Corps)
Brig Garrard (Turn 1 @A) Ave (Div Osterhaus) Routed Brig  Lost Figs
118th Illinois RM Vet 27 Figs 8
49th Indiana RM Elite 12 Figs 6
69th Indiana RM Vet 18 Figs 6
7th Kentucky RM Elite 18 Figs 10
7th Michigan Lt Art Vet 6 x 3"R
Brig Lindsey (Turn 4 @ A) Ave (Div Osterhaus)
22nd Kentucky RM Vet 27 Figs
16th Ohio RM Elite 18 Figs 3
42nd Ohio RM Vet 24 Figs
114th Ohio RM Vet 24 Figs
1st Wisconsin Lt Art Vet 3 x 20pdr Par

Div  A J Smith (On table turn 1) Ave (XIII Corps)
Brig Burbridge (On table Turn 1) Ave (Div A J Smith)
16th Indiana RM Elite 18 Figs 4
67th Indiana RM Vet 24 Figs 5
83rd Ohio RM Vet 18 Figs 6
23rd Wisconsin RM Vet 18 Figs 12
Chicago Mercantile Art Vet 3 x 12pdr N 2 Guns
Brig Landrum (On table turn 1) Ave (Div A J Smith)
77th Illinois RM Vet 18 Figs 2
97th Illinois RM Vet 24 Figs
130th Illinois RM Vet 18 Figs
19th Kentucky RM Vet 18 Figs
48th Ohio RM Elite 18 Figs
17th Ohio Lt Art Vet 3 x 10pdr Par 1 gun
Div Hovey (On table turn 1) Ave (XIII Corps)
Brig McGinnis (On table turn 1) Ave (Div Hovey)
11th Indiana RM Vet 24 Figs 12
24th Indiana RM Elite 24 Figs 4
34th Indiana RM Vet 24 Figs 1
46th Indiana RM Elite 24 Figs 1
29th Wisconsin RM Vet 24 Figs 1
2nd Ohio Lt Art Vet 3 x 10pdr Par
Brig Slack (On table turn 1) Ave (Div Hovey)
47th Indiana RM Elite 24 Figs 12
56th Ohio RM Vet 30 Figs 2
24th Iowa RM Vet 27 Figs 3
28th Iowa RM Vet 18 Figs 3
16th Ohio Lt Art Trained 3 x 12pdr N
Bty A 1st Missouri Lt Art Vet 3 x 3" R
Div Carr (Turn 6 @A) Ave (XIII Corps)
Brig Benton (Turn 7 @A) Ave (Div Carr)
33rd Illinois RM Elite 18 Figs
99th Illinois RM Vet 18 Figs
8th Indiana RM Elite 18 Figs
18th Indiana RM Vet 18 Figs
Bty A 2nd Illinois Lt Art Vet 2 x 12pdr N
Brig Lawler (Turn 10 @ A) Ave (Div Carr)
21st Iowa RM Vet 24 Figs
22nd Iowa RM Vet 27 Figs
23rd Iowa RM Vet 24 Figs
11th Wisconsin RM Vet 24 Figs
1st Indiana Lt Art Vet 3 x 12pdr N
Div Blair (On Table turn 1) Ave (XIII Corps)
Brig G Smith (On table turn 1) Ave (Div Blair)
113th Illinois RM Vet 18 Figs 4
116th Illionis RM Vet 18 Figs
6th Missouri RM Elite 18 Figs
8th Missouri RM Elite 18 Figs
1st Btn 13th US RM Elite 18 Figs
Bty A 1st Illinois Lt Art Vet 3 x 3"R 1 gun
Brig T K Smith (On table turn 1) Ave (XIII Corps)
55th Illinois RM Vet 18 Figs
127th Illinois RM Vet 18 Figs
83rd Indiana RM Vet 18 Figs
54th Ohio RM Vet 18 Figs
57th Ohio RM Vet 18 Figs
Bty B 1st Illinois Lt Art Vet 3 x 12pdr N
Corps McPherson (Turn 1@B) Ave XVII Corps Comm
Div Logan (Turn 1 on table) Ave (XVII Corps)
Brig J E Smith (T1 on table) Ave (Div Logan) Routed Brigade
20th Illinois RM Elite 24 Figs 17
31st Illinois RM Vet 18 Figs 6
45th Illinois RM Elite 24 Figs 11
124th Illinois RM Trained 24 Figs 6
23rd Indiana RM Vet 18 Figs 4
Bty Rogers 1st Illinois Art Vet 2 x 24pdr How
Brig Leggett (Turn 1 on table) Ave (Div Logan) Routed Brigade

30th Illinois RM Vet 24 Figs 15
20th Ohio RM Vet 27 Figs 6
68th Ohio RM Vet 24 Figs 7
78th Ohio RM Vet 18 Figs 11
Bty Bolton 1st Illinois Art Trained 2 x 10pdr Par
8th Michigan Art Vet 3 x 12pdr N
Brig Stevenson (Turn 1 on table) Ave (Div Logan) Routed Brigade
8th Illinois RM Elite 18 Figs 13
81st Illinois RM Vet 24 Figs 15
7th Missouri RM Vet 24 Figs 15
32nd Ohio RM Elite 18 Figs 11
3rd Ohio Battery Elite 3 x 3" R
Div Crocker (Turn 10 @ B) Ave (XVII Corps)
Brig Sanborn (Turn 8 @B) Ave (Div Crocker)
48th Indiana RM Vet 24 Figs
59th Indiana RM Elite 18 Figs
4th Minnesota RM Vet 24 Figs
18th Wisconsin RM Vet 18 Figs
Brig Holmes (Turn 12 @ B) Ave (Div Crocker)
17th Iowa RM Elite 18 Figs
10th Missouri RM Vet 30 Figs
Brig Boomer (Turn 10 @ B) Ave (Div Crocker)
93rd Illinois RM Vet 24 Figs
5th Iowa RM Elite 24 Figs
26th Missouri RM Vet 24 Figs
Brig Sandborn (Turn 8 @ B) Ave (XVII Corps)
1st Missouri Lt Art Vet 3 x 12pdr N
11th Ohio Lt Art Vet 3 x 12pdr N
6th Wisconsin Lt Art Vet 3 x 3" R
12th Wisconsin Lt Art Trained 2 x 6pdr
Bty D 1st Illinois Lt Art Vet 2 x 24pdr How
2nd Illinois Cav (Ind) Vet 12 x BLC

Logans troops begin their assault on Champion Hill

CONFEDERATE ORBAT


As Union Orbat, except Brigade commanders are rated individually and all units start the game on table however some are restricted.


Each Confederate Brigade may defend its own set up area with no restrictions however to reflect the poor command and control on the day of the battle brigades may not move out of their deployment areas until the time stated below. If nothing is shown by the Brigade Commander they are free to move from turn 1.

All the Confederates have Rifle Muskets which I thought a little unusual but those who know a lot more than me were happy that Pembertons Army was well equipped. I also gave the Sharpshooter units suitable weapons.


John Pemberton Ave Army Commander

Div Loring Ave
Brig Tilghman Ave (Div Loring)
1st Confederate Btn. RM Vet 18 Figs
6th Miss RM Vet 24 Figs
23rd Miss RM Vet 24 Figs
26th Miss RM Vet 27 Figs 9
Bty C 14th Miss Art Vet 2 x 3"R
Bty G 1st Miss Art Vet 3 x 10pdr Par
Brig Buford (Turn 8) Ave (Div Loring)
27th Alabama RM Vet 27 Figs
35th Alabama RM Elite 24 Figs
54th Alabama RM Vet 27 Figs
55th Alabama RM Trained 27 Figs
9th Arkansas RM Vet 24 Figs
3rd Kentucky RM Vet 27 Figs
12th Louisiana RM Elite 24 Figs
Bty A Bouanchauds Art Vet 2 x 24pdr How
Bty B Bouanchauds Art Vet 2 x 12pdr N
Brig Featherston Ave (Div Loring)
3rd Miss RM Vet 24 Figs 1
22nd Miss RM Vet 18 Figs
31st Miss RM Vet 24 Figs
33rd Miss RM Vet 24 Figs
1st Miss Sharpshooters SSRifle Elite 12 Figs
Bty D 1st Miss Lt Art Vet 2 x 12pdr N 1
Div Stevenson Ave
Brig Barton Ave (Div Stevenson)
40th Georgia RM Vet 30 Figs
41st Georgia RM Trained 30 Figs
42nd Georgia RM Trained 30 Figs
43rd Georgia RM Trained 30 Figs
52nd Georgia RM Trained 36 Figs
Cherokee Bty Vet 3 x 3" R
Brig S D Lee Ave (Div Stevenson)
20th Alabama RM Elite 18 Figs 5
23rd Alabama RM Vet 27 Figs 5
30th Alabama RM Vet 24 Figs 1
31st Alabama RM Vet 30 Figs
46th Alabama RM Vet 27 Figs 12
Lees Skirmishers SSR Elite 18 Figs 9
Waddells Alabama Art Trained 3 x 12pdr N
Brig Cumming Ave (Div Stevenson)
34th Georgia RM Trained 24 Figs 12
36th Georgia RM Trained 24 Figs 5
56th Georgia RM Vet 27 Figs 12 rout
57th Georgia RM Trained 27 Figs 5
39th Georgia RM Trained 24 Figs 9
Botetcourt Virginia Art Vet 2 x 3"R 1 gun
Bty A 1st Miss Art Vet 2 x 12pdr N
Brig J F B Jackson Ex (Div Stevenson)
Jacksons Light RM Vet 24 Figs 12
20th Miss Mtd Rifles RM Elite 18 Figs 11
Brigade Reynolds (Turn 6) Ave (Div Stevenson)
3rd Tennessee RM Vet 24 Figs
31st Tennessee RM Vet 24 Figs
43rd Tennessee RM Vet 27 Figs
49th Tennessee RM Vet 27 Figs
Claibornes Maryland Art Vet 3 x 3"R
Div Bowen (Turn 6) Ex
Brig Cockrell (Turn 6) Ex (Div Bowen)
1st Missouri RM Elite 27 Figs
2nd Missouri RM Elite 24 Figs
3rd Missouri RM Elite 18 Figs
5th Missouri RM Elite 18 Figs
6th Missouri RM Vet 27 Figs
Wades Missouri Art Elite 3 x 10 pdr Par
Landis' Missouri Art Elite 2 x 24pdr How
Guibors Missouri Art Elite 2 x 12pdr N
Brig Green (Turn 6) Ex (Div Bowen)
15th Arkansas RM Elite 27 Figs
19th Arkansas RM Vet 24 Figs
21st Arkansas RM Elite 24 Figs
12th Arkansas Sharpshooters SSR Elite 12 Figs
Dawsons Missouri Art Elite 2 x 10pdr Par
Lowes Missouri Art Vet 2 x 12pdr N 2 guns
1st Arkansas Cavalry RM Vet 18 Figs
1st Missouri Cavalry RM Elite 24 Figs
Adams Miss Cav (Ind) BLC Vet 18 Figs