Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Battle Report Second Manassas

After a long hiatus, Paul and I returned to the Second Battle of Manassas game. We had left the battle at the Union 09:30 turn with Heinzelmann's Corps reaching the battlefield. Jackson's wing is still holding with continuing attacks from Sigel and McDowell. Reynolds and his division have been rendered hors d'combat both from vicious fighting on the Union left and in Federal attacks against Jackson near the Groveton Woods. Federals breached the Confederate defensive line along the unfinished railroad but without support, counterattacks from Starke and A.P. Hill recaptured the cut with heavy losses to the Federals.

Kearney reached the battlefield and swung along Bull Run onto Jackson's left near Sudley Church. In heavy fighting on this front, both A.P. Hill and Kearney panicked bringing the assault to a temporary halt. Porter arrives along the Manassas Gap Road and elements of Longstreet begin arriving along the Warrenton Pike.

By 12:30, Longstreet was approaching Lewis Lane and Porter began long-range artillery fire onto Longstreet's lead elements. Hooker's division has come up in a blocking position astride the Warrenton Pike/Lewis Lane intersection. With Longstreet securing Jackson's right flank, Early and Hays redeploy from the Warrenton Pike to north of Groveton.

Casualties to this point are roughly, Union 11,000; Confederate 7,500. It is very interesting to see historical mistakes repeated in the game. For example, Jackson's right attacks out of the entrenchments to meet the advancing Federals; Sigel throws his Corps into frontal assaults upon entrenched positions with little coordination or support; Union attacks are piecemeal and unsupported; Union attacks breach the unfinished railroad cut and without close support are isolated and counterattacked; Heintzelmann splits Kearney off to the right flank while the remainder of the Corps advances down the Warrenton Pike.

Perhaps hindsight is not 20/20.

Scope Creep And The Rule of Twelve.
How do you determine when a project is complete? I constantly wrestle with this dilemma. Over the years, I've found that combatants having roughly twelve foot units and proportional elements of horse and gun produce more enjoyable games. In a game with fewer units, a chance unit loss can have catastrophic consequences. In games with more units, the units in play are tended with less care.

Under the notion that more is better, my tendency is to continue building forces beyond this optimal project size. If about twelve units per combatant constitutes a "complete" project, which projects could I deem complete? Consider a few of my 28mm projects.  For the ECW, a quick count shows 11 foot, 9 horse, and 2 guns per side. I call that project complete although I do have a few more foot units left in inventory to paint. For FIW, I count 20 British foot, 16 French foot, 7 native foot, no horse, and only a couple of guns. This project, too, can be considered completed and fits closely to the Rule of Twelve with the excess foot units replacing the horse elements.  For Napoleonics, I have 8 foot, 2 horse, 4 guns (British) and 7 foot, 2 horse, and 4 guns (French). While this is approaching the Rule of Twelve, clearly I have room for expansion.

A recent Litko order arrived in near record time for Litko. In the past, orders have taken four to six weeks to receive. This order arrived within two weeks. Perhaps Litko is working out the logistics of order placement and fulfillment. With these new bases, I was able to complete the rebasing of the Russian cavalry. Only the Prussian cavalry contingents remain to be rebased.

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