Saturday, October 21, 2017

Action at Fox's Gap 1000-1100

Situation from prior episode
When the retelling of the Action at Fox's Gap broke off, the Game Clock had just advanced to 10:04 with both combatants suffering from blows like championship prize fighters.  Who will go down first?

To refresh memory of the action thus far, please see,
1004. Cox joins the 30 OHa to help rally the regiment.  The 30th OH suffered at the hands of the 12 NC and had fallen back to J. Beachley Farm in disorder.  Cox successfully rallies the Ohioans although with five Heavy Casualties, the 30th may not have much offensive punch remaining.  Covering the 30 OHa, the WV cavalry rains fire onto the 12 NC causing one hit.  The North Carolinians stand firm.  Despite much firepower, the 30 OHb does no visible damage to the 23 NC as it hunkers behind the stone wall bordering the Ridge Road.  In the close range firefight, the 30 OH comes out for the worse in the exchange suffering one hit.

In a display of the power of well-handled rifled artillery, the OH Lt Artillery chews up the 13 NC at Wise Farm.  Now, that is good shooting; three hits out of three attempts!
Good shooting!
Garland moves to join the 23 NC as the wavering 5 NCb continues it retrograde away from the battle as its resolve deteriorates.
The raw 5 NC falls back
1021. Continuing to hop-scotch from one trouble spot to the next, Cox moves to join the 23 OHa while the Ohio Lt Artillery keeps the 13 NC at Wise's Farm under fire.  The Tar Heels absorb another heavy casualty but remain the anchor of the Confederate left.  While holding up to the pressure thus far, the raw 5 NCa takes more fire from the 23rd OH and has had enough.  It falls back off the ridge in disorder.
Battle lines are drawn
In the continuing close range firefight between the 30 OHb and the 23 NC, each suffer one casualty in the exchange.  Both stand their ground.  Still deployed in the fields and unable to take the high ground, Federal forces absorb rolling volleys from the Rebels perched on the ridge.  Seeing the Federals are not backing down from this fight, the 5 NCb has seen enough and disintegrates. 
Close range fire fights
1035.  Cox continues his rounds between regiments in an attempt to have his presence felt everywhere at once.  The bottom of the hour finds him attached to the 23 OHb.  Not letting up, the Ohio Lt Artillery pounds the 13 NC.  Aided by the protection offered by the farmstead, the North Carolinians hold the farm.
Federals attack all along the front
With losses mounting on both sides, Scammon attempts one more offensive push while his brigade can still muster an attack.  Federal cavalry in the fields find themselves in a flanking position to the 23 NC and pour fire into the Tar Heels.  The 23rd takes casualties and then are immediately attacked by the 30 OHb.  Garland goes down in a hail of bullets.  Oh no!  Unable to get off a musket volley before the Federals close, the 23rd suffers two hits to one.  The Tar Heels hold their ground in disorder while the Federals are sent reeling back down the slopes of the hill.
30 OH repulsed!
On the Federal left, the Rebel cavalry fall back from fire of the 23 OHa while the 23 OHb charges the 5 NCb.  While the Federals execute damage against the 5th, the North Carolinians cannot be dislodged from their defenses.  Both sides are approaching exhaustion from their efforts.
Attacks by the Federal left
While the 12 and 30 OH have reached 5+ casualties each, both remain on the firing line despite the losses.  The Confederates, now without Garland, are not as stalwart.  Having suffered very heavy casualties, both the raw 5 NCb and the veteran 13 NC fall back as stragglers peel off.
Tar Heels head towards the rear!
1052.  Cox now scurries over to join the 30 OHb while Gibson's artillery finally comes into play against the 12 NC.  The Federal artillerymen cannot find the proper range and the Tar Heels avoid damage.  With the abandonment of the Ridge Road on the Confederate right, the 23rd OH climbs the slope to take the position.
23 OH takes the ridge
Continuing its fire upon the 23 NC, the WV cavalry convinces the 23rd to relinquish its position.  The 23 NC falls back from the Ridge Road in disorder.  Despite Scammon's presence, the 12 OH, having suffered greatly, breaks for the rear.
Federal cavalry drive off the 23 NC
With its right flank crumbling, the Rebel cavalry covers the retreating 5 NC.  In the exchange, the 23 OHa takes casualties and it has had enough.  The Ohioans fall back in disorder.  

The Rebels have had enough too.  The 5 NCb disintegrates to the wind while both the 13 NC and 23 NC lose heart and retire.
Collapse of the Confederate left
1107.  As the game clock advances past 1100, the game comes to a close.  

That was a vicious fight!  Casualties everywhere were heavy.  Both sides near exhaustion as the Confederates still hold onto one of the objectives on the Ridge Road.  I call this a very bloody draw.  With the only Confederate regiment still on the ridge being the small, raw 12 NC, Scammon's boys, though battered, may be able to see it off given one more shove.  If the battle was to continue, 1100 is about the time both combatants received reinforcements, historically.  Cox's second brigade under Crook would arrive as would two North Carolinian regiments.  While Garland and Scammon's brigades are spent, the addition of Crook's three Ohio regiments ought to be sufficient to duplicate the historical outcome.   
Situation at close of action
A tense and exciting battle to the end!  A scenario worthy of a replay and, perhaps, with a change of tactics for the Federals.  Cox suffered early on with a single brigade spread out over an area much larger than possible to keep in command.  Perhaps a more concentrated attack against the Ridge Road would yield dividends?  Regardless of the outcome, a challenge for both players.

An added bonus for the scenario as written is that Fox's Gap lends itself well to solo play.  With the active player taking the role of Cox and the Confederates already in good defensive ground, the Rebels under Garland can fight a pre-programmed approach to the battle.

The game is reset and another attempt is in mind.  Many thoughts on Fox's Gap and impressions of TF-ON are swirling around in my head.  These thoughts ought to be committed to paper before they are forgotten.  

Great fun and a near perfect solo challenge!


  1. Jonathan, a really tense second half and I enjoyed the way that escalation in casualties going to both sides, gave a real sense of it possibly going either way right to the end and an expectation that either side was about suddenly collapse exhausted. One can imagine each commander thinking 'if I can only hold on for a bit longer, I feel so close to doing this'!

    The scenario seems to play down to the wire, so the 2 hour historical requirement, with an 11 AM close, happily works out very well.

    I think wanting to re-set and play again is probably the best indicator of success.

    1. Glad to see you enjoyed the conclusion to Fox's Gap, Norm! It was a nail-biting affair to the end. Your description of a commanders' thoughts during the game reflect my own thoughts as I anxiously awaited the result of each Capability Test. Some times I cheered the result; some times I lamented it. Either way, it was good fun.

      Thanks for pointing out my error in assessing heavy casualties upon small units. I will remember the two hits for each one hit thrown next time. A few other mistakes were made but nothing significant. My play will improve as time and experience increase.

  2. Great report Jonathan. I am even more encouraged to try this scenario with our group.

    1. Thanks, Mark! The game was a close-run thing. Compact design that is well-suited for solo play. I hope you give it a try sometime.

  3. A very enjoyable report. I might try the scenario set during the AWI or SYW.


    1. Glad you enjoyed the BatRep, Jim! I would like seeing your take on the scenario in a different era.

  4. It's a unique system that can handle an extended toe to toe shootout like this and infuse decisions, reaction points, and some kind of differentiated results--as opposed to what in most systems would be a series of fire phases and a crapshoot (literally). Nicely done.

    1. TF-ON is a unique system that offers many interesting twists to the typical wargame. Norm has introduced some innovative ideas in building a hybrid gaming model. "Hybrid" in the sense that it contains elements of hex and counter boardgames and nongridded wargames.

      Decision points abound since officer interaction is limited and units may only fire and be fired upon once per phase. No way to bring overwhelming odds to bear in this one. The combat model in any particular phase is attritional but can be decisive across phases as a unit can be pounded repeatedly.

  5. Intense and beautiful looking game!

  6. Another detailed play-by-play report, Jonathan. I bet this game would be a hit at Enfilade.

    1. Too detailed? Hope I did not bore you.

      The game might be a hit at Enfilade but it is on such a small scale that it would be a two-player game at best. Since it is so small, perhaps a tournament would be a viable option?

      The game could be taught quickly and three or four tables could be in action at once.

      Very interesting idea, Dean!

  7. That was certainly a close run battle, you couldn't call it either way and ending up close to the historical outcome has got to be some sort of endorsement? Looks great too!
    Best Iain

    1. Close run, for sure! I could not tell which way the result would lean either. In the end, it was a draw!

      Glad you enjoyed it!

  8. A very enjoyable second instalment, and a close-run draw looked to be a fitting conclusion to the first instalment.

    1. Thank you, Lawrence! It was a fun game to play too!

  9. Phew! talk about exhaustion... A hard fought, bloody action indeed!

    1. Agreed! It was a bloody and hard-fought affair. Few were left standing in the ring when this scrap concluded. Can the Federals do better? I would like to see.

  10. Another good report of what looks to be a good set of rules. Well done Jonathan (and Norm)!


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