Saturday, November 11, 2017

Fox's Gap - An ACW BatRep in 10mm

The Action at Fox Gap had another outing on the gaming table using Two Flags-One Nation. After the first bloody fight (see: Action at Fox Gap Conclusion) that ended in a bloody draw, I wanted to give the scenario a rematch after a post-mortem of the rules, scenario, and play development.  Units were returned to their starting positions and the battle was joined.
Battle map
In translating the battle map to the game table, notice that I have dispensed with the entanglement of trees that hindered play in my first game.  My sleeve and arm were constantly catching a tree as troops were maneuvered through the dense foliage.  In place of the forest of trees, forest green hex tiles have been laid down to represent these woods' areas.  Model trees are placed sparingly to give the look of a united forest.  I like the look and improves play.
Initial deployments with troops on table
0900: At 0900, the action at Fox's Gap transforms from a probing operation into a full contact operation.  Seizing the initiative, Union General Cox joins the 23 OHa as it skirts Beachley Farm and closes with the 5 NC hunkered down along the Ridge Road on the Confederate right.  With Cox attached, the Ohioans can fire and move.  Unfortunately, their fire at long range is ineffective. 
The battle opens
Ohioans advance on the Confederate right
Perhaps being a bit brash, the Federal West Virginian cavalry advances upon Bondurrant's Rebel guns.  The Rebel guns deal death to the dismounted cavalry and they suffer heavy casualties.  Since cover does not diminish the effect from artillery, the troopers receive the full brunt of the cannonade.  Not able to stand up to the belching fire, the troopers fall back in disorder.  On the Confederate right, men from the 5 NC fire upon the 23 OH as the two Federal units close upon Rebel positions.  Both Federal units suffer casualties on the approach.
WV cavalry suffer mightily from Bondurrant's guns
Troopers fall back, disordered
5 NC fired into advancing 23 OH
0912: Cox slips over from the 23 OHa to join the 23 OHb.  Having unlimbered, Gibson's Federal battery brings Bondurrant's guns under fire.  The Rebel guns suffer only light casualties and dismiss the fire.  Both wings of the 23 OH fire upon the 5 NC before 23 OHb, under Cox's leadership, advances to the foot of the ridge.
Federals open up the firefight
Firefight in front of Beachley's Farm
Rebels respond
0930: As Cox hustles from one wing of the 23 OH to the other, the Confederate line braces for Cox' threat to lead an assault against the defenders lining the Ridge Road.  To distract Bondurrant, Gibson's guns keep the Rebel guns under fire while the 30 OHa brings the guns under small arms fire as well.  Bondurrant suffers more casualties but maintains his position.

As anticipated, Cox leads the 23 OH along with the 12 OH in an assault upon the Confederate positions on Ridge Road. 

From the left of the Fedeal line, the 23 OHa clashes with the 5 NCa in the woods.  The Federal assault goes in half-heartedly but the raw 5 NC fails to get off a meaningful volley to stop the Ohioans.  Both combatants suffer casualties but both stand their ground in disorder as the close range firefight continues.  To the right, of the 23 OHa, the 23 OHb charges up the hill to come to grips with the 5 NCb.  The Federals maintain the resolve to close but the raw Tar Heels break for the rear.  The 5 NCb takes heavy casualties and abandons its defensive position behind the wall protecting the Ridge Road.

In the third attack, the 12 OH with Scammon in the lead, charges into Bondurrant's guns.  On the way in, the 12th takes light casualties while the battery suffers casualties in the close fighting.  Seeing the guns holding onto their position in defiance, the Ohioans lose their nerve and fall back in retreat.  Garland fails to rally the 5 NCb. 
Initial Federal assault goes in
In close combat, you win some and lose some
Bondurrant continues dishing out death and destruction
0948: The first Special Event of the game is drawn and produces a "Confused Order" for the Federal troops.  The 23 OHb falls back.  Cox joins the 23 OHb to bolster its resolve.  Gibson's battery fires into Bondurrant's battery in conjunction with the 30 OHa.  Bondurrant suffers light casualties and continues to hold onto his exposed position.
Situation at 9:48
With Cox in the lead, the 23 OHb charges into the 5 NCa.  The Tar Heels take two hits while the Ohioans take no losses.  Scammon attempts to rally the 30 OHa to no avail.
Federals pour fire into Confederate positions
Cox leads the 23 OH into the 5 NC
Bondurrant returns fire on the 30 OHa.  Taking more casualties, the Ohioans are forced to withdraw in disorder.  On the Confederate far right, Rosser's cavalry finally make it into the fray. forcing the battered 23 OHa to fall back to escape the wrath of their weapons.  Also driven back from Confederate small arms fire is the 23 OHb.  Despite support from Rosser's dismounted troopers on their right, the 5 NCa fails it Capability Test and falls back.  In the Confederate center, the stalwart gunners of Bondurrant's battery holds its ground, ambivalent to its mounting heavy casualties.
Federal sent reeling back from the front line
Situation at 10:06
1006: With much of his command falling back from the fight having suffered heavy casualties, Cox calls off his attack.  Garland, having only one regiment badly damaged maintains the high ground and prevents the Federals from taking Fox's Gap on this day.

Rather than a hard fought draw seen in the first game, the second game I call a hard-fought win for Garland and his North Carolinian troops.  The Federals suffered heavy casualties with four of the six Union regiments at 50% casualties or greater.  As in Game One, Bondurrant's battery performed heroic feats while taking on all comers.  With 75% casualties, the Rebel gunners stood their ground unflinchingly.  Amazing display of valor.

On the Federal left, Cox and the Ohioans never managed to turn the flank and ended up in frontal assaults against prepared troops.  Even though raw, the 5th NC put up just enough fight to dissuade the Federals from pursuing a turning maneuver one more time.  Really, the Federal forces were spent without much remaining in offensive capability.

Was it fun? Yes!  Did the game produce tension and drama? Yes!  Did it provide a believable narrative?  I think so.  A lot of action in a small space.  A decision reached in only an hour of game time.  With only a handful of units per side, every unit's behavior and every casualty taken impacted upon the game.

Having several battles under my belt with TF-ON, time to provide my impressions of the game and put down a few thoughts on tactics and the processes embedded within.  That will be for another time, however.  Back to the painting desk for me. 

Note:  A technical error caused only a portion of the BatRep to be published earlier this morning and the original was unrecoverable electronically.  Luckily, a recent blogger "Preview" was displayed on another page.  Many screenshots and transcriptions later, the BatRep has returned (mostly) intact.  Thankfully, all was not lost.  

23 comments:

  1. An excellent battle report ... and I am looking forward to seeing how the battle is resolved.

    All the best,

    Bob

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Bob! a technical glitch prevented the BatRep from displaying in its entirety. Please give it another read to see how the battle is resolved.

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    2. Jonathan,

      The complete battle report is excellent, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

      I like the way you have depicted the heavily-wooded areas. It is a very simple and effective method.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    3. Thanks for returning for a second look, Bob.
      Glad you enjoyed the BatRep!

      As for the woods hex tiles, I like simple and effective.

      Delete
  2. Bondurrant once again shows resilience and a significant presence in the opening moves of battle.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Jonathan, I obviously made my comment while the glitch was happening (9.30 game time). Incredibly Bondurrant went on to even greater influence. Sounds like a good too and fro with both sides feeling the tension at various points in the game.

      I think using the forest bases was a good way to mitigate the high density of foliage that the scenario needs. Overall, I think that scenario is working very well and would be a great situation for anyone wanting to try out a rule set to get an early feel of the 'good and the bad' as so much nuance is thrown up.

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    2. Thanks for persevering through the technical difficulties and coming for another look, Norm. Very glad you did!

      When I saw that only an early draft was published originally and that the later work was gone, I was a bit dejected. Constructing a BatRep once is hard enough but to have to do it twice...that is tough.

      Yes, Fox Gap produced another very interesting game. I think with the action concentrated around the fields and Ridge Road, this could easily be downsized to fit into your 6x6 grid format.

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  3. Superb commentary. I can feel the battle develop. Good use of hexes and I looked back to earlier in the series - like a historical narrative, we can see how the schedule of reinforcements and timely (or otherwise) use of them really has an effect on the outcome.

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    Replies
    1. Much appreciated and very pleased that you got a sense of battle development from the narrative and photos.

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  4. Nice bat rep, smart solution to the forest dilemma, still looks good!
    Best Iain

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  5. Great-looking game, and it was easy to see where the forest was. A far better solution than trying to balance stands on the tops of densely-packed trees.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Lawrence! Sometimes, you CAN see the forest for the trees!

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  6. Jonathan, I do like your idea for the forests. When it comes to woods I always find it difficult to get the balance between look and practicality.

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    1. Mark, we always must makes choices between realism, aesthetics, and practicality. Nice when a solution with all three work out.

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  7. My deep sympathies on the devoured battle report; just had this happen with a blog post a few days ago and I haven't yet had the heart to re-do it@! Fortunately, in this case, the effort paid off handsomely. Bravo!

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    Replies
    1. Peter, it was quite a let down to see that the post had not posted properly. I was not sure I had the heart to redo the post either but a "preview" of a more recent draft was on another browser tab. I bit the bullet and dove into the task of recreating the partial post.

      Very glad to read that the extra effort was worth it!

      Thank you!

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  8. Very nice indeed

    http://www.10mm-wargaming.com/

    Take care

    Andy

    ReplyDelete

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