Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Action at Mill Creek - BatRep

Action at Mill Creek
Following my initial solo game of Two Flags - One Nation (see TF-ON BatRep), the situation for the Action at Mill Creek was reset and played out solitaire a second time.  The Confederate objective is to push two regiments onto the heights while maintaining control of the two road hexes on either end of the bridge spanning Mill Creek.  Any other outcome results in a Union victory.  All of the Confederate forces arrive at 10:00.  The Union player will receive reinforcements beginning on Game Turn 2.  Note that unit disorder is denoted by 'SH' markers on the table.  "Disordered" or "SHaken" close enough, right?  The game spans two hours from 10:00am to 12:00pm with a possible Confederate extension. 

The scenario begins with only Federal troops on the table.  Porter's brigade is deployed to the west of the bridge near the copse of trees and Richardson's brigade deployed on the heights overlooking the bridge and creek.
Federal Initial Dispositions
The battle opens at 10:00 with the Confederate division under Elzey entering the table from the south edge.  Federal artillery strikes the first blow by hitting the limbered Confederate guns before they can deploy.  The Reb artillery passes the Capability Test (CT). 
Elzey approaches Mill Creek
10:18. Random Event: Federal General Porter shot dead.  Both regiments of his brigade are disordered until a replacement can be found.  "Pop!"  Right off the bat, Federals witness issues with the fall of Porter from a stray bullet.  Confederate artillery scores a hit on Federal artillery positions while Elzey's division continues its advance upon the bridge.
Action heats up quickly
Confederates descend upon Federal positions
10:35.  Confederate guns score three hits on the Federal guns on the heights but the Federal gunners hold firm.  Federal guns target the approaching Reb infantry for no noticeable effect.
Elzey continues advance
Federals on the heights
Confederate guns find their mark with three hits
10:48.  Confederate guns continue pounding the Federal artillery on the heights as the Confederates continue their advance toward Mill Creek.  Federal guns take two hits, fail their Capability Test, and retire, disordered.  Since the guns have five or more heavy casualties, they must take a CT during the Retreat Phase.  This CT they pass.  Note that the guns had to take two CTs.  One CT from casualties suffered from fire and a second CT due to now having 5+ Heavy Casualties.
Rebs continue to pound Federal guns
Heavy Casualties pile up on Federal guns
Federal guns fail Capability Test and retire
11:06.  As Confederate infantry step into Mill Creek, Porter's boys pour a hot fire into them.  Regiment nearest the bridge takes two Heavy Casualties but is undaunted.  On the Confederate right, one Rebel regiment takes fire from Federal infantry on the hill.  Light casualties are suffered.  Even though disordered, Federal guns are brought back up on the crest of the hill.
Rebels step into Mill Creek
11:23.  Still limbered, the Federal guns are hit again from Confederate artillery fire.  Failing their CT, the guns pack off towards the rear.  As Confederates near the woods on the Confederate left, musketry exchanges increase.  Both sides take casualties but no one backs down.  One of Richardson's regiments advances to cover the threat against the bridge.
Rebels close in
11:38.  Having only just moved up to bridge to aid in its defense, Federal troops fall under the sights of Rebel guns and take three hits.  Now within close range of Federal positions, Confederate fire takes its toll on the defenders.  Casualties mount quickly.  The Federal Divisional commander, Schenck, joins Porter's brigade to help stabilize the situation.  No sooner had he joined the regiment than he goes down in a hail of bullets.  The regiment he joined suffers three casualties.  Fighting is getting very hot!  
Rebel left turns a flank
Federal take three hits!
Schenck killed!
As the supported Rebels charge into the woods to come to grips with the wavering Federal troops, the disordered defenders are unable to release a closing volley.  In the close combat, the attackers suffer three hits but pass their CT.  The defenders take two more casualties and Porter's replacement is killed.  It has been a tough morning for Federal generals.  Failing their CT the defenders take an additional heavy casualty and fall back.  In the Retreat Phase, the Federal artillery is destroyed as it fails a CT and takes one more (the 8th) Heavy Casualty. 
Rebels attack into the woods.
Close-up of Confederate attack
With at least two more turns remaining and having suffered heavy casualties, the Federals concede their position and pull back.  With their left crumbling and leaderless what more is expected?  The result is that Elzey holds the field in victory.  The anticipated Federal reinforcements from Keyes' 3rd Brigade never materialized.  On each turn the roll needed for reinforcement arrival was never quite sufficient to bring them on.  
Another interesting and challenging game with a lot of action.  Units took punishment quickly.  Some held, others could not.  The Confederate guns were deadly with their artillery fire this day.  In the end, the early neutralization of the Federal guns, a lack of reinforcements, and the death of three Federal generals likely spelled defeat for the Union.  While Mill Creek was a barrier, it was not much of one as all Confederate regiments passed their CT upon entry.  The creek did slow movement to one hex but with Federal battle lines drawn near the creek not much maneuver was needed to close on the enemy.  

After my second game of Two Flags - One Nation, what are my impressions?  My impressions will be addressed after a third game is in the books.  What I can say is that Norm has produced a fun, compact game with a lot of action and tough decisions to make.  Norm responds to rules' questions promptly too.  In the third game, I face off against a Face-to-Face opponent.  


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you, Michal! Sometimes, good things come in small packages.

  2. A really bad day to be a Yankee General. Nice game Jonathan!

    1. Yes, very hazardous to be Federal officer on this day. Appreciate your comment, Rod!

  3. I guess I will wait for the follow-up for general commentary. I do think the reserve roll needs to be modified to allow the entire brigade to come on. The game is relatively short, so the reinforcements need to come on early to have any influence.

    1. No need to wait for a follow-up posting to state your comments, Jake. Your thoughts are welcome anytime!

      As for the Federal reinforcements, you would think that the laws of probability would hold wrt reinforcement arrival. Wait! You have gamed with me enough to recognize those immutable laws have little bearing when I can string together a pretty dismal run of luck over a short period.

  4. Impressively done, Jonathan. Lots of troops and action going on. At first I thought Black Powder, with the Shaken and Disorder references. It is inspirational to see solo-gaming with so much put into it.

    1. Thank you, Dean!

      With less then a dozen units per side, it is not too large for a rewarding solo game. With a small scenario footprint, it is quite manageable. I find solo gaming an enjoyable distraction.

  5. Great stuff. I really need to finish off my 1/72 figures and get a game going!

    1. Thanks, Aaron! I have enjoyed your ancients battles so keep those coming too!

  6. Interesting looking game Jonathan.

  7. Nice looking game, bad time to be a federal general! Looks like a fun game too, waiting for my nephews to finish their ACW armies and then I might get a game!
    Best Iain

    1. Norm's scenario provides an interesting challenge to both players. Mill Creek is a good, little scenario!

  8. Normally, the ACW doesn't do much for me, but I like the look of this game--and your figs. Nice report...reminds me of the anecdote about Sickles last words, "They couldn't hit an elephant at this dist..."

    1. Thank you for giving the game and BatRep a look even though ACW is not one of your primary interests. This is a compact game with lots of interesting decisions to make and enough variability to keep one guessing until the end.

      A have piles of books detailing these small regimental-sized actions. I plan to pull one or two out and see if I can build an interesting scenario or two.

  9. Jonathan, a very nice write up. Thanks for giving them another go. Everything seemed a bit more dynamic than in the first play and the Confederates did get a good momentum going - aided by the success of their artillery.

    The spread out and random pace at which elements of the Union reserve brigade reinforcement come on, can serve well in adding tension to the game if the Confederate and Union engagement around the creek starts to bog down and you get pivotal moments of the Confederates just about to break through, when one of the arriving regiments just reaches the front line just in time to plug a gap.

    If the Confederates manage a bit of a romp (like today) then the lack of prompt arrival by the reserve Union Brigade, will be sorely missed by the Union player.

    So the driver and tension of the scenario is that the Confederates need to get the job done before the Union's 3rd Brigade arrives and the Union need to need to contain the Confederates long enough for their 3rd Brigade to arrive.

    But I think it is true that if one side or the other get an early 'romp', it does tend to unhinge the elements that are meant to keep the game balanced. In that regard, this scenario would be better served if it was just one part of a bigger battle.

    Again, thanks for giving it a spin.

    1. Norm, the game may have seemed more dynamic in Game 2 as I became more familiar with game processes. The Sequence of Play and interactions seemed to play more smoothly after constructing a QRS with ample crib notes. The body of rules needed referencing much less frequently than in Game 1.

      You are quite right about the play of the Mill Creek scenario. Confederates must press quickly to take/threaten the objectives before the Federal reinforcements arrive. In this game, the 3rd Brigade never arrived. Despite that, I still enjoyed the game and challenges the scenario presented to both sides greatly.

      I will be playing this with some regularity (if my gaming can be considered "regular" in any fashion) and this is perfect for an evening gaming distraction of a couple of hours.