zaterdag 19 juli 2014

Battle of Carthage, July 5, 1861 - first test

There are a number of new rule items that need to be worked out. The first will demonstrate standard battle map movement and the transfer of units to the game board, the next the command capabilities of the opposing generals and how that can influence deployment and lastly the handling of some anomalies to create a simple historical scenario.

The battle map
The battle map displays the minimum amount of information that would facilitate or hinder movement and each square can indicate if the terrain is arable, hilly, forest, steppe or tropical;  these being the most likely encountered in the Western theatre of 1861. Each square on the map represents approximately one square mile, which is the size of the game board.

Map movement is similar to the basic DBA game, an army commander leading several divisions or corps, casts one die to allow these to move from square to square, initiate an attack or to withdraw from the game board and return to the battle map. The smallest maneuvering unit on the map is represented by the division, comprised of infantry and during the early war were often supported by artillery and cavalry.

Infantry divisions move one square, cavalry and river craft two. Simple counters can be made to represent the various divisions and there should be some form of record time and note the number and type of elements under each command.

Test One
Game starts at 08.00 hrs.  as the Missouri State Guard (MSG) fine Federal troops deployed north of the Double Trouble Creek. MSG “divisions” move out of March column and deploy along the ridge line.

This skirmish lasted about two and a half hours or 10 bounds. Missouri Volunteer cavalry were able to threaten the flanks of the Federal line forcing them to break off combat and withdraw behind Double Trouble Creek. Artillery and small arms fire delivered no casualties but the effect did delay the Rebel line. 

Subsequent contact:
After two hours of steady marching, the Missouri troops found Federal troops lining the opposite bank of Dry Fork Creek, time 12.00 hrs. The Governor and General Price gather for a short briefing while the “divisions” deploy in the same manner as they did earlier in the day.

With the exception of the tree lined creek, the field was one vast undulating prairie area. With no terrain to mask their advance, the field became a killing ground as Federal rifles out-ranged the muskets of the Missouri troops. After as hour of steady volleys, three units of volunteers were eliminated for the loss of one Federal skirmish unit.

Infantry and cavalry were now crossing up and down the creek. Again, the Federal troops were forced to withdraw or become encircled. 

Yet another skirmish.
By 16.00 hrs. Federal troops deployed behind Bear Branch Creek which is deep and fordable only where the Lamar-Carthage road intersects, General Sigel’s plan hopefully would delay the rebels long enough so as to be across Spring River and in Carthage by sunset.

Luck was in a Blue mood this time and in three bounds, Missouri volunteers were recoiling from the brisk volley fire laid down. Even rebel artillery felt it prudent to withdraw. In that brief respite, the Federal artillery could now concentrate on the infantry and duly leveled a unit of rebels. By 17.00 hrs, the Missouri troops demoralized but not beaten would only be able to shadow the Federal troops to Carthage, leaving the Federal troops to cross Spring River unmolested.

In this test, MSG units kept unit or division integrity. This would serve as the largest group units could maneuver in. From the photo you will note the four divisions, from right to left Clark, Slack, Parsons and Rains respectively.

This worked well to simulate the lack of training among the Missouri State Guard units as more pips were needed to bring about a united effort. To simulate the lack of training and the quantity of muskets (many flintlocks) the volunteers used Auxilia factors of 3 and could not count as support for the shooting phase.

A further test will address the influence of command characteristics on battle map movement, deployment and control during battle. 


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