Thursday, 4 May 2017

Post Op and Pickett's Charge

Well the op is done and I am now free of the tube stuck down my nose.  Instead it comes out of my stomach, so same problems but a lot less obvious.  The op went well and I got an early release the next day for good behaviour.  I think it was good anyway.The bad news is my stomach now has a new hole in it and 3 stiched up holes that are itching like an itchy thing.  Happy days though.

To speed up my recovery Nathan came around last Sunday and we tried out Pickett's Charge, the new American Civil War ruleset from Too Fat Lardies/Reisswitz Press.  Following a bit of a mixup with a review in WSS that was really badly written, we decided to give it a go.  Nathan had played it at the last meeting of the Devon Wargames Group, but I only watched a couple of turns before leaving.  We set up the McPherson's Ridge scenario out of the Summer Storm Gettysburg book and had at it. The scenario had two Confederate Brigades from Heth's Division attacking two Union Brigades from Reynolds 1st Corps.  The Rebs also had a massed battery of 20 guns deploying in support off-table, which would turn out to give the Union troops a fair old slap.  Nathan took the dastardly seccesionist rebel typs and I took the valiant defenders of the Union.

The Union force consisted of the cream of the Army of the Potomac, 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 1st COrps, aka The Iron Brigade.  In total there were 45 infantry stands and a 3 gun battery.
1st Division

1st Brigade
BG Meredith
19th Indiana
4 Elite R
24th Michigan
6 Grn R
2nd Wisconsin
4 Elite R
6th Wisconsin
6 Elite R
7th Wisconsin
5 Elite R

2nd Brigade
BG Cutler
76th New York
5 Reg R
84th New York
4 Vet R
95th New York
3 Vet R
147th New York
5 Grn R
56th Pennsylvania
3 Reg R


Battery B, 2nd Maine
3 Grn Rifles

The Confederates only had 37 stands of infantry, but did have support from 5 batteries of guns off table.
Heth's Division

Archers Brigade
BG Archer
13th Alabama
4 Reg R
5th Alabama Bttn
6 Vet R
1st Tennessee
4 Vet R
7th Tennessee
6 Reg R
14th Tennessee
5 Vet R

Davis' Brigade
BG Davis
2nd Mississippi
5 Reg R
42nd Mississippi
4 Grn R
55th North Carolina
3 Grn R

Peagram's Artillery (off table)

Crenshaw's Battery
2 Reg Nap
Fredericksburg Battery
2 Reg Mixed
Letcher Battery
2 Reg Mixed
Pee Dee Battery
2 Reg Rifles
Purcell Battery
2 Reg Nap

 The initial deployment had Davis' Brigade facing off against the 2nd Union Brigade while Archer was massed behind a small wood facing the Iron Brigade. 

First turn saw the Iron Brigade double-quick forward as the Rebs hesitated behind the wood..  Johnny Reb and Billy Yank exchanged fire along the ridge and the Reb massed guns fired counter-battery and hammered the sole Union battery.  Nathan's ability to roll a 4+ on casualty dice was working at 80%, 'cos he's a git.

 The second turn was noticeable for the complete lack of Union ADCs.  Three D6 rolled needing 3+ for an ADC to be available.  Yeah, right.
 By the end of the second turn things had gone a bit awry for the boys in blue.  The Iron Brigade "hesitated", unnerved by the scarey woods apparently.  The Union battery fell back as it was getting pounded, replaced in the line by the green troops of the 147th New York infantry.  Things went from bad to worse at the end of the line however.  Nathan managed an 11 on his artillery fire, causing the 76th New York to take a "See the Elephant" test.  I promptly rolled 3 on 2D6 and they fell back 30cm in a "whipped" state. 
 Not good, not good at all.  I was struggling by this point so we called it a day there and put it on hold until Monday, luckily it was a bank holiday so Nathan was free to come over again.
Day 2, turn three and the Iron Brigade pushed into the woods.  On the ridge the Rebs were now organised and there concentrated fire was causing a few casualties. The Union 2nd Brigade was taking a heavy battering all along the line, although they were hitting back reasonably.

Turn 4 and the fire from the rebs was enough to drive back the 84th New York with yet another "whipped" result, leaving the 220 men of the 95th New York standing alone against over 700 advancing Rebs.  Things were looking grim on the right........
On the left however it was a different story.  The Iron Brigade was advancing and there fire drove back the 1st Tennessee regiment, splitting the Reb line.  The quality of the Iron Brigade was beginning to tell.

I forgot to take any further pictures, but the Iron Brigade swept through the woods like a tsunami, driving all before them and opening the flank of the Reb line up.  The 2nd Brigade managed to Rally, regaining some points it had lost and things were looking grim for the South.  Turn 5 saw both sides roll and get all theiir normal ADC's, plus an extra one each as both rolled two 6's.  It takes three ADC's to rally a Brigade and it can only be done once per game on each Brigade, so it is a rarity.

Pickett's Charge is a good set of rules.  The system is straightforward and doesn't take long to get sorted in your head.  Each turn you, as a divisional commander, get some ADC's to "assist" in commanding your brigades.  They allow re-rolls or special orders to be used.  Each Brigade rolls for command, if it fails it cannot advance but can still fire etc.  If it passes it does whatever you ordered.  Turns are igoUgo, but with a twist.  Each turn there is an initiative roll and the winner decides who goes first.  If you go first the other side can react to your moves, but you get to charge, move and fire first and can inflict casualties before they fire back at you.  It is a simple system but has enough nuances to make it a good system.  Troop quality goes green, regular, veteran, old lag and elite.  Old Lags are good troops who are battle-weary.  Good in their own way but difficult to get to attack. 

All in all I would highly recommend Pickett's Charge to anybody looking for a set of Regimental level rules for American Civil War games.  I ordered them myself after playing, so it has cost me money already.

That's it for today, I am off now to base up some Rebs for Sharp Practice, then it's back to the hospital tomorrow to check my tube.  Keep rolling those dice folks.

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