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Rebels Repulsed: 1862 ACW

Updated: Nov 8, 2023

Friday 13th January 2023 proved inauspicious for the Confederates, as we played a 15mm ACW game umpired by Richard at the club using Picketts Charge rules.

In a deceptively simple scenario, Doug and Philip held a crossroads with three Union brigades, with Theo, Nick and I commanding four brigades of Graybacks ordered to take them out.

The terrain favoured the defenders, with fences protecting the Union-held road, a large wood on the Union left, and a small one in the centre, creating funnels of open ground. Both sides also had to deploy in a constrained area bounded by fences near their baseline.

Although the Confederates had veteran troops, their units were mostly small in size compared to the large Federal units which were mostly Green. Quality and quantity thus cancelled one another out.

The Confederates decided to attack between the small wood and the large wood. Unfortunately we got bogged down in attacking the small wood, with some poor deployments which also negated the impact of Theo’s artillery, as well as poor dice rolls.

With all of Theo’s and half of my troops attacking Doug’s men in the small wood, we had insufficient units with which to assault the Union centre, even after Nick decided not to attack the large wood – where Philip’s dismounted cavalry prowled.

As a result, the Confederate attacks lacked focus, and proved ineffective, with a lack of coordination of the brigades leading to high casualties. The Rebs ended up fighting separately and using intuition randomly rather than period-based tactics or knowledge of the rules. In-game changes of plan did not help.

The end of the game saw the Union still holding the crossroads, even though some late firing from me had dispersed one of their units from the small wood.

Although the Confederates ended up a little crestfallen, the subsequent post-mortem discussion was useful and enjoyable. A key aspect of the game was to deploy effectively with a decisive plan: the Rebs instead used groupthink which failed. We should have consulted Richard on what tactics worked best with these rules.

Despite finding them quite slow, I rather like Picketts Charge rules, but greater familiarity would have led to better in-game decisions, given that the Confederates did not have 3:1 superiority or many chances of getting things right in a game of this length.

Overall, this was a challenging game leading to some helpful feedback and interesting dialogue about wargaming and history. Thanks to Richard for umpiring. A steep learning curve but a lesson indelibly learnt!


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