Casey’s Redoubt

I wasn’t in much of a painting mood today, because I’ve had a very busy few days at work, so I thought I’d spend the afternoon looking at the Fire and Fury ACW rules.

I played the Casey’s Redoubt scenario from Regimental Fire and Fury (RF&F), scaled down to Fire and Fury’s (F&F’s) scale. F&F is designed for large scale battles at a scale of 200 men per base, its sister set, imaginatively entitled Regimental Fire and Fury ‘zooms in’ and reproduces battles  at 40 men per base. I don’t have that many ACW figures painted – only enough to play Cedar Mountain, which was a relatively small battle, using F&F. So I scaled everything in the RF&F scenario down, and further scaled the game down by using 2cm = 1 inch, which is a scale that the guys I play with are using. So I ended up with a 60 x 50cm playing area.

The Confederate masses converge on Casey's forces.

The Confederate masses converge on Casey’s forces.

1:30 on 31 May 1862: a combination of bad weather, difficult terrain, and a traffic jam have delayed a Confederate attack by five hours, and tried DH Hill’s patience to the extent that he decides to attack the Union forces at Seven Pines, without coordinating with the other Confederate formations, rather than conforming to the original battle plan…

In the photo above, the Union troops are in the foreground. The Union brigades, lead by General Casey (just to the left of the house… Seven Pines are represented by one here!) are Palmer (on the left), Naglee (in front) and Wessell. The Confederates are Rodes (on the left), Garland’s, and Anderson’s (behind). The Confederate commander, DH Hill, is on the road.

The RF&F scenario started with the CSA turn, so I skipped the Union player phase and went straight on to the Confederates.

With typical rebel bravado, Garland and Rodes charge straight in to Naglee’s isolated and rather small (several regiments are still off table) brigade. Lively defensive fire from the Union troops disorders the Confederates on their way in, and mediocre dice for the Confederates mean that Naglee gets away with a ‘hard pressed’ result.

The situation at 14:00. Naglee's brigade, hard pressed by Garland and Rodes, has fallen back.

The situation at 14:00. Naglee’s brigade, hard pressed by Garland and Rodes, has fallen back.

At the start of the 14:00 turn I decided that I wanted to fiddle with the Union setup a bit, and incorporated Regan’s battery into the line of Wessell’s brigade. If I’d read the RF&F scenario more closely I would have realised that that was unnecessary, because since Wessell’s brigade was in rifle pits, Regan’s battery was able to fire over their heads.

The Union turn is pretty uneventful. Naglee rallies and retires slightly so that Wessell’s brigade can support him, and General Couch, with a solitary brigade, makes a tardy appearance on the Union baseline. Both sides exchange desultory fire.

The Garland and Rodes spend their time rallying. Anderson forms field column, to carry out a left hook. Lively fire from the Confederates disorders the Union line.

The Union forces rally and deliver effective fire onto the Confederate lines, disordering Rodes’ brigade, and telling fire from Wessell’s brigade causes the first lost stand of the day to Garland’s brigade.

Garland rallies his brigade but Rodes’ brigade is wavering. Rains, after several tardy manoeuvre rolls, turns up on the Confederate right. The Confederates only manage desultory fire at the Union.

Anderson continues with his left hook, while the centre and right fail to make progress.

Anderson continues with his left hook, while the centre and right fail to make progress.

In the 15:00 turn, Couch continues to react slowly to Anderson’s flank march. Union fire is ineffective.

Rodes rallies his brigade and charges into Naglee’s. The Union troops only manage desultory fire, so Rodes is in! … and rolls a 2. Rains charges Palmer’s brigade. The Union troops only manage desultory fire, so Rains is in! … and rolls a 2. Fail. Both Confederate attacks falter. Meanwhile Garland pulls off a ‘tardy’ manoeuvre roll, so advances to within canister range of the battery supporting Wessell. Unsurprisingly the Union manage telling fire against them, and Garland’s brigade are now worn.

The Confederates are repelled on their right flank

The Confederates are repelled on their right flank

15:30. Couch finally manages a decent manoeuvre roll and takes his brigade into the woods. Naglee’s brigade, with some nifty shooting, manages to silence the Confederate battery that was unmasked by Rodes’ retreat.

Anderson drops his brigade into supported line. Rains’ and Rodes’ brigades fail to rally. Garland rallies his brigade with elan, and then proceeds to deliver telling fire onto Wessell’s brigade. Champion.

16:00. Wessell rallies with elan but doesn’t return effective fire at the Confederates. Couch, who picked up Spratt’s battery after it retreated in the first turn, delivers deadly fire to Anderson’s brigade.

Anderson rallies his brigade with elan and (it was the last turn of the game) charges. Couch’s troops repulse his attack and his brigade is now spent. Garland delivers a nailbiting finish to the game, he charges into Wessell’s line and both the Union and Confederate sides end up with the same modified die roll… a desparate struggle ensues and after another round, Garland carries the Union position!

The end of the game: Garland's brigade has driven Wessell's from their rifle pits, but Anderson's brigade has been mauled. Rodes and Rain have begun a second attack on the Union left.

The end of the game: Garland’s brigade has driven Wessell’s from their rifle pits, but Anderson’s brigade has been mauled. Rodes and Rain have begun a second attack on the Union left.

Because of the heavy losses they took, and because they hadn’t cleared the whole of the Union defenses, the Confederates still lost the game despite Garland’s brigade’s heroics. Tactically I was just trying stuff out, so there are a number of things I wouldn’t do again. In the real battle, Garland and Rodes pinned the Union forces with fire while Rains and Anderson carried out something of a double envelopment.

I had lots of fun. F&F gives a good, fast, game, and provides lots of help for the blogger by having a descriptive phrase for each manoeuvre, firing, or close combat result! I’ve still got a few bugs to shake out in my system for shrinking RF&F to F&F – in RF&F a brigade may arrive on the table over several turns, which doesn’t work in F&F. Also, tiredness led to my forgetting the status of a few units, so I’ve definitely got to think about ‘disordered’ etc markers.


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