Monday, 8 May 2017

First Bull Run using BBB

A nice scenario for the First Battle of Bull Run on 21 July 1861, early in the American Civil War.

The scenario, written by Vincent Tsao for the Bloody Big Battles rules, is available for download from the Files section of the BBB Yahoo!Group.

There are five objectives, all indicated on the table by small white tents. All objectives are held by the Confederates at the start of the battle. The game is 9 turns.
Union win if they hold 3 or more objectives at the end.
Draw if Union hold 2 objectives.
Confederates win if they hold 4 or more.
Reinforcements are due to arrive at various points during the battle.

Unfortunately I didn't have enough rivers and streams to include all the waterways. In particular Young's Branch would have improved the Confederate defensive position.

The Game
After the first turn:
Burnside (Union) is facing Evans (Confederates) on Matthews Hill.
Cocke (Confederates) has taken a risk by leaving Ball's Ford to be defended by artillery and is pushing towards the bridge.
Along the road, Porter (Union) is trying to make ground towards Henry House Hill and Bald Hill before Bartow and Bee (Confederates) get firmly established there.
Matthews Hill on the left (actually should be the second level of a much larger hill).
Henry House Hill is the large hill to the right of the bridge.
The edge of Bald Hill can just be seen to the right of Henry House Hill.
The objectives are at the bridge, Henry House Hill, Bald Hill, Ball's Ford and Newmarket

A couple of turns on and reinforcements have arrived on both sides.
Burnside and Evans are still at it at Matthews Hill.
Sherman, Keyes and some artillery (Union) have crossed a ford to approach Evans from the rear but Jackson (Confederate) has raced straight past Henry House Hill towards the sound of the guns to support Evans.
Cocke is in the woods by the bridge.
At Henry House Hill Bartow has held back Porter, but Howard and Franklin (Union) are moving up to assist in the attack on the two hills.
Bee holds Bald Hill. The Confederates still hold all the highest ground.
An overview showing all the action.

Porter (Union) threatening Bartow at Henry House Hill

Schenk (Union), on the far side of the bridge, had a miserable day. He took his time moving to the bridge which he found blocked. When he did finally break through he was quickly routed.

Franklin, supported by Wilcox (Union), attack Bald Hill. In this photo Franklin has just pushed back Bee who has forgotten to take his label with him in the rush. In the background you can see Howard has just taken Henry House Hill.
Franklin attacks Bald Hill and in the background Howard has taken Henry House Hill

At Matthews Hill the Confederate counter-charge is being pushed back. Evans has gone and been replaced by Cocke. Jackson has taken many casualties and pulled back to the wood where he is in a better position to hold the objectives. Sherman is in pursuit.

Howard is still holding Henry House Hill against massed artillery and Kershaw (Confederates) approaching through the woods. They held this objective to the end of the game.

Franklin and Wilcox are still contesting Bald Hill but are about to be pushed off it.

Franklin, Wilcox and Porter, who made the initial attacks on Henry House Hill and Bald Hill, are all Spent and just trying to survive the day.
Porter and Wilcox prepare to defend themselves while Confederates swarm over Bald Hill towards them.

And that is pretty much how it ended. The Union managed to take one objective and threaten two others, but the Confederates' aggressive tactics pushed them back.
A good scenario with opportunities for both sides with the arrival of reinforcements at various stages of the battle.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Third Crusade - Battle Of Arsuf, 7th September, 1191.

Crusader cavalry try to repel Saladin's attacks
The Crusaders are approaching Arsuf down the coast road. They have to pass a large wooded area close to the coast road and Saladin has decided to use this wood to launch a major attack on the Crusaders.

This battle represents the early stages of the battle just after Saladin launched his attacks from the wood on the rear of the column. Historically the cavalry on both sides was deployed behind the infantry and when the attacks were launched there was some confusion as the cavalry pushed through the infantry. Rather than trying to resolve this on table I've assumed that stage is over and each side can deploy within their deployment zones as chosen.

I used Sword & Spear rules.

Rather than have one large army on each side, I tried representing the two rear columns of Crusaders as two separate armies, and similarly for the Ayyubid Egyptians. This gave two armies on each side of about 290 points and 8 units each.


North is at the top of this layout.
Crusaders on the left defending against Saladin's attacks from the woods on the right.
Saladin chose this place for a major attack because the woods gave a covered overnight camp and approach, while the battleground was relatively open and suited to cavalry attacks.

Crusaders - Army 1
General, 2 x Knights, 1 Miltary Order Knights, 1 x Spearmen, 1 x Crossbowmen, 1 x Miltary Order Searmen, 1 x Archers, 1 x Turcopole Cavalry

Crusaders - Army 2
General, 1 x Knights, 1 Miltary Order Knights, 2 x Spearmen, 1 x Crossbowmen, 1 x Miltary Order Searmen, 1 x Archers, 1 x Turcopole Cavalry

2 Ayyubid Egyptian Armies - both have the same forces
General, Captain, 1 x Cavalry, 2 x Ghilmen, 1 x Turcoman Light Horse, 1 x Turcoman Cavalry, 1 x Ahdath Militia Spearmen, 1 x Archers Light Foot, 1 x Javelinmen


Initially the cavalry on both sides closed the gap.
The Crusader Knights have the Impact ability which gives them an advantage if they actitvate and charge in first in the next turn. If the Egyptian Ghilmen get to activate first they can either loose arrows or charge first and negate the Impact ability of the Crusader Knights.

Third Crusade - abandoned scenarios 3 and 4

I did plan to report on a couple more scenarios based on the Crusaders moving south down the coast and being harassed by the Egyptians. These were to be:

Scenario 3 - Skirmish Attacks on the Column
30th August, 1191
Saladin intended this to be a major assault, but it didn't develop that way.

Scenario 4 - Determined Attacks on the Column
2nd September, 1191
Another attempt to break the deadlock resulting in fierce fighting.

After a couple of attempts to make these battles different to Scenario 2 - Break Up The Column, using different set ups and rules, I decided it wasn't worth pursuing. One attempt, using Soldiers Of God rules was a complete failure mainly because of the difficulty in manoeuvring. I even added in the 4 blank cards to the deck as extra Manoeuvre cards but even so the Crusaders were not able to change direction to react to the Egyptian attacks.

I've made the mistake before of posting non-event battles and I don't want to repeat it in a hurry.

So it's straight on to Scenario 5 - The Battle of Arsuf.