Saturday, 26 September 2015

Battle of Gaines Mill 1862 Part 1 - ACW Scenario / AAR

Meade advancing past the Adams Farm
Its time again to blow the dust of my 6mm ACW collection and try our hand at another battle from that conflict. Last time these guys saw the light of day was a year ago when we had a go at the Battle of Winchester 1862. Its a bit of a fringe period for me and I certainly don't claim to be an expert but I do own fairly large armies for both sides. Our resident ACW guru Ian, was given the task of choosing the action and came up with this particular battle.

Just a small game he said, it is if your playing Fire and Fury but not if like us you are still in love with Johnny Reb II. The more I looked into it the more sweat beads arrived on my forehead but I wasn't going to be beaten, I would find the troops to do this even if I had to resort to painting some more !


Porters Artillery fires over the creek
Gaines Mill was the third of a series of battles known collectively as the Seven Days, the previous day had seen the inconclusive  Battle of Mechanicsville. General Lee decided to continue his attacks against the right flank of the Union, which had become isolated on the northern side of the Chickahominy River. Gen Porter and his Corps had established a strong defensive line behind Boatswain's Swamp. Lee's decided to attack here in force and during the course of the Battle he was destined to launch the largest Confederate attack of the war, about 57,000 men in six divisions (Just a small game said Ian !)

Set Up

I decided to start the action at 2.00pm real time and to use 10 mins as a game turn rather than the usual 15 mins for JRII, this was mostly due to the volume of troops which were going to arrive on the table. The extra two moves an hour gave us that little bit more extra space for stuff to move on and then fit the re enforcements on behind.

Above is our table for the game using a 12 ft x 6 ft table, each of the squares shown above are 2 ft square. As with any table top game compromises had to be made. I used every single 6mm tree I own (which is a few) and managed to cover most of the wooded areas. There is some question as to the full extent of the woods along the creek. Most maps show them as above i.e. covering the whole creek whilst the Civil War Trust only has them to the split in the creek by the Watts Farm, contemporary accounts seem to confirm the whole of the creek was wooded. The hills have been consolidated as well, accounts talk of artillery firing over the creek, its not a scale model of the battlefield but it serves for our game.

D H Hill and Jacksons Troops massing prior to attack
The creek on the Union side from the marsh at the top of the map through to the New Cold Harbour to Adams Farm Road had been improved as a defensive site for the Union by the addition of light earthworks, I haven't shown these on the map but they are present for our game. Woods are classed as rough ground and the creek takes one full turn to cross.

Order of Battle

A few caveats before the oob in full. I haven't been able to find a full orbat for Gaines Mill to work from so I have had to use one from the start of the Seven Days Battles, it would be possible to do masses of research and find the casualties from the previous two days battles to work out an exact one but a combination of Work, Family and Life just mean I don't have a chance to do that so apologies now to the purists.

Neither do I have a list of classes of the troops or their weapons, so apart from those obvious Elite Units, US. Sharpshooters, Hoods Texans etc I used a random dice method to determine these factors.

Roll 2 d10 per unit, one for class the other for weapon.

Union - 10 = Elite, 1 or 2 = Green. 1 = Smoothbore, 2 - 5 Mixed Muskets, 6 + Rifled Muskets.

Rebels - 10,9 = Elite, 1 = Green. 1-4 = Smoothbore, 5-8 Mixed and 9-10 Rifled.

Looking over Watts Farm
Unit Sizes - Figure scale is 1:20, each unit has 5 stands so divide the no of figs by 5 to give the figs per stand. Any additional are classed as a buffer and these casualties are taken first before taking "stand" figs. For example a unit with 34 figs will have 5 x 6 fig bases with 4 spare so it will take 10 casualties before it looses its first stand and then looses a stand per 6 after that.

The large size of the game means that I don't have enough correct sized bases (in fact I'm struggling to cover all the Confederates full stop) so we have used units as units and resorted to old fashioned paper records for figure numbers. Some smaller units have been omitted and their numbers amalgamated into the other units in the Brigades to make viable units.

Mixed Muskets - An interesting concept I have taken from the Guns at Gettysburg rules, it represents units which are not fully armed with SB or RM and gives a nice compromise between the two. Count the unit as having RM but they have no effect at extreme range. After modifying firing figs for firer and target formation apply a down 1 modifier before the range multiplier. Then treat as a RM.

Union (on table) (all Ave unless stated) Orders are simple hold the line and inflict as many casualties as you can on the Rebels

Porter Corp Commander (all union officers are +1)

Morrell Div Commander

Butterfields Brigade (In the earth works from the marsh to halfway to Watts Farm 3 regts forward 2 in reserve.
2nd Maine 21 Figs RM, 18th Mass 33 Figs SB, 22nd Mass 34 Figs SB, 1st Mich 39 Figs RM and 13th NY 24 Figs MM.

Martindales Brigade (In earth works from Butterfields Brigade to Watts Farm 3 up 2 back)
12th NY 34 Figs SB Green, 17th NY 29 Figs MM, 44th NY 22 Figs RM Green, 16th Mich 39 Figs RM and 83rd Pa 32 Figs MM.

Griffins Brigade (In Earthworks from Watts Farm Rd to the Adams Farm Road 2up, 2 back)
9th Mass 42 Figs MM Elite, 4th Mich 36 Figs RM Elite, 14th NY 37 Figs SB and 62nd Pa 40 Figs RM Elite.

Attached 1st US Sharpshooters 31 Figs Sharpshooter Rifle Elite (in woods to right of Griffin)

1 x 6 gun and 1 x 4 gun Artillery Battery

Off Table behind the marsh 2 x 4 gun Reserve Artillery Batteries

Sykes Div Commander

Buchannans Brigade (Around the McGeehee Farm)
3rd US 20 Figs  RM, 4th US 21 Figs RM, 12th US 26 Figs RM and 14th US 27 Figs RM.

Lovells Brigade (Lining the McGeehee / Adams Rd)
2nd US 25 Figs RM, 6th US 22 Figs RM and 10th US 23 Figs RM

Warrens Brigade (In the open behind the USSS)
5th NY 37 Figs RM Elite and 10th NY 34 Figs RM Elite

1 x 6 gun and 1 x 4 gun Artillery Battery

Attached Cookes Cav Regt 25 Figs BLC

Watts Farm again with A P Hill advancing in the background

Confederate Forces (on Table) A P Hills Division must attack the Union Lines along their front. D H Hill will remain on hold orders between Point B and the Confederate left table edge, advancing no further than the two hills shown on the map. The may fire as normal and charge any Union unit that are in range.

A.P.Hill Division (+2)

Archers Brigade (+2, On the New Cold Harbour Ridge nearest table edge (3 up, 2 back)
19th Ga 20 Figs MM, 1st Tenn 30 Figs MM, 7th Tenn 30 Figs MM and 14th Tenn 30 Figs RM

J. R Andersons Brigade (+1 Next to Archer on ridge 3 up 2 back)
14th Ga 15 Figs SB Elite, 35th Ga 23 Figs MM, 45th Ga 27 Figs MM, 49th Ga 47 Figs RM Elite and 3rd La Btn 20 Figs MM

Fields Brigade ( + 1, in Reserve behind Anderson)
40th Va 29 Figs MM, 47th Va 23 Figs SB, 55th Va 26 Figs MM and 60th Va 27 Figs MM

Branchs Brigade (+1 between Anderson and New Cold Harbour)
7th NC 31 Figs SB, 18th NC 21 Figs SB, 28th NC 34 Figs SB, 33rd NC 18 Figs SB and 37th NC 25 Figs RM

Penders Brigade (+2, in reserve behind Branch)
16th NC 35 Figs SB, 22nd NC 33 Figs SB, 34th NC 35 Figs RM, 38th NC 24 Figs MM and 22nd Va Btn 19 Figs SB Elite

Greggs Brigade (+1 to the left of New Cold Harbour)
1st SC 30 Figs RM Elite, 1st SC Rifles 30 Figs RM Elite, 12th SC 30 Figs MM, 13th SC 30 Figs MM and 14th SC 30 Figs MM

1 x 6 gun and 1 x 4 gun Artillery Battery.

A.P.Hills Division advances towards the creek
D.H.Hills (+2) Division Set up to the left of B within 12" of the table edge

Garlands Brigade (+1)
5th NC 18 Figs RM, 12th NC 27 Figs SB, 13th NC 25 Figs MM, 20th NC 39 Figs SB and 23rd NC 18 Figs SB Elite.

Rodes Brigade (+2)
3rd Ala 30 Figs RM, 5th Ala 22 Figs SB, 6th Ala 36 Figs MM, 12th Ala 17 Figs SB and 26th Ala 12 Figs MM Elite

G.B.Andersons Brigade (+1)
2nd NC 29 Figs RM, 4th NC 18 Figs MM, 14th NC 31 Figs MM Elite and 30th NC SB Elite

1 x 6 gun Artillery Battery.

So thats the starting forces. We play JRII pretty much as per the rules, although I do keep thinking about amending the charge sequence as it seems to go on for ever. We used a dice based Ammo resupply system (Roll 2d6 to re up 12 on the first turn -2 per turn thereafter) and the Mixed Musket rule above is about it for changes.

Re enforcement Schedule

Moving on table on the 2pm movement phase at the rear of Adams Farm

McCalls Division

Reynolds Brigade
1st Pa 34 Figs RM, 2ndPa 22 Figs RM Elite, 5th Pa 40 Figs RM, 8th Pa 37 Figs MM and 13th Pa 21 Figs RM

Meades Brigade
3rd Pa 40 Figs RM, 4th Pa 32 Figs MM, 7th Pa 38 Figs SB and 11th Pa 38 Figs RM

Seymours Brigade
6th Pa 18 Figs RM, 9th Pa 40 Figs SB, 10th Pa 40 Figs RM Green and 12th Pa 36 Figs MM

1 x 4 gun Battery

2.30 pm Confederate Point B

Ripley's (+1) Brigade
44th Ga 28 Figs MM, 48th Ga 40 Figs RM, 1st NC 29 Figures MM and 3rd NC 28 Figs RM

Colquitt's (+1) Brigade
13th Ala 20 Figs SB Elite, 6th Ga 30 Figs SB, 23rd Ga 15 Figs RM, 27th Ga 13 Figs SB Elite and 28th Ga 20 Figs SB

2 x 4 gun Artillery Batteries.

These units are part of D H Hills Division and are subject to the same restrictions

2.30 pm Union Adams Farm

Newtons Brigade
18th NY 33 Figs MM, 31st NY 31 Figs MM, 32nd NY 27 Figs RM and 95th Pa 37 Figs RM

3.00 pm Comfederate Point B These troops have no restrictions

Ewell's (+1) Division

Seymours Brigade (+2)
6th La 29 Figs SB Green, 7th La 18 Figs MM, 8th La 25 Figs SB and 9th La 20 Figs RM.

Trimbles (+1) Brigade
15th Ala 27 Figs SB, 21st Ga 21 Figs RM, 16th Miss 30 Figs SB Green and 21st NC 20 Figs SB.

1 x 6 gun Artillery Battery

At Confederate Point A No restrictions

Longstreets (+2) Division

Picketts (+2) Brigade
8th Va 18 Figs SB, 18th Va 26 Figs RM Elite, 19th Va 26 Figs SB, 28th Va 33 Figs SB and 56th Va 23 Figs RM.

Wilcox (+2) Brigade
8th Ala 38 Figs MM Elite, 9th Ala 26 Figs MM, 10th Ala 26 Figs RM and 11th Ala 31 Figs SB.

1 x 6 gun Artillery Battery.

3.00 pm Union at Adams Farm

Slocums Division

Taylors Brigade
1st NJ 36 Figs RM, 2nd NJ 33 Figs MM, 3rd NJ 36 Figs RM and 4th NJ 37 Figs RM Elite

Bartletts Brigade
5th Maine 29 Figs MM, 16th NY 37 Figs MM, 27th NY 36 Figs RM and 96th Pa 37 Figs MM

1 x 4 gun Artillery Battery

Our Game

With over 130 battalions on table by 3pm this is no small game, we still have quite a few more to come on as well. For me this is the joy of 6mm, lots and lots of units on table at once even in 6mm it looks good. Things have got that bad in terms of figure numbers for the Confederates that I have had to get some emergency painting on the go. Thankfully I had lots of unpainted stuff lying around which just needed cleaning up and sorting. With casualty recycling we should make the numbers up by the end.

I hadn't been able to complete the game set up before everyone arrived on Sunday so we were delayed starting, added to that everyone was in a chatty mood (no problem this is friendly gaming) add on top of that the traditional trip to the Fish and Chip Shop at lunch time and we didn't get that much done. We finished at the end of the 3pm turn 1 hour real time into the game, I'm running off a Fire and Fury schedule which ends the game at 7pm so we have a while to go and quite a few more figures to fit on the table.

A P Hills attack was under heavy fire when we finished off, a couple of units had gone already. The heavy concentration (by luck) of Elite Union troops in the centre of the table meant that that sector was fairly quiet as the Rebs stayed away. The Sharpshooters had seen off the South Carlolina Rifles in the woods south of New Cold Harbour and the next unit in line was shaken.

On the Union right things were calm with some long range artillery and a bit of manoeuvring. Things would change fairly soon though, Longstreets arrival on the Union left should give the Rebs enough for a good crack at the creek line whilst Ewells Divisions arrival gives some mobility on the Confederate side while they await the release of D H Hills troops at 4 pm.

Quite a long write up with the Orbat included but I hope that was worth it for anyone else who wants to try the game in the future. I will do another write up in a few weeks when we finish the game which will incude the remainder of the reinforcements as well as an AAR on how we got on.

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