Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Back to the Brawl - Regimental Fire and Fury AAR

Ted's game last week was a refight of Brawner's Farm, which we played a year ago using Pickett's Charge

This time we tried it with Regimental Fire and Fury. Which was great, especially since I haven't had a chance to play these rules for years. 

The setup was the same as the previous game, with the Stonewall Brigade and the Iron Brigade facing off already in musket range, with reinforcements coming on from the table edges. 

The battle started at 5:15, with daylight rapidly dwindling. This is reflected by line-of-sight dropping each turn once twilight hit (on turn 4, if I remember correctly) until units can only see by the light of the moon (8" in game terms). 

I was controlling most of Gibbon's units, while Steve had the artillery and one of Gibbon's units on the far right of the battlefield. He would take control of Doubleday's units once they arrived. 

Chip had Taliaferro's units, John had Lawton's, and Ted would control Trimble's troops. 

Chip had some awful luck at the start of the game, despite the Confederates getting the initiative. Between the Iron Brigade's effective defensive fire and the Stonewall Brigade's desultory offensive fire, it seemed like the rebels were on the back foot. I decided to press my luck and push my regiments forward. 

That luck didn't hold, unfortunately. Despite charging Chip's tiny regiments with my fresh troops, he chased off the Midwesterners. To add on to my troubles, the regiment that had charged managed to run low on ammo as they fired on the way in, leaving them at an early disadvantage. 

I also had John's regiments to worry about as they marched on my flank. 

And John happily pressed into that flank, combining his rifle fire with Chip's artillery to devastate one of my two regiments. 

Steve wasn't having a decent time either, as you can see. The lone Black Hat regiment he had was facing off against an entire Confederate brigade. And Ted's troops were dodging Steve's artillery fire as they marched forward. 

Caught between John and Chip, my regiments were quickly dwindling in size. Steve was rushing Doubleday's brigade up to stem the tide, linking up with my last Iron Brigade regiment that hadn't engaged yet. 

I did manage to push one of John's units back, and Steve sent his regiments to the far edge of the field to block the rest of John's regiments. Off in the far side, Ted and Steve were still engaging on either side of the swale that ran through the property. 

By this point, the light had dwindled to the point where both sides' artillery was useless. 

Two of my regiments were down to four stands or less, and one was low on ammo. Not expecting much from them, I was hoping they'd put up enough of a fight to allow my last regiment a chance to fall back and cover Doubleday's flank. 

Of course, that's when Chip received reinforcements. While they were tiny regiments, they were fresh, crack troops, and accompanied by a battery of horse artillery; exactly the weapon that the Confederates needed to pierce the beleaguered Union defense. 

Steve was managing to hold his own against Ted and Steve, but was hard pressed; there was a sea of grey and khaki that outnumbered the boys in blue. 

We ended up calling the game after turn six, if I remember correctly. The Confederates won a minor victory, having caused heavy casualties against the Union force and, had we continued, likely would have had enough troops to push the remaining Union troops out of the field. 

This scenario is definitely an uphill fight for the Confederates. The Union regiments are big and reliable, and not likely to shift unless the Confederates can direct enough fire against them. Discussing my choices with Chip and John, it may have been a better idea to, after Chip's opening volley had left my units unscathed, to fall back to the snake-rail fences and move into extended line, giving my troops a much better defensive stance and providing some cover from the Rebel artillery. 

Maybe this is something I can try if we play the scenario again. 

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