Sunday, October 7, 2012

Second Raid

Attended the Second Raid gaming convention on Saturday October 6. There was a good variety of games there with a WWI battle, a naval battle, a French and Indian War game, a Flames of War Nattle of the Bulge game, and several board games. I ended up commanding the American forces in the Battle of the Bulge game.  As the game progressed my intention was to lure the Germans into a position close enough so that my infantry could attack theirs.  In order to accomplish this I had to fall back on both flanks.  However, the platoon on my right ended up being pinned and could not fall back, being caught by the advancing Germans.  As expected he moved one of the two platoons on the other flank towards the village leaving only one platoon to face mine.   I was fortunate that he was only able to roll one hit out of eleven dice for his defensive fire and saved the one hit.  On the other flank his platoon was pinned and only had five dice for defensive fire.  In all my counter attack eliminated about 18 stands of German infantry for the loss of a couple of my infantry stands.  This left the Germans with one platoon at full strength and a second platoon at reduced strength.   Of my original forces I had lost one platoon and had a second platoon badly hurt.  The other two original platoons were still in good shape and I had three more arriving platoons marching towards the village.
Manny Granillo's WWI game
Manny presenting scenario to participants.
2nd table for flames of war game
first table for flames of war game
initial starting positions for naval game
WWI game in progresss
German commander deploying troops
another view of WWI game in progress
American re-enforcements arriving.  105 battery at top left.
German platoon at center left has just destroyed an American platoon.
Two German platoons advance against a single American platoon on other flank.
One of the two German platoons prepares to assault village at bottom center. German platoon in center halted by indirect fire.  STG platoon in top center badly hurt by towed 3" anti-tank gun platoon
German attack has captured part of village and one objective on previous turn.  However, the Americans then launched a counter attack on both flanks.   German platoon at top has been eliminated and Americans are now formed on flank of German advance.
American attack on right flank was not quite as successful.  German platoon was almost eliminated, but Americans failed morale check and had to fall back.
  Same turn.  American re-enforcements have almost reached the town.  Germans conceded game at this point as Americans were in position to reclaim the village. 

September Game at South Bay Game Club

I had originally planned on running Brawner's Farm, which was the first contact at the Battle of Second Manassas.   However, more people than I could accommodate had signed up for the game.  Instead I ran a fictional early war scenario with balanced forces on both sides.  Both armies had 96 bases of infantry, 16 bases of cavalry, and 8 bases of artillery.   The Union army was organized as two separate corps of two, three brigade infantry divisions and a cavalry brigade.   The Union players elected to combine their artillery into a four stand battalion for each corps.  The Confederates had a single corp with one cavalry division, two three brigade infantry divisions, one two brigade infantry division, and one four brigade infantry division.  The Confederates assigned two stands of artillery to each division.  All infantry and cavalry brigades had 8 stands and all troops were green.

At the start of the game both sides plotted which road they would have their forces arrive on and then diced to see if they would arrive at that point or be shifted one entry point left or right.  Most of the Union army ended up shifting right while the Confederates had a more mixed result.  Cards were used to designate units until they were spotted and both sides had additional dummy/scout cards to help hide where their troops were.   The river in the southwest corner could only be crossed at the bridge and two unknown fords.

The initial contact of the battle was an engagement between two scouts at the small village/farm in the eastern half of the center of the table.  As the battle progressed, both sides suffered from traffic jams.   The Union initially gained the upper hand in the center, but was finally forced back and the Confederates were able to claim victory.

Highlights of the battle were a Union Cavalry brigade charging out of the woods on the east end of the battle and attempting to contact a Confederate infantry brigade on the far side of a road with fences on both sides.  In the center the Union had an infantry brigade make a bayonet attack, charging after the retreating Confederates.  This was countered by a Confederate brigade making a bayonet attack into it.

In order to avoid any confusion as to which command was which we left the cards with the units during the battle.  Additional photos and commentary on the battle can be found at

 The battlefield
 Middle of game
 View from other end.
 High point of Union advance
 View from the east end.  Union army being forced back
.  End of the battle.  Confederates in control of the battlefield.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Monday, September 3, 2012

Cedar Mountain at Pacificon September 2, 2012

I ran Cedar Mountain again at the Pacificon Convention.   Rules were From Manassas to Appomattox.  Forces were as follows with each stand representing 250 infantry, 150 cavalry, or 6 guns.  ground scale is one inch = 50 yards.

Confederate                                                  Union
Jackson                                                         Pope    
Ewell’s Division                                             First Division                                             
Early’s Brigade      SB  elite                       1st Brigade  8  elite                                                          
Forno’s Brigade    12 SB                               3rd Brigade  8                                                                 
Trimble’s Brigade   8  SB                               Second Division                                                                
Artillery 10 N                                                1st Brigade  5
Hill’s Division                                                 2nd Brigade  6                                                              
Branch’s Brigade  9  SB                                 3rd Brigade  3                                                                  
Archer’s Brigade  8  SB                                 Artillery  (10 6# 3 3 12N 12N)                                              
Thomas’s Brigade  9                                       Cavalry Brigade  6                                                             
Pender’s Brigade  8  SB  elite                                                                                              
Artillery  N 6# 
Winder’s Division                                                                                                             
Stonewall Brigade  5  elite                                                                                      
Garnett                   4                                                                                                
Taliaferro               6  SB                                                                                                      
Artillery  N 3  

Dan Rygasewicz and Ron Vaughn commanded the Union Forces.  Mike Khan and Keith commanded the Confederates.  The game started about 9:30 and all eight turns were completed by 12:30

Mike decided to move for the union left flank with Jackson commanding Thomas' and Early's Brigades while Winder's division advanced towards the Union right.  After getting close enough Jackson led the charge into the Union left flank.   The Union fire was deadly and Jackson fell from his horse mortally wounded.  Meanwhile the attack on the Union right faltered and the Confederates fled for cover of the woods to their rear.  The Union cavalry moved to their left flank and after making a mounted charge that helped to force the Confederates back would then dismount to help the Union left flank.  During the early stages of the battle the Union was causing about twice as many casualties as they received.  However, this was to change as the Confederates brought their superiority in numbers to bear on the Union left.  A. P. Hill had arrived and both his and Winder's divisions advanced against the Union center and left.  The Union forces were able to repulse their attacks, but their left flank collapsed and as the sun set chose to withdraw from the battlefield.   

Final losses were 4000 for the Union and 5000 for the Confederates along with Jackson.   Though they had claimed the battlefield the Union side won on points.   Note that not all losses are dead and wounded.  about half to two-thirds would be stragglers helping wounded comrades to the field hospital.

Figures are a mix of Heroics and Ros, Rapier and Baccus 6mm figures.  Trees are from Everest Models an Ebay retailer.  Buildings are from the Paperterrain North Russian Village  set.  Even though I use 6mm figures the rules can be used with figures of any scale.   Dan has purchased some 54mm figures and we may use them in a future game.

 Jackson leads Thomas and Early against the Union left
 Jackson falls as Confederates attack.  The initial Confederate attack was inconclusive leaving both sides engaged in melee.   The Union cavalry brigade would launch a successful mounted charge against the exposed end of the Confederate line.
 6:00 P.M. A. P. Hill's division has arrived and forms up to attack the Union lines.  Winder's division has fallen back into the woods.
 Confederates regroup before continuing assault on Union line.  Union will move the brigade in rear to fill the gap in their line.
 As their left flank crumbles Union begins withdrawing.
8:30 P.M.  Union army continues to fall back.  End of battle



Wednesday, August 29, 2012

World War 2 skirmish game at Dan's garage

Dan found a free set of WW2 skirmish rules that he wanted to try out called Warrior WW2 tactical rules.  These use hexes for movement and a die roll to activate forces.  Each pip on the die will activate the forces in one hex.  Each infantry stand is a squad of 7-8 men.  There can be up to three infantry stands or two vehicles in a hex.   We opted to cut the ranges in half, but left the move distances as written.   John Riley commanded the Germans and I commanded the Americans with Dan acting as referee.   My die rolls were mostly 3's and 4's while John's were 1;s and 2's.  A die roll of 6 counted as 1 and the person who rolled the 6 also had to draw a random event card from the deck.  Each pip advanced the game clock one minute.  The game length was set at 90 minutes.  During play we found the mortar fire to be too effective and changed the damage zone to only one hex instead of the target hex and six surrounding hexes.  Due to my higher die rolls I was able to out maneuver John and caused his forces to take a break test for losing half his forces.  These were a fun set of rules, but need better editing.   They are best suited to a one against one game instead of multiple players per side.  The battlefield was somewhere in Normandy with the hedgerows east of the village.

 The remains of the village
 view from the German side
 American forces
American forces occupy the village.

The game mats are from Hotz artworks.   You can't see them in the photos, but they have a five inch hex grid printed on them

comparing Rapier Miniatures and Baccus ACW figures

Baccus and Rapier both make 6mm American Civil War figures.   Their prices are similar and their figures are compatible with each other.   Baccus only makes three poses for their infantry - a standing firing pose, a loading pose, and a march attack pose.  The first two are in their skirmish packs and the other is in a separate pack with command figures.   The skirmish pack includes 24 of each pose.  Rapier makes a greater variety of poses.  These are standing firing, kneeling firing, loading, march attack, advancing with rifle across body, and advancing with rifle forward.  These come one pose per pack of 24 figures.  There are three different command packs of 24 figures available.  Each contains 6 officers, 6 drummers, and 12 standard bearers.  At this point Rapier does not make any cavalry or dismounted cavalry.
 Baccus figures from four different packs
Not all strips in a pack are the same.  Some of the strips have a mix of kepi and hat.
Rapier figures with Baccus in middle.
Rapier has packs with either kepi or hat for each pose.

Casting quality is comparable though Rapier seems to have slightly better detail.  Baccus' rifles seem to be a bit shorter than Rapier's.   All the recent additions to my armies are mixed bases of Rapier and Baccus providing a units with a variety of poses.

Update:  Rapier has added cavalry to their ACW range in the five years since I originally wrote this post.   Like their 6mm ancient cavalry, their ACW cavalry figures are similar in size to the Heroic and Ros Figures.  I ordered a pack of each of their four different poses which will be enough to provide extra figures I needed to complete my ACW cavalry.  Though it will require a bit of extra effort I will be mixing them on the same bases with the Heroics and Ros figures that I already have.

150th Anniversary Battle of Cedar Mountain

August 9, 1862.   Jackson is in the Shenandoah Valley facing Banks Corps near Cedar Mountain.  Historically Jackson drove Banks from the area inflicting more casualties on the Union troops.  Jackson had Ewell's, A.P. Hill's and Winder's divisions under his command.  A.P. Hill was marching to the battlefield, while most of Ewell's division was on Cedar Mountain.  Winder's division was deployed on a rise facing the Union army on another rise on the opposite side of a field.  A brigade each from Ewell's and Hill's divisions were attached to Winder's command.  I was only able to take a few pictures of the early stages of the battle due to loss of battery power  I had bought a new pack of batteries, but they were old and only lasted for one picture for each pair of batteries.

The battle started about 5:00 P.M. and would continue until 9:00 P,M, when darkness fell.  This gave a game length of 8 turns.  When Winder's division activated the Confederates launched an all out assault on the Union lines.  Union defensive fire caused the attack to falter.  As the battle progressed William's division advanced and drove the Confederate left flank back  Bayard's cavalry brigade moved to the Union left flank and dismounted to cover the end of the Union line.  Hill's division arrived and joined the attack on Auger's division and the Union guns.   By the 7:00 P.M. turn the Union conceded victory and withdrew.   Three brigades on Union infantry, most of the guns, and most of the Cavalry brigade were still on the field at that point.  The Confederates had lost 34 stands of infantry due to casualties or routs.  The Union had lost 18 stands of infantry, two stands of cavalry and two gun batteries.  This amounted to 8500 Confederate losses vs about 5000 Union losses.
Initial positions. Union on right Confederates on left.  Both on rises facing across an open field.
View from Confederate side
view from union side
 Battle in progress.  Initial confederate attack has been repulsed.  Union is preparing to launch an attack with its right flank division against the confederate left.  

Even if half the remaining Union infantry stands were counted as lost, there would also have been some additional stands of Confederates lost.   Though Jackson had driven Banks from the field, his losses were such that the game victory was awarded to the Union side.

I will be running this battle again at the upcoming Pacificon convention at the end of this month  Some additional hills will be made by then.  A couple of minor adjustments will also be made to reflect the surprise union attack at the start of the battle.  This scenario can accommodate up to 6 players with three on each side.  The Union side has Banks commanding the artillery reserve and the cavalry brigade and the one player for each of the Union divisions.  On the Confederate side there would be one player commanding Hill's division, one player commanding Winder's division and one player as Jackson and commanding Ewell's division .  Jackson can also take command of the two brigades attached to Winder's division.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

From Manassas to Appomatox back in print

Thanks to Manny Granillo and Hoplite Research my ACW rules are now back in print.   They are available from


in either full color or black and white.

A yahoo support group has also been created for the rules at

Monday, July 2, 2012

Gaines' Mill 150th Anniversay

Gaines’ Mill was Lee’s first battle as commander of the Confederate Army.  His plan was to use Longstreet’s command to drive Porter’s troops into Jackson’s divisions on the Confederate left.  However, due to staff problems and lack of a map of the area, Confederate troops took the wrong roads and did not arrive when and where they were supposed to.  The battle was one of the bloodiest of the American Civil War lasting from mid-afternoon until the evening.

Since the South Bay game clubs meeting was taking place on June 23rd only four days before the 150th anniversary of the battle on June 27th we decided to re-fight the battle that day. 

The re-fight was also bloody with heavy casualties on both sides.  Jackson’s command drove the Union regulars back, but Longstreet’s became involved in a lengthy fight for control of the Union entrenchments.    Though the Confederates eventually gained control of them the Union troops did not flee the battlefield as they had historically.  The result was a draw.   The game was played using half hour turns stating at 2:30 in the afternoon and was scheduled to end at 8:00.  We made it to the 6:30 turn.  We started with three players and a fourth player joined late in the game.  If we had started with four it is quite likely that we would have been able to complete all the turns.  The following are some pictures from the game.

Start of battle view from Confederate side
 Start of battle view from Union side
 Confederates attack Union right
Union left under fire 
 Union right stabilized
 Confederates over run guns on Union right
 Confederates push Union left out of entrenchments
 End of game.  Union forces are holding and not running.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Warpac and Nato Unit frontages

When gaming periods from ancients to the horse and musket period many people want to make sure that their cohorts or battalions have the correct frontage when basing figures.  When it comes to World War 2 and modern warfare there is not as much information available or what is available is not often used.

This site has compiled a lot of data on World War 2 infantry frontages. Tanks could operate on much greater frontages. I don't recall the web location, but I came across one item of information that a Russian tank battalion, about 30 tanks, attacking on a 1km front was considered a dense formation. 

There are a number of sources that provide information on post World War 2 formations.  Some of them are rather expensive, while others can be found on the internet for free, and some are out of print.  Some of the information that I found was actually from computer games that simulated modern warfare.  Comparing that information with other sources confirmed that the data used for the computer games matched that data.

The following is a compilation of data that I have obtained from various sources along with a some images from U. S. army tactical manuals.  The first two images are platoon  formations with the first one possibly being an offensive formation and the second a U. S. defensive position..  The next two are Soviet company and battalion offensive frontages. I have also added a picture of M1 tanks on exercise in a German field. Similar spacing can be seen in photos from the Iraq wars.
According to the Battle Book (Center for Army Tactics) 86-(ST 100-3)-2202 dated
1 April 1986 Ft Leavenworth, KS the following are listed:
 Page 4-5 Section III. Soviet Tactical Doctrine:

Unit Size/ Zone of Attack (overall)/ Attack Frontage (Main Attack)
Army/ 60-100km/ 30-60km
Div/ 20-30km/ 15-25km
Regt/ 10-15km/ 3-8km
Bn/ 2-3km/ 1-2km
Coy/ 1-1.5km/ 500-800m
Defensive Sectors (Soviet)
Unit Size/ Normal Frontage/ Extended Frontage
Div/ 20-30km/ up to 45km
Regt/ 10-15km/ 15+ km
Bn/ 3-5km/ 7.5+ km
Offensive Echelonment:
Unit/ Distance from 1st Echelon:
2nd Echelon Div/ 50-80km
2nd echelon Regt/ 15-30km
2nd echelon Bn/ 5-15km

From Soviet Army Field Manual (1982).
Motorifle (tank) battalion: up to 2 km (at Regiment's breakthrough sector – up to 1 km)
Motorifle (tank) company: up to 1 km (at Regiment's breakthrough sector - up to 500 m )
Motorifle (tank) platoon: up to 300 m

Motorifle (tank) battalion: up to 5 km , depth up to 3 km
Motorifle (tank) company: up to 1500 m , depth up to 1000 m
Motorifle (tank) platoon: up to 400 m , depth up to 300 m

From Soviet Air-Borne Troops Field Manual (1984).
Battalion: up to 2 km
Company: up to 800 m
Platoon: up to 250 m

 Isby & Kamps, Armies of NATO's Central Front states "...a (West German) brigade would attack on 12,000m frontage - the principle of being stronger at the decisive point - the Schwerepunkt - still applies. A Panzer or Panzer Grenadier battalion woud usually have a 4,000m sector on the offensive, though for a breakthrough operation it would concentrate on a 1,000-1,500m spearpoint, or 700-1,000m in a Panzergrenadier battalion was attacking dismounted..."

Regarding the defense, "...The size of the defensive room s varies, depending on the terrain and mission. Panzer and Panzergrenadier battalions would usually hold 5,000m frontage, light infantry battalions 4,000m. Battalion rooms would be 3,000-5,000m deep, those of brigades up to 25km...The Germans would deploy 80% of their forces forward and the rest in reserve, in cotrast with the traditional US 'two up, one back' deployment. Companies would fight together, and battalions would be deployed in defensive positions, often without a reserve. If required, the battalion reserve would usually be two platoons but could range from a single platoon to a full company."

The following links also provide information on modern unit frontages
Canadian Army LAVIII and Leopard C2  field trial article
click on 2003, then volume 5, number 4

Any and all additional information, links etc is welcome.