Field of Battle ACW 16/01/2011 (Solo)

Another go at Piquet Field of Battle, this time based on the battle of Belmont. All units on both sides were either classed as raw (green) or rabble (militia) with D4 defence die, leading to some spectacular differences when rolling D12+2 against them and making the units just as unpredictable as in reality.  I won’t turn this in to a rules review, as there are some excellent reviews already out there for Field of Battle, for example at

Small World Productions:- http://smallworldproductions.blogspot.com/2009/04/field-of-battle-review.html

von Peter’s Wargaming Madness:- http://web.mac.com/nataliendpeter/Site/PM_SYW001-1.html 

and at the Rules Directory:- http://deepfriedhappymice.com/html/rd_field_of_battle.html.

Suffice to say that a UI is a Unit Integrity point and infantry units have 4, cavalry have 3 and artillery 2 – when this reaches 0, a unit routs and must be rallied by adding back UI. If it goes negative, the unit disperses.

Battlefield layout in this photo:-

Battlefield layout & deployments

 The Union force enter from the top left on the road, which is lined with swamp & woods – they have to capture the rebel camp in the centre of the opposite board edge. Woods are light Class 2 terrain –  stop at edge on entry, then move full speed within – firing ranges 4″ through & in, but down 1 dice for cover. Swamps are Class 3 terrain – stop at edge on entry, stop at edge on exit, move at half speed within (skirmishers don’t stop on entry, but do stop on exit). Union got initiative by default, but rolled 5 card draws anyway.

Reb left flank

The Rebel army had to stop the Union burning their camp, but as all units were classed as raw or rabble, they were on defence dice D4, and I had given each side the same number of units, so it was going to be a challenge for the Union.

Reb defence - camp is in background

The first card was a Move, rolled 3 segments even. Union cavalry galloped across the t-junction and were fired on by Reb artillery, causing 6 hits for 2 UI, but rolled odd  so no fallback. They crossed the road, dismounted (formation change – even roll) and entered the swamp. The Zouaves and 28th Massachusetts infantry in march column on the road moved 8″, then changed formation into line and moved to the edge of the swamp. During the Reb turn, an Artillery Fire card removed smoke, but the only target was cavalry skirmishers in swamp wood, so they didn’t fire.

The Rebs won the next initiative, turned a Move card and moved infantry from the camp up to the left hand side of the cornfield – nothing else useful in the way of cards. The Union turned 2 Artillery Fire (guns still limbered!) and a Tactical Avantage.

The Union won next initiative, drawing 4 cards. First up was a Move card, rolling 3 segments. This allowed the cavalry to emerge from the swamp on one side of the road, and the Zouaves to emerge on the other. Both units took opportunity volleys from the Texas regiments – cavalry only took 2 hits, but even roll, so they had to fall back into swamp out of command.

Cavalry take a volley

Zouaves took 1 UI but didn’t have to fall back. The 2nd Wisconsin turned up the road towards the artillery while still in march column – hoping for a Maneuvre card which never came. The Reb artillery opened up, causing 2 UI but no fallback (D12+2 using Tactical Advantage card). The Union army morale was now down 5, and if I had done a random roll, it would have been between 5 & 9 , with 6 & 8 being likely – I need to look at this to balance the scenario.

First fire causes 2 UI

The Union won initiative and drew a Move card, rolling 1 segment. The 2nd Wisconsin and move toward the artillery up the road, as they can’t deploy as odd roll. The Zouaves advance up to 5th Texas hiding behind a fence and let fly as the Texans are unloaded, but score only 1 UI even with a Tactical Advantage card played – meanwhile the 28th Massachusetts infantry finally exit the swamp on the left of the Zouaves. Next card is an Infantry Firepower, so the Zouaves are able to shoot again at the 5th Texas, but score only 2 hits odd, so no effect.

The Rebels get their draw – first up is Maneuvre, so they wheel the 2nd South Carolina to face the oncoming 2nd Wisconsin, then draw a Leadership card, and attempt to rally UI off of 5th Texas, but with no effect. Next is a Lull, where Union seize the initiative and draw Melee. They attack the 5th Texas with the Zouaves over the fence, and score 7 to 1 = 2 UI lost. Greater than 1 UI and doubled means rout, but as roll is odd, the Zouaves can’t follow up over the fence. Next Reb card is Leadership, and their Brigadier fails to rally 5th Texas – I could also have tried with Army General at this point I suppose. 

5th Texas rout

The Union win the initiative and get to draw 7 cards – first 2 are no use, but draw Maneuvre on 3rd, changing the Iron Brigade from March to Attack columns. 3 more cards (only Tactical Advantage was of use), then a Lull where Rebs seized the initiative and got a Move card. They wanted to limber up their artillery as the 2nd Wisconsin were bearing down on them, but though they rolled 3 move segments, they rolled odd, so the only move was to rout 5th Texas a further 9″. The Union then continued and drew Move card – perfect, except that they rolled a 1 against a 2, so there was no movement.

The Rebs drew Infantry Firepower, remove fire markers but hold their fire just in case. They drew another Infantry Firepower, so they might as well fire as they can remove the fire marker with the card. The 1st Texas fires at the cavalry in the wooded swamp, and manage to cause a IU, leaving them with no UI, so they rout 3″ on even roll. Next up is Tactical Advantage, followed by a Move, where they get 3 moves and an even roll. The artillery limbers up and falls back

Reb artillery limbers in the face of the attack column

and the 2nd South Carolina fills the gap in the line – nice work boys!

South Carolina fills the gap

Meanwhile, the 37th North Carolina leave the camp to cover the gap in the line left by the 5th Texas. Next card is a Lull, where Union seize initiative and draw a leadership card, but can’t rally the cavalry – the rebs then draw a Leadership card, but the 5th Texas refuse to rally.

The Rebs win the next turn’s initiative, and get 8 card draws with only 4 cards left, and useless they were too, including 2 artillery firepower with guns limbered – turn ends as Rebs run out of cards.

The Reb’s win initiative again, rolling another 10 against 3 – 7 card draws. Artillery Fire card is again useless, but then Infantry Fire comes up. Both 2nd South Carolina and 1st Texas fire on the approaching 2nd Wisconsin attack column. Nett result is that 2nd Wisconsin reduced to 0 UI, and rout 6″ through 7th Wisconsin – the Union is now only 1 UI away from Army Morale of zero.

The Rebs got 3 useless cards, followed by a Lull where the Union seized the initiative and drew a leadership card. Rally was failed for 2nd Wisconsin and cavalry, even when the army commander tried. The Rebs drew another Lull card, which proved to be a blessing in diguise, as the Union seized the initiative and drew a move card, rolled odd (so couldn’t change formation) which meant they couldn’t do much. They did however have to roll for the 2nd Wisconsin and Cavalry rout moves – both rolls were high, so both units left the table. The 1st Texas chose this moment to fire on the next column (the 7th Wisconsin) coming up the road – at D12+1 against a D4, it was looking bad for the Union unit, but the difference came up as 2 odd, so no effect. The column fired back, reasoning it was a new initiative roll next, so they might as well.

Volley from 7th Wisconsin routs 2nd South Carolina

They scored a difference of 8 on an even roll, causing 2 UI and a rout of 8″on the 2nd South Carolina. The Union then drew a Maneuvre card, formed line with the 7th Wisconsin and turned the 19th Indiana into attack column behind them. Next up was an Infantry Fire card, so the 2nd Wisconsin shot at the 1st Texas to their left – another good volley caused 1 UI and a fall back of 5″ – just 1 short of another rout! The Zouaves made up for it by firing on the flank of the 8th Georgia with no effect, even with a 2 dice shift.

The Union won the next initiative and got to draw 7 cards, but 2 Melee, 2 Lull, 1 Artillery Fire and 1 Tactical Advantage are not what they are looking for – only the 1 infantry fire is of use, removing the fire marker from the 7th Wisconsin and allowing the Zouaves to cause a UI on the 8th Georgia. The Rebs draw a Move card, 3 on an even roll, allowing the 8th Georgia to fall back from the fence and the flanking fire of the Union Zouaves.  

7th Wis follow up and volley 2nd SC again in the back

A Lull allows the Union to seize the initiative, draw a move card and advance the 7th Wisconsin to within short range of the rear of the 2nd South Carolina – the resulting volley had a difference of 11, obliterating the 2 remaining UI of the unit, removing them from the field and sending the Reb Army Morale negative. At this point I forgot to add the negative value to the Union Army Morale, but in my defence, I only spotted this in the rules after the game. The Rebs got their revenge by next drawing Leadership and rallying a UI off of the 8th Georgia, then Infantry Firepower allowed the 1st Texas and 37th North Carolina to volley the 7th Wisconsin – 2 UI & even roll, and they rout. Next up for the Rebs was an Army Morale card, but though no officer dies, 2 units went out of command and fell back towards the camp. With the Rebs retreating, I called it a day.

Final positions

The 7th Wisconsin have routed through the 19th Indiana (interestingly in Field of Battle, this does not affect the unit routed through). This leave 3 Union units intact – they have driven the Rebs from the fenceline, but would still have to take the fortified camp, which the Rebs would probably fall back in to before the Union artillery can depoy against them. I ended the game at this point.

Things to note:-

  • I forgot that units could shuffle sideways a 1/4 speed.
  • I think I may have been rolling just once against the general’s LD for move segments – should have been rolling for each brigade commander, but as there were only 2 brigades, not really an issue.
  • Union artillery never got into action because of terrain.
  • I think I will make a battery = 1 gun for the next game, due to the width of 2 guns together against 2 infantry bases.

A good run out for the rules, though I still made a few mistakes. I need to make better unit dice strength markers as the ones I have can’t fit under a unit base. Next time I hope to attempt the “Turning the Flank” Tabletop Teaser from the excellent Battlegames special issue.

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