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Sunday, 19 May 2013

Sharpshooting wins the day...again!

As you may have guessed. We did an ACW skirmish at the club Yesterday (Saturday) As Lawrence was transport limited, I brought my S+A scenics flocked hills and a few of my 'Last valley' trees. Then Lawrence turned up with all his stuff after all!
Suffice to say, we left the hills and used Lawrences buildings and trees. Ian's tracks and fences completed the setup terrain.

Since Gareth was joining our game, we let him choose what he wanted to use, and since Ian wanted to use his repeating rifle armed Berdans Sharpshooters again, Gareth decided to use them!

I finally got to be a Confederate, so chose a group of 21st Virginia men, to go alongside a group of Louisiana tigers.

We decided we would be 2 small reconnaisance groups checking out a road junction in advance of our main armies...

The road junction and farm.
My Virginians diced to deploy on the far side of the table to the farm.
After discussions with the Louisiana contingent, we avoided the direct line to the farm up the road and cut towards the wooded half of the table to avoid the awesome Union firepower.
The Tigers took longer up our chosen route as they traversed the fences along the road.
On the other side, Ian's half of the Sharpshooters advanced toward our men.
Gareth led his men to take the farms.
Ian and Gareth surveying the rapid Confederate attack!
My Virginians were out of sight of the enemy as they crossed the open ground before the woods.
The Tigers were spotted as they delayed crossing the road, but the unionists did not fancy firing on twice their numbers of angry dockworkers!
Seeing us outflanking them, the 'shooters moved right to face us.
Gareth raced to secure the farm.
The Tigers finally came after my men.
Ian's men, having seen a large number of Rebs advancing on them, fell back to the farm.
Agroup remained on the hill to secure the rear and watch the rebs.
The Confederates were doing a 'Chacellorville' style outflanking move, having decided they couldn't fight the Sharpshooters nose to nose, they tried to close to knife range by sneaking through the woods!
Not wanting to face the entire Rebel force alone, the group on the hill retreated.
Gareth's men in the farm were directed to line the fences and await the Reb attack.
The Confederates entered the woods...and safety?
The 'shooters fell back into the side of the farm they expected the enemy to fall upon.
Gareth moved to back Ian up.
His men started lining the road.
Ian decided the edge of the farm was too exposed, and started to withdraw to join Gareth.

The Confederates were nearly through the woods.
The Confederate commander observed the farm edge and decided it was undefended.
The whole force was called forward.
The Unionists were unsure where the blow was to fall, so spread out and waited.
The Confederates advanced cautiously.
The 'shooters waited patiently.
Confident of their safety, the Confederates stormed the edge of the farm.
The Tigers moved into covering positions, watching for the enemy.
Seeing the strong Union defensive line, the Confederates were left with no choice but to attack or retreat. They opted to attack Gareth's part of the line in strength.
Some Virginians entered the first house to watch the enemy. 
The Confederates tried to co-ordinate their attack...
Unfortunately, a turn before The Virginians were ready, the Tigers made their rush.
Both sides took casualties...
..but the Sharps rifle reloaded faster!
The first group of Tigers fell back while their companions charged.
Despite a storm  of fire, some of the Tigers made it to the Union line, and did better at close quarters, but the Unionists held.
Belatedly, my men joined in the attack.
..but Ian's men had moved to enfilade the Tigers.
Seeing they did not have as many men as they should to continue the attack, the Confederates retreated off table leaving the Blue Green bellies in the town.

It was an interesting game, with a lot of what-ifs, but it was obvious that although in open terrain, the muzzle loaded Minie rifle can hold its own (we had greater numbers as the points cost was less!) if the breach loaders can get in a defensive position they can hold off much greater numbers of other troops.
The repeating rifle is more useful in a greater number of situations, and is only vulnerable if facing a long range fire fight where the Minie rifle has a slight advantage to offset the heavier rate of fire of the Sharps, or if the enemy close in melee, where the odds are even.

Kind of makes you appreciate how brave these guys were in real life!

The rules used are available at: Tyneside Wargames club downloads

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