Sunday, October 18, 2015

General Sickles - The Hero

From the Editorial Board at the Philadelphia Republican 
9th of July 1863

One of our stalwart reporters has sent a message today that General Sickles III Corps has taken the surrender of southern General Anderson's Division east of Harpers Ferry. After several days of skirmishes and battles along the Potomac River the rebel troops found no way to escape from Sickles' boys and surrendered.

While this paper and other across the United States await more information on the events along the Antietam Creek and the surrender of General Lee; we are gladdened that the men of the Third Corps have much to celebrate.


Now for the game as an after-action-report. For four game days Sickles and Anderson fought along the Potomac with Sickles trying to surround Anderson and Anderson trying to cross back over the river. With one day of rain and a second with the river to high to cross Anderson's Division was forced to surrender on July 7th after Sickles launched a third attack in so many days. With each attack the southern forces were reduced. In the end Anderson had less than 2,500 men left to lay down their arms to General Sickles.

Now before Tim chimes in and says I was playing favorites with this colorful New York leader, the original plan was to have him cross over through Harpers Ferry with General Sykes to corner the Confederate forces. An opportunity for greater laurels. In the end General Anderson was to important of a force to leave alone and the Third Corps was sent in to finish them off quickly. Unfortunately, as in most American Civil War battles the troops could not be defeated as fast as the generals expect. Well done General Sickles.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Roads to Gettysburg - July 8th

From the Editorial Board at the Philadelphia Republican

July 8th will go down in the history of the Republic as one of the greatest days of Thanksgiving for all of our peoples.  From our great industrial cities like Philadelphia and Washington DC to our farming towns, we have been celebrating the surrender of the confederates at Vicksburg on this past July 4th. Our celebrations were redoubled with the announcement of Robert E Lee surrendering of his forces in and around Sharpsburg on July 8th.

While only one of our three reports have sent the paper word, we know from our man attached with General Reynolds that the confederate line was ruptured on the evening of the 7 th near Sharpsburg.  Losses were considered heavy but the Union troops under Generals Howard and Reynolds was enthusiastic in their success this day.

On the morning of the 8th General Heath attempted to force his way across the Potomac River to breack out of the Union encirclement, but were thrown back by cavalry under General Custer.  Later that day officers from the southern troops came to the Headquarters of General Meade to request terms. Later that  same evening Generals Meade and Lee with their staff meet in Sharpsburg to sign official terms. We await further news.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

A New Profile Image

As a child I enjoyed the seasonal Charlie Brown specials as many children of the 60s and 70s were. From Halloween to Easter we were covered. The animation was not exceptional but it was of an endearing quality that has me watching Its the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown this fall.

It is also this fall that The  Peanut's Movie is to be released. With this 3D
release also came an app for creating a profile for an individual that makes you look like a Peanut's character. The choices are broad and I feel give a good set of choices. I only wish there was a couple of choices of characters in button down shirts, no ties.

I am happy with how mine came out. Give it a try.

Roads to Gettysburg - July 3rd 1863

The third day of July 1863 was relatively quite as the troops involved in the campaign were exhausted. Skirmishes along all of the passes of the Catcotin Mountains continued, some turning into battles between brigades. Lee’s army was running out of room to escape as Meade’ s troops continued their death dance. In the north, Generals Ewell and Stuart continue to work their way to the river crossings skirmishing along the passes. The Union was able to get a cavalry brigade to one of the river crossings, waiting for infantry support.

The advantage appears to be with the Union as they have two relative corps available. On to the 4th Of July and the fireworks.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Operation Martlet

It has been awhile since I have purchased anything wargame related. OK, there were a few books here and there but no rules or miniatures. We that changed today when I heard Richard @ TOOFATLardies released Operation Martlet, part of his pint sized campaigns.

This was right up my alley as I have most of the Germans and Mark Kinsey should have all of the British needed.

So please look forward to an after action report on what I hope to be another gem.

Operation Martlet

Operation Martlet is the fourth of our Pint-Sized campaigns for Chain of Command, designed to be played using the campaign handbook At the Sharp End.

Twenty eight pages long, Operation Martlet follows the established Pint-Sized Campaign format, with an overview of the forces involed on both sides, their deployment shown on period maps and the course of the campaign described in detail before going on to present a mini-campaign covering this combined arms operation launched by the British 49th Division immediateloy prior to Operation Epsom to seize the Rauray Spur from the defenders from 12 SS Hitlerjugend.

The campaign is a total of six game tables with the duration running between six and eleven games. Briefings are provided for both sides, along with measurable objectives, period maps, force and support option listings and everything you need to play this campaign through to its conclusion.

Like all of our Pint-Sized campaigns, this is available for the price of a pint in our local pub. We're sure that you'll agree, that is great wargaming value!

The Magic Number is now 59.14

The magic number is now 59.14. That is the average number of views I need for my blog to get to the magical number 100,000. What happens at 100,000? I do not know. Something will come to me.

While this should not be an issue with my GCACW campaign going on and two Chain of Command projects starting up, I do want to ask each of my current followers to please suggest my blog to those interested in gaming, both board games and miniatures. I also think there will be more board games on this blog as I try to use them as a means to generate battles with miniatures. Also a train friend (from my commute) has me looking at the board game MTB and IDF.

So please let me know what you think. And the picture, it is part of a project I am working on. Plus if you count them there are 100,000 peasants in the background.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Roads to Gettysburg July 2nd 1863

The second of July 1863 will to go down in history (at least this time line) as one of the most costly in American military history with the Confederates losing well over 2,500 men and the Union nearly 6,500 troops. This nearly matches the historical losses that occurred during the historical Pickett's Charge.

This reversal of fortunes was to the advantage of the Union. With General Ewell's Corps, General Stuart and Hood's Division have been cut off by Union forces and the rest where being encircled by the Union forces. Most of the troops on both sides are disorganized and exhausted.Some divisions are reduced to the size of 1862 brigades.

All that is but General Reynolds I Corps. His troops and the artillery reserve have recovered and are waiting to get back into the fight. They are able to either assault McLaws division or to cut off the rest of the Army of Northern Virginia. These troops, the cavalry and Sickles III Corps recovering will cause a great of trouble on the third and fourth of July.

Any bets on which infantry division will make it to the Potomac River first?

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Roads to Gettysburg - 1st July 1863

The first of July 1863 was less successful for the Confederacy in my game than the historical events.  After attempts to pull back General Hood and the rest of the Army of Northern Virginia, Gereral Lee is left with a less than optimal situation.

The force deployments include;
  • Sedgwick north of Frederick containing Stuart and Ewell
  • Hancock and Sedgwick surrounding Hood in the Catoctin Mountains
  • Army of the  Potomac holding the remains of the Army of Northern Virginia

Will General Lee make it back to Virginia?

Nova: First Air War

I have been waiting through the summer for this Nova episode and it was worth the wait. We have here not only vintage film of World War I but a group in New Zealand building replica aircraft based on period plans.

The aircraft are than tested against each other in evaluation and mock-battles. There are also scenes in this documentary of the aircraft  at air shows.

In the collection the company, The Vintage Aviator, have BE2c, SE5a, Camels Eindecker and Albatross aircraft.  All in period colors and markings.

I found this episode to short, as they cover the entire war in an hour so much of the video is more visual than factual. More in depth in the individual periods would be welcomed. Nova could easily have done three episodes, Fokker Fodder, Bloody April, Strategic Bombing, and The Elites (SE5a and Fokker D.VII).

Well worth watching but it could have been so much better.

I rate this as a 3 1/2 out of 5.
First Air War 
Nova Transcript

Friday, October 9, 2015

We had a plan

Well both sides had a plan but it did not work out for either side.

General Sickles was to advance to the crossing sites on the Potomac and take them as the Army of Northern Virginia was heading north cutting of southern supplies. The problem was the army never moved north and Sickles was not able to advance very far.

The rest of the Union forces was going to head north to engage the enemy, but instead came on to the map turned left and went after the majority of the southern forces along the Catoctin Mountains.

Now the Army of Northern Virginia was to fight the Army of the Potomac in Maryland but the fight in the mountain valleys was difficult and troops were seperated with General Hood caught in Federick.

Is there a chance for either side to pull out a victory. Possibly but it is too difficult to do a blow by blow. Will have to do a replay I believe. Stay tuned.

1939 Battle of Westerplatte

When I first heard of the movie 1939 Battle of Westerplatte I was intrigued. This is a little know engagement in a campaign that most students of World War II do not spend a great deal of time on.  As I had family living in Poland at the time any movie of the conflict is of interest to me.

This is a battle on a small peninsula on the Baltic between Polish and German forces. German naval infantry, SS troops and field artillery were pitted against 200 plus Polish garrison troops. In this lopsided battle the Germans also used the pre-dreadnought Schleswig-Holstein to fire at at Westerplatte.

The Poles held out for seven days longer than any one assumed possible; a moral victory for the Poles that had little to cheer about.

Now for the movie, it is almost two hours long and filled with the chaos of war.  Some reviews fault the production value of this but I felt it was as real as a movie could get. The battle scenes where designed with cinematography in mind and not actual tactics in action but it is a movie. I did like the artillery scenes as they limited the use of gasoline in their pyrotechnics and looked real.

The length of the movie comes about because there are many scenes dealing with Major Henryk Sucharski and Captain Franciszek Dąbrowski having command issues with leadership and the surrender. While important to the film, these scenes were over played.

The Poles had several cloth colors used in their uniforms giving painters many opportunities.  As a reference this makes it a must have for those gamers interested in this period.

I will take the time to learn more about this battle as I can see engagements from it being put on the table for Chain of Command.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Nautical Porn

The title of naval porn was my first thought for this piece, and than I Googled it. Not a good idea. Don’t try this at home with the kids around. 

By naval porn I meant nautical as in ships, old ships, really old ships. These are ships with breach and muzzle loading guns and thick (crappy) armour. Think pre-dreadnoughts and armoured cruisers, warships no self-respecting naval wargamer would want in their fleets.

Well all but me, I have always admired these designs. They were artistic and had a mechanical beauty to them. Today we look at the poor damage control, protection, fire control and wonder why anyone would have wanted to use them in combat. Do not think 2015, but 1915.

These designs that I am talking about were thought of in the 1880s and 90s and with the coming of The Great War were seen by many as antiquated hulls only worth the value of say you have a couple of dozen extra battleships and a few score of armoured cruisers. But these death traps were more than just numbers but an active part of all navies in general, and the Royal Navy in particular. And the Admiralty was willing to send them into harms way.

While I cannot prove this, I have always felt that these old warships were best the best way to see combat. There was the hunt for the SMS Goeben and clearing German raiders from the sea. British used them on the North Sea patrols and at the Dardanelles.

My version of nautical porn is what most wargamers would want in their libraries. With the Internet books can seem passé but these are great titles than anyone interested in the era would want to have. For me this is my top five list. And there will be other lists as well. 

The Great War List
Conway’s All The Worlds Fighting Ships 1860-1905
This is the pre-dreadnought with all of those wonderful and wacky warship designs. Some of them even worked.

Conway’s All The Worlds Fighting Ships 1906-1921
Here we have the great battleships, HMS Dreadnought, USS Pennsylvania and the HMS Queen Elizabeth. Yes I am biased. What is missing, cruisers, many navies the French and US included sort of forgot about cruisers.

British Battleships 1889 – 1904
A grand study with a great deal of detail on the battleships of the Royal Navy from the beginning of steel warships to the end of the pre-dreadnoughts with the Lord Nelson class.

Naval Weapons of World War One by Norman Friedman
My go to reference for weapon systems of World War One and the pre-dreadnought era. This could be a coffee table book in a nautical geek’s house.

British Cruisers of the Victorian Era also by Norman Friedman
This one is currently not in my collection, yet. But for those that have read this far down the list you have already understood my appreciation for these armoured cruisers. This needs to be a coffee table book in a nautical geek’s house.

Please let me know if there are any titles from the period that you do not want to live without.


Sunday, October 4, 2015

Roads to Gettysburg - 24th June 1863

Taking this classic Great Campaigns of the Civil War for a spin using Alt-History for the backdrop and support. Orders are based on conversations with both gamers and students of history.

Both the Confederates and Union forces have orders that they are to follow. From the beginning of the campaign General Rhodes appears to be on a mission to raid the farms of southern Pennsylvania. Already General Ramseur's Brigade has been dispatched to raid and levy Greencastle and Waynesboro.

To Greencastle  was rushed a brigade of infantry to protect the town from Grumble Jones' cavalry. Instead Knipe ran into Rhodes's division with appropriate results.

As the campaign is starting questions are asked. Where is General Stuart and the Union Army of the Potomac? Any thoughts where battle will be joined?

General Rhodes comes to a fork in the road. June 24th 1863. Guesses on the direction he will take?