Friday, May 4, 2012

Scourge of War Antietam - Burnside's Bridge - Part 2

"Fight the enemy with the weapons he lacks."  Field Marshal Prince Aleksandr Suvorov

This a continuation of a previous entry.

The enemy's future advance is more or less constricted through the Rohrbach bridge (unless the Union troops can ford the Antietam creek elsewhere) and our fields of fire on the terrain approaching to it are outstanding. However, 370 men and 8 artillery pieces is all we are.

The initial positions of my troops is as lacking as their numbers (see the screenshot above). The main infantry body (20th Georgia Regiment) is formed up some few yards in front of the Rohrbach bridge. The 2nd Georgia Regiment is in our right flank, hidden within the woods and with a great field of fire over the road that approaches the bridge from the south.  In the real battle, the 2nd Georgia spread havock on Union troops advancing through the road but I am not eager to find out if that would work in this scenario. 125 men is hardly a company worth of gun muzzles... And the fighting ranges are so close in this era that I can't support the 2nd Georgia with any of the remainder troops. So I decided to bunch up the 2nd Georgia with the main body in front of the bridge. Artillery, although initially at a good firing range to the Rohrbach bridge, was ordered to close with the main body, the two companies at each wing of the infantry. With the 2nd Georgia moving out of our right flank, I want some firepower on that road.

The opening shots. At least three Union infantry regiments are forming up on the other side of the Antietam creek. The artillery companies are already in position and firing at the closest Union unit (11th Ohio).

Another view of the Union's maneuvers in front of the Rohrbach bridge. My Georgians (2nd and 20th Georgia Regiments) are in the foreground, lying down to avoid the Union artillery shells (a Union battery can be seen up the hill in the far background).
The initial assault by the Union troops. The 11th Ohio rushes through the Rohrbach bridge and is welcomed by musket bullets and canister artillery rounds. The fight is at almost point blank.
After attempting to charge our line of defense, the Union infantry routs. Note how I foolishly moved the artillery company on my left flank too far ahead. I was lucky to not loose any of those guns. With the respite provided by the failed assault, I moved that artillery company back into line.
The Union presses our position, this time through direct fire from across the creek.
Just the fire from our artillery was just enough to rout the enemy.  Note the smoke in the far background: that's a Union battery firing at our position. A few hundred yards in front of this battery, fresh troops get ready to press the attack ...
... This time they tried to ford the creek on our right flank, but were driven off by a combination of artillery and musket fire.

The pressure on our right flank increases: another Union regiment is trying to cross the creek. Towards the left, more Union troops advance towards the same crossing point.
A view from the enemy's side: another attempt to cross the creek is on the works. Note the Union regiment that was just routed (extreme left of the screenshot, near the creek).

The scenario ended with my troops in good order and in possession of the Rohrbach bridge.
All things considered, this was a nice departure of the pyrrhic victories that Civil War gaming scenarios have me accostumed to. My infantry suffered 81 casualties and took 60 enemy troops from the battle. The artillery companies suffered 14 casualties and inflicted a whooping 665 casualties to the Union troops.

The message is clear: artillery fire support is crucial. I am usually too prone to leave the artillery way behind the main line of battle because I fear they would be overrun if the infantry lines falter. In this scenario had the luxury of a very restrictive terrain, but I will take what happened in this scenario to heart in my next battles.

Another thing that helped to keep my defensive line steady was keeping the infantry in the prone position unless they could really target the enemy at a reasonable range. The Union artillery fire was from the distance, but not harmless enough to stand it through the half hour of the scenario.



Bil Hardenberger said...

What do you think of this game J?

I had a lot of problems with the previous incarnation... units changing from column to line at the first sighting of an enemy, even if it wasn't a threat, pivoting on the center of the formation instead of from the right, etc... I had a long list of issues that broke the immersion for me and kept me from getting into it.

I was actually looking forward to the 1:1 scale mod that Wrangler was working on as it addressed almost all of my complaints and I liked the scale.. but alas that never materialized.

JC said...

Always good to see you around, Bil.

I will have to take a look at that. I don't micromanage too much in this game. Well, except in this scenario where my command was so small ...

The 1:1 scale is available as an option since patch 1.4. I still have to try it ...


Lieste said...

Incidentally were you aware that Tom Mouat does a 'Napoleonic' map-icons font that might work better for marking up pre-20th century games?