Strategic Hex Game McClellan's Last Command (custom GCACW module) - community playthrough

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
Turn 17


Battle of Putnam's Mill
A swirling engagement around Putnam's Mill saw Taliaferro's division of Jackson's corps pinned in place by cavalry and attacked by Stahel's division of 11th Corps, forcing the division to rout to the west and inflicting considerable casualties.
(500 CS straggle casualties pre-battle, 500 CS battle casualties, 500 CS rout attrition)
 

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
Turn 18

Battle of Flint Hill

Jones' cavalry covered the movement of Taliaferro's infantry to the west away from the area of Flint Hill, though in so doing became surrounded by Union cavalry at both ends of the pass north of Battle Run Church. The division of Schurz also marched into the area and launched an attack to clear the pike road in the early afternoon, resulting in Jones surrendering his command to prevent further bloodshed.
(500 CS straggle casualties to Taliaferro; 1,000 CS cavalry lost in a battle with no escape route, so assumed captured.)
 

Pat Answer

Sergeant Major
Forum Host
Joined
Oct 8, 2013
Location
“...somewhere between NY and PA”
No, no… in this ‘universe’ General Lee is not sitting back in Richmond but very much at the front trying to work his accustomed magic… turns out that position counts for much no matter who is in command. 🙂

(Please consider yourself cordially and sincerely invited to participate in future exercises in Great Campaigns of the American Civil War as set up here by Saphroneth. Not only is the game system the best operational-level treatment I can think of but the digital age allows the group to recapture the original Kriegsspiel dynamic of not knowing what your cavalry scouts cannot see. It’s been fun and informative - I can’t wait for certain elements of real life to settle so I can return to duty!)
 

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
Turn 19

Battle of Gravelly Spring Gap

Farnsworth's cavalry attacked Taliaferro's command as it retreated into Gravelly Spring Gap. However, it transpired that Taliaferro had posted his forces well for defence as they entered the gap, and Farnsworth took heavy casualties before ultimately abandoning the effort to force the gap itself.
(1,000 Union cavalry casualties.)



(This was one of the more complicated battles so far in terms of modifiers... there was rain, strength ratio, hill bonus, rain effect, morale penalty and attack type. It came to a +1 modifier for the attacker, but then the attacker rolled a 1 and the defender rolled a 5...)
 

Piedone

Sergeant
Joined
Oct 8, 2020
No, no… in this ‘universe’ General Lee is not sitting back in Richmond but very much at the front trying to work his accustomed magic… turns out that position counts for much no matter who is in command. 🙂

(Please consider yourself cordially and sincerely invited to participate in future exercises in Great Campaigns of the American Civil War as set up here by Saphroneth. Not only is the game system the best operational-level treatment I can think of but the digital age allows the group to recapture the original Kriegsspiel dynamic of not knowing what your cavalry scouts cannot see. It’s been fun and informative - I can’t wait for certain elements of real life to settle so I can return to duty!)
Thank you very much - I would be eager to join into the next fray - although I am sadly aware that I will most probably miserably fail...

alas....something leads me to suspect that most of us armchair-Napoleons who are so articulate and insightful criticizing real world-generals would have at best made rather Burnsides than Jacksons....
 

Lubliner

Captain
Forum Host
Joined
Nov 27, 2018
Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Thank you very much - I would be eager to join into the next fray - although I am sadly aware that I will most probably miserably fail...

alas....something leads me to suspect that most of us armchair-Napoleons who are so articulate and insightful criticizing real world-generals would have at best made rather Burnsides than Jacksons....
General Lee is with General Pickett heading toward Gordonsville. His urgent message was for you to join the fray next time, and be a constant reminder that your good friend Lubliner has lost two in a row, and has plenty experience now to teach lessons on defeat. So don't be scared, we will entrain for Charlottesville soon, and prove running shoes can aid fighting shoes, just the same.
Lubliner.
 

Piedone

Sergeant
Joined
Oct 8, 2020
General Lee is with General Pickett heading toward Gordonsville. His urgent message was for you to join the fray next time, and be a constant reminder that your good friend Lubliner has lost two in a row, and has plenty experience now to teach lessons on defeat. So don't be scared, we will entrain for Charlottesville soon, and prove running shoes can aid fighting shoes, just the same.
Lubliner.
Run, little shoes, run for victory!
 

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
Turn 21


Battle of Gravelly Spring Gap
Around noon, Schurz' division caught up with Taliaferro's battered force in the mountainous portion of Gravelly Spring Gap. The Confederate general did his best, but even the famous name of the Stonewall division wasn't able to make five hundred men hold out against five thousand; some of the division's men evaded, but the command group and three batteries were captured.

Sigel, commanding, is reported to be very satisfied at the result.
 

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
Turn 23




Fall of Richmond

After significant confusion in the morning around approach marches, the Union 1st, 5th, 9th and 12th Corps reached the Richmond fort line on a wide arc from the Deep Run Turnpike to the Virginia Central railroad. Assaults were launched against poorly-garrisoned forts and resulted in a total of 2,000 casualties to the defenders - mostly captured - and 1,000 to the attacking Union forces.

Towards evening, Smith arrived by rail, but determined that the situation was unsalvageable as Union troops gained the Fairground. Calling together the remaining 3,500 infantry in the defences east of the Meadow Bridge Road, he marched them to Manchester and evacuated by rail along with much of the Confederate government; Di Cesnola's cavalry detected the abandonment of the forts but too late to interfere with the movement.
 

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
I can probably talk about how the above happened, now, something which I wasn't doing until this point in order to maintain strategic surprise (and avoid giving away the Union stratagem).

Essentially, after the fighting in Culpeper county, the Union crossed the Rapidan in the Wilderness area with the whole of their Left and Right wings (the 1st, 9th, 3rd and 5th Corps) and marched to Fredericksburg (cf. the battle there) before moving south along the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac to Richmond itself.

What's really interesting about this - and I'd be fascinated if the Confederate generals could chime in - is that the Confederate command remained convinced that the target of the next Union move was Gordonsville. This is a great example of where incomplete information leads to a strategic error.
 

dgfred

Corporal
Joined
Apr 13, 2020
Was not my area but I thought the enemy was trying to smash our forces (well done) and head to Richmond (done).

If supply was not so much a big issue in this game I thought I could threaten the Union flank and inflict some big damage on a stray wing or two.
Turns out the supply issues left my Corps impotent for the most part. That and losing my Cav support/eyes really hurt. Having to stay in place for best chance of forage causes problems too.

Oh well... live (war) and learn.
 

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
It's also probably not a surprise that fairly soon this game will reach the end. I'd like to ask for opinions as to which should be done next - the options being:


- Redoing one of the previous campaigns (Maryland, Gettysburg etc.) with the players "changing ends" (or not!) A privelige not often afforded to historical generals, but remember that the other side will know as well...

- The Valley Campaign of 1862. This is a much smaller game in terms of unit size, at least early on, and relies on the Confederates causing disruption and the Union not being distracted. It is however prone to be quite long.

- The Northern Virginia Campaign. Either historically based or in an alternate scenario.

- The First Bull Run Campaign.

In addition to the "usual suspects" I know @Piedone was interested in taking part. Anyone else who would like to take part should make sure to say so, and whether they would prefer Union or Confederate or if they have no strong preference either way.
 

Pat Answer

Sergeant Major
Forum Host
Joined
Oct 8, 2013
Location
“...somewhere between NY and PA”
In general, this is another - and pretty dramatic - argument for playing board games in this or a similar way. This level of surprise would be close to impossible in a face-to-face setting!
In fairness there should probably be a "friendly territory" information die roll - a "Harrison" effect on steroids - because someone along the way from Fredericksburg to Richmond would have considered it patriotic duty to do something to get the word out to Marse Robert. But it would still be a die roll - does the message get through? does the commander believe it? can cavalry confirm it? &c.

Well, congratulations to @Andy Cardinal for a well-played "hand"... :thumbsup: and as always to all the players for making things interesting and fun!

(I would be very interested to know (by PM if players choose it as the next scenario) what the detailed SP OoB for the First Bull Run campaign looks like...)
 

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
In fairness there should probably be a "friendly territory" information die roll - a "Harrison" effect on steroids - because someone along the way from Fredericksburg to Richmond would have considered it patriotic duty to do something to get the word out to Marse Robert. But it would still be a die roll - does the message get through? does the commander believe it? can cavalry confirm it? &c.
There sort of was, in that when the Union took Hanover Junction I provided that information to the Confederates. But it was only detected as cavalry, not as infantry corps marching south, because the Union cavary took the junction first.
 

Lubliner

Captain
Forum Host
Joined
Nov 27, 2018
Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Being in command of the troops from Gordonsville and Fredericksburg, I guess I should chime in on my thoughts and what I knew, as well as supposed. I knew my men around Fredericksburg were overrun by Union advances, and the support effort I had strung out in that direction from Orange Court House was too late to connect. I moved these men southward in hopes to beat the Union force driving to Richmond but failed in this attempt when their forces showed up in Hanover. By then it was too late, and only half of my force committed there because I had anticipated another drive from the Culpeper depot which the Union had first overtaken. I do agree there was insufficient gathering of any detailed information by my troops at every point I commanded.
Lubliner.
 

Andy Cardinal

1st Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 27, 2017
Location
Ohio
Was not my area but I thought the enemy was trying to smash our forces (well done) and head to Richmond (done).

If supply was not so much a big issue in this game I thought I could threaten the Union flank and inflict some big damage on a stray wing or two.
Turns out the supply issues left my Corps impotent for the most part. That and losing my Cav support/eyes really hurt. Having to stay in place for best chance of forage causes problems too.

Oh well... live (war) and learn.
Exactly the lessons I learned in the Gettysburg game (just previous to this one). Not a fun position to be in.
 

Andy Cardinal

1st Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 27, 2017
Location
Ohio
It's also probably not a surprise that fairly soon this game will reach the end. I'd like to ask for opinions as to which should be done next - the options being:


- Redoing one of the previous campaigns (Maryland, Gettysburg etc.) with the players "changing ends" (or not!) A privelige not often afforded to historical generals, but remember that the other side will know as well...

- The Valley Campaign of 1862. This is a much smaller game in terms of unit size, at least early on, and relies on the Confederates causing disruption and the Union not being distracted. It is however prone to be quite long.

- The Northern Virginia Campaign. Either historically based or in an alternate scenario.

- The First Bull Run Campaign.

In addition to the "usual suspects" I know @Piedone was interested in taking part. Anyone else who would like to take part should make sure to say so, and whether they would prefer Union or Confederate or if they have no strong preference either way.
I'd be interested again, but also willing to step aside to allow others who want to go in.

I prefer the alternate scenario situations personally.
 

Andy Cardinal

1st Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 27, 2017
Location
Ohio
I can probably talk about how the above happened, now, something which I wasn't doing until this point in order to maintain strategic surprise (and avoid giving away the Union stratagem).

Essentially, after the fighting in Culpeper county, the Union crossed the Rapidan in the Wilderness area with the whole of their Left and Right wings (the 1st, 9th, 3rd and 5th Corps) and marched to Fredericksburg (cf. the battle there) before moving south along the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac to Richmond itself.

What's really interesting about this - and I'd be fascinated if the Confederate generals could chime in - is that the Confederate command remained convinced that the target of the next Union move was Gordonsville. This is a great example of where incomplete information leads to a strategic error.
That's really interesting to me.

I always intended to cross theough the Wilderness and march to Richmond and try to get their first and never intended to go past Culpepper toward Gordonsville. What surprised me in the game was the fighting around Culpeper, which really worked out unexpectedly to my advantage. I originally intended to fight for show there, try to force Lubliner to retreat southwest or west toward the Shenandoah, then race to Richmond.

The second surprise was the fighting around Fredericksburg. I wouldnt have gone there if they Confederate forces hadn't shown up in that area after the fighting at Culpeper. My original plan was to march from Culpeper to Bowling Green.

I got lucky with cavalry and had good information the whole game. I think there were only a couple of turns I didn't know what the other side was generally doing. In the last game, I had no idea where the enemy was the whole time until they attacked and I lost the campaign.

EDIT -- I should add, despite what I said about knowing where the Confederates were much of the time, I had no idea there was still a firce near Gordonsville.
 
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