Monday, October 24, 2011

Poking Polk

The field seemed a natural for a defensive battle.  Stone walls for cover, rough fields to hinder the enemy advance, high ground on either flank...  Yep, this should do fine.  To Lieutenant General Leonidas Polk, this was a natural place to firmly stop the pursuing Yankees.  The 1st division of his corps under B.F. Cheatham, along with Anderson's brigade from Wither's division should do the trick.  Now if he only knew where "Fighting Joe" Wheeler and his cavalry were, he would be set.
The Reb center and early advance.
Meanwhile George Thomas eyed the Reb position and quickly came to a plan.  From left to right Brannon's third division would be the decisive element, flanking and upending the Rebs.  2nd division under Negley would press the center but in a controlled advance, while the 1st brigade of 1st division along with a brigade of cavalry would keep the Rebs honest on the right. 

In all, 30 Yankee infantry and five cavalry regiments with seven batteries prepared to attack 24 Rebel regiments with five batteries.  Wheeler was a wild card that might or might not show up.

Despite their numeric inferiority, on the right the Rebs stepped off to bottle up and contain the Yankee brigade and cavalry.  They were largely successful for the balance of the game in doing so.
The Yankee right.  Dismounted cavalry in the front.
In the center the Rebs perhaps deployed one wall too far forward.  The usually effective Reb artillery did little damage as the Yanks approached and got ready for a firefight.
On the left the twelve regiments moved quickly, using woods and hills to mask their approach and minimize the Reb artillery positioned on a hill.  Those guns would have to be taken out of the equation before the main attack could be launched.  Otherwise they would enfilade the main attack.
Brannon advancing (slowly).
On turn 4 the attack on the left was set and two regiments launched themselves at the Reb guns in a supported attack.  Another brigade topped the rise and began to march towards the flank of the Rebs on and around the stone walls. 
Over the hill and (not so) far away, the prize.
Double canister tore through the attacking Yankees.  Ten casualties to the lead regiment and five to the trailing.  The lead regiment faltered and then broke, but the second carried forward in a disorganized mob towards the unsupported guns.  The sudden impact of the mob forced the gunners to abandon their pieces and fall back, shaken by the experience and minus some of their men.
Panting and victorious, but facing new foes.
Sensing what was coming the Rebs began to fall back from the forward walls but on turn five a brigade sized charge was turned loose. 
Yankee center observing the retiring Rebs.
In one case the target of the two Yankee regiments had already routed (they started the turn shaken and had lost a stand in first fire) so with no one to possibly contact they halted their attack.  The other two regiments were able to hit the flank of the Reb line.  Although the holding unit turned a stand to face, it could not stop the Yankees and they began to roll up the line.  At the end of the turn, although disorganized the Yankees were pumped full of adrenalin and looking hungrily at the dangling line of other Rebs. 
"Keep at 'em boys!  Don't let 'em catch their breath!"
Turn six each commander rolled a single d6.  Thomas rolled higher than Polk so Wheeler did not show up.  The subsequent charge by the disordered Yankees hit the flank of the shaken and disordered Rebs (several had previously disengaged and had no opportunity to reform).  Whole regiments threw down their arms while others scattered.  At this point the no doubt shaken Polk decided to send the two wings of his force off while allowing the Yanks their objective, control of the two roads exiting the center of the table.

As was so often the case in western theatre among the Confederates, there was much ballyhooing afterwards about what could have been done differently.  Among the Yankees they quietly congratulated themselves on a relatively bloodless victory and the continued pursuit of the damned Butternuts.

Rules were Johnny Reb III, alternate resolution system for charges, six players, started pushing lead around 1:30 Sunday afternoon and finished at 4:30 with various distractions for World Cup Rugby and Packers football. 

No comments:

Post a Comment