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The Orkney Wargames Club meets

in Kirkwall on Thursday evenings.


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First Clash at Munson’s Hill, 1862

The American Civil War, Rebels and Patriots, 28mm

This was something of a new departure. Several months ago I was talked into painting up two forces for a club project – American Civil War skirmish games using Rebels and Patriots. We’d planned a larger  ACW skirmish game this week, but Lindsay, the duty driver  injured her foot  and couldn’t drive. So, it was just Gyles and I, using my newly-painted Perry plastic toys. This would be their first outing.We used Scenario A from the rules – a meeting engagement with both sides trying to claim control of a hill. For the sake of setting the scene, we opted for Munson’s Hill, near Bailey’s Crossroads, Virginia. Gyles played Union, I took the Confederates, and we both had 24 points-worth of forces. The game was played on a 6×4 foot table, with Munson’s Hill in the centre, surrounded by woods and fields. Gyles had four regular units (12s), plus a light gun and a small unit of 6 cavalry. I had the same, but with one less infantry unit, as everyone but my gunners were rated as “aggressive”, which blew 5 points. Gyles got to move first, and for the first few turns we both headed for the hill in the middle of the table, although I had my cavalry off on the left flank, and Gyles had a unit of infantry out on his right.I actually made slower progress than the Yankees, as my units kept failing their move activations. As a result, it was soon clear that the Union would get to the hill first. That meant that he would have plenty of time to shoot at me as I advanced. Over to the Union left Gyles had one of his units advancing around the edge of a small fenced orchard, so it was in a position to shoot at my right-hand unit. He opened up, I took a casualty, and so the first blood was spilled of the night. There would be plenty more before we were done. I’d also been having trouble moving my cavalry, who’d reached a split rail fence, then failed to move for the next two turns. By the time they did I found that one of the Union infantry units had occupied Munson’s farmstead, and the Union gun had set up in the road. By now my Reb gun was in action too, on the left flank. It couldn’t get the guys in the farmhouse as a grove of trees stood in the way, so they opened up on the Yankees deployed around the hill.When my cavalry did move, they skirted between the grove of trees and the farmhouse, and bided their time. On the next turn they rode out whooping, and fell on the Union gun tucked around the bend on the road. Its crew were ridden down, with the loss of one rider. Then though, the Union cavalry charged me. The Confederates countercharged, and so both cavalry units fought a melee. One thing worth noting is that in an attack, “aggressive” troops fight on a “5-6” on a D6, instead of just a “6”. Then, each unit gets an extra +1 for charging, The end result was another woppin” for the Yankees – they pulled back with three casualties, while I took one. The next turn the Reb cavalry charged home again, and the Union horsemen broke. That was sort of where the rot set in for the Union. By now  my infantry had got through the cornfield, and two units were now on the hill, facing off two Union ones.  Remembering that my advantage was in charging, I attacked. Both Union units were driven off the hill, but my leading unit – the one with the flag – was badly battered now. Next turn with some more musketry it would drop to half strength- six figures. The Yankee units were both battered too though, and one of them failed its morale test and ran. Seizing the moment, the Confederate cavalry charged and chopped up one of the Union units, but the Yankees took horsemen with them. Gyles though, was fast running out of units. That put my cavalry down to half strength, which in Rebels and Patriots means half dice for fighting and shooting. At that point the riders found a quiet wood on the edge of the field! They were brave, but not crazy! Back on Munson’s Hill, Gyles led a charge from the unit holding Munson’s farm, but it took casualties from the Reb gun as it advanced, and musketry from the infantry on the hill. When they got to the lower slopes they charged, but the result was a draw. So, they got driven back. A Confederate charge then saw them off, leaving Gyles with one battered unit left – the one that had started the game on his left flank. By then though, as most of his force had gone, and his force morale had failed, we called it a day. So, it was quite a hard-fought wee game, but in the end the Confederates prevailed. It was nice to get the toys on the table though – their first outing. All of them were Perry plastic figures, apart from a few of the cavalrymen, who were from 1st Corps. Incidentally I based my infantry in the slightly unusual way suggested by Michael Leck. Each 12-strong unit had three bases of three  figures on 40mm diameter bases, plus a base each of two and one figure, on 30mm and 25mm diameter bases respectively. It actually looked pretty good, and both Gyles and I felt it speeded up the game. I might even rebase my French & Indian War kit the same way…


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