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The Orkney Wargames Club meets

in Kirkwall on Thursday evenings.


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The Battle of Iuka 1862

The American Civil War, Brigade Fire & Fury, 28mm 

For a while now, I’ve been building up units for the American Civil War. At first I was just doing Union troops, but when ‘Sean 2’ moved away with his Confederates I had to raise them too. This was their first outing. Sean (formerly ‘Sean 1’) and I wanted to play a small game, as we’re still getting used to the re-designed 2nd edition of the rules. At the start we planned to use the old Fire & Fury rules, but we soon switched to these ones after trying them. This game was a refight of the Battle of Iuka (September 1862), fought in the wilds of Mississippi during the Corinth campaign. This was ideal for us, as with just four brigades a side, and a meeting engagement, it was an ideal ‘learning curve’ game. As you can see from the map above it was fought in the woods, interspersed with large clearings, and so it would get us used to the ‘fighting in woods’ part of the rules. Yes, I know. I need more trees – a lot more! Anyway, in this, Sean had two Divisions under Gen. Rosencrans, which were marching north towards Iuka up the Jacinto Road. Each division had two brigades, and a couple of gun batteries. Meanwhile, Gen. Price was heading south on the same road, with Little’s Division of four brigades. At the start, at around 5.30pm, the leading one was deployed in supported line, covering the division’s advance. When contact was made, Sean’s second division (Stanley’s) still wasn’t on the table. So, Brig. Gen. Hamilton’s division had to hold the line. The little hill above, where the leading brigade (Sanborn’s) are crossing was deemed ‘key ground’ – and therefore an objective. Like an idiot I put it at the edge of the table though, and had to stretch across as far as I could reach for much of the game! Sean quickly deployed there, and battle commenced! The opening shot was actually one of my Reb artillery batteries, shooting up the Jacinto road at the Union  batteries unlimbering on the hill. Of my four brigades, Martin’s – the one in ‘supported line’ above wheeled and headed for the Union troops on the hill, while the rest moved up to support them. For their part the Union troops held the hill, with their two gun batteries deploying on the left of Sanborn’s brigade.The first real clash of steel came when Martin’s brigade charged up the hill at Sanborn’s Union line. the Rebs were bounced though, and fell back slightly, disordered. The two Union guns also wrecked my battery on the road, so I wasn’t really getting off to a good start! Things got slightly better for the Confederates though, when Hebert’s brigade came up, and fire from Martin’s brigade drove Sanborn’s Union troops off the hill in disorder. They then wheeled to face the rest of the Union army coming up the road towards them. Meanwhile, Hebert’s brigade charged the guns on Martin’s flank. The divisional commander, General Little led the charge in person. This was a little rash, but it paid off – the guns were overrun.That meant that ‘Meeting House Hill’ was now firmly in Confederate hands. All I had to do was to hold it until darkness fell – just a few turns away.  A brief melee with Sullivan’s Union brigade deployed in line at the foot of the hill didn’t really work, but the next turn the Union troops were driven back, breaking formation to flow around the reinforcements – Stanley’s division, coming up the road.Both General Rosencrans and General Price were now at the front, exhorting their troops to greater efforts – and placing themselves in danger. Surprisingly though, neither of thew as killed in this short battle. By now the two smaller Confederate brigades were coming up to support the larger ones already in action, while Sullivan’s two brigades were doing the same. Deploying them though, would take time, especially among all those trees. However, by now it was twilight, and firing ranges dropped, while troops manoeuvred more cautiously. Both sides still had a two brigades which hadn’t even got into the fight, but it was becoming clear they wouldn’t achieve anything before the pitch darkness ended the battle – and the game. Both sides blazed away at each other, but again the woods hindered the effectiveness of all this musketry, while the guns  – we now had two batteries apiece – couldn’t really find somewhere to deploy. Those damned trees kept getting in the way!  Still, Sean managed to get one of Stanley’s two  batteries into action before nightfall. I didn’t get mine anywhere near the fighting. Eventually, night fell, and the firing slackened and stopped. Game over! We counted up the casualties, which were surprisingly light. In the end the Union lost 6 stands, and the confederates lost 5. So, neither side had reached 8 stands – the heavy casualties level – but it still meant a Victory Point to the Confederates. That, plus another for holding the ‘key position’ of the hill earned the Rebs a victory of sorts.This though, being a ‘learning curve’ game, wasn’t really the point. For us, Iuka was all about learning and having fun! 


6 Responses “The Battle of Iuka 1862”

  1. Will Haughan
    31st March 2024 at 1:13 pm

    Interesting report as always and good looking table. Are there many rules changes between the two editions? Do the changes seem like improvements?

    • 31st March 2024 at 6:01 pm

      Hi Will, and I’m really glad you enjoyed the write up.
      Well, the rules are largely the same – but different. For instance, the firing points system has been changed for the better, and different weapons (eg smoothbore and rifled artillery) get different ranges and factors. The main thing though, is that all of the vagueness has gone, and the rules are really well explained, and accompanied by handy diagrams. Essentially, they’ve tweaked with the system, and improved it, but changed the main tenets of the system. I planned to just use the old version, but changed my mind after trying out the new version. it really is an improvement.

  2. Joseph
    31st March 2024 at 6:25 pm

    Good to know about the rules. Long time back we played the first edition but we never liked the huge swings a d10 roll can do for close combat.
    We switched to Bloody Big Battles which uses 2 d6 for activations/fire combat and 1 d6 for close combat. More of a bell curve for activations/firing at least. Less modifiers too.
    Nice collection!

    • 31st March 2024 at 7:07 pm

      Joseph, I’m sure your right about BBB, but I’ve only plagiarism once. The 2nd edn. of F&F have changed the system, and achieved that bell curve by changing the way you add points together, to produce the number you roll the D10 on. It’s much less flaky.

      • Joseph
        1st April 2024 at 6:52 pm

        Good news about the 2nd edition then. I assume (maybe wrongly) that the author of BBB got permission from the owners of F & F to release his version. Never have heard of any issues before about plagiarism.

        • 1st April 2024 at 11:13 pm

          I’ve no idea about the legality there Joseph.
          However, I can vouch that Brigade F&F are much slicker and better formatted than the original version.

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