The friendliest of hostilities resumed in GHQ this week, with Phil tactfully choosing an ACW game to kick off the new year. The game is another of our series of loosely linked games, forming the 'Robinson in the Valley' campaign. An indifferent performance by both commanders so far sees neither worthy of promotion and so their basic command remains the Division of two or three Brigades'. The action sees Robinson's Rebs presented with an opportunity to defeat Bykleigh's Union force at Rawnsley Gap and so open the route into the valley for much needed reinforcements. If he succeeds the Rebs win and he is promoted, receiving a further Brigade in the next game. If Bykleigh can hold the gap then he is the winner, promotion and a possible Medal of Honor might be his fate. Defeat might see him sent out west...
The opening scene of the game. Robinson's difficulty is effectively deploying his troops into the narrow Gap, all the while being harassed from Union positions to his front. He has a Brigade deployed for a flanking attack on his left, but the going is difficult over broken ground and a wooded ridge making progress slow. Now, as is customary, the usual annotated photomontage to convey a sense of how the battle panned out ~
Calder's Brigade advances briskly past Lender's Farm, where the Staff are hard at it trying to work out where they will head after brushing 'those people' aside.
Paddock's Brigade are making heavy going of their advance. It seems there is some confusion when it comes to orders being received.
Brecher's Brigade takes the centre of the Union position around Aston's Farmstead with Moore's Brigade in support.
The 1st USSS are thrown forward in Open Order along a wooded ridge. They will hopefully slow down any advancing Rebs on the Union's right.
The Rebs' artillery opens the battle with a furious bombarding of both Brecher's and Desch's positions. Despite losses the boys stand firm. "They shall not pass!"
With Desch's command coming under heavy fire Bykleigh orders the Pennsylvanian cavalry forward with a view to occupying Aston's Farmstead and bringing some added fire on the advancing Rebs
On the Rebs' right O'Brien's Brigade is making slow progress forward shadowed by the 1st USSS.
Calder's leading regiment shakes out into line as it prepares to move forward across the open fields towards the enemy
Desch's command is coming under increasing pressure and some Disorder ensues. Support is now at hand though as the Pennsylvanians reach the farmstead.
Just in time they occupy the farm house and gardens as Calder's attack gets underway. If their left is turned Brecher's position will be difficult to defend and 'PJ' may seize the Gap!
Under growing pressure from O'Brien's Brigade the Sharpshooters are forced to fall back on their supporting infantry. There is real tension in the ranks as they hear the Rebs approaching through the woods!
A Fierce firefight breaks out as the Rebs close in on the Sharpshooters. The Rebel Yell rings out and under pressure the Sharpshooters fall back behind their supports.
Calder's Brigade has come under increasingly effective fire causing much Disorder in the ranks and stalling progress on the Rebs' right
Despite continuous artillery fire the Union boys are standing firm as the game nears it's halfway point.
Calder's Brigade is struggling to reform under steady Union fire. The Rebs'right is looking very shaky now.
At last Paddock's Brigade shakes out into line and begins to bring real pressure to bear on the Union centre and right. Moore's Brigade moves out to support the threatened flank.
In the centre the Rebs of Paddock's Brigade advance with determination but the western boys under Brecher stand firm.
On the Union's left Desch's command and the Pennsylvania cavalry have done their job, Calder's Brigade falls back Whipped!
On the Union's right and in the centre heavy firing is taking its toll on both sides! Once more the Rebel Yell rings out as they charge forward into contact.
Despite their advantage in numbers though the Rebs'first attack fails. The western boys sure fight hard!
A moment of disaster unfolds for the Union as in fierce fighting Brecher falls and his Brigade, without command, falters. O'Brien senses his moment has come to press home his attacks and beat back the troops on the Union right
However, he has misjudged the boys in blue. Despite mounting losses they put up stiff resistance. Their steady fire sees O'Brien's Brigade fall back Whipped! Of all the times for the dice gods to desert Phil this was the cruelest, as victory turns to defeat...
As Turn 12 and thus the game concludes both armies are badly mauled. As the scenario did not allow for a draw the win goes to the Union who have held the Gap, just...
Order of Battle :-
Union ~ Brig Gen'l 'Useless' S Bykleigh
1st Brigade - Col Brecher
2nd Brigade - Col Moore
23 Pa Vol, Burney's Zouavres
3rd Brigade - Col Desch
8 NJ Vols
Battery L NY Light Artillery
Rebels ~ Brig Gen'l 'PJ' Robinson
1 Va Cavalry
Sussex Light Dragoons
1st Brigade - Calder
Crump's Battery 9lb Napoleons
2nd Brigade - Paddock
Anderson's Battery 3" Rifles
3rd Brigade - O'Brien
Another really close and taxing game which might in the final two turns have gone either way, but for the dice... A few bonus pictures to finish as a reward for my loyal reader making it through to the end ~