Monday, 7 January 2019
The Battle of Antietam, a Volley and Bayonet bloodfest.
In the forty plus years of wargaming there are only certain battles that one comes away from and thinks what a brilliant affair, if only I'd done so and so. Antietam was just such a battle.
In the real battle the union army consisted of 87,000 men vastly outnumbered the confederates 45,000. In order to create a balanced scenario the rebels were of better quality, and possessed a 'desperation' factor which allowed them to continue when exhausted. Additionally the Union corps arrived piecemeal onto the battlefield and were in the main of lower exhaustion levels. One mistake we made which to be honest didnt spoil the fun was to allow me to pick which Union corps was to be activated first as opposed to the initial attack by the First Corps as per history.
Initially things appeared to be going my way as I threw Sumner's 2nd Corps across the river, driving back the small rebel holding force and virtually destroying them in quick time.
Im afraid after that things began to unravel as each time I was allowed to introduce an additional corps John was able to riposte with devastating firepower and damned rebel grit.
After a full five hours of play, I had pushed the rebels back to the Bloody Lane where John had scraped together the remnants of the rebel army and was intent on making a final stand.
But I had nothing left to inflict the coup de grace and so activated the reserve corps which in the scenario signaled that the rebels had 'won' simply because they had damaged the Union so much that they couldn't inflict the crushing defeat that was demanded in the scenario. Yes the Confederates were sorely damaged as in reality but then the Union army was also in dire condition and unfit to carry on. It was a wonderful but exhausting game. It could have been the cold, but I felt like Id actually fought in the battle.
We had recovered by the Sunday and John and I took the short journey to Gateshead to Ardhammer, which was an interesting way to begin the new wargaming season. Ardhammer as I have mentioned before is a meeting of gamers who come to sell their spare armies, games, and sundry other wargaming ephemera. Yes it may focus on Games Workshop and the like but I noticed there was a lot more historical stuff on offer. We were both still under the weather but somehow managed to spend some cash on items that appeared of use in the future. I know nothing about Games Workshop armies but I do like their paint and was able to pick up a couple of odd items for my grandson who enjoys playing with the few 40K figures I had painted for him. I do have a problem though and that is how do I top our first game of the new year. It is going to be very difficult.