A game of Bloody Big Battles set in the ‘A71’ Alternative History 1871 Universe.
The ‘A71’ alternative timeline is detailed here.
A small section of Indian Territory (now part of Oklahoma) lies outside the border of New France (red-dotted line) and adjacent to Missouri and Arkansas.
Lead elements of a Confederate force have been spotted making a river crossing near Enterprise, MO.
Their objective is to secure the Eastern shore of the Neosho river and deny Union expansion beyond Missouri borders up to the Neosho River.
For the purposes of BBB: All hills are steep. Neosho is impassible. Cayuga can be crossed by infantry (-3″) or Cavalry (-6″). Impassible to Artillery.
Wyandotte is a built up area. Stone walls do not effect movement but provide +1 cover. There are 6 objectives. (Shown with Red Stars.) At the end of a player’s turn, if they have the closest unit within 6″ then they can a) Place their own flag on the objective if they don’t have one there already. b) If they do already have a flag there, they can remove an enemy flag if one is present. An objective is contested if it has two flags present. It is Controlled if only one flag is present.
4 x State Regular troops. St 5, Trnd, A, ML
2 x CSA Regulars: St 5, Vet, A, ML
1 x CSA Art, RA
2 x Generals
Confederate Second Corps has the same composition as First Corps.
6 x State Militia, St 5, Raw, ML
3 x State Regulars, St 5, Trnd, ML
3 x Art, RA
1 x General
Union I Corps
4 x State Regular St 5,Trnd, ML
2 x USA Regular, St 5, Vet, ML
1 x USA Veterans, St 5, S1, Vet, ML
1 x US Cavalry, St 3, Trnd, RC
2 x Art, RA
1 x General
The First Confederate Corps starts stretched out along the Cayuga river heading towards where it joins the Neosho. A solitary brigade holds the bridge in their rear.
A Second Confederate Corps crossed the Neosho further North and is marching down the East bank with the intention of joining with first Corp.
The Missouri Militia start the game from the Eastern table edge between the small settlements of Hart and Tiff. (Some hasty earthworks had been thrown up earlier).
The regular Federal Corps is marching double-time from Carthage and should appear soon.
(Note: 2 command stands = Veteran, 1 command stand = Trained, 0 command stands = raw.)
The commander of the first Confederate Corps is watching nervously for the first couriers from his allied Corps. A French flying column is reported to be active somewhere North from here on the West bank of the Neosho. Hopefully, he will see friendly couriers before he sees French scouts!
On the CSA Left Flank the brigades of First Corps shook out from column to Line and splashed across the shallow Cayuga. The stream was wider than expected and by the time most of the Corp had reached the base of the ridge, the first Missouri Militia was already at the top looking down at them. Sheltered in the shadow of the contours the brigade prepared to make the uphill assault. Note the two brigades of Veterans on the left. All other things being equal, they should clear the ridge.
Meanwhile, in the centre, large numbers of Missouri troops ‘gathered in their masses’, poured across the open terrain By deploying the First Corps into line immediately the CSA player (me) had left the middle of the table empty. A clear route to the Neosho river. Into this gap Union troops poured.
Two brigades of regulars and two of militia in column along with limberded artillery head for the river. The brigade on the right has deployed into line and is heading off at an angle towards the nearest CSA units.
Meanwhile on the CSA Left Flank….. Delay in arrival slowed the advance of the second CSA Corps. An unseemly rush took place trying to secure the small town of Wyandotte. Stonewalls to the East of the settlement were chosen as the anchor for defence. It seemed like an unending stream of Union troops were appearing directly en route to the town and also on a commanding rise overlooking the chosen defensive line. 😦
Back on the CSA right, the two Veteran brigades had stormed up the slope and established a demanding position. The advance had come at a heavy cost. Fresh units diverted from the centre are closing fast. Further along the ridge, a determined assault was driven back. (I’d forgotten about the +2 in combat if the attacker crossed a contour line within 6″ of contact.)
All along the ridge, the Militia put up a strong defence. They even managed to push forwards towards the Objective Marker at the bridge that had been in CSA hands since the start of the game.
Back on the Left hand of CSA line, the massed Union advance was held at bay. Mostly helped by an excellent round of Union firing that caused many units to go low on ammo. They retired out of musket range to replenish their supply of cartridges. [In BBB you remove low-ammo condition from infantry by withdrawing till you are free from the threat of enemy small arms fire.]
Tired confederates rushed to the battered stone walls and filled the gaps caused by withering Union fire. (At the same time securing the objective!) One brigade charged on in an attempt to make contact with enemy that had been left exposed due to a mishandled withdraw order. Unfortunately, the combined defensive fire on approach halted the attacker and the Brigade following it in support.
Back on the Right flank, the end of the CSA line collapsed, allowing a surge of militia to capture the objective point on the road to Enterprise MO. Isolated CSA started to execute a fighting withdrawal back across the Cayuga river.
Orders to withdraw to the river hadn’t reached the two Veteran Brigades who had now driven all Federal forces in front of them off the ridge. Unfortunately, the Union brigades had only fallen back as far as a prepared gun-line in the valley beyond.
Reports that the woods on their flank were now full of troops in blue uniforms convinced the local commander to withdraw slightly and secure the objective at the western end of the ridge. Just in time since more Federal forces had been closing in behind as well.
Light began to fade and both sides withdrew along their lines of supply.
USA: 3 objectives held.
CSA: 3 objectives held.
All in all a thoroughly enjoyable evening of BBB. We hadn’t played with these rules for a while but we only had to open the book once or twice. One of my favourite sets of rules. I highly recommend them. It seems most people use them for refighting historical battles. (We have done that with several ACW battles.)
In terms of the ‘A71’ Alternative History 1871 campaign, the result means neither the USA nor CSA has decisive control of the Eastern bank of the Neosho in this part of the country. If the CSA had won decisive control it would have provided them with a more secure route into the central plains. If the USA had won decisive control it would have forced the CSA over to the other side of the Neosho river into closer conflict with the French forces. (The French are establishing a corridor from Louisiana up to Kansas.)
The ‘A71’ alternative timeline is detailed here.