Saturday, December 5, 2020

Battle of Perryville, 1862

This Friday we got together for some more small-group gaming and played the Battle of Perryville using Pickett's Charge by David CR Brown. This battle was the largest fought in Kentucky during the American Civil War and was coordinated alongside the Lee's invasion of Maryland in the East. Perryville was fought on October 8th, 1862, under a month after Antietam. 

For the past year or so our group has been enjoying the Pickett's Charge rules for regimental scale battles, but we decided to upscale this scenario to try and play an entire battle at once while allowing for flank maneuvers. At 10'x6' the table represented just under 3 miles wide of terrain and each unit was representing an entire brigade (with activation being done at the Divisional level).

Initial positions of Union and Rebel forces

In the historical battle the Union army outnumbered the Confederates by 55,000 men to 16,000 at the end of day. While initially it was an even fight, with around 20,000 Union engaged it is still a very difficult scenario for the Confederacy to win as the attackers. The objective was for the Confederates to try and break one of the Union divisions starting on table as it would force Maj Gen. Buell to reconsider his position.

Ed and I took command of the Confederate forces, Ed as Maj Gen. Leonidas Polk commanding Maj. Gen Cheatem's crack division on the right flank, while I was Gen. Braxton Bragg overseeing Maj Gen. Hardee's Corps of two divisions commanded by Brig. Gen. Anderson and Maj. Gen. Buckner in the center and left flank.

Mark commanding Maj. Gen McCook's I Corps with Brig. Gen Rousseau and Brig. Gen Jackson's divisions on the Union left, while Myles was acting as Gen. Buell while controlling Maj Gen. Gilbert's Corps of Brig. Gen Sheridan's division on table as well as the Union reserve of Brig. Gen. Schoepf's division moving in to aid the Union lines.

The Confederate plan was to smash into Mark's green Union division on the right with Cheatem and Anderson's divisions while Buckner held off any Union flanking maneuvers.

Buckner's Division deploys

Cheatem's boys ready for a fight

Jackson's division prepares for the onslaught

As the Confederates stepped off things immediately fell apart, Myles' accurate artillery fire (and amazing die rolls all night) put pressure on Buckner's division right away. Breaking the Rebel artillery and inflicting casualties on the infantry as they advanced in the open. My rolling was dreadful all game and I repeatedly failed to activate Anderson and Buckner to push in to support Ed's assault with Cheatem's division. 

Hesitant brigades...the downfall of any attack

Buckner advances under sustained fire

Ed's attack on the right managed to get stuck in with several exchanges of fire and charges going back and forth. With the green Union forces of Jackson's division slowly giving ground effectively without breaking. Meanwhile, as my divisions advanced in the center repeated Union artillery barrages and a counterattack by Sheridan's division broke Buckner's men and sent Confederates streaming back to their initial positions. All the while Anderson's division was frozen in the woods after failing in subsequent turns to advance, only able to exchange fire with Union skirmishers, they left all the heavy lifting to Cheatem.

Cheatem's division charges into the Union left

Green Union brigades stand fast!

Buckner's division falls apart in the face of difficult opposition

At this point we decided to call the game, Gen. Buell had arrived on board along with the Union reserve. With one of my divisions fleeing and another bogged down, there was little prospect for a Confederate victory.

Overall, we enjoyed the larger scale for the scenario and we are already thinking of doing the same with Seven Years War forces in the future. Being able to maneuver more easily at what is essential 15mm scale adds a different dynamic you do not get in regimental fights.

Now excuse me while I find some new dice!

Gen. Bragg pours himself a stiff one as his men flee the field

Positions at the end of the battle. Buckner is flight, Anderson frozen, Cheatem pushing up. All the while Union counterattack in the center.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Battle for Brihuega, March 10th, 1937

Six months into COVID lockdown the Chitown Wargamers have been gaming occasionally and I have been neglecting the blog!

This past Friday Myles, Mark, Ed and I got together to game a scenario from my Chain of Command: España "tapas-sized" campaign, Guadalajara no es Abisinia, that covers the Guadalajara campaign from March 8th to 23rd 1937. I started working on this at the beginning of June and have been tweaking it over the Summer. 
This scenario covers the third day of the Nationalist offensive where the CTV is pushing into the town of Brihuega. Historically they overran the town with support from Flame-throwing CV33s. For the game tonight we have three Nationalist platoons; CTV Tank platoon of three CV33s, CTV Infantry and Falangist Militia. For the Republicans there were two platoons consisting of the Garibaldi Battalion and a regular Ejército Popular de la República platoon (EPR).

Setup of Brihuega

The Nationalist plan was to attack in a pincer from both sides of town with the CTV armor supporting the Falangists on the left while the CTV infantry came from right to pin the Garibaldis. Early on Ed was able to run the Falangists up to the Republican flank with his infantry and cavalry to contest one of the Republican jump off points preventing any more support to come up.

Mark revealed his Soviet aid early, dropping a 45mm Anti-tank gun inside the town to start shooting towards the CV33s. Unfortunately for him, all his shots missed over the tops of the Italian tankettes.

CV33s reluctantly advance

Ed's Falangist flanking maneuver paid off as Mark was unable to deploy anything in response. Which left the anti-tank gun by itself to be overrun by some aggressive Nationalist cavalry. Knocking his force morale down greatly leaving Myles' Garibaldis with a lot of work to do to hold the town.

Falangist cavalry charge the flank!

The aftermath of the anti-tank gun being overrun

Meanwhile on the other flank the CTV infantry were taking their time slowly coming up while being suppressed by the Garibaldis. The Nationalists managed to end the turn using a Chain dice and dropped the EPR platoon's morale down to 1 through loss of a jump-off point. At this point we called the game a decisive Nationalist victory as the Garibaldis decided to withdraw from Brihuega before the CV33s could catch up with the Nationalist infantry.

The CTV arrive and begin to put fire into Brihuega

Final positions of Republicans before withdrawing

Overall it was a fun game and nice to break out our Spanish Civil War forces for the first time in a while. Ed's aggressive cavalry charge paid off as Mark had purchased several entrenchments that if he had gotten down on his right would have bogged down our entire attack on the flank.

I am looking forward to continuing to work on the campaign guide to try and get it completed before the end of the year. Hopefully we'll be play-testing some more scenarios that may pop up here on the blog in the next few weeks.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Didn't Know I Needed This

First the disclaimer.  I purchased these myself.  There are no affiliate links nor do any of us receive anything as a result of you reading this or clicking on links.

So what the heck are these?  They're Citadel painting handles!  They're designed to allow you to more easily hold your miniatures while you paint them.  Instead of using glue, super glue or fun-tack you attach your figures to these instead.  Here is a picture of how a variety of figures / bases attach.

I picked these up last year in December on a whim and I've been using them for a few months now.  I have to say that I'm a believer.  My hands are on the bigger side, so holding figures during painting was always a bit of a problem.  These make it much easier.  Also as they're spring loaded, no having to wait for glue to dry, nor monkeying around with fun-tack.  Above is a 25mm round MDF base, a 30mm lipped plastic base as well as a 25mm x 50mm pill-shaped MDF base.  No issues with any of them.  I understand they'll handle up to 40mm, but that seems a stretch to me.  It seems to be physically possible, but I'm not sure how the springs or plastic will stand up to that much pressure.

There are a couple of minor down-sides to them.  There isn't really an easy way to deal with detached riders, unless you glue them onto a round base.  So these doesn't really address that problem if you like painting riders and horses separately.  They seem to be well constructed, but they are light.  That means it's easy to tip them over while you have figures on top.  If you're clumsy, this will be something on-going for you.  But you're probably already used to that problem.  Other than those two issues, I've had no reason to complain.  They're not the best thing since sliced bread, but they do making painting just a little bit easier.

There are lots of reviews out there if you want to learn more before you take the plunge.  I paid a bit under $35 for a box of 5 delivered through our favorite delivery service, so the price in multiples of 5 isn't really that much.  I give them a solid recommendation if you're looking to spend some of your disposable income on gaming supplies.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

With No Conventions in Sight...

These were some new miniatures / terrain that I had planned on using for my Moby Dux! game I was running at Little Wars.  Since Little Wars is now canceled, I figured I would share some of what I had prepared.  The goal of the game was for each of the five players to pick up the most "loot" using the Dux Britanniarum rules from Too Fat Lardies.  There were numerous flocks of sheep and goats, several buildings as well as the dead whale on this picture that could all be used as loot.  Each time you "looted" a flock, it would run off in a random direction.  Our play test was a hoot and I'm really disappointed the convention had to be canceled, but I plan on putting it on once we get on the other side of this.

The field is an old Architects of War resin terrain piece I finished painting a few weeks ago.  I picked it up a couple of months ago "new in the box" at an estate sale they held at Games Plus.  It's a beautiful piece of terrain and makes you appreciate the wonderful work you can do in resin.  It's a pity their business blew up, but unfortunately just because you make a great product, it doesn't guarantee a successful business.  That field is heavy enough to break your foot if you happened to drop the field on top of it.

If you're wondering why there would be an estate sale at a gaming store, there is a good reason.  It turns out that you really can't take it with you when you die.  And unfortunately for most of us, it means a massive collection of miniatures and gaming paraphernalia needs a home when a gamer passes away.  So Games Plus worked with 3 different estates of gamers who passed away in the last few years and put on a massive "estate sale" filled with these three different collections.  If your spouse or significant other complains about your collection, just show them this!  Seriously, this isn't even all the things that were on sale - this is only what I could fit in my field of view.

The dead whale was purchased from Majestic Miniatures, and was 3-D printed.  There are a couple of 28mm figures added to the picture for scale.  It's about 10" long, so impressively large.  I purchased a few miniatures including the whale, all 3-D printed from this vendor.  The prices were reasonable and the service was fast.  You can find the whale here if you're interested in one of your own.  This was my second foray into 3-D printed miniatures, and my overall complaint is the same.  Namely, the ridges that get left on surfaces that should be smooth.  This whale is considerably better than some old ruins I purchased last year and probably isn't even noticeable in this picture.  But I was annoyed as I was painting.  A couple of the other pieces I bought from Majestic didn't exhibit the "ridging", but they also didn't have the large amount of gently curving surfaces either so I think it comes mainly down to the specific figure.  And to be clear, I'm very happy with the price, service and overall figure.  Next time I'll take some very fine sandpaper if I run into a figure with a little ridging.  Live and learn.

Until we can game again!!!

Monday, February 17, 2020

Little Wars 2020 - Lard America Games!

HMGS Midwest's Little Wars 2020 is coming up April 23rd to 26th in Lombard, Illinois. Lard America Midwest will be hosting 17 games over the weekend, by eight different GMs. While game times are still being finalized, and will be posted by February 29th, 2020. We wanted to share the games coming up and the days they will be hosted.

Once start times are posted, I will update the list to include that information to assist with registration. We hope to see you there!

Friday, April 24th 


Blood in the streets, the last desperate defense - Chain of Command WW2 - Hosted by Jim Harms

Chain of Command game set during the battle of the bulge. Their forward positions overrun, and with news of another column of Germans advancing towards their open left flank, Capt. Ryerson and Lt Hyduke, organize the exhausted defenders to fight their foe yet again. The Germans too are exhausted but sense the Americans have reached the end of their rope.

Death Comes to Longvilly -  Chain of Command WW2 - Hosted by Jim Harms

The cold, hungry and weary advancing elements of the 77th VG regiment have bumped into an American roadblock just outside Longvilly in the early hours of December 19th, 1944. Without armor support they postpone their attack until some armor support can be “borrowed” from the 2nd Panzer Division to assist. Can the tired and disordered troops of CCR 9th AD delay the Germans long enough for the 101st AB prepare their defenses?

Battle of the Bloody Gulch, 13 June 1944 - Chain of Command WW2 - Hosted by Liam Harding

D+6, One mile southwest of Carentan, elements of the 101st Airborne face a counter-attack from units of the 17th SS PzGren Div. and 6th Fallschirmjaeger Reg. Can the airborne forces hold on until the 2nd Armored arrives to save the day? Or will the Germans break through to retake Carentan?

Bois Des Caures - Chain of Command WW1 - Hosted by Paul Scrivens-Smith

February 1916. ‘Of every five Chasseurs, two are buried alive in their dug-outs, two are wounded and the fifth waits.’

Heroes of Aubigny: Part I - Chain of Command WW2 - Hosted by Jim Heniff

Aubigny France, May 24 1940:   As the Dunkirk evacuation began to unfold in May 1940, the German 2. Inanterie-Div (mot) began seizing crossings over the Somme River in preparations for future offensive operations.   Emboldened by the lack of French on the Somme, lightly armed recon units were dispatched to seize river crossing until further reinforcements could arrive.   At Aubigny, the Germans happened to cross in the proximity of the recently arrived veterans of the 4e DIC (Colonial Infantry Division), who immediately launched an attack with the 24e RTS (Senegalese Tirailleur Regiment).   Can the Germans hold the town and bridge until reinforcements arrive or will the ‘Senegalese’ and their chouchou knives show the Boche this is no demoralized reserve division they’re facing but colonial regulars with something to prove?

What a tanker extravaganza! Berlin, 1945 - What a Tanker - Hosted by Ed Harding

Late war Russian and German tanks square off in the rubble of Berlin. WAT, 1/56th 4 to 10 players  - will run twice  on Friday

Saturday, April 25th


786th Bomb Squadron attacks! - Bag the Hun - Hosted by Paul Scrivens-Smith

786th Bombardment Squadron – 7th May 1944
Having taken off from RAF Attlebridge in Norfolk the 466th Bombardment Group (Heavy) will be attacking the marshaling yards at Liege in preparation for the invasion of Europe.

Aachen 1944 - Chain of Command WW2 - Hosted by Mark Huml

Aachen '44.  October 13, 1944, Aachen, with the city cutoff the reinforced US 26th Infantry regiment advances from the east to secure the city center and complete the capture of the first major German city in the path of the American advance. Inexperienced Volksgrenadiers supported by drafts from the Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine aim to delay the Americans in the narrow streets.

Berlin 1945 - Chain of Command WW2 - Hosted by Mark Huml

April 30, 1945, Berlin, about a mile SE of the Reichstag. With the end in sight an assault group of the 1st Belorussian Front probes forward street by street towards the government district. The last defenders of the Third Reich fight on hoping to contain the Russians: There is talk of a breakout to the North if they can only hold the perimeter till nightfall.

Bushy Run - Sharp Practice 2 - Hosted by Al Muelling, John Adams & Clyde Holmes.

Battle of Bushy Run, August 5-6, in western Pennsylvania during Pontiac’s Uprising in 1763. A British column on their way to relieve the garrison under siege at Fort Pitt is confronted by a combined force of Delaware, Shawnee, Mingo and Huron warriors.

Heroes of Aubigny: Part II - Chain of Command WW2 - Hosted by Jim Heniff

Aubigny France: May 25 1940:   Yesterday, the 24e RTS (Senegalese Tirailleur Regiment) had retaken the bridge over the Somme at Aubigny France from recon forces of the 2. Intanterie-div (mot).   Overnight the infamous German 13. Infanterie-div (mot) arrived after racing across Belgium and France and was intent on retaking the bridge.   Since other nearby bridges were still held by the Germans the ‘Senegalese’ must destroy the bridge before it is recaptured.   French engineers had finally arrived at dusk but the Germans are preparing to attack.   Can the 24e RTS hold the bridge long enough for the engineers to destroy the bridge or will the German secure another bridge across the Somme river?

Davis' Crossroads - Pickett's Charge - Hosted by Liam Harding

A what-if scenario? One week prior to the Battle of Chickamauga Confederate forces had the chance to destroy a Union division that was exposed. Historically Confederate Maj. Gen. Hindman failed to attack thinking he was outnumbered. What would of happened if he had attacked?

Rorke's Drift - Sharp Practice 2, modified - Hosted by Ed Harding

Rorke’s Drift, January 22nd, 1879. As the British defenders can you repeat history and hold off the Zulu hoards or as the Zulus can you finish off the small British garrison and bring more glory to the Zulu nation.

Moby Dux! - Dux Brittanium - Hosted by Jeff Hady

Their luck seemed too good to be true when a whale carcass washed up on the shore next to their settlement.  It meant food for the winter, oil for burning and teeth for carving.  But this small Viking settlement was in for a rude surprise the next day as word of their good fortune winged it's way to their neighbors at the speed of a raven.     Neighboring Normans, Vikings and Saxons are all arriving at the same time in order to claim their fair share of the carcass, as well as to help themselves to the food and livestock of the settlement.  It's a five way battle and the winner will be the one who is able to gather the most resources (whale, sheep, pigs, cattle).

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Davis' Crossroads - Chickamauga

This past Saturday, Chris, Matt, James, Aaron, Andy and Myself got together to give Pickett's Charge a second go. I decided to run the hypothetical scenario, Davis' Crossroads from Brad Butkovich's great A Murderous Fire: Regimental Scenarios for the Battle of Chickamauga: Sept 11th-19th. I own most of Brad's series of ACW scenario books and they are all fantastic with great maps and are easily adaptable to multiple game systems/scales.

Historically Maj General James Negley's division advanced toward Lafayette, GA ahead of the main battle of Chickamauga, they were lured up towards Dug Gap by Pigeon Mountain before realizing he was being drawn in a trap. Braxton Bragg had ordered Maj Gen. Hindman's division to attack with Maj Gen. Patrick Cleburne's division to crush the Union salient. Hindman flinched historically and failed to advance on the Union forces before they withdrew, this scenario presents that Hindman acted aggressively and was able to coordinate with Cleburne's division.

Forces Overview

Board and initial Union dispositions
The Union command consisted of two division commanded by Maj Gen. Negley and Maj Gen. Absalom Baird commanding five total brigades and three artillery batteries. The majority of Union brigades started around the Davis' farm preparing for a Confederate onslaught, with one brigade, Sirwell's, arriving as a reserve.

Confederate forces
The Confederate forces were two divisions, Hindman's and Cleburne's, which were significantly larger than their Union counterparts. Their attack would be staggered, with Hindman arriving on turn one and Cleburne coming on turn four.

The Battle

Hidman's Division arrived and immediately pushes the Union line
Sirwell's brigade moving up in support
Cleburne's division arrives
Deshler's brigade of (dis)mounted infantry arrive
Union artillery open up on Cleburne's division
Sirwell's brigade saves the Union left by flanking Anderson's brigade
Confederate artillery pushes up to clear Union forces in the woods
Cleburne's division breaks the Union line
Col. Wood leads his brigade to the wall


After a few hours of fighting the Confederates numbers were showing and we decided to call it a Rebel victory. Union forces on the left had managed to hold, due to the arrival of Sirwell's brigade flanking the Confederate forces. But Cleburne's large division hitting the Union right, overwhelmed the line and forced multiple regiments to retreat.

We all enjoyed the scenario and I am thinking about working on it some more to possibly run at Little Wars this Spring.

Union forces fleeing back towards the Davis' farmstead