Sunday, August 13, 2017

WBTS via Vassal - Weeks 13 to 16

I must say I am finding this game very exciting and that it plays flawlessly solo.

Cycle 10/61 see the Union get an increase in supplies to 175, which is good as they had none leftover from the previous cycles.  While they have recaptured Harper's ferry, the rail line is cut so they still lose 5 for it.  The Confederates recaptured Leesburg, but the Union still get Alexandria (and Washington and Annapolis) as they can trace a route using water transport.  St Joseph, MO, Hannibal, MO, New Madrid, MO (via river) and the three now occupied towns in Kentucky contribute 18 plus three from Alexandria, produces 191 supply for the Union.  They have 70 personnel points.

The broken rail line means the Department at Washington does not function.

The Union converted 4 militia at St Louis to a 4-3 along with 20 garrison which formed two 10-3 infantry divisions.  The 10 militia at Cincinnati were converted to a 10-3, a 4-3 at Philadelphia was augmented to a 10-3 while at Baltimore 10 garrison were converted to a 10-3 and 8 militia converted to two 4-3 infantry divisions.  A fresh 10 militia were raised along with 11 garrison and a Naval Transport.  They are left with 48 supply.

The Confederates have 26 left over supplies, they gain 40 from city supply, 16 from seaports and a massive 249 from other towns and cities.  Total 311.  They have 50 personnel points.

The Confederates augment a 3-3 to a 10-3 and a 3-4 to a 5-4 in Memphis.  A 3-3 to at 10-3 in Charleston along with converting a 4-2 to a 4-3.  In Raleigh they convert 5 militia to a 5-3 and in Richmond a 3-3 is augmented to a 10-3.  They build an extra 10 militia and 6 garrison and the CSS Virginia in Norfolk.  They are left with 210 supply points.

Union production deployments sees 10 garrison to each of St Louis and Baltimore and 4 to Philadelphia.  A much needed railroad repair unit goes to Baltimore along with a 3 strength cavalry division.  A 2 strength cavalry division goes to Philadelphia.  At St Louis 3 River Flotillas are launched and an ironclad commences fitout.  Two Naval Flotillas and a Naval Transport arrive at C3901.  There are 16 militia for deployment during the weeks ahead.

The Confederates deploy 10 garrison to each of Memphis and Richmond and 1 to Charleston.  A River Flotilla is launched at Memphis and an ironclad starts fitout in New Orleans.  The have 19 militia to deploy in the coming weeks.

Hardee gets to finish his fort at Island No. 10.  This isolates Lyons.  A fort is constructed in Washington, but Richmond lacks the engineers necessary to build a fort to protect it.

The Confederates create 2 Corps HQs.  One goes to Johnston in Richmond, the other to Memphis.

The Union create the Department of the Mississippi at Alton (Cairo was their first preference but the rail line is cut).  The Department of the Cumberland is created in Indianapolis.

Buell appears in Baltimore and Halleck in Philadelphia.  The good thing for the Union about this is that they can command the cavalry which has just been raised in those two cities.

Union supply is 26 using 5 railway points.  Lyon is isolated but can use his supply wagon.

Confederate supply is 27 using 10 railway points (they only have 15).  The unsupplied forces besieging Fort Pickering and cutting the Washington - Baltimore railway line survive.

The Confederates get one political point.

Missouri provides one militia to the Union in New Madrid.  In Kentucky, the Confederate influences in Columbus and Paducah is removed.

The Confederates place supply into the depot at Richmond.  The Union distribute supply to Burnside, hoping to encourage him to attack.

I think I have been making a mistake with Van Dorn's attacks on Fort Pickering.  The Union Naval Flotillas have a zone of control [9.7] that would have meant Van Dorn was isolated.  This would have meant his activation would have been reduced by one (so he would only have been able to attack if he rolled a 1).  Question is, if you are isolated when you attack does this count as unsupplied and double your losses?  The answer appears to be no, as ground combat supply is a separate routine [12.2].

Week 13

The Confederates stick with the 2 chit and the Union get the 0 chit.  I am coming to the view that this is more a game balance option than an actual historical ability.

Van Dorn is ordered to make another attack on Fort Pickering and starts his forced march to get there. The 5 strength infantry division is ordered to join Longstreet.  Magruder and Johnston sit tight. Beauregard has the initiative to move, but feels he is in a good position.  My guess is that with a Confederate force between Washington and Baltimore the Confederates think that it is only a matter of time before popular and sympathetic uprisings bring about peace.  Making up plausible background narratives to events in the game is, I find, one of the joys of WBTS and the ACW period. However, perhaps the Confederates fail to appreciate that both Washington and Baltimore have significant garrisons, plus there are two Union armies near by.

In the West Polk sends his troops to Hardee, leaves his supplies in Union City and rails with his wagon train to Memphis.  Hardee prepares for Lyon to attack.  Over in Missouri Price also waits, possibly for Polk?

In a desperate move the new Confederate River Flotilla sails up to the Union River Flotilla that is supporting Lyon and sinks it, but is itself lost in the encounter.

Militia are deployed to Union City, TN, Marion, AR, and Charleston, SC.

Lyon pulls back across the Mississippi and moves to face Union City.  The three new River Flotillas join him.  A spare River Transport moves from Cincinnati towards the Mississippi.

In the East McDowell decides not to move.  As does Burnside.  Buell has the same opinion.  Not surprisingly Halleck and McClellan reach the same conclusion.  At least McClellan completes his train journey and arrives in Baltimore.

Lyon attacks Union City.  His attack across the river goes in with the support of the River Flotillas. He's on the 901+ column of CRT 4.  The Confederate militia so recently raised there are wiped out and Lyon crosses over to occupy the town and capture its supply dump.

This disaster is blamed on Polk.

Inspired by news of Lyon's attack, McDowell has a go and destroys the rebel remnants outside Baltimore.  He is on the 901+ column on CRT 2.  And proving that nothing inspires like success, Burnside attacks as well, but in this case the Confederate cavalry just retreat back across the Potomac.

Many Union generals are taking credit as the "Savior of Washington".

In a further ominous sign for the Confederacy, Union Naval Flotillas appear off South Carolina.

The immediate effect is to cut Confederate coastal supply routes in the area.

The Union raise militia in Alton, Indianapolis and Baltimore.

Week 14

The Union again has no free initiative.

Van Dorn is sent back to Fort Pickens for one last try.  Hardee is ordered to leave the new fort at Island No. 10 and head towards Humboldt.

Polk sits in Memphis writing his response to the Board of Inquiry called in response to the loss of Union City.  Magruder picks up the militia in Norfolk and heads for Richmond.  Beauregard pulls back to Manassas.

Van Dorn fails to attack.

Militia are raised in Charleston, Mobile and Marion.

Lyon sends a militia unit to besiege the Confederate fort.  McDowell gets the railway line between Washington and Baltimore repaired and moves his army to Washington for a victory parade. McClellan loads 10 garrison factors on to a Naval transport and sends them on their way to Fort Pickens before taking a cavalry division and joining Burnside.  The other generals order quantities of quills and parchment in preparation for  writing their memoirs.

McClellan thinks about attacking, but just doesn't have it in him.

Militia is raised at Baltimore.

Week 15

The Union bounce back with 3 free initiatives.

McClellan with his cavalry takes Burnsides troops through Washington crossing the Potomac at Alexandria and overruns the Confederate cavalry at Leesburg.  Burnside is then ordered to cross over to Leesburg (I wasn't sure in McClellan, without an Army HQ, could order Burnside to move).

McClellan's ride.

In the West the cavalry in Hannibal is railed to St Louis.  Banks, on his own initiative, orders the militia in Altona to St Louis and puts 10 strength points of garrison on a River Transport and sends it to Union City, where they will arrive next week.  Lyon stays put.

Halleck, with his cavalry, takes it into his head to hop on a train and head to St Louis.  Even Buell gets in on the act and sends the Railway Repair unit to Harper's Ferry to repair the cut railway line and then moving  militia and a small infantry division from Baltimore to there as well.  McDowell stays in Washington.  Naval forces continue on their way to the Gulf.

Militia is raised in Alton and Baltimore.

Hardee is ordered to Memphis where he has harsh words with Polk.  The rest of the Confederates hold their positions.  Van Dorn fails to attack.  Militia is raised in Charleston, Raleigh and New Orleans.

Week 16

The Union get one initiative.

Van Dorn is ordered to abandon his siege of Fort Pickens and Magruder is ordered to Richmond with the militia from Norfolk.  Van Dorn loses some men in their haste to get home.

Polk has had enough of recriminations and takes a supply wagon and infantry division off to Marion, across the Mississippi.  The other generals hold their positions.

Buell is ordered to Winchester.  Halleck arrives in St Louis.  The other generals hold their positions, hoping for promotions and reinforcements.

The Eastern Theatre

The Gulf, with Union reinforcements on their way to Fort Pickens.

The Mississippi and western Tennessee.

An amazing four weeks that saw the tables completely turned on the Confederates.


Confederates lost 7 strength points while the Union lost none.


  1. following with interest

    One good chit helped the union.

    1. Thanks. I am amazed how well it is playing and how much I am enjoying it. Some aspects of Vassal are a bit fiddly, but it is really swings and roundabouts with the physical game - certainly I don't miss knocking the counter stacks over, but it can be an effort moving counters around with Vassal.

      The war is also going back and forth. With the low initiative chits and poor commanders it is hard for the Union. That said, the Confederates can't do much without armies.