Sunday, August 27, 2017

WBTS via Vassal - Weeks 33 to 36

The second cycle for 1862.

Union supply is a scant 154.  Still it is better that the 126 that the Confederates have (and that is with them carrying over 50 - the Union only carried forward 4).  The Union have 80 personnel Points compared to the Confederates 40.

The Union augment 4-3s from Philadelphia, Baltimore and Cincinnati to 10-3s, convert ten garrison in each of St Louis and Washington to four 3-3s and two 4-3s, raise two 3-4 cavalry divisions, 2 militia and 2 garrison.  They have 44 supply remaining.

The Confederates augment the 4-3 in Charleston to a 10-3, convert the ten garrisons in Raleigh and Richmond to four 3-3s and two 4-3s and raise 7 militia.  They are left with 87 supply.

The Union produce 21 militia, five 4-3s, a 10-3, 8-3 and 7-3 infantry division, a supply train, a river transport and an ironclad.  A 4-3 goes to each of Evansville, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Alton and St Louis, with a 10-3 and 8-3 going to Washington and the 7-3 to Baltimore.  The supply train goes to Washington, the river transport to St Louis and the ironclad to C3901 (the Union know that the Confederates are building an ironclad at Norfolk).

The Confederates produce 6 militia, two 10-3s, two 4-3s and three 3-3s, one garrison, a supply train and an ironclad.  A 10-3 goes to each of Richmond and Memphis, 3-3s go to Little Rock, Charleston and Raleigh, and 4-3s to New Orleans and Richmond.  The garrison goes to Charleston, the supply train to Richmond and the ironclad to Norfolk.

The Union ironclad completes fitout immediately, unlike the new Confederate one in Norfolk. However the Confederates now have their ironclad in New Orleans.

The Confederates are blessed with four new leaders Buchanan (naval - New Orleans), A Hill (Raleigh), Huger (Memphis) and Robert E Lee (Richmond).

A partisan cadre appears in Tennessee.

Thomas replaces McDowell as Corps commander.

Both the Union and Confederates fortify their capitals.

The Confederates have militia demobilisation in West Virginia (1) and North Carolina (2).

The Union consume 33 supply and 3 rail.  They are left with 11 supply and 27 rail.

The Confederates consume 25 supply and 8 rail.  They are left with 62 supply and 7 rail.

The Union get one militia in Rolla, MO, and two in Paducah, KY.

Week 33

What a surprise, zero initiative for the Union.

Not wasting any time, Stuart is told to seal off the Shenandoah valley while Longstreet follows up behind doing a march attack on the Union militia at Winchester.  Both sides lose one factor.

Bragg moves up to cover Longstreet's rear and he is joined by reinforcements from Richmond.

Hill fails to stir in Raleigh - the Confederates need the troops stationed there brought forward.

Bruckner in Charleston follows Hill's lead and does nothing.

Van Dorn and Floyd inspect the new Ironclad in New Orleans, but decline to take her for a sail.  But are then dismayed when Buchanan takes her up the Mississippi seeking glory.

Hardee retreats to Pulaski.

Jackson pulls back to Jackson, but takes himself off to Memphis to get reinforcements.  However Huger surprises him by sending the reinforcements in Memphis to Jackson.

Polk and Price do nothing in Missouri except for trying to stir up trouble.

Longstreet attacks Winchester on the 901+ column of CRT 3 and wipes out the Union militia stationed there.

The Confederates have Burnside trapped!

Burnside is isolated and therefore his initiative is reduced by one (which makes it one).  He fails to make a march attack to break out.  Maybe he will attack?

Keyes hopes to attack.

McClellan doesn't move, nor Curtis, but it is Heinzelmann to Burnside's rescue.

Pope and Buell display no initiative in a direct copy of Polk and Price.  McDowell takes himself to Paducah.  Thomas goes to Columbus to collect his dispersed army.

Halleck, Banks and Crittenden party in Nashville.

Farragut collects his river flotillas and with the ironclad sails down towards Memphis.

Porter starts to return to the east coast with one of his naval flotillas and the new ironclad sails down to sit off Norfolk.

Burnside tries to breakout via Front Royal.  He's on the 251-400 column of CRT 2.  The Confederate cavalry are forced to retreat.  There is no loss and no supply consumed.

Keyes and Heinzelmann fail to attack.

Burnside is trying to breakout, but has he only got deeper into the trap?

The Union raise militia in Washington, Baltimore and Alton.

Week 34

The Union get the 3 chit.  Let's see what they can do.

First up Burnside is ordered to breakout.  He is supposed to move closer to a consumption supply path and interprets this as being in his best interests to do an attack from march against the cavalry division to the south.  He succeeds in forcing it back for no loss (Whoops - I now, during week 35, realise that the cavalry which was in rough terrain, didn't have to retreat).  Heintzelman is ordered to leave one division to block the northern exit to the valley and then to move his corps to block Stuart and aid Burnside's escape.  This requires some forced marches and he loses to 2 strength points.

The other free Union initiative must be used in the West and the easy option is taken to move the small division that was forced out of Jefferson City back to that place.

In a surprise move Pope makes a forced march to Rolla.  He loses a strength point on the way. Thomas force marches to face the troops Jackson left at Jackson, losing two strength points on the way.

Buell, McDowell, Halleck, Banks and Crittenden all have a rest.

Back in the East, McClellan and Curtis do nothing.

Pope, Burnside, Keyes, Heintzelman and Thomas all think about attacking, but only Thomas does. He attacks on the 71-90 column of CRT 3.  No supply is consumed and both sides lose 10% - that is 3 for the Union and 4 for the Confederates.

The Union again raise militia in Washington, Baltimore and Alton.

The Confederates order the 3 strength cavalry division near Harper's Ferry to sweep through that place and then join the other 3 strength cavalry division at the southern end of the valley.  The aim is to trap Burnside and maybe more...

Beauregard is ordered to Front Royal.

Over in Missouri, Price realises that from Jefferson City the Union could force march to Springfield, and quickly moves back there, leaving Polk to face Pope.

Jackson hurries to join his army leaving Huger in Memphis.  Hardee, seeing the inactivity of the Union at Nashville, stays put in Pulaski.  Buchanan and the ironclad sail up to Memphis.

Floyd and Van Dorn do nothing but argue in New Orleans.

Buckner is happy in Charleston.

A Hill takes his division from Raleigh on a force march towards Petersburg.  Magruder hopes that A Hill is coming to his aid so he can whip those damn Yankees.

Both Bragg and Lee fail to move.  Stuart recombines his cavalry corps, trapping Burnside in a tighter noose.  Longstreet sends a division to Newmarket that must all but seal Burnside's fate.

Jackson thinks about attacking, but nah.

Militia are raised in Richmond and Charleston.

The trap has closed around Burnside.

Week 35

The Union get one initiative so the Confederates go first.

The Confederates send the 5 strength division that was sitting idle in Mobile to Grand Junction, TN.  Bragg, who had been getting in Lee's way, is sent back to Richmond.

Lee moves to Manassas which threatens Heintzelman.  A Hill moves to Norfolk to protect the naval base and its precious ironclad.

All the other Confederate generals stay put.  They either have nothing to do, or are best placed (mostly) to wait for the Union to attack.

Lee attacks Heintzelman on the 111-130 column of CRT 4.  They both lose 2 strength points and the Union have to retreat.  If Heintzelman retreats towards the valley he will be trapped.  If he "retreats" south he has lots of options, but lots of risk.  He decides to retreat across the Occoquan River while he still has access to the bridge (and can provide cover for Washington). Lee keeps his army in Manassas.

Burnside is trapped and so the Union need to do something else to try and rescue him.

Porter, fresh from sailing round Florida, lands a few marines at New Berne to prepare for the long anticipated descent on the coast by the Union.  Curtis with a 7 strength division and a bit of militia and supply then promptly sails in.  The infantry division then proceed to wreck the rail line.  The ironclad also sails down to join Porter.

There are now more Union troops in North Carolina than there are rebels.

McClelland displays some initiative and sends Heintzelman some reinforcements.

Buell and Pope are ordered to stay put, but the other generals in the west, who actually have things to do, displayd no initiative to do much of anything at all.  Sad.

Keyes doesn't attack, but Burnside does.  Stuart, while his inclination is to withdraw, decides to stand and fight.  The combat is on the 201 to 250 column of CRT 2.  Burnside uses supply, but Stuart needs to as well.  The changes the odds but not very significantly, now the 251 to 400 column (the ratio was exactly 400%).  Burnside loses 1 strength point and Stuart 2.  Burnside activated to attack on a 2 and I subsequently thought that this should have been reduced to a 1 as he is isolated, but my careful reading of [26.8] indicates that the isolation effect is aimed at activating for movement.  Regardless I think this is reasonable as he is fighting for his life!  Stuart almost became a casualty as well.

Militia are deployed to Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia.

Week 36

The Union get the one chit again.

Lee is ordered back to Richmond.  He disperses his troops to reinforce Stuart and Beauregard.  The Supply Train goes to Stuart.

The 5 strength division from Mobile is now directed to Jackson's army who is preparing to attack Thomas so as to liberate Jackson.

Hardee takes initiative and cuts the rail line at Tullahoma, TN.

Polk and Price do nothing in Missouri.

Van Dorn and Floyd are told to keep quiet down in New Orleans.  Huger in Memphis is also told to do nothing to which he readily agrees, while secretly plotting to take command of the ironclad and go on an adventure.  Buchanan is not letting him anywhere near the vessel which he knows is worth more in potential than action.

Bruckner stays put in Charleston although he thinks he better get ready given what has happened in North Carolina.

Johnston discuss the war with Lee in Richmond and Bragg listens in, ready to give them his opinion even if they don't ask him for it.  A Hill decides to stay in Norfolk.  Magruder needs to stay put (and needs reinforcements).

Longstreet looks to the security of the valley and various bridges.  Beauregard and Stuart taunt Burnside, but they don't want him to attack them or them him, they just want him to starve...

Jackson attacks on the 131-160 column of CRT 4.  Jackson uses supply.  Boths sides lose 5 strength points.  Thomas has to retreat.  Jackson is liberated.

The Union tell Halleck to get his act together.  Unsurprisingly he consolidates around Nashville with Banks and Crittenden.

Pope and Buell scheme in Missouri.  Thomas and McDowell seem stunned before the terrible wrath of Jackson.

Curtis disappoints and everyone else is best to stay put.  Keyes again fails to attack.

The Union place the last of their militia in Philadelphia and Washington.

The Eastern Theatre  

The Western Theatre


The Confederates lost 14 and the Union 19.


  1. Replies
    1. Yes, and I am amazed, given I'm playing solo, that it happened given the "intelligence" that both sides therefore have. The initiative system sure makes it fun. There is a slim chance I can extricate Burnside based on how much I want to commit Confederate forces to locking him up. The next lot of Confederate reinforcements are double what the Union will be getting (the Union lag) and so I think Burnside will be gone. But then, will the Confederacy be able to exploit this fabulous victory?

  2. Fascinating. I can only barely follow what's going on, but the tension is palpable...

    1. Thanks. I sometimes find myself explaining the rules in my post, but then I think "surely anyone reading this would know the game". What I can say is that the subtle changes Don Johnson has made in 2016 to the original 1970s game produce a very historical outcome based on my readings. At the same time the tension is, as you say, palpable. Makes for a brilliant game. Of course next will be to transfer the boardgame battles to miniatures.

    2. Unfortunately I don't know this game at all. Like the map though! My only ACW board games are based on the 'Terrible Swift Sword' game system: Cedar Mountain and Pleasant Hill.

      Reading your account makes me want to 'do' the whole war with my own ACW collection of figures...

    3. The book I'm reading at the moment is Terrible Swift Sword which is the second volume in Bruce Catton's trilogy publish in the 1960s. That volume covers the stage of the war I am currently in with WBTS and makes for a fascinating parallel. Butler seems to be the big flaw in the game. He has zero initiative and starts off in Fort Monroe and marked as "sea transport" and so can't be given free initiative. Always possible I have missed some rule or more likely a nuance of play.

      I never got to play the SPI game of the same name, but admired it. I was happy to pick up Cedar Mountain (and another perhaps) but I'm yet to play it. More likely I will try and use it as the basis for some Fire and Fury games.