Thursday, September 21, 2017

WBTS via Vassal - Weeks 53 to 56

The war has now been going for a year.  To put a northern slant on it, the enemy is at the gates.  The South expect to isolate Washington in the next few weeks and that should put an end to the War of Northern Aggression before much longer (about week 60 is my guess).

The Union recieve 170 supply plus 20 from liberated towns after allowance for loss of their own towns (Hagerstown).  Total of 190 for 10 personnel points.  Really need to do another volunteer call...

The Confederates carryforward 26, receive 6 from seaports, 60 from major cities and 69 from towns. At total of 161 for 5 personnel points.  They produce 5 garrison factors.  They really need to implement a draft.

The Union augment a 3-3 to a 10-3 and build a River Flotilla and a Siege Train (they must expect to still be in the war in five months time).  They are left with 90 supply.

The Union deploy two 10-3s and a garrison factor to Baltimore, a 10-3 and 4-3 to Washington, a 3-3 to each of Evansville, Cincinnati and Philadelphia, a 4-3 and 3-4 to Cairo and a 3-3 and 3-4 to St Louis.  The ironclad is finally commissioned in St Louis.  A fort is commenced between Washington and Annapolis, but it is only half finished.  And infantry and a cavalry HQ are created in Baltimore. Rosencrans joins the Union in Baltimore and Porter in Washington.  The latter takes over Heintzelman's old corps while Rosencrans takes command of the cavalry corps, populated with the cavalry that was previously McClellan's.

The Confederates deploy two 10-3s and a railroad repair unit to Richmond, a 10-3 to Raleigh, a 3-3 to Charleston, a 4-3 to New Orleans and Little Rock and a 10-3 to Memphis. No partisans appear, but a cadre is created in Alabama.  They could create more coprs HQs, but don't.

The Union consume 48 supply and 12 rail, leaving them 12 supply and 28 rail.  In sending Banks to Chattanooga, I thought it was a Union supply source, but on checking it is only Knoxville and Bristol.  Realising that I would have forced marched the brigade Crittenden sent into East Tennessee so as to establish a Consumption Supply Path for Banks.   I have now done that, only to have the brigade perish in the forced march, but still it saves Banks.  Supply consumption is unchanged.

The Union broadcast supply to Crittenden's supply train and Buell.

The Confederates consume 36 supply using 10 rail.  They distribute 10 the the supply train in Memphis and create a depot in New Orleans which they put 5 supply into.  This leaves them with a round 100 supply which they hoard.

The Union raise Missouri militia in St Louis and Kentucky militia in Columbus.

Week 53

With the start of the 7/62 cycle there is now a new initiative chit pool.  It comprises 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 with the Confederates able to pick the 3 chit [26.3].  I think I will continue with the Confederates pick, as certainty is an advantage.

The Union get the 2 chit so the Confederates will be going first.  What to do?

North of the Potomac Lee has 57,000 effectives (I checked and a strength point represents 1,000 men and sounds so much better).  On the south bank of the Potomac the Confederates have 46,000.  In the same locale the Union have 190,000 men.  They also have five named commanders to the Confederates two, although the Confederates have the better quality.  Lee must attack!

But he needs reinforcements first.

A Johnston and the Army of the Atlantic is activated which in turn puts Breckinridge, Bragg and Hindman in command.  They in turn can activate the various extra divisions.  There are 46,000 men around Richmond.  30,000 are sent north with Breckinridge.  Bragg is left in Richmond while Johnston and Hindman go after Curtis.  The Railroad Repair Unit is sent to Clarksville, VA, to rip up some tracks so as to undertake the repair at Manassas Junction.

The cavalry are ordered to reunite in Leesburg.

The third free initiative must be spent in the West.

The West is no easier than the East.  Polk can stay in Little Rock.  That part of the Trans-Mississippi is safe, but at Memphis it is a different story.  It will all depend on how the ironclads perform...

Jackson can command 57,000 men to attack Thomas' 31,000.  It is what is expected of him.

D Hill is ordered to cross the Mississippi with the new 10,000 strong division and occupy Marion. Jackson and Hardee will have to cover Memphis and watch Thomas and Halleck.

Hardee decides to take 4,000 men to Memphis, leaving the rest of his force with Jackson.

Van Horn realises that the fort covering Lake Pontchartrain is not occupied.  This would permit the Union to supply any troops that might want to besiege New Orleans.  He leaves his 3,000 men to defend Mobile and hurries back to New Orleans, as he knows Floyd won't have the initiative to do anything.  He is right, Floyd is busy writing his acceptance speech.

Buckner retakes Brunswick (not that it is of any use with its rail line busted).

A Hill forced marches and retakes Morehead City, another city that had its rail line wrecked.  He loses a 1,000 men during his march.  There are Yankee militia camped outside, but without a leader they will do nothing.

Beauregard leaves his 3,000 man strong division in Winchester and moves to Leesburg to be where the action is (also, being a four star general, he can command some of the cavalry).

In a very tricky move, Lee takes just 12,000 men and does a march attack on the 4,000 garrison troops that are between him and Baltimore.  This low level attack guarantees they will have to retreat, whereas if he had attacked with all his troops, they would merely have taken a casualty and stayed in place.  Lee narrowly escapes being killed when his own side mistakingly fire on him as he is returning.

Magruder sends reinforcements to Lee.

Lee fails to attack, obviously unnerved by his lucky escape.

Jackson finally attacks Thomas on the 161-200 column of CRT 4.  Jackson uses two supply, Thomas one.  Both sides lose 15% and Thomas has to withdraw.  Maybe Jackson was right not to attack, his losses are 9,000 men compared to the Union 5,000.

The Union send the new ironclad down to join Farragut at Fort Pillow.  He now has two ironclads and three river flotillas.  Total strength is 70 to the Confederates two ironclads at 40.  These are not favourable odds for either side:

The ironclads are immune from loss if they pass their SNAFU roll (and as both sides have a naval commander this means as long as they don't roll a six).  The Union have an advantage with a 1 die roll modifier (up or down) as Farragut is a 2 leader while Buchanan is a 1.  More Union ships are expected in two months time, so they have the ability to recover.  Regardless, no naval combat this week.

Keyes is ordered to clear the Confederates on the Washington Baltimore line and does a march attack to force them back.  McClernand is them ordered to do the same thing to the Confederates holding the Leesburg bridge, but he fails to dislodge them with both sides losing 1,000 men.

Rosencrans sits in Baltimore. Porter sends reinforcements to McClellan.  McClellan in turn shuffles troops to bolster Keyes.

Curtis decides he's needed at home and takes his reduced division to Washington, via Port Tobacco, losing a 1,000 men on the way.

Hooker assesses his options.  There are certainly lots of opportunities.

Buell and McDowell go to watch the boats.  Thomas pulls back to Union City.  A River Flotilla guarding the Tennessee River is sent to join Farragut.

Pope twiddles his thumbs, as does Banks and Halleck, but Crittenden, perhaps influenced by Grant, shows some initiative.  He heads up the Tennessee.

Sumner and Pleasanton are in the far west and seem intent on staying there.

Much to his horror, McClellan realises he could attack, he is the Army of the Potomac after all and can command all those corps adjacent to him.  He writes to his wife telling her how awesome this is. Of course he doesn't attack, but says he could if he wanted to.  McClernand could have attacked as well, but didn't.

All quiet on the Potomac

Week 54

The Union get the 1 chit.  Better than the 0 chit.

The railroad repair unit rips up two sections of railroad.  There is lots of grumbling from the work gangs.  Breckinridge is ordered to secure Lee's rear.

In the West Jackson sends troops back to support Memphis.  He has a plan.  Buchanan sails his ironclads down river - any Yankees coming after him are gonna have to get past Memphis.  The other generals in the west all stay put.

Van Dorn could go and confront Hooker, but thinks better of it as it would leave New Orleans unnecessarily exposed.

Bruckner is told to go to Atlanta.  He starts to think about it.

J Johnston takes the Army of the Atlantic north, leaving Hindman and Bragg to defend Richmond. Beauregard gets ready to cross the Potomac.  Magruder waits.  Lee plans his attack.  He has 58,000 men, there are 51,000 at Washington under Porter, 44,000 with McClellan and 41,000 with Keyes. Attacking the latter two might induce them to retreat which would put him across the rail line.

Lee attacks Keyes on the 131-160 column on CRT 4.  Lee uses two supply.  He takes 5% losses and inflicts 10% on the Union, forcing them to retreat.  The Confederates lose 3,000 men to the Union's 5,000.  In a bold, and possibly game winning move, Lee advances.  But wait, there's something wrong...  An orderly rushes up as Lee slumps in his saddle, slips sideways and falls to the ground.

The Union get McClellan into position for a massive counterattack.  None of the other Eastern generals do anything.

Pope returns to Nashville to get supplies for the railway repair unit.  Banks, Crittenden and Halleck do nothing except read the dire reports from Washington.

Thomas moves to Fort Pillow.  Buell uses this as an excuse to stay on the opposite bank.

Sumner and Pleasanton are both on the move.  They race to St Louis for reinforcements.  Sumner wins.

McClellan comes close to attacking, but doesn't feel it would be appropriate to disturb the mourning of the passing of General Lee.

Meanwhile Hooker, quickly decamps from Proctorsville and lands in Mobile Bay and attacks the garrison of Mobile.  The Confederates hang on (Mobile is a city so they don't have to retreat), but they lose 2,000 men to the Union 1,000.

Week 55

The Union get the 5 chit.  This gives them a double move.  McClellan is given a free initiative and also activates Keyes and Rosecrans (as he is in charge of the Army of the Potomac HQ).

Pope is told to get on with the rail line repairs.  Crittenden is encouraged to link up with Banks. Banks likewise is told to cooperate with Crittenden and between them they get the rail bridge repaired and Dalton,SC, and Cleveland, TN, captured.

Finally, the new 10-3 division that was deployed to Cairo is shipped down the Mississippi to reinforce Thomas.  Buell and McDowell remain opposite Fort Pillow.  Thomas looks at his options and decides he is best to stay put.

Pleasanton reaches St Louis.

Hooker does a march attack and destroys the last defenders of Mobile.

Halleck gets his act together and sets off into Alabama.  Maybe the sound of banjos spooked him?

McClellan has everything in place for an ideal attack to clear the Confederates off the railway line. He has 100,000 men, almost double the Confederates.  He starts to write the orders, but decides to start on his acceptance speech instead.

The Confederate's big 10,000 man strong infantry division in Raliegh is railed as far as it can get towards Atlanta and then starts marching, fast.

The rail repair unit is now brought towards Manassas so it can start doing its job.

J Johnston is sent to rescue Lee's army which is in deep shock over the loss of its beloved general.

Beauregard, Breckinridge and Magruder all send support to J Johnston, not that they have much to spare.

Bruckner stays in Brunswick waiting for orders to go to Atlanta.

Van Dorn and Floyd argue over who is in command of New Orleans and nasty rumours start spreading that Van Dorn is "known" to Mrs Floyd.

Jackson tarries in Humboldt instead of going after Thomas.  Hardee is bewildered in Memphis where he has 20,000 men.  Huger is no help.  D Hill however thinks he best return and crosses back over the Mississippi to reinforce Memphis with his 10,000.

Polk sits in Little Rock.  He has 10,000 men in three divisions organised as a corps.  With the absence of Union generals in the Trans-Mississippi he could be doing something.

J Johnston has an opportunity to attack Rosencrans who he out numbers two to one, but fails to take it.

The death of Lee has left the Southern hopes perilously stranded.

Week 56

The Union get the 2 chit, which means they will have the benefit of going last, but the Confederates get a back to back move.

The railroad repair unit does its thing.

I've just realised that the Confederates spent all three of their free initiatives last week in the East.

The 10,000 man division from Raleigh is still officially in the East and it is ordered to continue its journey.  It force marches without loss to secure Atlanta.  This removes the possibility that the Union could have made a free occupation of that victory city.

Jackson is told to get Thomas.

Hardee pulls more troops into Memphis.  D Hill and Huger have a chat.  Polk ain't budging from Little Rock.  Van Dorn sends a brigade to reclaim Proctorsville and wishes Floyd would go with it.

Buckner is still awaiting orders.  A Hill decides to start returning to Raleigh.  Bragg and Hindman stay put defending Richmond.

J Johnston, with Breckenridge, does a march attack on Rosencrans, hoping to bust through to the beleaguered Confederates.  He fails.  But he did make contact.  Beauregard and Magruder stay put.

J Johnston lost his pencil in the hasty attack and now can't write orders for an attack.

Jackson pauses to read a newspaper article that claims he is "no action Jackson."  This makes him so angry he is unable to attack.

The Union order Pope to complete railroad repairs in Tennessee and for Crittenden to get on with his march to Atlanta.  Banks and Halleck complain that they were going to march on Atlanta.  

Hooker destroys the railroad in Mobile.  He sends the fleet to scout around the mouth of the Mississippi to look for opportunities.

Buell looks on while McDowell takes the opportunity to send a small division to occupy Marion.   Thomas taunts Jackson, although he is secretly glad he hasn't been attacked.

Pleasanton and Sumner are busy trying to get reinforcements in St Louis.

Porter prepares to move against the Confederates in Alexandria, but doesn't.  This might have been a better use of Union free initiatives than the action to threaten Atlanta.  However McClellan gets the initiative to order Porter to take his corps over and besiege Alexandria.  I've never been sure just when troops are meant to be in or out of forts.  The Confederates want to be out.  This reduced Porter's chances to one in three, but he makes it and the Confederates retreat into the fort.  McClellan also orders his generals to retake Harper's Ferry and Hagerstown and to reinforce him for a big attack.

But there are no attacks along the Potomac.

 The East

The South East

The Mississippi


The lost Union 14,000 mean to the Confederates 18,000.  Unless they can win around Washington they are in big trouble.

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