Friday, September 30, 2022

The Battle of US-11 East

Once again, your humble host isn't going to bother with a poll.  These two armies are going to fight.  The only three questions are where, when, and how, and it's up to you to answer all three.  Once again, Kingsport is on the defensive, having taken K-Ville ground and dared their foes to reclaim it.  The Army of the West is large, and their enemies untried, so it should be a walk-over, but we've seen how hard this land is on attacking forces.  The fight might be closer than anyone expects.

I've named these two battles after the main axis of advance.  We'll rename this as the Battle of US-25 East to something more poetic once we nail down a specific landmark or event.

This map shows the location of both armies at mid-day on October 3rd.  Greene's Army has to decide whether to set up siege works, or skirt Morristown to prepare to meet the enemy.  They don't know that on the 5th, light rains will begin (with no effect on map movement), nor that they will be followed the next day by torrential rains which cut map movement by half.  Nor even that overnight freezing temperatures will lead to icy conditions and blizzard like snows on October 6th.  But you should know that, because these forces might be pushed into meeting in sub-optimal conditions.  Keep those bayonets sharp, boys, because your powder might not stay dry.

If he lacks time to fully take Morristown, General Donehew may pull back, choosing instead to fight somewhere along the I-81 corridor.  That would allow for a cleaner line of retreat.  That's what I would do, but this is your scenario.  Make it fully yours.

Just don't forget to tell me how it turns out!

Greene's Army

  • Newport Rifles
  • Greeneville Line (Green)
  • Carolina Line
  • 1st Jefferson City Line
  • 2nd Jefferson City Line
  • Newport Dragoons (Green)
  • Erwin Dragoons 
  • Johnson City Hussars (Green)
  • Commander Greenberry L. Donehew: Int 70, Init 73, Cge 67, Cha 5, Str 72, Hea 83
    • CCR: 4  (Note: probably their best commander, but nobody likes him)
Army Group West:
  • Knoxville Rifles (Light Infantry, green)
  • Tazewell Line
  • Maynardville Line
  • Knoxville 1st Line
  • Knoxville 2nd Line
  • Riverhawk Grenadiers (Heavy foot, green)
  • Ice Bear Grenadiers (veteran)
  • Maynardville Dragoons
  • Corryton Dragoons (green)
  • Knoxville Hussars (Heavy horse)
  • Tazewell 1st Battery
  • Tazewell 2nd Battery
  • General Beeler: Int 68, Init 82, Cou 55, Cha 95, Str 74, Hea 85
    • CCR: 5 (Note: a fine commander in every sense)

The Battle of 25 East

 We're not going to do a poll this time around.  I'm just going to lay out the parameters and let you guys run with the battle between the Army of the East and Rogers' Army.  Here's the terrain, and the disposition.  Team Blue has orders to take Tazewell as soon as possible.  Team Red is two days behind.  Blue can leave a small blocking force and launch an assault on Tazewell with thier main body, or they can turn and confront the Knoxvillians between the two rivers.  That might be a better play as it leaves US-33 open as a route of retreat.  It's up to you.  Let me know how it turns out!

This is a re-match of the Battle of Morristown, and the K-Villians are spoiling to make ammends for letting thier defeated army slip away in the night.  Rogers' Boys are just as fired up to prove the earlier loss was a fluke, and avenge their fallen.

On October 3rd, Army Group East sets out from Bean Station, which is a day's march from Thorn Hill, two days behind Rogers' Army. On the 5th, light rains begin to fall, with no effect on map movement.  The weather worsens on the 6th, turning to cold torrential rains, which slow movement by half.  On the 7th, all activity is halted due to blizzard-like conditions which freeze the roads and blanket the area in white. 

Here are the effective orders of battle for both sides:

Rogers' Army

  • Greeneville Rifles - 700 effective
    • 25 KIA, 13 WIA thru 10/6, 12 WIA thru 10/13
  • 1st Kingsport Line Infantry - 725 effective
    • 13 KIA, 6 WIA thru 10/6, 7 WIA thru 10/13
  • 2nd Kingsport Line Infantry
  • Hawkins Line Infantry - 675 effective
    • 38 KIA, 19 WIA thru 10/6, 18 WIA thru 10/13
  • Bays Mountain Boys (Grenadiers) - 675 effective
    • 37 KIA, 19 WIA thru 10/6, 19 WIA thru 10/13
  • Dollywood Exiles (Grenadiers) - 675 effective
    • 38 KIA, 18 WIA thru 10/6, 19 WIA thru 10/13
  • 1st Greeneville Battery
  • 2nd Greeneville Battery
  • Rogersville Dragoons - 575 effective
    • 87 KIA, 44 WIA thru 10/6, 44 WIA thru 10/13 - lost colors
  • 1st Jonesville Lancers - 675 effective
    • 37 KIA, 19 WIA thru 10/6, 19 WIA thru 10/13
  • 2nd Jonesville Lancers - 675 effective
    • 38 KIA, 19 WIA thru 10/6, 18 WIA thru 10/13
  • Kingsport Hussars
  • Commander Allen Hurst: Int 56, Init 75, Cge 13, Cha 42, Str 66, Hea 84
    • CCR: 3  (Note: An untested commander, capable but cautious)
Army Group East:
  • General Brock: Int 65, Init 96, Cou 10, Cha 46, Str 36, Hea 2
  • White Pine Line - 475 effective
    • 138 KIA, 69 WIA thru 10/6, 68 WIA through 10/13 (lost colors)
  • Dandridge line
  • Morristown 1st Line - 625 effective
    • 37 KIA 19 lightly wounded 19 severely wounded
  • Morristown 2nd Line
  • Morristown 3rd Line (veteran)
  • Jefferson City Dragoons - 725 effective
    • 12 KIA, 6 WIA thru 10/6, 7 WIA thru 10/13
  • Kodak 1st Lancers (Medium horse)
  • Kodak 2nd Lancers - 550 effective
    • 100 KIA, 50 WIA thru 10/6, 50 WIA thru 10/13
  • Morristown Hussars

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Two Kingsport Problems

Before we can flip the calendar to the second week of October, we still have two issues to resolve, both of which occur in the short window before the bad weather sets in.

Central Front

Roger's Army, led by Commander Allen Hurst [Int 56, Init 75, Cge 13, Cha 42, Str 66, Hea 84], an untested, capable, and cautious soldier, has orders to take Tazewell by force.  This would cut the supply lines on which the K-Ville Army of the Pines relies.  Marching north, his rear-guard informs him that the K-Ville Army of the Pines has put Bean Station back under the Red Flag, and is in hot pursuit.  They are two days march behind, with unknown intentions.  Does Commander Hurst stop and prepare defenses?  His orders are to take Tazewell, not to bring the Easterners to battle.  On the other hand, if Sneedville falls, his own supply lines will be cut.

He has three choices:

  1. Invest Tazewell with one unit of his army, and prepare defenses to prevent the K-Villians from breaking his siege lines.
  2. Find the best killing ground possible and turn to face the Army of the East on favorable terrain.
  3. Hang it all, we're here for Chuckville.  Take a hard right on Route 33 and move to support Jones' Army, who was recently battered by the K-Ville Army of the Pines.
And what of the Knoxville forces?  General Brock of the Army of the East [Int 65, Init 96, Cou 10, Cha 46, Str 36, Hea 2] has orders to pursue Roger's Army.  He is struggling to keep up with them, even after leaving his wounded in Bean Station.  His army has also been bloodied, ut after a solid victory and watching their defeated floe slip away due to the incompetence of the politicians back home, they are eager to put an end to Rogers Army once and for all.  They will pursue his quarry all the way to Michigan if need be.  

Southern Front

General Commander Greenberry L. Donehew [Int 70, Init 73, Cge 67, Cha 5, Str 72, Hea 83] faces a difficult decision.  He has orders to invest Morristown - Knoxville's second largest city after the capital and an important crossroads - and take it.   That would be easy enough if he had the time, but the approaching enemy Army of the West outnumbers his forces.  To make matters worse, he does not know the enemy's intentions.  Will they strike at his own army? Sidestep to the south and race up the I-81 corridor to lay siege to Kingsport itself?  How does he split his attention to cover both eventualities?

He has the advantage of the initiative to the tune of a day and a half.  If he leaves one unit to besiege Morristown, he can maintain supply lines and continue west to a battle ground of his own choosing.  With a day to prepare, the onus will be on the Knoxvillians to come at him - a nice force multiplier at a crucial moment.

  1. Invest Morristown. Use the untried Greenville Line to seal up the city and take the rest of his army to confront the Knoxvillians head-on some place of his own choosing.
  2. Ignore Morristown and head south to White Pine. Still operating under the letter of his orders, he can keep his force intact, and threaten a march on Knoxville.  That should draw the Army of the West his way, buy him a second day to prepare, and face his foe with the largest force possible.
As with the Central Front, the Knoxville Armed Forces have no real choice.  They are defending the Smokey Mountains and cannot abide by those dirty Kingsport feet on their blessed soil.  General Beeler [General Beeler: Int 68, Init 82, Cou 55, Cha 95, Str 74, Hea 85] will not waver from his duty to throw Green's Army back across the border, and to inflict as much damage as possible in the process.  Those boys must be taught a lesson.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

The Battle of Powell...Parkey Gap

After a delay brought about by other gaming responsibilities, we finally have the results from the Powell River, and the results are that it didn't happen.  Instead, Major O'Malley's fight at Parkey Gap.  You can see the dice fall for yourself by clicking right here.

I've already updated the army lists on their respective pages, but let's highlight a few key results.

For the Kingsportians, the biggest loss is that of the 1st Duffield Lancers.  They took a total of 469 casualties, KIA and WIA, which puts them below the 50% mark.  Likewise, the 2nd Duffield Lancers took a beating, putting them right at 50%.  We can combine the surviving troops, which gives us one effective unit of Lancers within the Jones Army at 656 effectives.  We'll strip this unit of its Veteran Status, given that the majority of troops come of the Regular 2nd Duffield.  Functionally, this is no different on the tabletop than simply disbanding the 1st Duffield.  The difference comes in during the strategic game, where our surviving unit has enough surviving cavalrymen to suffer the casualties from another battle, and still come back for more.  Without the addition of the surviving veterans, just one more lost cavalryman would put them out of hte campaign.

The experts in the crowd will have to tell me how common it was back in the day to take the remnants of one unit and fold them into another.  Particularly during the Napoleonic era, when common understanding - the only one I have - is that of the story of whole villages emptied of a cohort of young men sent off to fight in the same unit.  The Men of Harlech, spring to mind here, as do the methods by which a great many American Civil War units were formed.  Did the logistics of the day allow for mixing the men of different units?  Did they have to worry about 'cross-town' rivalries when doing so?

I don't know about the real world, but in the world of Sneedville, we're going to allow it so as to prolong the fun.

But the Knoxvillians didn't come away unscathed.  The Orphans fought gallantly, but after sustaining 113 casualties, their numbers fall below the 375 criteria.  We can either disband the unit, or have the survivors fall back to Harrogate where they may be available for replacement troops for the Army of the Pines.  We can even pull 37 out right now, to replace the WIA and KIA from the Battle of Parkey Gap, plug them into the Pineville Line, which leaves 299 replacements available in the future.  Those replacements are stuck behind the Cumberland Gap, which entails more tracking and more travel time for them to 'catch up' to whichever army they find themselves reinforcing.

Which brings a curtain down on the sad events of October 3rd in the north.  Jones' Army staggers back to Sneedville just ahead of a heavy rainstorm, sadder but wiser now that they have been bloodied.  The Army of the Pines secures the Gap, then sets out in pursuit, making camp just a few miles west of Sneedville the night of the 5th.  They awake the next morning to a driving rain, a bitterly cold October rain that portends worse weather to come.

At this point we pull a slow fade, to turn our attention to the south.  The armies in and around Sneedville will linger in a soft-focus limbo as we rewind the clock back to October 3rd, where the Knoxvillian army of the East pursues its prey, and the Army of the West marches to rescue Morristown from the encircling Green's Army.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

More Powell River Fun

We aren't done yet!

Caleb Hines breaks with tradition by presenting a more thoughtful approach to the Batte of Powell River. He takes the William Sylvester approach to the fight, and even includes a nod to the characteristics of the generals.  Here you can see the three potential strategies for both the Red Force and Blue Force:

I'm pretty sure he's using Volley and Bayonet for this fight.  Go on over to Refactoring My Brain to follow along with all the action.  His system generates a battle fare more conducive to the overall Kingsport war effort than we've seen from the other grogs.

Meanwhile, Napoleon 1066 was kind enough to upload his fight, using Command and Colors(!), to his blog.  Which means even a luddite grog like me can read it now!  From what I know of the game, this is an usually heavy board, terrain wise.  Perfect for eastern Tennessee.
His battle has everything.  A grinding assault, cavalry forcing infantry into square so that artillery can go to work, bayonet charges, and a battle that ends with an exhausted whimper. Go check it out!

Sunday, September 11, 2022

The Battle of Powell River

 Ladies and gentlemen, we have some results.  If you have fought the Battle of Powell River, make sure to post a link in the comments.  I'm going to throw a video up on Friday the 16th, so I need them in by Thrsday.  Here are the ones I've got so far, in no particular order:

Napoleon 1066 brings those of us that have access to Facebook this account of the action.  (I don't have access to Facebook at the moment, so I'm going to have to punt until I can figure out a back-door means of peeking at his account.  We're off to a great start, aren't we?)

Hazdrubal offers this fight on his eponymous blog, using Rebels and Patriots.  He allowed the Orphans to steal into a little copse of trees near the Powell River, to burst out upon the Jonesville invaders to good effect.  For the first time in the campaign, we see an effective use of cannons, as multiple duels lead to some punishing results.  The fight proves bloody and a close-run affair that results in a collapse of the Kingsport forces after some vicious fighting.  Knoxville cannot afford victories like this one!  Go check it out.

The Orphans getting there a day early helps
them make up for a lack of numbers.

Belloc of Poitiers brings us this account over on the tweet machine.  He uses 2mm figures, a man after me own heart, and Ian Kay's Pike and Shot Rule Box, to present an evenly matched fight where defense is the order of the day.  In a straight ahead fight, the Kingsportians are unable to crack the Knoxville line, and retreat after suffering only slightly heavier casualties.  Due to a mix-up on one flank thanks to some overly enthusiastic cannoneers, however, the Jones' Army loses a full battery of guns.  That will cost them dearly in future engagements.

Hex 2 Hex, and McMurray bring us a little slice of ACW action in live and living color with this video report:

Major O'Malley mixes things up a bit.  Instead of running the battle as gently suggested on the channel, he ran a Solo Wargaming Guide style matched tactics.  In this case, the Orphans and Knoxville horse race ahead of the main Army of the Pines to secure Parkey Gap, three miles east of the usual battlefield, to very good effect.  Using The Men Who Would Be Kings, he finds that the Orphans are enough to plug the gap and prevent any further incursions by the Kingsportians.

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

The Harlan Sits

 The people have spoken!

The Harlan Blitz, having forced their way through Big Stone Gap, taken two towns deep in Kingsport Territory, and generally run amuck find themselves confronted by a terrible new challenge: literal water falling from the sky!

For Commander Hayes, it is already October 5th.  Far to the west, the Battle of Powell River has already been decided - though we do not yet know the outcome.  Four days earlier Hayes and his men managed to force Big Stone Gap and after spending a day securing the town, they moved down to Duffield.  As a small village, it offers no resistance, but it does require a day to secure hostages and ensure the local populace doesn't get too out of hand.

On October 5th, the Blitz awaken to find a light rain falling, with the promise of heavier rain in the offing. Facing the prospect of a two-day march to Gate City, Hayes utilized one of his few messenger pigeons to request advice from the War Council back in Knoxville.  After a fierce debate, the more conservative faction won...

...and Commander Hayes (Intelligence 15, Initiative 17) breathes a sigh of relief.  He can shelter in place here in comfortable Duffield, and does not risk getting bogged down on the way to Gate City.  That is probably a smart call as - SPOILER ALERT! - the rain is scheduled to last until at least October 7th, and possibly longer.  We won't know until the rest of the campaign catches up to the Blitz.  Remember, it takes as many days for the roads to dry as it takes to soak them, so the Blitz is effectively bogged down in Duffield until the 9th.  On the flip side, everyone else will be bogged down as well.  Whether this was a smart move or not remains to be seen.

But let's turn the clock back a few days, shall we?  We were pretty cavalier about leaving Big Stong Gap unguarded.  Given how fast the armies are marching hither and yon, we should update our rules to define how large a garrison must be left behind to secure any towns of D-Class or bigger.  (E-Class villages are so small as to not need such.  We can assume their leaders are held hostage by the conquering force to ensure compliance.)  

Remember that militias range in size from 100-300 men.  Big Stone Gap, as a C-Class city (and a foundry capable of replenishing cannons) had a militia of 200 men, and to keep things easy, we'll assume that the garrison has to be as large as our standard 1 guard for every 5 prisoners.  That would force Commander Hayes to leave 40 able-bodied men behind to hold the Gap.  Since we've got some serious numbers of wounded, let's leave them behind too - they would only slow the march of the Blitz.

Ultimately, we are retconning the numbers to show that Big Stone Gap is now under the 'protection' of 40 cavalry men, and the temporary home of 67 wounded infantry.  Those 67 infantry will recover on October 13th, at which time either they or the cavalry can race to rejoin the main force of the Harlan Blitz as some much neededreinforcements.

I have updated the Armies Page to reflect this change.  And you can expect a similar process to occur whenever a D-Class or larger city falls to the enemy and here I'm looking at Tazewell and Morristown.

The Battle of US-11 East

Once again, your humble host isn't going to bother with a poll.  These two armies are going to fight.  The only three questions are wher...