Monday 26 August 2013

The Battle of Hollands Farm

Posties Rejects gathered on Saturday to play an ACW game using the Fire and Fury Rules. We were joined by MiniMike from the Netherlands who was over in the UK on a holiday. The weather outside was awful with monsoon like conditions sweeping across the South East of England but for those of us inside the weather was unimportant. All that mattered was the battle, which would turn into a fight to the death. 

Postie introduces the scenario and runs through the Order of Battle (detailed below).
Setting the Scene - The Battle of Hollands Farm, 2nd May 1863
Union forces are pushing south on the Confederate far right flank along the east coast. Reynolds, the Union Commanding officer, has orders to build a series of coastal fortifications as he advances to help in the fight against contraband reaching the south, which would include arms and ammunition from Britain and various other factions with Southern sympathies. 

Meanwhile General Longstreet the Confederate commander has been dispatched to halt the Union advance and capture or destroy Fort Hooker (named in honour of the previous commander of the Potomac who was recently replaced by General Meade) which is currently under construction.

The game begins with both armies advancing towards each other just South of Fort Hooker which is just off the table on the coast behind the Union left Flank. The Union must defeat Longstreet in a pitched battle otherwise the army will be forced to retreat, thus abandoning Fort Hooker to the Rebs. All the South are eagerly awaiting news of a victory. If the South loose this fight more Southern soil will be captured by the blue bellies and Southern honor will be insulted.

Order of Battle
Confederate Army (MiniMike, Dave and Ray)
1st Corps C/O – Longstreet
   1st Division – Anderson
      1st Battalion – 2nd Alabama – C*
      2nd Battalion – 1st Alabama – V
      3rd Battalion – 3rd Alabama – V*
      4th Battalion – 5th Alabama - C
      5th Battalion – 4th Alabama – V
      6th Battalion – 6th Alabama – V*
   2nd Division – Jones
      1st Battalion – 2nd Georgia – V
      2nd Battalion – 8th Georgia – C*
      3rd Battalion – 4th Georgia - V
      4th Battalion – 3rd Georgia – V*
      5th Battalion – 1st Georgia – V
   3rd Division – McLaws
      1st Battalion – 3rd South Carolina – V*
      2nd Battalion – 4th South Carolina - V
      3rd Battalion – 2nd South Carolina - V
      4th Battalion – 1st South Carolina – C*
      5th Battalion – 5th South Carolina – V
   Cavalry Division – JEB Stuart
      1st Battalion – Virginian – C*
      2nd Battalion – Louisiana – V
   Confederate Navy
      CS Atlanta – Iron Clad
      CS General Lee – Monitor (Captured)

Union Army (BigLee and Richard)
1st Corps C/O – Reynolds
   1st Division – Wadsworth
      1st Battalion – 3rd New York – C*
      2nd Battalion – 2nd New York – V
      3rd Battalion – 1st New York – V
   2nd Division – Robinson
      1st Battalion – 1st Pennsylvania - V
      2nd Battalion – 4th Pennsylvania – G
 2nd Corp C/O – Couch
   1st Division – Hancock
      1st Battalion – 2nd Michigan - V
      2nd Battalion – 4th Michigan - G
      3rd Battalion – 3rd Michigan – V*
   2nd Division – Gibbon
      1st Battalion – 1st Illinois - V
      2nd Battalion – 3rd Illinois – V
   Cavalry Division – Stoneman
      1st Battalion – New Jersey – V*
      2nd Battalion – New Hampshire - V
   Union Navy
      US Cricket – Paddle Steamer
      US Winnebego – Monitor
      US Seawitch – Small Craft (towing two barges containing a US Marine Battalion)

(V-Veterans  C-Conscript  G-Green  *-Exceptional Leader)

The Action
The Confederate players look across the Battlefield and review their deployment.
All divisions started in column but some made less progress than others because of poor dice rolls.
The Union small craft Sea Witch pulls two barges filled with Marines. It took most of the game for the marines to land and not before the Sea Witch itself was destroyed by enemy fire. 
I moved all my Artillery onto a small hill overlooking most of the Union Left Flank.
Confederate cavalry lead by JEB Stuart try to outflank the Union on the right. 
The evil Postie brings on the Confederate Ironclad CS Atlanta. At this stage all I had to fend it off was the Sea Witch.
The Union right flank stifles the outflanking move of JEB Stuart. In the end the day was saved by the green 4th Pennsylvania who repulsed one cavalry battalion and mauled another.
Back on the Union left flank the Rebs have advanced onto a ridge of high ground and prepare to assault the Union troops who have formed up in strong line under the protection of their guns.
Meanwhile the Union Paddle Steamer Cricket appears on the coast and tries to shield the barges carrying the Marines.
A wider shot showing the Union line and the steady advance of most of the Confederate forces.
A bold move by two battalions of the Union forces strikes out in the center. They remained out there, disrupting the Rebel advance for the rest of the game.
The Rebels crash into the union lines along the edge of the woods and in front of the Union guns on the left flank
Disaster! My dice rolling was appalling as usual and after seeing off one infantry Battalion the Rebs follow through and crash into to artillery batteries. By the end of the melee both guns were lost and the Rebels held the ground.
Meanwhile two Monitors arrive off the coast. The Confederates make use of a captured ship, the CS General Lee, while the Union ship, the US Winnebago, moves to target the Ironclad. 
The Union Left (actually the centre of the Battlefield) holds on against mounting pressure from the rebels. Richards dice rolling was excellent and made up for the terrible dice from my half of the army. 
My troops on the Union left flank were still a strong fighting force at this stage and I decided to launch a counter assault of my own to disrupt the Rebel advance..but more bad dice ruined that plan. 
The ships continued to exchange blows of the coast but the US Paddle steamer
was taking heavy damage and would soon be sunk leaving the Ironclad free to
bombard the shoreline and the Union battalions on their left flank.
Fresh from sweeping aside the Union Artillery the rebels press their assault against the union troops they pushed back earlier in the battle. More terrible dice rolling ensured another Union defeat and this time the whole battalion is pushed back off the table edge. 
My dice rolling was so bad that it was beginning to remind me of my earlier disaster in the Battle of Hal last year.
The Union are being pushed back but the Rebels still don't look all that happy. Casualties were mounting on both sides.
Another view of the Union center (right) showing the rebels have made little headway in their advance.
Now the Dice Gods are just laughing in my face. Four guns from the Monitor against the Rebel Ironclad...and I roll three ones !!!! Needless to say I swore a lot at this point. 
The Rebel Ironclad now starts to bombard the Union troops on shore and there is little they can do about it. 
Fresh Confederate troops are now advancing towards the Union right flank and there it little left to fend this off.

Man of the Match - Richard
By the end of the game both sides had taken a mauling but both I and my fellow Union player Richard were convinced it was a resounding confederate victory. When the points were added up they had indeed won but much more narrowly than we had anticipated.

Confederates – 25pts
Union – 21pts 

This is counted as a Confederate Minor Victory but really they had won the ground and effective control of the coast with reserves feeding into the front line. The Union position was untenable and if the game had progressed a few more turns we would have been forced to retreat no matter how much we fought the inevitable. I think we gave the Confederates a bloody nose, but ultimately my uncannily poor dice rolling and their domination of the coast proved too much. Kudos has to go to MiniMike and Dave who both fought tenaciously and pressed their advantage throughout the battle. Well done lads.

So once again my dice rolling was utterly utterly awful. I still enjoyed the game but I am beginning to believe I am cursed. Maybe if I could roll the dice without touching them I may have better luck.... nah, I don't believe that either!


  1. Good looking Game cheers for sharing
    Peace James

  2. Yet another big battle bonanza in Darkest Gravesend. Postie seems to excel at putting on these big game experiences. It sounded like a fun time and having met most of you I am sure it was.

  3. Excellent Batrep, very exciting. I was driving home from the south coast in that monsoon, it was hell I would have preferred commanding a rebel regiment in that battle. Cheers.

  4. Great batrep. I might have missed it, but what scale is that, 15mm?
    I might mention I really like the photo where confederation charges, I couldn't help but notice how much more practical the colour of the uniform is. :D

  5. All those "ones". I know the feeling. Great report and photos Lee!

  6. Great AAR Lee, but wot? No Fran? Your dice luck is as appalling as mine.

    As for the "Evil Postie" pic - was the "Bumper Bananas" box deliberately included? ;)

  7. Glad to hear your luck hasn't changed, sounded like a good one though!

  8. Love the game system, but it can beat you up on an off day. Nice looking table btw.


  9. Great Game! Your dice can't be as bad as mine - my mates insist that I keep my dice in a special box where they cant contaminate theirs! I actually had 2 British Guard units leave the board immediately after entering and checking morale! That was 33 years ago and no one will let me run guards (of any kind) ever since.

    Dick Bryant
    No scenario survives frst contact with a wargamer!

  10. What an absolute cracker of a game, I love the land and sea battles running simultaneously.

  11. Another great looking scenario. I think you need to have a dice cursing/ destroying and then blessing ceremony to cure your dice woes.

  12. Great AAR BL! Sorry to hear about your bum-luck. The worm will turn. It was also nice to see Mike over for a game and a visit.

    1. I hope so mate. I have (on occasion) been told I don't throw my dice properly but on Saturday I was trying everything; dropping from height, hurling them across the table, flicking the wrist as I let's all pointless really because however you throw them the result should be random. I had a couple of good dice rolls but I reckon my average throw for the whole game was less then three, and that was with d10's!

    2. I feel your pain. When your luck turns sour it sucks Big-Big Time.

  13. Great looking terrain, figures and game as always

  14. T'was a great game and your dice rolling was THE worst I've ever seen,he he!

    1. My dice rolling or the results? I can't see how my 'throw' had anything to do with it. So long as the dice roll a few times the result should be random... I reckon you lot have been giving me loaded dice just for laughs. Its the only logical explanation!

  15. A message from Postie, he said "Ping!"

    1. He was enjoying my discomfort waaaay too much... with every shot that bounced off that flippin' Ironclad I could see the daemonic glee in his eyes increasing. He's evil I tell ye! Evil!!

  16. This bring up a lot of great memories. I've had a fantastic day, I only felt sorry for your dice rolling but you handled it like a true gentleman. If it was me rolling that way you would have known some bad Dutch cursing by now. Thanks again for the game and it was great meet Dave and Richard as well. You are a bunch of friendly rejects and it's an absolute pleasure to game with all. Already look forward to a next time.
    Cheers, Mike


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