This game report is of an attempt to recreate the American Civil War "Action in the Plattville Valley" from Donald Featherston's book "War Games" on a hex grid. A couple of months back I added an 8 inch hex grid to my gaming cloth (click here for more information). To go with the hexed tabletop I have updated a variation of the ACW One Hour Wargaming rules by Neil Thomas. A link to these "D3 ACW" rules can be found at the top of the blog page.
|Scenario map (Google Slides was used to create the map)|
The first challenge I had setting up the game was with the number of hills required. I have a number of existing hills, these are more suited to a square grid and as such they do not fit nicely to a hex grid. Fortunately, I still have some insulating foam board in the shed and I was able to quickly create the necessary hills which get placed under the cloth.
|Insulating foam board from the hardware store is easily cut to shape and sanded.|
The second terrain issue was to get the river to weave its way through the terrain along the edges of the hexes. To overcome this some blue felt was cut up into small lengths so it could, for the most part, follow the hex edges.
|The tabletop all setup and ready for a game with hills and river.|
The game objective is for both Union and Confederate forces is to control Plattville valley, consisting of the bridge and Plattville township.
For the first 3 turns both sides have only an infantry unit on the tabletop marching along Pike Road. The figures I am using are my old 15mm MiniFig ACW figures which have been with me now for some 35 years. For most of that time they were packed away and only in the last few years have reemerged and appeared on the tabletop.
|Opening moves as units move along the Pike Road.|
On turn 3 the remaining units arrived and both forces had their full complement of units on the tabletop:
- 4 infantry units
- 1 cavalry unit
- 1 artillery unit
The union commander has an interesting decision as to where on their base edge to bring on their troops on. The river divides their base edge, but they do have an advantage that their artillery can move forward with minimal risk and hold a good central hilltop position.
One thing I do notice about using the hex grid is the units are well spaced out and not crowded together. I have a tendency to bunch units when using a free movement approach.
|Looking from the Union left flank.|
|Looking from the Union right flank.|
Both sides decided to hold and defend their left flanks, while attacking on their right flanks. The artillery on both sides took up positions on the available hills to support their own attacks.
|Union forces advance upon Church Hill. I lack a church so a standard building is a substitute.|
|Looking at the Confederate right flank. This picture shows how the hills fit under the hexed cloth quite nicely. The cloth is curtain material and had a good weight and thickness to it.|
|The first attacks begin with a Confederate assault on the bridge.|
|Confederate forces make it across the bridge, but a single Union infantry unit holds them at bay.|
The Union attack on the other flank was a slightly larger affair and there was no immediate result as both sides closed and engaged. The Confederate commander held one infantry unit back in reserve.
|Union pressure on Plattville township and church mounts.|
The Union attack successfully stormed the Church Hill. The attack was costly for both sides with Confederate reserves quickly being thrown into the action. They also moved their artillery unit from supporting their attack across the bridge and repositioned the unit to help support the defenders of Plattville town.
|Church Hill is taken by Union forces.|
Union forces maintained their momentum and after some heavy fighting surged forward to occupy both Church Hill and Plattville town. Confederate forces took the prudent step to retire and regroup. Union cavalry took the opportunity to push forward to support the very weak forces holding the town and church.
|Union forces try and shore up their positions around Plattville.|
A couple of good solid volleys, helped by an event card, routed the Union cavalry and the Confederate left flank was stabilised. Union units still held the township but were in no fit state to continue any attack, and with no artillery support themselves tenuously held on to the position. Confederate artillery on the hill overlooking the town began to bombard Union positions in and around the town.
|Union forces are forced to retire from Plattville.|
Finally Confederate forces were able to secure the bridge, the objective of their right flank attack, and continued to bombard Union positions. Late in the afternoon Union forces retired from Plattville leaving Confederate forces to control the valley.
After the game there were a few more modifications to the D3 ACW rules. These were mainly changes to the event cards used which provide uncertainty to a solo game and to introduce a level of period feel. Since this game a couple more games have been played using slightly less busy tabletops.