Saturday, 14 March 2015

Invasion Maryland - Confederate defeat !

It is twelve noon on September 13th, 1862 and the Army of the Potomac has finally brought the Army of Northern Virginia to ruin. After 67 turns of a nail-biting game, Lee concedes that he has been outmanoeuvred and beaten.

I know it's Grant - but where was I ever going to find a historical image of a
victorious General McClellan ?!!

The VP chart tells the story. By riding around in the Union rear (pretty much unopposed I have to say!) JEB Stuart gained about 80% of the objective points that were up for grabs - the Union finished with only 40 remaining out of an initial 250. But it wasn't enough. The Rebs also gave McClellan's artillery some very rough handling - but that wasn't enough either!

When it comes to attrition, the Rebs are always going to struggle.
 Infantry losses of 2000 more than the enemy is not good news.

Here is the situation at the end of the game. D.H.Hill's division has disappeared from the map at Williamsport because it was encircled and wiped out.

Final strategic map - note Stuart's troopers roaming free across Maryland !
Lee's left flank - some substantial routing highlighted.
Lee's centre, virtually unengaged.
Lee's right flank - scene of a brief victorious moment earlier in the game !

So where did it all go wrong ? Well, first I will bleat on pathetically about the factors that were stacked against me !  The scenario involved historically sized armies so that McClellan had 30,000 more men than Lee, even though Rebel troops were of marginally better quality than their enemy. Secondly, at all scales of the game the mechanics don't allow for a player who is not faring well to disengage and live to fight another day. Historically a victorious force would be as exhausted and demoralised as it's opponent and the two sides would simply disengage, without the losing force being completely destroyed (we hope to find a way to address this in future).

Okay - that's the moaning done ! Playing as McClellan, my brother Ian simply came up with a brilliant strategy and pursued it doggedly until he beat me. After a bit of a clumsy initial deployment, I arrived at an excellent defensive position, making good use of terrain and artillery LOS. On the morning of day two Longstreet's men launched a surprise attack on the Union left, which I know seriously rattled him and threw a spanner in the works. So, faced with all this Ian decided not to tackle any of the Confederate main position head on at all ! He shifted his weight north west to Williamsport where he pulverized D.H.Hill for a massive VP haul. When I shifted half of Longstreet's men over to that flank to try and deal with the situation he was simply ready for them with most of his army solidly in place.

Ian's plan was already good but I generously helped him him out with two massive blunders. I simply didn't think he would attack D.H.Hill with virtually ALL of his army, so I left Hill vulnerable. And when Ian passed his army across the front of my main position in order to get to Williamsport, I just sat there paralysed in my 'good defensive position' and let him do it, when I could have attacked.

A well earned and convincing victory for the Army of the Potomac. Check out Ian's celebrations at :