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Subject: Gettysburg rss

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David Kershaw
Northern Ireland
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Lines of Battle: Quatre Bras 1815. Brunswick hussar.
Since we have played a few games with the Bloody Big Battles! rules we felt confident to try a biggy. Gettysburg was the decisive battle of the American Civil war. Fought over 3 days in 1863, it saw the Confederates try to turn the Union right, then left, before trying a grand charge (Pickett's charge) in the centre. This charge was broken and with it the myth of Confederate (and General Lee's) invincibility.

There is a scenario for Gettysburg on the BBB yahoo page, but it seemed too small scale. The scenario designer for our group almost doubled the number of bases. The result was a game that did not disappoint in drama, spectacle and fun!

4 of us played. I took the Union, with the scenario designer joining me later on. The other two took the confederates. We played the game over 3 sessions, each session being 1 day of the battle, and each session being about 3 hours long.

Day 1

The picture below shows the start. Buford is attempting to hold off a much larger confederate force. The Union I Corps is hidden deployment.
I've labelled the main features. The round-tops are off the bottom of the picture.

Buford had to fall back, and one of the I corps divisions was outflanked and mangled. The Union fell back to Gettysburg. You can see XI corps starting to move up to cemetery ridge and to the top right, Culp's hill:

The end of the first day saw Gettysburg contested, occupied by both Union and Confederate forces. Further reinforcements are starting to extend the flank along the ridge:

Day 2

Overnight a LOT of reinforcements arrived. The Confederates parked most of their reserve artillery on Benner's hill. This odd move proved fortuitous:

The scenario has a number of objectives. They are: Little round top, Culp's hill and Cemetery ridge (the cemetery). If the Union holds them all at the end of the 3rd day, they win. If the Confederates hold just one, it is a draw. If the Confederates hold two or more then they win.

However, overnight an EXTRA objective is randomly determined. It could be the Peach orchard (i.e. Sickle's salient), Gettysburg town, or Benner's hill. As fate would have it, Benner's hill was the extra objective.

This is the position at the start of day 2. The Confederates have Benner's hill pretty secure, but the union hold cemetery ridge from Culp's hill to the round-tops (labelled BRT and LRT below):

The less-cautious (and less experienced) of the two Confederate players was commanding their left. He launched a series of attacks to drive the Union out of Gettysburg, up Culp's hill, and also up to the cemetery of cemetery ridge.

These 2 pictures show the Confederate attack taking the cemetery. They could not take Culp's hill though:

The Union were able to counterattack though, and by nightfall had recaptured the cemetery.

The more cautious (and experienced) of the Confederate players kept their powder dry - confining themselves to artillery fire and skirmishing against the Union centre.

Day 3

Overnight Pickett's division arrived for the Confederates. They deployed him on the extreme right, facing the round tops. This is because the confederates were now down to 1 player. The more experienced player was sick... Longstreet's calming influence on Lee was no longer present...

This picture shows the start of day 3:

True to form, the Confederates launched attacks along the whole line, the biggest being in the centre:

As can be seen, the Union had brought up a lot of artillery. This utterly shattered the Confederate attack. It was Pickett's charge all over again.
Except it wasn't.
Pickett was on the extreme right and was storming Little Round Top which, you may recall, was an objective.
The picture below shows this, and shows the collapse of the other Confederate attacks:

While most of the newly-arrived Union VI Corps was sent to Little Round Top, it could not dislodge Pickett.

The game ended with the Confederates in control of 2 objectives: Benner's hill and Little round top. A late surge by the Union, which recaptured Gettysburg town was of no use. A Confederate Victory!

The picture below shows the final positions:

When we counted up the losses, the Confederates had lost almost twice as many stands as the Union! A good half of these coming from their disastrous attack on the centre on Day 3.

However, they had captured their objectives and won the day. We figured that Meade would withdraw overnight towards Baltimore, while Lee would be too weak to pursue but would be free to ravage Pennsylvania.

Again, a magnificent game. Really recommend this system, as well as it's lower scale cousins: Fire and Fury and Regimental Fire and Fury.

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