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Subject: The charge up "San Juan Hill" in the 1898 scenario rss

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Pete Belli
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This illustrated Session Report will feature a description of the charge up "San Juan Hill" (more accurately known as the San Juan Heights) during the 1898 scenario. The early stages of the climactic battle of the Santiago campaign were presented in a previous article:

Theodore Roosevelt and the Rough Riders take a pounding in the 1898 scenario

Things are not going according plan but this chaos actually reflects the historical command failures by Shafter and his subordinates. This image shows the entire board during the current phase of the battle. The stalled V Corps attack has begun to gain some momentum but the Spanish Krupp guns have silenced the U.S artillery battery on El Pozo hill.




On the northern end of the battlefield the attack on El Caney has made some progress in spite of heavy losses. Ludlow’s 2nd Brigade has been shot to pieces by the deadly Mauser fire but the Colt M1895 machine gun unit has moved into position. The reserve brigade is still lingering near the U.S. artillery position but Chaffee and Miles are attacking the Spanish strongpoint. Since both Spanish units have suffered an officer casualty it should be possible to force these formations to retreat.




On the southern end of the battlefield the assault on Kettle Hill continues in spite of the confusion. One cavalry brigade is pushing forward but the other cavalry unit (including Theodore Roosevelt and the Rough Riders) is pinned down in the scrubland at the edge of the jungle. Two infantry brigades are advancing on the San Juan Heights while the shattered 3rd Brigade under Hawkins regroups.




The Spanish troops fighting on San Juan Hill are operating under a major disadvantage. Like almost everything else about this campaign the plans made by the Spaniards to defend Santiago are a mass of contradictions. The Spanish were careful to accurately range in on the fords and the barbed wire obstructions created in the scrubland at the head of the trails where the Americans would approach. The Spanish get a bonus die roll when firing into in these areas.

However, the Spanish trenches were poorly aligned by the engineers and this hindered the defenders. Many of these fortifications were laid out along the topographic crest of the heights instead of the military crest. This meant that the fire from the Spanish troops would have difficulty hitting the advancing enemy when these attacking soldiers reached the defilade at the foot of the hill.


Topographic Crest


Military Crest

This situation is reflected in the rules by reducing the number of Spanish battle dice when a U.S. formation reaches these hexes. The attackers can use this to their advantage by getting in close instead of exchanging fire with the entrenched enemy at long range.

Fortunately for the U.S. player the Gatling gun battery has emerged from the trail and moved into firing position. This detachment was commanded by Lieutenant Parker and historically this bold and aggressive officer had performed miracles by dragging his weapons forward through the mud of the Camino Real. The defenders on Kettle Hill have already suffered heavy losses and the U.S. player will now direct the fire of the Gatling guns against the San Juan Heights.




With enough command cards left for two more rounds of battle the American player is in good position to capture all four strongpoint hexes and win the game.
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René Christensen
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Looks good.
Which figures do you use for the Spanish units?
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Pete Belli
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Thank you for the comment.

The gray miniatures are HaT 1:72 ANZAC infantry from WWI... I already had two boxes in my collection so they were dragooned into the Spanish army.

A few types of Spanish 1898 figures are available. This website is a fantastic resource:

www.plasticsoldierreview.com


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René Christensen
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pete belli wrote:


One of the websites I visit often!
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