We were back in Gettysburg again last week! Following on from our highly successful first game of Fire & Fury 2nd Edition last month, my mate Skippy was persuaded to give the rules a go, so I decided to re-run the same scenario.
The scenario covers the first moves on 1st July 1863, the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg: General Heth’s Confederate Division is marching toward the Pennsylvania town of Gettysburg and has encountered the Union Cavalry Division of General Buford. Heth’s two leading brigades (Davis’ and Archer’s) have deployed to attack the skirmishing cavalrymen and the rest of Heth’s division, along with several batteries of artillery, are hurrying to the scene. On the Union side, the leading elements of General Reynolds’ I Corps has arrived to relieve Buford’s cavalry.
The last time I played this, I was on the losing side as the Union, so Skippy graciously offered to take the Union side in order to ‘give me a chance’…
Above: “With a Rebel Yell…” Archer’s small but veteran Confederate infantry brigade charges across the Willoughby Run, hoping to sweep Gamble’s unsupported dismounted cavalry brigade before them… And get shot down in droves… Archer’s assault grinds to a halt on the banks of the Willoughby Run.
Above: Support for Gamble is coming in the form of Meredith’s crack Iron Brigade, but it doesn’t look like they’ll be needed…
Above: At the northern end of the battlefield, Davis’ large Confederate brigade crosses the Willoughby Run and advances along the unfinished railway line.
Above: On Davis’ right, a brief artillery duel results in a magnificent result for the Union gunners as one Confederate battery on the Herr Ridge is knocked out, a second one is damaged and the third battery is temporarily silenced! Calef’s Union Horse Battery, which is closely supporting Devin’s cavalry brigade, now switches its attention to Brockenbrough’s infantry brigade near the bridge, but Calef’s guns are already running low on ammunition following the artillery duel, so have a difficult choice to make: Stay to support the cavalry with diminished results, or pull back to replenish their limbers, leaving the cavalry unsupported…?
Above: Cutler’s Union Brigade moves forward on the north side of the railway to MacPherson’s Ridge, to support Devin’s left flank and perhaps stop Davis’ Confederate Brigade on the banks of the Willoughby Run. However, Davis’ first volley disorders Cutler’s Red-Legs and the Rebel Yell is heard once again as Davis’ men charge up the ridge!
Above: Cutler’s Brigade manage to hurt Davis’s men as they charge up the ridge, but fails to stop them. A return volley inflicts more casualties on Cutler, but still they hold on! The combat is drawn out and bloody – men fall in large numbers on both sides until finally, Cutler is forced to give ground. However, a further exchange of fire sees Davis’s men falter and Cutler throws them back off the ridge!
Above: At McPherson’s Farm, Devin’s cavalry can’t possibly hope to hold out against the massing Confederate infantry. Calef’s Battery still hasn’t had a chance to replenish its limbers, so is only able to provide limited support.
Above: Thankfully, Hall’s Battery, still stationed well to the rear on Seminary Ridge, is providing outstanding long-range fire support and manages to keep the Confederate artillery largely silenced.
Above: Gamble’s Cavalry Brigade continues to hammer Archer’s Confederates. The waters of the Willoughby Run run red…
Above: Meredith’s Iron Brigade still hasn’t managed to get into action. It looks as though Gamble is easily coping with Archer’s attack, though Pettigrew’s massive Confederate brigade is massing in the wooded valley and looks set to attack the Union cavalrymen. It’s time for Buford to pull his cavalry back and allow Meredith to attack the Confederate flank.
Above: Archer’s Brigade is soon broken utterly, though Confederate artillery are now starting to make their presence felt again and the Union cavalry are starting to take casualties. Buford gives the order for them to fall back to the next ridge-line. In the distance, the Iron Brigade engages Pettigrew.
Above: On the northern flank, Cutler’s and Davis’s brigades are now utterly exhausted, having fought each other to a standstill. Cutler launches another charge in a desperate attempt to throw Davis back off McPherson’s Ridge, but to no avail. Heth and Wadsworth both become personally involved in the bitter hand-to-hand fighting, but to no effect. With Buford’s cavalry falling back on the left, Wadsworth finally orders Cutler to concede ground and fall back to conform with Buford’s right flank.
Above: On the southern flank, Pettigrew’s Confederates suffer heavy casualties from the combined effects of Meredith’s Iron Brigade, Gamble’s cavalry and Hall’s Battery and suddenly suffer a crisis of confidence! To Meredith’s astonishment and disappointment, the Rebs retreat back to the cover of the woods along the Willoughby Run!
Above: Brockenbrough’s small veteran confederate brigade pushes hard up the road, but comes under renewed fire from Calef’s Battery and Gamble’s cavalry and his attack grinds to a halt. To his right, Pettigrew’s boys are withdrawing and on his left, Davis and Cutler have fought each other to a standstill. With casualties now approaching catastrophic levels, Heth halts the attack and waits for Pender’s Division to come up…
Above: Having suffered near-perpetual silencing at the hands of the Union artillery, the Reb artillery is starting to build up again on Herr Ridge, but it’s too little, too late…
So I lose again… Regular readers may be starting to spot a pattern… Is this really the hobby for me, I wonder…?