Battle of Stones River Pt 1

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6.00am.

Well, we are looking at the extreme right of the Union Army. Johnson's 2nd Division, comprising Willich's 1st, Kirk's 2nd and Baldwin's 3rd Brigades; for a total of 14 Regiments of infantry. The 1st and 2nd Brigades are nicely arrayed on the edge of the Gresham woods with a good open firing field before them ,and of course, a -40% defensive bonus in the tree cover. Each Brigade has a complement of 6 guns attached, so there is enough firepower going around. I do not feel the urge to move any of the regiments of the 1st and 2nd Brigades, except for the stray Willich Regiment which needs to come forward a bit to support it's own artillery battery,( Belding's 1st Ohio A ). Baldwin's 3rd Brigade definitely needs to move forward at an early stage, but I am definitely thinking about splitting it in two to support Willich if necessary, but also to make damn sure that the rebs cannot make early use of the Gresham Lane for a wide flanking move to either left or right; so extra defence in depth is definitely needed. Visibility at Dawn is only 4 hexes ( 400 metres ) and at the moment , all that can be heard is yawning and soldiers standing to arms in the cold morning wind.








( Unit numbers based on in-game figures ).....


 
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6.20am.

Willich's 1st Brigade is first to draw blood. Ten Rebs are cut down as they move into sight of Belding's 1st Ohio battery's guns. A lively fire opens up between the tree-line and the 3 visible confederate regiments advancing. Cannot do much in this turn as I forgot that the Union units are fixed in position and have to be released by contact or fire of the enemy, to simulate historically ,being caught off guard by the surprise rebel assault. ( I did play around with the first turn just to see whether it is possible to save the guns, afraid not , but what is surprising is how much damage they do, going from one extreme to the other ; unfortunately in this campaign turn, they are having a very moderate effect ) - it is good anyhow, to know that it is not always the same opening, so things can vary.........!





6.40am.

Belding's artillery accounted for 105 rebs in defensive fire phase. , before being meleed by 2 confederate regiments of around 700 men.No chance to defend the battery with fixed units; still, gave a good account of itself before being captured. Baldwin's Brigade has been split in two with the Ohio regiments moving towards the smth house while the other two form a reserve under the command of Johnson himself.






7.00am.

Now , I definitely did not see that coming- 4 Regiments of Willich's 1st Brigade have high-tailed it before you can spit in a chipmunk's eye. Admittedly, Willich was positioned a bit to the rear with the 89th Illinois, and could not provide command morale bonus, but it was kind of inevitable, I suppose.The reb regiments first gave off a withering fire and then a 2 regiment mass sliced through the 49th Ohio in a melee assault and just before that , two reb regiments, ( A ) came out of the mist on the right, and that was too much for 2 of the union regiments who took another two with them in flight. The only good news was that they routed into a good position, for the protection of Kirk's right flank. Willich has moved the only regiment of his brigade not running to protect the ammunition wagons, as they are still fixed in place by scenario release rules. Kirk's 2nd Brigade is involved in a firefight with a confederate first line of 3 regiments, but can clearly see, another line of rebs with greater numbers about to come up ( B ). Kirk is however blissfully unaware that the Klingons, I mean 1st Brigade have vamoosed, and that is probably just as well. Johnson has been insightful to split Baldwin's 3rd Brigade as Willich will need the support in the centre and a positioning at the widow smith's house will distract the rebs for a while, so that the 1st Brigade can rally and move back to take some ground lost.







7.20am

Johnson has moved behind Kirk's Brigade after a successful rally of 3 regiments who are shoring up the hole between Willich and Kirk. Fortunately the ammunition wagons are free to move and rush up the Gresham Lane to a safe position. Things are looking rosy and a rider is sent back to Rosecrans field tent to report that a reb division and maybe two are attacking Johnson' s Division with full vigour. McCook is being appraised of events and has already decided to move the right flank, 3 Ohio horse regiments of Capt Lewis Zahm over the Puckett Creek to provide assistance to Baldwin's depletef force at the Smith house. Artillery fire from the 2 remaining batteries of Johnson's Division are performing well in the offensive and defensive fire phase. [ Note to self - reb melee assaults are nasty ; always have a one regiment of Brigade in a reserve position - yes, sir ! ]






7.40am

Getting some good shots with artillery and the defensive fire phase is pretty good too - Zahm's cavalry have all arrived at the smith house, much to Colonel Baldwin's relief.Three reb regiments have routed, mostly because they have been fired upon in open ground.Willich and Balwin's men and of course Zahm's will now open up a whithering fire from front and right and make things pretty uncomfortable for the enemy. Things are looking up.......two of Kirk's regiments have routed, one leaving it's battery undefended, so things here are getting a bit unsettling. :crosseye:


 
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7.40am

Confederate regiments are starting to advance against Thomases center wing - artillery fire is sporadic on both sides............















8.00am

Melee assault ( A )- ( union 18 rebs 48 ) ; perhaps the infantry here are getting a bit overconfident, my advantage lies in firepower and tree defence, so I will have to watch out for overenthusiastic play. One of Davis' first division batteries, which have been now released, has opened up on the confederates moving against Kirk, so giving some good support. McCook is still trying to rally a routed unit in the eastern Gresham woods, maybe he is not that popular amongst his men. Some artillery fire can be heard intermittently from the North-east. Looks like the Rebs intend on a major battle.






8.20am

Holy Kathmandu !:angry: What is wrong with Willich's Brigade, apart ,again from one regiment, they all decide to do the Kentucky Derby a second time. How am I suppose to keep a line with this going on. Johnson hurriedly rides back to rally them. Two of Kirk's regiments have also routed and a strong confederate melee next to his guns has made it clear that this is the only chance to get the guns away, diminishing firepower against the rebs in the open and making this position untenable now. Baldwin's 3rd Brigade are doing well, which is probably why , the fates have decided to impose a formation of reb cavalry approacing Puckett's creek from the south-west. Baldwin's artillery have changed facing to meet them. Unfortunately , Zahm's cavalry have a limited range of 300 metres so they will only be able to defend at a one turn move distance which is bad news. There is a strong temptation to form a line facing south along the small Gresham wood but I have a turn's grace to think about it.

 
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8.40am

The Rebel cavalry force is dismounting behind Puckett's Creek, while Simonson's battery begin hitting them as they do so. They are taking opportunity fire for every regiment that does so; so more hits for nothing. Although the cavalry regiments have a strength in the 120 man range, their unit number with dispersed firepower will be tricky to deal with; fortunately the A.I. is not that smart or at least I hope not- just bunch them up for me nicely. Kirk's brigade has broken, but I am still reluctant to withdraw until Baldwin is tested , or the rebels make a decisive move forward and flank Post's brigade on the far right. As it is , I am going to have to keep Willich and Kirk's brigades in mutual supporting distanceas I definitely do not trust Willich to hold, except in show mode.






8.40am

Sheridan's Division is being attacked but has greater firepower arrayed against the rebels for the moment. The rebels advancing along the Wilkinson turnpike have been beaten back with strong artillery fire from Negley's 2nd brigade guns. Difficult to know where the main rebel assault will occur in this sector.





9.00am

Baldwin's artillery are ploughing into the rebel cavalry arrayed beyond Puckett's Creek; they will suffer badly if they stay where they are. Willich and Kirk's brigades are starting to reform and as the rebels are slow to exploit, may be able to hold a position in support of Zahm's dismounted cavalry and of course Baldwin's men.





Not surprising greater confederate loss, as they have mostly walked into fire in open ground and have suffered much more from defensive artillery fire..............:devious:






9.20am

Three regiments of dismounted rebel cavalry are already at the creek, are taking nasty loss- hopefully they will not cross soon, as Zahm's dismounted cavalry are under pressure from the east side of the widow smith house.






9.20am

A rider from Capt James Morton of the Pioneer brigade posted near Mcfadden's ford has informed Maj. Gen Crittenden that a sustained attempt to cross the ford has been made by one regiment of rebels for the last hour. They are being held back with relative ease by the support of Morton's six-pounder guns, but stubbornly refuse to relinquish the small toe-hold they have made amongst the brush of the eastern side of the Stones river. A captured reb junior officer wears the insignia of the 1st Georgia regiment and is proud to boast of belonging to a brigade under the command of General Pegram. Morton also informs Crittenden that another ford has been found 500 metres further up the river which may not be known to the rebs , as none have been sighted in the vicinity , since dawn; his second pioneer regiment has as yet not rejoined him as they are scouting way to the south. Crittenden takes a moment, rubs his chin, and writes out an order for Maj.Gen Rousseau to take his newly arrived division, towards the fords, push back any opposition found there, and then move rapidly and take the rebel position on Wayne's Hill, and more importantly, establish what sort of enemy numbers there are on the eastern side of the Stones river. The rider is sent back to Morton telling him to hold for 20 more minutes; relief is on the way.........
 
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9.40am

Four regiments of dismounted rebel cavalry have crossed Puckett's Creek - no , I am not blind, it looks like 3, but there are 4. Sneaky A.I. movement, pinning me at the smith house while moving up here. Simonsen's artillery have fired 2 poor shots and Baldwin's largest regiment cannot fire as it is out of ammo, while the rebs have unlimbered a battery and started shelling the fields around the smith house...........what a flaming nerve. !






9.40am

Rousseau's 1st Division is starting to arrive before McFadden's ford, Beatty's eirst brigade being in front, so will move to engage the rebels at the ford. Capt James Morton points out the availability of 2 fords , one further up for an unchallenged crossing. Rousseau decides to throw in Beatty's brigade at the rebels and move another brigade to cross further up, just in case, Pegram's entire confederate brigade is located on the heights behind McFadden's ford; if so, they can be taken in flank. Morton's attached artillery, the Chicago trading Board commisioned guns are anyhow causing murderous execution among the rebels who can have only half their numbers standing. Morton has 2 regiments, the 1st and 3rd at the ford while the second id two kilometres upriver, no doubt looking for other crossing points. Van Cleve's 3rd Division has also arrived at the front line, so Union force is building up nicely on the left wing.........:yummy:








 
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I played up to 11 o'clock during the weekend in game terms. Decided to advance Palmer's Division against the rebel entrenchments where you can see only one rebel battery. I had the misguided notion that the rebs were further back because of the Fog of War thing. Having taken the lone battery, saw no rebel troops in the viciinity. I wanted to play this game solely against the A.I. for interest sake, well, anyhow, I turned off the Fog of War and looked at extended view and to my horror there were two big clumps of rebel units , one about a kilometre away from Wayne's Hill on the wrong side of the Stones river to be of any use in protecting the centre and aanother huge mass in the woods facing Johnson's 2nd Division and literally just bunching up there and doing nothing. The centre of the rebel line consisted of 4 or 5 regiments , mostly facing Sheridan.

Now , when you look at the opening deployment of the rebel army, all the entrenchments are nicely defended as well as Wayne's Hill but now they are ghost areas.
The point being that the A.I. has stuffed up completely :mad:I did not want to first playtest this battle , as it would be more exciting to play an unknown battle, which was my mistake. I have considered re-alligning to the rebel side and unclumping the 2 great masses, but that is unrealistic, so I only have the option to start again from scratch which is leaving me fuming mad as I now have knowledge of rebel dispositions which has taken the unpredictability out of things........................if you are playing the union side, the rebel A.I. scripting should have the left attacking as it did historically and the units in entrenched positions holding, not deserting the centre................................Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah ! :angry:
 

CyberRanger

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That's a great write-up. Thank you for sharing it. Yeah, the darn AI. I refuse to play at all except against a real person.
 
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