I put on a Blood Sweat & Iron game at the club last night, this was going to be a playtest of a new scenario I have just written for the ACW river battle rules.
This is a nice simple scenario where a Union force is going to attack some Confederate warehouses, these warehouses are protected by some gun batteries and some ships.
I had played this through only once previously so I still wasn’t sure about the points for the two forces or if the scenario would actually work, but I was hoping that the two friends of mine that were playing would soon find any faults in the scenario if there was any.
I picked the forces for this battle rather than getting the players to pick as this would make it a little quicker getting into the fight, also bringing all my ships ( about fifty ) down to the club so that they could pick from them would have been a bit awkward as I don’t have a way to transport all my ships safely.
Anyway so the forces I picked for them were these –
Union ships ( the Attacking force )
Confederate ships ( the Defending force )
CSS General Sumter
And three small Gun Batteries ( 2 x Medium guns each ) this would work similar to a small fort.
The Defender just used the datacards to show where the warehouses and the gun batteries were on the side of the river ( in the scenario pack there will be printouts to use for these ) I did put the pier in the water to show where a ship would be to load or unload.
The Confederate player then had to pick two ships that would be anchored and would not move during the battle.
He picked his two smallest ships, the CSS General Sumter and the CSS Planter ( the Sumter was docked at the end of the pier and the Planter was close to the shore nearby )
Turn one started slow with a few long range shots most of which splashed harmlessly into the river.
The USS Lexington started her move towards the enemy ships and hit the CSS Alabama as she moved past causing some damage on the big ship, but the Alabama was not standing for that and it pounded the Lexington causing huge amounts of damage in reply.
But by turn two the ships were starting to get really close and there was already some crazy close quarter fighting!
Then the rest of the Union ships moved in and hit the Alabama as well wreaking havoc on the big ship, but the Alabama seemed to just shrug it off and continued to move to try and stop the Union ships getting close to the warehouses.
The CSS Richmond and the CSS Tuscaloosa were badly out of position and steamed hard to try and get into the action, but they were still a long way away.
The two heavy Union ironclads turned slowly towards the shore and started to hit the warehouses doing loads of damage to the closest one, the CSS Chicora managed to put some shots into the battered Lexington ( I am not sure how that ship was still afloat!! )
The Captain of the Lexington, who was definitely not giving up, decide to push his ship through a gap between the Tuscaloosa and the Chicora and headed toward the pier, firing with everything the ship had as it moved through the gap.
In reply the Union ships hit the Lexington again this time causing fires on the brave ship, this surely was the end of its valiant fight…
The CSS Richmond saw the Lexington and move to try and stop the ship from getting close to the shore, but it wasn’t quick enough and the Lexington had one final attempt to hit the closest warehouse and managed to see its shot hit, but then the gun batteries fired back and the Lexington finally started to sink, its battle was over.
The two Ironclads continued to steam close to the shore and pounded the warehouses as they moved, almost oblivious the Confederate shooting, their heavy armour protecting them easily.
The first warehouse on that side of the pier was totally destroyed with all the supplies inside ruined, and the second warehouse had taken lots of damage as well.
The Confederates were going to have to do something soon to try and stop the Union ships or they were going to lose all three of their warehouses.
The USS Lexington had now sunk and all its remaining crew were either clinging to bits of wreckage or were swimming for the shore!
The USS Chiliclothe took a hit from a Union ship and was now on fire, I think the smoke from that fire was affecting the ship’s Captain as the ship moved forward and completely blocked the only gap that the two ironclads could use to get past the pier and the docked ship, but the gun crews were not affected by the smoke as much because they did manage to take out the second warehouse!
So with nowhere to go now that the gap in front of his ship was now blocked by the USS Chiliclothe the Captain of the Monitor ordered it’s engines in full reverse to try and stop the heavy ship, but it just couldn’t stop in time and the ship crashed into the docked CSS General Sumter causing damage to both ships.
The USS Canonicus was in a slightly better position so managed to slow down enough to be safe, the big turret turned to aim at the last warehouse… boom!! The Confederates had ammunition stores in the last warehouse and it exploded giving victory to the Union force.
Well that was lots of fun to watch, I think that both players enjoyed the game and the scenario, they didn’t find anything wrong with the way it played at all so that was pleasing.
The star of the battle had to be the USS Lexington, it took a pounding and still kept going, the crew even managed to put the fires out before it sunk!!
The star ship for the Confederates was the CSS Alabama, that big ship took a huge amount of damage as well and just would not sink, it also managed to do a fair amount of damage on several of the Union ships during the game, but sadly by the end of the fight it was slightly out of position so it couldn’t do much about the final outcome.
So a good playtest for the scenario which now just needs tidying up, all I need do now is write a second one to go with it.