Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Battle Above the Clouds (MMP) - "Crossing Chickamauga Creek"

Game: Battle Above the Clouds (MMP)
Scenario: #2 Crossing Chickamauga Creek
Participants: Bob H, Myself
Time: Tuesday, May 3rd ~ 7.30PM - 9.45PM

Recently Bob, HeavyD and I took an overnight trip over to Chattanooga Tennessee to visit the Chickamauga Battlefield. This naturally got our collective ACW game juices flowing. For me, after ASL the "Great Campaigns of the American Civil War" (GCACW) system is my second favorite game (system). It's been about a year since Bob and I played BATC so we decided to play this one.

We selected the 2nd scenario from the basic game, "Crossing Chickamauga Creek". Neither one of us had played this one before. Bob and I have played GCACW over the years many times. Most recently, we played BATC heavily after it was released. We've played 3-4 scenario's and the CG twice. Each of us loosing as the USA player.  The CSA was able to pin Union Army in after their crossing both times. Despite this, we wanted to try this scenario as it was a small one and it would give us a chance to refresh ourselves with the rules. Additionally we were interested in the battle itself so this was a natural choice.

Initial Set Up, the green dice show the two sets of VP locations the CSA players needs to occupy for the win

The scenario covers the first day of the three day battle. Bragg is trying to get around the Union left and cut them off from Chattanooga. Rosecrans' Army of the Cumberland is positioned closer to Chattanooga then Bragg thinks. For Rosecrans, he's stuck trying to bring his Army North to deal with Bragg's thrust.

The scenario is one turn long, so its short and sweet. Bragg has to get across Chickamauga creek onto some hexes in the midst of the starting Union positions. Bragg has the much larger force, including six infantry divisions and some cavalry. The Union player starts spread out, but has some of the key crossings covered by lighter forces. There are only three Union infantry divisions along with several infantry brigades of the Reserve Corps. The Union player has some nice Cavalry along with "Mounted Infantry", which is a new unit type introduced in BATC.

I take the CSA players as more of the GCACW rules are burned into my brain then Bobs. The CSA player automatically gets the first initiative in this scenario. I activate Walkers Corps with the intention of crossing at Thedford's ford and perhaps Alexander bridge. I roll well for MPs and start off with Liddell's division racing towards Alexander Bridge as I can get Gist's Division and the Artillery across Thedford's ford.

Walkers failed attempt to cross at Alexanders Bridge

Bob standing on Alexanders bridge, I took this from the CSA side of the creek

Liddell's Division attacks Wilder's Brigade (Mounted Infantry, 2SP) and get stopped cold with a 1D result. I think the initial odds were a net +2 on my die roll. I get Gist and the Artillery across Thedford's ford, however they lack the MP's to try an attack (that would have been a massacre) against Wood's division (5SP + completed Breastworks). I loose -3 VP due to the 1SP I take as casualties...not a good start.

I won the next initiative by rolling a 5, thus I am allowed to bring Hood into the game stacked with BR Johnson's Division (10SP). I activate them and roll well, getting 7 MP's I believe. I send Johnson to take Dyer's Bridge, which is covered by two regiments from Wilder's brigade (123IL and 72IN, 2SP). Bob elects to perform a Cavalry retreat, costing me 1MP. I don't have enough MPs left over to make an attack on Minty's Cavalry brigade, however I get the very next initiative and activate Hood + Johnson's division again for an attack on Minty (3SP). Minty, perhaps inspired by Wilders impressive stand at Alexander's bride deftly beats back Johnson's attack, I again suffer a 1D result, loosing three more VP's in the process.

Minty's Cavalry Brigade stops BR Johnson near Dyer's Bridge
Thus my attempts to cross the creek in the North are shut down and I am without two divisions for the rest of the scenario as they are now at fatigue 4.  Worse then this though is my -6 VP's lost in these two attacks. I have to get 8 or more VP's for a win in this scenario, so the odds are starting to look long.

Polk takes Crawfish Springs for +10VPs

Bob gets the next initiate and decides to activate Crittenden's XXI Corps. He moves Rosecrans and Van Cleve's division into 3521 blocking Gist from moving into that VP location. Palmer's division (9SP) stays put and build breastworks in hex. Bob gets another initiative and is able to complete Palmer's breastworks. I then get a couple of activations and move Polk's Corps across the creek at Crawfish Spring (hex 3632). This is a risky move as I am giving Bob a flank attack by moving here, but the hex is clear and I have much more artillery then either of Bobs two divisions, making the attack a risky proposition. Having taken a VP location I now gain +10 VPs, making my total +4, still a loss at this point for me.

Bragg leads a two-hex Grand Assault, Routing Palmer's Division

At this point the scenario is all but lost, however we decide to keep going as I want to exercise the Grand Assault rules. I move up Buckner's Corps to make a move against Palmer's dug in troops. Buckner fails his first Assault check, but gets the next one, I then convert it to a Grand Assault and Bragg is only able to bring in one more division from Polks Corps. The final odds are a +2 and I roll well, routing Palmer. However I take another 3-4 SP losses as I am assaulting with 30 SP! At least I get to see the boys in Blue Routed to end the scenario.

Bob and HeavyD plan the days visit outside of Lee & Gordon's Mill

This is a great little one turn scenario. Despite my poor performance, I feel like its pretty balanced and its got a little bit of everything. HeavyD and I will be playing this again this weekend as HeavyD too has ACW fever and needs a GCACW refresher. Then on Sunday, Bob and I will play the full battle scenario (#3).


  1. Entertaining AAR, Steve. I've never really gelled with the GCACW games, but I'm looking forward to your report on the campaign game.

  2. Great AAR. My Great Grandfather fought with the Arkansas 6th(Lisbon Invincibles) under Liddell in this battle at Alexander's Bridge. He was captured on September 19th, and sent to Camp Douglas, IL for the remainder of the war.