Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Battle Above the Clouds (MMP) - "McLemore's Cove"

Game: Battle Above the Clouds (MMP)
Series: GCACW
Scenario: McLemore's Cove
Participants: Jim "HeavyD" D, Myself
Time: Friday, June 3rd ~ 6.30PM - 9.45PM

We continue with HeavyD's introduction to the GCACW series with Scenario #1 from BATC, "McLemore's Cove". This is the first scenario in the BATC game and its a keeper. Bob and I had played it a couple times when we first got BATC. Each side is part offense and part defense. The scenario is 4 turns long and has many option available to each player.

The scenario opens on September 10th, 1863. Rosecrans has crossed the Tennessee and has captured Chattanooga. He believes Bragg's Army of Tennessee is in flight. Bragg has only evacuated Chattanooga though and the AoT is itching for a fight. Rosecrans Army of the Cumberland is spread out and not expecting Bragg to turn and fight. Negley's Division of the XIV Corps is in McLemore's Cove, way out in front of the rest of the Corps.

Initial Set Up, the dice are marking the VP locations

As I mentioned the scenario has many options open to both sides for victory. The key for the CSA player is controlling the paths into/out of McLemore's Cove. This is represented by having an infantry unit in either S3605 (Thornton's Mills) or S3808 (Bailey's Crossroads), this will yield +10VPs. The second key objective, also worth 10 VPs are a couple hexes up on the ridge, again needing to control only one of these two hexes, S3406 (Campbell) or S3509 (Powell). In the above picture these four hexes have the purple dice in them. Chattanooga is worth 20 VPs, but has a strong Union Corps in front of it. The crossing behind Lookout Mountain is also worth 10VPs. The Union player has to prevent Bragg's AoT from taking these objectives. The Union player is also on the offensive in the scenario, having a strong cavalry force further South as well as an Infantry Corps (XX) threatening Lafayette (S4604). The rail line that supplies Bragg's army is also a potential target. The CSA player has to have at least 14 more VPs then the USA player to get a win.

HeavyD takes the USA side and I will be playing the CSA.

Turn 1

Near the End of the first turn

The game opens with me getting a big string of back to back action phases. I start with Buckner's Corps, moving a Division over next to Negley's Isolated Division. I move the rest of Buckners Corps towards Thornton's Mills. HeavyD is largely unable to respond to this as I am getting initiative after initiative. When HeavyD does finally get the initiative he pulls Negley's Division out of harms way, pulling them back to Bailey's Crossroads.  Negley's Division, while out on their own is in a very strong position at the start of the game. They are in a clear terrain hex and have 3 artillery. Any attack I should decide to mount against that hex will be costly. The risk though is if I am able to surround the unit.

End of Turn 1

I am able to get Buckner up unto Lookout Mountain by going to F3 on turn 1 (rolling very well for both initiative and MPs). This does not bode well for HeavyD as I am now sitting in both of the +10VP hexes. I have essentially become the defender now as I am on the ridge, HeavyD is going to have to dig me out to prevent my getting the 20VPs and the win. HeavyD works on bringing Thomas' Corps up onto Lookout Mountain. I am also able to get Walker's Corps down near the base of the mountain to cover Buckner's rear (Cooper's Gap). The rest of the turn is quick as most of the rest of our units are unable to move on the first turn. 

Turn 2

Negley is able to get out of McLemore's cove, up onto the Mountain. This allows me to bring Stewart's Division in to reinforce Buckner's position. I then move Walker's Corps over to cover Steven's Gap. By now nearly all of the XIV Corps is up on Lookout Mountain and queuing up to make an attack on Buckner's now dug in Corps in S3406. Thomas starts off a Corps Assault action and Rosecrans joins in to make it a Grand Assault. This is pretty impressive at Rosy is only a 4, but he rolled well and is able to get the other two hexes involved in the attack. The attack ends up going in as a -1 to HeavyD's die. Here are the details: 1-2 Odds (-1), +0 Tac, -1 Arty, +1 Assault. for a net of -1. This is certainly a long shot but at this point HeavyD knows its his only real shot at dislodging Buckner from his position.

The Battle of Cooper's Gap, Union XIV Corps Assaults Buckner's Corps

We roll and the battle goes poorly for the boys in Blue, ending in a -2 or -3 I believe. HeavyD looses 3 or 4 points of Infantry and Thomas's Corps is done for the day (F4). As I only gained 1 level of fatigue in the fight I then decide to counter attack when I next win the initiative. Buckner does a Corps Assault, rolling well allowing both of his Divisions as well as the Corps Artillery to attack. I decide to go after the hex Thomas is in with Baird's small division hoping to open the road up to S3509. The final is a +4 attack (+4 odds, -1 Tac, +0 Art & +1 Assault). It does not go well for me. I push Thomas and Baird out of the hex with a 'r' but I loose 3-4 points of Infantry at very little cost to HeavyD. Buckner's Corps is now out as well (F4).

Buckner's Corps after their failed Counter Attack

Our attention now turns South as HeavyD's only real chance at some sort of a win rests in his ability to take Lafayette from me and perhaps go after the rail line. Both of us leave a Corps facing each other near Chattanooga. In a pretty tense sequence of activations I am able to hold off HeavyD's march on Lafayette with Joe Wheeler's Cavalry while I have Breckenridge's division entrenching in Lafayette. What's worse for the Union cause is now that Thomas's Corps is out of action, I can move a couple of Divisions over to support Breckenridge in Lafayette.

At this point HeavyD throws in the towel as the odds are long that he is going to ever get me off of Lookout Mountain and the prospects of him taking Lafayette are slim against two entrenched CSA Divisions. The scenario really went my way early on the first turn. I was able get a whole bunch of activations with Buckner and Walker's Corps rolling very well when I then activated them. Thus HeavyD never really was able to stop me from getting up on Lookout. At that point his only option was a low odds frontal assault on two Divisions of CSA infantry who where already starting to dig in.

The map at the end of the scenario

Despite the one sided outcome, both of us had a good time. HeavyD is now getting up to speed on the GCACW rules and is enjoying them. We hope to start the SJW CG (2nd Manassas) the next time we get together. This is easily my favorite scenario in the box. The CG is very good also (the crossing of the Tennessee) with Bob and I having played it twice (both of us getting pounded by the CSA).

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