The 1st US Cavalry Division at McPherson's Ridge (Full Version)

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Chelco -> The 1st US Cavalry Division at McPherson's Ridge (9/21/2012 11:43:04 PM)

I wrote this AAR back in 2010 and posted it in my blog Real and Simulated Wars.

If ordering the first shots of a meeting engagement that turned the tides of a war marred by indecisive battles doesn't move your inner generalissimo, nothing will.

Much has been written about the battle of Gettysburg and about the delaying action that the 1st US Cavalry Division fought during July 1st of 1863 under the command of the iconic General Buford. As usual, you are better off reading elsewhere about the American Civil War and the Battle of Gettysburg. If you are really into it, let me recommend you David Pfanz's trilogy on Gettysburg. These books are the best tactical accounts of the battle.

Scourge of War is currently the only and best serious 3D tactical wargame about the Battle of Gettysburg. The past weekend I started playing the game's canned scenarios and I thought of sharing some of my misadventures here.

This scenario starts at 9:45 a.m. on July 1st 1863. In real life, after a couple of days of taunting between Confederate and Federal cavalry patrols, actions were just starting to shape into a battle. The Confederates started pushing towards Gettysburg with Maj. Gen. Heth's Division. The US Cav. Gen. Buford understood that the high ground around the McPherson's farm was crucial real estate to be held until the federal infantry arrived. In the game scenario, I'm playing as Gen. Buford and I am in command of the 1st US Cav. Division. My troopers are spread thin and for this battle I have only one brigade and a tiny 6-gun artillery battery.

[image]http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_CjFQem7UIVI/TLm0GeX401I/AAAAAAAABuw/T7hpvod2fTc/s1600/MilitaryGeography.jpg[/image]




Chelco -> RE: The 1st US Cavalry Division at McPherson's Ridge (9/21/2012 11:44:46 PM)

A quick glance at the battlefield above makes you wish you any other force than cavalry for this battle. The enemy will come to us walking down a slope, crossing the Willoughby run and then climbing up towards the McPherson's ridge. Is there a better kill zone than this? Tactical advantage is in the muzzle of the gun holder, though, and with the forces available, this is not going to be pretty.

For starters, there is the issue of weapons range. Back in the American Civil War, the troopers were armed with carbines that, despite being able to deliver higher firing rates than the infantry muskets, had shorter ranges and less stopping power. Second, there is the issue of limited numbers: cavalry formations were in the receiving end of the attrition equation. If there is an advantage that the US troopers have in this scenario, that is mobility.

Deviating my tactics from the ones used in the historical battle, and eager to catch the enemy infantry with their pants down while they cross the Willoughby run, I deploy my line of defense between the McPherson ridge and the run. I count on my troopers mobility to disengage and rapidly fall back towards the ridge. I even move my artillery battery forward.

I will go through my line of defense from left to right flank. Please refer to the above birds eye view of the battlefield to follow.

[image]http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_CjFQem7UIVI/TLm-2nxL_8I/AAAAAAAABu0/qt9mFVf4WOo/s1600/8thNY.jpg[/image]
In the extreme left flank the 12th Illinois Cav. Regt. deployed within the McPherson's woods. This terrain is ideal for a cavalry-based defense as the woods provide cover to fire and concealment to withdraw. Note that the "8th New York Cavalry" text in the info panel actually refers to another unit I have clicked but moved away from to take this screenshot.




Chelco -> RE: The 1st US Cavalry Division at McPherson's Ridge (9/21/2012 11:46:48 PM)

[image]http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_CjFQem7UIVI/TLm_v3NDonI/AAAAAAAABu4/cVMzD0I1Dac/s1600/8thIL.jpg[/image]
The 8th Illinois and the 8th New York Cav. Regts.are deployed in the center along a worm fence, overwatching the Willoughby run. In a thin skirmish line, they cover from the Mc Pherson's woods to the right of the Chambersburg pike.




Chelco -> RE: The 1st US Cavalry Division at McPherson's Ridge (9/21/2012 11:48:12 PM)

[image]http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_CjFQem7UIVI/TLnAyGF6VRI/AAAAAAAABu8/x4JjSr8qxAA/s1600/CalefsGuns.jpg[/image]
In the center, the only artillery available, deployed right in the Chambersburg pike. In the real battle, Gen. Buford ordered the commander of this battery (2nd Lt. Calef) to deploy his guns in a wide front so to deceive the enemy into thinking the federals have fielded a stronger force. The game shows this very well, and I had to scramble to gather 4 of the actual six guns available.




Chelco -> RE: The 1st US Cavalry Division at McPherson's Ridge (9/21/2012 11:49:21 PM)

[image]http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_CjFQem7UIVI/TLnDpOROe3I/AAAAAAAABvA/hMaScWhQZa0/s1600/3rdIN.jpg[/image]
To the right of the railroad cut, the 3rd Indiana Cav. Regt.covers a wheat field.




Chelco -> RE: The 1st US Cavalry Division at McPherson's Ridge (9/21/2012 11:51:39 PM)

[image]http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_CjFQem7UIVI/TLnEQ-WE8UI/AAAAAAAABvE/3Ep0SwZDbpk/s1600/6thNY.jpg[/image]
The 6th New York Cav. Regt. is the unit located at the right extreme of the federal line and also the one deployed closest to the enemy. The wheat field on this unit's left is the same wheat filed that the 3rd Indiana Cav. Regt. is covering (previous image).




Chelco -> RE: The 1st US Cavalry Division at McPherson's Ridge (9/21/2012 11:54:02 PM)

The enemy advanced in a wide front. For some strange reason, the Confederates pushing towards the center of my line made contact first.

[image]http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_CjFQem7UIVI/TLnGT21kqnI/AAAAAAAABvI/LGIF-l_47Hw/s1600/ContactFront.jpg[/image]
The Confederates pushing towards the center of my defense line come under fire from the 8th New Yorkers. Despite the good shooting, the New Yorkers will have to show more than this to repel the enemy.





Chelco -> RE: The 1st US Cavalry Division at McPherson's Ridge (9/21/2012 11:58:29 PM)

Some five minutes later, the culminating point of battle: the Confederates on my right flank start moving towards the railroad cut. Right into the junction of my center (8th New York) and right flank (3rd Indiana)! I have no forces there!

[image]http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_CjFQem7UIVI/TLnIRbs9aEI/AAAAAAAABvM/ZiAii_2ynjw/s1600/TheSeam.jpg[/image]
Confederate forces advance towards the railroad cut (between the green corn field and the brown wheat field in the background). The men on the foreground are troopers from the 8th New York.




Chelco -> RE: The 1st US Cavalry Division at McPherson's Ridge (9/21/2012 11:59:49 PM)

Forum glitch here. :)




Chelco -> RE: The 1st US Cavalry Division at McPherson's Ridge (9/22/2012 12:01:58 AM)

[image]http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_CjFQem7UIVI/TLnKOSTgUCI/AAAAAAAABvQ/2vwFi875Sys/s1600/Infiltration.jpg[/image]
A bird's eye view of the Confederate Brigade's move towards our weakest spot.

Fortunately for my forces, the Confederates deploy in front of the 6th New York and 3rd Indiana Cav. Regts. instead of pushing through the railroad cut.




Chelco -> RE: The 1st US Cavalry Division at McPherson's Ridge (9/22/2012 12:05:49 AM)

[image]http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_CjFQem7UIVI/TLnOzdwKwdI/AAAAAAAABvU/XtgQkLBh-nI/s1600/Deploy1.jpg[/image]
The Confederates deploy slightly in the right flank of the 6th New York. Although we are outnumbered, the deployment of the Confederates will buy us some time.




Chelco -> RE: The 1st US Cavalry Division at McPherson's Ridge (9/22/2012 12:07:23 AM)

[image]http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_CjFQem7UIVI/TLnPOLuWd-I/AAAAAAAABvY/0J6-R6yyynk/s1600/Deploy2.jpg[/image]
Confederates (background) deploy in front of the 3rd Indiana.




Chelco -> RE: The 1st US Cavalry Division at McPherson's Ridge (9/22/2012 12:09:17 AM)

I knew it would happen, but I didn't know it was going to happen so fast. Cavalry skirmishers will skirmish, not defend to the last man. I thought the 3rd Indiana was going to hold for longer, but just after 5 minutes of shooting, they retreated.

[image]http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_CjFQem7UIVI/TLnQgFBo4SI/AAAAAAAABvc/8UITusD5LhM/s1600/3rdINPullsOut.jpg[/image]
The 3rd Indiana Cav. Regt. bugs out in all haste.




Chelco -> RE: The 1st US Cavalry Division at McPherson's Ridge (9/22/2012 12:10:38 AM)

While all this was happening, I had the 12th Illinois Cav. Regt. pulling out from the McPherson's woods (they haven't seen any action yet) and rushing towards the trouble spot at the railroad cut.

[image]http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_CjFQem7UIVI/TLnRVCTZM9I/AAAAAAAABvg/EtlGfOA7pLo/s1600/12thILMakeYourselvesUseful.jpg[/image]
The 12th Illinois Cav. Regt. mounts up and move towards where they are needed best. The men on the right are dismounted troopers from the 6th New York, still standing in a skirmish line after all the fighting.




Chelco -> RE: The 1st US Cavalry Division at McPherson's Ridge (9/22/2012 12:12:17 AM)

he retreat of the 3rd Indiana Regt. had more devastating effect than what I anticipated, the center of my line (6th New York and Calef's battery) are now outflanked and under heavy pressure from the Confederates.

[image]http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_CjFQem7UIVI/TLnUhmbvHpI/AAAAAAAABvk/0Pqxx4OIUBY/s1600/DireStraits.jpg[/image]
Our center has become our flank. Note the Confderates in the far background, now relieved by the retreat of the 3rd Indiana, moving to join the onslaught.




Chelco -> RE: The 1st US Cavalry Division at McPherson's Ridge (9/22/2012 12:14:07 AM)

[image]http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_CjFQem7UIVI/TLnVHfrC-vI/AAAAAAAABvo/8XEWR633ZMU/s1600/12thILToTheRescue.jpg[/image]
The 12th Illinois arrives and tries to recover a semblance of a protected flank.




Chelco -> RE: The 1st US Cavalry Division at McPherson's Ridge (9/22/2012 12:15:46 AM)

And boy, if there was a well spirited unit in my command that was the 12th Illinois ... Not happy with shooting while dismounted, they mounted up and charged the Confederates!


[image]http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_CjFQem7UIVI/TLnV4V7kYDI/AAAAAAAABvs/psrpmaMHi1s/s1600/Charge.jpg[/image]
The 12th Illinois charges the enemy.




Chelco -> RE: The 1st US Cavalry Division at McPherson's Ridge (9/22/2012 12:17:27 AM)

In case you haven't noticed, the enemy is within shooting range of the McPherson's barn. They have reached the ridge and while they haven't secured it, we are officially not in control of the objective.

My center falls back, we are even thrown back to the reverse slope of the McPherson's ridge. The only option is to conduct some dis-functional counter-attacks to disrupt the enemy's deployment.




Chelco -> RE: The 1st US Cavalry Division at McPherson's Ridge (9/22/2012 12:19:05 AM)

[image]http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_CjFQem7UIVI/TLnW19cpP5I/AAAAAAAABvw/gPPNlXbe2-4/s1600/InfatnryFinally.jpg[/image]
Friendly infantry is within sight. Note the routed troopers in the background.




Chelco -> RE: The 1st US Cavalry Division at McPherson's Ridge (9/22/2012 12:20:21 AM)

Most of my units are disrupted and I try to pull any trooper available back into the fight.

[image]http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_CjFQem7UIVI/TLnYnHS1jSI/AAAAAAAABv4/csMfn3FwF7w/s1600/Counterattack.jpg[/image]
Troopers from the 8th Illinois fighting their way back to the McPherson's barn.




Chelco -> RE: The 1st US Cavalry Division at McPherson's Ridge (9/22/2012 12:22:03 AM)

[image]http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_CjFQem7UIVI/TLnZLE6itWI/AAAAAAAABv8/PHuDdajuYgo/s1600/Counterattack2.jpg[/image]
A terrible price to pay for the McPherson ridge ... But it needs to be done.




Chelco -> RE: The 1st US Cavalry Division at McPherson's Ridge (9/22/2012 12:23:27 AM)

After some excruciating minutes, our infantry arrives. We are still enthralled in the fight, sabers waving slashes of Confederate blood up in the air, when the infantry men show up.

[image]http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_CjFQem7UIVI/TLnaLBVBZZI/AAAAAAAABwA/okcOi5Z2018/s1600/ParrtingSaberCuts.jpg[/image]
Friendly infantry (background) arrives and joins the fight.




Chelco -> RE: The 1st US Cavalry Division at McPherson's Ridge (9/22/2012 12:25:36 AM)

[image]http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_CjFQem7UIVI/TLnaztvMndI/AAAAAAAABwE/TTGwx51eInU/s1600/EnemyRetreat.jpg[/image]
The arrival of our infantry shows up the real status of the enemy's morale. A Confederate regiment retreats from the McPherson's farm after a short fire exchange with freshly arrived Federal infantry troops.




Chelco -> RE: The 1st US Cavalry Division at McPherson's Ridge (9/22/2012 12:26:46 AM)

And this is how the scenario ended. I was awarded a major victory by the scoring system of the game, but we clearly failed the mission. We suffered 1042 casualties (out of 2805 men) and inflicted 1102 casualties to the enemy. We couldn't hold the ridge for our infantry and the poor dismounted souls will have to drive the enemy out of the objective.

My mistake was to push my troopers to fight as infantrymen ...




RedCharlie65 -> RE: The 1st US Cavalry Division at McPherson's Ridge (9/22/2012 11:54:29 PM)

Very exciting AAR! Was a joy to read. I've toyed with getting this game. Only thing that really stops me is that it is real time and not turn based. Do you have any trouble giving orders, commanding units in big battles with many units in real time? Or does the GUI allow one to do alright?




**budd** -> RE: The 1st US Cavalry Division at McPherson's Ridge (9/23/2012 12:53:45 AM)

I am really interested in this also, having fun going thru the demo. If you haven't already give the demo a spin. Seems like the AI controls some of your troops during big battles, you can take over control of your Ai controlled units to give them orders. I am not usually an RTS fan but the pace of play doesn't seem to make it a clickfest.

Also like to know if those shots are with the GCM mod or another mod.




Chelco -> RE: The 1st US Cavalry Division at McPherson's Ridge (9/24/2012 4:07:36 AM)

Hello. No clickfest at all. This is a simulation that can be played in many different ways. A very competent AI will execute the orders for your formations. Alternatively, you can take command of single units from the AI.




flanyboy -> RE: The 1st US Cavalry Division at McPherson's Ridge (9/24/2012 2:13:26 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: RedCharlie65

Very exciting AAR! Was a joy to read. I've toyed with getting this game. Only thing that really stops me is that it is real time and not turn based. Do you have any trouble giving orders, commanding units in big battles with many units in real time? Or does the GUI allow one to do alright?


I recently completed a AAR of the entire 11 hour battle of Antietam (it's on Wargamer.com's website if you want) and it's hardly a clickfest. You can make it one if you want, but the AI does a good job commanding units in larger battles. The idea of the game is to make it feel realistic if your an army commander. You can just give corps or division commanders orders and watch them carry them out, though I do enjoy jumping in and moving brigades around. The AI is competent if you want a hands off approach though.




RedCharlie65 -> RE: The 1st US Cavalry Division at McPherson's Ridge (9/24/2012 11:47:23 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: flanyboy


quote:

ORIGINAL: RedCharlie65

Very exciting AAR! Was a joy to read. I've toyed with getting this game. Only thing that really stops me is that it is real time and not turn based. Do you have any trouble giving orders, commanding units in big battles with many units in real time? Or does the GUI allow one to do alright?


I recently completed a AAR of the entire 11 hour battle of Antietam (it's on Wargamer.com's website if you want) and it's hardly a clickfest. You can make it one if you want, but the AI does a good job commanding units in larger battles. The idea of the game is to make it feel realistic if your an army commander. You can just give corps or division commanders orders and watch them carry them out, though I do enjoy jumping in and moving brigades around. The AI is competent if you want a hands off approach though.


Ah, I know of your AAR on youtube. I've actually been watching it the past couple of days. Haven't finished it yet. It is superb if I may say so. Glad to hear about it not being a clickfest. I think I may have to seriously consider getting this. It does look so in-depth. I was just worried that if I got it, the real time would not allow me to just enjoy watching the battles. That is half the fun IMHO. Thanks for the explaination.




flanyboy -> RE: The 1st US Cavalry Division at McPherson's Ridge (9/25/2012 6:00:19 AM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: RedCharlie65


quote:

ORIGINAL: flanyboy


quote:

ORIGINAL: RedCharlie65

Very exciting AAR! Was a joy to read. I've toyed with getting this game. Only thing that really stops me is that it is real time and not turn based. Do you have any trouble giving orders, commanding units in big battles with many units in real time? Or does the GUI allow one to do alright?


I recently completed a AAR of the entire 11 hour battle of Antietam (it's on Wargamer.com's website if you want) and it's hardly a clickfest. You can make it one if you want, but the AI does a good job commanding units in larger battles. The idea of the game is to make it feel realistic if your an army commander. You can just give corps or division commanders orders and watch them carry them out, though I do enjoy jumping in and moving brigades around. The AI is competent if you want a hands off approach though.


Ah, I know of your AAR on youtube. I've actually been watching it the past couple of days. Haven't finished it yet. It is superb if I may say so. Glad to hear about it not being a clickfest. I think I may have to seriously consider getting this. It does look so in-depth. I was just worried that if I got it, the real time would not allow me to just enjoy watching the battles. That is half the fun IMHO. Thanks for the explaination.


Well Thank you!

Even as a Brigade Commander there is a fair bit of being able to just watch the game. Here is a Brigade level scenario for the Iron Brigade that I put together. It's using the settings which players call, HITS (Headquarters In the Sattle). With HITS you can limit yourself essentially to the way it would have looked if you were on horseback for a more realistic feel... though commanding larger units is very hard this way.

The Iron Brigade at Gettysburg




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