Wednesday, January 21, 2015

ACW heads up...

'Plattville Valley' action from a game played
nearly 5 years ago.  All these pics appeared in
this blog about 5 years back (see here).
My pal 'Jacko' of the Painting Little Soldiers' blog has been refurbishing his plastic ACW armies as one of his many ongoing projetcs.  His has been a very busy blog of late.  Having played with my own Bluebellies and Graybacks rule set many zillions of years ago, he was including that set among his range of options.  I thought that was very kind of him - and flattering too.
Detail from the 'Plattville Valley' action.
He has, however, run into a problem with the base sizes of some of the figures he has bought, and my rather minimalist base sizes for my figures.  Here is my method:
Part of Lt-Gen Scraxton Scragg's CSA Division: a Brigade
comprising three Louisiana and two Texas Regiments.
Infantry: mainly 3-figure strips on bases 1-1/2" frontage by 1/2" deep (say 19mmx13mm to the nearest mm).  Some figures are mounted in pairs on 1"x1/2" bases, and some individually on 1/2"x1/2" bases.  There seems to me little objection to 'rounding' these off to a 40mm frontage for 3 figures, by, say, 15mm depth.  An alternative is to make bigger 'main' bases, say 1" (25mm) square with 4 figures on them and the odd individual or pair...  However, my march columns are 3 figures wide.

A Union regiment showing my standard unit organization,
and the base sizes (1.5"x0.5" for 3-figure strip).
Units have been standardised on 27 figures: 1 C.O. (on foot), 1 flag-bearer, 1 musician, 24 other ranks.  In line they for 2 ranks of 12 shooters each, and a third rank of the command figures. I have a few units that vary in size (29, 23 or 21 figures, plus a small detachment of Berdan's Sharpshooters in green uniforms).
CSA Cavalry Regiments.  My Union Battalions are smaller,
but 6 of those nearly equal the 4 Rebel units.
Cavalry: Mostly individually based (3/4"x 1-1/2" bases [19mmx38mm]), but could equally well be based in pairs (1-1/2" square bases).  For the sake of simplicity, I fudged these to 20mmx40mm as making only a trivial difference, even across a whole unit.
CSA, all arms.
CSA and USA cavalry units are not identical:
CSA: Regiments of 23 figures: CO, Guidon, Bugler, 20 troopers:
USA: Battalions of 15 figures: CO, Guidon, Bugler, 12 troopers.
Two CSA gun batteries.  Each represents two
real batteries (1 model cannon to 4 real).  Together,
these batteries for a battalion.  In the foreground,
20 pr Parrott guns fashioned from tube, and mounted
 on Airfix ACW artillery carriages.
I could never get the gun/battery ratios the way I wanted, and so compromised upon a battalion organisation.  Each individual gun represents 4, which is fine for the CSA, but represents just 2/3 of the standard 6-gun Union battery.  I have considered organising them into 2-gun Confederate and 3-gun Union batteries, with each such battery representing two real ones.  Two of these 'wargames' batteries form a battalion of 4 (16) CSA or 6 (24) USA cannon apiece.

Army Composition:
34 Infantry Regiments, mostly 27 figures, 1 @29, and I think 3 @ 21 figures.
plus a half-battalion of I think 10 or 12 Berdan's sharpshooters (these are ESCI);

6 Cavalry Battalions each of 15 figures;

18 cannon organised into 6 (double) batteries of 3 guns and 13 officers and men.

Roughly 1080 figures and 18 cannon.

23 infantry regiments, 20@27 figures, and 3 @ 23.

4 Cavalry regiments @ 23 figures

12 cannon organised into 6 (double) batteries of 2 guns and 9 officers and men

Roughly 755 figures and 12 cannon.

Possibly both armies could stand the addition of a few more guns, say, to 21 and 14 respectively...
(I am still in hibernation really, not really making progress on anything new.  Sorry)


  1. Another great post Ion.

    By the way - we played ACW games using B&G for around 6 years so they were a decent set. To be honest when I started war-gaming I learnt from Grant\Featherstone and Archduke Piccolo. I'm going to use a slight larger base as you suggested (which can then double up for other sets).Cheers

    1. Sounds good! I did enjoy those games. It is a pity the 'Second War Between the States' campaign turned into such a frost, though. I always felt I rushed into it rather, without enough preparation. At any rate I'm glad you enjoyed those games.

  2. Nice to hear from you and a treat to see your Airfix ACW. I like the pistol conversions.

    1. Thanks Ross. I've added a paragraph to the posting, buy the way, that I intended but forgot to add, concerning the composition of my armies.

  3. Rank and file always impresses Ion. Good skills.

    1. I haven't done much of anything with these fellows in a long, long time. Very sadly neglected they are. That will have to change. I think they would look reasonably good with more 'finish', but thanks for the compliment!

  4. Replies
    1. I have not added to that collection these twenty years at least. Some figures I've had since 1974.

  5. For what it's worth, in 1864 Grant reduced the number of guns in Union batteries in the Army of the Potomac from 6 to 4. Whether other Federal Armies followed suit is unknown to me (I've never seen anything on it either way). This does simplify things from a wargaming standpoint, as USA and CSA would thenceforth be equal in terms of numbers of guns, although many of the Union batteries I've read about still had 6 guns--perhaps only new or reconstituted batteries had 4 guns instead of 6...

    Best regards,

    Chris Johnson

    1. I didn't know about that reduction, but it does sound as though the change was probably gradual and piecemeal. I did read once that Napoleon wanted to reduce his artillery batteries (companies) from 8 to 4, but recognised its impracticality owing to the need to double up on company-level support services. Possibly U.S. Grant's plan ran into the same problem.