13 November, 2008

The Slow Build-Up

Tennessee Campaign, 1863
News from the Front, August 31st
- September 16th

August 31st

After being defeated by the resurgent Union force at Hillsboro, Withers withdraws his division south-westwards towards Decherd.

Over towards Loudon, Hascall advances 1st Division of the XXIII Corps up to the Tennessee.

September 1st

Withers continues his retreat to Winchester.

September 2nd

Under increasing pressure from Burnside's Corps, Buckner makes it across the Tennessee, where Jackson's Brigade hold the fortifications around Loudon.

September 3rd

Negley advances towards Tullahoma. Will Cleburne feel the brunt of the Union assault at the Confederate advance base of operations?
Cleburne scouts out the nearby division commanded by Sheridan, finding it somewhat below strength.

September 5th

With the Confederate garrison gone, Carter's division marches into Knoxville.

September 6th

Mitchell's division occupies Beech Grove, helping to secure the Union's line of supply.

Further to the east, McLaw's recently arrived division arrives in Cleveland, beginning the long march northwards to Loudon.
Pegram trails behind, marching to Harrison

September 8th

Hascall scouts across the Tennessee, and discovers that Buckner's division is quite strong.

Palmer, out of supply and somewhat isolated digs in at Hillsboro to await resupply or reinforcements before he advances.

September 9th

Longstreet gains some major boons from the highest command, as significant railway stock is put at his disposal. A large mass of supplies is moved northwards along the line to Athens, within easy reach of Loudon (but under no threat from Burnside's forces)
Wharton's Cavalry Division is put under Longstreet's temporary control, in order to effect some raiding on Union lines, while Polk concentrates on fortifying his positions.

September 10th

Scouting on Davis' division shows it to be a mere scratch force; obviously regiments are being concentrated elsewhere.

September 11th

Sheridan's division moves into Bell Buckle, strengthening the inevitable move towards Tullahoma

At Loudon, Buckner takes command of Jackson's Brigade in the defence of the strong fortifications there.

September 15th

Withers fortifies Winchester.
Wood's division moves towards Murfressboro, obviously Crittenden is still very worried about Forrest's raiding in the vicinity.

September 16th

Rousseau's division is examined closely by scouting forces: are the Confederates planning a counterattack?
Near Murfressboro, an attempt is made to bring Forrest to battle, but the wizard of guerrilla warfare escapes once more!

27 October, 2008

Gallwitz Returns!

Overwhelmed by British sorties and heavily outnumbered, Jasta 12 calls in their old pilot Hauptmann Gallwitz, (leading ace from their days of Arras last April) who recently joined Jasta 2.

Gallwitz climbs to intercept the British photo reconnaisance mission: Two Bristol Fighters escorting a RE8. One of the Bristol Fighters has begun very high indeed, but has scorned the chance to dive on Gallwitz's Albatross III.

The other Bristol Fighter pilot takes a more measured approach, staying level and gunning at the Albatross at extreme range to attempt to put Gallwitz off.

Evading cover, Gallwitz hits Barker's R8

Gallwitz is not to be disuaded and with a calm eye, taking full account of the RE8 speed and deflection puts several bursts into the British two-seater, as well as shooting up the Bristol Fighter as the RE8 zooms by. One of his shots kills the observer in the RE8, and as Lieutenant Barker passes over the recon target he realises that the mission is a bust.

Killing Barker's observer

He speeds up and turns away into a dive, attempting to get away from Gallwitz, but he need not fear. Gallwitz has completed his mission and steals away himself.

The Fokker meets its match

27th November 1917

With minor repairs, Loffler heads out once more in his Fokker Dr.I; coming across two Bristol Fighters, he is unsure of the wisdom of engaging, but when one of the British surges ahead of his wingman, Loffler decides to take his chance.

Milne and Olly seek revenge

Despite inflicting heavy damage on Lieutenant Milne's Bristol Fighter (which has jammed its forward gun) Loffler finds himself being shot up by overlapping fields of fire. The Fokker is quite fragile all things considered. He decides to turn for home.

Loffler decides discretion is the better part of valour

With his wing struts making alarming noises, Loffler pushes the Fokker into a dive, safe from Lieutenant Olly's guns. A speculative shot from Milne's rear gunner sends the German pilot to his doom.

As Olly hammers away at the Albatross, a long range shot from Milne seals his fate

Good old Bristol Figher! Manouevrable and with a sting in the tail...

Classic Duel

Sopwith Camel vs. Fokker DrI
27th November 1917

Lieutenant Light is out testing his new Sopwith Camel, when he spots a German plane below him in the distance.

Light out on patrol in new Sopwith Camel

Leutnant Loffler climbs up towards his enemy in the new Fokker DrI.

Loffler climbs beneath him in the new Fokker DrI

As Loffler rolls through Light's initial attack and climbs up behind him, Light curses the lack of a rear gunner in the nimble single-seater Sopwith.

The Camel has no rear gunner

From above the small and nimble shape of the Fokker Drei-Decker is apparent.

The tiny size of the triple-decker

Light attempts to scuttle back to safety over his own lines, but the Fokker's twin machine-guns take him down.

Light pays the ultimate price

Does a new Fokker scourge menace the Royal Flying Corps?

26 October, 2008

The Battle of Liebertwolkwitz

The Battle of Liebertwolkwitz
16th October 1813

Saxony, October 1813. Napoleon’s Grande Armee is concentrating around Leipzig in anticipation of a major action against the combined allied armies. On the 14th, the lead elements of Schwarzenberg’s Army of Bohemia appear to the South of the French positions. Needing more time to assemble his forces, Napoleon orders Murat to fight a delaying action around the village of Liebertwolkwitz. Meanwhile Wittgenstein, leading the advance guard of the allied army, believes that he has caught the rearguard of the retreating French, and quickly deploys believing that he needs to bring them to battle before they slip away.

The Prussians open with a grand cavalry charge on their left flank. Attacking the forward infantry division of the French, and taking the small village of Crobern, which was overlooked by the hill dominating the rest of the battlefield.

Prussian cavalry readies for attack on French right flank

In the centre the Russian infantry begins the long march against the heavy French battery opposite, careful of what might be behind that hill.

Russians begin march towards French artillery dominating battlefield

The Austrian flank march reaches the outskirts of Liebertwolkwitz, but it will be some time before they recover enough to make a concerted attack on the French forces there.

Austrians flank march reaches outskirts of Leibertwolkwitz

Prussian hussars charge into the French lancers, who are unable to retire or countercharge against the attack, and are pushed back.

Prussian hussars push back French lancers

More hussars decimate the French infantry who form square against the marauding Prussians.

Second Prussian hussar Division decimates French infantry

Prussian Curaissiers advance slowly threatening that French division and its neighbours with a devastating charge.

Prussian Curassiers threaten French in square

The Prussian's order up their horse artillery to pound the French square, now vulnerable. [Textbook stuff!]

Horse Artillery pounds French square

A massed charge by the Prussians disperses the front line of the French corps, but will they be able to keep the impetus of their attack going against the supported artillery?

Gallant charge destroys French infantry division

In the centre, Murat makes his move, with French lancers attacking the Russian battery. Their elan is not sufficient to the task, and they are halted by the cannon fire. Indeed they are decimated by the continued barrage from the guns and retreat.

French Lancers repulsed by Russian battery

A second attack by another divsion of lancers, this time commanded by Murat himself is too much for the gunners, and they withdraw with heavy losses.

but second attack is too much for brave Russian gunners

A brave advance by the Russian infantry sees off those French lancers, and reforms the Russian line in the centre.

Russian infantry division forces French lancers back with fearful losses

Over on their left, the French make ready to attack the first column of Austrians, lancers and infantry combining to take the hill overlooking Liebertwolkwitz.

French left makes ready to attack Austrians

Without any means to coordinate with the Austrians [who cannot act during Turn 1] the Prussian continue their advance on the left.

Prussian cavalry continues successful attack

Blown and overextended one of the gallant Hussars divisions is thrown out of Crobern and attack in the open by infantry.

French infantry assaults blown Prussian hussars

Both hussars divisions are now in retreat, and block two batteries which had been moved into supporting postitions.

Retreating hussars block fire from their batteries

Back on the French left the lancers charge over the hill only to be halted by canister fire from the Austrians, who continue to pour fire into the striken division, wiping it off the battlefield. It's supporting units advance to take the hill and the threatened French infantry forms in square and hopes for relief.

French lancers annihilated by Austrian battery, and isolated French infantry form square to await relief

Coming under fire from the second Austrian column the French artillery withdraws into Liebertwolkwitz.

French artillery pushes back into Liebertwolkwitz

That Austrian corps now marches along the outskirts of the town to cut off the French force on the hill.

Austrian infantry division cuts off French left flank

Gathering his last divisions together, Marshal Murat himself readies a charge to rescue almost certain defeat.

Marshal Murat readies last charge

Sending his cavalry corps against the Austrians could be his only hope, and despite riding over open ground the Austrian artillery is unable to stop the French charge.

French lancers take Austrian guns

The French cavalry attempts to make good on its gains by sweeping up the infantry divisions, but forming square they repulse the charge, and then immediately form into line again to hammer the French back.

French cavalry attack stopped by Austrians

A crushing victory against Murat!
Onto Leipzig!

25 October, 2008

Afternoon Revenge

Afternoon Revenge
25th November 1917

Lieutenants Pratt and Light take up their Bristol Fighters and they find two German Albatross IIIs at a disadvantage, one of them being at very low altitude indeed. All four aircraft pass each other with some gunfire but with no great effect.

Pratt and Plange pass each other with little effect

"Don't worry" says Hautpmann von Tutscheck, "no one of any note has ever been shot down by a rear gunner"

As Plange climbs up at best speed, his wingman Papenmeyer takes fire from both Pratt and Light's fighters. Trying to stay in the fight despite the four guns trained on him he takes a glancing shot from Pratt's rear gunner.

Papenmeyer takes fire from both Pratt and Light

The shot clips "old Pape" on the head and his Albatross spins out of control and into the French countryside. Plange is alone.

Papenmeyer's Albatross hurtles to the ground

Plange seeks to break contact with the British pair, but they work well together denying him an escape route and threatening shots at every opportunity.

Plange struggles to escape the pincer

With the advantage of altitude over his opponent, Light does some serious damage to Plange's aircraft, enough to force him to turn back towards British lines towards temporary safety.

Light has him in his sights

Plange jumps at the opportunity to get on Pratt's tail, keeping within the thin shadow of protection afforded by the Bristol Fighters tail rudder. Pratt begins to take damage along his fuselage.

Plange takes the fight to the enemy

Lining up for another shot, which should take care of the British pilot, Plange is surprised when the twin-seater executes a perfect diving half-loop to aim his guns directly at the amazed German. Both pilots depress their triggers at the same instant, but only Pratt survives the exchange.

But it is not enough

The British have recovered their honour from Bloody April, but the Germans will no doubt be back for more...

Morning Patrol

Over Cambrai
The massive British offensive at Cambrai in 1917 uses tanks en-masse for the first time. The Royal Flying Corps goes on the offensive to scout and to harass the Germans in support of what surely will be the decisive breakthrough...
Will the British avenge their stunning defeat of April? Or will the Hun be too cunning for them again!?

Morning Patrol
25th November 1917

Captain Luxmore-Curtis of 48 Squadron takes his Bristol Fighter up on morning patrol. Below him and climbing is a German Albatross III from Jasta 12. These two formations have crossed swords before, over Arras sixth months earlier.
His speed is too great though, allowing the German aircraft to bank behind him as it climbs.

Captain Luxmore-Curtis miscalculates his airspeed

Ober Leutnant Plange slots in behind the Englishman, who allows himself to be tailed far too easily. Even with the Bristol Fighter's rear gun threatening, he does not require a second invitation.

Ober Leutnant Plange gets behind the Bristol Fighter

The German sticks to his tail, coasting in very close and doing terrible damage to the sturdy British aircraft.

'Lucky' Luxie can't shake the Albatross DIII

As Luxmore-Curtis tries diving for the lines, another burst from the Albatross destroys the airframe, sending him to a fiery death.

and is raked from stem to stern by the deadly Spandau

Squadron 48 immediately sends up another section to take back control of the skies from the Germans...

09 October, 2008

Battle of Hillsboro

General Withers, confident after his victory at Pelham, pursues his opponent to Hillsboro. There General Palmer has prepared well against the expected advance, and instead of awaiting the Confederates, decides to attack.

A large force, under General Hazen advances across open ground in the centre.

Union advance in centre

On the Union right, rival cavalry regiments eye each other along the road. But leave the early advances to the infantry, preferring to exploit success. The Union manage to take control of a hill overlooking some Confederate regiments, and seek to support their fellows' advance.

Union probe on right covers open ground

On the Union left the action is opened by a gallant charge to take the Confederate guns overlooking the river. If these are taken the entire Confederate right will be open. The attack is singularly unsuccessful, despite the leadership of General Cruft and the regiments are cruelly beaten back, as are the supporting infantry regiments.

The Confederate instead cross the river themselves and seek to turn the Union instead.

Union attack on left is repulsed, and Confederates cross river to turn flank

So as to help ensure the success of this demonstration a larger attack is planned closer to the centre of the battlefield.

Confederate right wing assaults

In the centre proper, a large Union "grand battery" supports the assault by General Hazen.

Union grand battery in centre

As a Union infantry regiment makes towards the Ward's Farm on their extreme right, two Confederate cavalry regiments pounce with telling effect. The decimated regiments rushes to relative safety within the farm buildings and fences.

Confederate cavalry attack Union probe

The Union cavalry rushes to relieve their comrades, with the aid of another infantry regiment and the Confederates withdraw slightly.

Union cavalry responds

In the centre, General Hazen's assault is initially successful, though with losses. The Confederate counter-attack is insufficient to throw them back.

Union assault in centre hits Confederates hard

The brave infantry regiments take the hill and threaten the line of retreat of the Confederates.

Union assault takes hill

On the right, despite the successful cavalry attack by the Confederates they are left weakened and unable to exploit. Union forces are similarly disadvantaged and a lull ensues.

On Union right, both sides pull back, weakened and unwilling to expose themselves

In the centre, General Hazen leads a brigade to a nearby ridge which commands the remaining Confederate battery at Peterson's Farm.

Second Union assault in centre makes ground also

Despite direct intervention from General Manigault, his Brigade is broken by the assault.

General Manigault attempts to rally Confederate Centre

On the Union right a large assault is made by General Grose, pushing back the Confederates with sever effects.

Union assault en masse on right flank

The brave counter-attack cannot change the course of the battle, as General Withers withdraws back to Pelham.

Union assault decisive and strong Confederate riposte unable to save the battle

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