Wednesday, 15 February 2017

ACW Rules:Week TWO:Leaders,Bridges,Charging

You little scumbag! I've got your name! I've got your ass! You will not laugh! You will not cry! You will learn by the numbers! I will teach you!

Welcome to Week Two
Due to some of the subject matter ,this week of Boot Camp has the honorary title of Burnsides Week.


There are four levels of command in the rules although not all may be present in a scenario or on the battlefield at the beginning of an engagement.
Left to Right: Brigade, Division, Corps, Army

Your first level is your Brigade HQ. Its an integral part of each brigade ,is represented by a HQ stand the same size as your fighting stands and has unit and morale information on the back. It can fire and fight in close combat. Once the units normal fighting stands are destroyed the HQ unit automatically skedaddles. A Brigade HQ that has an exceptional commander is annotated by a white stripe along its morale information, This gives a +1 on the movement role. 

Your second level is Division. Represented by a Command stand with 3 mounted officers. Usually commanding between one and six brigades depending on whether its Union or Confederate. It has a command radius of 18" and can move 18" per turn. A divisional commander can either be attached or unattached to a brigade UNDER HIS COMMAND . An attached divisional leader gives a +2 modifier to the brigade he is attached to but he cannot influence his other commands. If unattached the divisional commander gives a +1 modifier to All his brigades that are BOTH within range AND within line of sight. If a Divisional commander is Exceptional this will be indicated by the Scenario OOB (not on the stand) and will confer an additional +1 in the above circumstances. 

Your third level is Corps. This is represent by a larger command stand with four mounted officers. Normally commanding between one to five divisions, the Corps commander works in exactly the same way as the Divisional commander except that he can confer his modifiers to any Brigades within the Divisions that he commands. This modifier is cumulative with the divisional commander so it is possible that with both in the same place a weak brigade may be held in the line.   If a Corps commander is Exceptional this will be indicated by the Scenario OOB (not on the stand) and will confer an additional +1 in the above circumstances.

The final level is your Army C-in-C represented by a large single stand with a vignette or collection of mounted and dismounted officers and flags. He may command as few as one or as many as twelve corps. He has a command radius of 18" and his modifiers can effect all the Brigades within his army. This modifier is cumulative with the commanders below him. If a Army commander is Exceptional this will be indicated by the Scenario OOB (not on the stand) and will confer an additional +1 in the above circumstances.
Confederate Brigades and their Leaders. 3 of the Brigades(RED) are from Andersons Division and he is placed behind them conferring a +1 to each of his Brigades
The Artillery Battery although part of Andersons Division does not require to roll on the manoeuver table and so does not need a modifier
Lanes Brigade (Green) is not part of Andersons Division and cannot benefit from Andersons modifier. Assuming in this example that Lanes divisional commander is over 18" away the Corps commander A.P Hill has moved over to attach himself to Lane conferring a +2 modifier (+1 for leader,+1 for being attached). However this means that Hill cannot give his leadership modifiers to the Brigades of Andersons Division on Lanes left.
General Lee is the Army Level Commander. He is concerned for this area of the battle field and has moved across to add his support. Lee is an exceptional commander so he adds a +1 to each of his Brigades within 18" and another +1 to each of the Brigades for being Exceptional
So in effect
The three Red Brigades of Andersons Division are on +3 (+1 for divisional commander within 18",+1 for Army level commander within 18" and +1 because the Army level commander s exceptional)
The Green Brigade is on a +4 (+2 for attached Corps commander, +1 for Army commander Lee within 18" and +1 because Lee is Exceptional)
Leaders can become casualties. Any leader who is attached to a unit that suffers a unmodified attack role  of 10 in firing or close combat should be rolled for on the leader casualty table.

Burnsides Bridge (Battle of Sharpsburg) The musket smoke on the ridge behind, is a dug in Confederate brigade.

There is only one way to cross a Bridge or Ford (BF)and that is in March Column. A unit that wishes to cross a BF that is not already in march column, must have at least half its move left when it reaches the BF in whatever formation it is in i.e line, supported line (its irrelevant).
When it reaches the BF it automatically contracts into march column. If the BF is undefended the unit is placed on the other side with the rear of its stands touching the BF in whichever formation the player chooses. However if the unit is in firing range of any enemy units (short or long range) they will/may fire on it as if it were a unit in march column formation during the defensive fire phase with all the modifiers associated with that formation. If the unit becomes disordered as a result of this fire it may still form up on the other side but will be disordered as per the result. If it is forced to withdraw across the bridge it will reform in its original formation with the relevant casualties etc.  If the BF s defended by enemy units that are with 3" of the far side of the BF then the crossing Brigade must charge the defending unit in March Column, taking defensive fire as it crosses and fighting close combat charge resolution as a unit in March column. Should it win the close combat it may reform into line or double line. It may not breakthrough charge, whatever the result. A unit that reaches a BF already in march column can cross as if it was a normal movement and may continue its normal movement on the far side provided that the BF isn't defended in which case the moving brigade must charge the defending unit in order to cross as above.

A Union Brigade in Line approaches a bridge defended by a Confederate mixed unit of infantry and Artillery
Having half its movement left the Union player elects to push his luck and charge the bridge. The Union brigade automatically contracts into a March Column and crosses the Bridge charging the defending artillery stand as it does so.
The Union brigade takes close range canister fire and infantry fire. As a column and in march formation it takes multiple modifiers, loses stands and is forced back across the bridge were it reforms disordered.

On this occasion the Confederate player (probably Ian) has rolled shocking shooting and close combat dice and has lost the melee. The confederate Brigade is forced back and the Union brigade takes the ground and reforms on the hill.

In this case the Union brigade has been allowed to reform on the far side as no enemy units were within 3" of the far side of the bridge but it will take defensive fire as if it were in march column during the defensive fire phase and may still be forced back by the result.
I was going to cover charging in his blog but it got very long with the number of examples I wanted to shot so it now has its own article: see  Week3


  1. Yes it would be more as the defender - as there is no chance I would attack in march column and expect to win!