Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Battle For Gettysburg: the First Day

A while ago I picked up a couple of copies of Battle For Gettysburg: The First Day from Chris Harding Simulations in Australia. As usual, it's taken me some time to get it to table, but after reading Allen C. Guelzo's excellent Gettysburg: the Last Invasion (see JJ's review here), and subsequently gnawing at the shelves and howling at the moon trying to find something in the house to play on the subject, I remembered this.

It's a desktop published release (see here for the review that sold me on it) and the rules are short (four pages!), but it's not a lightweight game. Now into the fifth turn of seven, things have reached a critical juncture: the activation chit for Buford's Cavalry division has come out, and there are important decisions to be made.

Buford holds the far left of the Federal line backing onto Seminary Ridge, and his two brigades still present have taken heavy casualties. The 1st Cavalry Division has held out against the odds all day (losing all its artillery in the process), and has fought off the whole of Pender's Division for the past two hours.

But the lines now are ragged, and if the men stay in place they will surely be eaten up when Pender's division activates. But if Buford orders a retreat back towards the Ridge it may give Pender the opportunity to get into the flank and rear of the 1st Corps infantry that he has been looking for.

Buford's Cavalry activate.

To Pender's left, Heth has been battered to a standstill. With just one brigade capable of attacking - and that having already taken 25% casualties - he has been reduced to keeping the Federals back with his artillery, demonstrating, and protecting the flanks of Rodes' brigades.

Heth's Division is close to wrecked: his three remaining brigades are down to just 2700 effectives.

Further to the left, Rodes has been on the field for a couple of hours and his men are engaged in trying to turn 1st Corps' right. To complicate matters, the Federal XIth Corps has just deployed into line north of Gettysburg.

Where is Early?

Rodes facing the whole of XIth Corps.
Well, Early is very close. In fact, his command will be arriving to Rodes' left at any moment. Does the army of Northern Virginia have the time and manpower to win a victory today?

It seems unlikely, but if it is to happen, it is Pender's Division that must provide the impetus.

That brings us back to Buford. Time to take a deep breath...

Hold, die but buy time for the 1st Corp to pull back, or retreat and hope the chits fall favourably?

What a great little game this is turning out to be!

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