002F - Nov 19th Meeting Engagement
Why Should You Play This Scenario?
This is probably the best scenario on the Chancellorsville title. It is a massive battle with a complex setup requiring the crossing of a major river, rebuilding bridges, and defending fords. It is a scenario ideal for veteran players with so many moving parts and such large forces.
But is it an even scenario? Let's dissect the numbers and learn more about this popular scenario.
These are some large armies battling it out in this scenario! With over 400 regiments and 90 brigades on the field of battle, this is epic in proportions.
As you can see, the average size of the regiments in each army is the same here - 373. This means these units are above average in size and will really be able to hit hard when they go into a battle. Luckily our units are of a much better average quality than are the Federals.
The Federals have 30,000 additional infantrymen than do the Confederates in this battle! That's nearly an entire army by most standards. But the Federal infantrymen are not nearly the same caliber as are the Rebel infantrymen. With a large advantage in quality, and with a massive army of our own, we are more than equal to the Federals despite their greater strength.
These forces are really similar in size and strength. Both armies have a number of large cavalry units which should be kept out of any serious combat with enemy infantry. Remember that cavalry losses count 2x that of infantry losses.
These forces are about as equal as can be. The Federals have better weapons but the Confederates have better quality.
Wow. Tons of artillery here. Unfortunately, for the Rebels, not a ton of ammo.
Both sides have WAY more than enough artillery. Unfortunately, nobody brought the ammo along. With just 3,000 and 1,849 shells for the two sides, this battle will not turn into an artillery duel. It will have moments of extreme artillery action but neither side can keep up a high rate of fire for long.
Both sides have more than enough ammunition to fight from beginning to end in this matchup.
The Confederate high command is far superior here. They are much more likely to consistently pass command tests and to pass on bonuses to those beneath them.
Did you know?
Burnside is NOT here at this battle. It doesn't matter though. Each Federal Grand Division is a mini-army according to the game's mechanics. Therefore, Sumner, Franklin, and Hooker are all considered army commanders for their forces. Burnside would be irrelevant if he was here.
This is probably the most complicated setup for any major scenario I can think of.
The Federals arrive on the board from numerous locations in the north. This includes two infantry divisions and a cavalry brigade arriving at (97, 0) in a position to sweep the Rappahannock River and uncover U.S. Ford if needed.
There are 11 crossing points over the Rappahannock River - 2 fords and 9 bridges. All of the bridges are destroyed and need to be reconstructed.
The battlefield is also covered in objective hexes worth varying points. These are more important to the Federals as most are already in Rebel hands and south of the Rappahannock.
The Confederates arrive from the south and the west. Stuart's and Jackson's men come in from the west and northwest while Longstreet's men come from the south.
The armies build up quickly throughout the first day. The Rebels build up a little faster in the evening though and should be mostly in position by dawn on day two. This is a problem for the Yanks whose big build up only concludes late on day two. The last 10,000 or more of their reinforcements are unlikely to reach the fighting and contribute in any meaningful way.
This means that on day two, it will be a much harder battle for the Federals than it is for the Rebels.
The Federals have a much harder time here than do the Rebels. They must cross a major river, rebuild bridges, and then fight a very dangerous Rebel army with their backs to the river. Not fun.
With a number of advantages, you'd think we'd have a better win/loss record overall in the DOR for this scenario, right? Afterall, This scenario features Lee's army at the peak of its strength and quality.
You must remember that this scenario is complicated with a lot of moving parts. I am sure people on both sides have played it and then discovered, on the fly, that they need to learn all about bridge repair and adjust quickly. That likely has affected numerous outcomes here. Another factor is the lack of Rebel artillery ammunition. If the Rebel player blasts away with his nearly 300 artillery pieces - he will run out of ammo in six turns. Yes, you read that right. If you bang away with everything you have, you will run out in about six turns. Of course, the Federals would run out in about ten turns also. But artillery ammo conservation is critically important here.
1) Own the Rappahannock as long as possible.
By rushing to U.S. Ford and Banks Ford you can halt any immediate Union advance across the river at the two most likely crossing points. Then you need to get eyes on all the other fords to find out where the Yanks are planning on crossing and make life miserable for them. By disrupting the routing the units repairing the bridges you can delay and possibly halt all progress they are making towards establishing a crossing point. These delays will soon run into the hours and with each passing turn your men gather in greater numbers. If you can keep the Yanks north of the Rappahannock long enough, you will likely be unbeatable on day two.
2) Watch out for the Sixth Corps.
Over 16,000 men arrive at hex (97, 0) and are poised to sweep along the southern bank of the Rappahannock to uncover U.S. Ford (if not already uncovered). Don't be caught unawares here and be prepared for their arrival. U.S. Ford is a hard area to hold because of the open fields south of the river. It will likely be the most obvious place for the Federal army to cross.
3) Conserve Your Artillery Ammunition!
As mentioned above, you do NOT have much artillery ammunition considering you have nearly 300 artillery pieces on the field. It's sad to have all the guns for a change but not the ammo to use them. Don't get involved in long-range artillery duels which you are unlikely to win with the Federal guns. Save your ammo for their infantry and make each shot count. Let them waste their ammo and hope they begin to feel the squeeze by day two.
This scenario is a lot of fun to play. It will force you to learn all about bridges and will be a complex battle for both players. I highly encourage everyone to play this one at least once.