Friday, 3 May 2019

AAR: 28mm ACW Battle of Kernstown

Hi folks,

I had hoped to post this earlier in the week, following the club game last Sunday. However, I was distracted by other things and no progress was made beyond a couple of pics being posted on Facebook.

This game was put on in the hall we hire in Billingham, and this was our 3rd time at the location, which seems to be going well. On this occasion, we managed to get all our folding tables up, meaning the table size was 17.5' by 6'. I believe Dave may have plans to add another table to take it up to 20', but time will tell!

The scenario was planned by Martin and using his 28mm figures. Unfortunately as a result of my bottom being wider than I sometimes remember, I knocked a box of Martin's figures on the floor during setup. I did dash off home to get superglue and no major damage was caused, which was lucky.

Gamers comprised of myself and Dave as the Union, Ian and John as the Confederates and Martin as umpire - we were playing using rules that Martin and Matt Crump have concocted, which are a bit of a mix of bolt action and black powder. Simple, but pretty effective. Martin has outlined the scenario and such here.

On with the photos then. Union objectives were the hill we were deployed on, the church and the bridge defended by the initial Confederate brigade. We decided early on to just keep putting our brigades (of which we had three, with two independent Cavalry units) onto the hill in order to ensure we held it. The aim was to just bulldoze over the table, split the rebel army in half and grab the church.

Martin here being both very small, and very far away. Table coverings were care of Dave, while the scenery was mustered from several people - large amounts of non desert 28mm stuff being in short supply!

Rebs closest to the camera defending the bridge, Union on the hill in the distance.

The first of the forces arrive. Brigades were activated by using the Bolt Action 'Dice from a bag' method. As brigades were activated we could choose to bring them on. All union troops came on via the hill. Ian had control of the Reb army, while Johns Brigade held the wall (and fixed the masonry, for the whole game). 

The Union position is re-enforced with another Brigade, this one with artillery. 

Union skirmishers and some infantry take to the woods, while Rebels push up. Meanwhile Johns Brigade conduct a litter picking exercise. 

The Rebels advance in column. Ian struggled a bit with deploying his units, mainly as he is a bit unfamiliar with the rules, period and using brigades in column (me and Dave have some GdB and Grand Manor experience, so knew about spacing and the like). 

Rebs move to secure the church. Seeing the infantry in column here, we threw one of our Cavalry regiments down the road to the right here - mainly just to throw off the deployment of this Brigade a bit. 

Union forces advance on the Church and tho opposite table edge. Ian's units did cause some casualties but he was really unlucky with his artillery dice.  
The third union Brigade arrives. 

Our gamble with our Cavalry forces Ian to use his Cavalry Brigade to counter. We brought on our second regiment in support. Ian's infantry shown here have also formed line facing our Cavalry in the hamlet. 

The Union keep on the pressure. The Flags look impressive!

Slightly outgunned on this flank, but Rebel units are still in column!

Our third Brigade moves up to put pressure on this flank. 

Johns Brigade finally move, having completed their beautification of the area around the bridge. 

The Union wave rolls forward

Our units were blocking line of fire, but we were leapfrogging them forward. Martin's rules allowed lines to pass on a successful command check. 

We used Dave's lego counters to mark casualties and skulls to mark pins. Pins reduced the effectiveness of fire and made it harder to pass command checks. Units received pins from coming under fire. Units lost bases once they accumulated 4 casualties. 

Union traffic jam!

The Rebs start to lose the battle around the church - too many Union rifles in this area for them to stand up to the fire. 

But Ian does start to shake out into line, and hitting my units back. Some of our first brigade units are losing effectiveness and one does break. 

Casualties are, however, acceptable. More troops move forward to fill the gaps. 

Johns brigade is still moving forward... slowly. He gets two units in rifle range, one of which takes a pounding and runs. His Brigade commander then decides the saving his Brigade is the best option, and starts to break off. Ian by this time was starting to be overrun. 

Little now stands in front of the main Union advance. With a couple of his Brigades broken and the Union in charge of the hill and the church, the game ends. A good laugh was had by all! 
We finished the day about 3.30pm, having started playing around 10ish. The rules worked well and well had various tweaks and suggestions as we went along and encountered situations. Hopefully, we'll get some more games of this in the future, and I would be interested to try the rules using our 10mm collections as well.

A brave defence by the Rebels - but one of their brigades was out of the battle for much of the game, while the other three had a steamroller come towards them. Ian made some good calls, and seemed to be getting the hang of moving the blocks of troops after a few turns. But I know from playing GdB that it can take a while to get your head around deployment space from column to line, and not masking your guns, etc.

Next game we have booked at this venue is on the 2nd of June, where we are playing a 15mm WW2 game using Dave's collection. Utah beach at one end of the 17' and para landing zones/Brecourt Manor at the other, with a couple of the causeways in between. Dave has been working like a trojan getting beach defences, terrain and US infantry and Para's painted. It should be a great game!


  1. Great report. Did enjoy the day

  2. A great looking game on a huge and spectacular table!

  3. That is a true spectacle James. ACW was my first love for many years and I love to see it played on this scale. What struck me about the terrain was how open it is, too many games get snagged on metres of model snake or rail fence along both sides of the roads or around the fields, much better this way in my opinion. The Bolt Action style activation system does work very well and breaks up the 'I go. you go' which helps build the uncertainty and tension in a game. Great figures, great terrain, great game!


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