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THE WINTER WAR CAMPAIGN SIMULATION - AAR Through One Brigade's Experience
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TOPIC: THE WINTER WAR CAMPAIGN SIMULATION - AAR Through One Brigade's Experience

THE WINTER WAR CAMPAIGN SIMULATION - AAR Through One Brigade's Experience 4 months, 1 week ago #1

  • mobutu
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THE WINTER WAR command simulation began with months of research on the orders of battle, historical Romney Campaign and campaign theatre. Once the limits of the campaign theatre were establish, modded maps were created as the rules for the simulation were developed and revised. The simulation ended up covering the period from January 14 - 21, 1862. The first orders from players for Day 1 came in on November 11th 2016 and the simulation ended on Day 8, which was finished on February 12th 2017, with the campaign being declared a draw.

This after action report of the campaign focuses on one brigade, which was put together from detached and unassigned units out of necessity. It is important to note that the players (Gfran64 and scottishsoldier) did not know where the enemy was located unless there was some kind of contact made and they received a report. Their intelligence was primarily through screenshots if contact was made by a scouting party, or a list of prisoners and their regiments after an engagement. Although it was not discussed during the sim, there certainly must have been a significant element of "fog of war" involved.

A follow-up simulation is tentatively being scheduled to start in the late-spring or early summer. If anyone is interested in joining, let us know.

- mobutu (scott)
The following user(s) said Thank You: JC Edwards, Gfran64, scottishsoldier

Re: THE WINTER WAR CAMPAIGN SIMULATION - AAR Through One Brigade's Experience 4 months, 1 week ago #2

  • Gfran64
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Scott,

Great job as always with these things. Your level of detail is really remarkable. I do not know how you keep all of it straight.

Iain as always a great fight from you. I was really more or less terrified of Ashby as he was the real match up problem from my side. You almost had me me in Romney and I almost had you in Romney. Your ability to keep Three Churches and Romney pretty well buttoned up for the better part of this sim really forced me to move well north and try to hit your right flank. Problem with that was my neck got put out pretty far and I had to strip the rest of my line to support the move. I had very little back by Cumberland.

Greg
The following user(s) said Thank You: scottishsoldier

Re: THE WINTER WAR CAMPAIGN SIMULATION - AAR Through One Brigade's Experience 4 months, 1 week ago #3

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Ashby will be a force to be reckoned with during TWWII. Iain got into the spirit of using Ashby as a raiding force towards the end of the campaign. In TWWII, I am likely to give points for supplies and sections of railroad destroyed, with higher points for destroying the North Branch Viaduct (rail bridge) and South Branch Bridge (which will be in tact at the start of TWWII). The B & O will likely be open to Paw Paw Tunnel in the next sim, as it was historically, with Federals having an objective of extending the line to Hancock. That is a lot of railroad to guard.

Re: THE WINTER WAR CAMPAIGN SIMULATION - AAR Through One Brigade's Experience 4 months, 1 week ago #4

  • Martin James
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I enjoyed reading about your campaign. Thanks.

I've just finished reading the biography of Brig John Imboden by Spencer Tucker. You might find it interesting. Some references there to his relationship with Ashby, and lots of detail on various Confederate railroad raids after Ashby's death.

Martin (J)

Re: THE WINTER WAR CAMPAIGN SIMULATION - AAR Through One Brigade's Experience 4 months, 1 week ago #5

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Greg asked me to post the AAR here, rather than the link to the TWW Blog posted earlier. Here it is without the maps or links to the different blog posts on various incidents of contact or engagement:
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As THE WINTER WAR campaign simulation progressed, there were some changes in the Federal order of battle. Early in the simulation, the 62nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry and the 67th Volunteer Infantry, both green regiments, were detached from their brigades and sent to re-enforce the garrison at Springfield. The 1st Brigade left the 67th Ohio to garrison Springfield as it moved against Confederate forces at Romney. The 2nd Brigade, from which the 62nd OVI was detached, was at Green Spring Depot.

The 3rd Maryland Home Brigade, an unassigned regiment, advanced from Green Spring Depot to Okonoko, accompanied by some cavalry and Lieutenant Keeper's section of Battery "B" West Virginia Light Artillery.  The main body of the of the 3rd Maryland and the artillery was kept in town, while one company was sent  as pickets at Okonoko Church with Co. "A" 1st Maryland Home Brigade Cavalry (Captain Cole). Confederate cavalry arrived and observed them on the morning of Day 2 of the Campaign (January 14th), but did not engage and were not able to advance far enough to sight the main force at Okonoko town.  When Brigadier General Samuel Read Anderson's Tennessee Brigade appeared in the afternoon, the 3rd Maryland and Keeper's guns withdrew across the Potomac to Maryland and then back to Green Spring Depot. They were followed by Anderson's Brigade.

Lander's 2nd Brigade, under Colonel Samuel H. Dunning, prepared a defense east of Old Town Maryland. Perhaps fearing a general Confederate advance,  Lieutenant Keeper and the 3rd Maryland Home Brigade, under command of Captain Crawford Shearer, were ordered to Springfield. Once they arrived in Springfield, a new brigade was formed and designated the 4th Brigade of Lander's Division: 3rd Maryland Potomac Home Brigade, 62nd Ohio, and 67th Ohio.  The brigade was commanded by Colonel Francis Pond, 62nd Ohio. Lieutenant Keeper's section of Battery "B" West Virginia Artillery was also present and served with the 4th Brigade through duration of the campaign. The brigade prepared to defend Springfield from an enemy advance that never materialized.

Back at Old Town Maryland / Green Spring Depot, Anderson decided not to engage  and fell back through Okonoko to Lowell's Cross Roads. He was followed by Colonel Dunning's Brigade. The 4th Brigade then received orders to move on Three Churches via Points Cross Roads.  Colonel Pond's men spent the night of January 17th at Points Cross Roads and (accompanied by cavalry). They moved against Three Churches On January 18th, forcing Confederates to withdraw in the morning. Colonel Pond deployed his main force slightly south of town near the J. Saville Farm and set up picket posts to guard the approaches to Three Churches.


In the afternoon of January 18 (Day 5 of the Campaign), Captain Greenfield of the Washington Cavalry reported Confederates (Burks' Brigade) approaching the Baptist Church on the Jersey Mountain Road from the direction Romney (south).  Captain Henry S. Commager of Co. "I," 67th Ohio simultaneously reported another body of Confederates approaching from the north (Points Cross Roads). This was Brigadier General Richard Garnett and the Stonewall Brigade, accompanied by Captain Shumaker's Danville Artillery.

The arrival of Garnett from the direction of Points Cross Roads was likely a surprise to Lander. Garnett had last been sighted at Romney. When Colonel Samuel Dunning's Brigade took Lowell's Cross Roads (north of Three Churches) and captured Confederate supplies, Garnett's Brigade was rushed to Slanesville fearing a Federal advance in that direction. Dunning withdrew to Okonoko and Garnett moved to help retake Three Churches from Pond's 4th Brigade.


Outnumbered, Colonel Pond withdrew his command towards the South Branch river and spend the night of January 18th at the Middle Fords. On the morning of the 19th (Day 6 of the Campaign) Colonel Pond's command was joined by Tyler's (3rd) Brigade, the 1st Company Andrews' Sharpshooters, Battery "H"  1st Ohio Light Artillery, and Brigadier General Frederick W. Lander's headquarters. Colonel Tyler's Brigade was coming from Romney, and Lander arrived from Springfield. The entire force marched against Three Churches, arriving in the afternoon to find a Confederate line at the Saville farm.

While Garnett's and Burks' Brigades were at Three Churches on January 18th, there was fierce fighting at Romney, where Taliaferro's Brigade had held off an attack by Lander's 1st Brigade (Colonel Kimball) and 3rd Brigade (Tyler). All units remained on the field on the morning of the 19th, but as Colonel Tyler's men left Romney along the Green Spring Road to join Colonel Pond's command at the Middle Fords and attack the Confederates at Three Churches, Garnett and Burks were leaving Three Churches via the Jersey Mountain Road to re-enforce Taliaferro.  When Lander (with Colonels Pond and Tyler) arrived at Three Churches, they were facing Virginia Militia under Brigadier General Gilbert Meem, rather than the Stonewall Brigade.

Lander gave the order to attack the Confederate line at the Saville Farm (just south of Three Churches), with Colonel Pond's 4th Brigade forming the first line in the assault.  After a brief engagement in which the 4th Brigade attacked the Confederate right, Lander's Division took Three Churches and occupied it on the night of January 19th. (The Virginia Militia moved to Slanesville, where they fought Dunning's 2nd Brigade and were driven off on January 21st.)


On the morning of the 20th Colonel Pond set up a defense at J. Saville to keep his route of withdraw open and deployed pickets at the approaches to Three Churches. Colonel Tyler was moved back towards Romney to deploy at Hanging Rocks. As Tyler was moving towards Romney, Brigadier General Richard Garnett was returning to Three Churches, where he would be joined by Anderson's Brigade.  Anderson's Brigade arrived in the morning and shelled Colonel Pond's pickets with the West Augusta Artillery, but did not want to advance until Garnett's command arrived in the afternoon. When the Stonewall Brigade arrived, Colonel Pond withdrew to the Middle Fords again, leaving Three Churches in Confederate hands on the night of January 20th.


Throughout the early part of the campaign, Lander had jealously guarded the fords over the South Branch of the Potomac with cavalry detachments under his command: Cos. "A," "C" & "D" of the 1st Maryland Potomac Home Brigade Cavalry, Cos. "A" and "C" of the 1st Ohio Cavalry, the Ringgold Cavalry, and the Washington Cavalry. Confederate cavalry probed towards Taylor's Ford, but otherwise appeared content to remain on the east side of the South Branch. Later in the campaign, however, Lieutenant Colonel Turner Ashby consolidated his cavalry companies at Points Cross Roads, forcing two Union cavalry detachments to flee on the afternoon of Day 6 (January 19th).  As Colonel Tyler was leaving Three Churches to Colonel Pond's command and returning to Hanging Rocks on January 20th, Ashby advanced on and took Springfield, which was guarded by a single company detached from the 62nd Ohio under Captain William Edwards. This created a crisis for Lander's Division, which had a commissary train approaching Springfield from Cumberland via Spring Gap, and had left Green Spring Depot virtually unguarded.

Captain Edwards' company of the 62nd OVI briefly engaged Ashby and then retreated from Springfield towards Spring Gap. As it passed through Frankfort, it destroyed ordnance stores there and met the commissary train that was on its way to Springfield. The train was safely turned around and headed west towards Cresaptown, with Co. "A" of the 62nd joining as a guard. Lander  used the B&O Railroad to move detachments of the 110th Pennsylvania to Green Spring Depot. They had been guarding New Creek Depot, Cumberland, and Patterson Creek Depot. So ended Day 7 of the campaign, as Colonel Pond's men arrived at the Middle Fords.

On the morning of Day 8, Pond's men were to advance on Springfield and retake it from Ashby's cavalry. They were to be joined there by Tyler's Brigade. Colonel Tyler had better roads and arrived first. Ashby's cavalry abandoned Springfield and began moving towards Green Spring Depot, with Colonel Tyler's 3rd Brigade in pursuit. Colonel William Lewis and the companies that he had managed to assemble left Green Spring Depot in the morning and moved to Donaldson. Ashby was trapped between Tyler and the 110th Pennsylvania (accompanied by elements of cavalry), and gave his men orders to break up and head east to reform east of the South Branch.  Colonel Pond's Brigade moved into Springfield where they had been formed a week earlier, having secured the west side of the South Branch as the campaign ended.


During the campaign (simulation) the 4th Brigade's losses were as follows:

Three Churches, January 19:  30 killed, 106 wounded, 22 missing
Three Churches, January 20: 1 killed, 7 wounded, 1 missing (Co. "G" 67th OVI - Capt. V. Heckman)
Springfield, January 20 (detachment): 1 killed, 7 wounded, 1 missing.

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Historically, there was no 4th Brigade of Lander's Division, but Colonel Pond did survive the war and eventually became the attorney general for the State of Ohio.

Colonel Francis Pond, 62nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry
The 62nd and 67th were part of Shield's Division during the beginning of Jackson's Valley Campaign, before being transferred to the 4th Corps, Army of the Potomac, and eventually service in the Department of South. They saw action around Charleston, including Fort Wagner.  They ended the war in the Army of the James, participating in the Siege of Petersburg, where Colonel Pond commanded their (historical) brigade and was wounded at Chaffin's Farm.  Both regiments were present at Appomattox Courthouse.

The 3rd Maryland Potomac Home Brigade was captured at Harper's Ferry during the Antietam Campaign, but was paroled and went on to guard the B & O Railroad until defending against Early's advance on Washington in the summer of 1862. It ended up serving a brigade under command of Erastus Tyler at the Battle of Monocacy.
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And that is a Civil War command simulation... where history and game play often closely parallel each other. Campaign simulations are interesting, because brigades often serve their purpose without firing a shot. The units of the 4th Brigade in THE WINTER WAR simulation only had one major engagement during the campaign, but their presence at Three Churches forced the Confederates to move units away from Romney, the largest campaign objective, and they were able to retake Springfield just by arriving there in greater force than the enemy.  At the same time, Ashby's presence in Springfield on Day 7 and 8 diverted two brigades that could have otherwise launched another attempt to take Three Churches or Romney. Unlike tactical simulations, forces in a campaign simulation are used much more conservatively and strategically when they may have to take the field again the next day and there are supply lines and key towns to defend and take.
The following user(s) said Thank You: JC Edwards, Gfran64, scottishsoldier

Re: THE WINTER WAR CAMPAIGN SIMULATION - AAR Through One Brigade's Experience 4 months, 1 week ago #6

  • scottishsoldier
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Well fought by you Greg. I wasn't really up to speed with the points system at the start, nor did I have a specific plan. What to do with Ashby was a problem I didn't solve until late, and for too long I thought I could engineer a Cannae, then go for the points later. The strategical emphasis make a pitched battle very hard, or maybe impossible to bring about. And anyway, my better infantry was probably offset by your much better artillery.

Whoever said that amateurs worry about tactics, while professionals think about logistics knew what they were talking about. I'll try to manage supply better another time. I should also have concentrated more efficiently, and arranged my supply better to do it. On the bright side, my Militia were bloodied and did quite well, and are now far from green. The heart of the Stonewall still beats strong, and Ashby is still a force to be reackoned with. I hope the next round doesn't tie us to locations quite as much, and allows for more movement. Many lessons learned....on both sides I'm sure.

Great job Scott. Hope we attract some enthusiasts to take part in the next one.

Re: THE WINTER WAR CAMPAIGN SIMULATION - AAR Through One Brigade's Experience 4 months, 1 week ago #7

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The next one will have a lot of room for movement. There will also be a lot of ways to earn points to the extent that it is probably more than you can manage with such a small force. You will have to decide your strategic priorities and have an overall campaign strategy. I just posted a draft campaign map on the blog.
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