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2/7/08

Neil Wakefield (UK)  writes:

CSA Tactics for 'A Gleam of Bayonets'

Having not touched the game for 20 years I recently dug it out from the loft and talked a friend into playing it with me. We're playing our first run through of the scenario covering the full battle. I'm playing the CSA.

My strategy before we started the game was to hit Hooker's I Corps hard, inflicting enough casualties on 2 or all 3 of his Divisions to get them 'Withdrawn'. To achieve this my intention was to threaten a frontal attack whilst turning the Union right flank using Lawton's Division and Fitz Lee's cavalry.

This worked well as the Union attacked Nicodemus Hill and obligingly didn't cover the road network next to the Potomac so Fitz Lee was able to turn his flank easily. Doubleday's Division was 'Withdrawn' on turn 5, Meade's on turn 6 and Rickett's on turn 8. In the process the CSA lost 8 guns on Nicodemus Hill (their fire at 1 hex range was inept) and only had 2 brigades BCE'd (Fitz Lee's and Grigsby's). 6 other CSA brigades are only 1 or 2 hits away from being BCE'd.

Sedgewick's Division (II Corps) attacked D.H. Hill's position to the east of Dunkard Church on turn 8 suffering 1,100 casualties in 20 minutes. If this continues then his Division will also be 'Withdrawn'on turn 9 or 10. French and Richardson's Divisions are forming up to attack the CSA positions on the east face of the Bloody Lane and on the heights to the east of Sharpsburg. XII Corps was committed on turn 2 and IX Corps on turn 6.

The CSA had only left Toomb's Brigade covering Lower Bridge and Evans' Brigade covering Snavely's Ford hoping Burnside wouldn't be moving for a while (not 0740!). Thus despite having effectively destroyed Hooker's Corps (only Duryea's Brigade is still adjacent to CSA units and is therefore still active), the Army of Northern Virginia is going to have to stretch very thin to cover a front from near Snavely's Ford to the North Woods with very little (Munford's cavalry) in reserve.

If the Union is good enough to continue staggering his attack the CSA may be able to redeploy units once further Union Divisions are 'Withdrawn'. However, if the Union waits until Burnside gets over the Antietam and then launches a simultaneous attack with XII, II and IX Corps (and V or VI Corps if his good fortune on 'Commitment' continues) then the CSA front is in severe danger of being ruptured somewhere and the battle lost!

What strategies have other players found effective for the CSA in 'A Gleam of Bayonets'?

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