'Schild en Vriend' is an old Flemish battlecry, used in the rebellion of the city of Brugge against the French, May 18, 1302. Legend tells that it was used to differentiate between the French-speaking (who could not pronounce 'schild') and Flemish-speaking citizens. Nowadays, historians tell us that it was probably 'Des Gilden Vriend'.
This was a Brother against Brother ACW game played on a not so sunny summer evening. To make things confusing, all players, including the umpire, happened to be named Bart (blame our parents, we can't help it). Bart V took command over the Union Clich Mountain Boomers and Bart VB played the Confederate Mississippi Yankee Hunters. Bart D (yours truly) acted as the umpire. As you can guess Bart won the game.
Note: we did not have a camera available at this game, so there's no juicy pictures as of now.
May 1864. General Sherman, the commander of the USA armies of the Cumberland, the Tennessee and the Ohio, 99000 strong, is pushing towards the city of Atlanta.
Opposing Sherman is General Johnston's Confederate Army of Tennessee, 60000 strong, who skillfully retired before Sherman, skirmishing at Dalton (9 may), Resaca (15 May)
and Cassville (19 May). With these actions Johnston has succeeded in slowing down the Union's advance to one mile a day while suffering only minor losses against far superior forces.
Sherman now intends to advance much faster, making it harder for Johnston to set up new skirmishing positions. This however leaves his supply lines somewhat under-defended.
Commander: Captain William Horatio Heath
* Heinz von Trapsfliegel is an ancestor of Manfred von Trappstein-Hoehenschliefen, the famous WWI dogfighting ace. Apparently Heinz had two sons, Fritz and Albert. After some business involving Fritz, Albert's wife, wet celery and a piece of fresh fruit, Fritz had the choice of leaving the country or undergoing a rather unpleasant operation involving two bricks and a lot of yodling. He wisely chose the first option and returned to dzee fatherland Germany. To be more exact, he went to Steindorpf and changed his name to Trappstein to minimalise the risk of encountering a relative who preferred the second option. Two years later, he married the lovely (and rich) Walfriede Hohenschlieffen, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Commander:Captain Bill McHinnock
The terrain layout and deployment
The game was played on geo-hex terrain, making use of the modular hill-set and seascapemat to build 2 hills and a river. To complete the scenery, trees, hedges, small walls and houses where added (all from the collection of Bart, BTW (-: ).
The Union army already had one squad present in this neighbourhood. This squad had to be deployed on the north side of the road. The 1st squad under the command of Sergeant Michael Cillmore Jr. decided to defend the Union Depot and let the others do the dirty work of engaging the enemy in an all out frontal assault. They picked up their already loaded weapons and took position behind the hedge just north of the depot.
The other Union troops had to enter alongside the northen border, and had unloaded weapons. Captain William Horatio Heath, a wise man indeed, clearly had incomplete trust in Union intelligence, proclaiming the artillery "inactive", and decided to gather his main attacking force at the Western border of the soon to become battlefield. Two squads entered at the center to act as a pinning force (otherwise known as "target practice" squad or cannon fodder) to divert the Confederates' attention from the main assault. No better men for that job then Sergeant Morton "mad man" McKinley and Sergeant Dwight Franklin More: "Mad Man" McKinley, who - since he became a somewhat "incomplete" man after the Battle at Bull Run (his enemies call him "madam" McKinley) - had lost every healthy sense of caution and More who was just way too stupid to even begin to understand the concept of danger (but he could shout and shoot with the best of them, so they made him Sergeant - he was too stupid to refuse this appointment as well).
It clearly was a good day for a battle, cloudy (so you don't have that irritating sun shining in your eyes) but dry (so your gunpowder doesn't get wet). Sergeant Herbert Withgate was just contemplating the reasons of life when he saw those damn Yankees coming towards him at considerable speed. Just as he's deciding whether to panic and run for his life in a chaotic fashion or leave his position in an ordered retreat, he hears the overwhelming voice of his Captain Bill McHinnock. Knowing what Bill McHinnock does with cowards*, Herb orders his men to keep their heads down and enjoy the upcoming manslaughter.
*In stead of shooting deserters, Bill McHinnock had them fighting butt naked with nothing but a bayonet. As nobody wants to die in such an embarrasing fashion, the Mississippi Yankee Hunters were renowned for their courage and discipline.
Both Captains clearly saw the importance of the Church. This position allows the Union troops to open fire at the artillery while benefitting from the hard cover and it is also the perfect defensive position for the Confederates. In the mean time McHinnock has a Union depot to raid. This devided the Battle at McPheerson's Ridge in two sections. In the east, for the control of the depot and in the west for the control of the church, while in the middle squads of both sides participate in taking shots at each other from behind their stone walls (boring!).
The first thing the Union's 1st squad under the command of William Cillmore Jr. did was taking positions inside the depot. This building had only a single window at the South side and a door at the North side, allowing only two men to shoot at each side of the house. McHinnock knew it was vital to take this depot as fast as possible and rushed his troops forward. Jack Bailey and his 4th squad advanced towards the trees west of the depot. In the mean time Vernon Samuel Quill pushed way East, crossed the river and took position at the trees just South of the depot. All is ready for a major charge and McHinnock was just about to give the order as things start to go bad for the Confederates at the Church, which forced McHinnock to leave his position and to postpone the charge...
Both sides knew that whomever got the church first had a big advantage over the opposing side. Although the distance was less for the Confederates they were a bit slower then the Union troops accompanied by their Captain W.H.Heath. Maybe it was the general lack of good shoes or the absence of their Captain McHinnock, who was heading towards the depot.
Just as the Confederate Sergeant Robert Sonhill was about to enter the church, that damn Union wurst-eating Sergeant Heinz von Trapsfliegel and his men leapt out of the cornfield and gained control over this holy place of peace, love and nice firing positions. Robert Sonhill stood bewildered next to the church, in the open, without his Captain to order a charge of some kind and with yet another two Union squads coming at him. Before he could even grasp the extreme danger of this situation, US Captain W.H.Heath gave the charge order. In a frantic attempt to close his lines, Robert Sonhill got shot even before the melee started. Sergeant William Vernon McBaisley's squad plunged deep into Robert Sonhill's, who put up a great struggle, fighting till the last man and making a lot of Union casualties, but without their Sergeant, defeat was inevitable. Captain Bill McHinnock tried to correct things in the west but came too late. By the time he got there, Robert Sonhill's squad was no more. Captain William Horatio Heath, being encouraged by these proceedings, ordered Theodore O'Connely and his 5th to charge the central Confederate defences. Although the Union 5th got completely wiped, the central Confederate defence took a lot of casualties. Heath was warned though, this was not going to be a walkover after all...
While in the west a frantic battle between the two parties was fought, things were taking a somewhat bizarre turn in the east. First there was some harmless gunfire between Cillmore's men shooting out of the window and Quill's men shooting back. Then Cillmore decided to withdraw his two men from the window and to build a small party for his men inside the depot. The Confederate troops now had nothing to shoot at and, even worse, no Captain around to give them the charge order.
Bill McHinnock clearly had a bad day. He couldn't decide where he was needed the most. Instead of staying in the east and charging the depot so he could get some canister ammunition, or staying in the west where he could arrange a charge on the church, he spent the whole fight running after the facts (and his troops). On top of this, he got shot by a sniper.
Heath on the other hand stayed where the action was - or, to be more precise, he made sure that the action was where he was, with a decisive victory for the Union Clinch Mountain Boomers as a result.
Clipart on this page was taken from the following sources:
|This page was written by Bart Dils and is maintained by Bart Vetters|
Schild en Vriend Miniature Wargaming Club Leuven