While I’m down south with my parent’s for vacation, it’s time to do some gaming with my dad again. Given a choice, he went with a return to the GCACW series that I introduced him to last year, and we played scenario 6, “Lookout Mountain & Missionary Ridge” from Battle Above the Clouds, that I had borrowed from Mark for the purpose.

I’m sure this scenario has more special rules than any other I’ve played. A couple of them are enforcing some reasonable limits, but most of them are odd.

The Confederates have a set of six infantry units which set up in six hexes along Missionary Ridge (the last hex actually goes off the ridge into clear terrain), and the Confederate player chooses who goes where, and keeps them hidden until they move or are attacked. Most of the Confederate units might be entrenched, but this is only found out when they are attacked.

Both sides kind of ignore corps. Any Confederate corps commander can activate anyone in any corps (but only three at a time), and the three Union Army commanders act like Corps commanders, but can activate anyone, in any corps (or army), but only four at a time, and only Grant, the Military Division commander, acts like an army commander.

The Union is expected to attack, with points for taking Missionary Ridge (9 per hex, up to four hexes worth), 15 VP for Chattanooga Station (back behind the Confederate line), and 20 VP for taking Summertown (in the south, on Lookout Mountain). There’s also a 40-point penalty for losing Chattanooga, and the usual 3VP for Confederate casualties and 2VP penalty for Union casualties.

We were both inclining to the Union side, so we rolled off, and I took the Union forces. The Union goes first with two automatic activations for Hooker.

Beginning of the game

I got good movement rolls (5+1) for both automatic activations and moved up Cruft’s division into a flanking position on Walthal (only realizing later that it didn’t do me any good), and then moved up Osterhaus’ division and did a prepared attack with an overall +1. I had the bombardment bonus, but the Confederates were found to be in breastworks, and I rolled one less in the combat for a 0 and both sides became disorganized. Finally Whitaker’s brigade came around the south into the trails around Lookout Mountain. On the second activation, only Whitaker activated, and got another +1 attack against Walthal, but I rolled one higher this time for a +2 to force him to retreat, and advanced onto Craven’s House (forgot to apply the -1 Army of Cumberland modifier here. >.>;)

I got the first regular activation, and had Hooker activate Geary’s division to bring them in to attack Moore, who was in the next hex in line on Lookout Mountain, with no fortifications. I attacked for a +1 that did 1DR, and allowed me to advance into that hex.

My dad passed Wright down to the southern end of his main line at Rossville, covering Moore, and somewhat later moved Grigsby to the south end of the ‘mystery line’.

I decided to activate Sherman with the XV Corps and Davis’s division of the XIV Corps. Davis went to the north end of the southern ‘mystery line’ and tried an attack. Turned out that the strongest position was there with Cleburne’s division and the Art Reserve. Combined with a poor roll, I got a -8(!!) for 5D and no effect on the Confederate position (which had breastworks to boot). The XIV Corps couldn’t get any farther than crossing the Tennessee River with all the crowding.

Next, I assaulted with Howard on the third hex of the ‘mystery line’, and successfully pulled it off, and got a grand assault with Wood’s division of the IV Corps (and artillery reserve). This turned out to be Manigault’s division, with breastworks, for a 1:1 attack that ended at a -1 for me to take 2D.

Next, the XIV Corps moved into position, and Sherman activated Ewing’s division (the only one he was stacked with) for an assault on the second position of the ‘mystery line’. The good news was that there were no fortifications here, but the bad news was that Stewart’s division was there, and the attempt at a grand assault failed, leaving me with another 1:1 attack, and a poor roll ended at -1 for me to take 1D.

That pretty much ended the day. I didn’t have much more that I could reasonably do, but I moved up RW Johnson’s division from Chattanooga to where Sheridan was, with an eye to assaulting on the second day, after transferring an Army leader into the hex.

End of the first day

I transferred all three Army leaders at the beginning of the second day, in preparation for a fresh round of assaults (I don’t think I’ve ever bothered with that many transfers before, and got the first activation to lead off with the assault on the south end of the ‘mystery line’. Or tried to, as a ‘6’ halted the entire thing. My dad moved Moore (still Demoralized) on to Force 4 to shore up part of the line. On the second try, the assault went in with two out three units, to find Gist’s Division who was in a fort. The end result was a -1 on a 1:1 attack for me to take 2D.

Next Sherman ordered an assault on Stewart’s position (the only place I’d found without fortifications) with the bulk of the XV Corps, but couldn’t get a grand assault out Grant, and a 3-6 die roll ended up as a -2 and another 2D for me.

Finally, Hooker brought up one of the fought-out divisions from yesterday onto Lookout Mountain (took two activations) to get over 12 strength points in his hex. I figured the most likely result in Summerville would be both Confederate units to be in breastworks, which would count as 12 strength (both are 3s). Hooker got an assault with all three divisions—and Stevenson’s division was in a fort! Thankfully, Pettens had no fortifications at all for a final 12 strength, and I rolled slightly better for a final +2, Dr/1Da, which let me take my first, and only, victory hex of the game.

I technically had more troops I could throw in towards the middle of the Confederate line, but there just wasn’t anywhere that looked vulnerable, so that was the end. I had taken Summerville for 20 VP, and caused 1 Confederate casualty for 3, but had lost 14 strength points doing for -28 for -5 score and a very Decisive Confederate victory.

The end

My dad was talking about how the major Confederate problem was that they had built most of their defenses too high on the hills, and couldn’t really fire at the Federals until they were too close, and he thought the uncertain fortifications was not a bad way to emulate it. However, this is one of those smaller, tighter scenarios that doesn’t really play to the maneuver strengths of the system.

There wasn’t any real chance for flanking, I couldn’t get better than 1:1 odds (and sometimes not even that) against the fortifications, leaving the bulk of the combats at an overall even, or maybe +1 adjustment, and then I couldn’t get any good rolls/results against Missionary Ridge, giving me nothing to do there.