This evening at the club I was taking part in an ACW ironclads game. The Battle of Plum Point pitched the Confederate's river defence force (all "cottonclads") against a flotilla of Union ironclad gunboats. The Confederates also had a fort with some very useful batteries *if* any Union ships actually came into line of sight. The Union force also had a very large mortar mounted on a raft.
I ended up commanding the Confederate forces assisted initially by Thomas, a visitor from Sweden (and follower of this blog) and we were later joined by Martin. Mike took command of the forces of Northern Aggression and was later joined by Alan.
Fort Goodearl (lots of guns) - initially commanded by me, passed to Martin later on
Little Rebel (flag) and General Sterling Price - me
Earl van Dorn and General Bragg - initially commanded by me, passed command to Martin when he arrived
General Sumter and Beauregarde - Thomas
Mortar raft and Cincinatti - Mike
Various other ironclads - Mike and Alan
I did take pics, but I won't be able to add them until tomorrow (need to sort through them, do resizing etc).
The first two turns were spent rounding the bend in the river whilst the Union's mortar lobbed shells at us. One of our ships took a minor hit on turn 2.
On turn 3, the Cincinatti had come into LOS and there was an exchange of fire, with some damage done on each side including a quite big hit against the Earl van Dorn (EvD). At the end of the turn, a second Union ironclad came onto the table.
Having written my orders for Turn 4, I popped out to the bar to get another drink. When I got back I found that they'd done the movement, which had resulted in the EvD successfully ramming the Cincinatti. Both ships took 6 damage, which was unfortunately enough to sink the EvD. It was at this point that Martin took over command of that echelon (sorry!!).
At this point the current played into our hands, causing the Cincinatti to drift into LOS of the fort's batteries which scored 3 hits and sunk it. Score 1 to me!
I'd put the Bragg on course to ram or shoot the mortar raft, but Martin was unsuccessful on his attempts to shoot it out of the water, although he did manage to suppress the crew, meaning they'd have to wait an extra turn before they could shoot again.
Having missed with his guns and realising that continuing on his current course risked missing the raft and going full speed into the riverbank, Martin decide to veer off. Fortunately I had the Sterling Price nicely positioned to come in and ram the raft, which I succeeded in doing a couple of turns later. Score 2 to me!
Meanwhile, over in the midstream and on the other side of the river, Thomas was steaming ahead to intercept the chuggily approaching USS Cairo, as was the Little Rebel. Sadly, the Beauregarde and Sumter misjudged their ramming course, but the Little Rebel was more successful and rammed the Cairo sinking it. Score 3 to me!
At this point, both of Thomas' ships were on fire, as was the Bragg. Thomas did manage to put his fires out eventually, but Martin was less successful and the fires spread eventually reaching the arsenal - "Kaboom!".
Whilst all this was going on, the USS Essex had come on-table and was steaming towards the inside edge of the bend. On Turn 12, the Essex and Sterling Price rammed each other, both taking 6 damage. Unhappily for the Sterling Price, the Essex was able to open fire at point blank range with here guns. Happily all she achieved was killing the captain - no great loss according to the bosun.
Having taken the mortar and a few ironclads out, we decided that it was time to get out of the way and head back to base, letting the fort take out any Union ships which decided to pursue us. I think the fort did take out another ironclad in the closing stages of the game.
Overall, it was a tactical victory for the Confederacy. However, if this had been the real campaign we would have had to say it was a strategic loss as only 2 of our surviving ships would be fit for the next battle. But we had been more successful than our historical counterparts.