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1863 and The Battle of Mine Run
The Battle of Mine Run, the greatest battle never fought during the American Civil War, was
as important as its more spectacular cousins at Gettysburg and Vicksburg.
November 1863 seeped into uniforms grown
stiff with the night's cold, some 60,000 men of
Major General George Gordon Meade's Army
of the Potomac peered through the slowly
dissolving gloom.
Their gaze fell upon the snakelike earthen entrenchments that
sheltered the more than 40,000 stalwart veterans of General
Robert Edward Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. Meade's
troops had heard their orders only a few hours earlier; at 8:00
AM the signal guns would herald the great attack across the
obscure little Virginia stream named Mine Run.
Responsibility for leading the Union advance and fulfilling
Meade's hopes was on the shoulders of Major General
Gouvernor K. Warren, last summer's savior of Little Round
Top and the hero of the battle of Gettysburg. Warren had
deployed his own II Corps, reinforced to number nearly half of
Meade's entire strength, facing west, confident of his ability to
overrun Lee's right, or southern, flank. That portion of the
Confederate line was held by the men of A.P. Hill's III Corps.
On the opposite extreme of the seven-mile
long Federal line,
the Union V Corps, under Major General George Sykes, and
John Sedgwick's VI Corps were poised to follow Warren's lead
and strike Lee's left, held by Lieutenant General Richard E.
Ewell's II Corps, temporarily under the command of Major
General Jubal Early. The stage was set for another great battle
whose outcomee could, perhaps, decide the fate of the Southern
"Wait a minute!" you say. "Mine Run? I've never even heard
of it." Unless you are a dyed-in
in-the-wool Civil War buff, the
chances are that's exactly your attitude. Unlike the great battle
at Gettysburg
sburg the preceding July or the horrendous blood bath
to follow during the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and Cold
Harbor battles in 1864, the Mine Run campaign of November
1863 is largely obscured by the fact that it featured no gallant,
hopeless charges, no shocking scenes of slaughter. It was,
instead, a campaign of missed opportunities. It was also a
campaign that heralded the inevitable end of the Confederate
dominance of the war's Eastern Theater.
For me, there were two principal attr
attractions to GMT's 1863.
First, here was an opportunity to see whether Richard Berg and
Rob Markham had finally broken the code on designing a
scale Civil War battle system that gave a good feel for
combat at brigade level. Second, the inclusion of a Mine Run
game in the package would give me a chance to explore the
fascinating little campaign I will now describe for you.
After repulsing Lee at Gettysburg in July of 1863, the Union
army cautiously followed
ollowed the retreating Confederates across
The Battle of Mine Run: 1863
Now, for the first time, garners have the opportunity
to explore one of the truly great "what-ifs" of the American Civil War
the Potomac. The pursuit, if it may be called that, was so
desultory that an impatient and frustrated Abraham Lincoln
compared it to "an old woman shooing geese across a creek."
By October, Lee had been further weakened by the detachment
of Lieutenant General James Longstreet's I Corps, nearly a
third of his army, which was sent to Tennessee to reinforce
Braxton Bragg and the sagging Confederate hopes in the west.
Even so, the ever aggressive Lee had struck at Meade, in an
attempt to drive the Federals back into the defenses of Washington and so leave northern Virginia free of enemy occupation
for the coming winter. The ever cautious Meade had avoided
Lee's snares, however, and bloodied A.P. Hill's nose at Bristoe
Station, only three miles southeast of Manassas. In a violent
little firefight, Union forces under Warren had inflicted more
than a thousand casualties on the Confederates for a cost of less
than half that number of Federals.
After the affair at Bristoe Station, Meade had been content to go
into winter quarters, but the Lincoln administration urged him
forward. As the result of the increasing pressure from Washington, Meade put his army in motion once again on 7 November. In a surprising display of tactical aggressiveness and rare
good fortune, the Army of the Potomac dealt its adversary twin
setbacks along the Rappahannock River. Major General
William French's III Corps forced a crossing at Kelly's Ford,
while Sedgwick's VI Corps and Sykes's V Corps captured
nearly 2,000 Confederates holding a bridgehead on the north
bank of the river at Rappahannock Station.
Stunned by the Union successes and disappointed in his hopes
of striking part of the Federal force in detail during its river
crossing, Lee rapidly pulled his army back. By the morning of
9 November, the Confederates were south of the Rapidan River
and Meade had, in turn, missed an opportunity to catch his
adversary at a disadvantage. The new Confederate line
stretched for 18 miles along the Rapidan, with its right flank
refused to the south and west of the river. It was anchored on
the right at Bartlett's Mill along the little stream called Mine
For the next two weeks, both armies secured their lines of
supply and hopefully prepared to settle in for the winter.
Those hopes were to be dashed, however, as once again
the Federal government spurred Meade to continue his
advance on Lee's forces. Meade's assessment of the
situation was clear. A direct assault across the Rapidan
line was impossible; a movement to outflank it to the
west was impractical; only a rapid movement around the
Confederate right and into their
The Battle of Mine Run: 1863
"If I succeed today I shall be the greatest man in the army; if I don't, all my sins
will be remembered." General Warren
rear could hope to succeed. That success, however,
depended on surprise and swift execution. Meade
ordered the army to begin its movement on 24
The plan called for the Federal forces to cross the
Rapidan at three fords. The focal point, in the
center, was Warren's II Corps. After crossing
the river at Germanna Ford, Warren was to move to a position
near the crossroads at Locust Grove, some four miles south and
east of the southern end of the Confederate right flank. French
would cross the river about three and a half miles further west,
on Warren's right. III Corps would then swing south and west
to link up with II Corps. Sedgwick and VI Corps would follow
French and support the Federal right and center. Sykes's V Corps
would form the outer rim of the Union wheel. It would cross the
river some
me four and a half miles downstream from Warren and
form the extreme left of the Union line. John Newton's I Corps,
after detaching a division to guard the fords and the army's
supply trains, would follow Sykes across, and form the link
between V Corps and Warren. If successful, this maneuver would
outflank Lee's right and interpose the Union army between the
Confederates and the direct route to Richmond.
Unfortunately for Meade, two things conspired to hamstring
his plan from the start. First, Lee had accurately
rately predicted his
adversary's likely course of operations and was prepared to
react quickly to any Union movement across the Rapidan. Second,
the weather on 24 November proved cold and rainy and made it
impossible for the Union advance to kick off as planned. It was
two days more before the movement could finally get underway.
Lee would not be surprised.
Once the advance began on 26 November, things went from bad
to worse for the marching Federal troops. Both II and V Corps
made good time in their crossings
ngs of the river, but French's III
Corps proved inordinately slow, uncoordinated and timid, a
problem caused at least in part by a running feud
between French and Brigadier General
Henry Prince, commanding the lead
division in III Corps' column.
The delays in French's march during 26
and 27 November contrasted sharply with
the rapid and effective reactions of the
Confederates. Two of Ewell's divisions
blocked Warren in front of Locust Grove
on 27 November, while the third division,
under command of Major General Edward
Johnson, marched toward Warren's right
flank. After the rear brigade of Johnson's
division ran into Prince near Payne's farm,
Johnson swung his entire division back to
face French and Sedgwick. Though heavily
outnumbered, Johnson's aggressive attack
bottled up two entire Union Corps
for the remainder of the day. Meanwhile,
Meanwhi Hill's
Corps and Stuart's cavalry arrived on the
Confederate right, facing down Sykes and
Gregg's cavalry division in that quarter. After
deciding that his position was not a strong one,
Lee ordered his now united army to fall back to
higher ground on the west bank of Mine Run.
Throughout the wet night of 27 - 28 November,
the Confederates dug entrenchments and prepared for the
expected attack on the morrow.
After a late start, the Union army closed up on Lee's position
during the 28th. After
ter spending the day studying the Confederate
entrenchments, Meade decided not to launch a direct frontal
assault. Instead, he endorsed Warren's proposal to move a large
force around the Confederate right flank. Warren's II Corps,
reinforced by one of Sedgwick's
gwick's divisions and some cavalry,
moved laboriously into position during the following day (29
November) but halted short of driving in the Confederate flank as
daylight ran out.
Even so, Warren was supremely confident of his ability to overrun
the enemy on the morrow, and he convinced Meade that the plan
would work. The latter strengthened Warren even further,
directing two of French's divisions to operate under Warren's
orders. With his command numbering some 30,000 troops,
almost half the strength of the entire army, Warren would crush the
Confederate right. Sedgwick, after examining the Confederate
position on the opposite flank, declared it vulnerable to an attack by
his corps. Meade saw the opportunity for a classic double
envelopment, and he approved
proved Sedgwick's plan as well. The
Union artillery on the right flank would open the ball with a heavy
bombardment beginning at 8:00 AM. About the same time,
Warren' infantry would move to the attack, with orders not to fire
during their charge.
ge. Once Warren's attack was well underway, by
about 9:00 AM, Sedgwick and Sykes would drive in Lee's left and
crack the Confederate army like a nut in a vise.
As the hours slowly crept toward dawn on 30 November,
Warren clearly perceived his position.
He told his staff officers "If I succeed
today I shall be the greatest man in the
army; if I don't, all my sins will be
After a restless night, punctuated by the
sounds of the Confederates hastily
extending and improving their fortificafortifica
tions opposite his position, Warren rode
d to examine the Confederate lines.
He was appalled at what he saw. The
Confederate improvements had changed
the previous night's vision of an
overwhelming assault into the morning's
nightmare of a bloody disaster. Warren
estimated that, even at a run, it would take
his men at least eight minutes to cross the
open ground in front of the
1863: The Battle of Mine Run
Figure 1, Warren's Abandoned Assault
Confederate breastworks, subject all the while to a withering
fire from Hill's veteran riflemen. Far from facing the prospects
of a dazzling success, Warren now found himself confronted
with an imminent and useless sacrifice
ifice of his men's lives if he
ordered them forward, or an inevitable sullying of his reputareputa
tion if he did not. With no time to present the situation to
Meade, Warren cancelled his attack.
While Warren's messengers lathered their horses on the road to
de's headquarters, the 8:00 AM bombardment began.
Meade was listening to the sounds of the guns on his right and
straining to detect the start of Warren's attack on the left when
the news arrived at about 8:50 AM. Stunned and angry, Meade
immediately sent word to Sedgwick to call off his imminent
assault. He then rode rapidly toward Warren's headquarters.
What he saw there convinced Meade not to countermand
Warren's decision to cancel the attack. Silence settled over the
lines as Meade considered his alternatives.
atives. After discussing
the situation with his senior commanders that evening, and in
view of the fact that the men's rations were about used up,
Meade saw no choice but to give the order to pull back north of
the Rapidan on 1 December.
The Confederate troops and high command were supremely
disappointed that the Army of the Potomac chose not to attack
their strong position. They longed for another Fredericksburg,
an opportunity to return the favor of Pickett's charge to the
Union Army.
en Meade failed to attack once again on 1 December, Lee
determined to strike. He would hit the Union left and roll
them up against the Rapidan. As the Confederates advanced at
dawn on 2 December, however, they found their quarry gone.
A disgusted Lee blamedd himself for missing an opportunity to
strike a heavy blow as he had only seven months earlier at
But the armies that sparred so cautiously
in that winter of 1863
were no longer the same as those that had bloodied each other
so unmercifully during that spring and summer. The ConfedConfed
erates were weakened by the loss or detachment of many of
their best men and officers and were no longer quite so ready
to charge headlong into the Union guns as they had been on a
sunny Pennsylvania afternoon. The Federals, too, were less
numerous and more cautious than they had been in July. Yet,
Meade's caution,
n, so decried by the Northern press and
subsequently subjected to Congressional investigations, had
deprived Lee of one of his greatest weapons. Meade was too
well aware of the tactical limitations of himself and his army in
the face of Lee's masterful counterpunching
ability. If the
chance of a stunning victory required the risk of decisive
defeat, Meade had sense enough to back away. The moral
courage shown by Warren and Meade in refusing to engage in
futile heroics augured the ultimate crippling of Lee's army
during Grant's relentless campaign of the following year.
Never again would Marse Robert have the opportunity to turn
a Union tactical blunder into a Confederate strategic success.
The battle of Mine Run, the greatest battle never fought during
the war,
ar, was thus as important a turning point as its more
spectacular cousins at Gettysburg and Vicksburg. In many
ways it ratified those bloody Union successes and prepared the
way for the even bloodier denouement to come.
Now, for the firstt time, garners have the opportunity to explore
one of the truly great "what-ifs"
ifs" of the Civil War in GMT's
Mine Run game of the 1863 quad. Lurking behind "big name"
battle games like Gettysburg, Brandy Station, and
Fredericksburg II, Mine Run could just be the sleeper of the
quad and maybe even of the year's crop of Civil War titles. In
its design and play, Mine Run embodies many of the good
aspects of the newly upgraded Battles and Leaders system. I am
not completely satisfied with all of the design decisions made
in these games, especially the inconsistent and inexplicable
matches of unit size and map scale, made largely on the basis
of "playability" and economizing on the number of counters.
Nevertheless, I was very pleased to find it possibl
possible to recreate
quite closely the effects of the Union command confusion and
missed opportunities on 27 November. Unfortunately, all the
scenarios included for the game begin on that date and play
never extends past 29 November, the day before Warren's
fateful decision.
I have no desire to try to create a full
full-blown 30 November
scenario. I suggest you find yourself a copy of the book Mine
Run: A Campaign of Lost Opportunities by Martin F. Graham and
George F. Skoch (listed in the Bibliography for 1863) and build
your own. (I might suggest to those of you who have the time
and inclination that such a scenario might not be a totally
unwelcome addition to C31. Hint, hint.) There was one
question that I always
lways wondered about, however; were Warren
and Sedgwick correct in their evaluation of the Confederate
position, that Lee's right was too strong but his left was
vulnerable? The remainder of this article will look at the
The Battle of Mine Run: 1863
possibilities for Union assaults on the opposite ends of the
Confederate line.
Warren's Abandoned Assault
So, was Warren right? Was his planned attack doomed to fail?
Did his agonizing decision prevent the useless waste of Union
lives or did he pass up the opportunity of driving Lee away
from the Wilderness before the horrors of the next summer's
On the
he far right of the Confederate line stood Wilcox's division
of Hill's III Corps. Although precisely locating Wilcox's
brigades is difficult, we'll make the following assumptions:
Figure 1 (Left)
Lane (5 - 6) hex 4518, Thomas (4 - 6) 4619, Garnett's Artillery
(2 - 8) 4619, Scales (5 - 6) 4719, and McGowan (5 - 6) 4820. All
the Confederate units are, of course, entrenched.
Facing Wilcox, Warren deploys three divisions, two of his own
(Webb and Hays),, along with Terry's division of Sedgwick's VI
Webb (2 x 5 - 6) hex 4516, Hays A (5 - 6) 4617, Hays B (4 - 6)
4617, Terry B (8 - 6) 4717, Terry A (9 - 6) 4818
Using the Basic game rules with the optional Commitment rule
and the suggested Leader rule given in the Errata below, we'll
also allow Warren to control Terry's division. We will assume
the Union gains the Initiative and chooses to move first.
Neither side has enough artillery to use it effectively in the
Bombardmentt Phase, so play proceeds with the Union Initial
Movement Phase. The Union force advances to the attack.
Miraculously, all Union units make their Commitment die roll
and so may move adjacent to the Confederate units:
Figure 2 (Right)
Webb A —> 4718, Hays A —> 4718, Hays B —>
— 4618,
Terry B —> 4819, and Terry A —> 4919,
Here's where we notice one of the system's strange little
quirks. Though Hays's division has only 9 Strength Points
(SPs) in both its units combined, the same number as in
Terry A,, stacking those units will give the Confederates a
favorable column shift against them while allowing only the
top Union unit to return fire. As a result, a cautious Warren
chooses not to bunch his men.
The focal point of the Union attack will be the far right of the
Confederate line, held by McGowan. Terry's two units can
achieve a base odds in the assault of 3 - 1 (17 - 5), but with at
least two unfavorable column shifts (one for woods and one for
the breastworks).
The Union Offensive Fire Phase proceeds as follows:
Terry A and Terry B fire at McGowan with a base fire strength
of 17, placing them in the 16 - 20 column of the fire table. Two
column shifts to the left takes the attack down to the 7 - 10
column. The die roll is a 4, inflicting a step loss on McGowan,
Figure 2, Warren's Abandoned Assault
which is applied following the immediately succeeding
Confederate Return Fire Phase.
Further down the Union line, both of Hays' units fire at
Thomas's brigade, which shields Garnett's artillery. Hays'
combined fire strength of 9 is reduced once for the breast
breastworks, but increased once for the "massed" (stacked units)
target. Resolution thuss takes place on the 7 - 10 column of the
Fire Table. A die roll of 2 is an AD, a result that would
disorder the target if at least one attacking unit were artillery.
Because the artillery could not add its fire to that of the infantry
units (the artillery would have to be adjacent to the target), the
actual result is No Effect.
Finally, Webb A engages Lane. Again, the column shift
reduces the 5 SP attack to the 1 - 3 column. This time, however,
a good die roll of 5 disorders Lane.
Now the Confederates Return
rn Fire. Confederate units fired on
during the Union phase must fire at a unit that fired at them.
Because Scales was unengaged, he may join forces with
McGowan for a 10 SP attack Terry B. A roll of 3 produces a 1/
D result. Because the attack was infantry firing in a Return Fire
phase, the Union unit must take a step loss (in an Offensive
Fire phase that result would be Disorder).
Next in line, Thomas and Garnett engage Hays A. The rules
are not completely clear about
ut whether both the infantry and
artillery may fire from a stack, but we will give the ConfederConfeder
ates the benefit of the doubt. The combined fire strength is
thus 8, because the artillery is doubled for firing at one-hex
range. A die roll of 3 disorders Hays
Hay A.
Finally, Lane fires 5 SPs at Webb A with no column shifts. The
die roll of 4 disorders Webb A.
1863: The Battle of Mine Run
can you move the first unit into its replacement's hex until that
unit leaves. )
Sedgwick's Baffled Blow
On the opposite Confederate flank, things are more difficult for
Lee. Sedgwick had convinced Meade that the Confederate
works were vulnerable on that flank, and he had been ordered
to strike soon after Warren's attack was to have kicked off. We
have a little
le more trouble recreating this situation because one
of Sedgwick's divisions is apparently missing from the
countermix. (Howe's 2nd division. It is clear from the Official
Records that Howe was present at Payne's Farm, and although
it is less clear that the division remained with Sedgwick after 27
November, it is hard to believe that Meade would leave that
excellent officer with only a single division under his direct
command. Anyone with solid information is welcome to prove
either me or Richard incorrect on this matter.)
Moving right along, we see that Johnson's division is guarding
the extreme Confederate left. Even though this division
suffered some casualties at Payne's Farm on the 27th, we will
assume the brigades are all at full
ful strength. They are deployed
as follows:
Figure 3 (Left)
Stafford (4 - 6) hex 2517, Steuart (4 - 6) 2516, Andrew's
Artillery (2 - 8) 2516, Walker (4* - 6) 2616, and
Jones (4 - 6) 2716
Figure 3, Sedgwick's Baffled Blow
Play now moves to the Union Melee Phase (I really, really hate
that term, but it is probably
obably more accurate in assaults against
fortifications than in the open field). Only against McGowan is
there any hope for success. Terry rolls and hopes. Once again,
the base odds are 3 - 1. Because neither Union unit was
disordered during Return Fire, there
here are only two column
shifts, as during Fire combat. Rolling on the 3 - 2 column of the
Melee table, the die roll is a 4, an EX/A. Both sides lose a step,
but the Union attackers must retreat. The Union take the loss
from Terry A, allowing both of Terry's
's units to retain full
strength and Good Morale. McGowan takes his second stepstep
loss of the turn, and the counter is flipped over to its reduced
side. (A second SP loss forces the unit to invert to its weaker
side and drops morale to Fair, with unfavorable
unfavorabl column shifts
in combat.) Terry's units fall back. The first Union assault has
failed to crack the Confederate line, but McGowan's brigade,
now reduced to 3 SPs, is vulnerable to a renewed effort by
In his turn, the Confederate will probably want to find some
way to pull McGowan out of his hex and replace him with a
fresh unit. Again, the odd stacking rules are a problem because
only one unit may ever occupy a woods hex, no matter what its
strength. Thus, McGowan must be replaced, not reinforced.
(To be fair, one nice thing about this rule is that it prevents that
very unrealistic gaming technique of switching the positions of
units in line. In woods hexes, or in fully stacked hexes, that
gamey device is not available because you cannot move the
placement into the first unit's hex before that unit leaves, nor
Facing them across Mine Run are the three divisions of Sykes's
V Corps and Wright's division of VI Corps. The Union forces
are deployed as follows:
Bartlett A (8 - 6) hex 2216, Bartlett B (8 - 6) 2315, Crawford A
(5 - 6) 2415, Crawford B (4 - 6) 2415, Ayres A (5 - 6) 2514, Ayres
B (5 - 6) 2414, Wright (2 x 8 - 6) 2614, Tompkins Arty (6 - 8)
4818, and Martin's Arty (4 - 8) 2215
The Confederates have cleared the woods in 2715, 2615, 2515,
2416, and 2417, removing any cover for the Federal attackers.
The attack opens with a bombardment by the two Union
artillery units against
inst hex 2516. Total strength is 8 (each unit
loses one SP because of the range to the target). Column shifts
are one to the left for the breastworks and one to the right for a
massed target. Rolling on the 7 - 10 column, the die reads 4,
resulting in disorder
rder for both Confederate units. The ConfedConfed
erate artillery returns fire against Bartlett B in hopes of disruptdisrupt
ing the Union assault. Fire strength is reduced to one because
of range and the attack is ineffective. The Union forces now
make a full-scale assault
sault and, once again, all units make their
necessary commitment die rolls. (I am not making this up!)
Figure 4 (Right)
Bartlett A —> 2417, Bartlett B —>
— 2417, Crawford A —> 2416,
Crawford B —>
> 2416, Ayres A —> 2515, Ayres B —> 2515,
Wright A —> 2615, and Wright B —> 2615
Union Offensive fire is directed at each of the three front line
Confederate units, Walker, Steuart (with Andrews artillery),
and Stafford. Stafford takes a step loss, Steuart also takes a
step loss. Walker suffers no damage. Confederate Return fire
disorders one of Bartlett's and one of Ayres's units, but Wright
The Battle of Mine Run: 1863
and Crawford hold tight.
During the Melee Phase, Bartlett attacks Stafford at 4 - 1 odds
with three column shifts left. The result is an EX. Crawford
attacks Steuart at 2 - 1 (artillery adds no SPs in a Melee) with
two column shifts left. The result is an EX/D. Steuart takes a
second step loss, reducing him to Fair morale. Both Steuart
and Andrews must retreat, but the only available hex, 2617, is a
woods hex. As a result, only one unit may retreat. The
Confederate player chooses to save the guns, and Andrews
moves back to 2617. Steuart, now unable to retreat, takes a
third step loss, reducing him to Poor morale and putting him
within one step of elimination. Finally, Ayres and Wright gang
up on Walker at 6 - 1 odds with three column shifts left (one for
Walker's Elite status, signified
gnified by the * on his combat strength).
The result is an EX/D. Because Andrews has retreated to 2617
and Jones still occupies 2716, Walker cannot retreat and so he
too must take an additional step loss and remain in place. The
Confederate line is intact, but in a shambles. Both Steuart and
Walker face immediate extinction and replacing them will be
difficult if not impossible.
Clearly this Confederate deployment may not be the best, but
on the other hand, maybe Sedgwick was right after all, and
Lee's left really was vulnerable.
I make no claim to mastering the tactics and strategy of 1863, or
even of Mine Run. I only hope that this article gives you a
sense of the possibilities of the game. I found it particularly
interesting and important that it is possible to use this game
easily to explore some of the fascinating might
might-have-beens of
the Mine Run campaign.
1863 is a happy medium between SPI's old Blue and Grey
Quad (1975) and the more complex and intricate models of the
Great Battles of the American Civil War (1976) series .
Here's hoping Berg and Markham continue their efforts in
refining this system. The spark is there and it is long overdue.
Mine Run by itself will provide you with many hours of
entertainment and education. Study it and explore it. Berg is
closing in on a truly useful tool for some serious historical
work. I eagerly await the next round of improvements.
For More Information:
Mine Run: A Campaign of Lost Opportunities
by Martin Graham and George Skoch
The Civil War, A Narrative
by Shelby Foote
Volume 2, Fredericksburg to Meridian
"Mine Run campaign" pages 872-78
Random House, New York 1963
Pipeline continued from page 5.
those six weeks of battle in France and the Lowlands was just
way too imbalanced a situation to make a good game. Victory in
the West, which is now in the final stages of pre-development
design work, aims to prove that conventional wisdom wrong. In its
current form, VITW does something that no other game has tried.
It recreates at a true operational scale the entire 1940 campaign
right up to the moment the French historically capitulated (22 June
— always an ominous date in history). The ground scale is 11
kilometers per hex. Turns are two days. Units are mostly divisions,
with motorized forces portrayed as brigades and regiments. Of 600
counters, 395 represent historical combat units or hypothetical
additions to the Allied order of battle.
Using one and a half mapsheets arranged in a "T" configura
the map covers part of Germany and all of the Nether
Belgium, Luxembourg and northeastern France. This gives the
German player three viable axes of advance: through northern
Belgium and southern Holland, through the Ardennes or through the
Maginot Line. By the way, this is probably the first wargame to
accurately portray the Maginot Line and the French Rhine
fortifications as a string of forts and defensive zones of varying
strength instead
nstead of as some kind of impenetrable, monolithic Great
Wall of France. What I'm realizing as I wrap up the design phase
convinces me that the historical situation is definitely more
playable and interesting than I had ever thought.