Saturday 4 May 2019

Thoughts on ACW Armies

For the Union - Berdan’s Sharpshooters in action

For the Confederates - 1st Georgia Sharpshooters in action.

After a busy afternoon tackling a few DIY jobs and the rest of the usual Saturday domestic round I was able to spend a little time sorting out my 30mm ACW Spencer Smith collection to see what was needed to finish it off. After going through the figures I was quite please to see that to bring it up to the strength I am aiming for does not really need very much at all so I will get an order together over the weekend.

I have settled on the size of the two armies and each will look something this:

3 x Mounted Officers
6 x 12 figure infantry units
1 x 12 figure Zouave unit (more about this later)
1 x 12 figures ‘Rifles’ unit (again, more about this later)
4 x 6 figure cavalry units
3 x 12 pdr cannon each with 4 x crew

This works out at 108 foot figures, 27 mounted and 3 guns. For a variety of reasons I am looking at this as being my standard army size for the horse and musket period and it represents what I would call a full strength army. Usually the games I fight contain less units but it means I have a flexible roster to work from as required. Crucially the units can also break down into Portable Wargame sized Corps level formations. 

I do not profess to be any kind of an expert on the American Civil War and so my armies will be very much ‘based upon’ rather than historically accurate - which is why the Kurz and Allison project works really well for me. I like to think of this as the ‘Hollywood’ approach! As can be seen in the above list I shall be including Zouaves for colour and the Rifle units will be green clad sharpshooting specialists. I was rather pleased to discover that the Confederates had a green coated sharpshooter unit and even more pleased to read that the historical unit served during the advance on Atlanta.

Another thing I have decided on is that the infantry units will feature a command element of an officer, a musician and for all except the Rifle units, a standard bearer. The infantry and Zouave units will have a drummer whilst the Rifles will have a bugler. The gun crew will be four figures strong - the 3 figure gunners pack and an officer.

It was a real pleasure spending some time with this collection and making plans for how I am going to use it going forward. At that remains now is to find some time to realise it!


Ray Rousell said...

Sounds like a plan Dave! Easy stop this DIY nonsance and you'll find loads of time for your figures. Not sure how Mrs C would like this idea though?

David Crook said...

Hi Ray,

Luckily the DIY was both straightforward to do and did not take long - I earned plenty of brownie points!

My order to finish the armies is underway and then I will have all the figures ready to paint. I shall be tackling these old school so flat colours, gloss varnish and plain bases will be the order of the day!

All the best,


David Crook said...

Hi StuRat,

Funny you should say that....

Spencer Smith do produce a single, hat wearing dismounted cavalryman so a quantity of these will be added to my next order.

All the best,


Archduke Piccolo said...

Nice, compact, little armies. Your practice of smaller battles (in terms of units) than you whole inventory opens up the whole area of campaigning, with outlying columns and detachments doing their bit towards the capture of that vital river port, salt mine, den of Secesh iniquity... or to prevent it.

David Crook said...

Hi Archduke,

You have hit the nail on the head in respect of army size. I used to do the same with much larger armies - always having a reserve so to speak - and it always seemed like a good idea. DBA is a good example of a similar approach using match smaller armies in terms of figures with the various army optional elements.

All the best,