HAWKs Help GM an Army SLPD

Chris Palmer  This past Monday, a group of Gamemasters from the HAWKs (Harford Area Weekly Kriegspielers) took part in an Army Senior Leader Professional Development session by running three historical wargames involving the northern, central, and southern wings of the Battle of Antietam.

Buck Surdu, in blue “HAWKs” shirt, briefs players on the rules before the beginning of the game.

    This event, organized by Sam Fuson,  was actually the culmination of of a three part exercise. Particpants had previously done a Staff Ride of the battlefield, and the senior commanders had done a map exercise to determine the actual location and arrival time for the corps involved in the battle. Some of the goals of the event were team building, leadership training, decision making, and reinforcing the principles of battle.

An overview of the room at te height of the action.

    The participants: more than 30 Army officers, NCOs and senior civilian staff, where divided up and each assigned to a table, with a senior officer or civilian taking the command of  each side in the battle, and others acting as their sub-commanders.   Four objective locations were marked on each of the tables with small flags,  The objectives started in control of the defenders, and it was the attackers’ job to try and capture them.

Sam Fuson, in hat, supervises players on conducting a melee.

     The rules used for the games were, “A Union So Tested” ACW divsional level rules.   The figures used were  20mm on two of the tbales and 10mm on the third.  Game-masters for the event were myself and Sam on Table 1, which was the north end of the battlefield including the The Cornfield, Buck Surdu and Dave Wood did the center of the battlefield and the fight around the Sunken Road, and Eric Schlegel was the GM for the Southern portion of the battlefield, including the Burnside Bridge area.

Dave Wood, in blue shirt, helps a player measure an artillery battery’s range

     For many of the participants this was their first exposure to historical miniatures wargaming, yet most were able to quickly pick up the concepts and rules, and after a few turns were fully engrossed in the games and the command of their units.  There was lots of friendly trash-talk among the participants, as well as table-wide cheers and groans as fortunes rose and fell.

Eric Schlegel in blue shirt, advises players on their options during the game

     Everyone seemed to have a good time, including us, the gamemasters.  This is an event that I have taken part in now for 6 years, and the eighth such event, and it is always a blast.  Thanks to Sam’s efforts it is always well run.

Buck Surdu, conducts an informative AAR session on Table 2.

     At 1430 hours, Buck called the time for the games to end.  The participants gathered at each of the tables and  Buck led an after-action discussions on the outcomes for each of the games.  Commanders were questioned about their mission goals and how well their objectives were met; obstacles that arose and insights that were gained.

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