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    Avatar photoJohn McBride

    Almost put this under “perspective gaming” but it probably deserves its own thread.

    Years ago I did Chickamauga with a summer camp of a dozen kids, 3 hours a day for 5 days. We took Wednesday off from the game and drove to the battlefield (I live in Chattanooga).

    Two things stand out, as we had been playing off maps plus the map I laid out on the big flat table. Brigade level, and artillery batteries.

    First was, the kids couldn’t undertstand why I wouldn’t let them fire a battery down a “straight” road in the woods. Until we drove to that spot and saw, first, that a maximum of one section could unlimber on the road, and second, you coulkdn’t see far at all, because “straight” on a map isn’t really all that straight where line of sight is concerned.

    Then we went to one of the famous fields, meadow with rail fence and treeline on each side. In the game we had opposing lines in cover behind their respective fences, blazing away.  Except that when we walked it, turns out the field had enough curvature — even though the real maps and my game table showed it flat, that nobody at one tree line could actually see the other treeline about 200 yards away.

    At Ringgold, there’s a marker a block off the highway, tucked away behind some light industrial buildings along the creek. A Union regiment pushed in to that spot, thought about it, and hastily withdrew. The battle accounts I’ve read don’t really make clear why. But if you drive there and get out, you find, first, that there’s no good way to go any further because of the creek and ridge; and second, that you are now in the open at the bottom of a bowl, with steep ridges on each side of the creek looking right down on you. Perfectly clear why the Union commander ordered a swift retreat, but you kind of had to be there.

    Avatar photoNorm S

    Nice to be able to link tables and maps right into the landscape.

    Mind you – I went to the Bosworth battlefield (1485) several years ago, which is all marked out to show the flow of battle. It all made perfect sense – now the revisionists are moving the battlefield !

    Avatar photoJohn McBride

    Hah! Guess the further back in time, the less definitive everything is. But there’s a couple of fairly large battles around Chattanooga — such as Brown’s Ferry, where I was this morning — that are simply obliterated by development. Impossible to see or understand anything.

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