Sunday, 22 March 2020

A tale of two tank platoons.

Around 18 months ago, I did a post based on two tank platoons, one German the other Soviet, facing off against each other, using the very detailed boardgame ‘Panzer’ by GMT (see link in the Resource Section below).

The idea of the post was to give some insight into the different experiences of the two platoons, based on their training and tank types on a 1943 battlefield.

I am going to use the background information and scenario of that post again and give a run with 15mm models on the tabletop, using simple rules from Wargaming - An Introduction by Neil Thomas. Can they show such marked differences in the performance of the two platoons as the Panzer game did?

Please use the ‘read more’ tab for the rest of this post. 

All references to places, characters and actions here are fictional and any similarity to real world stuff is unintentional. The game would not normally operate with just two single platoons facing each other in this way, but for the sake of this exercise, this is where we are.

It is late 1943 and the ravages of the recent German Citadel (Kursk) offensive and the subsequent Soviet counter-offensive have significantly reduced the strengths of both armies. Casualties have been heavy and as replacements start to feed into the depleted tank units, the new recruits must quickly learn their craft if they are to survive the initiation of battle.

Mladshiy Leytenant (Junior Lieutenant) Ivan Sokolov is a platoon commander by virtue of the fact that he has survived battle since mid July and is considered very experienced. Indeed he and his driver are the only survivors of the original platoon, which has just been brought up to strength of three tanks with the addition of two young crews who have completed their training at the Kurgan Tank School. The two new tanks are commanded by Aleksandr Smirnov and Maxim Popov.

Even at this stage of the war, Soviet tanker training is somewhat comparatively rudimentary, with each crew member only being trained in their specific role, such as driver or radio operator and the resulting lack of awareness in the roles of their fellow tankers, puts them at a disadvantage to the Germans who were trained in doing each others jobs. Gunnery was a particularly weak area in Soviet training with perhaps just a few shells being fired off before being certified as ‘trained’ and being shipped off to the front line with their new tanks.
KV-1s from Battlefront

This platoon is part of an assault brigade and is equipped with the heavy KV-1S. This tank was  an evolution of the KV-1c, but with some of the armour reduced to give it greater speed and versatility, but its frontal turret armour could still be a challenge for the German L75/43 with standard ammo, as fitted to the Panzer IV G.

For the sake of this scenario, we will consider the two replacement tank crews as being ‘green’, or second-rate being a more useful term for these rules. Ivan Sokolov’s own capability and experience could well be what me might think of as regular.

I am using a KV-1s model and two KV-1c’s (by Zvezda) which are standing in as proxy for the KV-1s.

Oberleutnant (1st Lieutenant) Otto Müller has been a platoon commander for thirteen months and for much of that time has been in continual action, the only break coming from a short period of leave and a battalion re-fit in May. His rank was gained following 12 weeks of infantry training, followed by 4 further months of tank training. 

His platoon is somewhat depleted from recent fighting, now having just three operative PzIV G tanks. Two of his tanks, including his own (the other commanded by Gerhard Schmidt), have old and tested crews, but the third vehicle (commanded by Herbert Schneider) has a young crew that has only been in action for around five weeks. Schneider’s crew trained for several months at the Panzertruppenschule II at Wünsdorf in Germany and were then transferred to a reserve battalion for further training in gunnery and manoeuvres.

They were posted to Otto Müller’s platoon as well rounded tankers and have performed to Otto's approval in the recent fighting. Overall the platoon maintains a high confidence in their own abilities, though they are becoming increasingly aware that their kit is in need of an upgrade to the newer PzIV H model that has started to appear in greater numbers amongst front-line units. Never-the-less, this platoon is considered veteran.

In this small corner of the ferocious east front, three days of intense fighting has seen both sides settle to consolidate their positions, while reinforcements and resupply are organised, though at the local level, commanders are still probing in force to secure avenues of approach that will be essential when the fighting re-starts. The heavy autumn rains are just days away and so hard crossing points over a local stream need to be captured in anticipation of the area soon becoming a muddy quagmire.  One of these bridges sits just in front of Kurhva and both sides want it.
Note the entry point of the Pz IV's

An important element of the original scenario concerned troop quality. Neither Smirnov or Popov would perform well on their own initiative and would be be staying close to and relying on the guidance of their commander, Ivan Sokolov. Müller’s better trained platoon, in contrast, have more latitude and confidence and could operate in a looser formation. Where possible, this will be factored into play.

It is 0915 hours on Sunday 3rd October 1943 and Ivan Sokolov’s newly arrived KV platoon have emplaced themselves on the edge of the woods that are local to the bridge. They will take up defensive firing positions at the woods edge, while waiting for assault guns and infantry to move up to this staging area for the planned attack on the bridge and town at 1100 hours.
The 4' x 3' table

Otto Müller’s platoon have orders to reconnoitre and take the high ground (Hill A.14) that overlooks both the town and the bridge. They are following a dry earth trail that will take them through a short depression behind the hill to conceal his movement. The rest of his company is expected within the hour. They will then support an assault against the town, headed by two companies of panzer grenadiers.  

The ever watchful Sokolov quickly scans the ground ahead of him, he has not seen any movement in the past five minutes and believes the immediate area to be free of enemy troops. 

Müller’s platoon travels down a trackway leading towards the rear of Hill A.14.

Sokolov is satisfied that their position on the edge of the wood amongst the trees is pretty good. He orders the platoon's tank commanders to put an armour piercing round ‘in the spout’ and await targets of opportunity. They will fire upon the first spotting of enemy activity. 

Müller’s platoon, still out of sight of the KV platoon, has reached the base of the hill and starts to climb the reverse slope.

Müller’s tanks move towards the crown of the hill and as Herbert Schneider’s lead tank reaches the top and comes into Sokolov’s view, the Soviet commander orders his platoon to fire ..... well at least that feels like what should happen!

[note - At this point in play, there is a whole set of important relationships going on. Essentially the German vehicles are suddenly going to appear on the skyline and are potentially in danger of being knocked out before they can even engage the KV’s below. The boardgame ‘Panzer’, from which I first derived this scenario, has a very detailed gun / armour system and also the troop quality / experience / training modifiers is a strong feature of the game and in this action, favour the Germans, giving them a fighting chance. These rules however, for armour at least, are not taking much of this into account. The game will be played twice. Firstly just from the rules as written and then with some house rule modifiers added].

First play - Neil Thomas, Wargaming an introduction, published 2005 Sutton Publishing Limited.

[note - we have a 7 page rule set that groups the armour and gun values into major categories of Ultra Light, Light, Medium, Heavy and Super Heavy and essentially these broad categories makes the tanks of both sides in our game identical with Average speed, Medium gun, Medium front armour, Light side and rear armour. The rules do use morale, but it doesn’t apply to tanks, so we are running a game which is pretty much generic in terms of differentiating the vehicles and their level of training].

Time passes!
Tanks on the skyline!

Well in truth, it did not go that well. I wrote notes up for the game, but decided not to bring that element here. There is no mechanic for opportunity fire, so as the panzers crested the hill, instead of taking ambush fire, the panzers were able to half move and still fire without interruption and that fire is not penalised for what we might term moving fire, so, surprisingly it is the KV’s who are hit first and they get no defensive advantage for being amongst the wood edge.

Secondly, tanks don’t take morale tests, so don’t have ratings that reflect experience, training or leadership. The tanks themselves are also put into very broad bands of performance and here in fact, it happens both tanks have identical values in all regards. This means we cannot prosecute the basic intentions of this scenario, which was meant to highlight capability difference in terms of men and machines, as here, both sides are virtually acting as generic forces.

This of course falls out of the fact hat both vehicles are classed as average / medium for their inherent attributes, but if one side had thicker or thinner armour, then you would see a difference open up.

The game defaulted into a gun duel between the two platoons, which are using exactly the same dice values, the woods don’t even offer cover, so it is just a case of which side gets lucky with their shooting.

In the end I called the game to a halt as it turns into a silly shoot-out. This all rather sounds like I am knocking the system, but I’m not. I actually like the short rules and in an integrated game, with infantry, that is more nuanced and uses morale and having vehicles of different capabilities, the game would no doubt be much more interesting ...... especially as the rules are so robust, they invite the creation of house rules to deliver the game that best suits the player and it is with that in mind that game 2 is played.

I have owned these rules before and regrettably they were lost to a downsizing of property. However Blogger Steve over on his blog - Sound Officers Call (see Resource Section below) a few weeks ago, did a WWII replay with them, which he enjoyed and did a good write-up, so I re-bought them and I can clearly see the positive side of the rules ... but with some tweaks.

This was going to be a Neil Thomas Vs Battlegroup game post, but after the above play, that seemed both unfair and unbalanced, so instead I thought I would run the Thomas game again but include a section of house rules to make things a bit more interesting for me.
Smirnov's KV burns.

Second play - with these house rule mods added;

Immobilised - When first immobilised, immediately take a morale check. On a 3 or less result, the crew abandon the vehicle and will not return for the remainder of the scenario.

Green (Second Rate) tank crew - In the Morale Phase they always take a Morale Test. Give a +1 to the die roll if the tester is within 5cm of a regular or better tank leader.

The TO HIT die roll is modified as follows;
-1 if using moving fire
-1 if the target is in cover
-1 of the firer is inexperienced
+1 if the firer is elite

Opportunity Fire.
A unit can attempt opportunity fire once in a turn, when an enemy vehicle moves while in the firers line of sight. Call the fire and roll a D6 and modify as follows;

-1 Inexperienced firer
0 Regular firer
+1 Veteran firer
+2 Elite firer

On a final result of 5 or 6 the gun can fire and executes an immediate attack following the usual To Hit process .... but the firer is also marked with an ‘opportunity fire’ marker, forcing it to be subjected to a standard Morale Check in its next turn.

So here we go again, starting at the point that the Panzers are crossing the hill crest - they will be using the half move and fire ability this turn as per the Thomas rules.

Lieutenant Ivan Sokolov orders his platoon to fire on the moving panzers (opportunity fire). The To Hit chart needs 4 - 6 to hit, but we are reducing the dice of two new crews by -1 for being green (3 x sixes are rolled - I don’t believe it!). Each of the Soviet tanks are marked with an Opportunity Fire marker, so they will have to take Morale Tests in their upcoming turn.

Schmidt’s tank is knocked out by Popov and Schneider’s is immobilised. His crew take an immediate morale test to see whether they abandon the vehicle, they roll a 4 and pass, so they are sticking with it!
One knock-out and one immobilised

The Germans have been interrupted by the Soviet opportunity fire, so they can now carry on with their turn, which was to move the panzers a half move and then fire. Only Müller Can move, but both he and Schneider will be able to fire.

With the new mods, their To Hit die roll is reduced by -1 for conducting moving fire and by a further -1 for the KV’s being in cover - they miss (rolling two 1’s didn’t help!).

At the start of the Soviet turn, all three vehicles remove their Opportunity Fire markers and take Morale Tests. They each fail so badly that they are not allowed to move or fire this turn (I have included this test to put a brake on too much bonus fire happening in a turn, the fact they can't fire is just a reflection of the fact that they just fired in the German turn).

So it is straight back to the Germans. They are now stationary, so will not be penalised for moving fire, but the target still forces a -1 on the To Hit die roll for gaining cover from the woods ...... and again the Germans miss.

The Soviet To Hit rolls are being reduced by -1 for the two inexperienced crews, but they roll a 6 each and hit, but the more experienced Lieutenant rolls a 3 and misses ..... 'those bloody dice!'

The fire is effective, Schneider’s tank is destroyed and Müller is immobilised. His crew fail their morale and abandon the vehicle. That seems a fair result as I was going to retreat him out of the game anyway had his tank not been immobilised.

Surprisingly, the game ends with all of the German armour knocked out, without loss amongst the KV's! 

The mods made the second game much more interesting than the first, even with the tanks being rated identically on specs. It should of course have typically gone the German way, but those sixes for the Soviet new boys and the one’s and two’s for the German vets are just typical of the devious nature of dice and the result does at least show that both sides can engage with the hope of a win.

The post originally started with a look backwards to the way that the Panzer boardgame had handled the situation. In panzer, the handling is much more nuanced and the the thing of capability and tank attributes really comes through .... but at the expense of long detailed rules and quite a bit of chart accessing, so there is much to be said for a solid system that makes things a bit easier.

The Thomas rules cannot truly compare with the likes of Panzer, but they were never meant to, they are an introductory set and as such, probably punch above their weight anyway. I like the Thomas set and look forward to doing more with it once I get infantry up and running .

As stated, I was going to run this as a comparison game with Battlegroup by Warwick Kinrade, which would highlight some small differences between the two vehicles and allow for differences in training and leadership to come through. We are of course comparing a 7 page rule set to a 63, well illustrated set, which gives the latter scope to be more comprehensive - obviously. However, I change my mind as the contrast would have been too great and I wanted an opportunity to tweak a bit and see how that went.
A view from Kurhva - peaceful for now!

This game was in part played as my first outing under my Pocket Armies project 2020. The table is sporting the new integrated terrain of rubber roads, river and bridge from TimeCast. The buildings are resins from Ironclad Miniatures and the hills are from S&A Scenics and Battlezone Scenics. The mat is from Gale Force 9.

I painted these tanks up first so that I could run this scenario, so yes, my mid-war east front Pocket Armies at this stage amount to just these six vehicles! Sitting at the painting tray are some Peter Pig 15mm infantry and some half tracks, so the next game should be expanded to bring those in. 

It is not ideal to use such a small slice of action to try and reflect generalities of how experience, command and control and confidence come through, but the situation and chance to write a related post are fun things to do, allow us to discuss the Command system and of course it gave me an excuse to get my first 15mm vehicle models onto the table.

The situation is however also useful for a quick and pure way (free of distraction) of bench marking various rule sets against each other and of getting gun / armour rules and processes nailed down and in that regard, the peculiarities of each platoon will likely be better picked up when I run either Battlegroup or Iron Cross next.

Collection Status - Pocket Armies is my 2020 project for getting games using 12 units or less onto a play area of 4’ x 3’ or less. This is a ‘from scratch’ project, so terrain and units are slowly trickling in to doing some viable gaming. If this sort of thing interests you, keep an eye on the ‘Pocket Armies’ label in the right hand margin, which links to related posts.

Complexity - All the rule sets contained in the ‘Wargaming - An Introduction’ book are short and the rules can be literally read in a few minutes before play.

Size - The rules use centimetres and depending on the figure scale used, games can fit onto a 3’ x 2’ table. Today, we were playing on a 4’ x 3’ space.

Solitaire - It plays solo fine, just play each side to their best advantage.

Time - Set-up, play and take-down can all be done in a short midweek evening session. 

Resource Section.

My sister webspace COMMANDERS is a bit more snippet based than here. Link.

The Panzer article that formed the base of this post. Link.

Steve’s Blog - Sound Officers Call! LINK


  1. Interesting exercise, Norm. In the first game, it seemed there was no tactical or vehicle characteristic nuance in play. Line ‘em up and blast away. In the replay with modifications, it seemed the Soviet hot dice really distorted the outcome. With such a small action, luck can play a huge role as it did in this outing. Are you tempted to reset and retry this scenario?

    By the way, your table and models are superb.

    1. Thanks Jonathan, yes, I will re-set and also keep the scenario as a good bench test for other rules - for example, I first ran this a few days ago with my 'notes' on the re-write of Tigers at Minsk for non-hex and it was immediately apparent that they did not automatically deal with the troop quality aspect of individual units particularly well, so that has gone into the mix.

      In a bigger game, like Steve played, there is enough inter-action between different capabilities to bring interest, my set-up really just brought a two-tone vanilla game, with evenly matched vehicles, unfair on the rules really, but in a purist way, it does bring clarity without distraction as to what a system is actually doing.

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks Michal, a brief game, but a lot fell out of it.

  3. Interesting. I admire your resolve to stick with the simple rules and make them work better.

  4. Hi Ellis, we have seen rules like this before, such as Retro, that are so stable, that it is very easy to bolt other rules onto them.

  5. Great Post Norm.

    Of course what the canny NT Soviet commander does is hide inside the wood, then roll out and blast the unsuspecting Germans in there own turn. Like the house rules though.

    I fudge crew quality by changing the troop ratio, so eg use one model to represent two veteran, three regular or four green vehicles (or rifle sections). According to Dupuy, even the most extreme difference in combat effectiveness in WW2 was only 2:1, which applying Lanchesters Square law for ranged combat gives a kill ratio of 4:1. Similar to 1943 east front kill ratios.

    So perhaps your first game was six veteran Panzer vs twelve green KV?

    1. Hi Martin, yes, one of the things that the game did cause me to think about was the way that we tankies tend to want all those differences in armour and gun penetration to be shown, even when the margins are small, yet the variables from armour quality and range and accuracy etc, can automatically iron out those small variables, so maybe the broad brush approach has much merit and maybe a lot of stuff was average, doing an average job, with perhaps the crews being the most important part of the equation.

  6. Looks like a good result....I think too many rules give the Germans too many advantages,particularly vis a vis Russian armour. The western allies Sherman tanks were decidedly average in comparison to panzers, but the T34 is generally acknowledged to be the best all round tank of the war and they certainly caused a scare for the Germans when they first encountered them, so I feel the fact they are often lumped up as same as a Pz 4 or Sherman underestimates how good they were. I do realise the soviet tanks here were KV. 1's, but same principle applies!

    1. Keith, I am pretty much moved to the same conclusion.

  7. Thanks for sharing Norm an interesting result and some detailed analysis 👍

  8. Thanks Matt, for such a simple action, it has probably raised more questions / thoughts for me than I anticipated.

  9. An enjoyable post to read about comparing rule sets. Interesting how your few simple additions to the rules changed the feel of the game.

  10. Thanks Peter, I know we both do much the same kind of tinkering with the various Thomas rules.

  11. Another good post. I like the look of the table and miniatures and the practicality of the set up.

    One of the things I have come to appreciate about simple rules is the ease with which they can be adjusted or tweaked without causing a landside of unintended side effects.

    It would be interesting to run the 2nd version a couple of times with the same initial actions to see what effect different die rolls have on how it goes and how it ends.

    1. Thanks Ross. The rule are very solid and very open to being tweaked - his designs are clever in the way that that is always the case.

      Yes, a replay to give the dice another chance to do things properly :-)

  12. Thanks for the shout out Norm! I really like what you did with the second game and I'd like to incorporate some of those changes to my own NT ww2 games as well. I've always wanted a big armored slug fest but chose different rules (like battlegroup or even FoW) for some of the reasons you mentioned above. I am really looking forward to more posts like this one! Just the inspiration needed.

    Also, I second the comments above, your terrain and vehicles are outstanding!

    1. Thanks Steve, I’m glad your post made me jump and re-buy the book. There is a lot there to explore, so plenty of posts between the two of us no doubt. I do like his replay at the back of the book, it is exactly what I was doing as a teenager and exactly what the Pocket armies project is about.

    2. This is great! I'm so happy to be a little part of this conversation re pocket armies and I feel like simple rules support the conversation well.

  13. Very interesting, Norm. I like those mods.

  14. Thanks Aaron, nothing inventive there, but perhaps all the stuff that we might expect for a tank action game.

  15. An interesting game Norm and your amendments definitely made a big difference and felt right. I think in one of Featherstone's books he notes how the chance of hitting a target with the second shot went up to something like 90% or more, based upon his experiences in the Western Desert. Sadly I don't have the book so can't be sure.

    I have the Battlegroup rule but they never really struck a chord with me. Bolt Action II for all its 'faults' feels like it will offer a better 'game'. I have the NT book and may have a look at the WWII rules and try them against BAII to see how they fair. Perfect for some 2' x 2' gaming!

  16. Steve, quite a few tactical boardgames allow a player to put an acquisition on a target that they fire at. The next consecutive time they fire at that target, the acquisition marker gives the firer a helpful modifier To Hit.

    I am re-aquainting myself with the NT book and enjoying it. As we both appreciate, there is a lot of gaming goodness to fall out of a 2’ x 2’ space.

  17. Interesting post, the modified rules make sense, difficult to find the goldilocks point of ease of use and realistic detailing!
    Best Iain

  18. Thanks Iain, yes, I think if you tinker with Thomas’ rules, one needs to be respectful of his rule ethos and put in something simple that does not unduly increase rules overhead, turning his creation into the very thing that he seems to want to avoid.

    Plenty of gamers seem to do some tinkering with his rules and I am left wondering how many gamers are playing his rules ‘differently’ and in different ways, if that makes sense!

  19. Interesting write up and analysis Norm. One point that has stuck in my mind, however, is why do the Russian crews have to take a morale test for executing opportunity fire whereas the germans are allowed to continue advancing a further half move with one tank ko’d and another immobilised? Shouldn’t the germans have tested too as soon as fired upon?

  20. Hi Mike, in the system, there is a morale phase at the start of the turn for infantry, but not for tanks. One of the outcomes of a morale test is that fire and / or movement restrictions are placed on the unit for that turn.

    I chose the mechanic of causing units that opportunity fired to take a morale test in the Morale Phase, simply as a randomised way to dampen down units that used op. fire during the enemy turn, to sort of reduce the chance of them acting twice, rather than stopping them completely.

    It allowed me to use an existing game mechanic rather than introducing a new one and the morale test does cater for inexperienced units by making the test harder to pass, so in the case of our inexperienced KV crew, if they op fire, they have an increased chance of not being able to fully act in their up-coming turn.

    The Germans only need to test was when Schneider’s tank was immobilised and that test was to see whether they abandoned their vehicle - which they didn't.

    The rather extreme dice rolls made this a rather one sided affair, had the Germans at least scored an immobilising hit and forced a morale test for abandonment, things might have evened up a bit.

    but next time ........ :-)

  21. Always interested to see NT mods, especially as my own attempt with these rules wasn’t very successful! I think this was actually down to the group that played it expecting a straight game, rather than the rules trial I intended. I was working on mods of my own, which included the George Gush challenge rule for opportunity fire and my own take on tank morale. I tend just to do something along the lines of elite +1 to hit -1 to shoot at. That bundles the troop class into the general vehicle effectiveness.

    1. I have to remind myself that these are rules that appear in an ‘introducing wargames’ style book and so demands on what they do have to be tempered by that - but they are are solid and remarkably robust, making them ideal for tweaking and I think it is possible to get the best of both worlds where you get an easy system, but can tweak it to meet your own wants. I really want to resist adding too much as that just seems to fly in the face of what these rules were intended to do - for complexity and completeness other rules exist :-)

  22. Thanks very much Norm. Most of NT's rules are a bit under-written somewhere and my own feeling is that the lack of observation rules - or overwatch - or similar might be one of those issues in W:AI WW2.

  23. Thanks, it is strange really that one automatically puts in Line of Sight rules from their own experience of wargames and so the lack does not become immediately obvious, but if you were a new gamer, would that cause confusion or is it a case that you don’t know what you don’t know.

    I find that the periods that I care about, I am more critical / demanding of the rules and for secondary interests I am much more forgiving. I imagine we all see something different in his rule sets, but he does have that Featherstone element to his wargame contribution and I do like that.

  24. Another enjoyable and thought provoking read Norm. I think that adding some personalities to a game really helps one to identify with the situation that they face. Platoon size is a good sized game in my opinion for tank battles. Did you ever see 'White Tiger' on YouTube? bit far fetched of course but it did give me a good impression of conditions inside a T34 in battle, especially from the drivers perspective with his limited vision. Really like that road and river.

  25. Thanks Lee, it’s a really good size of game for getting to the heart of say, the tank rules, without all the other distractions going on that loosen focus on what the system is really doing.

    White Tiger sounds interesting, I have a couple of books that give first person perspective of being a crew member - perhaps some of our rules might be better if they started from that perspective, rather than the steel chariots that we affectionately force upon our game.

    The roads / river are the latex ones from Timecast, first time I have ever used them. My gaming table when set up in is a sort of sun lounge, so in the summer, the temperature gets hot enough to warp some materials, so I am hoping that non-warping features becomes an extra dimension to their use.

  26. Very cool gaming and tanks, Norm. I think 15mm is a great size for armor games. Lots of details and good for maneuvering and firing ranges.

  27. Hi Dean, yes I think so, it is the Goldilocks scale, especially if you want a bit of terrain and vehicle modelling etc to be part of everything.

  28. A very interesting discussion Norm that I read with enjoyment. I have never read or played a NT rule / game and I don’t really understand people’s fascination with them, maybe I’m missing out.

    I really like the board set up and reading the merits and tweaks of this and that. Fun pics as well.
    Keep safe. 😀

  29. Thanks Stew, I wonder whether with NT, there is a style, sentiment or gaming ethos that has not seen ‘real print’ since the Featherstone days and it may be people plugging into that. There is also the thing of people feeling that modern life gets in the way of gaming and NT, if he does one thing, it is to bring playability and short games to the table, so perhaps he rides high on a mix of nostalgia and rule / system fatigue!

    You will be pleased to know that I primed a couple of units worth of ACW Confederate today :-)



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