Friday, 7 October 2016

August Fury - 2nd Battle of Bull Run - Second Day - Conclusion

As it turns out, rather than a 'Part Two' report of this scenario, it's more appropriate to term it a 'postscript'. In our version of history, Longstreet proved to be far less reluctant to take the fight to the enemy, sweeping eastward - eventually with most of his corps - to engage Brig. Gen. John Reynold's depleted division of Pennsylvania reserves at New Market.

By 14:30, Reynold's division had been almost totally wiped out - with only the last remaining batteries of divisional artillery escaping capture. Reynolds himself fell into Rebel hands.....sparing him from his fateful meeting with destiny at Gettysburg!  A Union relief column from the south - under Hatch - could not arrive in time to prevent the rebels from capturing New Market.

This is how it looked:

Immediately to the north, Jackson's divisions (Ewell, Taliaferro) pushed eastward, forcing back Franz Segel's beleagured 1st Va Corps. The force of the Rebel attack routed 2 brigades and their supporting artillery, panicked Federal troops swarming over their supply train as they fled.  By 2:30, the Confederates had seized Chinn Ridge, before their orders directed them to advance towards New Market.

Further north, Pope attempted to break through the line of A.P. Hill's defenders still manning the unfinished railroad. Unaware of the situation elsewhere, he still thinks he's on the verge of a major victory and pursuing a defeated enemy! Kearney's division and Reno's 9 Corps advanced to try and force their way through near Sudley Church, but dug in, the Rebels proved a nut too tough to crack, driving off the blueshirts and wounding divisional commander Isaac Stevens in the process.

The situation at 14:30:

With the Union army scattered across the battlefield, unable to contend with the rapidly evolving situation, we elected to discontinue the game.

The post mortem on this scenario is that the Union seems doomed for defeat thanks to the initial orders issued by Pope. These orders largely consign various Union formations to piece-meal, un-coordinated attacks - often against Rebel defenders holding superior ground - that rob the Union of any real chance to deliver a telling blow.

As mentioned, Pope's 0 leadership rating - and delay in arriving on the scene - makes it very difficult for the Union player to successfully change the above situation to avoid disaster. Much also rests on how quickly the two sides can bring in their reinforcements. We opted for the variable arrival rules, requiring a 10+ to be rolled for each formation. Unfortunately, the dice did not go in the Union's favour. In contrast, the Confederates were able to bring up Longstreet's corps pretty much on schedule. With Lee and Jackson's high command values, the Confederates proved much more effective at responding to the battlefield situation and seizing opportunities.

We certainly enjoyed playing this, especially given the uncertainty surrounding the arrival of formations and the potential that exists for manoeuvre.

Coming out of this, Roger and I have decided to try our hand at the full battle of 2nd Bull Run! The hope is that the much longer time-frame will allow the Union commander more opportunity to formulate and prosecute a cohesive offensive against those vile Rebels!

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