Sunday, 26 March 2017

Second Bull Run - the Complete Battle - Status Report #3 - FINAL

At the conclusion to my previous update on this epic game, it was 1:30pm August 29. Union forces were pushing up from the south, threatening the Confederate right flank, and to the north, fighting was at a high tempo as the Union attempted to penetrate the Rebel defensive line south-west of Sudley Church.

So what happened?

The outcome is that both sides had exhausted themselves by the evening of the 29th. The Union came close to punching a hole along the unfinished railway line, but worn down by musket volleys and artillery fire at close range, they gradually had to give up their hard won ground and pull back to lick their wounds. The Rebs had largely been reduced to a rag-tag line of defenders by this point, with the exception of the magnificent Forno brigade and its supporting artillery, which proved decisive in unravelling Union ambitions.

To the south, Longstreet's L-Wing had pushed eastward in its goal of seizing Groveton and destroying the remnants of Sigel's Corps, but the aggressive arrival of  Porter's 5th Corps, pushing on Stuart's Hill had blunted Longstreet's ambitions, forcing him to commit Jones' Division to delay Porter and - as the situation worsened - bleed off more brigades from the Groveton attack.  Superior Rebel command initiative made this flexibility possible.

With both sides grinding to a halt, Roger and I agreed upon a cessation of the battle at 6pm. Here is a snapshot of the outcome:

Jackson's divisions were able to restore the situation along the railroad. In addition, one of his divisions, supported by artillery, staged a belated - and admittedly feeble - attempt to join in the attack on Groveton. Both sides had resorted to close combat around Groveton, with first the Union, then the CSA, experiencing some success in routing enemy brigades. To the west, Porter's troops had been able to push the ragged Rebel line back to north of the Warrenton Turnpike, but this high tide proved short-lived. Worn out by their exertions and stoppage rolls (experienced elsewhere on the battlefield at this time), they had little choice but to pull back.

In this game, we opted for the rule improving Pope's performance rating....and in this battle, the Union experienced quite a lot of success in mobilising the arrival of its forces and mounting timely attacks. 

Losses were heavy on both sides:  122 (CSA), 152 (USA).

Further Rebel reinforcements were expected to arrive that evening, but somewhat fatigued ourselves, Roger and I opted to discontinue the battle and call it a day. 

The end result?  Although the CSA had succeeded in maintaining control of all of its VP locations, it was unable to sweep eastwards to seize the Stone Bridge and New Market.  After totalling up terrain points and awarding each other points resulting from our losses, the outcome was +2 VP to the CSA, resulting in a DRAW.  Historically, the battle was a minor Rebel victory. Leader losses did not seem to count towards VP in this scenario. Union leader losses were high: 

Reynolds (USA)  (!)
Hooker (USA)  (!)
Reno (USA)
Repl ldr - 9 Corps (USA)
Heintzelman - 3 Corps (USA) wounded
Sykes (USA) wounded

For the CSA:

Talliaferro (CSA)
A.P. Hill (CSA)  (!)
Wilcox (CSA) killed

Major ramifications for Gettysburg here.......

It was a great experience to set out to tackle an entire battle using the CWBS system. I continue to really enjoy the command system and the uncertainties it presents. The combat system is also superb, giving one the sense of being locked in a struggle, one in which you have a small window of opportunity for 'glory' until your own forces are themselves ground down.

On the downside, the degree of book-keeping demanded by the system began to fatigue both of us, so we look forward to trying The Gamers' streamlined version of this system some time in the future. Thanks again to Roger for participating in this major venture - salute!

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