Brother Against Brother – The AAR, Part 4

frontier wars 728x90 KS

Matrix Games just released their new game of the American Civil War, Brother Against Brother. Here’s a play-by-email AAR of the First Battle of Bull Run.

by kwhitehead (of the Matrix Forums), 17 April 2015


Turn 34c – 1620

And even better opportunity presents itself on the Ball’s Ford side of the line. One of those greased pigs didn’t quite make it far enough. I have an opportunity to surround the 29th NY.


Turn 35d – 1620

I was able to close off almost every hole it could slip through assuming everyone moves. I give orders for a couple of regiments with good morale to charge. Now to see if they crack.


Turn 34e – 1620

A little side show. The Union had left a battery back at Centreville I guess to either slow me down if I went that way or to hold the VP hex there. I discovered it and sent up to five cavalry units, mostly small companies except for Stuart’s. I chased the gun around for a while without much result. Finally caught up with it last turn and put the cavalry into line charging. This resulted in the capture of the battery which is shown as “Battery G, 2nd U.S. Artillery” but with a Rebel flag. It’s now attached to Johnston and moveable. I now have a battery of Parrott guns. Probably too late to get them to the battle where I could use some long range weapons.

I didn’t really realize the game allowed you to capture guns and use them.


Turn 35a – 1640

I won the fights but they were able to not only fall back but recover enough Army Morale, 1.51, to put them out of danger of collapse. The center of their line facing south toward Cocke’s position is much too strong to take on. So the main effort will be against the Wooden Bridge which also has a VP hex. Jackson and Elzey’s brigades will drive Porter off then Jackson’s brigade will turn east to out flank their line. The Rebels on the hill near the Robinson House will advance and try to drive the Union back over Young’s Branch.


Turn 35b – 1640

Over on the Union far left which has now become the battle of Lewis Ford, my troops are trying to get through the woods and across the small stream to get in contact with them but there is a lot of space to cover. But I do have a large concentration of artillery if it can get in range and deployed.

Unfortunately, my trap for the 29th NY was good enough. Somehow he popped out of it.


Turn 36 – 1700

It is now 5 PM in the afternoon and the battle’s focus has shifted to the Wood Bridge. The Yankee’s on both flanks just run to fast for us to catch’em. So we advance to close on them bring artillery up for close support as shown in the screen shot after my moves below.


Turn 37 – 1720

I am getting a lot more fire power focused on the enemy than they can counter with now. I am slowly evening up the total losses as I have more rounds of killing them at 2:1 ratio. I continue my push to drive them back across Young’s Branch. Besides giving me a VP hex I will have the advantage of a tree line while they are stuck in the open.


Turn 38 – 1740

I am pushing the Union’s Army Morale (1.46) down again but probably not enough to trigger a victory. The weight of the fighting has now shifted to the line along Young’s Branch at the turnpike. Besides their being a Victory Hex there it is the only place the two armies are still in contact since both Union flanks have collapsed and run away.


Turn 39a – 1800

Only one hour left before night ends the battle. The serious fighting is still around the Wood Bridge area. This is going to be a problem for me since many of the regiments in that line have been fighting all day. You can already see some breaking up in the line on the left. But I do have Jackson’s brigade further to the left trying to break off from the fight with Porter and join this one.


Turn 39b – 1800

Here are the Victory status summary for the battle. The Union Army Morale, which you can’t see, is now down to 1.34. Since their minimum is 1.30 there is a good chance I will have a Morale Victory. However, if I fail that as you can see in the score summary that I have more than enough Victory Hexes under my control. The Union can improve theirs a bit if they can get units back to occupy some of the ones they left behind them without garrisons. But it will be difficult since my free ranging cavalry have blocked the roads to them. Otherwise, our casualties are about equal. It has been a hard fought battle with the tide turning only very late in the game.


Turn 40a – 1820

The fighting is heavy around the Wood Bridge and my line is beginning to give as they pile in more troops. But my close in artillery support is taking its toll. They suffered over 400 casualties in the previous turn. However, they did recover some of their Army Morale, to 1.41, avoiding that bullet.


Turn 40b – 1820

However, on the Union left my army is beginning to catch up with theirs again and I have plenty of regiments there to drive an attack home.


Turn 41a – 1840

My center breaks at the bridge with the 3rd Conn actually penetrating far enough to scatter my artillery line there. But too little too late. I noticed their Army Morale take a big dip to 1.00 which should trigger a victory for me if last game turn doesn’t.


Turn 41b – 1840


Turn 42a – 1900

And Victory it is. McDowell and his army head back to Washington as fast as they can using darkness to cover their retreat.

It was a hard fought battle with almost equal casualties but my morale advantage out weighted his slight numbers advantage. I managed to hold the critical Henry House Hill area with all its potential victory hexes.


Turn 42b – 1900

Here is a screen shot at the end showing the overall situation. While they did break my line at the Wooden Bridge I had Jackson coming in from my left to shore up the situation. But ultimately it would be the mass of troops on my right that would sweep the Union army from the field if they ever got contact. Night being the only thing that could and does stop them. The Union army using that darkness to slip away from certain destruction in the morning.


Turn 42c – 1900

The Army morale plot below does a good job of showing how the ebb and flow of the battle went. For the first third of the battle things generally weren’t going well for the Rebels as shown by their steeply declining Morale until it almost dipped below that of the Union. Then things in mid day turned around. We both held our own but with the Rebels holding their advantage gap. Then in the last third of the day the Union went into a steady decline.


Turn 42d – 1900

Casualty plot for the battle shows how equal and desperate the fighting was. The Union took an early lead here and toward Noon had given the Rebels a hard beating. Only in the afternoon did the Rebels start inflicting more casualties than they were taking and slowly regain their balance. But the battle still ended with almost equal losses.

And, so ends First Manassas!



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