After Action Report: CWBR: Jackson’s Brigade at First Bull Run, Part 1

by Brett Schulte on December 16, 2005 · 4 comments

NOTE: Let me start this post off by explaining what an After Action Report (AAR) is to those of you who aren’t in the know. An AAR is simply a retelling of what happened in a given battle (or in wargaming terms the last scenario you played). I hope to make AARs a regular feature of the blog using the various Civil War games I own. If other gamers are reading this, I welcome AAR submissions (preferably with screenshots) and will post as many of these as possible. I find that this type of post will do far more to show a person what a game is all about rather than me babbling on about it in some sort of summary.

After Action Report
The Battle of Bull Run: Take Command 1861
1st Manassas – Jackson’s Brigade
Played:15Dec2005 3:26 P.M.
Game Start: Noon, July 21, 1861
Difficulty Level: Normal

Introduction

Many Civil War buffs know of the role Thomas J. Jackson’s Brigade played at the First Battle of Bull Run. They know of his famous stand versus the numerous Yankee hordes which were threatening to engulf the Rebel Army that day. They know of Barnard Bee’s famous quote “There stands Jackson like a stone wall. Rally behind the Virginians!” IT is for this very reason that I’ve decided to do an after-action report (AAR) for the scenario in Mad Minute Games’ The Battle of Bull Run: Take Command 1861 (CWBR for short) that concentrates on Jackson’s famous stand. I’ll see if I have what it takes to hold of the menacing Yankee forces long enough for help to arrive. I hope to include numerous screenshots which will be keyed to the text.

After Action Report, Part 1

Noon
As the game starts note my initial positions at Noon on both the jump map and the main game screen below. On the jump map, the camera position (and the position of Jackson) is denoted by an eyeball located in the right center of the screen. In the main game screen picture, we see Jackson’s view of the approaching Yankees looking generally northwest. The Widow Henry House is in the foreground, and the famous Stone House at the junction of Warrenton Turnpike and the Manassas-Sudley Road is located down the hill. There are a lot of Yankees approaching, and my brigade and some artillery will be pretty much the only resistance as Bee’s Brigade crumbles to my front. As you can see, my orders from General Beauregard are to buy time until the rest of the Confederate Army can come to my support. Mine is a brigade of Virginians, soon to become famous as the “Stonewall” Brigade. I have at my disposal five regiments, the 2nd, 4th, 5th, 27th, and 33rd Virginia regiments. This being an early war fight, the 33rd Virginia is wearing blue today. Hopefully the men in my other regiments keep that in mind! I hope to initially wait in the woods (and keep control of the objective) as the Yankees make their approach. I’ll react depending on how they come at me. As an aside, this is one of the great things about CWBR. The AI will never give you the same game twice. A method that worked to perfection one time might blow up in your face the next. We’ll see how lucky I am this time.

 After Action Report: CWBR: Jacksons Brigade at First Bull Run, Part 1
Jump Map at Noon
 After Action Report: CWBR: Jacksons Brigade at First Bull Run, Part 1
My Orders
 After Action Report: CWBR: Jacksons Brigade at First Bull Run, Part 1
Jackson’s View of Henry Hill

Part 1 – Part 2 (Not Yet Active)

Noon-12:05
Almost immediately, General Bee calls for reinforcements several times as he is breaking. The second, more desperate message only adds to the controversy of what Bee meant when he said Jackson was standing like a stone wall! I choose instead to perfect my dispositions in the woods at the top of the hill. A Yankee regiment charges quickly on my left, and I send the rifled-musket carrying 33rd Virginia to deal with the threat. At First Bull Run, Jackson’s other four regiments carried smoothbore muskets, which had a range far less than that of a rifle. For this reason, using the 33rd Virginia’s rifles effectively will be an important piece of my strategy. The 33rd’s superior position in the woods drives off the 11th Massachusetts of Franklin’s Brigade, but if you look closely there are more Yankees in the distance heading south down the Manassas-Sudley Road toward my positions. I’ve started to move the 27th Virginia to aid the 33rd and also the artillery.

cppbanner After Action Report: CWBR: Jacksons Brigade at First Bull Run, Part 1

NOTE: These screenshots are being taken with the view of the trees removed. You wouldn’t be able to see anything otherwise.

 After Action Report: CWBR: Jacksons Brigade at First Bull Run, Part 1
Bee’s Message
 After Action Report: CWBR: Jacksons Brigade at First Bull Run, Part 1
Fighting Begins!
 After Action Report: CWBR: Jacksons Brigade at First Bull Run, Part 1
Rout of the 11th Massachusetts

12:05-12:10
After disposing of the 11th Massachusetts, two more of Franklin’s regiments, and the Colonel himself, have moved on my position. Rather than let the rifle-toting 33rd Virginia try to slug it out with the 5th Massachusetts Militia and the soon to be famous 1st Minnesota, I’ve decided to move three of my remaining four regiments into line on the 33rd’s right. In views taken from behind my right flank and from behind my left flank, you can see that I have the Federals outnumbered nicely. Also be sure to take a look at the jump map I’ve provided. More Federals on on their way, including Porter’s Brigade and a battery of artillery, so I’d best make quick work of Franklin’s boys. As the time approaches 12:10, my men are putting a dent in the two Yankee regiments, but I’m afraid they might not rout quickly enough to prepare for the next assault.

 After Action Report: CWBR: Jacksons Brigade at First Bull Run, Part 1
View From Behind My Left
 After Action Report: CWBR: Jacksons Brigade at First Bull Run, Part 1
12:07 Jump Map
 After Action Report: CWBR: Jacksons Brigade at First Bull Run, Part 1
View From Behind My Right

That concludes my the first part of my After Action Report on this scenario. Tune in next time as the action gets hotter, the swarms of dastardly Yankees gets thicker…and Jackson’s reputation is placed squarely on the line!

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Drew Wagenhoffer December 16, 2005 at 12:12 pm

I really need to try out this game someday. My wargaming interests have rapidly diminished over time as so few releases line up with my interests.

Reply

Brett Schulte December 16, 2005 at 3:09 pm

Drew,

It really is a fun game. I’ve been spoiled by getting to see the new Take Command: Second Manassas game during playtesting. It’ll be even more fun than CWBR.

Brett S.

Reply

Mitch H. December 16, 2005 at 3:50 pm

The screenshots look a lot like Sid Meyers’ Gettysburg and Antietam games. Is it just a genre resemblance, or do the Mad Minute games play like those Meyers wargames? I seem to remember that the Gettysburg game was great fun the first two times through, but that its replay value was fairly low and that it went by pretty fast.

Reply

Brett Schulte December 16, 2005 at 3:59 pm

Mitch,

A lot of the veterans of SMG and SMA have noted some similarities, but for the most part they have said that CWBR blows the Sid Meier’s games away in terms of gameplay and replayability. You might take that with a grain of salt, because those types of comments are from MMG’s forums. Someone’s probably not going to post there unless they’re a fan. With that said, I own SMG, SMA, and of course CWBR, and I do believe this game is light years better than Sid’s Civil War efforts.

CWBR offers four Brigade scenarios (Evans (it’s tough…), Burnside, Jackson, and Sherman); four Division scenarios (Hunter, Tyler, Beauregard, and Longstreet); and two Army level scenarios that are really Corps level scenarios as far as the game handles them. As I mentioned in the post, the AI is pretty free form so it might react differently even if you try to use the same method twice.

Where this game system can REALLY shine is in what MMG calls “Open Play”. You select a commander (Brigade, Division, Corps, or Army) and a map and play as that commander with randomly chosen objectives to fight over. If you choose a subordinate you’ll receive couriers telling you where to go and what to do. The Open Play has been overhauled for Take Command: Second Manassas. I’m not allowed to say anything just yet, but there will be exponentially more choices to make as far as Open Play is concerned.

Brett S.

Reply

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