RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (Full Version)

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Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/12/2006 1:23:50 AM)

Ninth Turn

Things look like they could be getting really ugly, really fast.

But first, here's the Events Report. Note that my Barracks is complete, so I immediately produce a corps container (which takes two turns) to replace the one I stupidly destroyed earlier. Once it's done I'll send it westward so that those divisions can fight in a more concerted manner under Sibley. Also, I got another Mine in Augusta (providing +4 Iron) and my first Engineering School is done, which should boost my research.

It looks like my idea of attacking that division in Bowling Green was a dumb idea, and cost me some much-needed men. In retrospect, I shouldn't have tried, since the Union had the home-field bonus, and without a cavalry unit in my western forces (a serious oversight: I should have shipped one from Virginia long ago) I had no chance of making the scouting check.


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/12/2006 1:25:55 AM)

And the bottom half shows nothing interesting, other than that I got 60 Money from my runners. Unfortunately, the chances of getting that shipment was just 50%, so to boost my chances of getting it I sent both runner fleets after it, missing out on a chance at something else.


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/12/2006 1:37:44 AM)

Here's what I'm seeing in the TN-MS-KY theater, and it looks very bad. I'm hoping that this is just fog of war, which gives an inaccurate picture of the size of enemy armies. When I mouse over those two armies I'm told that one is 222,836 men and the other 1,036,134 -- numbers that I know from experience are way too high. But if these armies are both 70,000 or more I'm in big trouble.

I do know that the Union starts with inferior forces, and if those armies are anything approaching that size then jchastain has been doing a lot of mustering and conscripting, which means these are essentially cannon-fodder. (This also means that he has been depriving has cities of Men/population, and therefore has been receiving much less income. In April, as I had mentioned, populations of Men in the cities have a chance at being replenished, but this depends partly on National Will. I have to hope that jchastain isn't thinking something that would help him: if he attacks me and scories victories in March, his National Will will go up and he'll fare much better at getting his Men back. If he waits until April to fight my armies and beat them, he'll be hamstrung for a whole year.)

Back to strategies. As mentioned, I need to stay away from my forts and let him lose thousands and thousands of men attacking them. So my strategy, and I have no choice whatsoever here, is to avoid further battle out west for the next few turns, during which I can improve my forces with new weapons and attributes. Also, with each turn I get 3500 (and starting next turn, 4000) reinforcements, most of which are going into these western divisions. Maybe in 5-6 turns I'll be able to take him on.

Another thing working in my favor is that he can't pursue me too far into my territory without serious supply problems, so maybe I need to move around, always trying to stay a step ahead (if he pursues). The downside is that I'll lose men through march attrition, but I'd lose many more in a battle...

Anyway, here's the screenshot.


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/12/2006 1:46:39 AM)

I need to start improving my forces both east and west, but I only start with 114 Money, 147 Labor, 74 Iron, 82 Horses and 52 Guns. (Next turn, I might get 60 and 50 Weapons/Guns from my blockade-runners, which will be VERY helpful.)

So, first things first: Fort Pillow only has Rifle Pits, so I buy it a second attribute, a Bombproof (which negates the effects of critical hits, such as those from siege artillery and gunboats). This costs 20 Money and 10 Iron, but if it helps the fort stand a few more turns, my garrison there will kill a lot more Yankees. I also send one of the two garrison units in Little Rock to Fort Pillow, hoping it gets there without being intercepted. (If it is, I've lost a mediocre unit; if it's not, the fort's garrison has just gone up 33%.) At this point, my two forts there, Fort Pillow and Island No. 10, both have 10-inch Rodmans, Rifle Pits (+50% damage from defending units), a Bombproof or Breastworks, and garrisons of 10,000 and 12,000, respectively. Plus, Memphis itself has a few thousand men, so even if both forts fall it will take several more rounds to take the city. (Remember how long Wheeling took to fall?)

I also purchase a Bombproof for Fort Donelson. This fort still doesn't have a good artillerypiece, but I can't afford one. Next turn, though, if those runners come away with 110 Weapons, I'll be able to afford it -- I just have to hope the fort isn't attacked this next turn. But if it is attacked, it has a very large garrison, and I make it bigger by 3,000 more men by moving the garrison from the fort in adjacent Murfreesboro into Fort Donelson. Plus, to keep Nashville from falling -- or falling quickly -- I take a mediocre infantry brigade that I had stashed in Knoxville earlier and send it to Nashville to join the garrison there. (Well, I would have put it in the fort itself, but the fort is now at capacity.)

As for my mobile forces there, I send the 16th division back to Cumberland River from Bowling Green (which, at least, has become CSA territory for the time being, depriving the Union of a modest amount of income. I also send my Partisans to the Lower Tennessee River to prey on the Union army there. (At the end of the turn I tell them to steal weapons -- I need all the Guns resources I can get, and the 23 Guns I would get if they succeed can equip another brigade of mine with Minie rifles.

I don't have much in the way of resources, but one thing I can afford is the Brigade Cavalry attribute for one of my infantry brigades in the Cumberland River province, as you can see below.


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/12/2006 1:56:13 AM)

On to the Virginia theater. As you can see from the screenshot below, I'm being told that army there is 159,000 men, and my guess is that that's pretty close -- especially since the army in western Virginia seems to have joined it. I never got to fortify Fredericksburg properly, so those two forts won't last long. The enemy could try to ignore them -- that's what modern armies would do -- but if it attacks any of the adjacent provinces it will encounter supply problems. Still, if I had an army that big I'd tear into Lynchburg or Petersburg, knowing that I could crush the divisions there before the Army of Northern Virginia could all get there. So, I move out of Lynchburg and into Petersburg, guessing that if the enemy is going to try this it will go into the province that is not adjacent to James River and therefore too far away for the ANV to reinforce.

Doing this leads to some march attrition, but these divisions would have had to move anyway when I attacked Fredericksburg.

Note that I'm keeping one division in Abingdon, so that if needed it can head west, or else join in the fun in eastern Virginia.


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/12/2006 1:59:38 AM)

I don't have much left in the way of resources, but I can spare some Guns to buy Richmond Muskets for one of my better brigades, located just east of Memphis in Hatchie. If you look below, you'll see that the best kind of gun I can buy, the Lorenz, costs money.

Also, and I should have taken a screenshot, earlier in the game when I was doing better diplomatically there were other types of European guns I could buy, but now I no longer can. If ever I get more money I'll be able to boost my diplomacy so that I can purchase guns that will require even more money. Yikes. Better turn my troops into ninjas or something...


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/12/2006 2:09:23 AM)

And then to finish the turn...

First, I didn't spend any Labor, so I build a hospital in Knoxville and another in Lynchburg (40 Labor each), since hospitals improve the disposition of brigades each turn, and my guess is that very soon I'll have some disspirited brigades. (Hospitals have effects on forces in other provinces by means of the railroads, so these will benefit the western and eastern theaters.)

One piece of promising news is that my first two Railroad Stations will come online next turn, giving me 10 RR movement points extra each turn. This will help me move troops without suffering as much march attrition, not to mention letting me move them quickly.

At this point, I desperately need more brigades, but I can't afford to purchase them -- and they'd all take many turns to develop, anyway. So, I'm forced to muster. (I'm not going to try conscription yet, since there's a risk of unrest and unrest is NASTY, preventing provinces from producing resources and possibly destroying buildings. My resources are so low to begin with that I can't risk losing production. For the same reason, I haven't attempted to impress resources, much as I need them. In a few turns, I might be forced to.) I decide to muster in cities near the fighting, since I can get the units there quickly. The cities I choose are Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis, Little Rock, Nashville, Jackson, Norfolk, Richmond, Petersburg and Raleigh.

And to end the turn, I get to promote a new 2-star general, and choose Braxton Bragg not so much because of his ratings -- which are fine -- but because he has the special abilities Fast (adds +3 to unit's movement rate in battle) and Sustained Volley (takes 25% fewer casualties from return-fire when firing on enemy infantry), meaning that he can teach them to brigades serving in his division. This could help turn the tide in a battle.


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/12/2006 9:44:52 AM)

Tenth Turn

A surprisingly uneventful turn. For reasons unknown to me -- and maybe as simple as a failed initiative check, rather than some plan to crush me so unexpected and original that I can't fathom it in the least -- the Union didn't bother to attack the TN-MS River province and didn't attack my divisions, either. Moreover, the Union army left Fredericksburg without firing a shot. Perhaps jchastain was seeing similarly inflated estimates of my strength due to fog of war?

On to the Events Report. As is shown here, most of my musters worked -- enough to field a new division, albeit a lousy one. But that won't happen, since these brigades will be added to existing divisions, where the more skilled soldiers will protect them until they've become a bit more seasoned.


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/12/2006 9:48:16 AM)

Some more of my buildings, including those vital railroads and another camp were completed. I now have 10 more railroad movement points than I did before, and am reinforcing at a rate of 4000/turn. Since the Union has fewer horses, I have to think my reinforcement rate is higher. Plus, I have fewer brigades to reinforce, so they will get closer to capacity, I expect.

Also, my runners got all those Guns resources, which is excellent news.


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/12/2006 9:53:20 AM)

Regarding reinforcements, I should have showed this earlier. This is the Production Report, which, in addition to showing how much supply units use up, shows where the reinforcements go. (The Events Report, as you've seen, just gives the totals for how many reinforcements and how many brigades received them.) Remember that as a way of saving money and forcing reinforcements to bulk up my four western divisions I decided to set my Virginia divisions to receive no support. As you can see here, my two Cumberland River got a lot of reinforcements last turn. Some of these western brigades are now nearing 4000 men, which gives me a much better chance of holding the western theater. I think I'll continue doing this for another round or two before I let the reinforcements fill the eastern brigades, too.


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/12/2006 10:02:44 AM)

Here's what I'm seeing out west. The fog of war is still messing with me, since now I'm told that there are only 57,725 men in Lower Tennessee River and 117,230 in Central Tennessee River -- way down from the 1.25 million men reported to be in those two armies last turn. These new figures strike me as more realistic...

Looking at the photo, note that my musters in Memphis and Chattanooga both worked and the results can be seen. (That rigade in Sparta already existed.)

I still don't think that four divisions, only one of which has high-quality weapons (Lorenzs), that are not operating together in a corps container will have do all that well in a fight with either Union force, so my plan is still to let the Union lose a lot more than a few men attacking my forts. Since I wish to avoid battle until I'm ready, I set all four divisions to "Avoid Battle," meaning that if the enemy tries to attack there is a 50% chance that no battle will occur.

Since I desperately need at least one cavalry brigade out west, I detach one from the ANV and send it off. It should get to the Nashville area next turn.

Finally, I had planned to purchase a desperately needed gun for Fort Donelson, but decided to spend some of the resources on producing an infantry unit instead, since next turn will be the April population replenishment and it's best to try to create a high-quality brigade now. And I think that the Union will not reach Fort Donelson next turn, so I can get that heavy artillery in there then.


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/12/2006 10:08:26 AM)

And on to Virginia, where my mustered brigades can be seen standing around. Soon thereafter, they joined the Army of Northern Virginia.

Note too that the Union army that headed back home is now estimated at 73,043, which is less than half of the 159,000 figure from last turn. My guess is that the true figure is in between.

Now that the Union is gone from Fredericksburg I can upgrade those forts with artillery and attributes but can't afford to. I assume I have a turn or two, since the Union army's not about to march back a turn after leaving.

Hmm. I wonder how many men left the Union army because of march attrition...

Before ending the turn, I build a Plantation in Augusta. Augusta has been built to capacity, so if I want to build any more Mines to get more of that +4 Iron production I need to expand its infrastructure base with a Mansion (100 Money) or Plantation (50 Labor, 50 Horses), both of which let one build four more buildings. Twelve turns from now the Plantation will be done, and I'll rapidly build four more Mines there.


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/12/2006 11:58:42 AM)

11th Turn

Finally, the Union begins it's siege. It's quite remarkable that there are 142,000 men besieging Fort Henry. It will fall, and quite fast. But since, for some reason, the Union isn't dividing its forces to undertake a second siege elsewhere I can use the time to get more troops into the other forts. Fort Henry and its province is by no means critical to me, but the other two fortified provinces out west are crucial.

If this relatively small garrison in a fort without heavy artillery can cause 2500 casualties in the first turn, it will cost the Union 6,000+ to take this fort, which means that the others in the area will cost about 15,000 each, I'd think. I see no reason to send my divisions to fight this behemoth army when my forts will do the job, so I'm going to stay the course here.


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/12/2006 12:03:46 PM)

And now the bottom part. First, I got back 17 population levels for my cities, which strikes me as all that I had used. This is excellent news, since my cities will again be producing resources at full capacity. I'm going to see if I can last the until winter without having to produce more than a few units (and those will be only artillery and cavalry, which take just 1 Men each instead of the 2 Men infantry requires).

Note in the Political Report that three generals taught brigades under them a special ability. Generals get a chance to do this periodically. It looks like my gambling on promoting Braxton Bragg worked out, since so far one brigade under him will be better in combat.


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/12/2006 12:05:04 PM)

And look here! Gen. Longstreet just appeared in Richmond. For now, he'll be a brigadier general, but I'll promote him at the earliest opportunity.


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/12/2006 12:06:45 PM)

I haven't shown the Nation Screen in a while. Note that diplomatic investments are paying off somewhat.


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/12/2006 12:13:30 PM)

Now on to the moves. First, I use my resources to purchase a 10-inch Columbiad for Fort Donelson, which now has its garrison at full capacity and the best gun artillery that can be purchased without a tech upgrade.

The river provinces in the western theater are quiet and so is Virginia, but the Union has taken that seemingly harmless army in northern Kentucky and sent it in the direction of Tennessee. From its position it is impossible to know whether it will try to crush my division in Abingdon (where you can see the cavalry unit that I was planning on sending all the way out to the western forces), or try to besiege Knoxville. Either one would cut my railroad connection, forcing me to go through North Carolina and Georgia if heading west by rail. Assuming that the estimate of 77,000 men in that army is correct, my Abingdon division can't stand up to it anyway, so I'm going to plan as if Knoxville is the target.

Before moving more forces into the area, I remove a mediocre infantry brigade from the Abingdon division since I want to make room for that cavalry unit. So, I end up sending the brigade to Knoxville by rail so that it can get there before the Union army and join the garrison.


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/12/2006 12:28:21 PM)

The key thing is to delay battle with this army until I can get enough forces in the area. Since I'm trying to avoid fighting the Union army in western Tennessee I can certainly spare those two divisions that I've been reinforcing for several turns now, so I send them to Sparta, which is adjacent to Knoxville. These two divisions have about 34,000 men.

Then, since that corps container I was producing in Richmond was just finished, I send it to Abingdon, picking up three divisions from Petersburg on the way. (They can all be seen in Abingdon, along with the movement arrow.) I now add the original Abingdon division to the corps and boot out the 2nd Division (which has bad ratings, so I transfer as many of its brigades as possible). This leaves me with a corps that is at 40,000 and a division of 4,000 in Abingdon.

A force this size might even stand up to that Union army, being on its home turf, but since I want to try to fight on my own terms I set the Abingdon forces on "Avoid Battle," so that if the USA does try to attack there instead of Knoxville there will be a 50% chance of not fighting.

I now have roughly 80,000 troops in the provinces east and west of Knoxville. If the Union does go there, I'll be able to attack -- assuming that the Union doesn't see the rather obvious trap and pull back, or attack in one direction. But I like my chances that the Union won't realize just how large these forces are.


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/12/2006 12:30:07 PM)

My movements are now done, so I will spend most of my remaining resources to upgrade some of my brigades. I buy Minie rifles for several of them, using most of my remaining Guns stockpile, and also purchase the Brigade Artillery for one of my better brigades.


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/12/2006 12:34:17 PM)

And then I use some Horses -- actually, a lot of Horses -- on the Scouts attribute for another one of these brigades on the verge of attacking the Union.

And then, since I have four governors requesting buildings, I decide to build the one I can afford: a Factory in Galveston, Texas, which will give me +2 Labor per turn once it's done (20 Labor, 20 Iron).

It occurs to me that if the Union sends a corps that is currently besieging Fort Henry in the direction of Knoxville I'll be in very bad shape. But at least I know that it can't reach me in time, and that to march so many provinces would cost it at least 25% of its strength through march attrition.

The next turn should be interesting. Right now, you all must be feeling like you're watching a McClellan vs. Johnston match-up...


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/13/2006 5:43:24 AM)

Twelfth Turn

Maybe this will be the turn when we have our first big battle. It's only April 1862, but seems like we've been playing forever.

First, here's the Events Report. It looks like Ft. Henry will fall this turn. At least it will have taken thousands of Yankees with it.

I forgot to mention above that I finally tries some impressments. Impressment has a lot of upside, since every turn each city has resources available so that hundreds of Money, Labor, Iron and Horses are available, but the downside is bad -- if unrest occurs, a province stops producing income for several turns, and there is even a risk of a building being destroyed. And the loss of some buildings can be very bad, and some are even irreplaceable. So my rule of thumb is that unless absolutely desperate I only muster in provinces that don't produce much each turn (so that if there's unrest I won't lose much production) and where there are no critical buildings such as Iron Works or Camps (in case unrest becomes really bad). And I also only impress when there is a high chance of success (70% or more) and a low chance of unrest (20% or less). This time I succeeded, and got some good stuff -- but at the expense of governors' attitude. In two cases, the governor still likes me plenty, and in the other case he already hated me anyway...

This turn, I tried


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/13/2006 5:48:23 AM)

And here's the rest of the report. I got another Mine in Augusta -- the last I'll be able to build there until that Plantation is done five months from now -- and another Engineering School.

Also, note that diplomatic investments are paying off now not only in increased blockade-runners' goods, but in a gift from the Europeans of some Guns resources. And my runners seem to have scored big, just when I need them most.

I REALLY need to build another runners fleet, but it costs 150 Money, and each turn these days I need to spend money to upgrade my forces so that they're combat-ready. But if I get two turns in a row in which there is no major thread I'm going to produce runners, since I'm letting a lot of runners' goods go untouched each turn.


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/13/2006 5:51:22 AM)

Before getting to what I do this turn, here's the Augusta development screen. You can see how massive the amount of Iron I'm now producing there is. I think I started producing just 5 Iron or so.

Also, on the left you can see how my research levels have gone up. At the beginning of the game I was getting +15 training, but those other categories were around +3 or so. I'm still a few turns away from my next upgrade, but I still have some research institutions under construction, and by 1863 I'll be getting a new upgrade at a rate of one every 2-3 turns.


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/13/2006 5:54:23 AM)

Next, here's the Governors Screen. I haven't built any of the requested Barracks yet, but maybe will be able to do so next turn. It's bad to ignore governors' requests because they usually get angry and their Attitude drops. Of course, if I'm lucky one or two of them will drop their demand, since each turn there is a small chance of that happening. No such luck so far.


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/13/2006 5:58:14 AM)

Thanks to those impressments last turn and the fact that this turn I will be upgrading my forces rather than building up my infrastructure, I have more than enough Labor to spare this turn. So, I figure that I might as well honor the request of Gov. Letcher of Virginia. He's already an ally, but those musters in Virginia a few turns ago reduced his Attitude, so giving him that Shipyard he wants (see previous screenshot) will be a good thing. As you can see below, there are already two Shipyards in Norfolk, but each additional one improves the quality of ships I build there, so there's no harm in building another. Of course, it will be months before I can afford to build any ships other than those runners I need...


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/13/2006 6:02:36 AM)

On to this turn's activities. My attempt to move that corps container and three divisions from Lynchburg into Abingdon last turn didn't work -- I guess I failed the initiative check. Luckily, I was right that Knoxville was the target, so my Abingdon brigade didn't get trounced. I'm still getting a read that the enemy army is about 40,000 men, so if I can get my forces there I have a very good chance of a major victory.

This is how the area looks when the turn begins.


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/13/2006 6:11:05 AM)

First, I take a worthless division of two inferior brigades that is in Lynchburg and send it into Appalachia. My reason for this is that upon entering it will make that province CSA territory, since there is no fort or city that first must be captured. If this happens, then the Union army in Knoxville will not be two provinces away from USA territory, which will cause supply issues. And, if battle occurs in Knoxville, that division will get into the fight as reinforcements, giving me about 4000 more men. (I consider this a nicely crafty move on my part.)

Next, I need to get that corps from Lynchburg into Abingdon so I can have the Abingdon division join the corps and be in position to attack the Union in Knoxville. I have 19 RR movement points but the corps has 12 brigades in it, and since there is no direct train link between Lynchburg and Abingdon, I am five points shy of being able to go Lynchburg to Shenandoah to Abingdon. So, I march the corps into Abingdon, pick up the division there, and then use my 19 RR points to send those 18 brigades into Knoxville. I also set them on "Seek Battle." (Note that the two different kinds of movement arrows are visible.)

I hope this works, because when one mixes marches with train movements there is a chance that it won't all be completed during the movement phase.


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/13/2006 6:13:31 AM)

Before sending the two independent divisions in Sparta into the fight, I buy the Sharpshooter attribute for one of my best brigades, the 59th Infantry, which has a relatively high quality of 4.10 and starts the game armed with one of the best kinds of weapons, Lorenzs. I was saving my money for those runners, but I need to win this battle, and there are few purchases I can make that would be as useful.


AU Tiger_MatrixForum -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/13/2006 6:14:50 AM)


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/13/2006 6:16:18 AM)

And now I move in those two divisions. Since there is doubt about whether my corps coming from the east will make it into Knoxville I use the "Support" function. This is a way of giving a division/corps/army an order to enter a province ONLY if another force does so first. So, when the turn ends there will either be about 80,000 men in Knoxville province, or else just the city's garrison of about 3000 men.


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