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! (11/15/2006 2:37:14 AM)

And here's the rest. I got lucky and disease hit an unimportant garrison, which is welcome news. One blockade-runner fleet wasn't so lucky, so this turn I return it to the New Orleans shipyard for a turn's worth of repairs -- enough to get it into good enough shape that a second hit wouldn't destroy it. (It's been my bad luck that there hasn't been any Money out there in the waters, so I can pass up a turn's worth of Iron to get my runners in ship-shape. If there were Money available I might have risked it, though. I'm desperate.)

The good news from Chattanooga is that my Signal Tower there is completed (giving me a significant boost to my scouting check if ever I fight a battle there), and the city's second Hospital is complete. I will soon move my 1st Corps there, both to give it added protection against disease and to get it closer to Nashville and Fort Donelson.

And that second Hospital in James River will further reduce the effects of disease should the Army of Northern Virginia get hit again.

Also, note something we haven't seen yet -- two divisions in the Army of Northern Virginia saw the quality of their staff officers significantly improve, giving them extra value in combat. If ever there is combat in Virginia...


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/15/2006 2:42:03 AM)

Keeping you in suspense regarding events out west, here's how Virginia looks when the turn begins.

A turn or two ago, both the Union and I each sent a division into Shenandoah in order to ensure control of it, and I had the upper hand. But now I see up in Annapolis what looks like 2-3 divisions about to stir up trouble. A force of that size is too small to be sent into Fredericksburg to attack its forts, so my guess is that the Union intends to fight for Shenandoah, this time by outnumbering my lone division.

I need to ensure that they don't win, since I'll be needing that railroad. Plus, if the Union controls Shenandoah it can attack any of the provinces neighboring it and be in supply. But I think I can hold it...


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/15/2006 2:50:14 AM)

What I decide to do is remove one of the two corps remaining in the Army of Northern Virginia, the Aquia District, and send it by foot (costing me some march attrition, no doubt) to Shenandoah. I will almost certainly outnumber that Union force if it tries to enter Shenandoah this turn.

I would love to have sent the corps by rail, but I have only 26 RR movement points and need to use them out west, where my top priority is letting those brigades outrun that army in Alabama. I really, really wish I had the logistics upgrade "Centralized Railways," which doubles the carrying capacity of one's railroads. Then I could move my corps more quickly, and without negative effects on my troop strength. (I've been watching the levels of my research "light bulbs" and know that I'll be getting a logistics upgrade this turn or next. There are many great upgrades, including one that increase the output of Camps by 33%, but for the sort of mobile warfare I need to engage in "Centralized Railways" is probably the single best upgrade I could get.)


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/15/2006 2:54:20 AM)

So if that Union force is planning on entering Shenandoah, here's what they would be facing: a corps of 46K, plus the original brigade of 15K. Now, there's a chance that the Union will enter first, but if I'm lucky, by the time the Union enters my corps will be in Fredericksburg and available to reinforce. There is still a chance I'll lose Shenandoah if the Union is indeed attempting to take it this turn, but if I get there first I think I'm almost certain to hold it.

The greatest problem I face is that the few resources I've had available for upgrading my forces have been spent on forts and western units. Too many of the brigades in the Army of Northern Virginia still have "Improvised Weapons" -- the worst kind -- and I have not been purchasing many brigade attributes for them.


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/15/2006 3:02:04 AM)

One purchase I do make is to upgrade my lone artillery unit, the Jeff Davis Battery, by giving it "Baggage Train," which lets it be better supplied in battle. This is an excellent attribute to have, since when you have only one artillery unit you don't want it running out and, as Zell Miller might say, shooting spitballs at the enemy.

After my corps gets to Shenandoah, whether or not there's a battle, I plan to send the Jeff Davis Battery by rail into the Tennessee theater so that it will be available where it's needed more, in battle against those two Union forces.

Last comment about the Virginia theater: I have left the Army of Northern Virginia at a strength of just 44,000, but that's fine. First of all, the Union cannot enter the James River province to attack in a single turn, so it would have to enter Fredericksburg. If it does that, I'd have forces in Shenandoah that could come in from the west just as the ANV is attacking from the east. So I don't think I'm risking my capital. (Plus, with fog of war, I'm not sure that the Union will detect what happened, or fully appreciate it: while it will certainly see that I sent a corps to Shenandoah, it might not know that the ANV is down to just one corps.)


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/15/2006 3:06:14 AM)

On to the western theater. As this screenshot shows, my garrison in Fort Donelson is still pretty strong. If I am able to get there in the next 2-3 turns to fight a battle that garrison would come out and join the fight -- so if my corps of 40,000 or so enters the province and fights, I really have 60,000 or so. And in two more turns, thanks to my fort's guns, the Union army will be down to that size...

The first thing I do is to move the 1st Corps by foot -- no "Centralized Railways" upgrade, blast it all -- into Chattanooga from Knoxville, putting it in prime position to attack when the time is right. And remember that I just built a Signal Tower and Hospital there, which will give it advantages against both the enemy and disease.


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/15/2006 3:10:41 AM)

And here's a view of Alabama that shows all of my divisions. I've been pondering all day just where I should go in order to avoid battle now but put myself in position to win a battle a few turns from now. I have been considering moving the division in Huntsville north (which wouldn't be expected) or even to Chattanooga. I think that Selma and Talladega are both too obvious, and I seriously risk that either of those would be the Union's next target. I also have been thinking of sending the two Tuscaloosa divisions where they would be least expected -- into Meridian, Mississippi by foot, and then by rail into Jackson. The downside to this is that my corps container will be ready in Richmond next turn, and I want to put all three divisions into it and give Gen. Sibley his corps.

Overall, I don't care where the enemy goes this turn, so long as he doesn't find me there.


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/15/2006 3:14:15 AM)

A beautiful solution finally hits me. First, I send the 16th Division from Huntsville into Rome, Georgia. (Again, a movement by foot, since I don't have enough RR movement points.) So long as I leave Huntsville before the Union enters it I should be fine.

As you can see, Rome borders on Chattanooga, where I'll soon have a corps. If that corps gets there quickly, it would be available to reinforce the 16th Division in case a battle breaks out in Rome. And if there is no battle, once the 16th is in Rome it's pretty safe, because of that nearby corps.


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/15/2006 3:17:29 AM)

Then, instead of being tricky and moving the 13th and 17th Divisions from Tuscaloosa into Mississippi, I decide to be tricky and move them by rail in the direction of Rome. My guess is that if that Union army is trying to attack me it will go after the two divisions rather than the one, so I want to move these divisions quickly -- that's why I send them by rail, using most of my 26 RR movement points on them rather than other corps/divisions. If things break in my favor, these divisions will have moved two provinces before the Union can move one.


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/15/2006 3:20:06 AM)

And now that these divisions have safely escaped by rail, I send them by foot into Rome, where they can meet up with the 16th Division. These three divisions should now all be safe there, representing a pretty sizable force and being adjacent to an entire corps. And next turn, when my corps container is completed, I can send it by rail into Rome and put these divisions under a single command. I'll then have two corps out west -- and be in a position to start using them.


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/15/2006 3:22:56 AM)

And, just to be cruel, I send my partisans after the Union army. At the end of the turn I'll choose the "Destroy Supplies" option, since I'll have the chance to destroy 40 Supplies. (To give an idea of what that means, a brigade at maximum supply has 9 Supply, so this is the equivalent of completely eliminating the supplies of 3.5 brigades next turn.)

I didn't mention it earlier, but I finally was able this turn to use 100 Horses to produce a new Raiders unit over in Memphis. It should be ready in two turns, and will be seeing action right away.


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/15/2006 3:27:19 AM)

And with the turn ending, a very good thing happens: I get to choose "Centralized Railways" as my logistics upgrade. I got incredibly lucky here, since there are about twenty logistics upgrades, so this need not have been an option.

The others would have been great too: "Extended Service I" increases the maximum size of one's brigades, "Telegraph Service" halves the chance of being the victim of a surprise attack or feint, and "Signal System" reduces the chance of my units going out-of-command in battle. But the railways upgrade lets me move around virtually at will. And I have two more Railroad Stations under construction, which will further boost my capabilities. (This also means that I won't have to spend any more resources building new railroad infrastructure, so I'll be able to use all that Labor and Iron for other purchases.)


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/15/2006 5:41:16 AM)

Seventeenth Turn

Now things get even more interesting. First, I'm quite shocked and dismayed that the Union's siege in Cumberland River is far more effective than I expected -- degrading the fort's quality by 26% is very significant, and it's possible that the fort could fall within the next turn. I credit this partly to luck, and partly to those gunboats. Plus, Encirclement is the right approach to take when facing a fort with really big guns.

Since when a fort is captured its entire garrison is destroyed, I'm forced to attack this turn, a turn earlier than I expected -- I need those 22000 men to help fight, and they might not be around for too much longer.

If I wanted to gamble, I could wait another turn, since forts during sieges do get repaired. Note that at the end of last turn the fort was down to 93% and that it got built back up to 98%, but it seems too risky.

More about the attack on Union forces in Cumberland River soon.


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/15/2006 5:47:32 AM)

Some of my building efforts just came online. That Camp will make two brigades stronger by 200-300 each turn, which will come in handy. The two Mints will help me get more Money, since I'm desperate, and little hope of more income is on the horizon. And perhaps most importantly, that Plantation in Neuse River will let me build four more buildings there -- and Raleigh's where I have one of my two Universities (+1 to each research institution in city), so come winter, when I can spend a bit of money (I hope) I'll be able to build more Engineering Schools, Laboratories, etc.

On the downside, the Florida governor is asking for an Iron Works, which is a preposterous request. The state produces almost no Iron, and Iron Works are very expensive. This is one request I can't even begin to entertain -- if I had the resources to spare for building one, it would go in Selma, where I'd love to double my Iron production.

And more good news: the Louisiana governor is helping my logistical research, and as I've mentioned before, I believe that's the crucial research type for me.


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/15/2006 5:52:44 AM)

Here's how the western theater looks. Most important of all, look at my railroad points at the bottom: last turn, I had 26, but "Centralized Railways" has boosted me to 59, which should help me tremendously in this turn.

Now on to the positioning of forces. To my surprise, the Union army in Tuscumbia went nowhere. In fact, it looks as if the Union reinforced this army with about 20,000 men from the Cumberland River siege. This means that if I send Johnston's corps in Chattanooga into Cumberland River I'll be outnumbering the Union forces when one counts the fort's garrison.

And all three divisions made it into Rome, so this turn I'll be able to send that corps container that was just produced in Richmond, giving Sibley his corps.


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/15/2006 5:54:56 AM)

Here's the newly minted 4th Corps in Rome. I forgot to mention that A.P. Hill just became available, so I sent him. This corps lacks cavalry and artillery (other than brigade artillery and brigade cavalry, but it's a BIG corps, thanks to my having sent reinforcements to the western divisions instead of the ANV each turn.


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/15/2006 5:59:42 AM)

I don't have much in the way of resources, but I spend 50 Money to buy Lorenzs for one of my best infantry brigades, Richmond Muskets for another, and Minie Rifles for a third. Every little bit helps. (Oh, and I should note that because of the likelihood of a major battle out east I was unable to send the Jeff Davis Battery, as I had intended. I hope that most of the Union's artillery is now in Tuscumbia and note Cumberland River.)

Now there's nothing to do but send the corps from Chattanooga into Cumberland River by rail. I think I have a decent shot at driving the Union out of the province.

I also sent in my Partisans, but at the end of the turn wasn't prompted to do anything, which makes me think either that they didn't reach the province -- or worse, the Union army pulled back from its siege in anticipation of my attack.


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/15/2006 6:01:21 AM)

Here's what my forces in Cumberland River will look like: a corps of 47,000 that has a bit of cavalry, plus the garrisons of Fort Donelson and Nashville.


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/15/2006 6:08:26 AM)

Now on to Virginia. It looks like the Union has some pretty serious designs on Virginia, since those divisions in Annapolis have been heavily reinforced by the forces that have been stationed in Potomac River. I doubt that the figure of 184,000 is correct, though.

Regardless of the figure, it's clearly an army to be taken seriously, and I need to figure out what it's up to. If it enters Shenandoah my corps there is unlikely to be strong enough to withstand it, since the corps would be outnumbered 2-to-1, it appears. (Plus, that corps has not been upgraded as much as my western forces.) So leaving the corps there is not a good option. If the Union enters Fredericksburg to besiege the forts, I could come in at it from both sides, and I don't think the enemy is going to risk that. The third possibility -- well, other than going through Franklin into Abingdon, which would be a mistake because I could come at it from both directions, too -- is going through Fredericksburg and not stopping, so as to attack the Army of Northern Virginia now that I have sent half its strength to Shenandoah.

My thinking is that if the Union is attacking Fredericksburg or an empty James River my forts would easily hold out for a turn or two, so the only option that makes any sense is to concentrate all my Virginia forces in one place: Shenandoah, the only province that can be taken in a single turn because it has no forts or city.


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/15/2006 6:14:09 AM)

In order to give myself the best chance of beating the Union to Shenandoah (if that's where it's headed) or beating it into Fredericksburg (if that's where it's headed), I use most of my remaining railroad movement points to go from James River into Fredericksburg. Unfortunately, since I had to use most of the rest out in Tennessee, I have to make my army march the rest of the way, which will cause some march attrition. But the key thing is getting there first.

Once it gets there, I make the only upgrades possible: I purchase the "Scouts" attributes for a single brigade in each of my two corps there -- something that could well give me more of an edge in any upcoming battle.

This screenshot shows most of my forces in Shenandoah, though the box isn't big enough to show them all.


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/15/2006 6:21:17 AM)

To give an idea of what I'm up against moneywise, here's the Nation Screen. Last turn I even had to remove 10 Money from British diplomacy, and I'm still low in Money. (This is partly temporary -- I bumped up supply levels for several divisions that were possibly seeing combat this turn, and can bump them back down next turn.)

A small part of my money problems is caused by the fact that the Union army moving around out west converted several provinces to USA territory. Provinces without cities each give 2 Money per turn, so that's 6 Money/turn out in Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama. In order to convert them back, I need to send a division, corps or army of my own into those provinces. Over in the Memphis area, one fort has two extra infantry brigades that are currently serving no purpose, since the city is not under any threat. Instead of waiting two more turns until I can afford to produce a new division in one of my western Barracks -- which would cost 50 Money, plus other resources -- I take a divisional container out of my Fredericksburg fort and send it by rail towards the west. Since empty containers that encounter the enemy get destroyed I send it the long way around, south to Atlanta and then west to Alabama. It will take at least another turn to reach Memphis, but then I should be able to flip those provinces back in my favor.

And the last thing I do this turn is use some of that extra Labor and Iron to build three more Mints. I really need to build Mints whenever possible, since if ever the Union emancipates it will cause my Plantations to stop producing income, and my estimate is that around 50% of my Money income comes from Plantations. I need to prepare for that eventuality by building Mints and more Mints.


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/15/2006 6:25:48 AM)

After hitting "End Turn" I get to choose my first Weaponry upgrade. I am very tempted by "Light Recoil," which sharply reduces the chance of fatigue for infantry in fire combat, but boosting the performance of my 4-5 sharpshooter units is too appealing. Sharpshooters both have significant morale impacts on the enemy and a chance to kill generals -- both very good things. "Moisture Proof Cartridges" is nice to have, since it allows one to fire in the rain much more effectively, but I'd say that less than 20% of battles take place in the rain, so this isn't the best choice. The best of these upgrades, actually, is "Improved Springfield," but that upgrade allows me to purchase the guns, and I don't have that kind of money -- for the Union it's a great upgrade, but it's wasted on me.

No, improving my sharpshooters' performance is the way to go, and every time I have an extra 60 Money I'll purchase the sharpshooters attribute for another brigade.


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/15/2006 11:17:18 AM)

Eighteenth Turn

Finally we get a major battle... and the South wins!

My 1st Corps under Albert S. Johnston made it into Cumberland River by rail and trounced the Union army there, breaking up the siege in the process. Union casualties were more than 16,000. Perhaps more important, USA National Will is in the negative, and the CSA's is up to 1. Also, whereas at the beginning of the turn -- as shown at the top of the Event Report -- the USA had 3 Victory Points and the CSA was at -3, by the end of the turn, as is visible in the lower-right corner of the screenshot, there had been a major swing, with the CSA at 6 and the USA at -7. This is the first significant event of the war, and the CSA clearly got the upper hand.

Whether it will be possible to capitalize on this is another matter.


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/15/2006 11:20:47 AM)

It will take a turn for the effects of this battle to kick in, but it's very likely that my governors and the Europeans will be more generous -- everybody loves a winner. For now, there's nothing terribly exciting to see here, other than the arrival of George Pickett on the scene. However, Joseph Johnston died in this battle, so my ranks of generals gains and loses in the same turn.

And both blockade-runners struck out in the same turn, it would seem.


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/15/2006 11:23:51 AM)

Funny I should mention blockade-runners -- my third runners fleet has finished being put together in New Orleans. It's maiden voyage is quite short, though.


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/15/2006 11:28:51 AM)

Here's how things look in the aftermath of the battle. The Union forces that were besieging Fort Donelson have retreated to Bowling Green, while that Union army that was chasing around the CSA divisions entered Pulaski, but appears not to have participated in the battle -- had I not used rail movement, the 1st Corps might have gotten to Cumberland River after this army arrived in Pulaski, and it would have been able to reinforce the forces in Cumberland River.

Unfortunately, Fort Donelson has been seriously degraded -- as is evident by the way its walls have become just faint traces. But the flag still flies and the garrison's green squares are still there, so the fort held and can be repaired.

Note over near Memphis that my Raiders unit has been produced.


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/15/2006 11:34:40 AM)

Time to show off another one of the game's features: the Battle Report. Since it's a scrolling list one cannot look at it all at once, but this list shows all of the losses and gains that occurred because of the battle. Numerous USA units ran and left behind some supplies, but even more damaging is that many of them left their weapons on the battlefield, giving the CSA troops a chance to upgrade. Here, for example, we see that the Bloody Sixth, a Legendary Unit from North Carolina, was able to grab those Minie Rifles dropped by the USA 84th Infantry.

To my surprise, most of the Union brigades that lost weapons dropped muskets, which are a mediocre weapon. No Enfields or Springfields or anything desirable was dropped.

I guess I should let the Union build up it's armaments and trounce it again so that I can get a better class of weapons.


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/15/2006 11:36:16 AM)

Now on to this turn's moves. First, I send those Raiders after the Union forces.

It good to have Raiders again. They can be useful in many ways, not least of which is grabbing Guns from the enemy.


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/15/2006 11:38:30 AM)

And now it's time to start repairing the fort. Divisions are able to fix forts more quickly than ordinary garrisons, so here I set the division inside Fort Donelson to repair the fort by giving it an engineering order. So long as the Union doesn't reenter the province and begin a new siege in the next few turns the fort should soon be as strong as it ever was.


Gil R. -> RE: PBEM AAR - It Ain't a Lost Cause Yet! (11/15/2006 11:47:16 AM)

Now comes the dilemma of what to do next. I start the unit with my 1st Corps in Cumberland River -- right in between two Union forces that still outnumber it significantly. Even though I doubt that the Union will try to invade the province again this turn, I can't take the risk. If Sibley's Corps had been closer I might consider it, but Sibley is three provinces away, and even with rail movement there is a chance he'd get there too late. The worst-case scenario would be for the Union to defeat my 1st Corps and then, after it blunders in too late, the 4th Corps. So the prudent thing to do is to leave Cumberland River.

It is tempting to pursue the defeated Union forces northward, but I would be at a disadvantage fighting in Union territory, and don't want to risk a loss. Also, if the Union sends that army in Pulaski to Bowling Green I might be facing an enormous enemy force that has home-field advantage. So I'm going to stick to my original game plan, which is to avoid getting carried away by the urge to invade the Union, and instead focus on building up my forces and holding on to my territory. This victory in Cumberland River makes that possible.

So, I instead send the 1st Corps by rail into Murfreesboro, and then have the 4th Corps in Rome join it (as shown in the screenshot). My guess is that the Union expects me to move there, but that doesn't concern me much, since I'm confident that I can win a battle in my own territory.

And just in case one breaks out, I invest 20 Money and 40 Iron to give one of my better infantry brigades brigade artillery.

Also, taking the longer view, I build another Barracks in Mobile, where I had built one at the governor's request a few turns ago. I now have three there, which means that I can produce an army container now. (This is something I had planned to do in Richmond, but Richmond is maxed out on new buildings until I construct a Plantation or Mansion there.) I had always planned to send the corps I had borrowed from the Army of Northern Virginia back to it, but right now there seems no need, and with "Centralized Railways" I'm confident that I can send forces back east if needed. So, once this new Barracks is complete I'll purchase an army and will put the 1st and 4th Corps in it, making it an even more effective fighting force.


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