ceyan -> RE: Leadership ratings? (4/30/2009 8:00:03 AM)
Anyone with significant knowledge of the subject matter could offer very intelligent suggestions/modifications to many of the leader ratings. I generally agree with yours, except as to Grant.
I respectfully invite your attention to a rating system/model based not on elegance of plan or casualty ratios but rather on results.
Grant's real life performance earns him good ratings in this simulation. His attack/initiative was then and now should be the maximum of "4".
I encourage you to read his memoirs for his account of his aggressive actions in the first few months of command.
Shiloh is reflected in a "3" defensive rating. How many times did Grant stand on the defensive anyway? That speaks volumes about him.
Regarding Vicksburg, how many generals would cross the country's widest river, then cut himself loose from his LOC based on (a) his historical experience with Scott in Mexico and his (b) recent experience in 1862 after his LOC was cut by two separate CSA raiders and the faith that gave him he could live off the land except for salt, coffee and ammunition. He brushed aside all opposition, destroyed the threat of a CSA advance on his rear by destroying the communication center of Jackson, Ms., overran Pemberton at Champion Hill and Big Black River Bridge, then moved to invest Vicksburg. He did assault the town upon arrival, but I have read that was attributable to the fact his troops had been irresistible up to that point and wanted a chance at the works; I don't think many rate Napoleon's career because the Old Guard failed at Waterloo.
At Chatanooga he arrived when needed, summonsed the help he anticipating was necessary, then organized what he found there to advantage until help arrived, including providing for support for Butler in Knoxville. He showed great initiative and ending up retrieving a very grim situation. The CSA moved away very quickly after that defeat.
Whatever you may view his tactical/grand tactical prowess at the Wilderness, he had the right idea. He got what the old Avalon Hill players would call an "exchange", but kept going. It is written that after the Wilderness, when the head of the army turned south and east they cheered. It is true that he lost more men in the Overland Campaign than RELee started with, but it also true that he finished the campaign with Lee pinned to the defenses of Richmond, allowing the Union armies to win the war without interference in other theatres. When he pinned Lee to those defense, the war was won. That is a pretty solid strategic result, all attributable to Grant.
The ANV sat there and starved until they ran, at which the Union army sensed all they had to do was march faster and get ahead of the ANV. Grant's "4" for infantry management/commitment reflects his ability to get troops to do things like that. The AOP marched faster and ended the war with shoe leather. Not bad soldiering.
Your mileage may vary and I certainly respect you opinion.
Shiloh was a disaster for Grant. He was completely surprised and hadn't done even the basics of securing his position. You can forgive him for not heavily entrenching (something that didn't become standard for another couple years on either side) at every stop, but he had nothing. On top of that, Grant's response and recovery was primarly due to Sherman and Prentiss (in his defense of the Sunken Road).
As for Vicksburg, Grant did what most people wouldn't have, but in that execution (and even the overall planning) he botched the job. But before even considering his ultimate success, look at the enormous string of failures before that. Hell, it got to one point where Grant would think up an idea on how to get to Vicksburg, get someone on the job to try and achieve it, then have another plan thought up and started execution even before the original was proven a failure. After he got down to Gibson, he's often credited with executing a effective war of manuever, but he completely failed to stop Johnston from fleeing in a direction where he'd still pose a threat, and failed to hinder Pemberton in his retreat despite having a few opportunities to bottle up some troops. Of course, that isn't a sign of a bad commander in itself, but it definitely goes against the common perception of the campaign. In the end, Vicksburg is an example of how Grant is willing and able to do what it takes to succeed, but it doesn't mean he was a compotent at achieving that success.
Unfortunately Grant at Chattanooga is one of the few battles I'm not well versed in during the Civil War. Got to fix that sometime.
As for the Wilderness, do you know why the Army cheered for Grant? Because he was the first commander that didn't immediately retreat after being whipped. Not to mention, down the road Grant would admit that his attempt to bleed Lee was (in more politically correct words - for the time) a failure, primarly because Grant lost too many trying to do it. As for the end result, Lee had no other option, no matter what the course of the campaign would have taken, to eventually hit the fortifications of Richmond and dig in. That was never in doubt (except for the brief time when Grant proved himself inept again by putting his army up to destruction at the North Anna River), the only issue was how costly it would be. And, as Grant found out at Cold Harbor, he'd reached the end of his limit for reinforcements and for good will amongst the army. Were you aware that after Grant ordered the initial attack (without even reviewing the Confederate positions before-hand, nor discussing the attack with his Corps Commanders) that he ordered the troops to keep attacking after the initial repulse, but the army as a whole refused to do so? Oh yeah, there is shining example of infantry management for you.
I'm not arguing that Grant achieved success where no one else could, but I'm just arguing he achieved it by being willing to do what it took to achieve that success, just that his implementation of those measures was done poorly (and consistently) at all levels.
Something else to keep in mind, after the Wilderness (and especially after Spotsylvania) the Confederate upper-echelon of command had practically ceased to exist, and most units (even all three Corps) were under fresh/new management. So not only did Lee successfully fend off Grant, as far as tactical and operational successes go, but he did it without his best commanders, on his sick bed half the time, and harassed on multiple fronts.