Now this is where it gets really good. Just look at what's going on. Jackson's army moved into Oxford, retaking the province for the CSA, while Hood's corps, as discussed above, went from Sparta to Huntsville and beat back the Union's incursion. The Union's forces therefore are still in Tuscumbia, though they've lost 19000 men, and are surrounded by two vastly superior forces, AND they're cut off from supplies and therefore after losing that battle must be getting close to exhausting their supplies. (Losing a battle costs every brigade 5 Supply, whereas winning a battle costs just 3 Supply. If these forces lose another battle they'll all be at 0 Supply, and start to fall apart. Furthermore, units that are at 5 Supply or less suffer a -2 penalty in Quick Combat, and PBEM battles are fought as QC -- so, even brigades that were fully supplied before the battle in Huntsville will all be fighting with a penalty if I can engage these forces in battle before they get resupplied.)
That's the good news. The bad news is that Cumberland River and the capital of Tennessee, Nashville, are the Union's primary target in the western theater. If Nashville falls, I won't lose much in the way of buildings (2 Mints are the most valuable buildings there, since I deliberately avoid putting important buildings such as camps and research institutions in cities that risk invasion). However, with my capital taken I would lose an enormous amount of resources from Tennessee.
Unfortunately, I can remember several turns ago when that army that was up in Bowling Green (and is now in Cumberland River) began a siege, and in a single turn managed to do tremendous damage to the defenses of Fort Donelson. What my garrisons in the fort and Nashville itself are now facing is Sherman's army of roughly 100,000 men, plus that other army that has siege artillery (which Sherman might also have, though I haven't yet seen evidence of it), plus the Union's gunboats. And let's not forget that the Union has siege-related upgrades. My guess is that even though Fort Donelson is well-garrisoned it can now be taken in just two turns, whereupon Nashville would be taken in at most two turns.
This leaves me with some choices to make, though I think my options are pretty obvious: while I could take the forces under Jackson and Hood and head straight for Cumberland River, almost certainly reaching it before Fort Donelson falls, I can't miss out on the chance to first utterly demolish the Union forces in Tuscumbia, which are inferior, demoralized, and outnumbered almost 3-to-1. My calculation is that if I can catch these forces this turn -- i.e., I make the necessary initiative check and can get to them before they can escape -- I could still get all of my forces in the area to Cumberland River in time to attack Sherman before Nashville falls. Of course, I'm not guaranteed that Jackson will defeat Sherman, but there's a good chance of it, especially since we'll have about the same number of troops but mine are superior and led by better generals, and they'll be fighting in CSA territory. Furthermore, now that Florida is free of the enemy I can send that division down there by rail to Tennessee, so that two turns from now it's also ready to assist.
Of course, the Union forces in Tuscumbia can't be expected to sit there waiting to be attacked, so I'll need to ponder whether to try to go straight into the province, or perhaps think with the enemy and move my forces to where I think they're headed. Another decision to make is where to send my smallest divisions so that they can best cut off supplies to Cumberland River. (Speaking of supplies, next turn those Raiders in Chattanooga will be ready; for now, they're just a small pink chit.)
I'll discuss my options more once I get the actual PBEM files. I can already see some pretty clever things I can do.
< Message edited by Gil R. -- 12/14/2006 6:42:34 AM >