Here's the regular view. I am being told that the Union army in Oxford numbers 56,013 and the one in Hatchie numbers 38,861, while the one left in Lower Tennessee River is at 116,437. My guess is that these estimates aren't far from the truth. I also know from experience that many of these are poor units in terms of quality and arms, so their size doesn't worry me too much. I'll have to fight them at some point, but it will need to be in CSA territory (where I'll be the one with the territorial advantage). This means attacking them only when they're in a province with a city or fort, i.e. a province that doesn't go blue as soon as the Union enters it.
As I mentioned above, I'm not sure what the Union's goal is. These two armies might be intended to lure me away from Cumberland River and keep me occupied, so that the larger army can attack. But I'm not going to send my two corps after these armies just yet. I'm quite certain that the two corps are better than the two armies -- better generals, better staff officers attached to the containers, and better troops. A turn from now that won't be different, but what will be different is that Fort Donelson will be close to 100% strength again. right now it's at 79%, which means that it could survive a siege for at least two turns. By next turn it will be strong enough that I can leave move my two corps out of the province, knowing that it will take at least four turns for the fort to fall (and probably more), and then would take 2-4 turns for Nashville itself to fall -- with that Union army being worn away all the while. So, if this is a trick to lure me away, I'm not going to do that.
As for the other two armies, it's impossible to tell their destinations yet. If I had to guess -- and I do have to guess, now that I think of it -- I'd say that the lead army is heading for Jackson (or perhaps Natchez, a Mississippi River province) and might even try to take New Orleans, which the enemy knows is a vital city for me in terms of resource production. Some of my moves this turn will involve bolstering the defenses of New Orleans, just in case. If that's what's happening, the second army might be intended to protect the lines of supply for the lead army. I can interrupt supplies by moving brigades into provinces located between that army and the rest of the Union and the enemy knows this, so perhaps that army in Hatchie is intended to swat away such attempts.
The plan I'm forming is to leave Cumberland River once I am able and then use one or both corps to attack these armies. But since the Union might be intending to skip Cumberland River and attack central Tennessee while I'm down south I cannot by drawn too far away. What I'm hoping will happen is that the two armies that are moving will not move in tandem, so that I can attack one without the other reinforcing it. So essentially, I'm waiting for a chance to attack either army with both corps at a time when the two armies are not in adjacent provinces and, ideally, when the target is in a province that has a city or fort and therefore remains CSA territory. I also plan to cut one or both armies supply-lines as soon as I can. That will affect not only supply levels, which are used up each time these armies move, but will cut off reinforcements as well, and soon enough march attrition will catch up with them and hurt their numbers. (So if they're thinking of marching throughout the west, they'll find very few men will make the entire journey.)
On the other hand, I might just take my chances and whale into that giant army, but I think I'll wait until I can build an army container, which will enable the two corps to fight even more effectively.
< Message edited by Gil R. -- 11/17/2006 5:11:59 AM >