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Why do I feel like playing the Union is like playing "Whack-a-Mole"?

 
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All Forums >> [Current Games From Matrix.] >> [American Civil War] >> Forge of Freedom: The American Civil War 1861-1865 >> Why do I feel like playing the Union is like playing "Whack-a-Mole"? Page: [1]
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Why do I feel like playing the Union is like playing &q... - 11/10/2009 4:28:37 PM   
Slick Wilhelm


Posts: 1594
Joined: 7/22/2007
From: Rochester, MN
Status: offline
I think it's time I ask for some more help from the FoF experts.

I'm finding it difficult to pin down the Rebel armies and defeat them in detail. Even the AI on Sergeant level does a good job of cutting my supply lines if I don't leave a string of strong division-sized units protecting my rear.

Am I doing something wrong, or am I not the only one to experience this "Whack-a-Mole" feeling when playing the Union?

I wish I was at home so that I could post a screen shot of what the map looks like, but in short it's late Feb 1963 and I've got control of all of Kentucky, Tennessee(except for a pocket of the Reb controlled upper Tenn. River and Nashville). I have his ANV backed into Richmond just sitting there protecting it. I also control the NW part of VA up to, but not including Fredricksburg and Lynchburg. I do control the vital rail line of Shenandoah and Abingdon. Basically, we each have one huge army sitting in the east protecting Washington, D.C. and Richmond, while the fighting is going on out west in Tennessee and along the Mississippi.

Perhaps I'm too careful about supply and I need to be more "Shermanesque" and plow ahead deep into the south, not caring about my supply level? Currently, I try to keep a rail line open when entering the south so that my boys can get all the vittles they crave while on campaign. But those nasty Rebs always seem to cut my supply line and take the initiative from me, causing me to chase them down and re-open the supply lines.

I guess what I'm really asking is what are a couple of strategies for winning the game? I've got all the Rebel ports blockaded with fleets containing at least three ships, so I think I'm doing a good job there. Europe, France and Britain still occasionally send stuff to the Rebs, but maybe not as much as when my blockade was not properly setup(although I can't really prove that).

I did make one deep raid into Georgia and I chose to plunder Atlanta and withdraw instead of trying to capture and keep it. Don't know if that was wise, but I know I hurt the South financially by the plundering(not to mention the loss of nation will!).

Thanks for any advice. I suck as a strategist, but I'm learning and slowly getting better because of all the great advice I've received from you guys.
Post #: 1
RE: Why do I feel like playing the Union is like playin... - 11/10/2009 6:11:35 PM   
Jonah


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Joined: 12/15/2007
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Saying that you captured most of Tenn., and have the Confederates bottled in Richmond, I'd say you are doing better than the north was in history (At that point in 1863, they were on the verge of losing the war). Keeping long supply lines is the burden of the attacker, something that halted Grant's campaign in his 2nd Vicksburg attempt and Sherman was stopped by this for a while in Atlanta. Don't be discoureged if you cannot get into a decisive-war winning battle with the south. The American Civil war was one of the only wars in history where an army never suffered more than 40% in a battle (unless it was a siege such as Vicksburg, but I was referring to the field). You probably will never get a battle where you inflict more than those sort of casualties. Only once did I ever nearly destroy an enemy army (183,000 losses out of 212,000 enemy army) and I played Forge of Freedom campaigns 9 times. As for the supply issue, you can combat this in two different ways-

1. Continue what you are doing. You will probably win the war in the end by continuing your process, but it will take a while.

2. Ignore supplies and live off the land. Risky, but that is what made Napoleon's Grandee Armee survive for so many years and have freedom of maneuver. The only downside is that if you get to an area with poor foraging, your army can disintegrate. But much must be risked in war, however, so in the end the decision is yours.

Whatever you end up doing, remember this: Despite the fact that 'Battlefield' generals like Napoleon and Lee who try to win the war on the field are some of the most skilled and most awe inspiring, in the American civil war, it's not the field, it's the factories. Keep your army supplied and destroy your enemies supplies, and you will have victory. Cut their supplies with a whole army, force them to attack you at whatever the cost because they need the supplies and factories to survive. You must give incentive to your enemy to attack you. Good luck.

(in reply to Slick Wilhelm)
Post #: 2
RE: Why do I feel like playing the Union is like playin... - 11/10/2009 6:56:36 PM   
Slick Wilhelm


Posts: 1594
Joined: 7/22/2007
From: Rochester, MN
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: Jonah

Cut their supplies with a whole army, force them to attack you at whatever the cost because they need the supplies and factories to survive. You must give incentive to your enemy to attack you.


I think you've really nailed it in these two sentences, Jonah. I appreciate the advice.

Considering how points are scored in FOF, would it be more effective to raid & plunder or capture the Southern cities? Or maybe both?

I know that being the defender is very important when using instant combat, but I'm so afraid to attack the Reb armies now that it's affecting my Northern ego.

What do you think my chances would be if I tried to use my superior(I think) man and material production to enter into a war of attrition with the South? As in, keep attacking and attacking, trying to eventually whittle down his manpower. I'm much more of a WWI student, so I'm thinking along the lines of using the (albeit failed) strategy of attrition used at Verdun by von Falkenhayn.

(in reply to Jonah)
Post #: 3
RE: Why do I feel like playing the Union is like playin... - 11/10/2009 7:50:09 PM   
Jonah


Posts: 190
Joined: 12/15/2007
Status: offline
Umm, I tend to try to capture the cities, but only if I have a chance of holding it. As for attrition, it works if you have the manpower (which you do). The main reason (I could be wrong, I'm more of a ACW and Napoleonic person myself) that the Germans failed at Verdun was because they were the ones with limited manpower, not the Allies. So hypothetically, you could fight the south every turn (I had an opponent on hotseat who did that to me) and you would win the war because you have replacements and the south does not. In the hotseat campaign I just mentioned, I eventually lost even though I had less than half the casualties and won almost every battle, but in the end I couldn't win because I was worn down. That is in essence how the union won in history with Grant, attacking every week in the overland campaign. He lost almost every battle against Lee, but Grant could replace them, Lee could not. The only detraction to this however is that you lose a lot of battles, and as you said, that affects your 'northern ego' . So the other alternative is a war of maneuver and capturing the cities and destroying the factories, bypassing the armies, and living off the land like I said in the post above. It really depends on what you are comfortable with.

Hope this helps!

(in reply to Slick Wilhelm)
Post #: 4
RE: Why do I feel like playing the Union is like playin... - 11/10/2009 10:14:49 PM   
Slick Wilhelm


Posts: 1594
Joined: 7/22/2007
From: Rochester, MN
Status: offline
Methinks there's going to be some bloody battles coming up in my game! 

(in reply to Jonah)
Post #: 5
RE: Why do I feel like playing the Union is like playin... - 11/10/2009 10:45:28 PM   
Randomizer

 

Posts: 612
Joined: 6/28/2008
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Jonah provides sound advice and FoF is robust enough (in my opinion) to support any number of stratigies both at the grand strategic level and lower down at the operational level.

It pays to prioritize, currently I have a game on the go that is at a similar stage (January 1863), the Confederates have a small army (13,000) besieging Cincinnati and my nearest reinforcements are essentailly immobilized by bad weather. However, all is not grim since my field forces have slammed the door and there are no contiguous Confederate provinces so they cannot capture the city, only deny it to me, provided their isokated and out of supply force can successfully conclude the siege. In the meantime I have captured Knoxville and have begun the siege of Little Rock with four gunboats and a siege train (2 Inf Bdes with engineer attributes and 2 Siege gun bdes with 10" Rodman's). Worse case is the AI gets 1 Will for Cincinnati while I get 3 for two cities and a state capital, net gain of 2 Will and I get Cincinnati back when the weather improves.

So what?

The Whack-A-Mole feeling is understandable but do not lose sight of the big picture. Is the Confederate force in your rear just a nuisance or a real threat? Ignore the former and deal with the latter but in most cases 2 Bde garrisons and your internal rail capacity should buy enough time to allow the isolated Confederate forces to wither on the vine. Your offensive forces on the otherhand should be better placed to hurt the Confederacy since your economy can better absorb the costs of rebuilding destroyed infrastructure.

I would suggest not trying to read too many Great War similarities into the Civil War situation although many do but looking past the superficial trenches and barbed wire, the two wars are as potatos and melons to each other. One of the biggest significant differences is the lack of continuous front that allows those pesky Rebel containers into your rear areas but also allows your pesky containers into theirs. Don't try to create a continuous front with container units, if you insist on trying to make the front water tight, forts can be your friends but I submit that it's not required provided you threaten the South's sensitive areas. It matters hardly at all if you lose provinces like Hatchie or Cape Girardeau for example, if you trade can these for Southern cities so trying to establish and hold a continuous front is really unnecessary.

Concentrate on economic attrition as opposed to combat attrition. With Detailed Combat you can sometimes inflict a horrendous casualty exchange on the AI but that is rare and beyond your control with Instant Combat so concentrate on destroying the Confederacy's means of production while holding their main combat forces at bay. It seems to me that you are already using this strategy, just don't let yourself get distracted by Governor's howling for more brigades and marauding raiders and container units rampaging towards Chicago. The South cannot sustain deep offensive operations but the North can so take the War to the South and when you look to your rear, ask yourself: Does what I'm seeing have the potential to be really decisive? If YES, drop everything and use your railroad superiority to deal with the problem quickly and decisively. Generally however, the correct answer will be NO in which case if you keep moving South, the problem should solve itself with time.

Sorry to run off like a soup sandwich... It seems like you've pretty much got it right.

(in reply to Slick Wilhelm)
Post #: 6
RE: Why do I feel like playing the Union is like playin... - 11/11/2009 12:55:28 AM   
GrouchyXe

 

Posts: 50
Joined: 6/23/2009
Status: offline
I have struggled on past two weeks with the North but I just won my first battle (playing advanced rules and colonnel level).

I selected early july 1861, for unknow reason North economy produce amazing ressource each rounds, then I was able to bring artillery to each division (12pd Howithzer), and some cavalery with breechloading guns. Then I organised my troops to have at least muskets and often minie and sometimes springfield.

First battle was 40 000 under Sherman Tenessee army against gen Jackson and 20 000, I lost around 2300 and CSA lost clsoe to 9000 and were forced to move out of field.

So it took me to have much better weapons, much more artillery, and much more strength.

First I installed my troops on solid defensive pos, but AI did not really attacked my strength and was more focused with some forts. I finaly was forced top aattack with a combined movement of two wings. In fact it was much more howitzer and number that gave me advantage rather than manouever. But was fun.

Lets see what I can do now against Longstreet 45 000 with 60/65 000 Union guys. Will be hard because I have only 6pd guns and a single cavalery unit. But I am forced to figth Longstreet because behind Lee comes and better to figth only Longstreet army now rather than Lee and Longstreet later even with 12pd Howitzer.

This game is amazing

(in reply to Randomizer)
Post #: 7
RE: Why do I feel like playing the Union is like playin... - 11/11/2009 2:53:08 AM   
Slick Wilhelm


Posts: 1594
Joined: 7/22/2007
From: Rochester, MN
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: Randomizer

The South cannot sustain deep offensive operations but the North can so take the War to the South and when you look to your rear, ask yourself: Does what I'm seeing have the potential to be really decisive? If YES, drop everything and use your railroad superiority to deal with the problem quickly and decisively. Generally however, the correct answer will be NO in which case if you keep moving South, the problem should solve itself with time.



Yet more words of wisdom I've taken to heart, Randomizer. You are correct that I've been very worried about trying to keep a contiguous front wherever possible, probably at the expense of moving deep into the south. I really need to pay more attention to garrisoning my border cities with a couple of brigades, too.

One thing I have done right is I've parked a strong division on the Arkansas-Mississippi River, which I'm pretty sure cuts the southern supply to the forts in the Tenn.-Miss-River area. Keeping the railroad supply line open in Hatchie/Oxford/Yazoo provinces, however, has been a challenge.

(in reply to Randomizer)
Post #: 8
RE: Why do I feel like playing the Union is like playin... - 11/11/2009 3:13:31 AM   
Slick Wilhelm


Posts: 1594
Joined: 7/22/2007
From: Rochester, MN
Status: offline
Oh btw, I just realized that it's Early Feb, 1864 not 63. So I've got to really get my armies moving soon!

(in reply to Slick Wilhelm)
Post #: 9
RE: Why do I feel like playing the Union is like playin... - 11/11/2009 3:27:13 AM   
Randomizer

 

Posts: 612
Joined: 6/28/2008
Status: offline
Slick Wilhelm wrote:
quote:

Keeping the railroad supply line open in Hatchie/Oxford/Yazoo provinces, however, has been a challenge.

This is a made to order situation for forts.  Build two Level 1 forts rather than one level 2 since it is possible (but unlikely) for the South mass enough strength to successfully besiege a Level 2 fort in one turn.  Two Level 1 forts will take a minimum of two turns to reduce and by that time you can have a manouver force there to defeat and attrit the Southern container units.

Let fortifications act as the first line of defence in guarding your lines of communications.

Don't overlook buying attributes and artillery for your LOC forts as well, they can greatly increase their staying power under siege and inflict significant losses on the besiegers.

@ GrouchyXe
When you are in detailed combat, firepower is your friend in the attack or on defence.  The 12 pound Napoleon really stacks up the bodies but I have a soft spot for Ordnance Rifles to better reach out and touch someone.  Careful though, the AI can sometimes surprise you and overwhelm a flank if you're careless.

(in reply to Slick Wilhelm)
Post #: 10
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