From: Houston, TX
SHILOH 1862 AAR
This is an AAR for analysis of my test of my “Shiloh 1862” scenario. As I did with my previous AARs, I’ll play both sides in hot seat (“changing hats” each player turn). The game was played using TOAW IV version 22.214.171.124. This was the bloodiest battle in American History up to that time.
Before we start, let’s review the scenario a bit. Note that I’m playing a version later than the one that shipped with the initial release of the game. It contains a few improvements mandated via earlier tests.
1. Special Settings: Not only is this scenario about a Civil War topic, it borders on tactical scale. That stretches the TOAW system enough to require special rules and settings. First, editor settings prevent digging in, and allow free hex conversion. Movement doesn’t expend supply or readiness at all. Density penalties have been halved, and house rule stacking limits ensure they won’t be experienced. Movement allowances have been increased to account for the fact that, while the nominal scale is 0.25km/hex, the true scale is 0.174km/hex. Turns 14-25 are under a night cease-fire – combat is not possible.
2. Special Rules: But even with these settings, special house rules still have to be employed to address issues with artillery and stacking. At this scale, line-of-sight rules had to be devised for artillery. Furthermore, they may not be placed in any reserve deployment – so they can only apply their defense strength to the hex they occupy. Finally, they may not move adjacent to any enemy unit or enter unknown terrain. This tends to limit their use to defensive action only. And stacking is limited so that no more than two infantry regiments can stack together, among other stacking limits. Stacking limits only apply adjacent to the enemy, not while moving or safe in the rear.
3. The Forces: The composition of the forces is somewhat similar. However, the Union has a significant edge in equipment quality, and a slight edge in commander proficiency (expressed in shock levels). The Union also has an edge in total manpower – about 65%. But this edge is only realized over the course of the battle. The Confederacy will actually achieve a slight edge in manpower for a short interval in the middle of the first day. Neither side receives replacements nor can any units reconstitute.
4. The Map: The Tennessee River and Snake/Owl Creek are impassable except by river lift and a bridge. This has the potential to trap the Union and prevent reinforcement arrivals if things go badly. The battle area is heavily wooded while being only spotted with a few clearings – blunting the Union equipment edge. Streams and escarpments impede swift re-deployments.
5. The Starting Situation: While the Confederacy didn’t achieve total surprise - with the Union still in their tents - (that would have entailed a huge shock bonus), they did achieve a bit of surprise considering the Rebs knew they were in battle, while the Yanks just woke up to it. But their main edge is the poor deployment the Union is in. Only two Union divisions – without any defensive preparations – must face the entire Reb army. It’s basically like catching them on the flank. Furthermore, Union formations are in reserve until 9:00am (turn 4), and Grant doesn’t arrive till then. The two forward Union divisions are split up into brigade formations – so Confederate contact only alerts the contacted brigade, instead of the entire division. Thus the Rebs have a few turns to fully exploit the situation.
6. Victory: With an Attrition Divider setting of 20, it’s more efficient to actually destroy units for the bulk loss of equipment that unit destruction brings. To achieve that, it’s usually necessary to cut them off. That makes it useful for forces to prevent the enemy from flanking or penetrating their lines. The Union-held VP locations are the landings and the bridge over the Snake Creek. To counter those, the Confederacy has VP locations on the southern map edge. The landing and bridge locations also are valuable for the arrival of day two reinforcements. Preventing the arrival of those reinforcements is the Confederate main objective of day one.
Let’s look closer at the situation.
< Message edited by Curtis Lemay -- 2/23/2018 2:00:09 AM >