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Straight Arrow
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Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2014 5:44 pm
Location: Washington State

Shenandoah Valley - Important or Not?

Mon Nov 09, 2015 11:57 pm

I've been thinking - a dangerous pass time I know.

And after a forum discussion of Southern army placements, I started to reexamine and question the value of the Shenandoah Valley.

I understand its worth when an invasion of the North is feasible, but after this is no longer in the realm of possibility, is there any real reason to hold the valley?

In the past, I've had small luck in recreating Jackson's valley campaign. And marching to the sound of the guns across the Virginia Piedmont ridges has not worked out very well for me. In addition, the main army protecting Richmond has needed every man, horse and gun the CSA could scrape up, leaving little left over for secondary forces in the Shenandoah Valley.

Yes, historically, the valley was referred to as the bread basket of the Confederacy, and I am a sucker for playing historically. I now realize that I have never played a game without throwing substantial resources into the Shenandoah.

Have I been wrong in doing so? Is the valley worth holding?
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth.

Posts: 56
Joined: Sat Nov 27, 2010 9:55 pm

Tue Nov 10, 2015 12:40 am

The AI really after a while seems to not care about Virginia period and focuses on Richmond. Having said that, it almost seems they attempt a strategy to hold you at all places as long as they can, in Tennesse and Kentucky and so on.

I've seen them commit a lot of forces in Missouri, retreating and not fighting even though it seems they would have a chance to stem the tide.

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AGEod Grognard
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Location: Austin, TX, USA

Tue Nov 10, 2015 6:21 am

In almost every win I have had (all against the AI) I took Alexandria and then used it to block Union incursions into Virginia until I could stage an attack from it to take DC.

In order to do so I am very active in the Valley early. Athena has a high desire to keep Harpers Ferry and a medium desire to take Winchester, so activity in the Valley draws a response from her. If my forces are large and coordinated enough she has to draw forces from Alexandria to deal with it. I may lose some of these battles, but if so it means Alexandria is weakened enough that Beuaregard can attack, chase away the Yankees in the Alexandria region and lay siege. (This is often a costly battle for both sides). Any Union troops in the Valley are out of position to attempt to lift the siege immediately, and she will be hesitant or unable to use forces in DC. With a turn or two of rest, entrenchment, Military Control and B/R orders, Beauregard's army cannot be dislodged (and the inevitable attempts to do so end very badly for the Union generating a lot of NM and promotions for me). I then either wait until Alexandria surrenders or Assault it after I get a few breaches if I think I think that will earn more NM and promotions. In a few turns the Valley Army should be able to get back any lost territory and possibly even take HF as Athena withdraws troops to defend the now-threatened capital.

So as an answer, I fight hard in the Valley, but not necessarily because I intend to secure it as a main axis of attack, or even because I fear it being used as one against me.

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Tue Nov 10, 2015 6:21 am

In my current campaign the A.I has been aggressively trying to capture the Valley since early 1861 and Jackson's Corps has been busy keeping them out. Defending the Valley eventually opened up up an opportunity for me to break the stalemate at Manassas and capture Arlington. I sent Jackson to Harper's Ferry behind the Federals to try and trap them there but they responded with a very large force and I had to pull back. After a large battle in Arlington they have sent more troops into the Valley. The low combat frontage has allowed Jackson's Corps to pin down substantially larger forces giving me the time I need to rail in reinforcements formed in other states. I have made it a priority to keep my rail pool strong so I can bring in brigades from as far away as Texas and Louisiana to the front in Virginia.


Rod Smart
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Tue Nov 10, 2015 4:11 pm

Even if you do surrender the valley, you still need a force in the south end of the valley, in order to keep the Union from spilling out to the west and south of Richmond.

As long as you're committing a division+ to the valley, you might as well position them as far north as you can.

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