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Straight Arrow
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Cooking with Stonewall Jackson

Wed Jun 29, 2016 6:33 pm

There is no doubt that in CW2, as in life, Stonewall Jackson is a very gifted tactical commander and key to winning offensive battles. But, I find that almost every time he leads in battle, win or lose, Southern casualties skyrocket and divisions under his command are wrecked.

I understand that winning an offensive battle in CW2 is the hardest part of the game to master, and I also confess I struggle with a strong preference for the defense.

The end result is I tend to shy away from Jackson and reach for other commanders like Longstreet, entrenched in good ground, in an attempt to limit my causalities and increase my chances of winning.

Does anyone else have this problem with Old Blue Eyes?

Has anyone found a way to use Jackson in making omelets without breaking too many eggs or trashing the kitchen?
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth.

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Cardinal Ape
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Thu Jun 30, 2016 6:09 am

Athena says:

"Oh please, your defeat's guaranteed.
Concede, I've got this in the bag: sous-vide!"


----

In the game, I don't find Stonewall to be all that incredible. Don't get me wrong, I do think he is far above average, but he is not that much better than the opposition. His charismatic trait is great, though, it is not an adequate substitute for an offensive rating of 6. When you get into one of the big mid-game battles there can be up to several thousand dice rolls made, so an extra few percentage points on 'to-hit' rolls can make the difference.

I think what separates Stonewall from other commanders is his faster movement, not his combat ability. Most of the time it doesn't matter, but when bad weather and broken rails cover the land he can go where others can't. With forced-march special orders he can make it even farther, and his charismatic trait will help recover from such a journey.

Not the best answer, I know. I do feel that it can be tough for him to live up to his legendary status, his performance in-game is a bit lackluster. I'll complain again about how the surpriser trait is broken. :crying: It is also quite the bummer when one learns the hard way to not promote him to 3 stars.

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Captain_Orso
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Thu Jun 30, 2016 2:21 pm

The problem is (vaguely stated), his men don't break, they never leave the front line during battle, so they can do the most damage, but also take the most punishment. (Remember, just because they don't quit, doesn't mean they shoot better, or get hit less).

This means, the smaller the force is, in which Jackson is commanding, the more likely that he will take an proportionally high number of casualties. Keep him near Lee and others. But even this is not always successful. Jackson is volatile, just handle him with care.
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Jerzul
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Thu Jun 30, 2016 3:56 pm

Cardinal Ape wrote:Athena says:

I'll complain again about how the surpriser trait is broken. :crying:


I know this is broken, but has anyone ever found out why? Or what if anything we can do to fix it? Maybe Jackson should get another trait instead?
I have heard, in such a way as to believe it, of your recently saying that both the army and the government needed a dictator. Of course it was not for this, but in spite of it, that I have given you the command. Only those generals who gain success can be dictators. What I now ask of you is military success, and I will risk the dictatorship.

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Gray Fox
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Thu Jun 30, 2016 5:10 pm

Straight Arrow, I will use what I spotted in Tripax's excellent AAR from his game with you (which should be made into a movie) for my comments.

In the AAR, you use Jackson in a lot of battles set to All Out Attack. This does give an offensive bonus (Rule of Engagement Modifier 1.35), but also gives the defender an even larger bonus (RoEM of 1.5) because your men are not taking cover, etc. This may be one big factor in the increase in losses you mentioned and would have nothing to do with any traits Jackson has. Another point I noticed was that you made several attacks at odds of 1 to 1 or less against an entrenched opponent. To once again echo Guderian, "Don't poke it with your finger, smash it with your fist." You'll still get casualties, but this isn't Sim Army. You're not painstakingly creating an army that is a work of art. Jackson exists to win battles that allow you to win the war. Paraphrasing, when Patton was asked why he lost so many men getting through the Axis lines in Sicily he responded, "How many men would we have lost if we hadn't got through?"
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Straight Arrow
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Thu Jun 30, 2016 5:36 pm

Gray Fox wrote:Straight Arrow, I will use what I spotted in Tripax's excellent AAR from his game with you (which should be made into a movie) for my comments.

In the AAR, you use Jackson in a lot of battles set to All Out Attack. This does give an offensive bonus (Rule of Engagement Modifier 1.35), but also gives the defender an even larger bonus (RoEM of 1.5) because your men are not taking cover, etc. This may be one big factor in the increase in losses you mentioned and would have nothing to do with any traits Jackson has. Another point I noticed was that you made several attacks at odds of 1 to 1 or less against an entrenched opponent. To once again echo Guderian, "Don't poke it with your finger, smash it with your fist." You'll still get casualties, but this isn't Sim Army. You're not painstakingly creating an army that is a work of art. Jackson exists to win battles that allow you to win the war. Paraphrasing, when Patton was asked why he lost so many men getting throught the Axis lines in Sicily he responded, "How many men would we have lost if we hadn't got through?"





Gray Fox, thanks for shining a light on the problem.

I try to limit All Out Attack to times when there’s a structure in the area I want to take. But, it sounds like this is a mistake and I should first use attack and clear out the opposing force before assaulting a city or fort.

The 1-1 attacks must have been due to terrible scouting on my part or reinforcing movements by tripax.

If you have the time and inclination, I would highly value any more insights you could offer about tripax's excellent AAR and our game play.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth.

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Gray Fox
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Fri Jul 01, 2016 1:11 pm

The hardest part of this game to master isn't in the rule book or understanding the algorithms or even tracking what's happening on the screen. The hardest part is what goes on between your right ear and your left. You start with what you know and then discover what you didn't know and finally do what you really didn't want to, but now have to somehow learn. I think that you and Tripax probably experienced the actual war weariness that the nation went through. You sit down with a beer and some pretzels to have a lot of fun and then after many long hours you realize that you no longer want to defeat someone that you have grown to respect. But all things must end.

I only have one side's AAR to go on. It seemed to me that Tripax was doing deliberate probes across the map in an attempt to locate any weakness and you were aggressively counter attacking to prevent any weakness from showing. It was interesting when both capitals were under siege at the same time. You should have given Jackson more than two infantry Divisions.

It appeared to me from the map shots that you used cavalry more than Tripax, yet you posted that you might have suffered from terrible scouting. Every player should make it a mini-game to find out as much about the other player's forces as possible every turn. It's called Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield (IPB) and can be a game changer. At a minimum, the CSA should know how well D.C. is being defended, what Grant is doing and where Union transports are. If the Union has transports in St. Louis, then expect a run on the Mississippi river. If some Ocean Transports are no longer in the Shipping box, then expect a coastal assault. Cavalry, rangers and partisans are your eyes and ears. Blockade runners are not going to tip the production numbers in your favor, so don't be afraid to cut a Brig loose and send it out as a scout. Know your foe.

When something goes wrong, like Jackson set to All out Casualties, then you have to figure out what is wrong if you are going to fix it. Other than that, both of you should be giving advise rather than taking it. ;)
I'm the 51st shade of gray. Eat, pray, Charge!

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Straight Arrow
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Fri Jul 01, 2016 5:12 pm

Gray Fox wrote: It was interesting when both capitals were under siege at the same time. You should have given Jackson more than two infantry Divisions.


Yeah, Jackson should have had more than 2 divisions; I was lucky he didn’t lose his shirt in that underpowered attack on DC.
The attack was launched with a misunderstanding of river crossings. For some reason, I thought control of Alexandria by the ANV would allow my main army to cross the river unopposed by Union U-boats. Beauregard had somewhere around 5-6 divisions that were supposed to march to the sound of the guns and support Jackson’s corps. But the Little Creole never crossed the Potomac and a great opportunity was lost.

If I had known this, it would have possible, the turn before the attack, to have moved Beauregard across the non-navigable Potomac into an area where the assault could have been supported from. But I stayed put in Alexandria, lured by its faster cohesion recovery rate.


Thanks for the input and advice Gray Fox; I'll try to put into action your insights on scouting.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth.

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Cardinal Ape
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Fri Jul 01, 2016 11:24 pm

Gray Fox wrote:You sit down with a beer and some pretzels to have a lot of fun and then after many long hours you realize that you no longer want to defeat someone that you have grown to respect.


Ya, I wholeheartedly agree. When you take someones capital or win a massive battle it always comes with a mixed bag of glee and despair.


While it is not a substitute for actual scouting, the force power comparison in the ledger can be a fairly useful tool. As the war progresses it will get more difficult to use, but it can provide a decent estimation. As the Union in the early war, I think have managed to get a good feel for estimating how many enemy forces are in the field. Since a majority of all forces go to the visible front lines, one should be able to discern if the opponent has a large force hidden in the fog of war. This could be useful for predicting naval invasions as the CSA because these forces tend to stay off the map for several turns. Or as the Union when you expect to see at least 20 enemy divisions but can only find 15, and then upon a closer look you can not find a star general like Lee or Jackson; it may be time to brace for an imminent attack.

I've noticed that corps with only 1 or 2 divisions that participate in large battles tend to get destroyed. A bit ago, I tested a battle where I had Grant attack with 6 divisions while being supported by an adjacent corps with 2 divisions. In almost every instance where the small corps MTSG'ed the battle result was worse than if they had not participated at all. My damage done to the enemy was fairly consistent, but when the small corps took the field the hits I received skyrocketed.

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Durk
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Sat Jul 02, 2016 3:09 am

I have really enjoyed this thread for a lot of reasons, but mostly because using leadership well is an ongoing challenge which I am still trying to master. I use Jackson on lead when I want to take a city or region with Lee and his other corps in backup. Jackson's losses are always high in this use. I use Longstreet on lead when I want to win a battle with a slightly inferior CSA army. Longstreet seems to allow for the battle to develop in a more comprehensive manner. What I mean by lead is that corps is the only one to initiate battle. The others march to the sound of guns.

A major exception to this is if I wish to take a region at least one region beyond the one I currently possess. Then I use the parallel march order.

I think the ideal balance of corps and armies is corps are just a bit more powerful than their army, but just. I continue to experiment with this. In ROP, this balance ratio is absolute, but I am tending to the idea that with the new game engine the army should be just a bit more powerful. I am having decent success with the Army the strongest force. So I balance all corps and armies to be in a near range. As there is no penalty in moving a division to a new corps every turn, I will often juggle components of corps and armies every turn. So a two division corps is ok if all corps and the army have two divisions, but if any have three or four, all should have three or four.

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