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Gray Fox
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Full Campaign: Mickey3D (CSA) vs. Gray Fox (Union)

Thu May 22, 2014 4:14 pm

Mickey3D has accepted my offer to show my "controversial" Union strategy by playing the CSA. We will then switch and I will play the CSA against his perhaps more orthodox Union strategy.

We are up to late September 1861 without any surprises for me. In anticipation of the Division unit becoming available next turn, I have garrisoned St. Louis, Cairo, Evansville, Louisville, Ashland, Parkersburg, Wheeling and Pittsburgh with enough brigades to form Divisions at those locations. My cavalry have destroyed all level 1 Depots that I don't want to garrison. I have the blockade at 35% and I am not going to increase it. I moved the capital to NYC last turn. Meanwhile, I have purchased 6 Heavy Infantry Divisions and 18 batteries of 20-lbers for Grant to use to conquer Virginia in '62. This is more than half the force he will need.

I am going to abandon Alexandria, which is under siege. HF is also under siege, but McDowell is active this turn and he will attempt to relieve it. I am preparing a fall-back position at Fredericktown should he fail.

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[ATTACH]28149[/ATTACH]
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[ATTACH]28151[/ATTACH]
Attachments
CW2 2014-05-22 09-48-57-71.jpg
CW2 2014-05-22 09-36-31-46.jpg
CW2 2014-05-22 09-36-14-00.jpg
CW2 2014-05-22 09-35-01-34.jpg
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tripax
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Thu May 22, 2014 9:30 pm

GF: Is your all east strategy only for the first half of the war, or the whole thing; What if it is 1863 and you still haven't won? Do you have plans to cut supply lines against confederate raids across the Ohio/Mississippi, or do you hope that you can hold your line and that is it? Will you play into 1864 if it goes that far? I assume that you will not build any new naval units, but I'm curious how you will use the navy you get to support your strategy. I'm so curious (and excited) to see what happens.

M3D: How are you handling knowing your opponents grand strategy? I wonder what weak points you will find and what difference there will be between this and more normal games.

Good luck you two.

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Gray Fox
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Fri May 23, 2014 12:32 pm

If I take Richmond, I will continue with the "all east" strategy by continuing down the east coast. I forsee a long war after the CSA capital is moved. I will use new garrison Divisions to stretch a line of strongpoints from the Appalacheans to the ocean. Three or four of these Divisions can pivot with their flank anchored in the mountains and provide a defensive line that continues south as Grant advances. I plan to hold the strategic objectives in Virginia, North and South Carolina, which prevents the CSA from being able to recruit in those states. Then, I will attack Atlanta, which no doubt will be the capital by then. With the east coast in my hands, I should have a victory. As the eastern blockade fleet becomes less necessary, I will switch the ships to block rivers in Georgia and Alabama.

The nine cities I garrisoned in the midwest (MO to PA) are flypaper. They provide me with the ability to raise units in those states (MO, IL, IN, KY, OH, WV and PA), without fighting to hold the entire state. I will have a couple cavalry Divisions for raiders and a reserve of a few starting Divisions for any major problems, but I welcome the CSA sending a large force into the Midwest and away from the east.

I've made no secret of what the strategy is, so I'm sure that Mickey3D has some surprises for me. ;)

P.S. I got the next turn. McDowell has spent 15 days trying to cross into HF and needs 5 more days to maybe get there! What a loser. I'll probably just cancel the mission and wait for Grant.
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Sat May 24, 2014 8:56 pm

This was a surprising turn. McDowell attacked Johnston and despite much greater casualties, was able to relieve the defenders of Harper’s Ferry. Hooker’s Division led the way and secured the far side of the river while the army crossed. Sadly, by the time McDowell had moved to reinforce Hooker, his Division ceased to exist and Hooker himself was mortally wounded. Inside Harper’s Ferry, Milroy heard the fighting and tried to break out of the arsenal. Johnston was forced to withdraw back to prepared defensive positions. No doubt Confederate cavalry scouts had reported that a huge concentration of Union forces was assembling in Fredericktown to await the arrival of a new union leader, a General by the name of U.S. Grant.
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Merlin
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Sat May 24, 2014 10:06 pm

Any chance we could get a peek at your Western garrisons once you constitute the divisions? It would be a great help in assessing exactly what you've been up to and how your forces are distributed.

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Sat May 24, 2014 10:26 pm

That's my hope. Currently, the two in WV as well as Pittsburgh still haven't made the switch. I've sent additional Generals to these locations to double the chances. I also have an understrength Cavalry Division in IL and MD.
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Sun May 25, 2014 12:57 am

Okay, much appreciated. Do carry on. :)

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Sun May 25, 2014 3:44 pm

+1. Very interested to see how this one turns out. Love hearing the rationale behind decision making, very useful for a beginner like me! Can I ask how you got your blockade to 35%? In my game I've evenly distributed my fleet between
2 blockade zones and can only get 20%. Am I missing something?

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Sun May 25, 2014 9:22 pm

Here is a picture of what I am doing “in the west”. In St. Louis, Cairo, Evansville and Louisville, I have formed a Division with supplies to hold these river ports. In Parkersburg WV, the brigades are still waiting to form a Division. The supply unit is necessary, because during a siege, a structure with a SU will only surrender 5% of the time. Also, these cities are large enough so that the defending Division fits inside the city without crowding. An attacking force gets a 25% reduction to frontage against defenders in a city. St. Louis is under siege by a small force, but in case of a long siege, my strategic reserve would eventually be able to fend off an attacker, as I did at HF.

[ATTACH]28224[/ATTACH]
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Merlin
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Mon May 26, 2014 5:10 am

midnight wrote:Can I ask how you got your blockade to 35%? In my game I've evenly distributed my fleet between
2 blockade zones and can only get 20%. Am I missing something?


You should be able to ship out six BLK FLT for three each in the Atlantic and Caribbean Blockade Boxes. IIRC, you get at least two more by event and eight will net you 35%. Rotate out a transport or two every couple months and a fleet on B/B can sit out there near indefinitely.

Gray Fox wrote:[Western Forces]


Judging by Hunter's force, it doesn't appear you've built much for those divs; that's pretty impressive. I'm guessing no more than 500 MON 200 CON 200 WS or so...

What's Lyon doing, Western fire brigade duty?

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Gray Fox
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Mon May 26, 2014 3:18 pm

That's true about the blockade. 35% is all I need and you can get it by distributing the force you get without building anything.

The nine garrison Divisions are only about 400-500 PWR, but they have supplies and a depot and are entrenched to 4 right now. I have two understrength Cavalry Divisions to counter raiders. I have secured HF. As soon as I get the supply situation fixed, I'll start the next offensive. Lyons and Grant are at HF.

P.S. Hunter's pic got trunkated in the image. All of the Divisions have 17 elements with the General. Hunter's has several more militia not showing.
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Mon May 26, 2014 6:47 pm

Gray Fox wrote:The nine garrison Divisions are only about 400-500 PWR, but they have supplies and a depot and are entrenched to 4 right now. I have two understrength Cavalry Divisions to counter raiders. I have secured HF. As soon as I get the supply situation fixed, I'll start the next offensive. Lyons and Grant are at HF.


Okay, I see what you're doing. Lyons, Grant, Willie T., Hooker, etc. are all going to end up in the same army for a '62 push... This ought to be a fun read. :D

One more question: Did you build the Army HQs for your future corps, or do you use them in another fashion?

I appreciate your investment in feedback. I'll be following as you go. :)

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Tue May 27, 2014 12:30 pm

Grant's stack has an HQ unit as well as a hospital, pontoon and engineer unit and a balloon. Once he becomes an Army commander, his two Corps stacks will also have these units.

The three stacks will each possess four Heavy Infantry Divisions consisting of three brigades with an infantry, a conscript and a cavalry element, a brigade with two infantry and a sharpshooter element, a marine element, a brigade with two infantry elements and two single infantry elements. The two Corps stacks will also have seven 20-lbrs and Grant's stack will have ten of these batteries. Each stack will have an artillery officer, as I use Foote and Dahlgren with the army. As many Divisions as possible will have one cohesion boosting brigade. His force will be the best that I can provide.

A jpg is worth a kilobyte of text:
The navy for 35% blockade and shipping defense
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A garrison Division
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A Heavy Infantry Division
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A Cavalry Brigade sized group in a Division
[ATTACH]28313[/ATTACH]
Attachments
7th Cav.jpg
HID.jpg
Garrison.jpg
Fleets.jpg
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midnight
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Wed May 28, 2014 10:18 pm

Thanks Merlin and Gray Fox, turns out I hadn't quite distributed my fleets as evenly as I thought! Very interesting so far, I'm Eagerly awaiting the next update!

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Thu May 29, 2014 12:44 pm

I hope to have the next turn today. In the meantime, here is an example of the army I am building for Grant. This is the end product that I used in a game against Athena. The three stacks can use synchronized movement to attack as one with 100,000 infantry, 21,000 cavalry and 24 batteries of 20-lbers (288 guns) for over 11,000 Power. The pontoon and engineer units along with an entrencher General allow the stacks to entrench quickly. The Marines and pontoons make for rapid crossing of rivers. Each stack has less than 180 weight, so my 9 transport ship units can sealift an entire stack to Fort Monroe or Fort Pickens. Slower units like militia or heavy guns are not included. The HQ and hospital unit keep cohesion loss to a minimum. The army maximizes combat power through firepower, force protection and mobility. This is the Union's Terrible Swift Sword.
Grant's army
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1st Corps
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2nd Corps
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Attachments
2nd Corps.jpg
1st Corps.jpg
Grant.jpg
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tripax
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Thu May 29, 2014 1:26 pm

Impressive! I have a couple questions:

I didn't think the effects of HQ and Hospital units stacked, am I wrong? Also, it looks like you didn't promote very many of your generals (just Kearney and Grant), and based on their stats, they didn't seem to fight much (this would have given them some bonuses somewhere, but their offensive and defensive looks like the base levels). Is this correct?

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Thu May 29, 2014 2:14 pm

I did a test by moving a stack one turn and checking its cohesion at the end of the move. The first test was just one unit. Then I redid the move with an HQ unit stacked together with that unit. Finally I tried it with that unit, an HQ and a Hospital. The HQ and Hospital cohesion bonus did stack, just as the pontoon and engineer entrenchment bonus stacked.

The pics are from July 1862 in a game against Athena. I had only used Grant in some battles until he was promoted. So this was the quiet before the storm.
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tripax
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Thu May 29, 2014 2:40 pm

Gray Fox wrote:I did a test by moving a stack one turn and checking its cohesion at the end of the move. The first test was just one unit. Then I redid the move with an HQ unit stacked together with that unit. Finally I tried it with that unit, an HQ and a Hospital. The HQ and Hospital cohesion bonus did stack, just as the pontoon and engineer entrenchment bonus stacked.


Wow, that is interesting. As Union I always use some of my extra resources to grab medical/HQ units as a way to offset the Confederate faster replacements. I also didn't know that pontoon and engineer entrenchments stacked. I'm never sure how to best use entrenchments, obviously they are good but I'm rarely able to get the opponent to attack a large entrenched army of mine. Having faster entrenchment definitely would make this more likely...

Gray Fox wrote:The pics are from July 1862 in a game against Athena. I had only used Grant in some battles until he was promoted. So this was the quiet before the storm.


That makes sense. Do you promote during your attacks? Do you put Sherman in charge of a corps? And Lyon for the third (Lyon because the higher strategic rating increases MTSG chance)?

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Thu May 29, 2014 3:31 pm

In another game, I sent Grant to a location and he arrived in IIRC 5 days. I was surprised the next turn to find that he was not only at the new location, but was already entrenched to level 3! In AACW that would mean that one third of any hits received would be negated. So, well worth the investment for force protection.

You're welcome to run the test for cohesion yourself. For entrenchment, I observed the number of days that it would take a single unit to reach the next level. I then stacked an engineer with that unit and observed any change. Finally I stacked both a pontoon and engineer with that unit. Sure enough, the unit with both engineer and pontoon entrenched most quickly.

During an offensive, promotions are a bit tricky. I find that I must remove the promotable General's unit from any stack and leave them immobile or the promotion routine doesn't work. This is not something that I would generally do in an offensive for obvious reasons. Once I had three Generals who were promotable in one stack. So I had to choose to stop the attack and make some 2-stars or ignore their accomplishments and keep the initiative. Poor fellows. :)

So I use whatever 2-stars I have. Grant gives a pretty good bonus to their stats and that works well enough.
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Thu May 29, 2014 3:59 pm

If you are playing where you don't know the activation of a general, it is easy enough to put a division in the charge of an aide-de-camp (extra general in a stack) while promoting a promotable general. You lose the use of the general for up to 2 turns (plus the lower stats when the division is returned to his charge), depending on various things, but it is worth it for Sherman, who I think gets a bonus from the promotion. If you know the activation, you need to keep a few spare generals around in case one isn't active, and you may lose a general for more turns as you wait for him to become active so you can give him back the division.

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Thu May 29, 2014 4:08 pm

Whenever I got promoted, I never got 30 days leave. Maybe the devs should just change this game mechanic. ;)
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Thu May 29, 2014 5:34 pm

Gray Fox wrote:I did a test by moving a stack one turn and checking its cohesion at the end of the move. The first test was just one unit. Then I redid the move with an HQ unit stacked together with that unit. Finally I tried it with that unit, an HQ and a Hospital. The HQ and Hospital cohesion bonus did stack, just as the pontoon and engineer entrenchment bonus stacked.


That is extraordinarily useful information. Thanks for that.

Gray Fox wrote:During an offensive, promotions are a bit tricky. I find that I must remove the promotable General's unit from any stack and leave them immobile or the promotion routine doesn't work. This is not something that I would generally do in an offensive for obvious reasons. Once I had three Generals who were promotable in one stack. So I had to choose to stop the attack and make some 2-stars or ignore their accomplishments and keep the initiative. Poor fellows. :)

So I use whatever 2-stars I have. Grant gives a pretty good bonus to their stats and that works well enough.


Yes, I would definitely like to see the promotion option apply to any/all eligible leaders in a stack and be permanently available after the seniority requirement has been fulfilled. I'm sure a lot of players would appreciate that.

As for strategy, you're certainly innovating here. Playing the Union I tend to deliberately stalemate the East and put my emphasis in the West and the coast. Your AotP looks like mine in early '64 before the big push, and I do build heavy divisions nearly identical to yours, complete with the heavy supporting artillery and ancillaries in the army/corps. However, I tend to create a single heavy corps in as many armies as possible.

I prefer the West because I find the East too claustrophobic for maneuver warfare, and the West allows for fast and easy promotion. Getting Grant, Thomas, Sherman, Lyons, Hooker and Sheridan all to army command does wonders for Union capability. In '62 I usually try to build an independent super-corps in the Mississippi valley for Grant so he can act as a promotion vehicle, and I'll send Sherman and Sheridan into the territories with a medium-sized fast division. If you ship your mounted volunteers west, add some cavalry and a battery or two of horse artillery, you can raise some glorious hell in the territories and North Texas. In the East in '62 I'll take the incoming talent and send them fort and town hunting from Texas to the Carolinas. They promote quickly this way and you don't have to keep your spoils unless you hit one of the big ports and the covering forts. All that allows for a very competent, very flexible '63 Union and you can push anywhere you want, keeping the CSA off-balance. '64 is just inevitable victory.

I'm really curious to see how this plays out, because you're ignoring all traditional Union strengths and weaknesses to cripple the Confederacy in '62. I doubt Richmond will be enough to KO a human player (Mickey3D will just move the capital at the last moment), but it would certainly be one punch away from a TKO.

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Thu May 29, 2014 7:46 pm

Wow very interesting indeed, thanks for all the insights Gray Fox!

Merlin wrote:Yes, I would definitely like to see the promotion option apply to any/all eligible leaders in a stack and be permanently available after the seniority requirement has been fulfilled. I'm sure a lot of players would appreciate that.
.


I couldn't agree more with this, also it would be nice to know in advance what affects to stats a promotion has, it is painful watching your generals lose hard earned stats! Sounds like I am playing very similar to you Merlin (although Athena forced my hand by parking a 8000 power stack in Richmond). In my limited experience the Mississipi campaign has provided my generals with a wealth of experience grant (6/7/6), sherman (4/3/2 poor sherman), rosecrans(4/5/6), pope (5/5/5), Lyon (5/3/4), sheridan (4/3/3) by jan 1863.

Another question I had was whether my 3* leaders affect that stats of their 2* corps commanders? For example I've noticed 2* generals that should be good (according to their stats AND the aacw general pdf from the forums) and their stats are very low. Also I think I finally understand why my blockade % is stuck at 25%, I'm guessing it is because the CSA has their navy in the blockade too!

Thanks and keep it up!

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Thu May 29, 2014 9:56 pm

midnight wrote:Another question I had was whether my 3* leaders affect that stats of their 2* corps commanders? For example I've noticed 2* generals that should be good (according to their stats AND the aacw general pdf from the forums) and their stats are very low. Also I think I finally understand why my blockade % is stuck at 25%, I'm guessing it is because the CSA has their navy in the blockade too!


Your army commanders do indeed affect the ratings of their corps commanders. An excellent army commander can "pass down" 1-4 points to his subordinate corps commanders, and that includes ATT and DEF, not just STR. I'm sure someone around here actually knows the formula for it.

Check your fleet cohesion. If you've got them set with 5 BLK FLTs in each box, you should be getting 40%. CSS units in the blockade box are running the blockade for money and war supplies and don't affect your blockade percentage.

Edit: I just loaded my current game and you get enough BLK FLT freebies for five in each box (don't forget to send the weaker ones into port on G/G to fill them out). That gives you 40%. Don't forget to rotate the transports to keep cohesion losses to a minimum. Other than that, if you've still got 25% you should take a look at your game settings. Anything less than standard blockade handling will nerf your blockade percentage in exchange being able to disregard blockade supply.

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Thu May 29, 2014 10:32 pm

Ahhh that was it, the old naval boxes handling was on in game settings. Thanks Merlin!

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Fri May 30, 2014 2:18 am

Army commanders pass down their greatness or their awfulness to their corps. Mac is a 1-1-2 for example, and he will generally subtract 1 from all corps commanders under him from some of their ratings (sometimes -1 from multiple ratings). Whereas Bory is 4-2-5, and will usually add 1 to his subordinate corps commands ratings (usually strategic or defense, or maybe both). There is a formula, and I don't remember it. Not every corps gets the same bonus/maulus.
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Gray Fox
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Fri May 30, 2014 3:04 pm

It's January 1862 and to start the New Year off right, Grant has joined the war by moving on the depot at Strasburg. He got the short end of it from Longstreet, but held on and is being reinforced by Lyons.

[ATTACH]28380[/ATTACH]

In the Far West, I have sent Canby to take Tucson. I also created four partisan units in WV. I will use these to take out the depot at Garysburg. On the map, I have outlined the 3 rail routes into VA. The two in red do not connect depots that are within 5 regions of each other. The line in green does, through the level 1 depot at Garysburg, NC. I intend to send the 4 partisan units to the limit of their range to hug the VA border with NC and hopefully destroy this level 1 depot. This should isolate VA from the General Supply and Ammo production in the rest of the CSA.

[ATTACH]28381[/ATTACH]

Here's the overall situation so far.

[ATTACH]28382[/ATTACH]

I want to thank everyone for your participation in the AAR. I hope that Micky3D and I can hold your interest.
Attachments
Score 1862.jpg
Supply Route.jpg
Strasburg.jpg
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midnight
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Fri May 30, 2014 7:29 pm

Very sneaky Mr. Fox! So is Garysburg NC really that important to the CSA? I must admit it is not something I would have ever considered. Has Micky3D given any indications of his intentions? I'd be very interested on hearing your thoughts on how he plans to counter the inevitable rush to Richmond (besides digging!). Out of curiosity what would it take for you to shift your attention westwards?

Thanks Jim, very useful to know and thanks to you Gray Fox (and Micky3D) for sharing, these insights are incredibly useful for us new players.

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Sat May 31, 2014 12:54 am

This is what I can perceive about my honorable opponent’s dispositions. Mickey3D has less than 60% of my combat power. That would roughly equate to 12 Divisions. I have contact with one opposite Cairo and eight in northern VA. I assume a defense of Richmond and my navy has scouted a few formations along the east coast. So basically, it seems he has a static defensive line along the Potomac from Alexandria to Strasburg of two entrenched Divisions per region. Thus, he is about to the limit of his forces.

I plan to take the depot at Strasburg. Phase two will be an advance from the west on the depot at Manassas, bypassing the entrenched defenders on the river line. Once Manassas is under siege, Mickey3D will have to abandon his entrenched positions or face the possibility of encirclement. When these stacks withdraw, they will no longer be entrenched and will become moving targets. To further stretch his Divisions, I plan to re-enforce Fort Monroe by sea and move a stack from the fort up the peninsula as a diversion and take the harbor at Williamsburg. This plan will hopefully get Grant promoted and by summer his army should be ready.

I intend to attack VA’s supply depots first to starve her defenders. With 4 partisans I should be able to take out the Garysburg depot, which is currently only defended by a militia unit. Depots are costly for the CSA to replace. Garysburg is not a port, so only a supply unit can replace this depot, which my partisans may again destroy. This may produce a long-term advantage for the siege of Richmond or indeed of the whole state. I do not believe that VA alone can produce enough GS and ammo to supply the force that defends it, but time will tell.

Many enjoy a “western campaign”, but as I have demonstrated in other threads, the east is much more important. When Mickey3D moves his capital he will lose 10 NM and another 10 NM when I finally storm Richmond. I will gain 5 NM taking the former capital for an overall change of 25 NM between us. This one objective is worth almost as much as all the objectives in the western area combined. Continuing down the Atlantic coast will get me Charleston and Savannah for even more NM and put me on the path to the only remaining capital of Atlanta. If Mickey3D is still hanging on, I can continue on to Mobile and NO. I just put no stock in a western campaign.

[ATTACH]28391[/ATTACH]
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Plan A.jpg
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Sat May 31, 2014 11:39 am

Thanks for the update Gray Fox. I must admit I'm still very curious on Micky3D's plans for the west, whether he plans on largely ignoring it too or whether he tries to force your hand by applying pressure in the west hoping to relieve pressure on Richmond. Assuming a) that he can spare the manpower and resources from defending Northern Virginia and b) whether it will have any impact on your strategy (sounds like it won't).

One other question I forgot to ask was the rationale and timing behind moving your capital to NYC? Considering your strategy and the importance of NM in the game it seems counter-intuitive (to me) to take the 10NM hit unless you felt that Washington was under serious threat rather than being purely precautionary?

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