Part III - Forces in presence
At the beginning of the campaign, there is only one front : the Austrian-Prussian Front.
The Prussians have some great generals, one of them being the badass Frederick the Great himself, who led his troops in battle himself. He is not my absolutely best general, but he is close enough, which means I don’t want to pay the political cost to replace him as the Commander-in-Chief of my armies – because there is such a cost.
Prussian soldiers are elite. Many of them are Grenadiers, which is basically the “elite” force of the game, but even the regulars are good enough. I have a significant cavalry, but not a huge one.
On the other side, Austrians have horrible “leading” generals, with the exception of General Daun, the master of Defense ; I am probably going to talk a lot about him (basically – I probably won’t attack wherever Daun, except if I am massively superior). Their troops are only average.
So how can Austria hope to win ? Well, it cannot hope to win at the beginning. But time plays for them : as more battles occur, their poor generals are going to be demoted and once they have hacked through the dead wood, they have good generals. As more battle occurs, my Grenadiers will die and I will have to recruit troops who are no better than them. But more than everything else, time plays for them because they are in defense... They will quickly have an army twice or three times my size, and their allies will come help them, increasing this ratio even more (we are speaking of Russia and France, there). So if Austria can defend one or two years, it will be able to take initiative again.
Here is a quick review of my main column (I have already modified a bit compared to the beginning of the game, in order not to have to say the same thing twice. I’d like to get over with the presentation ASAP to jump into action.
Frederick and his brother Wilhem
At the beginning of the game, Wilhem was in command of a column, but he is by far my poorest grand general, and since he has a lot of seniority (he is supposed to command the force he is in), I put him with Frederik, who obviously still outranks him.
In red, you can see the columns commanded by Frederik as a Commander-in-Chief (not directly). As long as those columns are not too far from Frederik, he gives them various bonus I might get into later.
Keith Column with 25 000 men, 13 000 horses and 144 canons, is led by Keith (duh!), by far my best general – so I have him lead my most powerful column (I can change the composition of columns in a couple clicks).
Ferdinand (von Brunswick) column, with 15 000 men, 7 000 horses and 96 canons, is my second largest army. Ferdinand is a great general, and is especially good in leading extremely large armies thanks to his special capacity.
With only 11 000 men, 2 600 horses and 96 canons, Moritz's (von Anhalt-Dessau) column is the smallest one. Moritz himself is ok as a general, but has the special malus “reckless”, so I ll keep him in reserve more often than not. Having fresh troops ready can save your armies in this game.
Johann von Wedell's column is on the east, with a little more troops than Moritz’s. Von Wedell is not really a good general, and I am planning to replace him as commander of his column as soon as possible.
Finally, von Schwerin has an army on his own (=it is not part of Frederic’s columns), and a large one (20 000 men, 3 000 horses, 96 canons). Schwerin has somewhat poor stats (still better than what the Austrians have) but two great special capacities : Brave (Keith has that as well), which means his troops are more cohesive – more resilient in battle - and Admired Commander – which means his troops recover their already increased cohesion faster. This makes him a good general. Not outstanding, though.
I won’t show all the other units I have : most of them on this front are cavalry units (Zieten’s in Leipzig, Württenberg’s in Dresden with Frederic and co, Gessler’s in Breslau). They are independent forces.
How do you know who is a good general, and who is not ?
A general has 4 (main) stats : Strategy, Offense, Defense, Seniority. Let's first see the first three.
Strategy, Offense and Defense can be seen next to the name of the general when I put the pointer on the stack (which I did on the first column). For instance, Frederik has 6-4-3 while his elder bro' has 4-0-0. What do these stats do :
Strategy ranges from 2 to 6 - it provides various bonus when the unit is commander-in-chief (in my case, Frederick and von Schwerin), also dictates how often the unit is "activated" (a non-activated units cannot attack and moves very slowly) and gives various bonus during battles (chance to come in renforcements when a neighbouring column is attacked for instance).
Offense and Defense (range from 0 to 6 at the beginning, can go beyond with experience) is just a bonus to the general when he leads, well, attacks or defenses.
Only the stats of the leader of the stack is taken into account.
Who leads stack, then ? Well, the general with the highest rank, and, among those, the ones with the smaller seniority. That's the problem of the Austrians : their generals with good stats have a poor seniority, their generals with good seniority have poor stats.
Generals can also have "specific bonus", like being a "fast-mover", a "fortification expert", ...
How do I know whether an army is strong or weak ?
Rule of the thumb : you can see the size of a force by the number of dots (here : Green) at the bottom left part of the leader face. Only one is small, five is huge. The color indicates how exhausted and ready to fight the unit is. It is all green for now.
Now, let's get into action !