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Sun Jun 16, 2013 8:18 am

Awesome. Looking forward to how this has happened.
Only ever played against Athena so nothing like this.
Did the Hawks win?

Posts: 118
Joined: Mon Nov 03, 2008 10:32 pm
Location: Coming out of the attic-- I've finally beaten Athena

The Winter of 1862-3; Some Good News in Missouri

Sat Jun 22, 2013 6:43 pm

Hello readers.

VigaBrand will be on vacation until July, but the game has moved from November through March 1863. My goal, when the Hawks are not in play against Boston for Lord Stanley's Cup, is to update you on the turn of events.
Whether I can pull a victory out of the winter, time will tell.

Let's start with a Southern raid by Gen'l Stand Watie. The raid started late in the year 1862, threatening Springfield, Lexington and finally attacking the State Capitol, Jefferson City.
With a baggage train of politicians, it had been the intention of the South to install a Southern government in Jefferson City, then proclaim a state-wide call for 'volunteers.'
Gen'l Watie drove off the Union defenders outside Jefferson City, a group of Missouri volunteer milita who had dug in to the Missouri earth. His morning seemed assured as he and his band of outlaws, natives and Rangers rode into the city. There they encountered the ragged remaints of the Missouri militia, which had reinforced a group of old men and teens who styled themselves the Capital Guard.
A raging gunfight occurred with Missouri Confederate Governor Claibornen Fox Jackson leading a unit of Crow warriors up the West steps of the Capitol. Barricading themselves in the Senate chamber, the Missouri Militia held on for three hours, enough time for troops that had been dispatched from Rolla to arrive.
The timely arrival of the Rolla unit was a surprise to Waite who headed for the Missouri River. His men were tired and a long way from home. Was it a retreat? Jackson thought so. There hadn't been time to gather enough Southern legislators to proclaim a secessionist government.
Flatboats carried Watie's command north to Carrolton.
Watie figured his units could raid nearby Bloomington, breaking the rail line to Fort Leavenworth. Union supplies were poorly defended, and everywhere, he reasoned.
He did not count on Union brigs appearing on the Missouri, cutting him off from his lines. And he did not count on a defense in depth of the Union rear.
With winter closing in, Watie banged on the gates of Bloomington to now avail. Once again militia, this time drawn from the Quincy depot, were there to defend the town.
Watie fumed outside, destroying rail lines and trying to find a path south.
However a furious winter storm came through Missouri at this point, freezing nearly everything. Everything but the Union navy, which continued to cut Watie's access from the south bank of the Missouri.
In their camps at Fort Leavenworth, Bloomington and at Lexington, the troops of the North's Army of the West waited. At least they were warm and fed. Weather would have a greater effect on this battle than tired and cold Union blues riding after Watie.
In late winter, after watching Watie become more and more ineffective, troops drawn from cavalry and the loyal native tribes caught up to Watie at Gallatin, ending his raid. It was the one of just a handful of victories for the Union in the winter of 1862-3.


Posts: 118
Joined: Mon Nov 03, 2008 10:32 pm
Location: Coming out of the attic-- I've finally beaten Athena

Sat Jun 22, 2013 6:47 pm

jokeon wrote:Awesome. Looking forward to how this has happened.
Only ever played against Athena so nothing like this.
Did the Hawks win?

Thanks Jokeon. I'm hoping my extensive write up of the game gets me into the AACW2 beta. You'll see that my play won't recommend me :)

The Hawks, at the time of writing, are tied 2-2 with Boston. It is late in June, the ice is rotten, but there is still hockey! :w00t:

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800 Miles From Home; The Unintended Consequence of House Rules

Sat Jun 22, 2013 9:40 pm

The house rules restricted the Union from small raids. Basically, I need to put together a leader and four elements to enter Southern territory.
An unintended consequence of this rule is that when I have somewhat successful raid, things go off the rails. My units are too large for real raids. They tend to stay.

Late in 1862 a few regiments of Union troops were sent into the Kentucky wilderness to improve the military control of key assets such as rail lines. The units soon determined that the Southern towns of Livingstone and Huntsville, Tennessee, were lightly guarded. The Colonel in charge requested permission to attack.
In Washington Gen'l George McClellan was hesitant. Such small units couldn't do much, could they? He balked and directed the Colonel to stand down.
At that moment word came from New York. The President was demanding action somewhere.
"Hell," McClellan thought. And with that he ordered additional units into the area.
In one of the smallest pushes of the year, the units not only grabbed Huntsville and Livingstone, but took Knoxville and its depot on the key east-west rail line.
Soon Gen'l Grant was pressing commanders in Central Tennessee to get out of their winter bunks and to explore the edge of Southern holdings. The result was that Chattanooga was threatened, rail lines were cut throughout Central Tennessee and Northern Alabama, Pulaski and its depot were taken (and the depot blown) and in a surprise to all, the South evacuated Nashville and Forts Henry & Donelson.
Whether this effected what happened next, future historians will long debate.
Down the Appalachian rail came Robert E Lee and Thomas Jackson with several corps.
Union troops numbered a corps in Knoxville, well supplied and adequately dug in. But the lessons of the winter campaign disaster in Arkansas weighed heavily on the minds of Union leaders.
One division headed north to Nashville and the second division began tearing up rail and heading west to Chattanooga. (Meeting the four element requirement)
In Knoxville a militia unit dug in, waiting Thomas Jackson's rage. His attack would take the life of every man as they defended the town square, their bright red blood staining the fresh snow that winter morning.
Still, the main Union forces were escaping, leaving behind a wrecked rail system.
In Rome, Georgia a Southern cavalry force forced the Union division back on its heals, but returned to Chattanooga, fearing an attack from Union troops north of the Tennessee River.
With Thomas Jackson and Robert E Lee on their heals, the Union division, much weakened by the snow, the lack of supplies, fearing what would happen if they battled the Virginians, headed for Atlanta. They would have given up had not Gen'l Abner Doubleday not brought some light into their lives, telling them that when spring came, they would play a game he saw in New York--- Base Ball.
On a fateful day in February, Union troops watched trains loaded with Lee's Virginians pass them. From the train the Virginians waved at the dirty and bedraggled men along the side of the road. "Virginia is here," they called. "We'll catch the rascally boys from the North."
After the trains passed, the men dusted off their clothes and smiled. With all the dirt, it WAS difficult to see the blue. Then they went to work, destroying the track behind the Southern troops.
In Atlanta Lee set his men, waiting for the foolish Northern troops, but in Marietta, the Union command headed west towards Birmingham, Alabama, avoiding disaster. Doubleday, a hardened abolitionist, was urging the men on. They were living off the land, dependent for each day on scraps of food from slaves who cheered the troops as they marched through the hills of Alabama towards god knows where.
At more than 600 miles from their start in Louisville, the Union troops still strugglled on, faced with Thomas Jackson at their front and Robert E Lee behind. Southern troops tightened the guard of Ft Pickens, nearly 250 miles away, in the fear that the Union troops will somehow slip through.
In the North, the War Department sent out notices of condolence. The unit had lost all contact with the North for weeks. It was considered lost.


Gen. Monkey-Bear
Lieutenant Colonel
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Mon Jun 24, 2013 1:18 am

This must be a very strange game! :bonk: Entire divisions lost behind enemy lines, lucky Union offensives into the southern heartland, Robert E. Lee in Tennessee instead of Virginia, and an all-time-low Union morale!

All I can say is good luck!

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Location: Coming out of the attic-- I've finally beaten Athena

Sat Jul 27, 2013 9:29 pm

VigaBrand and I have agreed to wrap this game up.

The game time is April 1863, just a few months after the events related above. There have been some developments on both sides and we'll share those with you.

The key development that is determining the end of the game was the appearance of the CSA Navy. VigaBrand was able to gain control of Hampton Roads (occupied by more than 600 points of Union Iron Clads before the battle), as well as challenge the Union in the two shipping boxes. And additional CSA naval units are at sea, but not yet in play.

For myself, I'm willing to continue after some significant defeats. It is not fair to not allow your opposition the joy of blood when they deserve it. VigaBrand's naval execution is brilliant, unexpected and if continued would be difficult to reverse.

If the North were successful and enjoyed a military win, my summary would be that this game is representative of the actual war. Historically, I'd argue, there were some stunning Union losses, but also some Union progress. That represents the issue here too. It is still possible for the Union to gain a military victory. In fact I believe, as I suppose any commander must, that it is likely that I can win.

However at this point the political cost of the war means the Union enters the post-war period weaker than it should be. Much like the real war, the purpose of the war will be redefined by the South as "states rights" and institutional racism will continue well into the future.

So what happened?

The sizable Union naval force in Hampton Roads retreated into the James River. In tactical terms, the force will need to run the guns of three different CSA batteries. This happened previously in the game. That time I lost the Union forces in the James and forces meant to relieve them.

The current force represents an investment of about one corps in money, one of the two real constraints on the Union. They will not survive the passage back into Hampton Roads.

Together with the loss of the forces under Butler in the 1862 Peninsula campaign and the loss of units in Little Rock in a poorly planned attack, I do not believe it is likely for the Union to first of all be able to rescue the naval units and second to be able to recover from the projected losses.

The game is one of chance in part. Out of five open sea areas for the naval units to retreat into I controlled three areas. The James River was unoccupied. A sea area off of Norfolk on the Atlantic side was also unoccupied.

Being generous, and not understanding the logic used by the game engine, the chance of retreat into the James should be about 20 percent.

This is the second instance of Union naval units retreating into the James after a battle in Hampton Roads. In that instance the units were completely destroyed. But it was a smaller force that I could rebuild.

This poor luck contrasts with a well executed Northern plan to trap the CSA riverine navy in the Arkansas River during the winter 1863 (during the Little Rock fiasco). In that situation the CSA navy had to pass a battery I'd established at Arkansas Post that was set for bombard passing fleet. Nevertheless, the CSA evaded successfully. That battery consisted of five well supplied units of artillery as I recall. More artillery was on the way to make passage even more difficult.

There have been enough poor Union choices (that would be me BTW) in this game. Having the game engine pile it on is making the situation dire. With a NM of just 44, and the losses on the James not yet computed, it is apparent the Union effort has reached an end.

I'll go through as much of what remains of the game as I can, bringing players up to speed. It was my first PBEM game. I have learned so much from VigaBrand about playing a human and I'm appreciative of his efforts.

If you have a proposal on how to rescue this effort I'm all ears. We've invested months into this game. I'm disappointed that we are ending it in this manner.

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Fri Aug 02, 2013 1:15 am

Sounds like youa are in a difficult spot. How close are you to defeat, is it 25 NM the loss level?

If you wanted to continue, I would pull back to objective and stragic cities, send all recruiting generals to Chicago, NYC, and Philly if they haven't already done so, and take a year to build up and get organized.


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Joined: Mon Nov 03, 2008 10:32 pm
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Fri Aug 02, 2013 4:38 pm

I'm at about 42 - 44 on the NM.

That is close enough to be very concerned with every loss of NM point.

I was concerned about the loss of NM from a naval battle, which could cause an early end to the game. And I am concerned that a unit the size of a corps could be threatened by a computer decision. (The cash investment in the fleet, not including War Supply, is easily equal to that of a quality corps).

This was a bad decision by the computer that could significantly impact the game. As a result VigaBrand suggested he would make an intentional mistake and allow the fleet to largely escape (it did take some hits, resulting in some sinkings).

We are continuing. The fleet is out of the James at the moment and headed for an undisclosed port for repair.

Still, this drew on the players to repair the damage to the game. It shouldn't have been necessary. And, VB's navy was delayed for a turn while it dealt with this rather than the strategic mission it was on.

Regarding the move, it was brilliant. VB built a sizable fleet that is challenging the US Navy across the entire map. And, he did so in secret. I had been steadily building naval units, so I believe I still hold a naval superiority, but I'll need to move with care and concentrate the forces till I can overcome the CSA Navy.

I'll be updating the AAR shortly. The news isn't all bad for the Union. The South has been split at the Mississippi. And that was a rather bloodless victory (that brought no Victory Points). The South has moved a large part of the Eastern armies into Northern Mississippi. There they threaten Western Kentucky, Western Tennessee and of course Memphis.

The conservative strategy you are suggesting is one possible way out for my forces. I'm sure I'll be more conservative moving forward.

As I pointed out to VigaBrand, this is my first PBEM. I've learned a lot of what I shouldn't do here. :)

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Fri Aug 02, 2013 5:29 pm

I love naval and sometimes I built to much.
You will have a problem. The election will come and you should have some results, if you not want to finish the war with a free souther state. (I think you need 60 NM after election or sherman must take atlanta to support Lincoln).

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