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GraniteStater
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Union Weak a Little Bit, Compared to RL?

Tue Feb 04, 2014 12:45 am

Here's the starting point: some exchanges about the first year of the war from a Union perspective:

#############

Originally Posted by Le Ricain
Your impression is not supported by history. In 1861, the Union maintained a 2:1 manpower advantage in the Northern Virginia theatre, which included the McDowell's army, the Shenandoah army and the Washington garrison. The CSA achieved their great victory at 1st Bull Run by combining their Virginia and Shenandoah armies against McDowell's sole army. They gained a local advantage.

In CW2, the Union player can, by building every unit that he can in PA and NY as you describe, achieve this historic 2:1 advantage in power and men by November 1861. The advantage does not last as by Spring 1862, the Union advantage in the theatre falls to something like 20%. For the battle in Manassas, in July 1861, the Confederate player does not need to bring his Shenandoah army to Manassas, as his army based there is only about 10% weaker than McDowell's army. This deficit is more than made up by the Confederate higher quality units, better leadership and entrenched status.

The Confederacy may be underpowered in CW2, but it is the Union that is seriously underpowered. As I have noted elsewhere, by June 1862, the Union had achieved the following:

Obtained a 2:1 manpower advantage in Virginia.
Occupied Springfield, MO.
Captured Fort Donelson, TN.
Captured Island No 10.
Captured Fort Macon, NC.
Captured Fort Pulaski, GA.
Captured Forts Jackson and St Philip, LA
Captured New Orleans, LA
Captured Memphis, TN.


Try duplicating these accomplishments in CW2.

***

GS:

Try duplicating these accomplishments in CW2.

Oh, good golly, yes, yes, yes.

I've made this observation for quite a while, years actually, ever since I first played AACW. Frankly, it's next to impossible, if not outright the case.

Try, as the Union, by mid-June '62, to have Fts H&D, Nashville, Memphis, #10, and New Orleans in your possession, in any decent strength at every location. I've never even come close. Glad to see someone else noticing how tough, if not, again, impossible, it is to replicate Union achievements in AACW/CW2.

***

Ace:

These are all very achievable objectives. Besides some fort busting, all you have to do is capture NO and Memphis, and you have full year to do it. If they are heavily guarded, some other place like Richmond or Charleston isn't. So, do not tell me Union is underpowered. But, I might say above concern how concentrate all East was the best strategy in the patch 1.02 has some validity to it. I am pleased to say this might not be the case in 1.03., with the change in the distribution of Southern resources.

***

Ace, you ever try to do it, in AACW or CW2?

I'm tellin' ya, at least in AACW, I tried mightily, more than a few times. Not...even...close. I started a thread about it - most folks just said, 'relax, don't feel you need to meet a schedule,' which is good advice, but still...

don't mistake me, the game's modeling should not put the highest priority on being able to Do Things the Way they Were, which may seem heretical to some, but this is a model, not a simulation. The CSA has to have some goosing, otherwise, it's just CSA Loses Every Time.

If you have, in AACW or CW2, been able to take those half-dozen spots by June '62 (in decent strength - and held them against ripostes), then tell me how ya did it, 'cuz I'd be all ears.

There's too much to do, there are other concerns, like keeping TJ outta Mrs. Lincoln's bedroom. Or being flanked at Baltimore. Or reinforcing Monroe and Pickens, in that order. Or building a navy. I'm sure I could think of more. Trying to keep a balance in East, Central & West, without losing St. Loo, Cairo, Louisville, etc., is enough to keep a general right busy. Now, add building an Expeditionary Force for NO into the mix, troops you are withholding from other parts of the East, etc., - I can't do it & I have tried, tried, tried, 'till I'm blue in the buttons. TBH, No, haven't really tried in CW2 yet, still learning the new game. Still...

that's against the AI. Play Pat "SW" Cleburne and see how quickly he'll put a Fort at Paducah (oh yeah, that's fun) or how soon you'll see you ain't takin the Greyhound bus to Fredericksburg anytime soon.

If you've been able to do this, please, I'll bow to your knowledge & experience if you post How.
[color="#AFEEEE"]"Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!"[/color]
-Daniel Webster

[color="#FFA07A"]"C'mon, boys, we got the damn Yankees on the run!"[/color]
-General Joseph Wheeler, US Army, serving at Santiago in 1898

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Tue Feb 04, 2014 4:33 am

Having played the Union many times, I think I would qualify the whole "Union is weaker" concept with the idea that the Union and Confederacy have ahistorical strengths and weaknesses, in both a temporal sense (when strengths and weaknesses occurred) and also in terms of the areas where they are strong. I think one needs to look at it from a lens of advantages during each year of the war. Here's what I would say "should" be the relative dynamics in each year. The really frustrating thing about all this is that I feel as though they are entirely possible to code into the game dynamics in a way that would not result in an imbalanced game.

In essence, I would argue that the numerical and production disadvantages of the Union should be replaced by a set of qualitative modifiers that positively affect Confederate armies while negatively impact the Union. These modifiers would slowly taper off for the Union over each year of the war, while simultaneously, manpower in particular (but not WSU or money) should also taper off for the Union in later years to affect the mobilization of troops and diminishing returns for recruitment. I describe below what I would do in 1861-1861 as examples. Although some might consider the yearly changes to modifiers deterministic, since most of these really deal with the Union's ability to wage war and their war experience, barring huge defeats, I can't see where the Union wouldn't have improved over time in these areas. You might also consider some penalties to the Confederacy over time in some of these areas due to the effect of limit war/general supply (affecting cohesion, firepower), casualties and total confederates under arms as % of pop (affecting manpower), etc.

1861

Historical Union Strengths: Massive advantage in manpower, war supply, money, Navy
Parity: Technology
Historical Weaknesses (Confederate Advantages): Commanders really crappy; Morale of armies; leadership and cohesion (Confederates got most west pointers, for instance); intelligence (Union armies had no reliable maps, no clue where they were going), activation; aggression/ability to force decisive engagements (Union generals, grant excluded, tended to go for hollow, geographic victories). Also cavalry sucked.

1862
Historical Union Strengths: Still large advantage in manpower, but slightly less massive, war supply, money, Navy (slightly larger advantage, but foolery with blockade runners and CSS Virginia), beginning also to see technical superiority with telegraph, firearms at this stage (better weapons BTW are completely lacking in game models upgrades)
Historical Union Weaknesses: Morale of armies (but less than 1861); leadership and cohesion (again, less than 1861, penalties should decline throughout the year); Commanders (crappy as 1861 in the East, west getting better); Cavalry; aggression of commanders/armies (better in West than East), intelligence

1863
Historical Union Strengths: Manpower (still large but less than 1862), WSU, Money, growing technology advantage and rail advantage; Navy
Parity: Commanders; cohesion; Cavalry; Morale
Historical Union Weaknesses: Counter-entrenchment tactics (to grow in 1864, before the Union figured things out in 1865); Ability to maintain stable supply lines/need to divert manpower to garrisons

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Tue Feb 04, 2014 5:09 am

A thoughtful analysis. Dunno if I would agree in every single detail but wouldn't profoundly disagree, either.

Ever read Grant's Memoirs?

I don't have a big issue with the modeling or the approach they took to structuring the model (game). My central point is that I find the AACW/CW2 April61 - June62 experience 'harder' (and harder, if I'm making sense here) than the actual results from RL.

My favorite start in AACW was the March 1862 scenario. I thought it was still fair & you have Armies and Corps right away. Some might sniff at that, but I just liked it - if I may, a lot of the 'silliness' was out of the way, although I can see the appeal of the 61 starts, especially for Reb players. I found the July61 scenario to be a tad harder than the April one, myself.

Mostly a Union fanboy here, but have played the CSA enough to understand & enjoy it - it can be wicked fun, in a way the Union isn't.

Still, anyone who has taken the Big Six (whatever) by June '62, please speak up.
[color="#AFEEEE"]"Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!"[/color]

-Daniel Webster



[color="#FFA07A"]"C'mon, boys, we got the damn Yankees on the run!"[/color]

-General Joseph Wheeler, US Army, serving at Santiago in 1898



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Tue Feb 04, 2014 7:28 am

Since I was the only one in the original discussion advocating that it is possible, I 'll just let you know how. The fact is, to be good competitive Union player, you have to play with CSA first, both in AACW and in CW2.
I learned the game by playing CSA vs the AI. I then switched to US side to try it out. Soon I was stunned by the amount of recources available to the US player. As the CSA I always had to play on the edge, with no defense in depth, just to keep up same numbers on the frontlines. When I switched to the US side, I just found out I always have more troops at my disposal for the concentrated attack on the exposed flank of the CSA army - if I attack with the whole army at the single Corps aided by maybe another one by MTSG, I will prevail and each bloody battle with similar casualties is a Union strategic victory regardless of the tactical result.
I noticed most Union players keep ample reserves. If they lernt to play with the Confederay, they would get used to different style of play, with most power concentrated in the main armies, not in fixed defenses. Washington is the only place worth of static defense. All others should be stripped of troops and attached to main armies. Grant fully understood that, and tried to implement it where he could (political limitations).
I did a couple of PBEMs as Union, they were all over by mid 62 with the total collapse of the CSA. I admit I never tried it against the player of Pat's caliber. I would surely welcome the challenge.

I have to only say this has been done with standard activation rule. With the hard activation rule, it would be much more difficult. I have less experience with it, only one game against the AI, but the activation would surely cripple the US at least in the first year.

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Tue Feb 04, 2014 9:10 am

My experience against the AI are similar to Ace.
I seldom stock lot's of troops in garrison duties except for a couple of militia.
The only exceptions in my current game as CSA is New Orleans and Norfolk because the Union invades there.
Savannah has a small (100+ power) force there.

As the CSA against a Lieutenant level AI, it's doable to win in 1863.
On a lower level, I have finished the game as CSA by the end of 1861 just by massing troops and going for Washington
after first defeating the union at Manassas.

As the Union, it's a whole lot easier because of the resources. You don't need to mass produce a Navy as the most precious
resource in the game is men. If you kill the same number of troops in every big battle, you cripple the CSA, and might lower their
morale significantly. That's the way to fight as both sides IMHO.

When I play the CSA, I mass troops, entrench and really hope the Union attacks. It results in very big casualties, which the Union
needs to replace thus making sure his resources go to new troops and replacements. Which again get slaughtered because my troops
are then even more entrenched, more veteran with generals who might have been promoted.
In my last game, I had 10 3-star generals near the end of 1862. It's a big strategic advantage.

The way the strength of both sides is presented might not be totally correct, but the overall balance is pretty good.
Also, now you have chance to make history, otherwise, it might be so that the rules guide you to the same outcome over and over again.
I'm not sure if the changes you propose are doable by the game engine.

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Tue Feb 04, 2014 5:17 pm

Ace, minipol:

Gentlemen, you're begging the question. Frankly, I don't see a lot of specific instances cited. The question is, if a player has taken and held the 'Big Six', as I am somewhat loosely calling them, by June '62, then how?

First, let me address static, particularly 'fortified' posts - as Grant observed, the real use of a fortification is to hold a post with fewer troops than might be required otherwise, thus freeing some up.

Personally, I don't keep excessive amounts of troops in the rear. I prefer mobility & the Union has to be on strategic offense. The first point, first 14 months of the war, is initially to not lose important posts (even though, strategically, you are the invader, you need to 'play D' at the beginning, as strange as it may seem - doesn't do any good to charge into NoVa if the South has TJ at Harper's with 1200 PWR) - from west to east, St. Joseph, MO, the Missouri line (JC & Rolla need to be taken), St. Louis, Cairo, the Ohio line (Louisville, Lexington), WVa (just deny it, that's good enough), Harper's, & the Obvious.

You can't start advancing in confidence and retain what you take if the South can slip in and take Cairo. Or raise hob in Kentucky. Or park at Harper's (Harper's is a Must Have - and you need to neutralize threats from the Valley). Athena is a pretty good AI, IMHO - she's far from stupid. She will smack you if you neglect Harper's, for example.

Haven't you ever noticed Athena is quite persistent about cutting Northern supply lines as the Union advances from the 'starting blocks'? Quite persistent, indeed. I'm not talking about Pointless Raiding, but logical efforts to interdict supply lines. One reason I've played these games is Athena, she's not bad, for code.

In my few efforts in CW2 so far (Kentucky in CW2 is a slightly different proposition from the 'KY Rule' in AACW), I haven't been able to secure KY & Nashville until mid-62, for heaven's sake. Never mind Memphis. Or #10 (that's usually Pope's baby).

Do you want Ft. Monroe in enemy hands? I don't - Pickens I can live with, its loss is an inconvenience, but Monroe is galling - here, have Chesapeake Bay, I wasn't gonna use it, anyway - are you kidding me? Monroe's loss is not a game loser, but is Extremely Inconvenient - yes, you can live with the hits, but it really puts your naval ops back to Newark (DE) & Philly.

Yes, Ace, I have won early, too, against Athena - in one I never took Richmond, it was a bloody surrender, I was just wading through Southern blood, so she surrendered from combat fatigue, I guess.

Don't forget, Baltimore is an Objective now, in CW2. Slight change in Athena's focus. Are you going to risk having to stop and go back to MD to undo a mess you could've prevented?

IRL, the Union had some luck with #10 and Nashville and Memphis. The former was taken by a ruse, so to speak (almost impossible to model in the game) and the latter two were essentially uncontested after certain developments. Athena doesn't do this, she doesn't drop pawns, she doesn't play a6 in response to e4 (chess), she doesn't bid suits when she has a balanced hand and should be in No-Trump. In the center, she plays better than the South did IRL, AFAICS.

So gentlemen, if y'all have taken the Big Bananas, all of them, by June62, and held them in any decent strength and not gotten your walking papers two Turns later, please, tell me, how did you do this?

I'm not talking about How to Win as the North - there's more than one way. I'm talking about this way, an emulation of the historical reality and successes. I obviously agree with Le Ricain strongly - and notice my laundry list doesn't even include the Sea Islands and Atlantic coastal points.

So, again, gentlemen, if you have taken Fts H&D, Nashville, Memphis,#10 (leave Pillow aside) and New Orleans - the First Five, I guess, for a designation - in strength, to stay, obviating further contesting about them, by June62...

please, tell me how. I'll be happy to learn.
[color="#AFEEEE"]"Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!"[/color]

-Daniel Webster



[color="#FFA07A"]"C'mon, boys, we got the damn Yankees on the run!"[/color]

-General Joseph Wheeler, US Army, serving at Santiago in 1898



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Tue Feb 04, 2014 5:34 pm

I do not know what to tell you, there is no magic wand for it. It must be a lot of small things. I'll take the gauntlet and run the Union game against CSA AI set on highest difficulty (standard activation) with the aim of acquiring above objectives. I'll report how my game is going in the AAR section in the following weeks. Stay tuned.

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Tue Feb 04, 2014 5:43 pm

More than considerate, good sir.

Myself, currently in 'Two', I am playing LT as the Union (still learning); Penalties Only for Activation; no Bonus for Activation roll; HistAttrit for Player Only; coupla others - the idea is a 'level field' with a slight advantage (LT) for Cohesion & Speed - otherwise, 'level'.

The idea is to train for PbeM - which is another thread.

I'm playing a SGT game as the CSA & having lotsa fun.

Have to restart all these in a few days, though, what with 1.03 coming.

Thanks, Ace.
[color="#AFEEEE"]"Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!"[/color]

-Daniel Webster



[color="#FFA07A"]"C'mon, boys, we got the damn Yankees on the run!"[/color]

-General Joseph Wheeler, US Army, serving at Santiago in 1898



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(A) When in doubt, agree with Ace.

(B) Pull my reins up sharply when needed, for I am a spirited thoroughbred and forget to turn at the post sometimes.





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Tue Feb 04, 2014 5:45 pm

A couple points on this.

On the balance issue, one thing I haven't seen or debated is what is the desirable balance to be achieved. Assuming you have a PBEM match between 2 evenly matched players, what is the desired outcome, all things being equal?

That the Civil War follows more or less a historical trajectory?
That the South have a legitimate chance to win the war?
Or should the South be cooked by 1865, all things being equal?
What "should" happen?

In terms of my personal opinion on where the balance is:

1. The VPs are completely out of whack. As it stands, it is very easy for the Union to win on VPs. Too easy. You can win by taking Tennessee, and sitting on it
2. That being said, Union will have difficulty meeting/exceeding historical 1862 timetable, IMO, against a good opponent. The exception may be Richmond, which can be taken before 1865 if one goes all-in in East, no problem. (this assumes some reasonable limitations on US Navy)
3. Giving the Union historical forces, including 2-1, would be way too much. The Union army doesn't have the same garrison requirements in-game, and in-game you can strategically move units around quicker. It would not work.

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Tue Feb 04, 2014 5:58 pm

It boils down to that the South needs to win early, outright, or play well enough, long enough, to trigger FI (which is kind of a de facto win for the South, IMO).

If the South is getting a 'B' on the report card by spring of '63, the South is gonna be in deep doo-doo from that point. The North's Leaders have, essentially, achieved parity with Southern skill at that point (Hancock, Gibbon, etc., some excellent Cav commanders - Meade can take up a Corps pretty quickly, and so on). Get the varsity with well fleshed out formations (hello, lotsa artillery, four 12 lbers in every Div, two batteries of long rifles in every Corps), throw in more Specialists, a Blue Blockade at ~75%, and so on and so on...

starts to get real dim, very tough for the South to outright win, IMO and some experience.

The South is fun to play because it needs to hit hard, hit fast and hit often in the first half - and it can do it.

Just my opinions.
[color="#AFEEEE"]"Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!"[/color]

-Daniel Webster



[color="#FFA07A"]"C'mon, boys, we got the damn Yankees on the run!"[/color]

-General Joseph Wheeler, US Army, serving at Santiago in 1898



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(A) When in doubt, agree with Ace.

(B) Pull my reins up sharply when needed, for I am a spirited thoroughbred and forget to turn at the post sometimes.





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Tue Feb 04, 2014 6:42 pm

GraniteStater wrote:It boils down to that the South needs to win early, outright, or play well enough, long enough, to trigger FI (which is kind of a de facto win for the South, IMO).

If the South is getting a 'B' on the report card by spring of '63, the South is gonna be in deep doo-doo from that point. The North's Leaders have, essentially, achieved parity with Southern skill at that point (Hancock, Gibbon, etc., some excellent Cav commanders - Meade can take up a Corps pretty quickly, and so on). Get the varsity with well fleshed out formations (hello, lotsa artillery, four 12 lbers in every Div, two batteries of long rifles in every Corps), throw in more Specialists, a Blue Blockade at ~75%, and so on and so on...

starts to get real dim, very tough for the South to outright win, IMO and some experience.

The South is fun to play because it needs to hit hard, hit fast and hit often in the first half - and it can do it.

Just my opinions.


Its because of this kind of summary that I find the issue of what is achievable in game against what was achieved in real life so so spurious. In RL FI was never going to happen not unless the North adopted a policy of deliberately sinking British shipping. Oh its a nice 'what if' in the game but that's about it. Similarly I can conceive of no way that the North was going to be crushed in the first six months of the war. IMHO the only real hope the South ever had of achieving independence was through War Weariness. Then again we all have our own ideas of realities and possibilities.

If the objection is that somehow the game has a weakness as its impossible for the North to achieve its actual 1862 position then similarly I'd respond - so is allowing Richmond to fall before 1865 or enabling Washington to fall at any time. And even if it were possible then under the limitations of the game engine and coding it would be game over for the South in 62.

Once I start on that route I might as well be arguing for a simulation not a game. It is impossible for any of us or Athena to recreate the stupidity, luck and sometimes genius of the actual combatants. Likewise we have a degree of knowledge and insight into our enemies strength, mobility, cohesion etc that the real participants could never have enjoyed. Let alone being able to assess with that wonderful gift of hindsight the respective abilities of commanders.

So I'll live with not being able to recreate actual history. I'm quite satisfied that CW2 provides a unique and enjoyable experience that I consider to be the best Civil War game released to date.

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Tue Feb 04, 2014 6:46 pm

Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining and probably agree with every syllable above.

Mostly, it's an observation of mine - I have found, at least in AACW, that trying to achieve what I'm discussing is pretty hard. I find CW2, if anything, to be at least a bit more 'difficult' than AACW.

And I haven't set it to Colonel yet, on either side.
[color="#AFEEEE"]"Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!"[/color]

-Daniel Webster



[color="#FFA07A"]"C'mon, boys, we got the damn Yankees on the run!"[/color]

-General Joseph Wheeler, US Army, serving at Santiago in 1898



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(A) When in doubt, agree with Ace.

(B) Pull my reins up sharply when needed, for I am a spirited thoroughbred and forget to turn at the post sometimes.





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Tue Feb 04, 2014 6:52 pm

I think the biggest problem is that the CSA player knows that all those are important, and they guard them much more than historically was the case. IIRC, there was no real garrison in Nashville, nor any in NO. No CSA player would dare let either location be ungarrisoned (they would have at least 1 division, maybe more). Also, in the west, the CSA was rather passive for a long time (they really didn't do anything to stop the union until Shiloh (which is almost at Corinth)). Considering how important Tennessee is, no CSA player would let half of it fall in 1861 (which is what happened IRL). So I don't think it's som much a union power problem as a "the player knows history, and thus won't make the same mistakes". This is also why most union players do everything possible to get Grant to 3 stars, they know he will be so good. - from Jim-NC

Cogent remarks. I find it a challenge against the AI.

I agree, a decent human CSA is not going to make the same errors the South did in TN in early 1862.
[color="#AFEEEE"]"Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!"[/color]

-Daniel Webster



[color="#FFA07A"]"C'mon, boys, we got the damn Yankees on the run!"[/color]

-General Joseph Wheeler, US Army, serving at Santiago in 1898



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(A) When in doubt, agree with Ace.

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Tue Feb 04, 2014 7:13 pm

Athena will not make the same mistakes as IRL. The same holds true for the union. The best commanders are promoted ASAP, and the incompetents are weeded out. In most of the games I played, no field army was ever commanded by a general with less than a 3 strategic rating by early 1862. Everyone else was moved to some post in the middle of nowhere, and we got these huge armies commanded by Hooker and Grant (maybe Meade or someone else). Keep Mac until Summer 1862???? He is always moved somewhere else, and someone better is put in charge of the army.
Remember - The beatings will continue until morale improves.
[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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Tue Feb 04, 2014 8:01 pm

Q-Ball wrote:
In terms of my personal opinion on where the balance is:
1. The VPs are completely out of whack. As it stands, it is very easy for the Union to win on VPs. Too easy. You can win by taking Tennessee, and sitting on it
2. That being said, Union will have difficulty meeting/exceeding historical 1862 timetable, IMO, against a good opponent. The exception may be Richmond, which can be taken before 1865 if one goes all-in in East, no problem. (this assumes some reasonable limitations on US Navy)
3. Giving the Union historical forces, including 2-1, would be way too much. The Union army doesn't have the same garrison requirements in-game, and in-game you can strategically move units around quicker. It would not work.


1. +6 VP/trn for the CSA in the 1.03.
2. An effort has been made to make the Anaconda strategy the most sensible one for the Union in 1.03.. If the Union does not take out or block CSA big harbors, CSA will have ample money for the war effort.
3. In 1.03. 2:1 ratio is kept, but with increase in available manpower for both sides to historical levels 2.000.000:1.000.000 it will be a lot harder to follow strategy let's pound at the CSA until they run out of manpower.

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Tue Feb 04, 2014 8:28 pm

[Union] can win by taking Tennessee, and sitting on it


I was starting to suspect this myself.

Ace's points are woo-hoo! Good Stuff t'hear.
[color="#AFEEEE"]"Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!"[/color]

-Daniel Webster



[color="#FFA07A"]"C'mon, boys, we got the damn Yankees on the run!"[/color]

-General Joseph Wheeler, US Army, serving at Santiago in 1898



RULES

(A) When in doubt, agree with Ace.

(B) Pull my reins up sharply when needed, for I am a spirited thoroughbred and forget to turn at the post sometimes.





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Tue Feb 04, 2014 8:58 pm

GraniteStater wrote:
by June 1862, the Union had achieved the following:

Obtained a 2:1 manpower advantage in Virginia.
Occupied Springfield, MO.
Captured Fort Donelson, TN.
Captured Island No 10.
Captured Fort Macon, NC.
Captured Fort Pulaski, GA.
Captured Forts Jackson and St Philip, LA
Captured New Orleans, LA
Captured Memphis, TN.



I remember this idea being discussed in an AAR an I tend to agree that the USA gets off to a slow start. In my experience, the real limitation is manpower. You tend to run dry by late summer. Of course in the summer of 1861, the federals had troubles with funds and equipment, but if anything they had a problem of too many volunteers.

IRL little Mac had 168,000 troops in the Army of the Patomic by November of 1861. That is about 50,000 more than Grant took with him to launch the Overland Campaign. If McClellen had more nerve and speed, he could have Richmond in his Peninsula campaign. Now, if I keep the AoP at ~60,000 I have been able to raise approximately historical levels of forces by February to move on Ft Donelson (with Grant at about 25,000), Island No 10 (with about 15,000 waiting for Pope), and Bowling Green (with about 30,000 waiting for Don Carlos). If I was aggressive with my Marines it's not impossible to get 2 or 3 coastal forts, if the cards play out right Lyon was able to secure Springfield with 10,000 or so by the snows of 1861, and by February Butler is getting ready with a division to go to NO (and will deal with the forts in the same operation.)

The problem is that if I do all that, I'm spread out all over the place. There is no way to get Grant up to 40,000 by early April for a move on Corinth while having McCellen marching on Richmond from Fort Monroe with 120,000 by the end of March (while at the same time leaving several corps to defend Washington). At this point it only takes 1 well timed counter move to trip up a whole offensive. (The AI's AS Johnston has a particular knack for causing trouble in Cairo every time I move down the Cumberland.)

Now I have been experimenting with a Volunteer (Militia) spam strategy. The idea being they allow me the most unit production bang for my buck (and if you funnel all the regiments to McClellan and Halleck you can get them trained to regulars), but even then the manpower well runs dry well before you get even close to the RL AoP level of November 1861.

As to the players who start as the CSA and feel that those on the other side doesn't know how to use resources, GraniteStater is quite right in pointing out that to carry on long term, sustained, deep offensive operations you need massive superiority to make sure your bases of supply are covered. Raiding to Washington is one thing, but when was the last time a CSA player took New York? The CSA is able to do more with less because it has the benefit of interior lines and fighting inside friendly territory.

I tend to find the call for volunteers underpowered. I'd suggest beefing up the conscripts generated by the volunteer calls (and perhaps nerfing a bit the manpower gains from draft and the emancipation options). I do feel that money and supply shortages are fine for 1861 and should be the main limiting factor in what can be raised.

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Tue Feb 04, 2014 9:05 pm

Ace wrote:1. +6 VP/trn for the CSA in the 1.03.
2. An effort has been made to make the Anaconda strategy the most sensible one for the Union in 1.03.. If the Union does not take out or block CSA big harbors, CSA will have ample money for the war effort.
3. In 1.03. 2:1 ratio is kept, but with increase in available manpower for both sides to historical levels 2.000.000:1.000.000 it will be a lot harder to follow strategy let's pound at the CSA until they run out of manpower.


That's what I get for eating dinner in the middle of drafting a post! The answer appears to have presented its self. If the manpower ratio is kept the same but manpower is increased for both sides, I think that will go a long way to solving the problem. (As much as I complained about Union numbers, I can't remember the last time I saw 15,000 rebels guarding Ft. Donaldson or 7,000 at Island Number 10)

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Tue Feb 04, 2014 9:19 pm

Good points, and not just 'cuz they buttress my feelings.

From Grant's Memoirs (paraphrase): "...it should be borne in mind at all times that the South was, essentially, one vast military camp. Almost the entire population, with a few exceptions, was actively or latently hostile to National troops and the Union's cause. Whatever advantages we possessed in raw numbers were rapidly dissipated by the need to garrison, sometimes in considerable strength, almost every post and point we wished to hold. All supplies and rail connections needed to be watched and guarded. The strain this produced, even on forces which enjoyed a theoretical numerical superiority overall, was considerable and ever present."
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Tue Feb 04, 2014 9:26 pm

Ace wrote:1. +6 VP/trn for the CSA in the 1.03.
2. An effort has been made to make the Anaconda strategy the most sensible one for the Union in 1.03.. If the Union does not take out or block CSA big harbors, CSA will have ample money for the war effort.
3. In 1.03. 2:1 ratio is kept, but with increase in available manpower for both sides to historical levels 2.000.000:1.000.000 it will be a lot harder to follow strategy let's pound at the CSA until they run out of manpower.


1. That will certainly help balance it better, thanks. Hope it's enough.
2. Sounds like the South is getting more trade ports besides just New Orleans and Charleston
3. How is that going to be implemented? Free recruits in 1861, or bigger results from volunteer decisions?

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Tue Feb 04, 2014 10:38 pm

2. More cotton warehouses.
3. More barracks, farmfields, plantations, more recruits from draft options, fixed US garrisons in Washington and Alexandria which unlock in 64.

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Tue Feb 04, 2014 10:56 pm

GraniteStater wrote:
So, again, gentlemen, if you have taken Fts H&D, Nashville, Memphis,#10 (leave Pillow aside) and New Orleans - the First Five, I guess, for a designation - in strength, to stay, obviating further contesting about them, by June62...

please, tell me how. I'll be happy to learn.



New Orleans was not garrisoned properly. They took no strong actions against the landings on the east coast.

Nashville was evacuated and middle Tennessee all the way to Corinth MS.

Island #10 was not just Island #10. It was New Madrid, Mo, Point Pleasant, Mo, The Tennessee side of the river and Island #10. There was a bit more than a division of infantry, a bit over a regiment of cavalry, and way too much artillery for the size of the forces. But they were out flanked on the Missouri side. Most ran.

Springfield Mo. Was evacuated because Price believed Curtis was coming with 50,000 men under a black flag. He outnumbered him and had a defensive position and plenty of supply, but ran to Arkansas and destroyed the depot at Fayetteville.

At Ft. Pillow there was only some artillery and Jeff Thompson with a small fleet. They ran.

At Memphis they had only a fleet of civilian riverboats to stop Union Ironclads and no garrison. The were all in Corinth.

That was real life. The CSA commanders were at fault. It is not as easy in the game.

In the game you still have to get very lucky but on about turn 3 you start building your invasion divisions in New York. Run every thing you can spare to Missouri and Cairo. Build a good division or two in Ohio and send them to help against the forts.

In Virginia all you do is hold your ground. No big push, just make sure the CSA can’t take Washington and go for the places you want. In New Orleans it is quicker to land, take the city and go back for the forts.

You will have a 2 to 1 overall but maybe not in Virginia. The AI won’t be as stupid as Price, Polk, and Pillow.

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Tue Feb 04, 2014 11:04 pm

All of which is why I stopped flogging myself for not meeting The Historical Schedule a long time ago. It is definitely tougher against Athena.
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Tue Feb 04, 2014 11:15 pm

So, the Union has all the manpower and money it needs. It has no wide spread garrison requirements.

It is not weaker in the game but the AI is better at generaling than P,P, & P.

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Tue Feb 04, 2014 11:21 pm

Ol' Choctaw wrote:
In New Orleans it is quicker to land, take the city and go back for the forts.



There was a long post on this in the Matrix forum. It's something you can do in-game, no question, but I think there needs to be a HR against it. IRL, no way the Union would sail troop transports past the forts. Ironclads and warships, sure, but not transports. It's too easy to do so in the game.

The current pace of the game, it's tougher to maintain the real life pace. I do agree the CSA had bad leadership in the west; everyone highlights the Union political generals, but the CSA had really piss-poor leadership early on out West. AS Johnston gets an incomplete because he died at Shiloh, but he certainly entrusted some bad subordinates.

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Wed Feb 05, 2014 12:13 am

Ol' Choctaw wrote:New Orleans was not garrisoned properly. They took no strong actions against the landings on the east coast.

Nashville was evacuated and middle Tennessee all the way to Corinth MS.

Island #10 was not just Island #10. It was New Madrid, Mo, Point Pleasant, Mo, The Tennessee side of the river and Island #10. There was a bit more than a division of infantry, a bit over a regiment of cavalry, and way too much artillery for the size of the forces. But they were out flanked on the Missouri side. Most ran.

Springfield Mo. Was evacuated because Price believed Curtis was coming with 50,000 men under a black flag. He outnumbered him and had a defensive position and plenty of supply, but ran to Arkansas and destroyed the depot at Fayetteville.

At Ft. Pillow there was only some artillery and Jeff Thompson with a small fleet. They ran.

At Memphis they had only a fleet of civilian riverboats to stop Union Ironclads and no garrison. The were all in Corinth.

That was real life. The CSA commanders were at fault. It is not as easy in the game.

In the game you still have to get very lucky but on about turn 3 you start building your invasion divisions in New York. Run every thing you can spare to Missouri and Cairo. Build a good division or two in Ohio and send them to help against the forts.

In Virginia all you do is hold your ground. No big push, just make sure the CSA can’t take Washington and go for the places you want. In New Orleans it is quicker to land, take the city and go back for the forts.

You will have a 2 to 1 overall but maybe not in Virginia. The AI won’t be as stupid as Price, Polk, and Pillow.


Well excluding Price, I wouldn't be to hard on the CSA commanders. Or more specifically, you should place the blame with John B. Floyd. When he surrendered his 15,000 at Fort Donelson A.S. Johnston had Beauregard in Columbus Kentucky and and Hardee in Bowling Green both trying to concentrate at Nashville before Buell could join Grant. Had Floyd held on long enough for AS Jonston to arrive with all his forces he might have caught Grant venerable and forced him back to Cairo. Instead Donelson fell, ASJ lost 15,000 of the 40,000 he had to defend his entire department (including all the way down to NO), and Nashville was now stuck between Grant and Buell and ACJ decided to pull everything back to Corinth in order to possibly get Grant venerable. That led them to evacuate support from Island No 10 and abandon Nashville.

At the end of the day though, it might have worked had Shiloh worked out differently or Floyd not surrendered with his entire force. Besides they had one other big problem, McClellen was in Va with 160,000 troops. Davis would have loved to have been able to send more troops west if it hadn't been all hands on deck in the east. The mass of Federals in the East effectively fixed a large part of confederate combat power in the East for the war. Not being able to achieve 2:1 in the east means one won't be able to achieve it elsewhere either. Until AI deals with the same conditions as Price, Polk, and Pillow, I wouldn't be so quick to condemn.

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Wed Feb 05, 2014 12:22 am

Q-Ball wrote:There was a long post on this in the Matrix forum. It's something you can do in-game, no question, but I think there needs to be a HR against it. IRL, no way the Union would sail troop transports past the forts. Ironclads and warships, sure, but not transports. It's too easy to do so in the game.

The current pace of the game, it's tougher to maintain the real life pace. I do agree the CSA had bad leadership in the west; everyone highlights the Union political generals, but the CSA had really piss-poor leadership early on out West. AS Johnston gets an incomplete because he died at Shiloh, but he certainly entrusted some bad subordinates.



I had just noticed that ironclads can get past Island 10 without taking damage and thus an entire fleet with transports etc can get past it unhindered, making the fort a supply stopper and nothing else. Doesn't feel right. On the other hand Farragut slipped the forts in the delta and took New Orleans. So I dunno.
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Wed Feb 05, 2014 12:24 am

Ace wrote:1. +6 VP/trn for the CSA in the 1.03.
2. An effort has been made to make the Anaconda strategy the most sensible one for the Union in 1.03.. If the Union does not take out or block CSA big harbors, CSA will have ample money for the war effort.
3. In 1.03. 2:1 ratio is kept, but with increase in available manpower for both sides to historical levels 2.000.000:1.000.000 it will be a lot harder to follow strategy let's pound at the CSA until they run out of manpower.



Funny thing is, I never felt that manpower was the main issue for the South, but money is the bottleneck. But actually only a little bit more would have made it for me. One just has to play the cards right, so to speak.
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Wed Feb 05, 2014 12:26 am

Speaking of cards. I would trade in more partisan actions for more manpower and money any time.
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Wed Feb 05, 2014 12:28 am

AS Johnston was ill-served by nearly all his subordinates (though, he put them in those spots)

McCown did a lousy job at Island 10; he waited too long, then ended up trapped with his garrison. 5000 men gone.
Zollicoffer botched Mill Springs completely, setting up for battle with a swollen river in his rear. He paid with his life.
Floyd and Pillow's incompetence at Donelson is well documented. But Johnston was negligent in not having Tilghman improve the Ft. Henry defenses enough by fortifying the opposite bank. He sat on it for 4 months.
Finally, Polk's move on Columbus was a political failure. (Though, he probably felt the KY Legislature was about to throw in with the Union anyway, and he was probably right)
Hardee was the only subordinate that didn't screw up, but with only 15,000 men or so at Bowling Green, he had no choice but to withdraw in haste once Donelson fell

AS Johnston's decision to hit Grant's army before Buell could join him was probably correct; they did acheive surprise and nearly won, but Grant's determination carried the day

But the CSA early defense of Tennessee was nothing short of a poorly led disaster

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