This is a tutorial AAR for the Spanish-American War campaign scenario of Pride of Nations. It’s a very short scenario – only ten turns long – and the economic, colonial and diplomatic aspects of the game are inactive. As such, it makes a good introduction to the combat.
This is only the second time I’ve played the scenario – the first time, I won a minor victory on points but failed to achieve all my objectives. I’m going to try to do better this time! I’m playing as the Americans.
As a historical background, Spain in the 1890s was facing rebellions in many of its remaining colonies, especially Cuba and the Philippines. The Spanish government introduced harsh measures to fight the rebels, including the notorious reconcentrados, or concentration camps, where over a hundred thousand civilians died of starvation and disease. The US press publicised these atrocities, deliberately encouraging pro-war sentiment. Then on 15 February 1898 the US battleship Maine, on a visit to Havana, blew up and sank for reasons still unknown today. The press, however, was united in blaming the explosion on Spanish saboteurs, and whipped up a public frenzy for military intervention. Ten weeks later, the United States was at war with Spain.
Here we see the view you get when you start the scenario. There are military forces in Norfolk, Baltimore and Washington DC. Clicking on the force in Norfolk shows you this:
The Porto Rico Expeditionary Force is the name of the stack, and that gives us a fairly good clue what to do with it. There are three units in the stack, called John R Brooke, I Corps Cavalry and Pack Train No.1. The tooltip from hovering over the stack gives more detailed information.
BG (Brigadier General) John R Brooke is the commander of the stack, and he has 12 Command Points available. The stack he’s leading only requires 2 CP, so that’s no problem. (A stack that’s too large for a general to command, or which has no general at all, suffers significant penalties to combat and movement.)
The three units in the stack are listed next. Brooke has three values listed, 4-2-1, which are his strategic, attack and defence ratings. He’s a fairly active commander, reasonably good on the attack and mediocre on defence. He also has a combat strength of 288 – not because he’s Superman, but because the unit includes a corps of militia as well as the general himself. The cavalry unit has a strength of 72, and the supply unit has no combat rating. Note that this combat rating is a guideline; actual combat involves many other factors. The strength is also heavily dependent on a unit’s cohesion and supply status, and so may rise or fall significantly from turn to turn.
The stack has a Land Detect rating of 5 and a Hide rating of 1. These numbers are compared to those of the enemy – it’s entirely possible for two units to be in the same province without detecting each other, especially if one of them is composed of partisans or guerrillas with a high Hide rating. The stack also has a Weight of 56, which is the value checked to see if a transport fleet can carry it.
If you click on the individual unit shown on the bottom of the screen, you get additional information about its composition, shown on the right. The unit called John R Brooke actually comprises the general himself, plus four regiments (‘elements’) of militia infantry and one of artillery. Clicking on the unit symbol in turn brings up an info box of detailed statistics – and also showing what the units’ uniforms look like.
So that’s one army. What else do we have? The quickest way to find out is to go to the Roster screen in the ledger by pressing F2.
We have 45 stacks of units, which is a lot. Let’s simplify things by pressing the Hide Locked Forces filter button (fourth from left), which hides 27 of those 45 stacks (which are locked in place until attacked in this scenario). We’ll also click on the US flag in the top right to hide the Cuban and Filipino rebel armies, to show just the US forces. Much easier to comprehend! You can also hide either the fleets or the armies.
We have seven fleets – the Asiatic Squadron off the Pearl River Estuary (which is in China), the Atlantic Squadron off Cape Hatteras, the Flying Squadron in the Straits of Florida, and the Pacific Squadron in Imperial (San Diego in California); plus three transport squadrons – two in the Pacific, one in Tampa Bay in Florida.
As for armies, we have three Expeditionary Forces - for Cuba, Porto Rico and the Philippines – plus the US Marine Corps and the War Department in Washington.
The Strategic Map (F5) will also give an overview of where our forces are located. The Spanish forces we know about are also shown (in yellow), but of course they may have others hiding behind the fog of war.
Finally, the Objectives Screen (F10) tells us we have to capture San Juan in Porto Rico, La Habana and Santiago in Cuba, and Manila in the Philippines to win the scenario. In fact, we can ignore La Habana since we score a sudden-death victory if we take the other three objectives.
In the next post, I’ll start giving actual orders.