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Rensslaer

Strategy GuidAAR
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Jun 24, 2004
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www.orinthia.net
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I’ve recently purchased Victoria 3, and have begun poking around in it, but I still have deep and abiding love for Victoria 2. So while I was waiting for the price of V3 to come down, I’ve been playing a V2 campaign as the USA.

This is the first time I’ve ever played the USA in any game. I probably played it briefly during the V2 and/or HOI3 beta, but it would only have been for a few months or years of gametime before another patch candidate came out and I’d have to start a different game.

This will be primarily a gameplay AAR, and I can promise some pretty good gameplay. For one, as some may know, I wrote the official V2 manual and strategy guides in 2010, so I have a fairly instinctual feel for the game. On the other hand, these books were written more than a decade ago and I have clearly forgotten some things.

I will show strategy sometimes if I feel it’s important, or if I feel it was particularly clever, but not to the degree of I Am Siam, which I wrote when the game first came out.

I may -- may -- throw in a narrative scene here or there, just to illustrate. No promises. But I had fun with that while writing Imperio Novo, an HOI 3 strategy AAR (as Axis Portugal). Real old-timers may remember my narrative-historybook Victoria I AAR, Fire Warms the Northern Lands. I haven't really written much narrative since then because the encouragement I received from my efforts at Fire Warms prompted me to start writing fiction for novels, and I currently have one published epic fantasy novel and am working on two more in the series.

If you’d recommend other USA AARs that aren’t narrative I’d be interested in seeing them – I don’t see a lot when I look.

But mostly this will be a retelling of the general story of this alternative USA in these years. Unfortunately I was some ways in before I realized I hadn’t acquired Heart of Darkness. This is v1.3 V2 with A House Divided. It occurs to me that I've never played a game with Heart of Darkness and I don't even know the major changes it must have introduced (colonization, not least). I apologize in advance for the antiquated colonial rules featured herein.

Readers of my previous AARs will tell you I tend to be stubborn when fighting wars, and will overcome through sheer force of will where others might have begged off with a white peace.

I also don’t restart games, except in extreme circumstances, so if I make a bad mistake or error of judgment, you’ll see it and get to laugh at me.

I will start out with certain general directions and goals, but as you will see I get pulled in directions no one would expect by the actions of others, with surprising consequences. I say this with 60 years of gameplay finished. As a result, your recommendations on strategy likely won’t be able to change my direction, but may help others and so I welcome commentary.

I will also say my initial goals were to avoid involvement with Europe, and to consolidate power in the Americas. Definitely to expand to the Pacific Coast, and perhaps into the Pacific Ocean and Asia, as largely occurred historically. As did NOT happen historically, it will be my goal to end slavery at the earliest possible opportunity, and not to enact much of the compromise legislation that historically accommodated slavery in the South.

I will try to keep my updates coming approximately weekly. That's to ensure I have time to keep up. I'm currently looking for a job, writing books, and have other commitments that compete with my AAR writing. I don't want to disappoint, so this is how I will pace to try to keep this going.

Also, with regard to wars, my intent is to kind of speed through the uninteresting parts and not get bogged down. I have an idea that I might choose one or two major battles or campaigns from each war to highlight, but I want this to be a fast-paced and interesting AAR, not a slog.



As you may know, the US is pretty well locked into colonizing Washington and Oregon at the start of the scenario. Otherwise the US might not successfully reach the Pacific at all!

The US starts off ranked 5th for industry in 1836. Not sure if it's realistic that both France and BELGIUM(!?) were ahead of the US in industrialization, but that's what the game tells us.



Also not sure about the 42% Literacy. I recall a history professor telling us, once, that in 1789 the literacy rate in the United States was 89% -- a figure that has stuck with me. I believe it to be realistic due to the nature of American culture at the time -- the literate, enlightened democracy thing. It's possible immigration affected these numbers. But I don't have firm statistics to throw at the question.

No surprise that the UK and France have the dominant navies of the time, or that the US is a distant third. The United States, from its earliest wars, realized that a strong US Navy was its means of survival and security. Not to mention its maritime commercial interests that required protection.



Also a "fact of life" starting as the US in 1836 is that American emigrants in the Mexican state of Texas/Tejas were busy struggling for independence from Mexico. This, of course, was a natural outgrowth of the fact that the Mexicans perhaps allowed too many Americans into the area without fully integrating them into society. An American society in exile came to be, and revolution was a result.



As soon as the Texas war with Mexico was over, we included Texas in our Sphere of Influence, and in September 1837 we add Texas as part of the United States. We were also irritated to find that a lot of the territory we wanted to colonize was already being colonized by Mexico (remember these are the House Divided colonization rules – I’m reasonably sure they changed in Heart of Darkness).

I feel conflict with Mexico is inevitable. Perhaps you are thinking the same…



By 1836 the mechanics of the game have switched up the Great Powers list. The US has climbed to 5th. Russia and the Austrians are shown to be contenders, while Belgium and the Ottomans are still hanging in there. Those lower positions will switch, here and there, as I'm sure you know.

Here are the Decisions that the United States has the option to make early on...



I will tell you now that I don't like any of them, and hope not to need to make any of these decisions at all. My goal is to end the evil of slavery, and each of these decisions is a very inhumane decision. History will tell you that these compromises were necessary to avoid Civil War, etc. My hope is that I can avoid Civil War AND end slavery early.

Some of you may know how that will go.... Anyone else tried it? :)

Thank you, friends, for taking the time to read my AAR. I very much welcome and encourage comments and commentary.

Rensslaer
 
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Nice job annexing Texas.

I'm also kind of curious about those published novels now...

On topic, we'll see how the slavery thing goes. I've never played the US in Victoria 2 - I considered it, but Russia won the coin flip, and I ended up developing Rise of Russia. From a historical perspective, I don't see the South agreeing to end slavery after the invention of the Cotton Gin (avoiding that might have ended it early and without a civil war) because of how profitable it was. I'm not sure how well V2 models that, though.
 
Welcome, @HistoryDude! Happy to have my first reader!

I love alternate-history and what-if scenarios. It's hard to imagine a situation where the South would have accepted the loss of slavery, but it's always bugged me that there was so much coddling and compromise over the years over the issue. Your "anti-slavery" voices are basically saying "slavery is bad and is prohibited here..... but you can do it over there, just so long as I don't have to see it." Outside of the game I'm tempted to say a more aggressive anti-slavery position would simply have made civil war come earlier. But, on the other hand, it took the north some time to really embrace the anti-slavery position -- many were okay with it. It was "the way things are" and we all become comfortable with "the way things are" even when (if you think about it) it's really something terrible. Anyway, just musing.

As for the books -- I did publish the one novel, Uprooted, about 9 years ago. I've been working on the sequel and a prequel ever since and just have struggled to have time to write. I have a link in my profile to the blog/site where I talk about the epic fantasy series. Uprooted is currently out-of-print because I had someone create new cover art and I haven't repackaged everything again to sell. I'll let you know here if anything becomes available. Thank you!

I've also been playing with the idea for almost 2 decades of publishing an alternate history based on my Fire Warms the Northern Lands narrative AAR. I have some stuff mostly written, and just need to (again) find time to do it all. Writing is frustrating when you have a full time job! :)

Thank you again!

Rensslaer
 



As of 1840 the United States was quickly gearing up an industrial economy, and had factories churning out items with military importance, such as small arms, ammunition, explosives, steamers, etc. But these industries were still dominated by European powers who were potential rivals.

Also during this period rapidly industrializing Belgium rocketed up from the 7th ranked Great Power, past Austria, Russia and the United States, to become the 4th ranked power. The USA fell to 6th behind Russia and Belgium.

But in the Sphere of Influence race, the US grabbed and held Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela.

The colonial race in North America eventually settled the frontiers. British Canada enjoyed a straight-line border across the northern frontier. And Mexico had successfully grabbed Colorado, New Mexico, and everything west through California. This wasn’t a situation that made the United States happy.


Just to note, I will generally ignore world events unless they bear directly upon issues in the Americas. This is because the USA at this time was mostly insular, and I want to reflect that as much as I can in this AAR. On the other hand, there are certain interesting international occurrences that I’m going to highlight for one reason or another.

In the early game I noticed two rather interesting oddities. For one, a war between China and Portugal resulted in Goa (Portugal’s Indian enclave) becoming Chinese. For another, a war (may have been the same one) between the UK and Portugal resulted in three provinces of Portugal becoming British territory.

We considered Cuba (Spanish) to be a potential target of conquest, so we were upset to see that Spain had been included in France’s SoI.

In 1840 Russia went to war with the UK in the far Canadian northwest, but this would quickly end up with a white peace. The UK also concluded wars with France and the Ottoman Empire with white peaces in 1841.

Returning to the United States, although grievances with Mexico drove up war fever, that was not to become the United States’ first war since 1815.



In August of 1842 the British determined upon a full-fledged redux war over the American Revolution and War of 1812, seeking to capture Washington DC and subjugate the United States to its will once more! Technically, they only sought to claim the "state" of Washington DC. But that's our Capital! They clearly had designs beyond a small territorial redrafting.

Suffice it to say that, while the United States was militarily prepared for a land war against Mexico, it was not quite ready for a war with a Great Power, leastwise the naval might of the United Kingdom. This could be a dicey war!

Fortunately, the US’ Sphere of Influence campaign had generated alliances with the most powerful countries of Latin America, and Brazil and Central America soon began moving their armies and navies, such as they were. The United States quickly laid down a maximum capacity buildout of Men-o-War and commerce-raiding steamships – every shipyard began working feverishly. But those fruits would not be ready for a year, still.



Having at first focused our technology priorities upon industrial arts, the US also quickly shifted into modernization of its army. The Springfield Armory promised a new model of muzzle-loaded rifles by the summer of 1845. Would this war even last that long?? Small comfort?

General Augustus Ford met the British at Watertown, New York, and drew first blood. This first battle was not a lopsided affair. The small occupation force the British had sent down from Canada was quickly pushed back across the border. We appeared to have local superiority in numbers, at least. And American training and equipment did not appear to be entirely outclassed by the British.

At sea, also, Admiral Richard Caldwell proved that the United States Navy could hold its own against the Royal Navy. That first battle, off the Eastern Atlantic Seaboard, cost the loss of 5 American frigates, but they took a British man-o-war to the bottom with them. It would not be an easy war, by any means, but the British may have miscalculated the ease with which they could regain portions of their American colonies.

A pattern soon emerged at sea – of American casualties, but increased wear-and-tear on the British ships. For those who have read my other AARs, most particularly I Am Siam, but also Fire Warms the Northern Lands or even the Hearts of Iron III Strategy Guide might recognize what’s called the Fabian Strategy – achieving local superiority, wearing down the enemy, then retreating before being utterly destroyed.

The US Navy couldn’t be everywhere, but we could avoid the Royal Navy where it existed in strength, and appear where the enemy had handfuls of ships. We could also engage with larger enemy fleets and inflict damage, later sending new fleets to take over the attrition while withdrawing the older fleet for repairs.

This eventually included an effort to deny the enemy use of nearby harbours…



The Americans also soon found that the British overconfidence had extended to not establishing garrisons sufficiently along the Canadian border, or in her Caribbean island holdings. The United States set to work marshaling the troops to capture these targets.

The first major land battle of the war began in March, 1843, when 30,000 British Regulars arrived in Montreal from the north. Progress into Quebec and Ontario had been heretofore easy, and so a sizeable force such as this came as a shock. Naturally we should have expected resistance – it just seemed like it would have appeared earlier.



Gen. Ford at the time had the city under siege with only 9,000 soldiers, so they were immediately hard pressed. The government in Washington considered, but rejected, a full mobilization, which they had not wanted to pursue due to the damage it would cause to the economy. Reinforcements arrived almost a month later, and prevented a retreat. As more troops arrived, resistance stiffened, and it began to look as if Ford could hold.

By the end of April, American will at Montreal had outlasted the British, and the enemy retreated with approximately 10,000 casualties to only half that for the Americans.



The British retreated to the south, which was a mistake. More American forces harried them there, under Gen. Lucas Kimball. By mid-May another British retreat was ordered, again to the south. Kimball was able to do an end-around and the British found entrenched Americans in the Toronto region when they arrived. Kimball’s pursuit continued and soon only 8,000 surviving redcoats were fleeing Kimball.

Montreal surrendered on July 9. Vancouver and Vancouver Island, on the Pacific Coast, fell in August, which forced the Royal Navy ships there to seek another harbor. US Navy blockade ships gave battle as they emerged, but could not stand long.

The last of the British force that surprised Ford at Montreal surrendered to Kimball September 10.



Admirals Armstrong and Caldwell were having some success fighting back against the British off the American Atlantic coast, sinking 7 British ships in September, then 4 more in November.

Around the world, British troops from Guyana had captured three provinces in northern Brazil. More and more Royal Navy ships appeared in American waters. But Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver fall. The British islands of the Caribbean began to fall, Belize having already been captured by Central American allies.

By the end of 1843, a year and some months after the UK decided to pick this fight, we’re not doing too badly. In fact, I’m imagining summonings to the palace and audiences with an angry Queen for the architects of this war.



In February of 1844, British envoys appear on the doorstep of the building they’d wished to conquer….

What to do? What to do…

 
It seems that the US is taking cues from Rome. The Monroe Doctrine is probably also being enforced right now, which is good.

I guess that the strategy would depend on if the US thinks they could secure more concessions from Britain with a longer war. Of course, that's risky since it could let the UK gain the initiative...
 
@HistoryDude how do you mean taking cues from Rome? There's a lot to this update -- I just want make sure I understand.

Rensslaer
 
I was referencing this Fabian Strategy.
 
Okay, yes. When I first used this strategy in Victoria 1 I wasn't sure what it was called -- it just seemed sensible to have small victories where I could. Since then it's seemed to pop up in a great many of my games.

My intent with the Monroe Doctrine (keeping British powers out of the Americas) is in mind, but difficult to fully implement (as it is/was even in OTL). There are Spanish, French, Dutch colonies -- even a Danish island! -- in the Caribbean region, and Canada looms. It's an interesting thought, but how realistic? I'll perhaps test that out. :)

Thanks for following!

Rensslaer
 
Just caught this! A nice beginning. I would of course go for the white peace, but I'm a coward when it comes to fighting seeming overwhelming force. ;)
 
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Welcome, @coz1! Great to see you joining along!

If I show how much I can accomplish by being stubborn, it is not so that I show off my own skills (which in many cases are lacking). It's more to inspire others to hold out for more and use good tactics and strategies to win even when victory seems unlikely.

I have another update prepared -- just need to do a little editing and post it when I have time, which is hopefully in a few hours.

Thank you for reading! I know this part of the Forum isn't as popular or active as it once was, but it deserves attention because V2 is really an amazing game. I'm sure the same can be said of V3, but I have yet to fully grasp all the controls, and it seems there are still some balancing and realism issues that prevent me from fully enjoying it.

Rensslaer
 



As you might have anticipated, if you’ve read any of my previous AARs, the United States sent the British envoys home without an agreement for peace. Some of our allies were not so confident. Brazil begged off with a white peace while she was still busy regaining her northern provinces. This actually improved our standing in the war, as it removed from the table some of the only conquests Britain had made.

The USCA (Central America) also left, and with it left the once-conquered colony of Belize, which we quickly moved to recapture.

I keep picking off small numbers of British clipper transports. Did they ever fix the AI for this type of behavior, like in Heart of Darkness? I have always sunk them, and removed their transport ability, hoping that some troops went to the bottom with them. It always annoyed my sense of legitimate challenge that the enemy would send out un-escorted transports as such fodder.





Our soldiers had now reached deep into Canada, even into the Arctic Circle, where we continued to make British naval ports unavailable to them. The vast majority of their ports, in fact, in the entire western hemisphere have been removed from their use. Their Level 2 Naval Base at Halifax fell in January 1845.

By the middle of 1845 they had no more Canadian ports at all.

The muzzle loaded rifles also became available to us in mid-1845. Our next technology choice was to benefit the US Navy, as they were having more trouble dealing with the Royals than the army has been. In fact, the large fleets we’d begun seeing really started to worry us.



It was a good thing we’d sunk so many of their transports early in the war, or else the way might have been clear for an actual invasion.

But we had by this time decided we were in this war for the long haul. We secured agreements for military access from Colombia and Venezuela, and began marching our troops across the jungles toward British Guyana.

…and we finally decided what we wanted.



This war had been a great trouble to us.

A great distraction from the business of peacefully building up the United States economy.

And…. Well, let’s be honest. It’s also a distraction from the warlike pursuit of border changes with Mexico.



But we didn’t want this war.



We didn’t plan for this war.



But we were going to finish it.



And….



Well, we weren’t just going to finish it.



We were going to take something away from this war.



Maybe… Maybe something more than just some little islands.



And yeah….

You’re not going to get out of this on the cheap, Miss Vicky.

We’re not just posturing.

We want something out of this war that we didn’t choose. Whether you like it or not.



We intend this to be a lesson to the arrogant attitudes of the Great British.

But….



Hey!!

Maybe the British aren’t the only ones whose attitudes are precipitous and perhaps a little arrogant, huh?



I hadn’t expected the British to be able to mount an offensive operation back at the lands the United States had captured. But it stands to reason that if they can build and send fleets of 40 men-o-war, they probably have the ability to hurt me still.

They landed in the Bahamas too. But we quickly assembled a relief force and kicked their little landing out.

And then landed our troops in Trinidad, off the Venezuelan coast, just to prove we weren’t done working against the British colonial outposts.



By mid-1846 we had captured the first province of Guyana, at Essequibo. Then we met and defeated the British defenders at Georgetown.

Then the empire strikes back – at Jamaica.



With 44,000 troops!!! Gosh, if they can transport stacks like that by sea, we might still be in trouble.

We briefly consider mobilizing civilian conscripts, but when we realize it would only net us 17 brigades it doesn’t seem quite worth it.

Let them come to our mainland with doomstacks – then we might reconsider.

We continue picking off small colonial islands, throughout the Caribbean – those same islands we’re asking them to hand over to us so we don’t have to do this again.



And our naval struggle continues around the perimeter seas of our country. Generally, we’re finding that our commerce raider steamships are better for fighting against British men-of-war than having our own men-of-war. So we double down on that strategy.

The British keep sending envoys and offering us the Caribbean Islands in return for peace.



I keep refusing them.



Until on the first day of January, 1847 they send us another peace offer…



And I have to blink 3 times and recheck myself to see if that really says….



It does!

That really says they’ll give us the Caribbean Islands AND New Brunswick for peace!!

I think about fighting on… After all, we’ve captured the ENTIRETY of Canada, and almost all of Britain’s possessions in the western hemisphere.

But where else would we go? We’ve acquired the low-hanging fruit. A LOT of it, yes, but anything else would be a struggle. I have a +13% war progress. This is probably a gift.

I accept.



And I was actually quite surprised at the result.

We did acquire a nice stretch of Canadian coastal territory north of New England. This includes the valuable Naval Base at Halifax.

And we got the Bahamas (nice vacationlands, yes?), Turks and Caicos islands, and I’m not sure I’d quite realized Jamaica came with the deal as well. Along with the Cayman Islands.

But what might be the biggest prize I had not even thought to check…

The United States now controls the strategic mid-Atlantic island and naval base at Bermuda!!

It had never even occurred to me that these might be considered (in some weird Paradox, right?) “Caribbean Islands”.



So… Now that that war was over, we could reassess and rebuild, and regain our bearings. We began to fortify and garrison these new territories.

The United States in 1847 stood at 6th in the world, just behind Prussia in repute. Our military score was certainly not large – 24 compared to 191 for Britain, and 24 ended up being merely average among the top-ranked countries. Bavaria’s army was larger. And Switzerland’s! :)

The US rated very well in Industry – well above any lower-ranked countries. But also well below the 5 countries above us in rank.

We stood at 151 Prestige, which was actually pretty good. Defeating the UK may have increased that a fair bit.

Mexico was ranked 11th, overall, just behind Chile. Not sure, in retrospect, why Brazil wasn’t ranked higher. Then again, Brazil had struggled to assist us as an ally.

The US had only 31 brigades, against Britain’s 317 and Mexico’s 10. The British had 250 warships, but the United States’ 85 warships were mostly modern. We believed that wasn’t so for the British Empire of 1847, and we would continue to build commerce-raiding steamships at a rapid rate.



By 1849, two years later, the US had climbed into the 4th-ranked spot among the Great Powers. The USA was competing for that slot with Prussia, which had both more factories and more brigades. Eventually the Prussians overtook the US again, and the US dropped to 5th, where it mostly remained for a while.

For the better part of 8 years the United States continued to fortify bases, expand economically, build technologically, and increase militarily (mostly at sea).



But when, in 1854, Mexican authorities in Laredo encouraged local opposition to an American mission there, the provocation could not be ignored. What’s more the Mexican president sided with these upstarts, and declared that they did not wish to live in the shadow of the United States’ heavy hand any longer.



We would show them a heavy hand, all right!
 
Defeating Britain again might make other European powers more willing to have relationships with the US... and more wary of going to war with them.
 
Well, yes and no. There's alot to consider there. I'm getting badboy score for adding conquests. So I'm simultaneously making myself feared at the same time as I weaken Great Britain. And theoretically I'm making a pariah of itself slowly.

But if someone decides to put me in my place so I'm not a threat I don't get have the kind of military strength that would frighten them from doing so.

I'm certainly no threat to Britain at this stage. I'm hoping after this twice they'll go away peacefully. But then I've just taken territory... Which they might want back. But they already wanted Washington DC back, so I'm not sure that's a reasonable hope.

Thanks for commenting! Anyone else lurking out there in this quiet corner of the Forum?

Rensslaer
 
I had missed this first starting. Glad I checked the library thread.
 
@Idhrendur, welcome! Thanks for commenting - great to have you along!

Rensslaer
 
Real old-timers may remember my narrative-historybook Victoria I AAR, Fire Warms the Northern Lands. I haven't really written much narrative since then because the encouragement I received from my efforts at Fire Warms prompted me to start writing fiction for novels, and I currently have one published epic fantasy novel and am working on two more in the series.
Hey, that's fantastic! I'm glad to hear you decided to pursue writing and have found some success with it.

You certainly weren't kidding about things going off-book quickly. It's been quite a while since I've played Vic2 but I don't remember seeing many early wars between the US and UK. You did well, snagging territory off them, although I'm equally surprised by that final peace offer. I suppose, if we want to offer a Watsonian explanation, one can imagine that there would've been a significant faction in Britain against the war that might have helped force terms. I'm curious if this portends future European entanglements in the future, despite your initial desire to steer clear of them.

I'm thrilled to have found an ongoing gameplay AAR from you, and am eagerly looking forward to more!
 
@VILenin! Welcome!!!! I'm so glad to see you still on the Forums. I've thought about you from time to time and wondered what was up with you.

Yes, I did publish an epic fantasy novel. It was in circulation for a while and then I took it offline (not available currently) to redo the cover, which was entirely my fault -- I had a cover which I asked for but which was badly inspired. Now I've had the cover art redone and want to republish the book but I need time to do the layout of the cover (which I've done myself, again, against good advice). I feel like I'm now within a month or so of republishing this first novel. Then hopefully another few months before I'm ready to publish the next installment. I don't know -- I've had to do alot of job searching in the past year or two. I'm a cybersecurity contractor and my contract recently ended when the funding was cut. But now I have a better job and should hopefully be back to writing soon.

Anyway, yes, well... Your expectations may find fruit. lol I'm working on the next update as I write this. As maybe you remember I've always (ALWAYS!) tried to avoid entanglements with the UK because of their massive game-presence, and so I'm very intimidated by the prospect of future conflict. We'll see how that works out.

Great to hear from you -- one of my earliest fans in the whole world! Glad to have you along for the ride!

Rensslaer
 
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Great to hear from you -- one of my earliest fans in the whole world! Glad to have you along for the ride!
Happy to be here, my friend! I don't want to wax nostalgic on you, but I will say how nice it is to see you here on the forums after all these years. I hope you'll let me know when your novel gets republished; now that I know about it, I want to pick up a copy this time around!
 
@VILenin I will let you know about the book. I have the new cover art done and just need to lay everything out. My problem is the desktop publisher I was using is on a PC that's no longer reliable and I need to learn a new program for photo editing and desktop publishing. I'm starting a new job tomorrow and everything competes for my time. I'll hopefully have it done soon.

A new update is halfway prepared - hoping to have that posted today also.

Rensslaer
 


When, in September of 1854, the United States declared war against Mexico, there was a sense that this was an opportunity for territorial aggrandizement in revenge for the maltreatment of our diplomatic mission.

What we did not expect was that it would invite a war with the United Kingdom again.



This was going to be another slog of a war…

This time the decision was made to mobilize civilian conscripts for war. We couldn’t expect to fight a two-front war with only what soldiers we had on hand.

The British, it appeared, had learned some lessons from the last war, and were more prepared. British General Edwar Hope led a column of 45,000 soldiers down upon upstate New York. And another 36,000 troops began to move against Seattle in the Pacific Northwest. These forces were substantially larger than the defending forces we had in place.

The first Battle of Watertown ended with twice as many American casualties, and was a significant defeat. We retreated to regroup as the British attempted to secure the area. But the outnumbered Americans took advantage of the British attempt, and simply fanned out in order to surround the British.



Deployment of the US Pacific fleet prevented the British from advancing from Victoria Island (a strategic fail for the British logistics gurus). But some British columns reached into American Montana and elsewhere.

Meanwhile, US troops had landed in the Yucatan Peninsula to begin another conquest of Mexico. But Gen. Tomas Baragan engaged with his Mexican army, and he had a +4 to attack! This might be a short war on this front, too. United States troops were forced to retreat into Belize, where the Central Americans had already begun to occupy.

To make things worse, Southern nationalists rose up in four Southern cities, requiring a diversion of resources we could ill afford.



But American technology was developed around this time that improved our ability to fight both at sea and on land. Defensive entrenchments and fortress technologies were very welcome at this point in the war. A breakthrough in Field Fortifications soon followed, adding another +1 to Army Defense.

And a little naval advantage assisted in the sinking of three British steam transports and a frigate. The naval situation also meant American troops were being dropped in the British Caribbean islands again – Trinidad, St. Lucia, Barbados, Grenada, and elsewhere.

The British remained stalled and surrounded at Watertown, New York, in numbers of nearly 40,000. But American troop numbers on the perimeter were building, and a showdown seemed likely by the end of the year.

An abortive attempt to invade Mexican California turned sour when thousands of Mexican troops were spotted moving toward Sacramento. As positive as certain indicators might seem, we began a series of failed battles that raised opposing warscore and sapped our strength. The United States had engaged on three fronts, and had been defeated by the enemy at every turn so far.



Only at sea were things relatively positive, and then only in our home waters. The United Kingdom still had the ability to project power, but not always to choose where to come to blows with the US Navy. We were forced to find regional superiority in order to make headway. In the first week of January 3 British commerce raiders were sunk in the Labrador Strait. And in March, two British men-of-war were sunk in the Windward Islands, and 3 Royal Navy vessels were sunk off the coast of British Columbia.

Barbados was the first of the British Caribbean islands to fall. And in February American progress in subduing the southern Canadian provinces showed promise against the 37,000 British troops stuck at Watertown.



The British sent a newly recruited column of soldiers south toward Montreal to try to break the siege at Watertown and rescue their surrounded troops. This was a mistake – untrained, unprepared troops aren’t a useful force for this purpose. The United States Army sent Gen. Lucas Kimball (hero of the previous war) to disrupt and destroy this British army before it could properly organize and pose a threat. He engaged on March 12, and by March 22nd the poorly led British fled in disorder. This came quick on the heels of the Battle of Marquette, where 2,000 British soldiers fell for only 167 US losses.



Between the Battles of Marquette and Temiscaming the US gained 1.2 Warscore.

But while attention was focused elsewhere, the British had slipped 20,000 troops into occupied Ottawa, and had begun to retake the region. Gen. Mark Brown advanced to the attack. Despite his army having low organization he had a +3 attack (figured I’d better use him), and he’d struck before the British were able to fully dig in. He doggedly pursued contact with this enemy force and would not let up (I barely captured a screenshot with a fading “2000” daily casualty figure for the British!). Armed with reinforcements Brown continued to prosecute British Gen. Butler and gradually wore him down. Other American forces surrounded the region to ensure no escape.

Two weeks later, Brown had won an astounding victory -- 25,000 British soldiers dead, wounded or surrendered, and only 4,500 American casualties. The warscore gain was +4.5.



That brought the USA to a +13 overall warscore against the British and Mexico. Another series of smaller victories against the British in Canada brought the UK to the negotiating table on December 5. They wished a “white peace”. The Americans were not interested. We had another 11 provinces under siege.

The focus of American offensive moves shifted to Mexico.

Up to the beginning of 1856 a number of attempts to penetrate into the Mexican held Rocky Mountain region had been rebuffed and no victories had been attained. The Battle of Denver lost 5,000 soldiers and .7 Warscore.

The British had heretofore occupied most American attention, and most US troops were sent there. The Americans were essentially outnumbered in Mexico, and relying on conscripted recruits with no experience. The Mexican generals were astonishing with their skill levels – we regularly saw +4 attack and +3 defense ratings. Hard to compete with. But the Fabian strategy worked as well against Mexico as against Great Britain.



The Battle of Austin was a tactical defeat. But the fact that the Mexicans lost as many troops (10,000 apiece) as the US had meant the US was earning strategic traction.

The first part of 1856, in fact, was characterized by a half-dozen battles where the US lost but had caused casualties of equal amounts against the enemy. American troops continued to capture more of the British ports along Hudson Bay, forcing British ships out of port into combat.

And in February a massive battle of men-of-war resulted in 11 British vessels being sunk in Hudson Bay. Another 4 British steamships were lost in April in Baffin Bay. Then 14 British men-of-war in James Bay (part of Hudson Bay) in June.



By the middle of 1856, in terms of brigades, the British still vastly outnumbered the US, with 548 to 84. But at that time the British Royal Navy was down to 105 ships of all types, and the US possessed 159.

Just two years prior, before the start of the war, the US had had 52 brigades and 147 ships, whereas the British had 503 brigades and 180 ships.

Even assuming no wartime production of ships by the British, they were down by 75!!