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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

miloc

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After having played the tutorials, which I enjoyed a lot, I will now – partly to bring some activity into this subforum, partly for my own entertainment and practice in writing English, partly to bring this game to the attention of other gentlemen with an inclination for tactic-driven wargames – write down my impressions and experiences as I take my first steps into the scenarios.
I describe what happens when I play them for the first time; therefore this is in no way a "walkthrough", rather the opposite.


*WARNING: SPOILERS*

If somebody ever reads what I write here he should bear in mind that some information contained in my short reports could spoil his game experience. In this case forget what you have read. Or don't read what I wrote (you won't miss much, and I am too lazy to post screenshots anyway EDIT: added map!), but buy and play the game.


EDIT: feel free to comment :) !
 
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miloc

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1st scenario: “Holding the Center”
Cedar Mountain, Brig. Gen. Jubal A. Early (South)

In this scenario the player incorporates Brig. Gen. Jubal A. Early and leads his brigade, with the objective to hold his position under all circumstances against a massive Union attack. The brigade is in a good defensive position in the middle-right of the Rebel line, with a (AI-) battery in front/right, which was later reinforced with another brigade on its other flank. Unfortunately the latter collapsed soon under the pressure of all the advancing Union regiments, and shortly after the battery withdrew. At the same time Tagliaferro's Division on my left was beaten and moved out, and I got attacked on both flanks by numerically far superior forces. My poor brigade was just wiped off its position, and that was it. I tried to recapture lost ground with the two low-moral regiments that remained after the disaster, but they just fled again. Rating was poor, and Gen. Jackson was taking steps to bring Gen. Early before a military court. I don’t know what I did wrong! The others run away first!

Okay, try again. This time the brigade on the other side of the battery on my front/right did an excellent job and held its ground until midgame. Consequently the all-important battery stayed too, which freed two of my regiments to move them to my left flank; also I did some nice flanking out of my center. The Union attack was much weaker than the first time. Near the end I sent out two regiments to protect the – now exposed – other flank of the battery against a Union attack there. Victory everywhere, and Early was congratulated for his excellent performance! What a general! Rating 290.

Conclusion: it's all about luck, and the scenarios turn out differently each time. I like that.
 
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miloc

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2nd scenario: “Smashing Stonewall”
Cedar Mountain, Brig. Gen. Alpheus S. Williams

Here the player commands a small Union division with two brigades, placed on the far right flank of the Union line, one brigade hidden in a forest, the other one in reserve behind it, and two batteries, which are deployed as a part of that grand Union battery further on the left (= center/left of the Union army overall). I was ordered to take a rebel battery which was situated beside another forest, behind an open field in front of me. After long considerations it seemed unwise to me to attack directly and I decided to do a wide flanking movement on my right with my second brigade, while my first brigade stays in the initial position. I wanted to bring up one of my batteries and place it on a road crossing on my far right as support. Unfortunately moving this battery took so much time that the Union attack on my left was already in full swing when I was ready at last. When my brigade entered the target forest, the AI-Union attack was already pushed back, Hill's division deployed and I ran into numerous brigades, and had to hit that retreat-button. I failed to achieve the objective and admit that I did very poor here. I felt very bad because I didn't give support to the Union troops on my left.
But I made up for it! My two brigades were placed in a 90-degree angle, all in heavy woods with open fields in front of them. In the crossing point of the angle was my long awaited battery. From this position I was able to repulse at least two waves of massive rebel attacks. I was very satisfied about this part. At the end, it was rated as a minor victory (377 points). I can do better.
 
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miloc

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3rd scenario: “The light Division in the Rescue”,
Cedar Mountain, Maj. Gen. Ambrose P. Hill (South)

This scenario is absolutely great! Attack attack attack, while constantly sliding along the edge of chaos.

The player leads A.P.Hill's division and has to manage a counterattack out of scratch from the first second. His five (edit: six, as I noticed later) brigades were coming along the same road (Culpepper turnpike) in single file. Regaining Tagliaferro's initial position was easy enough, I just let the brigade commanders attack. The only clever thing I did was sending one of my brigades on a wide flanking march on my far right to get to the road, on which that big central Union battery was placed. I didn’t pay attention anymore to that brigade and just remembered them in time when they reached that road, and barely managed to put them on attack-stance. After that I lost the brigade out of sight because it was so far away and I was absorbed by the development elsewhere. I attacked with three brigades in the center, and one I send along the road on my far left. The sixth brigade I forgot until nearly the end and it just stood there (and that directly under the eyes of Gen. Jackson, cough cough). After much fighting (I noticed to my satisfaction that AI-Williams attacked too late as well) my center broke through and I was planning to charge this big Union battery in the center, but they were already gone and my brigade that I had sent on that long march on my right flank was idly standing there with a captured gun, saying "where have you been so long?".

My attacking brigades in the center pressed on in a disorganized heap while I was busy trying to find my own batteries and move them up, also the "forgotten" brigade, and finding out where is what and what is going on anyway. I noticed that, far in the north, the Union had taken up a defensive position up a hill behind a creek (north fork of Cedar Run), with a forest in the back and a protruding forest on its right flank. My advanced brigades were already entering that protruding forest and got entangled in a fight there. It was late, so I saved and went to bed.

During the next day I felt uneasy about pressing on the attack, and when I reloaded the safegame in the evening I immediately paused and did a close inspection of the Union positions along that forest up that hill. Ups. Two big batteries, and large Union regiments everywhere. I tc-ed my brigades and moved them back into safe positions on this side of the creek. One of the brigades had already suffered heavy losses. Repulsed some weak Union attacks on my flanks. I did some reorganizing, moved up my guns and re-supplied them, and tried to figure out a good attack plan to take that last objective, which was in the middle of the Union line. Finally I had a plan and was about to execute it, when the end was declared and I was awarded a minor victory, 498 points, which was enough to unlock 2nd Hill [rubs hands].

I re-entered the game to see if my plan would have worked. I managed to take/destroy one of the great batteries with minimal losses indeed, but completely mismanaged my subsequent attack on that hill (worst example of generalship ever seen, ughh), and was beaten back with heavy losses and panicked regiments all around. It didn't help that Gen. Starke, whose brigade had a crucial part, was killed and his replacement was a complete muppet. It took me a long time to recover. Then I happily noticed that all Union batteries had left, and did a second, carefully timed, close-range artillery-supported attack and finally took that second objective, but realized that it was impossible to hold in the face of an endless stream of huge Union regiments coming out of the forests. I then called it a day and quit.

Conclusion: let loose your dogs of war, but keep the leash at hand. I want to play that again come time.
 
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miloc

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4th scenario: "Suppressing Pope" (= "1st Jackson")
Cedar Mountain, Maj. General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson

I was afraid of this scenario; the fear was justified.


This time the player is in command of the “Army of Northen Virgina, West Wing”. Having learned from experience, I wrote down its composition on a piece of paper, including the names of the brigade- and battery-commanders, before I started the scenario:
three divisions:
-1st/Winder with 3 brigades + 3 batteries;
-3rd/Ewell with 3 brigades and 5 batteries;
- light division/Hill with 6 brigades and two small batteries
When the scenario began I found out that there were also three cavalry battalions.

The player starts with only the 3rd div, placed in the lower left corner with the whole beautiful landscape in front of him. There is a road leading straight ahead (Culpepper Turnpike), to and through a forest, which the player recognises as the scene of the first stages of the battle. To the right, the country is open, with some creeks, and orchards and groups of trees here and there. No sign of the Union army, except some Union cavalry far in the distance.

There are two objectives (objectives are indicated by stars hanging in the air or placed on the map screen): One in the forest in front, another above a hill far on the right. I got informed that the 1st division will arrive in about one hour, the light division another hour later. Order was to attack.

What now? I decided not to complicate things and marched the 3rd division straight to the first objective (Newman’s barn). To avoid unpleasant surprises, I let one regiment skirmish ahead, and sent one cav. battalion ahead to the right to take a look behind the forest in front. On its other side, there was the well known position from the previous scenarios, and the first objective was gained. No opposition, except some shooting between Forno’s brigade (on my right) and some Union cavalry. But now the huge Union battery on the road in the distance was visible and opened (ineffective) fire. A Union brigade along a forest on my left could be discerned, but it remained passive (from Williams’ division).

No step further without my artillery. I placed Early’s brigade on my left, well hidden in a forest, Forno’s on my right, and three batteries between them, another in front of Forno’s brigade. Another I sent out far to the right to an orchard for no better reason that there has always been a battery there in the previous scenarios. Trimble’s brigade I kept in reserve. Then I thought I could score some cheap points by occupying that objective on that hill far on the right (Rev. Slaughter) by sending two cavalry battalions with a colonel there. Mistake. The area was full of Union cavalry, and then Union cavalry attacked my exposed battery on the right. I barely managed to safe it from disaster. Later I placed a regiment there for protection (the position of this battery was more a liability than an asset).

Nothing happened and I got bored. So I came up with a plan to attack that Union brigade in front of my left, by setting Early’s brigade directly at them while deftly flanking with Trimble’s brigade even further on the left. When he was ready, I put them both on attack-stance and leaned back to enjoy the show. But had to intervene immediately because now suddenly the Union brigade started to attack as well, and many advancing Union regiments appeared all along my whole front in overwhelming number, and I realized that my flanking manoeuvre with Trimble had left my center horribly unprotected. Heated battle madness followed, with Trimbles’brigade flanking, repulsed, getting attacked and fleeing, Early’s regiments tenaciously holding their patch of wood until breaking, my center batteries firing canister after canister and getting charged but narrowly escaping, until my left/center was no more. Only Forno’s brigade on my right with some batteries remained.

While all this took place, Winder’s division finally appeared on the lower left corner and came marching along that road, and stopped the Union advance just in time. Another heavy fight followed, on a narrow stretch of road through the forrest. I tried to manage an encircling of the Union regiments, which succeeded partialy, and one after another they broke and fled. But man were they tough, it took a lot of time.

What now? I decided against continuing the attack, because Winder’s troops were tired and needed rest, while Evell’s division was in bad shape. Also I hated to throw them at that huge battery that was looming there in the Union center. I placed one of Winder’s brigades on my left, another in my center behind the center batteries, to which Winder’s two batteries were added. His third brigade I kept in reserve. Luckily none of Evell’s regiments had left the map, and I was able to gather them again, also some guns that were standing around behind. Then I moved Early’s brigade behind Forno’s and waited.

Finally Hill’s light division appeared along the same road as the others before, and I was asked where I want him. Haha! Payback time! And I devised another clever plan involving yet another flanking movement (I am a compulsive flanker). Hill’s division was to march to the far right, take that objective which had already been fruitlessly attempted by my cavalry earlier on; then it was to proceed and do a turn of 90 degrees to the left and attack the Union battery and everything that was there from the flank. In addition I set Early’s brigade from Hill’s division (which was big and in good shape again) to advance against the outer left (right from Early's view) of said battery, resulting in a pincer movement. Early’s brigade was to be closely followed by a cavalry battalion to help capture guns. That should be enough to clear the area, I thought.

The plan didn’t succeed. The first part and the turning did go well, but then resistance was much stronger than I had anticipated. Nevertheless I managed to clip five or six guns off that Union battery, but unfortunately the gained guns fled, while the other Union guns stayed. Then a strong Union counter-attack followed with brigades appearing out of nowhere (so it seemed), and I realized that Hill’s division in all its glory wasn’t strong enough to achieve its objectives. I completely let go of all reason, ordered hastily two other brigades from my center to advance to take the pressure from Hill, and the result was a giant bloody mess, a butchery, with neither side gaining an advantage and regiments crumbling on both sides about equally.

Then the end screen appeared and mercifully gave me a minor victory, but not enough points to unlock 2nd Jackson, about which I am very grateful. Butchers bill: slightly less than 4000 for me, slightly more than 4000 for the Union. I didn't re-enter the game to continue...

Conclusion: I need to be more aggressive (Winder), and I should coordinate my attacks more, and especially involve all available units to strike as one. Example: Hill’s attack could and should have been supported by another attack on the Union right flank, the units were available.

To be continued…
 
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miloc

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4th scenario: "Suppressing Pope" (= "1st Jackson")
Cedar Mountain, Maj. General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson


2nd attempt.
I had them running! Yesss! I had them running!


I assumed that the Union would operate more or less the same way as it did the first time. Therefore I immediately set Early's brigade to march up the turnpike to take the first objective, and ordered my artillery to do the same. And then it came all different.

Suddenly Union regiments appeared in the forest in front and several Union batteries started to unlimber on the right of it. Surprise! I am getting attacked! I immediately stopped Early's brigade and ordered him back into his initial position, then I paused to take a good look around and plan my defence.

I try to give a description of the area. In the beginning, the 3rd division is placed in the lower left of the map (not on the minimap though), facing north-east, on and besides the Culpepper Turnpike, near a school-house. The turnpike runs straight to the top of the map; it crosses a creek, then it runs through open space, then into a forest. After a stretch, the view opens again and there is only forest on the left of the turnpike; the first objective situated in this angle (Newman’s barn), which is to be taken and held. The area on the left of the school-house is mostly covered by forest, which extends to where the turnpike crosses the creek mentioned above. The creek flows into another creek (south fork of the cedar run) further on the right, which runs parallel to the Culpepper road. Near the schoolhouse, there is also another road leading away from the turnpike, parallel to the first creek. After crossing the cedar run (south fork), it turns left and then runs parallel to it, through open land. Further up that road is a hill on the right (Cedar Mountain), with a house (Rev. Slaughter) on it. This is the second objective. Between the right end of the forest in front of the initial position and the Cedar Run (south fork) there are a house, then open area, then an orchard, then a cemetery (from left to right.).

The starting area of the 3rd div. offers a good defensive position. I placed Early's brigade left of the turnpike, in the forest behind the creek, and all my artillery in the open field on the right of the turnpike; then Forno’s brigade, in good defensive position. I kept the Trimble’s brigade in reserve near the turnpike, with one regiment dispatched to give some cover to the batteries, where the turnpike crosses the creek.

Then they came. The easiest part was a frontal attack against my center-batteries; the attacking regiments soon collapsed under canister fire, but caused some casualties among my gun crews. A big brigade moved against my right flank, stopped still out of rifle range, moved further to the right (I guess they tried to outflank me), changed their mind again when I drew my right back. Then they tried to attack my center by crossing directly in front of my right wing, and got defeated. The heaviest attack was against my left flank; while some regiments attacked frontally, they surprised me with more regiments coming trough the woods unnoticed, which nearly outflanked Early's brigade. I managed to extend my flank with Trimble's brigade, and the attack was finally repulsed. At that moment Winder's division arrived.

I considered the options for a counterattack. Directly into the open against the forest in front was out of the question; there was Union battery deployed where the turnpike entered the forest, and some regiments visible there. A hidden attack flanking through the forest on my left? Possible, but I decided against it, because I had no knowledge what was hiding in the forest; there could have been a whole Union division there, which would have resulted in the same butchery I had in my first try. On my right on the other hand, there was still this second objective, which seemed accessible, and I still had my pet idea about that right flanking movement. The right it is then. I left Garrett’s brigade of Winder's division to replace Forno’s brigade of Ewells' division, and sent the released brigade as reserve to my left wing. The other two of Winder's brigades (Taliaferro’s and Ronald’s) and his two batteries continued to the right, crossed the Cedar run, and followed the road further north-east. Then I set the leading brigade (Ronald’s) to attack the hill with the second objective, which – after stiff resistance by Union cavalry - was taken. I put the brigade on hold-stance, deployed my battery behind them facing to the left, together with Taliaferro's brigade. My two divisions formed now a angle of 90 degrees, with a wide hole in the middle, but I didn't bother about that, because the area was open and any approach to exploit that hole would have been discovered early.

After that only small operations. There were at least three Union batteries deployed near the orchard mentioned above. I tried to manoeuvre into a favourable position to take them, but failed, and I avoided pointless attacks into canister range. A lot of marching and very few fighting. The highlight was the capture/destruction of a battery, which had been carelessly unlimbered on the field on the right of the turnpike; I was able to wipe it out with a cavalry battalion, I also captured a supply wagon. The rest were artillery-duels, which – I noticed with concern – thinned my batteries considerably. I had to re-supply my guns repeatedly.

Finally Hill's light division arrived, and I devised another plan. There was still this first objective (Newman’s barn) to take, but the direct way to it led through the forest, which was blocked by that ugly Union battery, and in which an unknown amount of Union regiments could be hiding. I didn't like it. But what about getting to the objective through the backdoor? Because near the bottom of the map, a road went from turnpike to the left and went along the end of the map, until it turned right again and lead into an open field beyond Newman’s barn. If I could move my whole division there this way, not only would it be easy to capture the objective, but also all Union forces in that forest would be trapped!

The plan worked, and the effect was spectacular! After a long march, I formed three columns out of Hill's six brigades, each consisting of two brigades. The column on the right (now from Hills view) swept through the forest and chased all Union regiments out of it (there weren't as many as I had expected; probably could have taken the forest earlier, but this was better). The center column was to come out of the forest just at Newman’s barn; unfortunately the Union managed to place a battery in front of them, therefore I had to pull the leading brigade back; but the annoying battery was soon removed by one of the right column’s regiments, which captured 2 guns (the rest fled) with a surprise attack out of the forest at their flank.. On the other side of the forest, opposite of the 3rd division’s initial position, the blocking battery on the turnpike suddenly left, and I immediately ordered Forno’s brigade to attack frontally; I added Garrett’s brigade from Winder's division, resulting in a general converging movement towards the house near the orchard. The situation there was dramatic; a mixture of Union artillery, cavalry and infantry desperately clinging to a fence while getting attacked from two sides, hand-to hand fighting, storming of guns etc. I advanced Taliaferro's brigade (should have done that earlier) from the far right into a position into the back of the Union defence in the hope of capturing whatever remains. Soon the whole plain was covered by beaten and scattered Union regiments. It felt like victory!

The Unions reaction was swift; I noticed fresh regiments advancing from the north-east against the center, but now I was on well known ground from the first scenarios, and had plenty of brigades and artillery at my disposition. The Union counter-attack collapsed under the combined fire of my regiments and artillery. After that I let my brigades attack and advance until they reached the creek (north fork of the Cedar run) in front of the hill in the north-east, on which the last Union position was situated. I took care that my troops didn't cross the run. Started mopping up operations, gathered artillery etc. (and found out that captured artillery could be added to existing batteries). While all this was under way, the end screen appeared and awarded me a victory, "although not all objectives were achieved".

1116 points, Confederate losses 1700, Union 2600. 2nd Jackson unlocked. I am more than satisfied.
 
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5th scenario:“Grabbing the Wolf by the Ears“
Cedar Mountain, Maj.Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks, II. Corps (Union)


This time the player leads the whole Union army at the battle of Cedar Mountain. I made note of the composition from the scenario introduction:
- 1st Division (Williams) with 2 brigades and 2 batteries
- 2nd Division (Ricketts) 4 brigades and 1 battery
- 3rd Division (Augur; the introduction said Greene?) with 3 brigades and 3 batteries

At the start the player has only the 1st and 3rd division at his disposition and gets informed that the 2nd division will arrive at 17:40 (At the start, its 16:40). The army is looking south west; most advanced is Williams’ division, placed like in the very first scenario, with one brigade in a forest on the right of the Culpepper turnpike, his second brigade in the open behind. All batteries of both divisions are on a road that crosses the turnpike. Behind the batteries is the 3rd division, behind the division runs the North Fork of the Cedar run. Some confederate troops were visible at the top end of the map, in the initial position of the Jackson-scenario. The scenario objectives are the same as in the Jackson scenario: Newmans’s barn further ahead on the turnpike from Williams (objective 1), and Rev. Slaughter on the very left, on a hill on the other side of the South fork of the Cedar Run (objective 2). There is also third objective right were Gen. Banks is placed, were the Culpepper Turnpike approaches the bottom of the map, which marks the position of the “last defence” for the Union.

I decided to take the objectives as fast as possible, which would give me the comfortable position of defender. Therefore I set Williams to advance to objective 1 and one brigade of Augur (Prince) to objective 2 immediately. The two other brigades of Augur I sent along the turnpike to back up Williams. I also decided to break up that big battery, and send one battery to follow Prince, the others after Williams. I had the general idea to build a defensive position in the forest, which extends on both sides of objective 1, and create a big battery on the left of the forest, near the orchard, from which I could dominate the whole center of the map in all directions.

When the first brigade of Williams arrived, I was surprised to see that the Confederates (Early’s big brigade) were much closer than I had thought. To block their access, I placed a regiment on the left and on the right of the turnpike, each in the forest, with the intention of positioning a battery between them on the turnpike; this proved very effective later and became the cornerstone of my whole defence (these two regiments were the first I had to re-supply in all the scenarios up to now). The Confederates attacked along the turnpike and through the heavy woods on the left of it, while I was still about to expand the line to the left with Williams’s second brigade. For a moment the situation became critical, but the arrival of Augur’s two brigades and the batteries tilted the balance in my favour, and the attackers withdrew. I then build a defensive line extending to the left just inside the edge of the forest (the idea was that any units approaching through the forest would be exhausted when they came into firing range), and placed several batteries on the open just as I had planed. Objective 1 captured and secured.

Meanwhile disaster befell Prince’s brigade which I had send to capture objective 2. First I had spotted only Ewell and cavalry on the left marching north-east on that long road parallel to the Culpepper turnpike, and assumed that they were trying to get to objective 2 as well. Too late I realized that they were followed by two brigades (Forno’s and Trimble’s), which immediately attacked Prince and gave him a sound beating, and then nearly managed to cut off his retreat back behind the Cedar Run. I kept them in check with the help of one battery at the crossing of the Run for a while, but finally had to retreat further back, with only one regiment of Prince still standing, the others scattered around in the back. This however bought me time to move one of the brigades from the center (Greene’s) back. But the situation was critical, because from their position, Evell’s brigades could either cross the Cedar Run, move up the hill, take objective 3 there, or, as they were placed far behind the left flank of my troops in the center, they could fall into their back. In the first case, I planned to defend the position up the hill as long as possible with Greene’s and the remains of Prince’s brigade and the battery until Rickett’s division would arrive. In the second case I would have to try to organize something. Luckily, Ewell only let the two brigades walk a bit here and there, but didn’t do anything decisive.

While all this was happening, my position at objective 1 was tested heavily (I suppose it was Winder’s division that had arrived). My right flank did very well, with canister from my battery stationed there (Muhlenberg) firing along the turnpike. My left in the forest however got into trouble (the Confederates were not shy of melee fighting). Two of my regiments fled; I found them gathering and recovering in the open behind my line later. But I could close the gaps with whatever I could scrape together on my right, and finally the attack was repulsed.

Finally Rickett’s Division arrived. I ordered two brigades (Duryea and Hartsuff) to make front against Ewell’s brigades, and let the other two (Carroll and Tower) follow the turnpike to reinforce my center. These dispositions were a blunder, as I was immediately to discover. Suddenly Ewell turned and did what I had feared: he crossed the Cedar Run and then turned left to fall into the back of my center, with the result that he was moving away from the four brigades on the hill (Prince, Green, Durya, Hartsuff) and left them just useless sitting there under artillery fire of his artillery on open ground on the left. These operations had the effect that I had to divert the two brigades on the way to the center to face Ewell, and couldn’t reinforce my units at objective 1. I immediately sent Duryea and Prince and Rickett’s artillery on their way to reinforce my positions at objective 1 instead (this move saved my ass later). To fight Ewell, I built a front with the two recovering regiments mentioned above near a little forest behind my left (“Cedar Copse”), supported by artillery from the great battery there, all facing “backwards”. Tower’s brigade fell in line with them, and together they stopped Ewells attack; then Carroll’s brigade moved into their rear, and the attack collapsed and they withdrew. I set my brigades on attack-stance, and then my attention was needed elsewhere.

Hill was here. His attack started through the forest on the left of the turnpike and along it; later another thrust (the strongest) came along the forest on the right of the turnpike. My front in the forest on the left first held, but after a long and bloody fight, it slowly withered away, only my batteries and a regiment on the far left held their ground. The collapse of the center/left wing left my position on both sides of the turnpike exposed, and with a heavy heart I retreated the regiments and the battery there (nearly forgot Banks who I had placed there); luckily their losses were not heavy, moral was good, and they could be reused. But objective 1 was no longer mine, the star turned from blue to red. I then tried to build a second front further back where the forest on the right of the turnpike ends. I placed Muhlenbergs battery there and built a line with whatever was available. The reinforcing brigades arrived, and I placed them on the right of the turnpike, just inside of the forest, and together with some regiments which were already there engaged; together they formed nearly a double-line. This was needed, because in that forest started worst fights of the scenario. The pressure was incredible, and the Confederates charged into melee fighting several times (fortunately they won only about half of the fights); one of my regiments was even taken prisoner! I constantly needed new regiments to fill gaps. Then Carroll’s brigade, which I had called back from the pursuit of Ewell, arrived and I let him attack from the left, because the Confederate wing there was showing signs of breaking, which it did. That was decisive, because now I could swing my left round and attack the Confederate opposing my right, until they gave up and retreated. Finally the objective 1 was taken again. What a fight!

Shortly after I had more good news: Tower’s brigade had crossed the South Fork of the Cedar Run and had taken objective 2 unopposed. After that I had a lot of reorganizing to do, and did some artillery-capturing with my cavalry, and waited for the end screen.

Major victory! 1837 points. Union losses 3’071, Confederates a whopping 5’980.
(to be fair I have to add that the end-screen first wouldn’t come though I felt that the game had lasted more than 2 hours, therefore I saved the game and re-entered. The moment I started the game, it was declared a victory. I probably gathered more points than intended because of “overtime” …).

This was the last of the Cedar Mountain scenarios.
 
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miloc

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Final note on the Cedar Mountain scenarios

Overall I enjoyed them all very much. The player progresses from a brigade-commander’s perspective to a division commander’s to the army/corps commander’s, which I found interesting and presenting new and different challenges. The battles also developed very differently each time, I never had the impression that events repeat themselves (this could also be though because I didn’t think ahead much when I played the scenarios; I played them every time as if it were for the first time out of a kind of intellectual laziness). I mostly worked directly with brigades and sometimes even regiments, and ignored the division commander-level altogether. I also used the take-command function a lot.

Micro-managing the regiments did give my a bit of problem; the game can be unforgiving when miss-clicking. The main problems arouse mostly in connection with artillery:
- It is imho overpowered in canister range.
- Attacking a battery can also produce strange results. I had for example repeatedly the case where a (cav or inf) unit had captured several guns of a battery, but they wouldn’t capture a specific gun even though they were standing at the same spot. When I hit “attack”, they run and charge a unit far away. The “not-captured” gun would then fire canister against the captured guns and send them running. That was sometimes annoying.
- the longer a game takes, the more artillery becomes numerically overrepresented, because it doesn’t get destroyed, but only changes hands. I think that taking over of guns should be the exception, because a gun crew in danger of losing the gun will rather destroy it than leave it to the enemy (hey I was in the artillery too, I know I would have done that).

But these are overall only minor points and don’t really diminish the game.
 

gzav

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Well, good AARs, some quite interesting strategies from your end and a great read!
 

miloc

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Many thanks for the kind words….Yes my moves and plans probably seem weird for someone with knowledge how the scenarios are supposed to be played… Next I am going to replay the first scenarios to increase my points.
 

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From now on I would like to limit myself to scenarios where I have some special observations to make.

After Cedar Mountain, the Campaign continues with a set in the evening of the 28 August 1862 between King’s Division and Jackson’s corps around Brawner’s farm and Groveton; I skip these because I have played them all in one go and can’t remember the details. I would like to make some remarks however about the next set of scenarios, which deal with Sigel’s attack against Jackson’s in the morning of the 29. August 1862. They pose some very special problems which left me a bit at a loss how to solve them. I am not yet through with all of them, but so far my results when playing for the Union (I did the initial scenarios at least twice) were sometimes poor (some minor victories and a minor defeat), but the play was very interesting. The last I have finished was the following scenario (read with a German accent!):


Second Manassas scenario Nr. 9 “A Most Vehement Contest”29. August 1862, 09:30 am.

I. Corps., Army of Virginia (Union), Maj.Gen. Franz Sigel,
- 1. division, Schenk, with 2 brigades (Stahel and McLean)
- 2. division, von Steinwehr, 1 brigade (Koltes) and 2 batteries
- 3. division, Schurz, 3 brigades (Schimmelpfennig, Krzyzanowski, Soest), 4 batteries, and 2 Cavalry battalions
- independent brigade, Milroy
- cavalry brigade

2ndmanmaprf4.jpg



Sigel’s corps is placed in the lower right corner of the map, facing north-west. On the right, the Sudley Mill Road is leading in a slight bow to the north, first through corn fields, then open meadows, then through forest. After a stretch there is no forest on the left of it anymore, after some more it crosses the unfinished railroad at an angle of roughly 45 degrees. The crossing designates the first objective, with the Sudley church nearby. Very close further on the north-east flows the Bull Run, which is crossed by the railroad at a right angle. If we follow the railroad south west, there is a belt of forest (Groveton Woods) all along it on the south-east side. At about the center of the railroad, there is a second objective star. Siegel’s Corps is placed with its right flank (3rd division) on and besides the Sudley Mill Road, then follows the independent brigade, then the 2. Division. The 1st Division on the left flank touches the Warrenton Turnpike (which crosses the Sudley Mill Road at a right angle in the back of the Corps). No Confederates are visible except a single regiment in the Groveton woods.

In the preceding scenarios, the player gets to play Krzyzanowski’s brigade, with the order to take the second objective, while the other brigade of the 3rd division moves against the Sudley church. In the next, he commands the whole 3rd division, with the same objective stars. Then he plays a confederate brigade, then Milroy’s brigade, and has to take another, not yet mentioned objective, further south-west on the railroad tracks; while the 1st division attacks other objectives even further to the south-west.

If the first scenarios are historical accurate, then they leave me puzzled. It means that Sigel ordered all his divisions/brigades to advance more or less straight ahead of their initial position. This however has the effect that the more they progress, the more they spread from each other with the result that the moment they hit the Confederates hidden behind the railroad, they are all on their own, without flank support, and without reserves. Imho the forces are just inadequate to attack on such a wide front. Sigel had is forces concentrated at the beginning, but isolated at the moment of contact with Jackson’s corps. If I take into consideration that the order was to “close the retreat of Jackson north over the Bull Run at Sudley Church”, then I can only wonder. But then, I am no expert.

Anyway, in the Sigel scenario, there are only the two objectives visible at the beginning (at the crossing near Sudley church and the one further south-west on the railroad), therefore I decided to ignore the historical (?) push into the far left with Schenks division/Milroys brigade, and instead concentrate all my forces on the two objectives at hand (EDIT: when I played the scenario another day, I dispatched some forces there, whith remarkably better results overall; it considerably reduced the pressure on my center). I chose to attack the Sudley Church with all of Schurz’ division, and the other objectives with the rest, with Schenk’s division in reserve nearby.

Sudley church objective: The problem here is that to reach this on the Sudley Mill Road, the regiments would - in the last stages of the advance - have to march immediately in front of the railroad, from where a devastating flanking fire was to be expected, and would have to storm it. To avoid that, I decided to split the division and let only Krzyzanowski’s brigade and a battery follow the road, but then stop out of the range of any forces behind the railroad. Meanwhile Schimmelpfennig, Soest and two batteries would make a wide march to the right around a forest and then, following a path and finally crashing through the woods, emerge immediately at the objective and take it. The problem was that all this marching takes a lot of time.

In the center, I let von Steinwehr and Milroy enter the Groveton Woods just where it was nearest to reach the second objective behind it, followed by a battery. After a while I sent one of Schenk’s brigades after them, because I had doubts if they would be strong enough to get out of the forest on the other side. In the forest there was only one Confederate regiment in skirmish mode, more annoying than effective. Progress was slow but when my brigades where near the objective star, it turned blue, even though they were still inside of the forest. I was insecure if I should advance further to take the railroad, because I didn’t know if it would offer a better defensive bonus than the heavy woods, but then I went for it. Immediately a firefight followed with Confederate brigade (later reinforced) on the other side of the railroad in the wood, and I needed all my brigades to man the defensive line. I noticed that a great amount of Confederate troops were moving against my flank from the left along the railway, and therefore ordered the rest of Schenk’s division to advance through the forest and take them in the flank.

Meanwhile Schimmelpfennig reached the objective at Sudley church and took it without opposition, which surprised me (I suppose that Confederate forces were diverted to fight my push through the forest on the left). Before that, I had done some scouting behind the railroad with my cavalry, and discovered two batteries, but only weak infantry. There was a whole brigade at least further back, but they didn’t move. I therefore ordered a cavalry attack on the batteries, which destroyed all but two guns. Then I ordered Krzyzanowski to advance to the railroad, attack over it and take the remaining two guns, which succeeded.

At the second objective, I was able to defeat the frontal attack against my line, and the push against my left was stopped with the help of my reserve, and fighting there was slowly tilting in my favour. I was already planning my next moves, especially with further advance of my right flank, and wanted to bring my cavalry brigade into play against some big Confederate batteries. But then the end screen appeared and declared a minor defeat (877 points), even though I felt that I didn’t do that bad. Maybe other objectives that I had missed? Hmm….
 
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miloc

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Second Manassas scenario Nr. 9 “A Most Vehement Contest” .

I tried again. I advanced more or less like the first time, but took care to bring my cavalry-brigade earlier into action, also to speed up the advance in general. But the main problem remains: after taking both objectives, it is nearly impossible to continue the attack with infantry because of all those Confederate batteries everywhere. I used my cavalry to capture or destroy as many guns as possible, but too many remained, well protected by inf-brigades or cavalry. Taking them out with cavalry needs a lot of micro-management and is very time-consuming; the same with counter-battery fire. At least I achieved a draw (1'100+something points.) I have no idea what I could do better and therefore leave it at that.
 
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miloc

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Here we go again.

I had interrupted my march through the scenarios to take a dive into EU III. That left me with no time for 2nd Manassas; in my last EU III game however I got so furious about something that I decided I need a break from it. What is better than to continue with my journey? I pick it up here:


Scenario Over the Cut and Up the Other Side

Time 05:30m pm
Maj Gen Philip Kearny, 1st Division (Union, 4988 men, 12 guns)
1st Brigade (Robinson) 3 regiments
2nd Brigade (Birney) 7 regiments
3rd Brigade (Poe) 5 regiments
2 batteries (Randolph and Graham)


Situation
Kearny's 1st and 3rd brigade are placed in the forest behind the Sudley Mill Road on the far right of the Union line, near Newmans farm. The 2rd brigade however is far behind, in the centre at Dogans Hill, facing the Groveton Woods. Randolph’s battery is waiting for orders on the Sudley Mill Road in front of the 1st and 3nd brigade, while Grahams's battery is hanging back on the road near the corn fields (see screenshot of the map in post Nr. 12 for a general description of the area). Numerous Confederates batteries and regiments are visible on the slope behind the unfinished railroad, and some fighting is going on in the centre in the forested patch beyond the unfinished railroad (Grover’s brigade from Hooker’s division).

Two “objective stars” (Victory Points, or VP), one in the centre on the unfinished railroad (same as in the screenshot), the other above Wilkins Farm, which is placed on the slope beyond a creek, which flows parallel to the railroad there (and in the middle of the confederate line!).

My order from Maj Gen Heintzelmann: To attack and take Wilkins farm. I was told that Gen Sigels 1st Corps has been checked in every attempt, and that my attack is to be the decisive blow. The order also suggests a flanking movement, even crossing the Bull Run if possible.


I went through possible options:
frontal attack over the unfinished railway on the right near Sudley Church? There were Confederate batteries deployed beyond that railway, attacking regiments would have been forced to cross a creek under canister fire. I didn’t want to do that.
Flanking on the far right as indicated? I know from the former scenarios that the Confederate line extended far and marching around it would be difficult and time consuming. Also the VPs are in the center, indicating where the main action was supposed to happen. Grovers brigade was in that area and under pressure, and needed help. I also was not happy about the fact that my 2nd brigade was far away, and would have liked to unite my forces before I strike.

I came up with the following simple plan:
Concentrate all my brigades in the centre, link up to Grover’s brigade already engaged there, extend the line to the right along the unfinished railway, bombard enemy batteries with counter-battery fire until a gap opens, then push through.

The first part went fine. I took the unfinished railway, lined up my brigades along it and managed to beat back the Confederate attack, and got that VP. Unfortunately Grover’s brigade was in bad shape and left soon, and I was on my own. I placed my batteries in the center in the opening, and occupied the forested patches left and right beyond the railway, but kept some reserves behind it in case the confederates tried to flank me. I advanced my flanks get ready for a push to Wilkins farm whenever the enemy batteries are silenced. Unfortunately my batteries consisted of Napoleons, which are not optimal for counter battery fire.

Several attacks followed against my flanks, which I was able to repel. I did a lot of tc-ing and moving the regiments up and down behind the unfinished railway to reinforce where needed. I found out a new way to react against a bayonet charge: when a rebel regiment did a full charge against one of my regiments, I tc-ed my regiment, pressed "fall back" and "double quick". The rebel regiment followed, all the way taking flanking fire from two other regiments, and getting more and more tired. I then ordered my retreating regiment to stop and turn around and answer that bayonet charge. The fight was very short and victorious :) . The rebels also tried a frontal cavalry attack against my batteries, which was beaten back by a regiment, which I had placed behind the batteries, in melee fighting. My battery fire showed no effect however, and I was quite at a loss how to proceed, and I did what I always do in such a situation: bring up the supply wagon.

Then I noticed a lot of Union forces approaching, especially on my left, and the end screen appeared giving me a Major Victory (667 Points). I suppose I did what was expected, although I felt that there is potential for more (time to get rid of my fear of enemy batteries). At least my losses were low, which is important because there is a linked scenario.
 
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miloc

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Push Him Like The Devil

29 August 5:30 pm (45 min.)
1st Division Brig. Gen. J. P. Hatch, consisting of
- 1st Brigade Sullivan (5 regiments)
- 2nd Brigade Rhodes (3 regiments)
- 3rd Brigade Marsena Patrick (4 regiments)
- 4th Brigade Gibbons (4 regiments)
- 4 batteries (Campell, Monroe, Gerrish, Reynolds)

hatchlo4.jpg



The division is placed on and besides the Warrenton Turnpike, but not all brigades had arrived yet on the map in the beginning. Patrick’s brigade was placed further to the south (I discovered him much later. As an excuse, I say that the game cannot be paused while the map is open, and I am always very stressed whenever the game starts, and so some important things get lost). No rebels were visible.


The order was simple: Seize Groveton before nightfall.

I decided to take a good look before I give my orders. I galloped Gen. Hatch along the Warrenton Turnpike and approached carefully the crossing in Groveton: still nothing to see. I ordered the division to follow (button “line with reserves” “follow road”), and I then put the general at the crossing. Suddenly I saw some rebel regiments moving out of Brawners woods into the open or along the Warrenton Turnpike against Groveton. A race! No way I let them be first! I double-quicked my front brigade (Rhodes’ 2nd brigade) and my first battery (Gerrish) along the turnpike; Gerrish arrived first, and I deployed his battery north of Groveton along the Groveton-Sudley Road. Then Rhodes brigade was here and I placed one of his regiments just on the crossing, and expanded the front to the left with another regiment, and sent the third regiment to the far right to cover the flank of my battery. All this in great haste, in double quick, and under fire of the first rebel regiments who had now arrived and developed their front on the right and left of the Turnpike. Great! I was first, and their advance was checked, and I have the defensive position! I managed to get hold of Sullivan and double-quicked his brigade along the Turnpike too. Meanwhile there were more enemy brigades appearing (Hood’s division), and they expanded to their right and threatened to outflank me through the field south-west of Groveton. Sullivan arrived just in time, and I moved most of his regiments (or rather: roughly whipped them) into a defensive position along the fence of the field, and the biggest of his regiments into the forest south of Groveton to give flank cover. Better to have gaps in my line than to be outflanked.

I checked my line: Gerrish’s battery brought havoc over the rebels in front of them. I advanced the regiment on the far right for additional flanking fire. The center held too, but on the left things didn’t look to good, there were just too many rebels. Where the hell is the rest of my division!! I clicked through them … Shock!! They are all dispatched! My division-order didn’t get to them! Sneaky! I re-attached Gibbon’s brigade and ordered him here on the double, also the remaining batteries. Gibbons arrived just when my left flank was starting to crumble and the first two regiments had to be retreated. I formed a second line with three of Gibbons’ regiments, and sent the fourth to my far left to support that valiant single regiment in the woods, which had done an excellent job so far. I was confident Gibbons would hold, since his four regiments were excellent and big. After a long exchange of fire, the rebel line definitely started to break from the right under the relentless canister fire from Garrish, and I started to flank them from the right. Then another of my batteries arrived and I did a stupid mistake: I wanted to select the battery commander, but caught Gibbons, and mistakenly did a “form columns”-order. Aaarggh! I managed to undo the worst in the center and re-place his three regiments there, but through some more mishandling from my side, the regiment I had placed in the far left (19th Indiana, en elite regiment!) got routed by a Texas regiment (*sob*). Luckily my pressure from the right got so strong meanwhile that I finally managed to repel the assault also on the left, and finally Marsena Patricks brigades arrived and I even had a reserve brigade now.
I re-arranged my defensive line, brought it up to the fence of the cornfield again, and put my batteries into position, when a second attack-wave started, this time against my center and right wing. I moved Patrick’s brigade to the right, and beat back the attack on the right, but Garrish’s battery finally had enough and all his guns fled.
Then to my unpleasant surprise the Confederates supported their attack in the center with batteries (at least three), which they even moved into canister range against my defensive line! Things looked nasty there for a while, but to my great relieve my brigades held and finally the enemy guns withdrew out of canister range.

That was it: End screen. 836 points and a major victory.

That was a very exciting scenario. It all depended on being there first with the most, and to keep a level head and a clear overview under extreme pressure (detached brigades and batteries! That isn’t fair ;) ).
 
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miloc

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My Headquarters is in the Saddle

Maj.Gen Pope

Friday, 29. August 1862, 09:30 am
length of game: 2.30 hours (in the scenario description it says 3 hours, but the end screen appeared at 12.00).
required points for major victory: 2400
In this grand scenario the player has the opportunity to replay the whole attack against the railroad from the point of view of the Union commander in chief, General Pope.


Available forces at the start (09:30 am):
I Corps, Maj.Gen. Franz Sigel,
- 1. division, Schenk, with 2 brigades (Stahel and McLean)
- 2. division, von Steinwehr, 1 brigade (Koltes) and 2 batteries
- 3. division, Schurz, 3 brigades (Schimmelpfennig, Krzyzanowski, Soest), 4 batteries, and 2 Cavalry battalions
- independent brigade, Milroy
- cavalry brigade, Beardsley

More units are expected to arrive later:

10:30-10:50 III Corps, Heintzelmann
- 1. Division, Kearny, with 3 brigades (Robinson, Poe, Birney) and 2 batteries
- 2. Division, Hooker, with 3 brigades (Grover, Taylor, Carr), and 1 battery

11:10-11:30 IX Corps, Reno
- 1. Division, Stevens
- 2. Division, Neill


The initial placement of the Union troops corresponds to the screenshot in post 12. There are five objective stars on the map (view map below).


Plan:
I decided not to go with the historical (?) advance along divergent lines, but to attack one point with all my forces simultaneously. After some considerations I chose the cut of the Groveton/Sudley road through the unfinished railway as objective. EDIT: Sudley Church is imho no option for the following reason: If I concentrated my forces at Sudley Church, a successful Rebel counter-attack from the Center eastwards would throw me back towards the Bull Run River, which is an impenetrable obstacle. Sigels'Corps would be captured in that Northern Corner. No 19th Century general would have risked that.

Dispositions:
- independent brigade, Milroy, was to chase away the skirmishers visible in the Groveton wood; then to take up position there in the wood in double line, facing north, to protect the flank of the attacking divisions.
- 1st and 3rd division: march west, and then through the forest in columns, then take the cut.
- 2nd division: cover the center/right flank. The division has only one small brigade, but two batteries. I put it into the open in front of the woods to observe and – if necessary – face a possible attack out of the Groveton woods. I positioned the cavalry brigade behind it.

The attack went surprisingly smooth. The cut was not protected; there was a confederate brigade further back on the Groveton/Sudley road, but they didn't advance and were driven away, and the objective star turned to blue. I then prepared to meet the expected counter attack. The area offers an excellent defensive position. I placed two brigades (in double line) in each of the three forests round the cut, and a battery on the railroad facing north, another on the Groveton-Sudley road facing north-west, and a third south-west of the cut facing south-west. This way all the open spaces were covered by batteries. The placement of the brigades in the forests allowed them to give mutual support by advancing and flanking enemy forces, should they attack neighbouring brigades. Also regiments could be moved quickly over the cut to help out if needed.

Then the Confederate counter attacks started. Those coming along the railroad or the Groveton/Sudley road soon collapsed; the heaviest fighting broke out on my left flank, which required some flanking manoeuvres with reinforcements from the other brigades, but the attack was finally repulsed too. Here the situation after this:

sigelif5.jpg
 
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miloc

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(Continuation from above)


Meanwhile it was 10:40 am and Heintzelman's corps (Kearny's and Hooker's divisions) started to arrive. I decided to set them to attack the center of the confederate lines, together with Steinwehr's small division. It took a lot of time and micromanagement to bring them to their starting position in front of the Groveton Woods; also I had to give them time to rest a bit. But finally this mass of all in all seven brigades started moving against the confederate center. When they came out of the woods on the other side, there was no infantry present, only three batteries, which were all captured. I let my great mass advance into the forest on the other side of the railway, and did the same with the right flank of Sigel's corps (Milroy's brigade). After some week fighting, the whole patch of wood west of the railway was now in my hand. Simultaneously I set Grover's brigade, which was on the right of my attacking columns, to advance toward the objective point at Sudley Mill and to bump into enemy forces, if there are any. It captured another battery (without me noticing); then I placed it at the crossing of a little creek there, and the objective star there was in my hand. Meanwhile another brigade (Taylor) occupied Wilkins farm; I was amazed that there weren't any Confederate regiments left in the whole area; and another objective star was taken. The rebels were all further back, in the Stony ridge forest, or in the open space south-west of Wilkins farm. I was already celebrating my victory, when my attention was drawn to the far left.

A massive Confederate charge against Sigel's Corps was under way! Fresh troops, among them the Iron brigade. The battery which had faced south-west was already driven from the field, and the two brigades in the forest (1. division, Schenk) were starting to crumble. I double-quicked a big brigade (Birney) from Kearny’s division from the center along the railway and sent it into the forest, with an attacking order. I thought that would suffice to clear that area, but made the unpleasant discovery that this additional brigade got clubbered too. A second line of defence was urgently needed. I double-quicked a brigade (Krzyzanowski) from beyond the railway back to cover the edge of the forest on the south of the cut. Luckily the battery on the railway, which had originally protected facing north-east, was still there; they only had to turn their guns around and advance a bit. I also manned the edge of the forest on the north of the cut. When my second line was ready, I removed my now pretty shaken forces (those which haven't fled yet) from the patch beyond, and expected the rebels. They dutifully attacked, but failed to penetrate my second line, and finally left.

Meanwhile the IX Corps (Reno) had arrived, and I ordered them to follow the Sudley Mill road up to the Sudley church. Some of them arrived there, some parts of the corps got lost and I found them doing all kind of silly things all over the battlefield. Overall I had the impression now that there were more Union troops at my disposition that I could handle; some brigades in the center had already started to operate on their own and attacked the rebels on the open field south-west of Wilkins, and my cavalry brigade was swarming around too. I took charge of this and together we chased the rebels into the Stony ridge forest. Then I waited for the end screen.


major victory
points: 3329
losses: Union 3134, Confederates: 6995.


three notes:
- It would have been possible to reap even more points by pushing on to the Sudley ford objective, there was enough time and troops available. I just wasn't able to get them to the right place.
- I did a lot of TC-ing and pausing in this scenario. I would have preferred to let my generals operate more on their own, but I found it impossible to transfer orders via messenger, because they always follow roads which are impassable. In addition to that, a messenger whom I had sent early disclosed the Confederate positions to me before he got killed, because he took the road behind the railway to deliver his message. That was nice, but didn't feel right. Leading via messengers would have required moving Pope around to get him close to his subordinate commanders to make sure that his orders get received, which was too much hassle on a battlefield of that scale.
- In conclusion in this scenario the player has not only to fight the rebels, but also his own Generals who follow their own crazy plans, batteries that wouldn't follow orders, messengers that get lost, disconnected reinforcements that have to be sought and ordered around, guns out of ammunition with supply wagons always on the wrong end of the map, no-one following roads when they should, or following roads when they shouldn't, brigades and regiments that constantly get entangled etc. etc. I guess most of my attention and time didn't go to the actual fighting, but to the management behind the battle lines.
- Overall a glorious day for Sigel's corps, I estimate that they did 80% of the fighting.
 
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miloc

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Welcome to the most obscure of all paradox subforums!


Scenario: Rushed Forward at a Charge (First Longstreet)

I tried this scenario three times, and it drove me nuts each time. It looks like great fun, with five divisions (26'850 men!) at the player's command, placed in a most promising position, with the supposedly clueless Union left flank in front of it. Yay! I will sweep them off the field! (but I also wondered a short moment about the comparatively low score required for a major victory: 450 points). Happily I started moving my masses, but then I went nearly insane trying to coordinate a decent attack, gradually lost control of my troops, and finally it all gets sucked into a maelstrom of battle frenzy.


But let's start at the beginning:

Sat. 30 August 1862 3:30 pm
Length of play: 50 minutes

Maj.Gen. James Longstreet (26’850 men, 79 guns)
- Anderson’s Division (Maj.Gen. Anderson), 3 brigades, 6 batteries
- Jones’ Division (Brig. Gen. Jones), 2 brigades, 3 batteries
- Wilcox’ Division (Brig. Gen. Wilcox), 3 brigades, 6 batteries
- Hood’s Division (Grig. Gen. Hood), 3 brigades, 4 batteries
- Kemper’s Division (Brig. Gen. Kemper), 3 brigades, 3 batteries


longstreetmapst1.jpg


Looking east from the Warrenton Turnpike, Wilcox Division is in the forest on the left, Hood’s on the right. South of Hood is Kemper’s division, then Jones’. Anderson’s Division is behind the little forest south-west of Brawner’s Farm.
A Union attack is under way against Jackson’s Corps along the unfinished railway.

My order: Longstreet’s Corps is to support Jackson by taking Groveton and the Groveton Woods.



My first attempt.
One thing was clear: it is not possible to control all the brigades or even the divisions in this attack in the way I am used to. There are just to many of them. I had to rely on my generals instead. Well, let's see….

Plan: I wanted to strike hard with all available forces simultaneously. The decisive attack was to come through the forest south of Groveton, with Kemper's and Jones' Divisions, which should enter the forest at its southern end and then work up their way north-east direction and take both objectives there. The other divisions support this with a direct attack.

Unfortunately my right flank is extending very far to the south, so I spent a lot of time to move Jones' Division and one of Kemper's brigades, which is placed even more on the very far right, to their attacking position (the forest south of Groveton). That caused also a lot of confusion with brigades taking the wrong way, making unnecessary detours etc., and their batteries, which were placed in a completely different spot, moving about. When I was more or less ready, I moved Wilcox and Hood into the open to start a frontal attack (put them on attack stance), what they dutifully did in a very confused way. I don't know all the foolish things they subsequently came up with, because my attention was needed to coordinate that Kemper/Jones attack. But it seemed that the Union wasn't unprepared at all, on the contrary, and the Wilcox/Hood attack turned into an ugly slugfest around Groveton. At least Kemper/Jones managed to take that forest-objective (I couldn't tell their brigades apart anymore, all entangled in a heap), and I placed Longstreet there to make full use of all the objective-benefits. After that I was busy taking command of single regiments that were about to do stupid things, like marching into canister fire. Unfortunately nearly all regiments were doing stupid things, like marching into canister fire (a lot of angry shouting from my part here). I wasn't able to take more objective stars, but at least the Union was pushed out of Groveton.

It gave me a minor victory, 445 points. But more than 8'900 losses!!! This is unacceptable.


Second attempt:
I came up with the following plan: Wilcox's Division was to cross over into that field in front of Jackson’s position and than attack the Union from there with the intention to draw the Union out and make them face in a north-western direction. Meanwhile I'd take advantage of Jones' Division’s position on the far right by marching him along the road to the south end of that forest south-east of Groveton (on the Compton Lane). Meanwhile Kemper’s division was to push through the forest south of Groveton, while Hood attacks on his left.
It didn't work. Jones' Division run into a initially hidden Union brigade at Rev. Compton (from Siegel's Corps, what were they doing down there?), and only arrived at their objective late, separated and flustered. Wilcox' Division run clean into disaster, and Hood didn't do any better. But Kemper's push worked fine, and I had two of the objectives at the end.

Nevertheless, my score was negative (!), and I didn't even check the casualties.
Now my pride was really hurt.
 

miloc

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Third attempt:
new ideas were needed.
- Nevertheless I still liked the push through the forest near Groveton. That was the only part that had gone well so far. I decided to do this again, with Kemper's and Jones' Divisions.
- The problem was Hood's and Wilcox' divisions. I decided to sneak two of Hoods brigades into the forest south-west of Groveton and hide them there until the universal attack starts. Wilcox would again charge directly east, over the open ground Groveton, but I will watch him closely so that he doesn't go out of control again, and I will only start to move him out into the open when all the others are ready. Anderson's division was ordered to take position on the Warrenton Turnpike, as a reserve.
- tc-ed all brigades with the intention to unleash them only then when they would be in their starting positions (brigades out of control was a main problem in my prior attempts). Detached all batteries from the divisions (batteries are not much of use in this scenario)
- turned off sound (that canister-fire-sound makes me nervous)

The approaching went well, I brought Kemper's into the forest south of Groveton in column formation and let him rest, Jones' division joined him, with only one brigade still outside on the west side facing north. I noticed that the Union must have seen something, because they formed a line south of Groveton just inside the wood facing south, but didn't move (I thought). I placed two of Hood's brigades in the forest south-west of Groveton, with the right flank of the mentioned Union line in their front, but still out of their sight (I intended a little surprise for them). Then I moved Wilcox Division into the open (I had received a "we are getting overrun"-message from Lee and thought maybe I should start now) and deployed his brigades in a neat double line. Moved Gen. Longstreet along the lines, un-tc the brigades and gave the attack order to the generals, starting with Wilcox.

Suddenly numerous Union regiments appeared out of the forest round Kemper/Jones and things turned nasty there. Five of my brigades, tc-ed in column formation, half surrounded by deployed Union forces with artillery! Argh! I frantically un-tc-ed my brigades, galloped Longstreet over into that forest to set the generals on "attack", and expected nothing but another disaster here. I gave the attempt up as failure at this moment, but decided to continue in a “it doesn’t matter anymore anyhow”-mood. Pushed Wilcox' and Hood's Division on to bring them into action and set the attack rolling (Hood was slow to catch up). When I turned my attention back to the Kemper/Jones situation, I was pleased to see however that they were about to break the strangling Union lines. I organized an attack on a battery, which was successful. Finally the Union resistance folded, and the objective was mine, and my men were spilling out into the open. I let my generals carry on the attack and concentrated myself on gun-catching, which was pretty successful. Groveton was taken, and nearly all Union troops fled over that creek further east. Just when I was instructing Anderson to press on the attack with his fresh division, the end screen appeared.

866 points! But 7'798 casualties (Union 5692)...horrible, just horrible.
 
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miloc

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Richmond is a Hard Road to Travel

Sat. 30 August 1862 3:30 pm
Length of play 50 min.
Points required for a major victory: 1’200
The same scenario as above, this time on the Union side.

Maj. Gen. John Pope, Army of Virginia

I. Corps (Sigel)
- only 1 Brigade available (McLean)
III. Corps Army of Virginia (McDowell)
- 1st Division (Doubleday) with 4 brigades (Sullivan, Wainworth, Massena Patrick, Gibbons)
- 2nd Division (Ricketts) with 2 brigades (Duryea, Tower), 2 batteries
III. Corps Army of the Potomac (Heintzelmann)
- 2nd Division (Hooker), 2 brigades (Taylor, Carr), 1 battery
V. Corps (Porter)
- 1. Division (Butterfield), 2 brigades (Roberts, Weeks), 1st US Sharpshooters, 2 batteries
- 2. Division (Sykes), 3 brigades (Buchanan, Chapman, Warren), 3 batteries
IX. Corps (Reno)
- 1st Division (Stevens), 3 brigades (Christ, Leasure, Fairnsworth), 1 battery
- 2nd Division (Neill), 2 brigades (Nagle, Ferraro), 1 battery

Arriving later:
Pennsylvania Reserves (Reynolds), 3 brigades (Meade, Seymour, Jackson), 4 batteries, 1 cavalry brigade

My order:
Hold objectives at all costs.

Situation
A Union attack is under way against the railway by Butterfield’s and Doulbeday’s divisions. Doubleday hasn’t entered the fight yet, but Butterfield’s Division on the very left has and is looking bad. Longstreet’s corps is approaching from the West along the turnpike toward Groveton. I have plenty of forces on my right flank (from the center to the far right: Hooker’s Division – IX Corps (Reno) – Rickett’s Division), but my left is utterly exposed because of this attack against the railway. Hmmm…

Plan:
(see blurry screenshot below)
First I paused the game to get a clear picture. I took my time to write down all available forces, and made a second piece of paper with their placement. Finally I came up with the following plan:
- Groveton will be defended at all costs!
- call back Butterfield (retreat button), lead his troops back behind Groveton to recover
- Groveton will be defended by Sykes division, which will be concentrated there; reinforced with additional artillery, and McLean’s brigade (which initially is placed at the objective further south; this objective is to be given up, because I can’t defend everything).
- Doubleday’s division (strong and in good shape) will defend the forest along the Groveton-Sudley road.
- meanwhile reinforcement are to be moved from the right flank: Hooker’s division (from III Corps, army of the Potomac) will march south and will cover the left flank, Steven’s division (IX Corps) will take position behind Doubleday.

anfangpopegu8.jpg
 
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