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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

miloc

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I ordered Butterfield’s division to retreat (bless that arrow button!), and drew back Doubleday’s Division and placed it neatly inside of the edge of the forest along the Groveton-Sudley road. Some Rebel units from Jackson’s Corps followed but were beaten back here. Later Wilcox’s Division attacked here as well, but was repulsed.

The concentration in Sudley went well too. I took care to place Gen. Pope at the objective to take maximal advantage of the benefits. Only Hood’s Division attacked, and only piece by piece. I on the other hand knew how to defend Groveton from earlier scenarios, and when McLean’s brigade arrived, I placed him in that all important stretch of wood immediately south of Groveton, and my line held! However my position would have been very vulnerably against a push through the forest south of Groveton (where I knew Kemper’s Division to be), but luckily the AI was not smart enough to coordinate his attacks. Kemper’s Division appeared too late, and instead of rolling up my flank at Groveton, marched east towards the objective there, which he took. Than they remained passive just inside of the woods, probably exhausted after that long march through difficult terrain.

Earlier I had got a message informing me that Reynold’s Pennsylvania Reserves were coming to my help; they were entering the map in the very south (at Rev. Compton), and marched West towards Brewer Springs. This however was not to my liking, I wanted them to march north asap and connect to my left flank. I spent a lot of time redirecting him, but when I finally had him turned, a full Confederate Cavalry brigade appeared along that road, followed by Jones’s division! A fierce battle started, in which they hacked each other to pieces. After all was over, not much of Reynold’s Pennsylvania reserves remained, but at least they had held the area.

Meanwhile my whole front had been stabilized and I could start to relax. The only danger came from Kemper’s division, but I was now able to counter him, since Hooker’s division was now facing him, and additional brigades were free in the center. Time for a counter-attack! This went well, and the rebels were thrown out; only the objective star remained in their hand because it was covered by three rebel batteries. I was moving the precious 1. US Sharpshooters (= gun crew killers) south to chase them away, when the end screen appeared.

2878 points, major victory! 3’235 losses for the Union, 6’557 for the Confederates.
This scenario was great fun! I have to admit though that I paused very often.
 

miloc

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Our Old Stomping Ground (“Jones Scenario”)


Sat. 30. August 1862 5:00 pm 60 minutes

Brig. Gen. David R. Jones, Jones Division (4’603 men, 12 guns)
- Toomb’s Brigade, Col. H.L. Benning, 4 regiments
- Jones’ Brigade, Col. George T. Anderson, 5 reg.
- Drayton’s Brigade, Brig. Gen. Thomas F. Drayton, 4 reg.
- 3 batteries

I have tried that scenario several times and the results were always poor; the best was a draw with 446 points. But then I got enlightened (or maybe I was just lucky…).


Start:

jonesgt5.jpg


The setup isn’t much different from the previous scenarios: the player starts with Jones’ division (visible at the bottom) on the right of Kemper’s, hanging back a bit. Anderson’s division isn’t visible yet, but will appear soon after the start on the right of Jones. The cornerstone of the Union defence is that cluster of at least a dozen batteries in the centre. This has proved to be an untakable position in all the previous scenarios.


My order
“Kemper’s Division has begun its assault up Chinn Ridge. Conform the movements of your division to support Kemper’s right flank. General Anderson’s Division will be up momentarily and will support your right. Move forward aggressively - but support Kemper!”


First plans:
- Reason told me to get to an objective as quick as possible and accumulate victory points. The objective on the right (Conrad) however is not helpful, because it gets occupied by Anderson’s division soon; and is out of the way.
- I therefore always tried to get to the central objective at the stone house. This seemed promising since I always had an open way along the Chinn Branch, which will lead me directly to the objective.
- I also observed that the efforts of Kemper and the other divisions very often resulted in all Union infantry (not visible on the screenshot), which were placed round the Stone House, to move off to the west, leaving only maybe a battery and mostly cavalry and – as a bonus – Maj. General Pope at the Stone House.

I therefore always tried to keep up on the right with Kemper, who was moving into Chin Ridge, then get easy points by snatching some of the guns which were blocking his way at Chinn. After that I would leave him do his thing and slip undetected into the little forest (that looks like Taiwan) on the east of the Chinn Branch, observe the Stone House until the Union infantry leaves, rush, kill Pope, hold the area, gather points, celebrate victory.


I tried this several times, but even when the plan worked, I never got satisfying results. I usually ended up defending the Stone House area on my own, and got squeezed out of the position by relentless Union attacks from three sides. And curse that Anderson for always sitting on his arse once he got to his first objective and not support me!
Also not helpful was Maj. Gen. Jackson, who in one try suddenly appeared out of the blue (pun intended) and usurped my victory points.


My repeated failures finally got me thinking. Maybe there is something fundamentally wrong with my approach…I read the order again and than it struck me like a freight train: “Move forward aggressively - but support Kemper!”
I had done just the opposite: I let Kemper carry the attack and draw the Union infantry on himself, while I only cared about accumulating points - and then complain about Anderson not supporting me!


New approach
So I decided a complete new approach: I will support Kemper and don’t care about objective anymore. And here how it went:

The usual beginning, moved slightly ahead on Kemper’s right. Unfortunately no easy points, because the first Union battery at Chinn was too far away from my regiments. Then I waited to see where Kemper would lead his division so that I could help him. Meanwhile I managed to capture another battery east of the Chinn Branch, but immediately moved back to the west side of it when Union forced appeared (I hoped Anderson would see them and get his circus moving).
Kemper’s main force marched through the Chinn Ridge Forrest to attack the Stone House. This was unusual, because normally he wasted his division attacking these twelve or more Union batteries on that central hill. A part of his command however got entangled with a Union brigade along the Young Branch west of the Chin Ridge Forrest.
But it was plain obvious what support Kemper! means… let’s face it, it could only be one thing: Remove this massive Union battery from its central position. Ouch.
I therefore crossed with two brigades behind Kemper’s main force to enter that little forest north-west of the Young branch to approach the batteries on the other side as close as possible without being seen. Unfortunately I had to leave one brigade at the right of Kemper, because his right flank was threatened by Union forces on the other side of the Chinn Branch.
To my surprise the little forest at the centre was empty, and I could let my troops rest a bit. Then I did the classic battery attack: column formation, double-quick, press “1” to tc them all, press “2” to release them at the target... As soon as they were out of the forest, all hell broke loose…but I got most of them guns! But the losses…suffice to say that one brigade was reduced to one single regiment, and the other to three regiments, mostly because of my poor handling of it (it didn’t help that they were out of reach when they were among the batteries because I had left Jones too far behind.).
I let the captured guns fire on, but moved the remains of my brigades into Chinn Rigde to recover. Later I drew also all the captured guns back, when the Union Iron brigade appeared and tried to attack the Chinn Rigde from the north. I managed to beat them back from the edge of the forest with my remaining intact brigade and a battery. Then I moved the brigade north to attack the stone house from the west.


The end screen: 661 points, major victory! 1’204 losses for Jones, Union losses 1’009. I was very surprised about the good score, since things went far from optimal.
(EDIT: Tried again today following the same plan: 1'271 points! :cool: )

Lesson to remember: Follow The Bloody Orders!


jonesendih7.jpg
 
Last edited:

John Buford

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great read! learned a lot about the scenarios - which i never played since release :)
i simply love the open play mode too much :)
 

miloc

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John Buford said:
great read! learned a lot about the scenarios - which i never played since release :)
i simply love the open play mode too much :)

Hey a visitor here! welcome!
Yes the open play is good as well. I like the scenarios because the AI doesn't always react the same way, while in open play they always attack. And even though the scenarios seem to be the same over and over again, they never are. Kudos to the scenario-desingners.
I finished the regular scenarios some days ago and got the bonus scenarios.
As a little present for myself I also downloaded the community mod pack. Lots of goodies in there, I can really recomend it, it is a true upgrade. And it will take at least another year to finish all the additional scenarios (including 1st Bull Run).
 

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i have never played this game but i really want to, it looks very nice, sadly i didnt have the money to buy it, i am waiting for the release of GamersGate FreeGames program, it will be out in September 1st and Take Command: 2nd Manassas is included in this program
 

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