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Vren55's Ultimate General Civil War Guide 1.0+ Updated

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vren55    53

I thought I would post this up here first for review before I post it into the steam community. Any opinions/feedback? Anything I should add? I know I'm lacking in the Skirmisher advice department.

Vren55’s Ultimate General Civil War Strategy Guide v. 1.0+ (Brigadier Level) (The Camp Page has been updated to explain the purpose of the Army Pool and how this changes strategy/build)

We love UGCW, and we think the developers are great for making this game, but it's a really complicated game with a lot of idiosyncrasies and a lot of choices to make. I'm still discovering things even as I play. 

So here's my starter guide on how to get your general on. 

Note: This guide focuses on brigade types, usage, equipment, veteran and general management. It gives only general advice on the campaign battles itself on the account of a number of excellent guides on the Steam Community. 

 

The Most Important Pieces of Advice:

Firstly, ALWAYS save your army after a battle (minor or major) so you have a "base" army you can return to if you realize your customization is flawed.  This is an ABSOLUTE MUST and will save your campaign at times.

Moreover, learn from your battle playthroughs and if necessary, return to that "base" army to recustomize  your corps for specific missions. Even on Colonel difficulty, it's not easy to win missions. Sometimes, you need to mess with how many men you put into your divisions and brigades. Usually you want an even number for all brigades, but on certain  missions where you need to rush the enemy to establish your road to victory, you'll need bigger brigades in your first division. 

Brigade Types, How to Use them, How Many Should You Have, and How Much in a Brigade

Infantry: The main body of any army. While there are variations as to how large they should be and how many there should be in a corps, players should ensure that their army is mostly made up of infantry. They don’t require massive micro, can absorb damage and in good cover, even rookie brigades can hold positions and dish out damage.

If you're confused as to what I mean by elite, one star, and 2-star, brigades, search "Growing Veterans" with your browser for that part of the guide.

Personally I go with 4 infantry brigades per division of 5. Or 5 infantry brigades in a division of 6. 

While there are variations on the size of veteran brigades depending on an individual’s player’s strategy, generally players should have max-sized rookie-2 star brigades of at least 1500, if not 2000-2500. This is to ensure that some survive to gain some veterancy and to improve morale-shock resistance. Moreover, larger brigades mean a larger group of skirmishers they can detach. As for elite three brigades, they can stick around at 2000.

Furthermore, you should also concentrate infantry brigades of a similar experience into the same divisions. Infantry brigades of 1-star should be put together. Infantry brigades of 3-star and 2 star should also stick together. This is to better control the deployment of your more veteran brigades.

Artillery (Updated, I also recommend you see "The Artillerist's Guide to Ultimate General Civil War by The Soldier" which contains the latest information on Artillery as of 1.04): Artillery is expensive, but useful. They do that extra damage to the enemy that would allow a general to sway engagements to their favour. Furthermore, artillery performs a crucial role in increasing the hitting power of an army on defense and can deal great morale shocks on enemy charges.

Place them behind the main line of infantry, but not in the main line where they can be exposed to fire, but behind larger brigades that can absorb fire. This also means you shouldn't put them right behind a large brigade because while they can't be targeted, stray enemy fire will whittle down your artillerymen. Make sure to allow them to fire though because it takes a while to get them moving. On the other hand, don’t let them be too far back as then they won’t be able to use “Shell shot,” a mid-range ammunition that scatters over a brigade and does more kills.

Typically it is recommended to have 1 artillery brigade per division of 5 brigades, or one per division of 6 brigades. The number of guns varies, but players should attempt to ensure brigades of at least 8 guns (12 guns in lategame), and make sure to use all cannons they might have captured in battles. As of 1.04 Artillery brigades over 12 guns (up to 18) actually work and no longer lowers the killcount and are now far more durable.

Skirmishers: Dedicated skirmishers can be useful and allow the harassment of the enemy without them being able to hit back. They should however be used within cover and they require intensive micro-management and their weapons are very expensive. Think of them as your commando units, fragile, but incredibly deadly.

Personally I haven’t done enough experimentation to be sure, but I’d say that early investment of many skirmisher brigades is not recommended because they lack durability, although I have heard that the creation of a few veteran, highly-equipped skirmisher brigades can destroy infantry brigades.

Edit: I've started doing some skirmish testing with my latest Union campaign playthrough and I will say that they can be worth the investment, but early level skirmishers are more... for morale impact damage as they are useful in hitting large brigades in the side from range and sometimes (if you got skirmishers equipped with 450 range guns) not even being seen.

Detached Skirmishers (from main infantry brigades): On the other hand, detached skirmishers are great units especially useful in defensive battles and in scouting. These units can be detached (created by splitting off) from a normal infantry brigade. They gain no benefits aside from the skirmisher AI, increased spotting and speed. However, when in cover, detached skirmishers can serve as delaying units, allowing the main infantry brigade to withdraw, or be sent ahead to scout.

Furthermore, when outnumbered in brigade number, but in forest, skirmishers can be used to cover flank areas, extending the line and slowing an enemy advance. (I’m talking to you Shiloh)

In lategame, you'll find that detached skirmishers are often the perfect units to cover your flank as you advance through a gap (Cold Harbour i'm talking about you, but this could also apply to CSA's Gaines Mill), or just cover a flank against enemy skirmishers. 

Cavalry (ranged and melee):  Cavalry is also fairly expensive as a unit (because you need to pay for their horses when replenishing them) and personally I initially wasn’t convinced of their usefulness because also intensive to micro and mistakes will cost the player a lot. However, they have one major advantage over infantry, artillery and skirmisher brigades: Mobility.

Cavalry can strike hard, circle enemy units, come in hit and get out quickly. It is this mobility of cavalry that enables it to perform three different functions in a battle: Harassment, Interception, and Assassination.

Harassment is best done by ranged cavalry operating on the flanks of enemy brigades, or against enemy artillery. One volley from a 750 horse ranged brigade can waver an artillery or Skirmisher brigades and another can rout it. Ranged cavalry brigades can also cause morale penalties to enemy infantry brigades by shooting the in the flanks and because they are more maneuverable, can flank more easily. Ranged and melee Cavalry can also capture supply wagons, and harass artillery batteries (ensure they are isolated and you have an escape route first though). Furthermore, the mere presence of cavalry on the field can work as a distraction and deterrent to the enemy AI which will leave infantry units to the rear to protect their artillery. The player doesn’t even need to engage with their cavalry, just run rings around the enemy.

Interception can be performed by ranged and melee cavalry. The enemy during the campaign will often bring cavalry and skirmishers and while infantry and artillery can deal with them, the best way to respond to them is often to use cavalry. A contingent of melee and ranged cavalry can easily intercept enemy cavalry and stop them from harassing or charging into your army. t's not the cheapest option, but an enemy melee cavalry brigade of 500 can do a lot of damage to a 2000 man 2 star brigade, and so you'd rather counter it with cavalry than with infantry. It's better to intercept enemy melee cav with a combination of ranged cav (to harass and interdict it) and melee cav (so you can do the actual destruction of the enemy cav). Cavalry (melee or ranged) is also particularly good versus skirmisher brigades.

With the shock cavalry nerf of 0.76, it's absolutely necessary to hire ranged cavalry first for interception purposes, I suggest around Fredericksburg. This is so you have a mobile contingent that can counter and intercept enemy shock cav. Even noob 1 star ranged cav can interdict shock cav charges and just screen for your infantry. 

Assassination: If you're dealing with a souped up brigade of 3 star veterans and your 1 star brigade is getting chewed up. Then look around, see if there are any units supporting your enemy brigade, then get your two cav brigades (they can be 1 star 500 men) and charge them into the flank, possibly with ranged cav giving supporting fire. Watch that 3 star infantry brigade runnnn. Melee cav can get you excellent results when you use them to hit lone units in the flank. You need to watch your micro though, and it's also good to make sure the enemy infantry brigade is already engaged by one of your infantry brigades before you charge in on the enemy's flank.

In general, players should invest in cavalry depending on their play-styles and micro-managing skills. An early investment in a cavalry brigade can be rewarding, but also dangerous. I personally suggest that if you are going to invest in cavalry, have at least two brigades as large as possible, a ranged and a melee brigade. This combination will prove useful in combat against enemy melee cavalry and allows a variety of responses. 

I (playing Union) raised two brigades of ranged cavalry to help deal with the horde in Fredericksburg. I had three brigades of cavalry by Stones River, 2 ranged, 1 melee and used them to harass the enemy and, (because the AI is smart) lure some of their infantry brigades away and force the AI to protect its artillery (bolstering my own defence). At Chancelloresville I had an entire division of 5 cavalry brigades (in my 1st corps), which proved rather useful due to their ability to suppress confederate cavalry, target isolated artillery, and (with melee cavalry) damage enemy 3 star veterans once I get them in the flank.

Again, on whether to choose ranged cav or melee cav for assassination purposes, I personally would hire Ranged Cavalry first because they're easier to preserve due to their Skirmish AI and the fact they shoot instead of having to melee in. You can't use Ranged Cav to rout enemy infantry brigades, but they'll be good enough to harass, and kill artillery brigades. Melee cavalry are powerful, but committing them to a melee means endangering them to flank attacks. Thus they require support and a ranged cavalry brigade is a good way to support a melee cavalry brigade, and can fix enemies or screen for the melee cavalry brigade.  

Other units:
General Units
(the guys with stars): You get one per Corps. Keep them away from the enemy and close to units near breaking (aka, being charged or charging). You can tell by the morale (green bar) at the bottom. This is because the general unit grants morale growth, and units in the circle will get a green arrow going up in their morale. Plus, higher level generals give other buffs, like extra cover, or extra morale resistance. (Note, unlike in Ultimate General Gettysburg, general units of different corps do grant buffs to units not of their own).

The officers that command General Units are interchangeable and can be done in the "Camp" screen, but MUST be ranked Brigadier General or over. Moreover, as the officer the General Unit is representing is ranked up from experience, which they get from their command killing men (from Brig General, to Major General, to Lieutenant General) they gain extra abilities which you need to choose to give them. You can put another general in charge if you don't like the abilities you assigned a particular general with, but you can't change the abilities of a corps general even if you switch him out of the corps commander position and then back in (except by savescumming, which is why you must save your army after every battle :P).

Below is a chart/list with my comments:

Brigadier General (1 star General)

  • Logistics (20% to the supply of each brigade in corps): Very Useful Skill for either the vanguard of your army (the corps that first gets deployed).
  • Tactics (5% to speed of all brigades in corps): Also quite useful, not for the vanguard of your army, but for the reinforcing corps (aka, the 2nd corps to get deployed to the field)
  • Experience (10% addition to experience gained by all units in corps): Useful but not in the way you'd expect. It won't be useful for training lots of brigades in the long term b/c at about Fredericksburg, you kind of stop training new brigades. However, the 10% addition to experience gained will reduce the number of veterans you need to add to brigades, and thus makes this a useful long term ability.

Major General (2 star General) Corps Abilities

  • Cavalry Specialization (cavalry in corps get +5 to Melee, +5 to Firearms and +10% to Charge Damage): Unless you're crazy enough to use an abundance of cavalry, or have the deployment space to create one small specialized cavalry corps, don't get this skill for your general. Cavalry isn't really an essential unit to UG:Civil War. Useful, but not essential and you probably won't have enough to warrant designating one of your rarer major generals to have this skill.
  • Artillery Specialization (artillery in corps gets +5 buff to firearms, +5% to accuracy and -5% to Reloading time): Might be useful for someone who wants to create an artillery heavy corps, but of dubious usefulness for the same reasons above.
  • Infantry Specialization (infantry in corps gets +5 to Melee, +5 to Firearms and -5% to Reloading Time): This is literally the most important skill to get for a Major General. Since Infantry are the bulk of your army, this specialization and the buffs it gives are going to allow your corps to do the most damage to the enemy.

Lieutenant General (3 Star General) Corps Abilities  (buffs to Active Morale Aura only (aka that little white circle around the general unit)

  • Defender (grants +10 Cover and +5 Melee to units within active aura): Damned useful for Lt. General General Units. An excellent option, particularly for Corps that will be deployed in defensive battles but it's a GREAT option even for corps deployed in offensive battles because the melee and cover buff can really help when you send units at fortifications (just make sure to keep your general nearby). 
  • Attacker (grants %10 Speed, +5 Stamina to units within active aura): Not so useful because it gives speed ONLY to units within the aura. Furthermore, most campaign missions give you sufficient time to complete them with better planning versus a need for speed. The Stamina MAY be useful, but by late game your units will be so vetted up (the majority of my CSA units were 2-star Brigades) that stamina's not going to be a concern unless in super long battles where a single corps has to hold off the entire enemy (AKA Chickamauga).
  • Leader (Grants 20% increase to General's Active Aura and +10% morale resistance to units within the active aura of your general unit): I weight this about the same as the Defender Buff, but I'd have more generals with the Defender Buff than that of the Leader Buff. The 20% to General's active aura can be quite useful for a general that needs to hold a position at all costs and the morale resistance means that the volley fire of enemy units is less likely to break your units holding a position. It also means that in an melee or just a firefight, you can support the morale of your units. But +10 Cover of the Defender Buff especially in lategame is VERY valuable as it reduces CASUALTIES of your units, which impacts morale. I suggest that by late game, you should have 1 Lt General Corps Commander with this buff, and the other 2 with Defender. 

Supply Wagons: (wagon with the the triangle of cannon balls on top) Make sure you keep these safe and if convenient, capture these from the enemy by moving a unit on top of them. This is because all units have a grey supply-status bar underneath their red reload progress indicator. The supply wagons recharge the grey bar, whilst losing the supply they carry. You can check how much supply they have by clocking on the wagon. You can set how much supply they carry in the Camp screen (see below on how much to buy).

General Skills

Politics: Hands down the most important skill in a general's arsenal. I personally max this skill out first, with some to army organization when possible. When maxed out early, politics allows a player to build a larger army, fast. While he or she might not be able to equip them all or train them with the best weapons, politics greatest value is that it gives flexibility. It gives money and manpower, which allows one to recover losses, and the reputation points can be spent on manpower, money, generals or weapons. It’s important to note that general with maxed out politics probably acquires more men than one with maxed Medicine, mainly because it isn’t reliant on the number of men lost.

Economy: Sortof important. It’s one of those skills necessary for the maintenance of veteran brigades with high cost weapons, but at the same time, a lot of those weapons you can get by capturing them. Have a few points here when you can spare them, but it isn’t a priority stat to increase. Good way to just get some is to pick the “Artillery” option for your general’s initial skillset.

Medicine: Important, particularly in mid-game, but not so much in very early game. Why? Well, Medicine allows a brigade that has lost men to recover a percentage of those men (they don’t go into manpower, they go directly back into said brigade automatically) and the equipment they hold, as well as their veterancy. It isn’t good for growing a large army early on in a player’s career because it’s reliant on the number of losses their army takes.

It is vital though to to max Medicine out later in the game (I personally suggest by, maybe even before Stones River) in order to preserve the veterancy of your elite units, and all important manpower after minor and Grand Battles. Since training and new weapons cost money, medicine is a powerful passive ability of sorts that mitigates the manpower and money losses a player’s armies will take, especially in Grand Battles.

Army Organization: Mind you, this is also important as it allows a general to field more men on the battle, which enables more flexibility in tactics. Important to note though it doesn't affect how much men you actually get to put into your army. For that you need politics. That being said,  an expanding army requires increased army organization, so level up when required/possible. However, it’s possible to survive the battles on level 6 organization up to even Stones River, so players should just ensure enough organization to fulfil the minimum “required corps” slots for the Grand Battles (1 for Bull Run, Shiloh, 2 for Gaines Mill, Malvern Hill and 2nd Manassus, Chancelloresville, Chickaumauga. 3 for Antietam, Fredericksburg, Stones River, Gettysburg, Cold Harbour). That being said, having more organization early can be useful as a larger 1st Corps or 1st Division can be useful for minor battles or certain Grand Battles, (CSA's Gettysburg and Cold Harbour).

Training: Cheapens the recruitment of veterans for elite brigades. Useful to have some early, and an absolutely necessary general stat to have in later campaigns. A player should start increasing the state gradually (max it out by Chancelloresville I think) as it allows the player/you to grow some majorly dangerous units, and maintain the dangerous nature of your elite unites. This is particularly important in lategame, when your recruitment rewards reduce... because you need to fallback onto maintaining 2 Star veteran units just to ensure you have a way to combat the AI's elites.

Logistics: Sortof useful and sortof not. It means you can rely less on supply wagons, but at the same time can be mitigated by the traits of corps generals and artillery brigade traits. Take 2 (with the Artillery trait) early on, but don’t feel the need to max this.

Reconnaissance: Reconnaissance is a skill that hasn't been reworked, but the new AI system with "pools" of men per campaign has made getting 2 points of it after Antietam a useful commodity.

A general with good reconnaissance is useful as it allows them to know the numbers of the enemy army, get a power bar on the size of the enemy army as the battle goes on, and even their weapon load-outs at higher Reconnaissance levels. However, most people look at the Reconnaissance skill, see that it doesn’t help them build a larger army or maintain it on the battlefield, and ignore it.

Take this if you want to have a different experience, a more tactical way to play. However, keep in mind that with the new army "pool" system the AI is using, having reconnaissance of 2 points is actually quite useful as you can now rearrange your army to match or exceed the AI's deployed troopcount.

An important note, reconnaissance skill buffs occur only after every 2 points invested.

 

The Camp Management:

Buying Supply: Each 1000 of supply cost 1000 dollars. How much supply one should buy depends on the general skills (particularly how much of the logistics stat he has), but try to make sure your corps goes into its major battles with a lot of supply (notes: ballpark figure: at least 15,000 for some earlier battles, grow this slowly as you play more. Ensure 25,000 for Antietam on the corps attacking or defending first). Luckily, as long as you don’t lose get your supply wagon captured in the battle, you’ll get to keep the supplies you bought at first.

Growing and Managing Veterans: Players should notice that there are two ways to replenish a unit after a battle, with Veterans or with Rookies. Replenishing with veterans costs money but maintains the stats of a unit. Rookies only cost manpower and whatever cost you need to equip them with new weapons, but leads to the unit’s stats going down.

Based on my experience and my participation in forum discussions, the best strategy to replenishing units (at least in early game before 1863) is to only replenish two infantry units with veterans, the artillery units with stars with veterans, and everybody one else with rookies. This is to get two units of three star veterans as fast as possible and to grow the competency of your artillery.

What do Stars mean? Well the Stars that a unit has essentially tells you how powerful a unit is (enemy or friendly). With ever star earned (progression to the next star shown by the gray bar in the unit stats) the unit gets a “trait” which grants additional stats. Moreover, as a unit gets more stars and veterancy, their stats in general, including morale, accuracy and reload rate (represented by Efficiency in the unit stats page), melee stats and stamina increases. Edit: Of course, how much they increase depends on what stats you pick.

All the stats for various brigades are quite variable and useful, and it really depends on the player to choose how to build a veteran brigade. Just ensure that you don’t overlap them. If your newly minted 3 star brigade is already at 100 morale, you don’t need to choose the “Elite” stat that grants you extra morale. 

Personally I go with the Discipline (extra morale and efficiency), Assault Course (extra melee, stamina and morale) and Sharpshooter (extra efficiency/firearms and accuracy boost) to give me a brigade with 100 morale, 100 Efficiency nearly 100 firearms and above 70 Stamina and melee. 

Anyway, a brigade can have 3 stars at the most, but by that time it’s an exceptionally powerful brigade and can roflstomp. You want to get at least two infantry brigades because they are the trump cards of the army. Reserve 3 star infantry, cavalry and skirmisher brigades for employment in difficult situations and watch the enemy disintegrate. Edit: Do try to employ them in cover or with another brigade ahead to soak up the fire. You don't want to replace or replenish these brigades unless absolutely necessary. Neither do you want to involve them in all the side missions once you have a 3 star. Personally I take 1 super-vet (3 star) whenever I go on a mission just in case, but your 3-stars should always be in reserve until the right moment. Don't be hesitant to use them, just be conscious about it. Update: The Three star brigades have been nerfed a bit with the last skill's values being halved. This doesn't mean 3 stars aren't useful. On the contrary, due to the fact that they've accumulated so much veterancy through battles, the actual skills aren't so needed to raise their stats. However, now it's far less important to get more than three 3 star brigades. Rather, a lot of 2-stars should serve one fairly well.

How does this relate to replenishment? Well replenishing a brigade with Rookies retards and reverses the progression a unit is to a star. It’s thus essential to replenish the two brigades you are training with veterans only.

Everything else can get rookies, no matter if it retards their progression to getting stars. You need those two veteran brigades first, so whatever you do, do not spread the veterans around all equally  thinking you can grow the entire army. Depending on campaigns, a player might be able to get more 3 star veteran brigades, but they should try to crank out two 3 star veterans ASAP before slowly training more 2-3 star brigades. You should choose a few brigades to maintain at a 2-star or 1-star level, but choose wisely. Veterans are expensive and having a few 2000-2500 no star brigades gives you valuable meatshield units. Of course, if you can spread the veterans around enough to JUST maintain the 2-star status of certain brigades, but keep them filled up at 2500 men, you should do that.

After all, you'll want to maintain more veteran units going into lategame because manpower rewards are reduced drastically, meaning you need to compensate the lack of numbers in your army with greater veterancy.

Moreover, you do want to use veterans only to replenish 1 star above veteran artillery losses. This is because rookies in artillery brigades really retard their fire efficiency.  It doesn’t matter so much in an artillery brigade that has no star, but a veteran artillery brigade is really worth its weight in gold.

Finally, you do not need to use all of your men that you have in the pool if you've met the corps count (the brigade count is not so important, but if you really want to be sure, take 2 points of Reconaissance early on).

This leads us to the next point in the guide.

Managing Commanders:

Commanders give the brigade bonus stats, mainly command. The Command stat affects the morale, and efficiency (accuracy and reload rate) stats. It’s why when a brigade loses an officer, their command and efficiency goes down and you can see it in battle when pressing the "i" button of the brigade. The officers also give the brigade a bit of progression to get to the next star.

 In general, you want to ensure that rookie (no star) brigades get lower ranking officers and higher brigades get higher ranking officers. Moreover, you want to ensure you switch them out when they get promoted.

Yes, your officers will learn something and become more competent (unlike in UG:Civil War XD). It’s shown by a smaller gray bar next to the brigade progression bar, and by the gray bar in the commander selection scrolldown (which can be found if you click the brigade/division/corps commander’s picture). Make sure to review who got promoted after a battle so you can ensure he’s in the best (and safest) position depending on his rank. Granted, bad luck can suddenly kill an officer, but the easiest way to get them killed is to put their units in too much danger.

Command of units can be further increased by a good choice of division commander. The higher ranking division commander you select for a division, the better the units under him will perform. They can even be further increased by a good Corps Commander. Note that only Colonels above can be selected as division commanders, and only Brigadier Generals can be selected for Corps Commanders.

Anyway here’s a quick rundown on what each officer’s ranks should be used for. Mind you, in desperate circumstances you might have to deviate, but this is my preferred system. Obviously, as you get higher ranks, you get less of each officer to recruit from the “Academy” and they also get more expensive to higher.

  • Captains: If you really have to, use them for artillery brigades. Not recommended though.
  • Majors: Use them for rookie (no star) brigades and artillery brigades (1-2 star). Having majors in artillery brigades doesn’t super impact the effectiveness of artillery brigades and trains the major up to the point they can be used to command front-line infantry brigades.  They are also super plentiful so don’t be afraid to get these guys wounded. You want them to gain experience so they can get promoted.
  • Lt. Colonels: Useful Mid-tier officer that can command either no star or 1 star brigades of 1500 or more. Less available than majors, but enough so you shouldn’t have too many issues.
  •  Colonels: Reserve these for 1-2 star brigades. They are more limited in quantity at the academy and more expensive. That's because they give decent command stats.
  •  Brigadier General: Reserve these for 3 star brigades, and division commanders. If you’re desperate, you can use a brigadier general as 2 star brigade commanders or as a corps commander. This is because these guys are really difficult to purchase and hire from the academy (availability being like 2-4 per campaign), and while you can get them by reputation, that’s better used for manpower, equipment, and money. An important note here, whilst Brigadier Generals can command a Corps, it's better to train them up commanding divisions and elite brigades because those activities get them more experience faster
  •  Major General: Rare buggers. You do not want these people hurt because you simply cannot hire them from the Academy. You can only get them by the promotion of your brigadier generals, campaign rewards and reputation, which as I said earlier, is better spent on other stuff. These dudes should command Divisions and Corps only. This won't make them immune from death, but it'll help. 
  •  Lieutenant General: If you put this dude in a frontline infantry regiment, or make them a division commander, you’re doing it wrong. These commanders are worth their weight in gold and it’s unlikely a player will ever get more than 2 by Fredericksburg. You don’t want to lose them. Stick them in command of your corps because at Lieutenant General, their command aura gets rather scary good. I like putting mine with 20% morale resistance aura.

One last point, due to the nature of commander promotion, it's wise to hire new colonels and lt. colonels to replace your dead ones rather than simply pulling one from a reserve. The hiring barracks resets after every conflict, so you'll have continuous access to brigadier-Captain officers. However, because you can never hire Major Generals and hire Brigadier Generals to a limited extent, you want to get colonels and lt. Colonels promoted, continuously.

Also, if you're playing the Confederacy, and even in the late-game Union, it's not impossible to get a preponderence of major and lieutenant generals (I have 7 Lt. Generals... as Confederates). Only then can you stick the Lt. Generals into division commander slots, and do so for Grand Battles Only (so that they have a lesser chance of dying).

Equipping:

The general rule of thumb is, better weapons for more veteran brigades. As other guides have said, use captured weapons first, THEN buy new weapons. Try not to buy new and expensive weapons for rookie brigades who are going to lose them. The key is availability and convenience/cost-efficiency. Get weapons that are available in your armoury first and then get weapons that suit the ability of that unit to stay in the fight. Thus, more deadly weapons for elite brigades who can lay down the hurt and less deadly weapons for rookie brigades who will run.

On the other hand, there are great advantages to equipping your starting brigades with slightly better guns to help your army whittle down the enemy in the early campaign, as the AI will feel the loss even later due to the new "pool" system.

The equip-what’s-available-for-free rule applies particularly to artillery which is expensive as hell.

Also, by the lategame (Overland Campaign in 1864), don't forget to sell your equipment that you aren't using. Aka, Rebored Farmers and Farmers, possibly Springfield M1842s and Mississipi 1841s. Plus, any useless cannon (the old 6 pounders, 6 Pound Wards, or overly expensive cannon that you can't equip a brigade of 4 guns with). 

Now, this is all really based on personal taste, so here’s the loadout I go with. 

Infantry:

·        Union

o   No star and 1 star: Springfield M1842 (Palmetto if necessary), lategame Springfield M1855s or captured Enfield 1853s

o   1-star and 2 Star: Palmetto, Lorenz, (captured CSA mid-tier rifles like Pattern 1853 Enfield also work). If you absolutely need to because you captured enough of them, use Springfield M1855’s. If you're out of arms and money? Springfield M1842s. Note, by the Overland Campaign, you should have swithced 1 to 2 star brigades to Springfield M1855s and 1853 Enfields or Lorenz's. 

o   3 star: Springfield M1855 or Harper’s Ferry variant. In the lategame, start equipping these guys with Springfield M1861-3s, captured C.S. Richmonds, and Fayettevilles

·        Confederate

o   No-Star: Springfield M1842. DO NOT WASTE TIME EQUIPPING REBORED FARMERS AND FARMERS... THEY ARE USELESS!!!! Fodder! If you are going to equip brigades with them, have them be reserve brigades who are last to enter combat.

o   1-star: Springfield M1842 or lower cost rifles if necessary. But you should really have these 1 star equipped with the the Mississippi M1841 at least. The Mississipi 1841 performs MUCH better than the M1842, particularly in accuracy, so an early game brigade of these buggers can really help. 

o   2-star: Mississippi M1841, Lorenz, or if you got nothing else available and have cash, Pattern 1853 Enfields.

Again, like the Union, you should start equipping your 1-2 star brigades with Springfield M1855s (possibly Harper's Ferry variant), Enfields and if desperate, Lorenz's in order to beef them up against the much more deadly AI brigades. You definitely can equip ALL of your brigades with M1855s (probably Harper's Ferry Variant because you'll capture a lot of them) and Enfield 1853s by Overland and probably even by Chickamauga

o   3-Star: Springfield M1855 or 1853 Enfields. This is because by the time you have a 3 star brigade, you would have captured a lot of those weapons from the Union. Remember though, if you got higher level and more expensive weapons already in your army, equip your veteran brigades with those. By Overland Campaign, start equipping your brigades with Springfield M1861s, C.S. Richmonds, and Fayettevilles. Try the CS. Richmonds first because they are cheaper, but perform similarly to the M1861s.

Cavalry (applies for both sides)

  • Melee cavalry: Palmetto 1842. Seriously it has excellent melee and it’s cheap. Colt M1855’s if you have some available or can spend the extra cash. Note, the "range" stated in the weapon stats is actually the range of their pistol/short-carbine that they fire as they charge. They don't have skirmish AI, or any ranged attack, they just charge or melee.  
  • Skirmisher cav/ranged cav: Go for availability. As long as it’s not the Sawed off, Cock and Brother, or basically anything with a range of under 230. The point of ranged cavalry due to their AI skirmish ability isn't the reload or damage, it's the harassment and holding. So the important thing you need to account for is range so your cavalrymen can pull off after firing more easily. The gun you're probably going to be equipping your ranged cav brigades with is the Sharpe 1855 carbine, which is a pretty good gun.

Skirmishers:

·        If you’re brave enough to actually have dedicated skirmish brigades, you need the Sharps rifle due to its 450 range, accuracy, and fire rate. The Hunter is cheaper and has the range or so I’ve heard, but the Sharps has better fire rate and accuracy... and at 450 range, even the Sharps good accuracy means the 500 men you will equip the brigade with can only whittle, not salvo enemy brigades.

Artillery (Applies for Both), overall the descriptions in this are pretty reflective of their performance.

The Soldier's The Artillerist's Guide is far more enlightening on the types of guns and how to use them, but here's my suggestions for the most forgiving, least micro-intensive, cheapest strategy.

Now, there are three different types of shots your cannon fires (well four, but i'm simplifying). At long range, single solid shot. At middle range, shell shot (or case shot) which scatters shrapnel over a small area. At close range, cannister shot which basically sounds as bad as it sounds. Lots of little ball bearings close in. UG:CW cannons all perform different depending on shots and circumstance. 

  • 6 Pounders Smoothbore: The basic starting cannon. Use these first if available or you just need a stopgap artillery brigade. It’s not good in long range, but very good in defending against enemy charges. Especially when you have large brigades of em. Edit: Do try to phase them out as soon as possible. Aka, the MOMENT you have the money or cannons to create a 7 gun 10Pdr Ordinance or Napoleon Artillery Brigade
  •  6 Pound Wards: Previously, I didn't get these or use them if I have them in the Armoury. However, apparently they are now very good at long range and can be used in counter-battery or simply mid-range fire. Not good in close range, but keep them at mid range and you will get kills through their case shot (not cannister, case). Plus, they're cheap, so why not equip them? Especially given 6 Pounder Smoothbores are really bad at range. Mind you, these cannons tend to be rare. So keep em and buy em when you can get em.
  • 12 Pdr Howitzers: You should not get these on purpose, but if you capture them, they’ll do well as close support artillery. They used to have bad cannister, but now apparently they're OP at close range. A highly aggressive artillery piece you'll need to keep moving with your battle lines. This is fairly micro-intensive though and liable to get a lot of your cannon crew killed if you screw up. 
  • 12 Pdr Napoleon: Excellent gun for artillery batteries with excellent short range and medium range damage. If you captured some, raise a battery of these, and augment with purchases from store. Fairly aggressive artillery piece though, due to its poor solid shot performance so try to keep it moving with your lines. 
  •  10 Pdr Ordinance: The mainstay of your armies. It's the best all around affordable cannon specialising in medium-long range. Unlike what the description says, it’s decent in close range as well with good canister in a pinch. Not as widely available to capture, but if you have some, get them on the field, and buy them if necessary. This is because while the Napoleon is useful, the Ordinance's all around performance attributes and its AWESOME accuracy allows it to get kills without getting too close to the enemy. This preserves your cannon crew and means it doesn't need to be microd so much.
  • 10 Pdr Parrot Gun: Not a bad gun now apparently. It's got similar performance to the Ordinance, but with slower firepower and harder hitting medium range shot. Consider a battery if you got spare skilled crew and want something mid-long range with good counter-battery potential.
  • 10 Pdr Tredegar: Great Medium range gun, though it's very rare. Keep in mid-range with enemy and watch it blow the enemy to smithereens with it's shell (case) shot
  • 12 Pdr Whitworth: Unsure because it's about to receive changes and because it's also a very rare cannon that I've never gotten enough of to use a battery for. Apparently good for counter-battery and mid-range fire. Section might be changed
  • 14 Pdr James Rifle: Counter-battery focused gun. You'll need to micro this to work, but if you want something to deal with the pesky enemy batteries... could be the trick.
  • 24 Pdr Howitzer: God oh god, the medium-short range on this bastard of a gun will make you open your mouth and cry tears of joy, because this late game gun is OP at those ranges. Plus, it's got a very long range... so it's medium range is kinda big. Geddit.
  • 20 Pdr Parrot: People hated this gun. So did I. No longer though b/c apparently it's not the lategame 10Pdr Ordinance with great performance at all ranges. Get as many of them as possible. 
  •  

General Strategy Tips:

Other guides have covered and are going to walkthrough the campaigns better than I can do, but here are some in general.

Do a save game before you start to replenish your damaged army in case you mess up and you think your composition needed tweaking. Save your games also in the middle of Grand Battles during the phases so you have some more intermittent backups.

When looking at the objectives you need to take, click button on the top right corner with lines for the objectives you actually need to take or lose. This is because some of the battles like 2nd Manassus for the Union have… false objectives that don’t affect the outcome of the battle, but are historically accurate.

Once you’re on the battle map, consider the terrain and the men you have. Ensure that every fight you encounter with the enemy is an unfair fight. Only losers fight fairly on the field. 

Moreover, consider that the victory points can be captured just before the timer runs out. There is no rush and at times, some battles can go to a next phase. On the other hand, also remember that destroying as much of the enemy as possible is also a good thing, just so long you don’t lose too much in doing so.

Think flexibly. Remember, make it an unfair fight. If the AI is clearly deployed one way, go another. The advice from the opening battle instruction pages might be useful, but sometimes you can just toss it off. For example, in 2nd Manassus, I ignored the instruction to flank the enemy and just concentrated on his left flank. I won anyway due to superior concentration of force.

In certain battles, you even want to ignore the fortifications available. Fortifications can give you an advantage, but they also allow an enemy to concentrate their fire on a single brigade. Vice versa, you can employ that tactic to dislodge a unit. Even moreso if the enemy has a ton of skirmishers.

Another point, hug the trees. Whether attacking or defending, hug the trees to ensure your brigades take less damage. If the enemy is in the trees, follow the trees, and try to surround or flank if possible.

Finally, don’t be afraid to fall back. If losses seem to be mounting, and your brigades are losing morale, hit that Fallback button (Shortcut F). You don’t want your brigades to rout or waver because you’ll take more damage.

Moreover, contrary to what historically occurred, you don’t want to charge too often even as CSA. There’s a lot of damage that happens when you charge and it also allows the enemy to get flanking shots a lot.

Employ the "division selection" button (you know, the one in your battle interface right under the "corps" button that allows you to right-click draw a gray line with the brigades lined up?) that button allows you to move lots of troops very quickly.

Don't be afraid to pause, or use slow motion. Grand Battles can get really hairy and cavalry micro can be very annoying. So employ this to your advantage, or be prepared to lose a lot of men.

Now without further ado Some Tactics (nicknamed for ease of memory):

Frederick’s Oblique Attack: Look at a map. Scout out the dispositions of the enemy. Go around the most heavily fortified areas to get to the victory point, or hit the enemy in only one flank. It allows you to engage more of your army with a smaller part of their army, and get flanking bonuses. Ensure you use cover as you advance. It shields your units from observation and gives you protection.

This tactic will see employ by the Union on Antietam, and the Confederates at Gaines Mill (through Boatswain's swamp).

Napoleon’s Concentrated Assault Columns: If you can’t figure out any way to outflank an enemy or you simply don’t have time, this works rather well. Launch an attack at the weakest part of the enemy defenses (maybe a single fortification) with four infantry brigades in a line with artillery nearby. Make sure (and this is important) to line up all other divisions right behind the initial attackers in waves. When one brigade waves or loses lots of morale, fall them back, move the brigade behind them forward. Repeat until that enemy in that sector dies.

Then move forward, use the brigades behind the initial frontal brigades to cover the flanks, or push them forward instead to give your attacking brigades a break.

This tactic is particularly useful if you're Union on Second Manassus and Fredericksburg, Confederates on Shiloh, and Malvern Hill

Human Wave: A variant of Napoleon's Assault Columns designed against garrisoned points (trenchworks and breastworks) that CSA and Union are going to start being forced to employ in later battles, minor and major, say, Fredericksburg onwards due to the persence of LOTS of fortifications and trenchworks. Form up the brigades of your ENTIRE corps, 3 per line, or 4 per line. Pause, give them all Right click and drag orders past the enemy fortifications and set them off. They'll keep firing and moving as they enter combat. You might have to redirect a few to cover the flanks, but once they get close enough, start charging 2-3 of the front ranker brigades into the enemy fortification. Don't worry if one or two of your brigades flee, the rest will push forward. Expect casualties, but this is often the only way to take the damn points.

Detach Skirmishers and GTFO: You need to run. The Confederates or the Union are overwhelming you and the campaign map has named a new objective you have to defend… behind you, and your brigades are engaged. If you run them away, they’ll be flanked and they’ll rout because your rookie brigades are bad.

Detach your skirmishers and GTFO. It’s simple. The key is that they’ll meatshield for you so that the mother brigades can just run. It’s not a perfect strategy and it’s likely you’ll lose those skirmishers, but sometimes it’s better to simply preserve the infantry brigades. 

Union will be needing to use this tactic on Shiloh, possibly Chancelloresville and Chikamauga. Confederates possibly at Antietam. 

Bleeding Em To Death, (How to Defend with and Deal with Fortifications): Fortifications are fun when you’re defending, but a pain to deal with when attacking.

But they do have a weakness. They stretch a single brigade out and make them a bigger target, allowing 2-4 brigades to shoot one. Update: Furthermore, with Patch 0.76, fortifications can now be flanked... with rather devastating consequences on morale. 

When attacking, exploit this mercilessly by concentrating all local brigades to hit one fortification. This will bleed them quickly enough and the enemy can’t fire over the fortified brigade because of the “blocking” mechanic that stops a brigade from shooting the other in the back. Once you've bled that brigade into a rout, move in, flank the other brigades that are fortified, and turn the enemy army. Mind, you the offensive tactic tends to work better for Union than Confederates, and only up to 1863 as only then can they afford the loss of men.

When defending, ensure you have a spare brigade right behind to take a fortified brigade’s place. You don’t need two brigades per fortification, but you do want a brigade close enough so it can give supporting fire if the enemy decides to charge.

DEATH!!! DEATH!!!!: Charging... is an interesting tactic. Use sparingly, but be sure to use it when relevant because it can save lives. If it's 3 rookie brigades of 2000 versus just 1 veteran 3 star brigade of 1500, then charge it. But if that veteran has backup in form of cannon or another infantry brigade, try to isolate them or bleed them to death one by one by refocusing fire (select brigade and right click on target, cannon first if you can get a shot without moving the brigade). Same with fortifications. You can charge a fortification, but numbers in a charge are everything as is the support the enemy has. The more support they have, the more flanking fire penalties apply to a brigade engaged in melee. So be careful about charging.

Infantry brigades, are capable of charging into enemy flanks and inflicting a hell of a lot of morale shock. Melee Cavalry is particularly good for this. I've had my melee cavalry get over 1000 kills to 100-200 deaths simply by charging enemy infantry in the flanks while they were engaged with my infantry. Again though, pick your fights/charges wisely. Ever since Patch 0.75, Melee cavalry was heavily nerfed. They are still useful, but they aren't going to get 1000 kills any longer.

That's it, go get the Rebels, or Federals, generals! 

Sincerely,

vren55

Edited by vren55
updates to game

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Hitorishizuka    136
6 hours ago, vren55 said:

Artillery (Applies for Both), overall the descriptions in this are pretty reflective of their performance.

  • 6 Pounders Smoothbore: A good starting cannon. Use these first if available or you just need a stopgap artillery brigade. It’s not good in long range, but good enough to defend against enemy charges
  •  6 Pound Wards: I never get these or use them if I have them in the Armoury. I don’t see the point of long range fire when the most damaging shots from the artillery are in its mid-short range shell and canister shots.
  • 12 Pdr Howitzers: You don’t need to get these on purpose, but if you capture them, they’ll do well as support artillery. Not so much in objective defense, (they don’t have that good short-range damage) but they have good mid-range damage.
  • 12 Pdr Napoleon: Excellent gun for artillery batteries with excellent short range and medium range damage. If you captured some, raise a battery of these
  •  10 Pdr Ordinance: All around gun. Unlike what the description says, it’s decent in close range as well with good canister in a pinch. Not as widely available to capture, but if you have some, get them on the field.
  •  

·        Anything more expensive than these is really not worth considering unless you have them in the armoury and do not need to buy them.

I'll dispute this one. 24pdr Napoleons are worth their weight in gold, they are absolute murder if you put them on a unit with a decent Firearms score.

10 pdr Ordnance and 10 pdr Tredegar are the next best options, especially for newer brigades that need training.

12 pdr Howitzer is pretty bad, 14pdr James is very bad. 20pdr Parrot underperforms for cost even still after the buffs. (10 pdr is okay). 6 pdrs of any kind are mediocre, you should basically never need to use them.

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Zwerty99    18

Skirmishes are also brilliant. Smaller groups with whitworths can find a nice opening and unleash hell on out-of-range foot infantry. Even as CSA I get larger groups with hunger rifles to support my lines. Use them with your veterans for protection... On that note, veretans should not be the jack of all trades you described. Depending on your traits, choose whether they will be shock troops or marksmen on the flanks (I prefer the latter). Don't waste your veterans, especially on side missions. 

Thats all I have to add. I really enjoyed reading through the guide btw, and appreciate the effort in making it. 

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vren55    53
1 hour ago, Hitorishizuka said:

10 pdr Ordnance and 10 pdr Tredegar are the next best options, especially for newer brigades that need training.

 

Huh, interesting. Never got the cash for 24 pdr Napoleons so I wouldn't know. I just find higher-tier cannon's limited availability makes brigade construction... problematic to players in general b/c that means small brigade size and low durability + difficulty to replace.

Oh everybody will love the 10 pdr Tredegar, problem is I'm at Chancelloresville and I've never gotten any aside from some I used political power to get, and nothings shown up in the store either. It's a great gun, but it was so impossible to get I didn't bother including it in the guide.

1 hour ago, Hitorishizuka said:

12 pdr Howitzer is pretty bad, 14pdr James is very bad. 20pdr Parrot underperforms for cost even still after the buffs. (10 pdr is okay). 6 pdrs of any kind are mediocre, you should basically never need to use them.

Well I guess we'll agree to disagree on the 12pdr Howitzer. I found a nice brigade of these netted me about 1000 kills. Yes, they don't perform as well as regular cannon, but if you don't want to spend too much money raising an entirely new brigade of expensive stuff, they work. 

As for the James and 20pdr Parrot, that's why I was like, don't buy anything more expensive than 10pdr ordinance. Not worth it.

6pdr smoothbores are... I find that if you have captured six pdrs, then you might as well equip them because they can do some damage. Priority is to phase them out obviously, but if you're strapped, they'll hold. I'd agree that the Ward and Parrot 6pdrs are craap.

 

Thanks for the feedback though!

Edited by vren55

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vren55    53
1 hour ago, Zwerty99 said:

On that note, veretans should not be the jack of all trades you described. Depending on your traits, choose whether they will be shock troops or marksmen on the flanks (I prefer the latter). Don't waste your veterans, especially on side missions. 

Thank you for the skirmisher tips. Oh yeah, you never want to waste your vets on side missions, but I find taking 1... maybe 2 extreme vets (3 star) gives me that little edge to end the battle. 

Not sure what you mean. I found that if you pick Discipline, Assault Course, and then Sharpshooter, equip with a Brigadier General, you'd get a combination of near 100 efficiency, 100 morale, which makes them awesome marksmen but excellent shock troops due to their high morale. 

 

Edit: Thanks for the feedback!

Edited by vren55

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Zwerty99    18
8 hours ago, vren55 said:

Not sure what you mean. I found that if you pick Discipline, Assault Course, and then Sharpshooter, equip with a Brigadier General, you'd get a combination of near 100 efficiency, 100 morale, which makes them awesome marksmen but excellent shock troops due to their high morale. 

You also have to consider their weapons--you won't want to be wasting your Springfield 1855s or Richmond 1861s (at least half way in the campaign) on troops you intend to simply charge into enemy masses. 

Otherwise, you are correct.... Except for that choosing a firearms trait for the second star can get you +10% accuracy or -10% reloading separate from the maxed out stats--great for a purely shooting brigade. Vice-Versa with choosing endurance, assault, and elite for a shock brigade.

Also have to remember that high morale doesn't inherently equal high skill (someone else on the forum had a discussion about this) and you don't want non-specialized shock troops that won't break but can't deliver. Therefore, high morale doesn't necessarily qualify troops for melee duty :D

 

Edited by Zwerty99

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vren55    53
1 hour ago, Zwerty99 said:

Also have to remember that high morale doesn't inherently equal high skill (someone else on the forum had a discussion about this) and you don't want non-specialized shock troops that won't break but can't deliver. Therefore, high morale doesn't necessarily qualify troops for melee duty :D

 

I thought that I was quite clear on the weapons with the 1 star thing, but I guess I should put more advice in detail.

Honestly I find melee problematic and rarely charge my brigades. Cavalry is a different story ohhh boy. 

Yet, I found that a two star might benefit from the firearms course, but I think if you're looking for overall stats for a 3 star with good shooting and can actually stay in battle and run hard, what I got works.

Compare Iron Brigade (gifted to me after Frederickburg) to mmy personal Freezing Guard, Maple Leaf or the Loonie Brigade

It appears you get more bank for buck with Discipline, Assault Course and Sharpshooter combined to give you max morale, max efficiency, great stamina and near-max firearms comparable to if you took the shooting course. It's possible the Iron Brigade had lesser stats as it was a gift brigade, but I still think go Shooting after Discipline and then with sharpshooter ends up with a pretty ridiculous all around firearms+morale combination that can ward off assaults.

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GeneralPITA    108

You have 8k three star veterans? Three star brigades aren't really worth the effort to maintain. I spread out the experience to make as many two star brigades as possible. It literally takes 10x as much experience to get to 3 stars vs 2 stars. . 

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vren55    53
8 hours ago, GeneralPITA said:

You have 8k three star veterans? Three star brigades aren't really worth the effort to maintain. I spread out the experience to make as many two star brigades as possible. It literally takes 10x as much experience to get to 3 stars vs 2 stars. . 

*Shrug* it works for me. It's nice to have a trump card and I don't always use these brigades so they work.

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fancylogic    4

It's interesting to see how differently people approach this game. At first I followed army compositions similar to this for my union campaign, kept 4-5 infantry brigades with at minimum 1 artillery of say 10 pc max. Other than my "light infantry" division (which I used quick tactical artillery (with the 2 star buff) and skirmishers). My initial forays with cavalry and skirmishers always ended poorly and kept the "infantry is the backbone of my army" mentality proceeding due to the constant loss of specialty units. Unfortunately as Union, you face increasing numbers of well trained skirmishers that just box in your flanks leaving you immobile in the forests, even with the detached skirmishers, my lack of cav to exploit weakness became apparent as well. I became so frustrated with this issue I decided to ditch my campaign and begin fresh, taking some ideas I had seen floating around and meshing with in-game experiences.

However on my second play through, I have really put myself into a more flexible army mentality. Each of my corps are a little different but follow a fairly similar pattern. 2 Divisions of "traditional" infantry (more later), a "Lights" Division, and then a 4th division specialized to the corps role in my army. Example my "guards" corps contains some 5 3* brigades before Stone's River (one being the free Iron Brigade) kept at around 1800-1900.  A lights division of two infantry 2 star with 2k troops approx and 2 skrim of 300-350 using sharps rifles (these guys are real killers, probably average 1k kills for sub 100 deaths, with a peak of almost 3k kills in a grand battle). Rounded out with a traditional division of 1 stars and a cavalry division comprised of 5 brigades of 450 melee cav each.

Here's where things have changed for me in composition strategy. Artillery I've bumped up. For my "traditional" division aka my new "backbone" I built them out of 4x 2,000 brigades with two artillery brigades, lights 2x 2,000 and 2x skrim or 1x 2000 and 3x skrim + 2 artillery. The artillery I break into two mindsets.  One for close quarters "tactical" artillery support. These I keep very close to the line infantry to punch nice shock holes in enemy formations. The second I consider my "strategic artillery" which provides my overlapping fields/counter battery duties, and can cover a retreat or movement of my army. The former I use "cheap" artillery and have slowly built them up to between 12-15 guns.  I'm particularly fond of the howitzers despite what others say, netting usually a minimum of 300 kills with my most engaged breaking the 600 range. For strategic I employ ordinance rifles, parrots, napoleons, etc. Again in 12-15 gun batteries. This results in me having almost triple the amount of guns the rebels field.  For instance the union battle attacking the fort in the Stone's River Campaign, I brought 5 brigades of artillery along with a full complement of infantry.  I had enough artillery to dislodge the rebel brigades in a matter of minutes with concentrated fire. 

Cavalry again is something where I've slowly begun to exploit their usefulness. You touched on mobility and yes that is important. You can quickly maneuver to the flanks etc. But I don't believe (at least in the amount I'm willing to invest in them) into only having two brigades and maxing their size. The reasoning for myself is that 4 brigades of ~450 allow flexibility. Your 750 are stuck attacking only one unit, and while the moral shock against artillery/skrim with a volley can offset this, I'm a firm believer in maintaining the flexibility of my units. For example with my cav I can attack and swarm enemy units from multiple angles. Have my infantry pin a few exposed units withering them with fire until mid-battle and then commit cav to start shattering these units. I can break 3-4 units simultaneously due to the amount I had. This was an early expense I took on for that capability. And it rewarded me with countless captured artillery, troops, supplies, etc. Granted the cav take sometimes 50% losses in this fashion but I trade say ~1k losses for 3-4k kills + the captured goods and the shattering of an entire flank. The timing is everything and knowing when to withdraw the cav. A good portion of my losses are entirely due to mishandling. 

Finally skirmishers I have come to love after hating them so deeply trying to keep them off my flanks. With sharps rifles (very limited in numbers) you can do some real damage due to the range bonus with supporting infantry as mentioned above by others. These guys just pour withering fire into the enemy formations, while giving you again additional flexibility. But because of the limits (at least for the union) of decent long arms, most of my light troops fall into the "assault" style.  I mass skirmishers on the flanks and use them as a constantly rotating organ, or push them out ahead like at 2nd manassas to flank the left.  The benefit is in woods fighting with 3x ~300 skrim units they weigh enough in the AI mind to turn slow infantry to engage them, even if sometimes engaged frontally by infantry.  After the volleys go off an my skrims fall back the AI unit exposes its flank to my infantry getting all of those moral shocks, slowly turns back to me and gets harried again from the skrims. It keeps them off balance while your own army is a rock of fire. 

 

I won't lie, I have no understanding of the finer game mechanics so I could be completely off the mark with my army builds. I think I am perhaps "underpowering" my infantry which is the biggest issue by not maxing them to 2500.  

Edited by fancylogic

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vren55    53
5 hours ago, fancylogic said:

 

It's interesting to see how differently people approach this game.

 

Wow. That's a helluva army composition. Certainly a very different approach that values hard counters and nice specialized anti-infantry units. Judging by your reasoning, this specialized... dare I say even almost modern army approach seems to work for you.

It does seem to require a hell of a lot of micro though. And well I suck. I don't think you're off the mark with your army builds b/c it seems highly efficient and high damage. My build is more... well I was trying not to base the guide on any specific build, but I suppose I ended off basing it on my own so XD

Just to recap, my build, up to Chancelloresville in detail goes along like this:

4 corps (one of them being reserve corps and only 1 division)

1st corps

3 Infantry/artillery divisions composed of 4 infantry and 1 artillery. All 1-star maxed at 2500, 2 elite 3-star brigades of 2000 men

1 cavalry division 3 ranged, 2 melee cavalry.

2nd Corps

4 infantry/artillery divisions again of 4 inf 1 art. Most 2000 men 1 star brigades with two elite 3 star brigades

3rd Corps

2 infantry/artillery divisions 4 inf 1 art,

2 divisions of 5 infantry. Army has 3 - 2star veterans, everybody else 1 star.

4th corps

rookie backup division of 5 - 2500 men brigades.

If you notice above, the build i have prioritizes durability, mainly because I suck at micro. Indeed, I probably would find it more efficient to have less cavalry in a brigade, but I'm too worried about mis-microing and I have plenty of manpower and money as union anyway. Having so much cavalry I feel is helpful because then I can have them all support each other. 

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MikeK    40

This kind of effort is useful, especially if updated. Some thoughts while re-reading that might be good to incorporate into a guide, if you have the energy. 

 

1. The most important roles of horsemen were as mounted infantry to scout, to seize a position, to threaten the enemy flank and rear, seize or destroy enemy supplies, and to pursue retreating enemy to harry and disperse them.  Al these they can do in game.  

They should not get kill-greedy but back away from firepower pointed in their direction. . They should as a rule never charge infantry om good morale or able to turn and shoot the cavalry without risking being demoralizingly flanked by whatever the infantry is already facing.  If the enemy infantry is pinned and shaky, charge away with cavalry on flank or rear if the cavalry won't be shot up by another brigade on the way in.  Sometimes the pursued are numerous or confident to rally even being pursued, and turn the tables on the horsemen.  Being swamped by enemy infantry with enough fight left in them can disperse your cavalry unit permanently.  

Good point that large dragoon (mounted inf) units are needed to make a serious impression with their fire.  Its corollary is that small ones are good for pursuit since they will be hacking away scot-free without opposition if they press hard. Using arty or skir on them helps encourage the rout. 

Historical ACW cavalry rarely charged formed infantry in battle, and straight-up cavalry fights were also few.  Cavalry were expensive, and most useful before and after battle and on the periphery. Too valuable or at least too expensive for cannon fodder.  The term "cannon fodder" was in use at the time, meatshield being a more modern term and one that makes me think of a giant juicy steak.

 

2. A table of career points and reputation points and what they provide would be great!

3. When adding vets, I like the idea about adding rookies first so long as it does not knock them down a level, then top off with vets.  

4. Include that low skill officers will have trouble efficiently commanding larger units - the weakness is what the red portion of the unit skill bars represents.  So a fresh major may have trouble with a large brigade.

5. Can run out of officers.  If you do, does that mean you have too many brigades?

6. Use reputation for the morale boosts if you need them the way you play, but sometimes worth buying things you won't automatically pick up along the way such as special weapons, generals, recruits, or cash. 

7. Equip elite units with long range weapons if you intend them to fire from protected positions and outrange enemy infantry.  This is a safer use than assault, but the

8. Having a good sniper unit is no trouble at all. Put them somewhere they can shoot, like around artillery. The short range skirmishers are the ones with dubious life expectancies if they get aggressive or are issued a foolish order. They are best used to engage gunners and others from the protection of  cover, or to divert more numerous enemy by moving around the flanks or threatening targets like arty from shelter.  Nuisance troops unless well armed, when they can be deadly. 

9. It was well known by experience and training in the period that the time for a charge was after the enemy was already wavering, to tip the balance.  A big volley and a charge could force a rout, or charging before the enemy could reload.  . Also, successive charges delivering multiple shocks were favored for cavalry in particular through history in many armies, but the same psychological principles apply for infantry.

10. Howitzers are intended to deliver indirect fire (over hills, forests and other obstacles) and work for softening up enemy from a position where they can't shoot back, and good for this purpose. 

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vren55    53

Running out of officers rarely means you have too many brigades. It tends to mean you haven't used up all your majors yet XD or that your brigades are too small. Yes a fresh major may have trbl with a large brigade, but that's why he's a fodder unit XD

 

Also, I'd suggest against using special weapons bought with reputation b/c... they're kinda hard to replace :P

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Nicolas I    12
7 hours ago, vren55 said:

Also, I'd suggest against using special weapons bought with reputation b/c... they're kinda hard to replace :P

I agree with the word "using" special weapons bought. But some rare and very expensive weapons bought with reputation can simply be sold for cash if you are short on money. For these niche weapons the reputation for cash ratio is better than getting money for reputation directly (even considering the lower resale price). Like Fayetteville's.

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vren55    53
4 hours ago, Nicolas I said:

For these niche weapons the reputation for cash ratio is better than getting money for reputation directly (even considering the lower resale price). Like Fayetteville's.

Huh. Good to know. 

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vren55    53
On 2/28/2017 at 5:49 AM, MikeK said:

2. A table of career points and reputation points and what they provide would be great!

 

I"m not sure if this is possible because I know they're thinking of reworking the recon skill. At least not until the game goes out of early access.

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Hitorishizuka    136
5 hours ago, Nicolas I said:

I agree with the word "using" special weapons bought. But some rare and very expensive weapons bought with reputation can simply be sold for cash if you are short on money. For these niche weapons the reputation for cash ratio is better than getting money for reputation directly (even considering the lower resale price). Like Fayetteville's.

Yes, but that involves not using Fayettevilles which is a little silly. CSA has a huge advantage being able to get them early for rep given how powerful they are.

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Nicolas I    12
4 hours ago, Hitorishizuka said:

Yes, but that involves not using Fayettevilles which is a little silly. CSA has a huge advantage being able to get them early for rep given how powerful they are.

I agree, but you must keep the brigades using them safe because they are quite difficult to replace if you lose too many men (and their guns).

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Hitorishizuka    136
4 hours ago, Nicolas I said:

I agree, but you must keep the brigades using them safe because they are quite difficult to replace if you lose too many men (and their guns).

Combine Division is your friend until the devs finally take it away, if they ever do.

Free Fayettevilles/CS Richmond/Henries/Colt Model 1855 for all!

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The Soldier    246

Just so you have my 2 cents on Infantry weapons, I consider the Pattern 1853 Enfield to be superior to the M1855 - the Enfield is cheaper and has better melee and accuracy for just being 1 point slower in reload than the M1855.  I always buy up all the Enfields I can as the Union, just because they're so damn good.  In fact, I've emptied the Store of Enfields the past 3 Grand Battles, and I've got around 6 or 7 units equipped with them in my 129k army and 455 guns rolling to Gettysburg, and they always perform admirably.

And damn my exposing of the Combine Brigades exploit.  -_-

Edited by The Soldier

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vren55    53
13 minutes ago, The Soldier said:

Just so you have my 2 cents on Infantry weapons, I consider the Pattern 1853 Enfield to be superior to the M1855 - the Enfield is cheaper and has better melee and accuracy for just being 1 point slower in reload than the M1855.  I always buy up all the Enfields I can as the Union, just because they're so damn good.  In fact, I've emptied the Store of Enfields the past 3 Grand Battles, and I've got around 6 or 7 units equipped with them in my 129k army and 455 guns rolling to Gettysburg, and they always perform admirably.

 

You have a good point. However, the Springfield M1855 is just far more available and more commonly captured than the Enfield and therefore is actually "Less" expensive than the Enfield due to the sheer late game captures of the weapon in both campaigns XD

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vren55    53
17 minutes ago, The Soldier said:

And damn my exposing of the Combine Brigades exploit.  -_-

I did add your tip though, I'm not sure how to use the Combine Brigades thing...

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The Soldier    246
4 minutes ago, vren55 said:

You have a good point. However, the Springfield M1855 is just far more available and more commonly captured than the Enfield and therefore is actually "Less" expensive than the Enfield due to the sheer late game captures of the weapon in both campaigns XD

I actually ended up capturing a whole load of Enfield just prior to Stones River from the minor battles, I picked up something like 6,000 of them.  As the Union, I don't capture all too many weapons, so buying up the cheapest rifles is always an option, especially since I have Level 10 Economy and can both buy and sell stuff 50% the normal sell price, unless it's Chancellorsville where I can always succeed in cornering and destroying the enemy army to loot their rifles from their dead...wait, is that 10,500 Tyler Texas rifles?

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=875013844

I think the game deliberately over-nerfed the rifles just to spite me. >.< Where's all the Fayettvilles and CS Richmonds I got from the previous minor battles, damnit!

Edited by The Soldier

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vren55    53
2 minutes ago, The Soldier said:

Thanks for nothing game.

WTF???? JUST WTF???? HOW... I DIDN"T EVEN CAPTURE FAYETTEVILLE"S UNTIL CHANCELLORESVILLE.  WHY GAME WHYYYYY!!!!

Weird. I captured quite a lot of weapons in my Union campaign. Enough to equip a lot of my brigades with M1855s. 

Just not Tyler Texas's... 

Edited by vren55

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The Soldier    246
6 minutes ago, vren55 said:

WTF???? JUST WTF???? HOW... I DIDN"T EVEN CAPTURE FAYETTEVILLE"S UNTIL CHANCELLORESVILLE.  WHY GAME WHYYYYY!!!!

Weird. I captured quite a lot of weapons in my Union campaign. Enough to equip a lot of my brigades with M1855s. 

I looted around 1000 Fayettevilles and 5000 CS Richmonds at Nansemond River and Siege of Suffolk respectively (I also "recovered" around 2000 M1861s from Siege of Suffolk from friendly forces not belonging to me - into the meat grinder you, after the fate of battle has been decided).  Sold the Fayettevilles since I couldn't do much with just 1000 of them, pocketed a hefty sum of money from that, around 100k all told.  Shoved the (overpowered) CS Richmonds on two brigades of my elite shock troops with high melee, because for some reason the CS Richmond evaded the high-tier rifle melee nerf last patch and still has 80 melee compared to 59 of the others.  What's better than a fast-firing, long-range, accurate rifle with devastating melee?

I mean, there may have been a weapons quality nerf from me beating any of the 3 minor battles before Chancellorsville, but I didn't expect it to get bumped down from CS Richmonds and Fayettevilles all the way to damn Tyler Texas rifles.  What's more is that Tyler Texas rifles are some of the rarest rifles in the game, you only get around 200 every Grand Battle as the CSA, if not less.  At least with those 10,500 rifles, I no longer have any smoothbores in my army - everyone has a minie ball shooting rifle, even if they can't hit the side of a barn with it.

Edited by The Soldier

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