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Union Legendary Campaign - Take 2 - Completed

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By the time I got to Chancellorsville it became obvious that my Union Campaign was not going to succeed... :(

So I did a lot of re-thinking about the campaign, how I conducted it, used my Career Points, equipped my army and watched a lot of videos. I watched a lot of videos, premier of which were those of Aetius and decided to relaunch my campaign yet again.

In my first campaign I put a lot of emphasis on Politics and artillery and in the end my infantry just didn't have the power to meet the challenge. Now I am trying a much more balanced approach with an emphasis on rifles and artillery. I have also started using sharpshooters. I also started renaming my units just before playing Seven Pines so I had a much clearer understanding of which infantry units were carrying what kind of weapon. The results have been pretty good so far.

Here is a comparison of my 2 campaigns (I restarted my second campaign at the Battle of Bull Run):

                                    1st Campaign                                                   2nd Campaign

Battle                      US Losses     CS Losses     K/D R.         US Losses       Cs Losses    K/D R.       

Train Station             2,467/06       4,965/05       2.01               2,467/06         4,965/05       2.01
Distress Call             1,915/00        6,662/22      3.48               1,915/00         6,662/22       3.48
1st Bull Run*          11,515/02      23,162/34      2.01               7,479/05        23,312/32      3.11
River Crossing          2,888/02        9,851/20      3.41               3,900/03         7,129/17       1.82--
Crossroads               4,478/02      11,874/19      2.65               1,094/00         9,160/18       8.37
Shiloh*                    19,257/19     42,511/120     2.21             12,687/11     41,199/115      3,24
Secure River             3,260/02        6,007/14      1.84                1,971/01         7,052/17      3.57
Rendezvous              3,413/00        9,745/00      2.85               1,429/00         6,522/00      4,56
Seven Pines              4,776/06      12,780/10      2.67               5,105/03        10,506/10     2,05--
Gaines Mill*              7,891/01      23,254/27      2.94               5,035/02        23,633/03     4.69
Mulvern Hill*          10,757/08      25,718/08      2.39             12,552/07        32,859/12     2,61

Kettle Run                 3,514/00     10,649/16      3.03                4,903/00        10,127/16     2.06
Thoroughfare Gap   8,869/03    22,234/32       2.50                4,562/02        16,131/29     3.53 

                                  85,000/51  209,412/327    2.46              65,099/40     199,257/296   3.06

* Major Battle      -- Less well than 1st campaign

The really big difference so far is not only a far better K/D ratio, but far less losses with far more troops armed with rifles. I also won Mulvern Hill this time around instead of the draw in my first campaign.

For those who have subscribed to my poor channel, they already know that I have published 8 videos of my new campaign. I will soon post them all here. But for a taste here is the video I informally call "The Slaughter in the Water" (The Battle of Gaines Mill). Hope you like it.

 

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Here is my first Major Battle of the campaign: Bull Run.

I wipe out the Confederate army and this time let McDowell take a much greater brunt of the assault therefore minimizing my own losses:

For those few folks who have subscribed to my channel I hope you enjoy the content. I am trying really hard to improve my presentation and commentary. Please don't hesitate to comment or ask questions.

*Waves THANK YOU at 4 new subscribers* 

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As I was going through my campaign I decided I needed to give both my infantry and artillery equal emphasis. In fact, the artillery kind of takes care of itself given that you give them good guns, so I became more focused on providing good rifles to my infantry brigades. Because of this I decided to start using a naming convention so that I could tell what brigade had what weapon at a quick glance. Folks who were armed with the standard Springfield were called Volunteer Regiments... so, for example, the 1st NY Vol. Folks with slightly better muskets had the volunteer tag removed and were called, for example, the 1st Penn. Troops who had rifles that could fire at least 340 meters were called Regulars. So once again, for example, the 1st US Reg.

From an army organizational standpoint I have decided on a standard composition for a 20 brigade Corps to be 13 infantry, 5 arty, 1 skirmisher and 1 cavalry brigade. The artillery is composed of 3 10pdr Ordnance, 1 24pdr Howitzer and 1 20pdr Parrot. My philosophy is do whatever is necessary to bring the maximum required to a major battle. If, therefore, I have a major battle where I am required to bring 2 Corps, I will do everything I can during the minor battles to bring my army up to 40 brigades.

Now at the same time I have this "idea" which I can't quantify called Combat Power. Aetius touched on this in his experiments on ballast units and scaling. Therefore, what I do is instead of building little units to minimize the AI's quantity of troops it brings to minor battles, after a major battle, I will look at the next major battle and determine what I need to create IOT meet the maximum number of brigades I can bring to that next major battle. Thus, for example, I might start by creating 6 Volunteer units of 1,000 men each and possibly a small artillery battery because I need 10 additional units. At the same time, I am spending my money to upgrade brigades which have at least 35-40 proficiency to rifles. So it is a balancing act in which I am trying to create strong units with impressive Combat Power while at the same time building up my forces to allow me to bring the maximum men to a major battle.

In doing this, during the minor battles, I will bring a mix of forces (experience wise) such that when the battle is over, I will have upgraded a recruit brigade or more to at least a 1 star category (somewhere around 25 proficiency). These recruit brigades are reinforced up to at least 2,000 men and after the battle they will probably get knocked down to say 13-1500 men, but with at least one star.

You can see this in action at the minor battle of Kettle Run leading up to the major battle of 2nd Bull Run. In this battle I bring 5 infantry regiments, 3 of which are Volunteers (one totally recruit) and the 2nd Penn and 3rd NY. (So no rifle equipped troops.) They are accompanied by 2 batteries of artillery (1 24pdr Howitzer and 1 10pdr Ordnance) which need experience. I annihilate the Confederate force as it is also necessary to keep the Rebs on their heals for numbers, weapons and training. It should be noted that at this point my army consists of 12 US Regulars (rifles) out of 26 infantry brigades.

So while I would like all of my units of have rifles and high experience, IOT bring the maximum amount of men and brigades to a major battle, that is impossible. In this new campaign, my problem is not men... it is weapons. Accordingly I have used my reputation points to max out medicine as that not only returns men to your army after a battle... but more importantly the weapon he was carrying. I am also now working hard at maximizing economy, as that will reduce the cost of weapons.

Of course, as the campaign continues, the major battles will require more and more men and that will require a mix of units. I expect to always have lots of Volunteers, but I also want to create a core of high powered Regulars armed with rifles and 40+ proficiency.

Here is the Battle of Mulvern Hill (a battle I drew on in my first campaign). I have 8 US Regulars out of 17 infantry brigades. Though my artillery was a powerful influence on me winning this battle, it was the Regulars who held the line and brought me victory.

As a side note... the rebs are all 2 stars. In my first campaign they were all 3 stars.

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At Malvern Hill there were 2 stars and some 1 stars (artillery). In the next minor battles (Kettle Run and Thoroughfare Gap) they were also 1 and 2 stars and I wiped out their forces. For the next battle, 2nd Bull Run, they were all 3 star units. Go figure.

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Interesting approach on dealing with scaling. Looking forward to seeing how it works out long term. The voice audio was a little rough in some of the early episodes, but the last few videos have sounded good.

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19 hours ago, pandakraut said:

Interesting approach on dealing with scaling. Looking forward to seeing how it works out long term. The voice audio was a little rough in some of the early episodes, but the last few videos have sounded good.

Like I say, I don't see it as dealing with scaling. I see it as maximizing my Combat Power. What I'm doing is plotting my next major battle and building adequate forces to be able to have sufficient troops available when the time comes. I use the minor battles to increase the efficiency of my troops and use the major battles to increase the efficiency of my Volunteers (recruits). After a major battle, if I know I need more brigades for the next major battle, I will reinforce my regulars and then start filling out the new brigades. Because I don't have enough money to do that, I use the money I gain from the minor battles to slowly build up my new brigades to fighting strength for the next major battle. So I have to make a fairly large guess at what I can afford concerning brigade size, weapons and men after each major battle. That is why I start with 1,000 man brigades and then work up... hopefully to 2,000 for my next major battle.

Interestingly at 2nd Bull Run I was at the same quantity of troops as the Rebs and they were for the most part 3 star brigades with some 2 star brigades. I was running brigades of 1,700 men and so was the AI. The battle I fought was fairly bland and I got a 2 to 1 victory. On the next minor battle, Crampton's Gap, I actually had more troops than the Confederates (13,000 to 10,000) and they were mostly 2 star brigades of around 1,000 men. In my first campaign they were 3 stars and very aggressive, this time around they held back in defense and were pretty docile. I whipped them out and I did so quite by accident with the speed at double time. :o Perhaps I will put together a video of how I put together my army from Bull Run to Antietam, to give you all an idea of what I am doing.

As for my videos... I'm a pretty boring guy. :mellow: I have, I think finally figured out how to make sure the audio comes out fairly clean but I usually end up talking in too low a voice. I think I need a better mic. Overall though, I wish we had a replay save option as that is far and away the easiest way to make a video and provide much better insights into what was going on.

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Maybe I'm missing something, but if you are planning for a major battle by creating 1k sized units and then going into a side battle where you field units that are larger that's going to have a similar effect to what ballast units do. I've never tried always bringing the maximum number of brigades to every major battle though which is why I'm interested to see how scaling reacts to that(even if that's not your intention the data is still useful).

Even on legendary, with high kill counts in the battles as the union it seems to be possible to get into situations where the CSA just doesn't have enough troops to adequately fight the battles.

 

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Let me give you the present situation. After 2nd Bull Run (where you have to have at least 2 Corps) the next grand battle is at Antietam. At Antietam you must bring 3 Corps. At 2nd Bull Run I had 40 brigades so when I saw that I needed a third Corps at Antietam I immediately started building the 3 Corps. I believe the first step was 6 1000 man infantry brigades, 2 6 gun artillery units and 1 150 man skirmisher unit... 2 divisions more or less.

Now I know I don't need a full 3rd Corps to win Antietam, so I will concentrate on beefing up the 3rd Corps to 2 strong divisions. The next grand battle after that is Fredericksburg and there having 3 full Corps is going to come in quite handy. So the long term plan is to have 3 full Corps containing 60 brigades to bring to Fredericksburg (though I doubt I will be able to do so). Therefore, after Antietam I hope to immediately fill out the 3rd and 4th divisions with a minimum of men while at the same time reinforcing the rest of my army back to strength including 1st and 2nd divisions of 3rd Corps. It will depend on the previous battles whether the plan works out or not. If 3rd Corps ends up with 3 strong divisions instead of 4, that's okay too.

You must also take into account how I am building my units. I am trying to build brigades with strong combat power, but not elites. So if after a battle if have a brigade who is eligible for a second star I look at it's proficiency first. If I can maintain a brigade with say 40 proficiency and one star by bringing it back to strength with recruits, I will do so. I then use the money I save to buy veterans for say a brigade with 30 proficiency and a better weapon. The long term goal, of course, is to have at least 4 corps of 25 brigades each. I don't just want to win at Richmond, I want to crush them.

Now while the whole discussion of scaling and its effects on minor battles is interesting I believe it distracts from the purpose of the Union Campaign. The purpose is to build up a large army while slowly chipping away at the Confederates ability to field a strong army of elite units armed with excellent weapons. I'll give you an example of what I am saying. At my last battle at Crampton's Gap I played the battle and won with a really nice K/D ratio. After the battle was finished, I looked at the intelligence report and it told me that the rebs were sending 9,000 battle hardened veterans to replace their losses. So I re-fought the battle again using the same forces and this time was determined to wipe out the Confederates... what-ever it took. My K/D ratio wasn't so good in the second battle but I wiped out the Confederates and captured 2 regiments. Afterwards, when I looked at the intelligence report it said that due to high losses the Confederates were only able to send 10,500 recruits as reinforcements.

So, my feeling is that while scaling is an interesting concept in understanding how the AI generates numbers in minor battles, it actually distracts the player from building a large strong army filled with units that have excellent combat power. So after I fight a battle, when I look at the intelligence report, I am not just looking at raw numbers as one is so inclined with scaling, but also their training and weapons levels. As the Union commander, my job is not only to win in battle using good tactics, but to chip away at the confederates ability to field an army filled with 3 star brigades who are bringing long range rifles to the battle.

That is my approach. I am not concerned with scaling. In fact at this point, the more men the Confederates bring to a minor battle, the more I can kill.

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In my opinion the goal of building a large army while managing the enemy army size, training, and weapons is independent of utilizing techniques to manipulate scaling. I'd describe my approach to campaigns where I have used scaling techniques in almost the same way as you have above. Either way, my goal wasn't to turn this into another scaling discussion so I'm looking forward to seeing how your campaign progresses.

To go in a different direction, if you're not already aware, reinforcement types and numbers are somewhat randomized. If the AISize drops below a minimum amount relative to the timeline of the campaign the reinforcement size will be increased to reach that minimum. So if you are not below the minimum it is possible to replay battles multiple times with similar kill rates and get different results. Might also be possible above the minimum but that is harder to test.

Here are some test results from a dozen instant retreats from Shiloh on csa legendary. Small sample size but 1 and 2 were significantly more common. 3 only occurred once.

Pre Battle Intelligence: 66-71 28-33 33-38
Random Result 1: 81-86 29-34 33-38
14700 fresh

Random Result 2: 85-90 31-36 33-38
6400 well trained
12400 fresh

Random Result 3: 79-84 29-34 46-51
weapons
12800 recruits

Post Fighting Battle Intelligence: 50-55 33-38 33-38
6400 well trained
16400 transfer(unclear if recruits from message text)

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Here is the Battle of Crampton's Gap in 2x speed:

I have made a video of what I did to my army after this battle and how I build it based on what I need for future battles. I'll post it later.

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I played a So-So battle at Antietam, but the rebs offer me the opportunity to annihilate their army, so I took it. I suffer 19,609 casualites :o but the rebs lose 51,927 men and 109 guns. The mayhem begins around minute 45.

I then began the Fredericksburg campaign with the Battle of Iuka and I was looking to see if the Reb quality went down. Sure enough I saw lots of one and two star units. Though a couple small Cavalry units escaped me, I demolished the Confederates at Iuka.

Feeling like General Grant, I then follow up Iuka with the last minor battle before Fredericksburg at the Battle of Perryville. The Confederates lose 11,710 men and 32 guns to my 2,247 casualties. Once again, lots of one and two star units, but the folks on my right were 3 stars... so I cut them off and tear them to pieces. One of better minor battles with my best K/D ratio of 5.21. 

I also chat shortly about my strategic analysis of the campaign and my army organization before the battle. 

So at this point I am quite pleased with my progress. We'll see if it continues.

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Antietam, it appears, turns out to be a turning point. There are two reasons why.

First, is that at Antietam you have the opportunity to wipe out a large amount of very experienced brigades. After that the AI appears to be trying to recover and I see that in the minor battles of Iuka and Perryville where I am faced with lots of one star artillery, 2 star cavalry and only a handful of 3 star infantry. At Iuka I wiped out all the infantry and artillery brigades and at Perryville I wiped out at least 2 artillery batteries and 4 infantry brigades. The trick now is to wipe out individual brigades whenever you have the opportunity. By denying the enemy the ability to reconstruct their army (you see this reflected in the Training Level of the Intelligence Report) you may face larger forces, but because they are of poor quality, they are easily destroyed. Normally, one would do this in the Grand Battles, but what I have found is that even in the minor battles you must make your priority completely destroying enemy brigades, and the higher they are rated, the better.

In the Grand battle of Fredericksburg I bring 72,000 men and wipe out 90% of the Confederates I encounter in the center and right flank. At the next battle, the minor battle of Parkers Crossroads, I wipe out their entire army and their composition is almost all one and star units. I will post these videos later after I fight Stones River.

The other important reason why Antietam is a turning point is because after this battle I have max'ed out both Medicine and Economy. Medicine returns 20% of your casualties (with their weapon) so that even if you have rather high casualties (less that 3 to one) in fact you are suffering far less attrition even if your results would be say 2.5 to 1. An example, at Antietam I lost 19,609 men to the Confederates 51,927 men; an attrition rate of 2.65. But if you factor in the fact that 20% of my men will be returning to my army, the real attrition rate is (20% return of losses equals 3922 men for a real loss of 15,687) 3.31. So given you are averaging somewhere around 3.0 overall, in general, once you max out Medicine your overall attrition rate is much greater and therefore, you should fight relentlessly to destroy individual brigades at every point, even though it may cause you higher then normal perceived casualties at the moment.

With Medicine and Economy at 10 your weapons are now the cheapest they can be and your cash now goes far father in equipping your army. With a 25% discount on weapons, you now can afford an army in which the majority are armed with superior rifles and excellent artillery consisting of 24pdr Howitzers, 10pdr Ordnance and 20pdr Parrots. At the same time, given that you are thumping the enemy on the head, their artillery is inferior in both training and equipment. This is what is reflected in the Armory Report of your Intelligence Report. I am now always keenly watching these numbers and my general goal is to keep the enemy below 50%.

For the battle of Fredericksburg I went into the battle with 3 full Corps of 20 brigades each. Infantry was maxed at 2,000 per brigade and the artillery for 1st and 2nd Corps contained 5 batteries of 12 guns per battery. I had a small Cavalry Corps of 3 Cavalry brigades of 250 men and 2 batteries of 6 guns, but in trying to manage 60 brigades at once, I sent the Cavalry off into the unknown where they ran directly into the enemy and had one brigade totally destroyed, 1 routed and 1 captured.  Oops!

My army organization is still at 6 with 3 Corps of 5 brigades of 2,000 men. After Fredericksburg I started to hit Training with my Career Points because this reduces the cost of veterans by 2.5% incrementally and I plan to increase Training continuously up to 10 given that I don't have to increase my army size. There is really no reason for me increase my army organization at this point, especially as for Stones River I can only bring 3 Corps of 20 brigades; which I plan to do. After Stones River, the Grand Battle of Chancellorsville allows you to bring 4 Corps of 25 brigades each and at this point I will up my organization to meet the requirements of the battle. I'm pretty sure that I won't be able to bring 100 brigades to this battle, but I will be expanding my army to meet this goal at the earliest possible time.

So there you have it. My priorities are eliminate enemy brigades whenever I possibly can, even if that is costly to keep the Confederates Training and Armory levels low; build my army to the maximum levels allowed, arm them with the best weapons I can get my hands on, and increase the proficiency levels of my entire army across the board.

For Stones River I will probably do a camp video first and when that battle is completed I will release the videos of Fredericksburg, Parker's Crossroads and Stones River.

Cheers!

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Really enjoying these, although I admit I'm not caught up yet because of backlog at work. I just wanted to say keep up the good work!

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Here is an update of my battle results beginning after Thoroughfare Gap for my present campaign ending the year 1862:

Battle                               US Losses       CS Losses         K/D Ratio

2nd Bull Run*                   7,513/07         14,960/30          1.99
Crampton's Gap               3,512/00           8,674/15          2,47
South Mountain              4,381/00            9,698/32          2.21
Antietam*                      19,609/08          51,927/106       2.64
Iuka                                   2,503/00            7,313/18         2.92
Perryville                          2,247/00          11,710/32         5.21
Fredericksburg*           15,112/06          37,525/71          2.48
Parker's Crossroads      4,299/00          12,166/15          2.82
Stones River*                13,739/05          48,383/74         3.52

Totals                           131,130/66       397,300/653       3.03

* = Grand Battle

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Fredericksburg - pretty much an army wipe out including 4 infantry brigades (one of which is a 3 star) captured:

Parker's Crossroads - I wipe out the rebs and capture 2 infantry and 2 cavalry brigades:

Camp preparations for Stones River (there are some problems with noise in this video) which show how I am preparing my army and why:

And finally, Stones River, where the Rebs receive a real drubbing (3.52 K/D ratio) and I capture 3 infantry brigades:

On to Chancellorsville...

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I'm quite surprised that you're forgoing Union's biggest advantage they have since early game. Which are skirmishers. The sharps rifles with 450 range and over 80% acc are absolutely devastating when properly employed, and the stuff only gets better with better guns. It's not confederation where your start with hunter muskets :o

I found a dedicated skirmisher battalion of 350 men (for those sharp rifle units, so they can take a hit and survive as they operate closer to the enemy than units equipped with scoped rifles) absolutely necessary for every division. 350 men does retain enough efficiency to make devastating volleys in proper terrain, and if they get a hit - they'll usually just get their eff increased as they go down to 300/250/200 size. I also have the scoped rifle units (200 men) of course, but I'm still buying out all sharp rifles into my inventory for the divisional skirmisher units every chapter. I mean literally. I buy them all out since first chapter/campaign and I never have enough of them. They're life savers, especially when u got to face confederate skirmishers en masse and in woods at that - like at Chickamauga!

Anyhow, it's great to see you're focusing on infantry more than artillery in this campaign. Union can totally get rid off any muskets from the army very early and you should take all advantage of that supply.

 

PS. I have tried similar thing with Whitworths at my Confederate campaign, having dedicated skirmisher units attached to every division. But that was only possible to achieve quite late (not sooner than fredriksburg, probably after gettysburg if i remember correctly) and still I found 450rng/80+%acc Sharps superior. Not to mention more affordable.

Edited by Hussar91

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The problem with dedicated skirmishers and even to some extent with my cavalry is that in Grand Battles I have so many units on the field that I just don't have time to micromanage them. I am trying to not only fight the battle but am looking for weakness which I can exploit. That is why at Perryville I noticed that the Rebs were split and attacked them via the center crushing their right flank. At Stones River I lost a great opportunity when after holding the right flank, I didn't realize that the Confederates had essentially abandoned their center and once again, if I had made a general advance and filled that vacuum, there was a good chance I could have annihilated every unit on the battle line before I was forced back to hold my position.

That isn't to say that I don't like skirmishers... I love skirmishers and I use them quite a lot to protect my flanks, to run down broken enemy brigades and to attack artillery. They are fast which makes them great for plugging holes and outflanking. But if it comes to a point where I must micromanage 4 or 5 small specialized units to the detriment of the other 55 brigades... I'd just rather not.

Perhaps that will bite me in the butt later on...

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Oh yeah, I agree that if someone is playing the game without micromanaging (I need to try and challenge myself like that sometime) they could pose quite a problem to properly employ. I wasn't suggesting that you don't like them.

Just saying. But they're pretty darn good on the Union side, so much that it lead to creation of a doctrine that every infantry division gotta have one dedicated skirmisher unit with sharps rifles. They do better job than any skirmisher unit made out of line infantry no matter their weapons really. Plus spotting bonus. U can always place them in the rear to break charges or sally out to hit a unit that's near-breaking if someone can't micromanage them (on the flanks) - something which they do require a lot of times indeed.

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Oh yes, indeed, they are highly effective and I am trying to have one sharpshooter brigade per Corps. I've watched Aetius slaughter folks with his sharpshooters.

At the moment though (puts on his Ulysses S. Grant hat) I would rather slaughter his.

Just finished Supply Raid where you command Stoneman's cavalry Corps and I ran into 3 star cavalry brigades (Stuart), 1 star infantry brigades and NO STAR skirmisher brigades.  I wiped out three 3 star cavalry brigades and captured another. I also completely wiped out 2 no star skirmishers brigades and one 1 star infantry brigade. I did lose one 1 star cavalry brigade and another captured. But, I think it was well worth it.

Here is the video (the introduction to the battle is well worth listening to I believe):

 

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Nansemond River - I get sloppy at the end and 2 infantry regiments survive. Nevertheless a 3.82 K/D ratio and 3 infantry brigades surrender:

I'm starting to wonder now if it is better to just completely wipe out the brigades because when they surrender, they are then given back to the Confederacy in a prisoner trade. If I am fighting a war of attrition, I don't really want to do that.

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3 hours ago, LAVA said:

I'm starting to wonder now if it is better to just completely wipe out the brigades because when they surrender, they are then given back to the Confederacy in a prisoner trade. If I am fighting a war of attrition, I don't really want to do that.

I've wondered about that and considered sending my prisoners back into the enemy lines toward the end of the battle when they are cornered against the side of the map. Does anyone know exactly how it works? Do they lose their experience once traded? Or is everything give back?

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9 minutes ago, quicksabre said:

I've wondered about that and considered sending my prisoners back into the enemy lines toward the end of the battle when they are cornered against the side of the map. Does anyone know exactly how it works? Do they lose their experience once traded? Or is everything give back?

Until anybody says otherwise, I thing I will do the same thing and avoid taking prisoners in the future and if I do, send them back into battle at the end so I can destroy them.

War is hell. :o

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But units taken prisoner gave up all their weapons. Or at least a bigger % than normal from killed enemies. I had captured over 5k fayetevilles that way at Gettysburg. for example among many other things.

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