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LAVA

Union Legendary Campaign - Take 2 - Completed

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Sorry if I came across as criticizing the play style. Was just trying to point out that it's a different approach and that in your case medicine was probably the right answer. If I played real time I probably would have sworn off ever using skirmishers or cavalry ever again, they just love to get themselves killed.

If you can keep the casualties down in the side battles I think you still have a good shot at making the campaign a success. You're just getting more politics at this point so the recruit situation should ease up a bit.

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Really enjoyed your Winchester video - the strategy of local concentration of force to wipe out the enemy units and just holding off everywhere else made for a much more interesting battle than the narrow front defense I usually try in that one (I don't play on legendary, though). Thought you were going to get overrun a few times, though!

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24 minutes ago, quicksabre said:

Thought you were going to get overrun a few times, though!

Yep... it got rather close a few times. Thank goodness for all that morale my guys have. The down side, of course, is that though they hold their ground... they take a lot of casualties.

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2 hours ago, LAVA said:

Yep... it got rather close a few times. Thank goodness for all that morale my guys have. The down side, of course, is that though they hold their ground... they take a lot of casualties.

Well, so did Grant. As you keep saying, that's who you're channeling! Really curious to see where you go with this campaign!

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The Confederates take 69,123 casualties at Gettysburg. How long can they keep taking such a beating?

A really long battle. I was pretty exhausted when it was over.

 

 

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I can now confirm that in terms of affecting the AI size and capturing weapons capturing units is the better option. A shattered unit only removes it's casualties from the AI Size, the units that ran away are not removed. However when a unit is captured all men are removed from the AI Size. It's less clear how the training percentage and weapons percentage interacts with capturing. As far as I can tell it's partially based on the experience and weapons the players army has at the end of a battle(re-equipping has no impact), the total AI Size, a timeline scaling factor, and the hardcoded unit values set for each battle.

Here are the capture rates by difficulty and by battle result

Colonel:
win: weaponCapturePercent0: 0.3 - weaponCaptureUnitPercent0: 1 - weaponSavePercent0: 0.5
draw: weaponCapturePercent1: 0.15 - weaponCaptureUnitPercent1: 1 - weaponSavePercent1: 0.3
loss: weaponCapturePercent2: 0.05 - weaponCaptureUnitPercent2: 1 - weaponSavePercent2: 0.1

Brigadier General:
 win: weaponCapturePercent0: 0.2 - weaponCaptureUnitPercent0: 0.75 - weaponSavePercent0: 0.5
 draw: weaponCapturePercent1: 0.15 - weaponCaptureUnitPercent1: 0.75 - weaponSavePercent1: 0.25
 loss: weaponCapturePercent2: 0.05 - weaponCaptureUnitPercent2: 0.75 - weaponSavePercent2: 0.1#

Major General and Legendary
 win: weaponCapturePercent0: 0.1 - weaponCaptureUnitPercent0: 0.5 - weaponSavePercent0: 0.3
 draw: weaponCapturePercent1: 0.05 - weaponCaptureUnitPercent1: 0.5 - weaponSavePercent1: 0.15
 loss: weaponCapturePercent2: 0.05 - weaponCaptureUnitPercent2: 0.5 - weaponSavePercent2: 0.1#
 

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9 hours ago, pandakraut said:

A shattered unit only removes it's casualties from the AI Size, the units that ran away are not removed. However when a unit is captured all men are removed from the AI Size.

Makes perfect sense and I think that is what I kind of assumed what was going on. More importantly, the shattered men, I believe, not only return to the AI's recruit pool, but they also return with all the experience they have accumulated.

Where you see if your efforts at "annihilation" is working is the proportion of 3 stars in their army. If you look at the first day of Gettysburg you will notice that the Confederate army has less than 50%. This is also why in the intelligence report the number I focus on is "Training." Keeping their training around the 50% mark means that I will not have to face an enemy that has 100% 3 stars and I think some where around 70%, that is what you see.

So, overall, in my campaign, I do not expect the size of the AI army to come crashing down, as one would expect in a war of attrition. Scripting will keep the Confederates at a competitive level numbers wise. What I am expecting is that via annihilation, their army quality will steadily come down overall, while mine steadily increases, therefore making it easier for you to win.

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Unfortunately, I failed to start the video for the Battle of Bayou Fourche where I wiped out the Rebs who lost 19,029 men to my 4,127. So instead, I made a video on how I prepared for the battle and talked the viewer through how I fought it. I also take the opportunity to explain how I set up my forces for Chickamauga and how I view my efforts after these last few battles and how I interpret what to expect as the campaign continues.

I expect to have the video of Chickamauga tomorrow.

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With the Confederates surrounded and on the verge of annihilation at Chickamauga, I make two blunders, which combined allowed a lot of rebs to fight another day. The first blunder I make is to leave 2 of my supply wagons too far away to resupply my artillery when I really needed it. And the second blunder was to accidentally "capture" the 2nd objective and start the count down timer to end the battle. Once I realize I have captured the objective... and that took me way to long to recognize... and with my artillery crying out for ammo, I was forced to push my infantry hard into the encirclement to try to kill as many as I could. By doing so... I took a lot more casualties than necessary.

Still... I killed 44,508 rebs to my 16,409, a 2.71 K/D ratio and their training fell from 47-52 to 45-50%. You can see this in the battle, as the Confederates now have around half 3 star units and half 2 or 1 star units, with one brigade actually having to no stars. Ominously, for the first time that I can remember, their armory went up from 50-55% to 51-56%. So I am taking down their quality efficiency wise but they appear to have had a bump in better weapons.

Chickamauga:

 

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The Battle of Brock Road starts with a Confederate attack and an artillery duel. When it is over, I surround the Rebs and wipe them out. The South losses 44,389 men to my 11,847 men (a 3.75 K/D Ratio) and does not field a single unit higher than 2 stars. When the battle is over, 2 more of my artillery batteries earn their 3rd star bringing me to 6 in total.

 

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Great work!

Given your stated goal to destroy as many confederate units as possible, I'm curious as to why you chose to win Chickamauga on the second day instead of fighting through the whole battle?

Also, it never occurred to me to wait until extra victory points open up and then just defend at Brock road. I'll have to try that next time.

Edited by quicksabre

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On the topic of Chickamauga. Does anyone know how to reliably trigger day 3 for either side? Every time I've tried I've either gotten a draw as the Union or a defeat as the CSA if don't control all victory points.

Regarding Brock Road, I usually hold slightly further forward defensive lines on both flanks so that I'm engaging against enemy units in the open rather than in cover. It does look like your approach draws the enemy artillery out further making them easier to cleanup though. Do you have any comments one way or the other on where you like to setup?

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At Chickamaugua as the Union, hold all of the defensive VPs but none of the offensive ones after the second day (so don't bother attacking, just hold the ones you start with after the map opens up).

It's a great way to kill a lot of Confederates (I killed ~70k on BG the first time I played it, although that was before they added the intelligence report)

Edited by quicksabre
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45 minutes ago, quicksabre said:

At Chickamaugua as the Union, hold all of the defensive VPs but none of the offensive ones after the second day (so don't bother attacking, just hold the ones you start with after the map opens up).

It's a great way to kill a lot of Confederates (I killed ~70k on BG the first time I played it, although that was before they added the intelligence report)

Darn! Wish I had known that... :huh:

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@quicksabre I'll have to try that the next time but I feel like I tried that and got a draw. I've definitely tried holding only one of the two offensive VPs as the union and it definitely gave me a draw.

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Here is an update on my battle results since Gettysburg:

Battle                                        US Losses           CS Losses          K/D Ratio

Bayou Forche                          4,127/03              19,029/66          4.61
Chickamauga*                      16,409/07              44,508/112        2.71
Brock Road                            11,847/05              44,389/130        3.74
Mule Shoe                              15,808/06              49,563/150        3.13
Cold Harbor*                           6,240/00               17,826/14          2.85
Fort Stevens                            8,016/34               36,187/120        4.51

Totals                                   257,301/144           802,099/1,764     3.12

Prisoners - 30,375

* = Grand Battle

Even after the reset in quality of the Rebel army after Gettysburg, it appears my army is now too overpowering to be stopped. The recent battles after Gettysburg have been shattering to the Confederate cause. At Cold Harbor/Port Stevens I had 90,000 men and 277 guns. My army presently consists of 41 Infantry brigades (27 2 stars and 14 1 stars), 23 artillery brigades (9 3 stars, 5 2 stars, 6 1 stars and 3 recruit), and 5 brigades of 1 star cavalry. 

The campaign for Richmond has begun.

I'll post the videos of the Battles of Mule Shoe, Cold Harbor and Fort Stevens tomorrow.

 

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Mule Shoe is a really tough battle. I went to the individual battles and played it several times there before I played it for my campaign. In the end I surround the rebel army, however, I got too greedy trying to capture a number of regiments and a bunch of them survived.

Mule Shoe:

At Cold Harbor I attack the right flank of the rebs. In retrospect I believe one could annihilate the rebs at this battle, but I set-up the overall attack poorly. Victory, nevertheless. My army was now 90,000 strong.

Cold Harbor:

A double envelopment at Cold Harbor encircles the Reb army and I crush them:

Only 3 battles left now in my campaign and my army will soon be over 100,000 men.

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At Harrison's Creek you wait for your cavalry to arrive behind the Confederate line and then out flank them. I then proceed to surround the rebs and destroy their army.

Harrison's Creek:
 

I went into Harrision's Creek with 103,000 men and casualties brought my army down to 95,000 with 20,000 in reinforcements. Looks like I will have somewhere around 120,000 men for my attack on Richmond.

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The Confederates attack me at Georgia Railroad and suffer terrible casualties.

We have been ordered to move on Richmond and end the war...

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With 122,000 men and 265 guns there was no doubt in my mind that the Battle of Richmond would end in victory. My play is a bit sloppy though, as this has been a long campaign, capped by a long battle. Nevertheless... Victory.

Richmond, Part 1:

Richmond, Part 2:

 

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I put together a rather lengthy "lessons learned" for playing the Union on Legendary:

 

General

 

  • Know the time limits of your battle. You can find these either by playing custom or historical battles or watching a youtube video.

  • Maintain battle lines and protect your flanks with skirmishers

  • Use roads for rapid movement

  • Keep your general close to your forces

  • Build up a reserve of high ranking officers (Colonel or above). This should happen naturally as wounded officers return to the officer pool.

 

Multi-day battles

 

  • Have spare commanders who you can use to replaced wounded or dead officers when you have the chance to return to camp.

  • Have spare money or supplies you can transfer to another Corps if necessary. Build up 3 Corps with a minimum of 35,000 in supply. Then boost 2nd Corps to somewhere around 45,000.

  • Commanders can be replaced (if they are in Reserve) when you return to Camp in a multi-day battle, just as supplies can be shifted from one Corps to another.

 

Infantry

 

  • Support your infantry with artillery. Do not leave them behind when advancing. In fact, the opposite holds true, move them up first before advancing your infantry.

  • When charged, if you have a nice battle line, have the brigade that is charged fall back so that multiple units will fire on the charging unit. This is a critical skill to learn.

  • When “flanked” do not move the unit... have it fall back until they are no longer flanked. A flanked unit that turns it's back on the enemy due to a movement order will break almost immediately if it is also under fire from the front.

  • Have reserve units which you can swap with heavily engaged brigades during the battle so that reinforcement in the Camp will not require a huge investment of money.

  • When swapping out brigades on the battle line, do not wait for the new brigade to take its place on the battle line before ordering the other to fall back. As the new brigade gets close to the line order the brigade in the battle line to fall back, thus avoiding a merging of the two brigades (which makes it difficult to figure out who is who) and causing adjacent brigades to start shifting about and throwing your battle line into chaos.

  • Use the “run” order sparingly and over short distances. If they have to run long distances to get to a critical area of the battle, they will arrive exhausted and be of little use.

  • When you have the enemy on the run, press them hard so they cannot recover their morale even if they become exhausted.

  • When flanking an enemy do not order brigades to go all around the battle line to take a position at the end. Shift your brigades sideways and open up a slot for the new brigade to fill to maintain the battle line.

  • When charging a fortification, use at least 2 brigades to assault each specific location. A third unit should be placed directly behind them so as to be able to fire into the melee in support.

  • Using 2nd Corps as your primary fighting Corps is a good idea because if you have more than 35,000 in supply, you will have 2 ammo wagons on the field of battle.

  • Do not give untried recruits good weapons. Set parameters for who gets what. My parameters were 25-30 efficiency before they got a better weapon than the stock Springfield. I also set 40 as the minimum efficiency level to give very good weapons to my brigades.

  • Don't go crazy trying to build super elite infantry as the Union. A 2 star brigade with 50 efficiency is good enough. Don't waste money on veterans to keep them higher.

  • Re-enforce your okay brigades with veterans first. You want to build an army that is good overall so when you have the chance with say a brigade with 28 efficiency, give them veterans so they can maintain that level.

  • When re-enforcing more veteran brigades, re-enforce the brigades which require the least amount of investment first. Set your parameters and then see if you can do so with just recruits. If not add a few veterans and then pump them with recruits.

  • Remember that in most battles the 1st and 2nd Divisions will bear the brunt of the fighting.

  • Build up 2 strong Corps with good veterans in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd divisions. The fourth division should be okay troops and many times they don't even make it into the battle.

 

Artillery

 

  • You want 2 types of artillery: close and long range support. In the beginning use 10 pdr Ordnance for long range support, they are plentiful and cheap. The 6 pdr Field gun is fine to start with as a close support weapon. Watch your reputation for 24 pdr Howitzers and buy them at every opportunity at the beginning of your campaign. They are the gold standard for close support artillery. Later in the campaign you will have the opportunity to buy 20 pdr Parrots with your reputation... buy every gun you can get your hands on. Towards the end of my campaign, my artillery was mainly 20 pdr Parrots, 24 pdr Howitzers and 10 pdr Ordnance, in that order.

  • When you get good guns, give them to experienced artillery brigades and start new brigades with the other weapons.

  • Always remember when re-enforcing your army after a battle to check to see if any artillery brigades took casualties. In the Camp phase, when I began re-enforcing my army, I always started with the artillery and they almost always were given veterans.

  • Use good officers right from the beginning when you start a new artillery brigade. Good artillery brigades will increase efficiency faster than the officer who commands them. So, you should put at least a good Colonel, if not a low grade Brigadier to command new batteries.

  • In battle, keep your close support artillery right behind your infantry so that they can fire canister at any charging Confederates. They need to be close enough to support but far enough away to let your infantry brigade fall back a bit, if necessary, so as to get multiple units firing on the charging brigade.

  • Long range artillery needs to be placed on the “hinges” of the battle. To be truly effective they should be firing into the flanks of the enemy. So if you are attacking their flank, first have them in a position where they can fire into the flank of the enemy opposing your infantry's flanking attack. Once you have turned the flank, place them so they can fire into the flanks of the enemy's main battle line. The correct use of Long Range Support artillery needs practice and experience but if they are just firing at units at your front, you are using them incorrectly.

  • Very experienced Long Range artillery is quite good at counter-battery, nevertheless, it takes time to destroy an enemy artillery battery with counter-battery. Engage in counter-battery only if you have no other unit which is presenting its flank.

 

Skirmishers

 

  • When you run into or are attacked directly by enemy artillery, always send out skirmishers in defense. Skirmishers are the number one way of killing artillery.

  • If your battle line does not provide adequate coverage of the map, place skirmishers on your flanks. Two units is a minimum, I prefer 3. By putting skirmishers on your flanks you avoid nasty surprising attacks on your flanks.

  • When entering a forested area with your main army, send a line of skirmishers ahead to scout for you.

  • Once you have the battle “controlled” use skirmishers to clear areas of the map that you have not seen that could possibly be occupied by enemy forces.

  • When flanking an enemy, use skirmishers to get into the rear of the enemy. They move fast and are capable of routing enemy artillery batteries and capturing supplies.

  • Do not expect a skirmisher unit to do a lot of thinking. Spread them out in lines and when a target presents itself, “rope them” and order them to attack. Expect that they will attack one time and then fall back. If the skirmishers are in the enemy rear or flank, it is worth micro-managing these troops. So expect to be constantly placing them in a line position and then ordering them to attack. You want to first put them into a line position (or close to it) because when you order them to attack you do not want one unit to block another from firing.

  • If you are outflanked, the fastest way to stabilize the situation is to send skirmishers because of the speed of their movement.

  • When an enemy brigade routs, if the area is clear, send out a skirmisher unit or two to keep firing on the routed brigade. I have totally eliminated enemy brigades who routed with 3 skirmisher units.

  • Use skirmisher units to “push” routed brigades in a direction which is advantageous to you.

  • When surrounding the enemy, many times the fastest way to close the trap is by using skirmisher units due to their speed.

  • When you order a brigade to send out skirmishers and they are in the battle line, order the skirmishers to fall back first, or they will be shot in the back and rout.

 

Cavalry and specialized skirmisher units

 

  • While these units have utility on the battlefield, remember they have their own way of maneuvering and singly you must control them continuously. Do not expect these troops to work miracles.

  • The best way I found to control Cavalry and specialized skirmisher units is by creating a dedicated division for them and use their division tab to select them all and move them as a group.

  • Expect them to fight just like regular skirmishers, therefore, expect that you must be constantly forming them up and giving them attack orders.

  • If you run the game at half speed or pause the game during battles, these units can be devastating, but if you are letting the battle play out in real time, I found the amount of micromanagement they needed was not worth the effort and regularly skirmishers were just as effective from a tactical point of view with the difference being you can always order your brigade skirmishers to return to their unit and concentrate on winning the battle.

 

Overall

 

  • The main task of playing the Union is to destroy the enemy.

  • Seek to capture as many troops as possible.

  • Attempt to surround and destroy the entire force whenever possible.

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Very nice write up. One question on the supply units. Isn't the maximum supply 35k? I've also never seen two supply wagons show up for one corps even when using modded supply values of over 50k? What am I missing here?

When adding units to an encirclement, one case where I would think it would be preferable to send the fresh unit around to the flanks is when the units in the encirclement are already tired. Shifting while firing is an additional drain on stamina so getting fresh units out on the end of the line where they will have to move the most might be a better option sometimes. Otherwise, a solid efficiency improvement that I will have to start using.

With long range artillery, I usually prefer to have them in a central position and nearly exclusively on counter battery fire unless they need to shift fire to break a charge. The way I look at it is the less time they spend moving the more effective they will be. The reason I focus on counter battery fire is that the longer enemy artillery is on the field the more guaranteed casualties you will take. Infantry units can made to waver and allow you to take free shots, artillery will always be picking away at you until you remove it. Once it's removed you have full control over the pacing of the battle, you can afford to rest while the artillery keeps the enemy morale from recovering and then encircle as desired. Microing skirmishers and cavalry is also much easier when you don't have to worry about getting blasted by artillery if you aren't hidden for a few seconds. This is all probably in the same category as skirmishers/cavalry, as pausing gives me time to switch targets when needed and focus all my long range artillery on a specific brigade to kill it off quickly.

I like the idea of getting artillery onto the flanks overall though, I'll have to try keeping the 24pdrs as charge breakers, 20pdrs for counterbattery, and pushing 3in to the flanks.

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Regarding supply, I believe only first Corps is limited to 35,000 and therefore only 1 wagon. If you looking at my second Corps at Richmond, you will see it has 52,403. That is why you get 2 supply wagons.

As for artillery, while I agree that the less time a battery spends moving the more time it can deal damage, I look at long range artillery in a slightly different manner. Long range artillery has the ability to be what folks call a "force multiplier." That is, when properly used, the effect of it's fire is far more effective tactically than the damage it deals, if it is in a position to break enemy units. This is known as the "critical" point of the battlefield. The range of the 20 pdr Parrot allows you to set it up in positions where you can get "flanking" bonuses which will cause the target to break quicker and thus reduce their morale and overall efficiency. When you are on the attack, you win by rapidly breaking the morale of your enemy at the critical point of attack, not by destroying them. Once you have broken your enemy, you just walk up, shoot them in the face and ... game over.

 

BTW: A comment on my Richmond video stated that I was elected President after the war and that only happens if you win every battle. Didn't notice that.

 

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Checked my install to try the 2nd corps supply and it doesn't work for me. Max of 35k. 

I wrote up a long response about artillery, but I think it really just boils down to snipers again :) They take up slots that you use to field extra artillery, and they mostly perform the flanking shots role for me in the initial stages of a battle.

The current state of the mod I'm working on makes snipers much harder to get going and provides a better speed perk for artillery. I'm going to give your approach a try there.

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14 minutes ago, pandakraut said:

Checked my install to try the 2nd corps supply and it doesn't work for me. Max of 35k. 

Maybe something particular to my game. It allows me to have more than 35,000 and gives me a second wagon. It also was something I could invest in and then forget about instead of using the money for re-reinforcements.

The point, of course, is to have extra money in multi-day battles so you can replenish Corps supplies.

The artillery thing works quite well, especially if you have a plan of attack at the start of the battle. If you know you are going to attack their right flank, you set-up those batteries there to support the attack, and when you are able to push them back, the artillery doesn't have to move far to set-up to fire from a flanking position down the main battle line of the enemy.

Good luck!

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