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How to completely destroy the Union in the first map by abusing AI


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Hello everybody,


I'm a newcomer to the game, but one with a very competitive and perfectionist nature. It has driven me to play the opening map again and again to find a "perfect" win. And after about 100 tries (!) I've created perhaps the biggest landslide victory for the Confederates in the first map: I took all 3 objectives, dealt a staggering 7900 (!) kills to the Union army, only losing 1900 of my own. The number does not fully told the magnitude of the Union defeat, as I think there was at least anther 1k in completely routed unit, and the Union has also lost all their artillery. And I will show you how to replicate it playing against Determined AI with no "Boosted AI" option:


Before I begin, I should warn you that I play very micro-heavy, using a lot of pause to micro-manage my brigades, play with the height map ("M" button) always on and manually set my brigades' orientations and positions by using Ctrl + right click.


Step 1: The opening moves:


+ Right at the beginning of the game, you should pause the game before issuing orders. Group all your starting artillery into one group, bring them to the top of Herr's Ridge. Archer will move to the edge of the woods, close to McPherson but not stepping out of it, and Heth will move to  positioning at Archer's right.

* Here there is a trick: if you don't set the path for Herr and Archer far enough, Calef can hit both with each volley, which can results in 10 kills to Heth while still dealing the same damage to Archer. Try to avoid if you want.


+ The more important thing is on Davis' flank. First you should order him to move forward to McCrist's farm, the rule of thumb is not letting his left flank touch the river. Immediately you'll see Devin's Videttes running to Herr's Ridge, but they will soon stop. The moment you see their re-position animation, have Davis move straight towards Devin's Skirmishers with an "Attack" order, but be careful not to let Davis' field of fire (FOF) touch the videttes or skirmishers.


Soon, Devin's Videttes will run at Davis and fire a volley (if you don't see this, it usually means that you advances too far into Devin's Videttes' FOF. Restart) . Wait until there's 3-4 cavalry sprites getting into Davis' FOF then order Davis to open fire at them. You will want Davis to inflict at least 70 kills on this very first volley, enough to force the Devin's Videttes into a complete retreat (if you deal less, you'll see that their symbol does not turn completely white and they will soon retake a position close to the front line. If you see that, immediately restart. Even with my experience it would took me 2-3 tries to rout Devins' Videttes). The most damage I've achieved is 148 kills here.


Step 2: Advancing on McPherson:


After Davis' volley, Archer and Herr should be on, or very close to their positions in the woods. Your arty are also getting into position on Herr's. Keep them there now, they'll provide suppression fire while your infantry advance. Now set both Davis and Archer to "Run" mode and point them at McPherson. Davis should be hugging the unfinished railroad or a little to the right, Archer running towards the woods to the south of McPherson, and Heth to the right of Archer (so your 3 units are kind of running parallel to each other). Buford's units will completely abandon the hills, only firing back once if you're unlucky, and none if you're lucky.


There is one unit you should pay attention to, and it's the pesky Calef battery. As your troops overrun McPherson, they will find Calef staggering behind, make sure you let your infantry finish Calef (bringing his troops number to 15) WITHOUT taking fire from the Union skirmishers (completely doable, and very easy once you got the hang of it). Now bring your artillery to McPherson, you should position them so that they make a line, the rightmost battery is at the southern edge of the woods, while the leftmost battery is touching or on the unfinished railroad.


By the end of this 2nd phase, ideally you should have a total of less than 100 casualties, while already dealt 200+ casualties to the Union. Anything worse and you're not optimal enough. But the most important things are: a/ Rout Devin's Videttes and b/ completely kill Calef.


I'll post the 2nd part tomorrow. In the meantime you may want to practice what I've written here to perfection/





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And here is the 2nd part:


3. Positioning on McPherson and the Devins' suicidal maneuver:


+ The moment you killed Calef, turn off "Run" for Davis and Archer. Walk Davis down to the south of the ridge, having his right flank at the edge of the woods and his left flank at the farm, trying to stay on as high a ground as you can without blocking the artillery. Be warned that you may want him to walk back a bit before turning south, as Devin's Skirmishers can hit you from Oak Ridge when Davis is turning, which can easily be 40+ kills that you should avoid. When Davis finally reach his position, issue a "Hold" order.


+ Reversely, walk Archer up to the north of the ridge. Heth keeps his position, outside of the woods and in line with Davis' final position. While doing so, watch Devins' Skirmishers VERY closely. Soon they'll start what I call "the suicide maneuver" by running north past McPherson towards the Herr's in order to occupy it (silly AI). The moment you see them start moving, have Archer RUN to intercept them. You have to "lead" them by running at an angle to where they're running, not issuing a direct "Attack" order. If you're correct with your movement, Archer will be able to fire 2 volleys at Devins before Archer is out of Condition and before Devins reach the Diselman farm, breaking Devins.


This will make Devins retreating through McPherson, where Archer and your arty will make short work of this brigade. Archer, your batteries and Davis may take some freak casualties, but you should not lose any guns or more than 20 troops while killed 600 Union skirmishers. If you fail this step by not being able to break Devins before Archer run out of Condition, I suggest a restart as it will make the latter part of the battle somewhat harder and more unpredictable.


*This is why breaking Devins' Videttes are so important. If you don't break them, they will be the one trying to take Herr's, so best case you'll just net 100 cavalry instead of 600 skirmishers.


4. Reinforcement arrives:


+ It's most likely that the Union I Corps arrived at the battle during step 3. If they arrive too early, you should order Davis to run to his position. Nothing worse than being caught off-position by a volley from both Iron Brigade and Cutler. But once Davis is in position, with the support of artillery and the general, he will be unmovable and can dish out disproportional damage. Even when getting attacking from both Iron Brigade and Cutler, he will still have more than 1:1 kills/deaths ratio, and if fighting solo against Iron then it will be even like 3:1 or 4:1. Have Heth fire at Iron Brigade from his position out of the woods to the south of Davis (and drawing some Union artillery fire, which is good because you'll have no need of skirmishers in future battles). The Union's only 3-star brigade will kill itself fighting 2 lousy Confederates' 1-star units (and 5 batteries behind them, hah!). But don't be overzealous and try to charge when you see them running, just hold your ground, let the Union come and grind them down.


+ During the aforementioned actions, you'll start receiving your first two reinforcement brigades: Pettigrew and Brackenbrough. Have Pettigrew move towards the northern end of McPherson, but do not advance up the ridge. I don't know why, but the northern end of McPherson is a noob trap. Any brigade moving up there will get slaughtered by Union fire without breaking even in K/D ratio, even one as big as Pettigrew. So it's better to keep your biggest brigade fresh for the decisive attack.


About Brackenbrough, have him move to the very southern edge of the map, behind the small hills (which are actually a continuation of McPherson's Ridge, as you see in the 2nd map). Have him wait there. After you see that all Union infantry brigades have arrived, move Brackenbrough to the small woods south of Seminary Ridge, dragging the arrow as close to the edge of the map as possible (you can even drag it outside the boundaries of the map, which is abusing game mechanics :P). From there it will be easy to take Seminary if the Union left the ridge or it will attract some Union brigades to come down to deal with him, which will sap their Condition and thin the Union's center, both are favorable results.


To conclude, after these 2 steps, you should have destroyed Devin's Skirmishers barely taking any casualties, having Davis engaging Cutler and Iron Brigade from a strong defensive position, and maneuvering Pettigrew and Brackenbrough towards their starting points for the decisive assault.

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5. More reinforcement, Archer's advance on Oak Hills:


+ After Devin's Skirmishers are destroyed, the AI will send one of the two Gamble's Skirmishers through the same route. However because Archer would be too tired too pursue them, you should let them go where they went (which is on top of Herr's Ridge), and after that when Pender's division arrive, beat them with the combined efforts from Perrin and Pettigrew. Have Pettigrew move back to about half-way between Herr and McPherson, then order Perrin to run up Herr. Gamble will retreat straight towards Pettigrew and get destroyed.


+ The three new brigades will be deployed as follow: Scales looking at the gap between Oak Hill and Oak Ridge from behind McPherson, Perrin behind Davis, Lane facing Seminary Ridge, behind the two hills. Your additional batteries should either be on the two hills facing Seminary or on the north of McPherson.


+ After Archer has recovered his Condition somewhat, send him in a route to the north following the river, then turn east to climb Oak Hill. There you will see the AI sending all their artillery brigade to the northern tip of Oak Ridge to fire at Archer. You can stop them by sending Heth to attack a battery that is moving north from Seminary Ridge, which will stop the Union's arty movements (and Heth will take a lot of casualties, but who cares?). This is important because if you can't do that the Union arty will torn Archer to shred, and most critically they will not send any infantry brigade after Archer, while you want to draw as much Union forces from the centre as possible. If you can get Archer to the top of Oak Hill without being engaged by more than 1 Union battery then victory is at your hand.


6. The decisive assault and subsequent massacre:


+ After you have done all the necessary steps, the situation should be as follow:


- Archer on Oak Hill, with solid Morale but low Condition. Preferably engaging in long range shooting against an Union brigade with height and cover advantage. Use Archer to pin any Union brigade facing him at the base of the hills.

- On McPherson, north to south are Scales, Pettigrew, Perrin and Davis respectively. All are at least decently rested and at high morale. Scales will attack the gap between Oak Hill and Oak Ridge. Pettigrew running over Oak Ridge. Davis and Perrin attack the gap between Seminary and Oak Ridge. The one with better condition will attack south toward Seminary, as it requires more climbing than Oak Ridge.

- Taking Seminary will be Lane and Brackenbrough's responsibilities. Lane will advance straight from west to east, while Brackenbrough advance north from the woods at the edge of the map. Carefully pick the moment to attack when Seminary are vacant so that Brackenbrough can climb the southern side without facing resistance, then Lane can sweep in from the west to destroy any opposing Union brigade on the north end of the ridge.


Most of your brigades should be set to running, aside from maybe Lane and Brackenbrough as running up Seminary is very taxing on Condition. If you do it right the Union will simply break off, do a total retreat to the north of Gettysburg and not contesting any point. Make sure to finish off the retreating artillery after you have cleared Oak Ridge and bring your own batteries. At this point you should have killed about 4000 Union troops, with your own loss at 2000. Now either you rest your brigade in anticipation of the next map, or you rest them a bit before doing another total assault at the remaing Union. It's important that you have Archer and Scales running down from Oak Hill, so that the Union can only retreat eastward, as you don't want them to run north, wasting your precious time and condition. Once the Union is forced to the map's boundary, they can do nothing but get enveloped and slaughtered. There is one trick to postpone the end of the battle, and that is to not fully occupy Herr's Ridge after you lost it to Gamble's. Wait until you're done with the Union, then send Heth's Skirmishers back there to occupy it.


I don't think I could repeat the 1900-7900 feat anytime soon, and it will be a lot harder for you in the first tries, but if you keep to the general tactics I laid out in this guide you should aim to have at least a 2:1 K/D ratio. Even "only" taking down 6000 Union troops while losing 3000 is no mean feat and will make the rest  of the campaign much more easier.

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  • 2 months later...

Hey, thats a really nice Guide. It works for me (still not perfect, but its something - AI determind without boost)




But Step 3 was a little bit different in my game: Devins' Skirmishers do not try this suicide move (I was just about to restart because i tought i did something wrong) but instead the Iron Brigade and Cutler moving forward towards Archer, Davis, my Skirms und all the Artillery @McPherson. and they get absolutly crushed, so the rest of the battle was pretty easy. 

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