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Is ammo needed?


Ammo for units  

219 members have voted

  1. 1. Is ammo important for the Battle of Gettysburg?

    • Ammo is not needed because we consider that it is sufficient for one single battle
      122
    • Ammo must be limited and can be depleted during each battle, no matter the cost for AI and gameplay
      97


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I'm just thinking that one of the most famous events of the battle was predicated on a unit being basically out of ammo. It dictated a tactical decision.

 

Perhaps it should be balanced that it is only a concern if a unit is in constant contact without supply for too long. How you determine "in supply" though could be a whole different can of worms.

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Before testing UGG I voted for infantry ammunition supply.

After more research and much testing of many versions my perspective changed. Here's the logic for my flip in perspective...

UGG is designed as a brigade-level game.

There are many "famous events", heroes, lullabies, legends, and lies about Gettysburg. When simulating a battle one of the key decisions is: What is the scale of the game?

Given the design team's decision the implementation should be guided by the question: "What was "militarily relevant" at this scale?

Frighteningly, the list of variables is long spanning everything from food and ammunition supply, troops constructing breastworks, losses of horses and impact on mobility, sunrise in the east that could be in the eyes of CSA troops in the morning, the famous shoe supply/factory myth, etc...

In order to make a playable game, with a reasonable time scale, that doesn't require a supercomputer you need to make tradeoffs. The question that is being debated is where does small arms ammunition supply fall on the list of "military relevance" at division-level scale game?

Unfortunately, we need to look at details to sort out the impact of the sun, food, ammunition, etc...

Within each of these topics it is reasonable to ask: Where does the action your trying to simulate fall in the "priority of the order of events" at Gettysburg? How many troops refused to fight because they hadn't had breakfast? None. Next topic. If the variable had a large impact on the "big events", it's priority should be high. If it has minimal/no impact on the "big events" it should be lower in priority compared to other topics (i.e. the impact of breastworks).

Let's put the charge of the 20th Maine in priority order context:

1) Day 1 Afternoon Attacks - CSA 27,000 men in 17 brigades. Union 22,000 men in 14 brigades.

2) Pickett's Charge - CSA 12,000 men in 9 brigades. Union 14,000 to 16,000 in >10 brigades.

3) Culp's Hill Day 3 - CSA 9,0000 men in 7 brigades. Union 11,000 men in 9 brigades.

4) Wheatfield/Peach Orchard Day 2 - CSA 6,000 men in 5 brigades. Union 6,000 men in 5 brigades.

5) Heth's Advance Day 1 - CSA 7,000 men in 4 brigades. Union 2,000 in 2 cavalry brigades.

6) Culp's Hill Day 2 - CSA 5,0000 men CSA in 3 brigades. Union 1,400 men in 1 brigade.

7) Cemetery Hill Day 2 - CSA 2,000 men in 2 brigades. Union 2,000 men in 2 brigades.

8) Little Round Top Day 2 - CSA 2,000 men in 2 brigades. Union 2,000 men in 2 brigades.

9) East Cavalry Field - CSA 3,000 men. Union 3,000 men. I put this action low on the totem pole because only 200 men were casualties per side. Militarily irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.

In all of the "big event" actions above there are only a couple of examples of regimental-level ammunition shortages. There are no examples of division-level ammunition shortages at Gettysburg that influenced any strategic decisions in any of the actions listed above. Lee's lack of ammunition on Day 4 forced him to end the Gettysburg Campaign.

In action number 6) in the list above the 137th New York regiment number 456 men - ran short of ammunition in the furious defense Culp's Hill.

In action number 8) in the list above The 20th Maine regiment numbered 358 men at Gettysburg - ran short of ammunition after 90 minutes of fighting and charged defending Little Round Top.

Note that on July 3 Geary's division alone, AoP, on Culp's Hill expended 227,000 rounds. Ammunition logistics were a HUGE issue; but one that was reasonably well managed by both armies. Logistics, and specifically ammunition supply, was more of an army-level meta-issue than a problem that dictated how Gettysburg was fought. I can't find a single instance of a single unit that was withdrawn from the firing line for lack of musket ammunition. There are many examples of units on the firing line that were resupplied under fire. Particularly when the unit was in a defensive position under cover. In the ebb and flow of battle units managed to be resupplied with minimal interruption to missions.

While the heroic actions of individuals and regiments at Gettysburg may be famous; it is really difficult to capture individual or unit-level heroics in a game of this scale.

It would be fine if the AAR's had some way to capture these small action heroics without impacting the overall authenticity and game flow.

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Ammunition logistics were a HUGE issue; but one that was reasonably well managed by both armies. Logistics, and specifically ammunition supply, was more of an army-level meta-issue than a problem that dictated how Gettysburg was fought. I can't find a single instance of a single unit that was withdrawn from the firing line for lack of musket ammunition. There are many examples of units on the firing line that were resupplied under fire. Particularly when the unit was in a defensive position under cover. In the ebb and flow of battle units managed to be resupplied with minimal interruption to missions.

While the heroic actions of individuals and regiments at Gettysburg may be famous; it is really difficult to capture individual or unit-level heroics in a game of this scale.

It would be fine if the AAR's had some way to capture these small action heroics without impacting the overall authenticity and game flow.

 

Well if they succeeded in maintaining a high degree of supply should that on its own preclude the concern from being in the player's mind? Should the system never model ammunition shortage if I have a part of my army strung out and in a bad position that in real life would likely never have been supplied? 

 

Tactics and Strategy at the time were very much focused on keeping friendly units massed and in proximity to the flanks (assuming non cavalry) so by default the unit layout would afford opportunity to resupply. What if the player ignores the strategy of the times and allows his lines to be granular and strung out, with elements being resistant but alone on a strong position? What if you have your ammunition dwindling and the choice of withdrawal or linking up is the only one you could consider before ammunition runs out?

 

I haven't played the game obviously, and I am no expert on history, but perhaps it isn't best to just assume that players will automatically adopt identical thinking to that of the time frame which is what made things play out as they did. Perhaps ammunition resupply would have been a serious issue if Meade thought like a modern gamer.

 

Just my thoughts, and I'm prepared to be totally wrong. I'm just getting familiar with this place so please feel free to eviscerate any bad ideas I have. :D

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P*Funk

When you have access to UGG you'll be in a better position to advocate your passion for the ammunition supply and understand the tradeoffs! It's not that ammunition supply is not important. It's just a question of engineering resources to design and implement a game simulating Gettysburg and structure these variables for an "authentic enough" game to be enjoyable.

Here are a couple of thoughts...

Ammunition supply is not currently implemented in the game. My guess is that it is not in the game because the entire Gettysburg battlefield is about 25 square kilometers. It is possible to hustle from one end of the battlefield to any other point in about an hour on foot. The UGG map is scaled to the actual battle so there isn't really much of a chance that you can get units "strung out" or very far away from the (abstracted) ammunition supply. There were 170,000 men fighting in this area so you can do the math on the troop density. There are Phases in UGG where units run end-to-end on the map so I'd be more concerned with questions like, "where's the room for players to maneuver and implement their strategy"?

Your proposed "isolated unit" ammunition model was one that seemed to align with history and I'd advocated this idea as well. It seemed like a reasonable and logical way to deal with gamers that have units spread all over creation or ignored the road network.

In my testing experience the UGG AI will swarm isolated units, flank them, and rout them so quickly that most players wouldn't have time to worry about ammunition supply. I think the idea that the developers have is that the unit "condition" includes an abstraction of ammunition supply. Units that aren't supported on the flanks or with reserves get smashed very quickly.

Please keep in mind that other critical battlefield variables are not implemented in UGG. POWs for example. It is possible to surround routed units (that aren't firing back) that cannot surrender, are hopelessly outnumbered, and have no possibility of escape. Would I rather have the opportunity to capture 4,000 men or have them run low on ammunition? Which adds more to the game experience? Currently if a Phase ends surrounded troops that are not annihilated at the end of a Phase are returned to their comrades and come back to fight in the next Phase.

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Skip the Ammo. Its a RTS at the Tactical Level. KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid). No offence intended. 

 

Exactly.  If this were Civil War General (that old sierra game), then it's different.  This is a game based on tactics over short-ish scenarios.

 

As with any tactical/strategy game, it is the AI that will make or break this game.  If you can implement it, and implement it well, then that's another thing.  But a little added realism at the cost of playability will be worthless.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Skip the Ammo. Its a RTS at the Tactical Level. KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid). No offence intended. 

Agreed. But let's not forget that ammunition played a crucial role for the artillery before Picketts Charge on both sides. It's hard to decide, but because this game simulates the full three days ammunition should play a role imho.

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The addition of possibly a "Supply wagon" That can be captured by enemies could add a really cool addition to the game. It would make fights very interesting, imagine moving a unit around the enemy to possibly flank, the draw back is the supply wagon would be very hard to reach that unit if it runs out of ammo, leaving it cut off from supplies and needing to retreat to a safe spot to resupply.

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That might be to much micromanagement. What want from a gamel like UGG is pure strategy, not babysitting units. Besides, those cars where usually guarded by units that were not engaged in the fight. If you want to create historical authenticity you would have to simulate these units as well. Which would add more to the nightmare of controlling those units.

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That might be to much micromanagement. What want from a gamel like UGG is pure strategy, not babysitting units. Besides, those cars where usually guarded by units that were not engaged in the fight. If you want to create historical authenticity you would have to simulate these units as well. Which would add more to the nightmare of controlling those units.

Possibly then have a "Home Base" type area where you units can go back and restock for a few seconds/minute, Then they can rejoin the fight.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I chose to include limited ammo.

 

Suggestion to implement:

 

Since you want to keep it as simple as possible for those using tablets, mobile devices, etc., then stick with the system you are already using for morale, organization, etc. with a simple gauge that goes down as the unit fires. When it gets to a critical point, the unit will automatically fix bayonets or draw swords in a cavalry unit's case. The unit will remain like this until you hit a side button "resupply".

 

I'll leave the supply rules up to those that know best but keep it simple IE: like objectives on the field there can be supply points and you must control a road in order to get those supplies same as reinforcements. Don't re-create the wheel you guys are doing great with the way you are heading.

 

When you hit the "resupply" button, the unit's ammo guage will slowly go up (and avoid enemy contact while doing so like auto-fallback mode) until it gets to at a certain percentage full again (like 50%). As long as the unit does not engage an enemy once at 50%, the gauge will keep filling until whatever level you guys decide. The resupply will stop if contact with one of the resupply points is not possible.

 

In this way, the player can hit "resupply" and return to action with the rest of his army immediately without babysitting the unit that is resupplying.

 

Edit: the charge button can be used to disable the "auto-fallback" mode used during resupply so you can still charge and melee with the enemy when out of ammo (aka, the "Chamberlin" option)

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Thanks for all the very useful ideas everybody,

 

I would like to mention that ammo is not been directly simulated in the game currently but the status "Condition" emulates this indirectly. Condition of units fall while they get fatigued, get isolated, fight away from general and this is enough for the game's purposes and for not messing AI effectiveness.

 

By all means, a direct simulation of ammo/supply is always under consideration for a later stage of development.

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One the questions I would ask myself is this: At what level do we want the player to be making decisions? Although grognards always opt for micromanagement, it seems to me that the player has enough to do in this game just controlling every single brigade and battery on the field.

 

A Civil War regimental commander would know very quickly if his men were running out of ammunition, and as such, he would report this to his brigade commander as soon as possible. One reason -- not the only --  brigades were typically deployed in two lines (and I don't mean ranks!) was so that the second line could replace the first if needed, either due to losses, unsteadiness, or a lack of ammunition.  If possible, the units replaced would then fall back to the rear, resupply, and if possible, clean their weapons, as a black powder musket tends to foul rather quickly.

 

Using this system, some of Greene's men at Culp's Hill, though they had probably taken only 60 rounds into battle (40 in the box, and 20 in their pockets or haversack), fired over 700 rounds apiece on the second day. And the 20th Maine, with only about 350 men in the line at start, fired over 15,000 rounds.   But this was admittedly not common.

 

Anyway, I would prefer it if ammo and resupply, like artillery ammuntion choices, could be set on "Auto," or if ammunition was not even a factor, as Generals Lee and Meade were certainly not thinking about which brigades had enough of it -- that was the job of the officers in command of those units.

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Maybe a global storage of ammunition is the solution. Everytime a piece or a unit fires a little amount is used. This storage is carried over from day to day. That would take take of the micromangement but would also confront players with the problems the Generals faced at the real battle.

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Maybe a global storage of ammunition is the solution. Everytime a piece or a unit fires a little amount is used. This storage is carried over from day to day. That would take take of the micromangement but would also confront players with the problems the Generals faced at the real battle.

That might work. I think the old SPI monster game on Waterloo did something like that.  Despite the huge amount of artillery rounds fired at the battle, the Confederates, according to Alexander or somebody, still had enough remaining for one more battle, and for the Federal troops, because of their relatively close proximity to Washington and Philadelphia, ammunition shortages would have been temporary enough that they probably would have fired off all they had.

Did I not have to mow the lawn, I would poke around in the Official Records, as surely there are reports somewhere of how much ammunition remained, at least for the Army of the Potomac, after the battle.

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In one of my previous posts the precise and complete Gettysburg artillery ammunition data was provided.

 

General Hunt reported the Union fired 32,781 rounds at Gettysburg.  The Union brought about 90,000 rounds to Gettysburg.

 

The CSA fired about 20,000 rounds at Gettysburg.  The CSA brought about 40,000 rounds to Gettysburg.

 

Now that the "Historical Artillery Performance" topic has been resurrected I'll try to find the precise numbers for the Union & CSA artillery supply and the number of rounds fired by the CSA.  The information above is in the ballpark and Hunt's number is directly from his AAR from Gettysburg.

 

Hunt instructed his men to "fire deliberately" which was one round every five minutes.  This allowed aimed fire with minimal obstruction of target from the smoke from the previous shot.  Additionally, the battery could fire for about 8 hours at this rate of fire.  

 

In a heated contest artillery frequently fired all the ammunition it could carry in about 2 hours.  Rapid fire, and retiring the battery to the artillery reserve to replenish supply, became such a problem for the Union that Hunt gave orders forbidding batteries that had exhausted their ammunition supply to pull out of the line.  Instead he ordered them to sit in place while the limbers returned to replenish artillery ammunition.  This helped slow the Union rate of fire.

 

Note that during the artillery barrage that preceded Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg Hunt ordered the Union artillery reserve to hold fire after 15 minutes of firing.  This helped ensure the Union artillery had ammunition during Pickett's Charge.

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General Hunt's report stating that the Union brought 97,740 rounds of artillery ammunition to Gettysburg.  Union fired 32,781 rounds at Gettysburg.

General Pendleton's report states the CSA brought 40,800 rounds to Gettysburg.  CSA fired about 22,000 rounds.

I'd suggest every time a battery fires the number of guns firing is subtracted from the ammunition supply.

Artillery ammunition became a key concern for both sides.
The CSA fired about 22,000 rounds (150 rounds/gun average) which was more than half of their supply.
The Union fired 32,781 rounds (270 rounds/gun average) which was about a third of their supply.

Given the Union rail supply lines were less than 20 miles from Gettysburg it is obvious the Union had a much less complex logistical problem replenishing artillery ammunition.

 

 The CSA's nearest railhead was Charlottesville, VA more than 150 miles distant. 

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N.C. Rebel - have you read:

"Fighting for the Confederacy: The Personal Recollections of General Edward Porter Alexander (Civil War America)"?

 

My recollection is that Alexander reviews the ammunition expenditures; but, I haven't read this book in years and don't recall his discussion of Fredericksburg.  He was in command of the artillery on Marye's Heights during the Battle of Fredericksburg.

 

William Pendleton is frequently a good resource for ammunition expended by the ANV if you can find his AAR's.  

 

I'm sure the information is available - it may just take some digging.  

 

P.S. You can very closely calculate the artillery supply in the field for Civil War Armies.  The ratio of guns to caissons was maintained at 1:1 for the war.  If you check the order of battle you can find the number and type of guns.  The ammunition for each gun caisson is specific to the gun.  With a bit of math you can very accurately identify how much ammunition was on the field.  

 

Note that railroads are a key piece of the puzzle as resupply was usually not possible until the army reached a railhead.  At Gettysburg for example the Union had a 2:1 advantage in cavalry (12,000 blue vs. 6,000 grey).  A substantial part of the Union cavalry was allocated to protecting the ammunition wagons shuttling the 20 miles to Maryland and back to Gettysburg to replenish ammunition supplies. 

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No I haven't David but looks like I'll have to lol right now I'm reading Sam Watkins Company Atych really good book I recommend it has his personal counts of the war but anyways I like to read trough the official records of the war.

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One the questions I would ask myself is this: At what level do we want the player to be making decisions? Although grognards always opt for micromanagement, it seems to me that the player has enough to do in this game just controlling every single brigade and battery on the field.

 

Its not about making the player have to micromanage one more thing its about representing something which may or may not affect tactical decisions in a realistic way. You don't have to make the player have to do anything while representing ammunition supply. The way in which it could affect the player is in causing him to not be able to fire guns if an isolated unit is out of plausible supply range while still being able to replenish the stamina of his men by being out of contact.

 

Its kind of like if cavalry flanking your units causes them to lose morale and route more quickly then thats not something you micromanage as much as its something which directly affects your decisions without adding another button. Its an abstract notion which affects your mindset, exactly the same way you observe the condition of your troops to see if they're able to continue fighting.

 

And to the poster above to said this is a tactical game and as such ammo is outside its purview I say... how can ammunition not be a tactical consideration? Apparently in the IDF in order to load your 2nd to last magazine you have to get permission from your team leader and to load your last mag you need permission from your Platoon Leader (or something like that). Ammunition or a lack thereof is a very tactical concern. Its the acquisition and resupply of it that is however largely more strategic.

 

I just got my beta key so I'll be looking closely at what happens to units out out of contact but who are also clearly outside of any clear link to the abstracted supply chain that explains the majority of units' resupply. That will probably greatly inform my stance on this.

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P*Funk, Buford's cavalry division withdraw to Maryland on July 2 because they had exhausted their specialized ammunition supply for their cavalry carbines.  They were sent to the railhead in Maryland to refit and resupply.  One of my previous (archived) posts dealt specifically in much greater detail with Buford's armament, ammunition supply, and logistics that resulted in Buford requesting to be withdrawn to Maryland.  Meade personally approved Buford's request.

 

I'd argue that the single most critical ammunition supply at the battle of Gettysburg has already implemented in UGG.  Buford's cavalry division disappears from the field after July 1 due to ammunition supply.

 

The problem IMO is if you are advocating implementing ammunition in a historically relevant way it absolutely will be another thing for the player to manage.  How is it possible not to be?

 

The presentation of your arguments in favor of ammunition concern me because:

1) The ammunition situation is different between a rifled musket vs. an automatic weapon.  I'm not sure how to use your data for comparison.  In my experience poorly grounded logic arguments result in poorly implemented mechanics.

 

2) The linear tactics of the American Civil War are substantially different than 21st century warfare.  Particularly given the 21st Century dimension of vertical envelopment and the implications on the logistics of ammunition resupply.   

 

3) Finally the scale and concentration at Gettysburg is dramatically different than IDF operations; which also has significant ammunition and logistical implications.  

 

 

If we drop back into the context of the American Civil War there were 40 miles of wagons supplying 160,000 men on a battlefield that was 3 miles by 5 miles.  This means that it was about a 20 minute round trip from an ammunition source to units on the line in most cases. Often much less.  Wagons routinely dropped infantry ammunition behind the lines which was then carried by hand to the regiments running low on ammunition.  At Gettysburg there were only two regiments (no divisions) that ran out of ammunition.  Both were on the extreme ends of the Union lines.  In total critical ammunition shortages involved about 500 men for a short period of time at Gettysburg.

 

It's not that infantry ammunition wasn't important.  It's that both armies managed the resupply logistics so that it wasn't an issue above the regimental level and was rectified expeditiously at Gettysburg (and most other American Civil War battles).  In the grand scheme of the Civil War the ammunition supply for infantry was managed well enough to be militarily irrelevant on the battlefield.  

 

My concern is if infantry ammunition implemented it will play too much of a role for a game of this scale and the testing community will have yet another anachronism to debate.  Units in UGG fall back routinely enough already.  As they reform aren't they able to resupply before they go forward?

 

Again, IMO the ebb and flow of UGG already abstracts the infantry ammunition satisfactorily.

 

 

Artillery ammunition is a different story.  

 

The ammunition, if not packed and handled properly, can become inert.  As a result there were very precise instructions regarding artillery ammunition.  You couldn't just chuck 50 rounds in the back of a wagon then rush the wagon to resupply a battery.  

 

Artillery was a Corps/Army level asset and a concern for both army commanders, Corps commanders, and artillery commanders.  If ammunition is going to be implemented it would make sense to start with the artillery.  

 

Batteries at Gettysburg were ordered to cease firing, routinely rotated, and these policies were a source of conflict between officers regarding the preservation of ammunition supplies (Hunt (hold fire) vs. Hancock (commence firing) prior to Pickett's Charge).

 

I'm not a fan of adding another thing for players to manage in UGG.  

 

At best, it is not obvious to me that you can implement an infantry policy on ammunition without increasing micromanagement.  At worst the potential exists to screw up this game with silly results that weren't anticipated.  My observation is infantry ammunition advocates have proposed solutions they think are "great" or "fun" that have no bearing on the historical basis from battle of Gettysburg.  

 

Players have the option to pretend their units have run low on ammunition and order a charge.  Which often seems to be the goal anyway.

 

It is very obvious IMO that you cannot implement a historically reasonable artillery ammunition policy without significantly increasing artillery micromanagement.  

 

Please keep in mind that the UGG team is already advocating combining artillery batteries into larger organizations because the micromanagement of artillery is too cumbersome for many testers.  

 

My observation is that UGG seems to be dangerously close to, or over, the saturation point for many players.

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