McNaughton wrote:Personally, I believe that everything is relative...
If, as AGEOD has stated, that 3-1-1 is the 'average', nothing great, nothing poor, then a strategy rating of 2 or less is 'bad'. Personally, I believe that most generals in AACW are over-rated in their statistics, which makes the reduction of Johnston ill fitting for the entire scenario of commanders. However, if other generals have lowered ratings based upon the real situations (instead of a blanked history of the general), then the change to a strategy of 2 might seem more logical.
I have ranted about him before, and I will bring him up again, but, Hancock does not deserve the superb ratings he is currently given. He is rated, almost singlehandedly, on his performance at Gettysburg. While he was competent, and successful, a lot of his success is based upon Confederate failure. He was in a strong position, and saw it was strong, which means he is more than competent, but, his combat stats reflect a commander who makes a weak position strong (not recognizing a strong position as one). Frankly, there are too many 'good' generals out there. A competent general is 4-2-2 (always active and with some bonus), a competent general succeeds in a basic situation, a good/superb general succeeds against all odds. Too many generals who were competent, are rated as good/superb.
Many generals are over-stated in this way (in that they are highly rated based on success when everything went for them), which makes this reduction just for one commander ill fitting.
Johnston may have had a lack of aggression, but that may be explained by the reality of his situation. Lee, Bragg, AS Johnston, Hood, etc. were all aggressive, and in every case whittled down their force with little to no gain (each one of them had their own version of 'gettysburg'). Now, maybe J Johnston is rated as unaggressive in 'comparison' to those other prominent Confederate Generals, but, in comparison to a 'generic' commander in his position (odds against him) that they would be as 'defensive' as well? I fear that these ratings (for a lot of generals) are based upon taking static reports for generals, and ignoring situations, and that a lot of history is based upon comparison rather than reality. Realistically, McClellan and J Johnston can be compared, except that Johnston was actually against the odds that McClellan thought he was up against. McClellan defenders use this to justify his behaviour, why no justification for Johnston's behaviour?
In my opinion, to be unaggressive one has to ignore initiative or opportunity when it is brought upon them. Johnston, from what I have read, was always outnumbered and rarely given the support or freedom that Bragg or Lee maintained. While other confederate generals would have attacked in his place, that might be more based upon the fact that most top CSA generals were 'reckless', while Johnston was more 'balanced' (he did attack, and did so with competency and when the moment called for it). Johnston did not attack Sherman, primarily because doing so was foolish!
I fear that things are getting too far into 'comparision', that if someone wasn't as aggressive as Lee or Hood, they are seen as timid and passive (when, in my opinion, it was Lee and Hood who are the extremes).
Excellent post. I agree.