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Misuse of an Army

Posted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 12:04 am
by Straight Arrow
The rules say,

[color="#FFFF00"]"An army HQ with combat units in reserve will react quickly to support corps formations but should not be viewed as a combat stack."

Is this true? And if so, why?

In the past, many of my attacks have been lead by armies. In fact, when creating a 3 area front, I usually position the army, as the strongest formation, between 2 wing corps.

Is my doing so a mistake?

Posted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 12:48 am
by John S. Mosby
There's a lot more experienced players than myself to answer your question. I can only respond by saying that I normally place my strength in the Corps and have only a moderate force in the Army HQ for support.

I wouldn't go as far as to say your way is a mistake, just a different strategy.

Posted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 2:03 am
by GraniteStater
If I have the rule straight, Army stacks cannot, and do not, initiate combat unless they are the only stack in the Region. I'm probably misremembering, but it's something akin to that. IOW, it's best to thrust with your Corps. Most players follow Mosby's structure as described.

And you don't want to get your *** Generals all shot up, usually. IIRC, ***s cannot be killed, but I think they can be wounded and out of action for a while, which may or may not cost you a HQ (which ain't cheap) and certainly plays hob with your command structure and carefully laid plans.

Posted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 2:42 am
by Captain_Orso
***s can be killed. I should know. I've lost a few.

I use an army stack as a corps. With the choice of having the same number of divisions in a corps, with the army commander in his own stack, with or without support units, if my region gets called to MTSG there is a better chance that the army stack with a full set of divisions succeeds than the corps stack. The difference is not great, but it's there.

The biggest issue with an army stack not initiating combat is if you try to send units into the army stack's region to reinforce at the same time that region comes under attack. There's a good chance that the 'reinforcing' units will get smacked really hard first by the attacking units before the army stack might come into play. So you have to be careful about sending units in.

Posted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 6:27 am
by ArmChairGeneral
I either max out the Army stack and use it as an oversized Corps or else I strip it of all units and keep it hovering around my Corps strictly for command purposes.

If you want to fight with an Army, outfit it just like you would any other big stack and go forth and do battle just as if it were another Corps. Just be careful of the Special Army Commitment Rule by avoiding having other stacks in its region, and you will never notice a difference. I regularly lead with five and six division Armies Under Grant and Lee with no noticeable effects (besides crushing their opponents, that is!). Most other Army commanders are not good enough on their own to be any better than the 2 *s under them, so those guys tend to be in empty stacks unless I am short on 2*s.

There is little to be gained by using an Army as a "reserve" like the manual says, and there are no extra bonuses for doing so beyond the increased MTSG chance. (Actually, there is one weird secondary rule that does give it a slightly different behavior in multi-corps combats when on defense, but it rarely applies, is hard to make happen intentionally, and isn't that useful of a behavior anyway.) Indeed, a "reserve Army" setup can be outright dangerous:

If you have too small of an Army, and it MTSG's, it can be severely outnumbered by opposing, full-sized Corps when it arrives in battle. Offensive stacks tend to target incoming MTSGers, so that often the stacks that defended in the first round(s) do little to no fighting on the round the MTSGers first enter, leaving the MTSGers to fight the round alone. (This is a problem for any undersized stack that MTSGs into a large battle, but since Armies are extra likely to MTSG....)

Setting your Army up as a light reserve gives no special benefits and can result in disaster if conditions are right. Not to say that sometimes my Army stacks don't end up doing just that during the run of play, but it is not by choice on my part.

Posted: Mon Mar 14, 2016 1:35 pm
by Gray Fox
One factor to consider is that a 3-star can boost a Corps commander's abilities. If both Generals had a 5 in offensive stat, the Army commander may boost the Corps commander to a 6 for the turn of the attack. Click on the Corps stack and cursor over the Corps info to the bottom right to see if any boost is in effect. If so, then you might want to lead with the Corps in that case.

Posted: Mon Mar 14, 2016 1:56 pm
by Captain_Orso
:blink: huh? I thought a corps commander's ratings could not be elevated above the ratings of the army commander, but they can be lowered to those of the army commander.

Posted: Mon Mar 14, 2016 2:42 pm
by Gray Fox
I've never read that anywhere.

Nothing about that on pages 32-34 in the manual.

Posted: Mon Mar 14, 2016 6:48 pm
by Captain_Orso
There's also nothing in the manual about army commanders increasing strategic, offensive, and defensive ratings, but they do, if the army commander's rating(s) is higher in one of the categories.

I know fro experience that with McDowell as army commander and a **3-1-1 as corps commander, the corps commander will sometimes effectively become **2-1-1 but never **4-1-1.

Posted: Tue Mar 15, 2016 12:05 pm
by Gray Fox
Thanks, good to know.

Posted: Tue Mar 15, 2016 5:19 pm
by minipol
Didn't know that either. Thanks Orso

Posted: Thu Mar 17, 2016 12:14 am
by Guru94
My understanding of army comanders was always that 3-1-1 is the standard rating. Everything above or under increases/decreases the rating of Corps Commanders. Was I wrong all the years? :blink:

Posted: Thu Mar 17, 2016 2:06 am
by ArmChairGeneral
I don't have the game in front of me, but a lot of the Army->Corp Commander bonuses and percentage chances are listed in the game files (gamelogic IIRC). Don't remember seeing a cap, but it might just not be documented, or it might be the result of the way the bonuses are determined that gives a zero chance for improvement if the stats are low enough.

Posted: Fri Mar 18, 2016 11:52 pm
by BattleVonWar
Depends on several key things. I don't remember precisely how things will go down. Though I remember I had Lee as a Theater Commander..Then a Corp Commander as Polk beneath him. It was to enhance my position. It seemed like Polk did most of the fighting and my casualties were higher than I anticipated. His divisions were far inferior. I do not know if this is how the combat system works. Though I try to put my strong Corps/Divisions in the center where I expect an attack and then on my wings I try to put my weaker Generals. Though I have found that you cannot always determine what might happen. It may be who activated or who did not. I continually find Corps retreat or fight when I don't want them to. It's good to keep a line of sight on weak spots. You cannot defend everywhere. So sometimes it better to bunch things up and go forward.

I don't know how the patches are though the Theater system for the South can work against you later. You can easily be snaked in Virginia through several open areas. So you have to know where and how to give real estate to keep your formations strong. Your Theater/Corps/followed by your strongest Divisions. Of course my understanding is after less than 15 games played and never really a rulebook guy.

As the Yankees, I just send in the masses and let the South sort them out. I will eventually win so long as I do not commit to anything foolish. The South would need a miracle to beat you on your own terrain. They can only realistically flank you in the West and in isolated places with their Cav Generals(once you Master the game)

Straight Arrow wrote:The rules say,

[color="#FFFF00"]"An army HQ with combat units in reserve will react quickly to support corps formations but should not be viewed as a combat stack."

Is this true? And if so, why?

In the past, many of my attacks have been lead by armies. In fact, when creating a 3 area front, I usually position the army, as the strongest formation, between 2 wing corps.

Is my doing so a mistake?

Posted: Sat Mar 19, 2016 6:29 am
by GraniteStater
I dunno if it was AACW or not, but I had McClellan under Grant as a Corps Commander & he was pissah. 5-3-5, sumptin' like that.

Posted: Sat Mar 19, 2016 9:26 pm
by clandini5
I remember one time in AACW I had McDowall under Grant, he wound up being a 6-6-6