major snafu
Corporal
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Returning to the game... and an Arty question.

Thu Mar 29, 2018 11:26 pm

Hi all,

I bought the game last year, and was making good progress but then work forced me to put all war game activities to the side.

So I am now back and have been playing the Shiloh scenario as the US.

But I have yet to get better than a minor defeat. Even if I go over to a full out move to towards Corinth on turn 4, after having let the CSA beat on Grant and wear itself down a bit, I cannot quite capture the city in time.

So I think one has to go over to the offensive on turn 1?

Also, the CSA always has significant more points that I do at the end, even though they seem to accomplish little or nothing. I loose no more than one city to partisans, and have a string of victories with few or no losses - yet they always have more points. So i am now figuring that they must start with significantly more points to begin with.

I have my armies reorganized with corps, etc.

The one thing I am a bit surprised about is how little of my Arty gets employed. Even considering the points per terrain type, embedded vs stand alone arty, it seems to be underused.

I have no Arty in the Divisions within the corps, unless it is embedded in the regiment and I cannot separate it.
I have 8 pieces each under the control of the Corps commander, and any remainder is in the Army level.

But I rarely see my 20 lb arty being used at all. In the open, if it is the corps with no embedded arty in any divisions, I would expect 7-8 batteries being employed. I rarely see more that 2-3.

So I am still not understanding something, I guess. it seems to me like I should place the arty in the divisions so that it is committed with the division, because it is not being committed to battle by the corps commander.

Regards,

SNAFU

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Durk
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Re: Returning to the game... and an Arty question.

Fri Mar 30, 2018 2:52 am

Putting a few more artillery would make sense and likely improve usage.
I am curious to your reference to independent units, are these the corps artillery? Each corps does benefit from having its own artillery, but not too many.
Rules of engagement sometimes limit deployment. If you are the marching and attaching force it may be simply that you do not have the frontage to deploy all your units.

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ArmChairGeneral
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Re: Returning to the game... and an Arty question.

Fri Mar 30, 2018 4:19 am

"[Y]ou do not have the frontage to deploy all your units" is a likely explanation. Terrain and weather reduce frontage and range. To maximise your frontage you want Grant in command, and clear terrain in good weather. Frontage for artillery is seperate from the frontage for "combat units," so you should have plenty of room to get more than two or three arty into the frontage.

How do you know that only a couple of arty are firing? Where are you looking?

Shiloh is kind of a limited scenario. AGEOD's short scenarios are often extremely difficult, and occasionally imbalanced (Sibley for example is almost impossible to "win" as the CSA: even though you can easily take Santa Fe and Albuquerque it usually isn't enough.) I would recommend the 1862 West scenario instead. You start on basically the same turn and in the same positions as Shiloh but with a bigger map, more units and 24 turns to get the victory. It plays pretty quickly too, once you have re-organized and deployed all your forces. You can probably finish it in 5 to ten hours. (It is my favorite scenario, either side is capable of winning, and it is fast paced with the major action kicking off on the second or third turn.)

Carefully examine the Objectives screen for the scenario. It will list all the cities that will earn you points. Count how many you get per turn and how many the enemy gets. If they are getting more VP per turn than you, you need to take enough objectives that you are gaining more than them and then hold them long enough to make up for the turns you were behind.

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ArmChairGeneral
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Re: Returning to the game... and an Arty question.

Fri Mar 30, 2018 4:27 am

Also, the general consensus is that artillery perform best in a dedicated division that has only artillery and no combat units. Give them the best 1* general you have to maximise their impact, and try to have an artillerist somewhere in the stack (he doesn't have to be in command of the arty division, just in the same stack). Put the arty division right at the tip of the spear, in your best combat Corps; you need them on the field for the first round of battle, not MTSGing to the battle in the later rounds.

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Durk
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Re: Returning to the game... and an Arty question.

Fri Mar 30, 2018 5:25 am

While I do agree with ArmChairGeneral on all points, I prefer to play historically rather than maximizing game features. So I do not use an all artillery division in my play. Perhaps as the Union Army of the Potomac, this would be ok, but I use a more historical mix of artillery within divisions and corps.

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Gray Fox
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Re: Returning to the game... and an Arty question.

Fri Mar 30, 2018 3:25 pm

The point of chess or any other strategy game is to teach one how to think logically and reason problems to the best solution.

Don't divide your forces into an Army and a Corps. Fire the Corps commander and put as many Divisions directly under Grant as you can with no Command Point deficit. All of your loose batteries work best in a Division in Grant's stack as ACG posted. That's just a fact. Historically, the Generals of every other country in the world knew that artillery fire has to be massed at the point of decision. That's why Napoleon put them in one unit under his command. The Union eventually put the batteries into artillery brigades, but the game doesn't support that. When you are holding against the CSA, assign the Artillery Division to a General with a high Defensive Stat. When you switch over to the offensive, assign a different General with a high Off. stat. CW2 is sort of a "game of inches". Don't be ashamed to do the smart things.

viewtopic.php?f=331&t=43074

Some of that thread might be of use to you. Good luck!

P.S.

I've never played this scenario, so here is what I would do.

Re-arrange both Armies. I put the cavalry back in all the brigades in Grant's Army, as you only need two cav scouts. Send one scout to Humboldt and the other to Decaturville set to Green/Green, Evade Combat. Put Sherman in command of the full Artillery Division with heavy guns and make a second Artillery Division with the leftover 12 lbers.

Leave Buell and the slow mortar in Clarksville with the Supply Units. Send Crittenden with one Division to Nashville. This is one of your VP cities (Bowling Green is the other). Send Thomas with a second Division to Fort Henry by riverine. Sending him by rail leaves him exposed to possible attack. He should have the artillery and brigades with sharpshooters so that his force can be added to Grant's units. Both men can be made Corps commanders. Send the Nashville squadron to Clarksville to move the slow mortar and SU's by transport.

That should give Grant 4 infantry Divisions (three with sharpshooters for the extra initiative) and 2 artillery Divisions. You have 2 VPs per turn as mentioned and the CSA gets 5, 1 for Memphis and 4 for Corinth. Fort Henry is forest terrain as is Corinth, so frontage is 19 line and 6 artillery.
I'm the 51st shade of gray. Eat, pray, Charge!

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pgr
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Re: Returning to the game... and an Arty question.

Mon Apr 02, 2018 10:00 am

Artillery only divisions are the most efficient way to deploy artillery for several reasons. First, you get full leader bonus from the division leader and the stack leader. (Loose artillery only gets stack leader bonus). Second, you get fire power concentration because the artillery division will select an enemy division and only shoot at that division's elements. Finally, your artillery is effectively protected because, as long as you have no line elements in your arty division, the arty division will be targeted last. The combat engine is coded to attack support units only if there are no units with line elements (Cav or Inf) to attack. If you have a mixed division, there is a 25% chance that artillery shooting at it will shoot the artillery as counter-battery fire, but a pure arty division (like loose arty in a stack) will be targeted last.

When you combine all that with the fire bonus from supply wagons, artillery leaders, and 3+ level entrenchments on the defense, arty divisions are killers. (Esp. if you have 9+guns) So much so, I'm starting to drift to the side of the debate that considers it an exploit.

Artillery only divisions aren't something the developers had in mind when the engine was created. It really was a player innovation that came out of forum debates about the best way to use artillery (Shout out to the Grey Fox :gardavou: ). The engine classes artillery as support units and targets them last to avoid the guns been taken in assault phases too easily. The assumption that you would either keep them loose in a stack or stick them in a division with line units is pretty clear in reading the release manual. And of course more than half of the build pools for the CSA and USA have artillery attached to brigades that can't be un-attached (a subject of many forum gripes). Indeed, the practice is really rough on a CSA player, because the build pool is so limited for making pure infantry divisions. (And, of course, Athena does not build arty divisions.)

I would be less troubled by arty divisions if there was some chance that the unit would get targeted by line units, and you risked capture by assault or counter battery fire. A house rule of artillery only in mixed divisions or loose in stacks seems like the best fit with game balance as the division artillery fire is dispersed and risks counter battery, while the loose guns are safe from attack but limited by CP limits.

With that, I'll get off my soap box. In sum, artillery only divisions are the best way to organize your guns in a corps stack. The only reason not to is if you have a small division sized detached force (for the CP), or if you have a philosophical objection.

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Gray Fox
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Re: Returning to the game... and an Arty question.

Mon Apr 02, 2018 3:04 pm

As I recall, the debate about artillery Divisions was started by pgr. :hat:

https://www.c-span.org/video/?320927-1/ ... -artillery

Artillery only brigades and battalions aren't a game exploit, but an actual historical CW unit. Over a period of centuries, Europeans had developed artillery from impractical wall busters into a mobile, standardized arm of decision. Napoleon (an artillery officer) wasn't the first to mass artillery fire, but he did this really well. The armies of all European nations knew how to employ the big guns for more than a half century by 1861, but the Union and CSA had to learn the lesson. The artillery captain in a mixed Division was often ignored or forgotten by his infantry Division commander. In one battle, the Union artillery was left behind in a traffic jam of caissons as the infantry fought and lost without their support. Sometimes the guns were positioned by the infantry commander where they would have no line of sight into the battle. Finally, artillery batteries were placed in larger units led by artillery commanders under the control of the battle commander. This works best because it should in RL.
I'm the 51st shade of gray. Eat, pray, Charge!

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pgr
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Re: Returning to the game... and an Arty question.

Mon Apr 02, 2018 6:05 pm

Well didn't want to toot my own horn...

Without going too far down the history debate road, even Napoleonic era grand batteries weren't all or nothing. Napoleon certainly had his artillery battalions as corps artillery reserves, but the divisions still had a battery for local support (in a way these direct fire guns with canister are filling the same role as heavy machine guns. An infantry battalion might org them all to a heavy weapons company and concentrate the firepower at a decisive point, but its still a good idea to detach a few to the companies and platoons so they can have local firepower for their sector). My understanding of general civil war practice, was that batteries were nominally attached to divisions, but that Corps commanders would strip divisions of batteries on an ad-hoc situational basis to create "artillery reserves" which could be deployed as grand batteries as the situation allowed, but divisions still retained some guns for local support. It was all very terrain dependent. Union grand batteries played a big role at Stones River, Melvern Hill, and Antietam because they had heights with clear fields of fire (and in the last 2, Henry Hunt who oversaw the deployment and use the army artillery reserve...then Hooker fired him and dispersed everything down to divisions... :bonk: ), but the wilderness had no good opportunity for massed artillery deployment. It's too bad that artillery frontage isn't more impacted by terrain in game. You can deploy as many guns in Woods as you can in in Clear.

Exploit may be a bit harsh, but it just seems like artillery divs are a bit too decisive in the game engine (which is my style opinion of course.) If you are playing PBEM without a house rule against artillery divisions, you had better use them or else you're bringing a knife to a gun fight. :turc:

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