tonedog
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CSA win almost impossible?

Tue Mar 04, 2008 1:02 pm

Ive been readin up a but on the civil war and it seems pretty obvious that the CSA really needs a miracle to win, what with the population and industry that the north have.

did the south ever have a realistic chance of winnng the war in reality?

and ingame, i wonder what the percentage is of players who have won with the south! im thinkin of pbem though, not against the AI.

how would i go about makin a poll?

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Tue Mar 04, 2008 1:13 pm

IMO surviving through 1865 is a win for the South in PBEM.

When you create a new thread, scroll down. At the bottom of the page is the 'post a poll' option.
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Tue Mar 04, 2008 1:17 pm

In reality I think that Gettysburg was the Souths only chance to win. There are two great if's here. IF Jackson had not died and IF Lee would have had his costumary zeal and vigor on day one. With Jackson I believe that Lee would have acted different in his aggressiveness. He seemed more aggressive with Jackson present because he knew that he could always count on Jackson. With a win at Gettysburg the South could have gone on to threaten Baltimore and this would not have been good for the Lincoln Administration. My 2 Cents.
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tonedog
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Tue Mar 04, 2008 1:24 pm

i must be blind but i cant find the "make a poll" option

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Tue Mar 04, 2008 1:26 pm

I always go for: cut off their supply lines, encircle, destroy (or have them throw themselves at your entenched position, net result the same). Not sure if this would be a valid historical option. Worked in Forge of Freedom too!

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Tue Mar 04, 2008 1:27 pm

Prussian Prince wrote:In reality I think that Gettysburg was the Souths only chance to win. There are two great if's here. IF Jackson had not died and IF Lee would have had his costumary zeal and vigor on day one. With Jackson I believe that Lee would have acted different in his aggressiveness. He seemed more aggressive with Jackson present because he knew that he could always count on Jackson. With a win at Gettysburg the South could have gone on to threaten Baltimore and this would not have been good for the Lincoln Administration. My 2 Cents.


Sort of. I really believe that the South would have had to "do a Yamamoto" and 'dictate peace terms in the White House'....

...which a battle-worn ANV would have had diffficulty doing [DC defenses, remanants of AoP, Grant moves east...]

... but would have cost Lincoln the election in 64, and thus lost the war....

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Tue Mar 04, 2008 1:41 pm

tonedog wrote:i must be blind but i cant find the "make a poll" option


Hmmm, maybe it is a special permission. Rafiki? Korrigan?
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Tue Mar 04, 2008 1:43 pm

MarkCSA wrote:I always go for: cut off their supply lines, encircle, destroy (or have them throw themselves at your entenched position, net result the same). Not sure if this would be a valid historical option. Worked in Forge of Freedom too!


Absolutely. It is just 10x harder for the South to do that in PBEM.
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Tue Mar 04, 2008 1:56 pm

Jabberwock wrote:Absolutely. It is just 10x harder for the South to do that in PBEM.


Yup, as the Union player knows that is the only thing that can save the South (well, that and foreign intervention).

But, that is the challenge of the game and why we play it! (I play the Italians in Hearts of Iron and Mexico in Victoria).

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Tue Mar 04, 2008 2:51 pm

Jabberwock wrote:Hmmm, maybe it is a special permission. Rafiki? Korrigan?

I know I can post polls, at least :D

If you have something in mind, send me the info (What the question is, which answer options there should be, whether or not it's multiple-choice, whether it should be a new thread or added to an existing one, etc) and I'll help you set it up :)
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stars&bars
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Tue Mar 04, 2008 3:19 pm

This is the main reason I like playing as Confederate with ACW games. That the Confederates are the underdogs & have to fight for what supplies they can get, i love that :dada:

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Fri Mar 07, 2008 11:23 am

Prussian Prince wrote:In reality I think that Gettysburg was the Souths only chance to win. There are two great if's here. IF Jackson had not died and IF Lee would have had his costumary zeal and vigor on day one. With Jackson I believe that Lee would have acted different in his aggressiveness. He seemed more aggressive with Jackson present because he knew that he could always count on Jackson. With a win at Gettysburg the South could have gone on to threaten Baltimore and this would not have been good for the Lincoln Administration. My 2 Cents.


Discussing the "what ifs" of history is often the most engaging part of studying history. Unfortunately, its also speculative, and very difficult to ever discern if anyone is ever right.

I too think Gettysburg might have been one of the last opportunities for the Confederacy to obtain an outright favorable result. I don't think it was their only chance though.

Had Lee's first invasion of Maryland been successful, even moderately, the Confederacy would have gained European recognition (most likely) and won. If Lee and Jackson had managed to trap and destroy the entire Union army at Chancellorsville instead of just soundly defeating it (again something they almost did) the result of the war could have been different.

Had AS Johnson been able to actually complete the victory he almost had at Shiloh and destroyed Grants army, things may have been different.

Even after Gettysburg Lee might have had a chance to totally destroy Grant's army had things gone just a bit differently... but "winning" at this point for the Confederacy was nearly impossible. Had Sherman been stopped, and Bragg held on to Atlanta until after the election of 1864, an election Lincoln probably would have lost in this case, things might have turned out in the South's favor. I'd say this scenario probably would not have resulted in an outright favorable decision for the South.

They might have gained independence in this last case, most likely losing permanently West Virginia and any claims to Kentucky or Missouri.

Then again, as we all know, so many minute factors that might seem totally unimportant, even in retrospect, could have totally changed the course of history.

All we're really left with is "who knows?"

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Fri Mar 07, 2008 12:42 pm

We're left with 'who knows?' and this wonderful game of course!

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Fri Mar 07, 2008 1:12 pm

The south had to gain European recognition before emancipation was announced. Once the war was politically clear about slavery [vs. the 'states rights' euphimism], the governments of Europe couldn't touch it. Russia had already freed the serfs, for cryin' out loud....

So foreign intervention/support was no longer realistic by Gettysburg, but northern 'war fatigue' could wel have ended it, pobably no later than the 1864 election.. [McClellan ran on a peace platform, and the Army voted for 'ol Abe]
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tonedog
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Fri Mar 07, 2008 4:20 pm

so have many players had wins as the csa by actually breakin the norths morale? ive started umpteen games now as the csa and am havin great fun tryin to win.

in my current game i thought i was doin well when i defeated a uniion army of 70000 with my 40000 army at fredericksburg. they then hit me with an army off 130000, incuding allmost 1000 cannon.

it moments like that that make me think winning is impossible, or is just holding out all u can do?

but them doesnt that just equate to losing as well?

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Fri Mar 07, 2008 4:41 pm

I think entire armies being wiped out is pretty optimisitc. It never happened on either side even when the CSA became badly outnumbered. They didn't have any panzer divisions that could breakthough lines and encircle the enemy quickly like in WWII.

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Fri Mar 07, 2008 5:11 pm

tonedog wrote:so have many players had wins as the csa by actually breakin the norths morale? ive started umpteen games now as the csa and am havin great fun tryin to win.

in my current game i thought i was doin well when i defeated a uniion army of 70000 with my 4000 army at fredericksburg. they then hit me with an army off 130000, incuding allmost 1000 cannon.

it moments like that that make me think winning is impossible, or is just holding out all u can do?

but them doesnt that just equate to losing as well?


I wish my AI would do that........ I've won my very first game yesterday (also first game I played), by focusing on the West first and digging in WW1-style in the East. With Kentucky and Missouri on your side, it all becomes so much easier.

Despite being slightly ahistorical, encirclement-destruction tactics work best try to knock out some raiders and then move on to larger stacks.

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Fri Mar 07, 2008 5:29 pm

Gray_Lensman wrote:Don't say never...

Vicksburg Estimated Casualties: U.S.A. 4,855 C.S.A. 32,697 (29,495 surrendered)

Appomattox: U.S.A 164 C.S.A 500 (28,251 surrendered and paroled)


Agree.
In the game, if you get an army trapped in a fort, or trapped during a 'deep penetration' where it is surrounded by enemy control, or so depleted by cohesion loss [weather, long marches, extended combat, out of supply], then that army should surrender en-mass.... I think it's working OK.

....and whoever put them there should be shot! :niark: :siffle:
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Fri Mar 07, 2008 5:51 pm

In my full campaign games as CSA (2 wins in 2 tries!) I've taken the same strategy both times. Form a defensive line in Virginia, all the while making the 2 armies of Johnston and Beauregard bigger and bigger. Usually by early 1863 I'm ready to launch my offensive in the Northeast. Swing a huge army (50,000+) around Harper's Ferry and attack Baltimore. Defend against counterattack, then crush DC from north and south. Once DC is down, I usually don't have much trouble continuing northwards with Lee, taking Philly and eventually NYC. Both times, Saint Louis has been the last objective city to fall, because I have this bad habit of not developing my western armies to their full potential. Both times, after Saint Louis fell, I reached my MP victory threshold.

The key I think is to have lots of brigs running the blockades and developing industry in VA and Georgia early on. That will get the war supplies coming in at an acceptable rate. I usually struggle with lack of conscript companies more than lack of war supplies.

I've just gone through and started changing some game settings, increasing the AI from the default settings and randomizing generals, but I haven't played as CSA yet...perhaps it won't as easy next time around :)

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Fri Mar 07, 2008 5:54 pm

lodilefty wrote:The south had to gain European recognition before emancipation was announced. Once the war was politically clear about slavery [vs. the 'states rights' euphimism], the governments of Europe couldn't touch it. Russia had already freed the serfs, for cryin' out loud....

So foreign intervention/support was no longer realistic by Gettysburg, but northern 'war fatigue' could wel have ended it, pobably no later than the 1864 election.. [McClellan ran on a peace platform, and the Army voted for 'ol Abe]



Exactly right.

Expanding on this, much modern Civil War scholarship holds that the war could not be won in the eastern theater. What would have happened in the south had "won" and Gettysburg? Likely not much. Both sides would still have massive kia's, Lee would still not have gathered much supplies and the Army of the Potomac, accustomed as it was to defeat, would pull itself back together and call upon the massive reinforcements in and around D.C.

In the west, however, the Confederacy had a real chance to inflict large moral killing defeats on the Union. The Confederacy enjoyed interior lines, excellent intelligence, and the opportunity to surprise the Union on numerous occasions. The Confederacy in early battles in the war, Donnelson, Shiloh, Pea Ridge, even up to Chickamagua, came within a hair's breadth of dealing the north devastating defeats including the possibility of actually destroying union armies.

The south did not need to conquer the north. Indeed, it needed desperately to defend its territory and remain a nation in being (not to mention preserving its industrial base).

Fundamentally, Lee was mistaken, grand strategically, to invade the north. It prevented troops from being sent west, strenthened northern resolve, and never had a realistic chance of triggering foreign intervention (after the emancipation proclamation).

Historically, if both sides do nothing the south wins. The onus of action is on the north to conquer. If the south is not conquered, the south wins.

Game victory conditions should, and mostly do, reflect this.

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Fri Mar 07, 2008 9:06 pm

Coffee Sergeant wrote:I think entire armies being wiped out is pretty optimisitc. It never happened on either side even when the CSA became badly outnumbered. They didn't have any panzer divisions that could breakthough lines and encircle the enemy quickly like in WWII.


I don't think you're right. As someone else pointed out there are a couple of cases where armies were completely wiped out. The first being the surrender of Pemberton at Vicksburg in July 1863 and the second being Lee at Appomattox in April 1865.

In the first case Pemberton surrendered after being besieged for a month in the city of Vicksburg. In the second case Lee was attempting to extricate his army in good order after Federal breakthroughs at Petersburg. Unfortunately for Lee, Grant was able to surround and trap Lee's army at Appomattox. This is why Lee surrendered when he did. He at first attempted a break out, and when it was clear that he could not, he told general Gordon that "there is nothing left for me to do, but to go see General Grant, and I would rather die a thousand deaths."

And there were many missed opportunities on both sides to destroy entire armies. At Shiloh a Johnston nearly routed Grant's army, whose back was to the Tennessee river. Had the union army not held out in the Hornet's Nest pocket as long as they did, Grant's entire army would have been pushed into the river or been captured. The Federal soldiers in the Hornet's Nest bought enough time for Grant that another army could be landed at Pittsburgh's Landing to reinforce Grant.

At Chancellorsville Jackson's corp had completely flanked Hooker's army and a route had begun. Had the attack been staged earlier in the day, in all likelihood Jackson would have been able to route the entire Federal army and cut it off from its lines of retreat. Essentially the Army of the Potomac would have been destroyed.

In fact, Jackson had realized this, and it was for this reason that he rode forward to scout for a night assault on Federal positions (something almost never done during the civil war). I think we all know the result, however (Jackson was shot by his own troops returning to Confederate lines).

For the Union's part, Lee's army was very vulnerable during both incursions into the North. Neither little Mac nor Meade followed up their victories and pressed the advantage (though Sharpsburg was less of a victory than Gettysburg). Iirc, the Army of Northern Virginia, after Gettysburg, was actually trapped on the northern side of the Potomac for 2 days as the river was swollen.

Anyway... I'm rambling.


-S

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Fri Mar 07, 2008 10:16 pm

Revolutionarythought wrote:I don't think you're right. As someone else pointed out there are a couple of cases where armies were completely wiped out. The first being the surrender of Pemberton at Vicksburg in July 1863 and the second being Lee at Appomattox in April 1865.

In the first case Pemberton surrendered after being besieged for a month in the city of Vicksburg. In the second case Lee was attempting to extricate his army in good order after Federal breakthroughs at Petersburg. Unfortunately for Lee, Grant was able to surround and trap Lee's army at Appomattox. This is why Lee surrendered when he did. He at first attempted a break out, and when it was clear that he could not, he told general Gordon that "there is nothing left for me to do, but to go see General Grant, and I would rather die a thousand deaths."

And there were many missed opportunities on both sides to destroy entire armies. At Shiloh a Johnston nearly routed Grant's army, whose back was to the Tennessee river. Had the union army not held out in the Hornet's Nest pocket as long as they did, Grant's entire army would have been pushed into the river or been captured. The Federal soldiers in the Hornet's Nest bought enough time for Grant that another army could be landed at Pittsburgh's Landing to reinforce Grant.

At Chancellorsville Jackson's corp had completely flanked Hooker's army and a route had begun. Had the attack been staged earlier in the day, in all likelihood Jackson would have been able to route the entire Federal army and cut it off from its lines of retreat. Essentially the Army of the Potomac would have been destroyed.

In fact, Jackson had realized this, and it was for this reason that he rode forward to scout for a night assault on Federal positions (something almost never done during the civil war). I think we all know the result, however (Jackson was shot by his own troops returning to Confederate lines).

For the Union's part, Lee's army was very vulnerable during both incursions into the North. Neither little Mac nor Meade followed up their victories and pressed the advantage (though Sharpsburg was less of a victory than Gettysburg). Iirc, the Army of Northern Virginia, after Gettysburg, was actually trapped on the northern side of the Potomac for 2 days as the river was swollen.

Anyway... I'm rambling.

-S


OK, well Vicksburg was technically an army but it was more like a large corps (33k Confederate) And the force ratio was over 2 to 1 in favor the Union if wikipedia is right (77k Union). Plus, the forces there pretty much allowed themselves to be cut off. I guess I should qualify my statement was that it was pretty optimisiic unless those force ratios were achieved, combined with inaction on part of the opposition. Armies in those periods lacked the mobility in WWII; the victorious army was nearly as tired out a the defeated army (sometimes more so). There weren't anything like armored divisions that could carry out the encirclement faster than the bulk of the opposition forces could react to it (calvary forces were more used for reconnaissance, screening and raids, not for encirclement)

I'm not sure I would really count Appomattox or the rest of the large surrenders. Those were at the end of the war after every nearly Confederate capital was captured and you have to surrender at some point. And again I think the force balance grossly favored the Union side. I was talking about like the Stalingrad type encirclement where the force ratio was roughly equal, but one side had an advantage in mobility, and strategic surprise.

So I don't think that if say Grant was in control of the Army of the Potomac after Gettysburg that he could have done any better than Meade; the number of men the Union could field was only a little more than that of the CSA if I have my numbers right, in any case it was nowhere near 2 to 1, and Lee was retreating and would not allow himself to be cut off.

The rest of the 'near miss' examples merely prove my point about how difficult strategic encirclement was during the period.

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Revolutionarythought wrote:I don't think you're right. As someone else pointed out there are a couple of cases where armies were completely wiped out. The first being the surrender of Pemberton at Vicksburg in July 1863 and the second being Lee at Appomattox in April 1865.

In the first case Pemberton surrendered after being besieged for a month in the city of Vicksburg. In the second case Lee was attempting to extricate his army in good order after Federal breakthroughs at Petersburg. Unfortunately for Lee, Grant was able to surround and trap Lee's army at Appomattox. This is why Lee surrendered when he did. He at first attempted a break out, and when it was clear that he could not, he told general Gordon that "there is nothing left for me to do, but to go see General Grant, and I would rather die a thousand deaths."

And there were many missed opportunities on both sides to destroy entire armies. At Shiloh a Johnston nearly routed Grant's army, whose back was to the Tennessee river. Had the union army not held out in the Hornet's Nest pocket as long as they did, Grant's entire army would have been pushed into the river or been captured. The Federal soldiers in the Hornet's Nest bought enough time for Grant that another army could be landed at Pittsburgh's Landing to reinforce Grant.

At Chancellorsville Jackson's corp had completely flanked Hooker's army and a route had begun. Had the attack been staged earlier in the day, in all likelihood Jackson would have been able to route the entire Federal army and cut it off from its lines of retreat. Essentially the Army of the Potomac would have been destroyed.

In fact, Jackson had realized this, and it was for this reason that he rode forward to scout for a night assault on Federal positions (something almost never done during the civil war). I think we all know the result, however (Jackson was shot by his own troops returning to Confederate lines).

For the Union's part, Lee's army was very vulnerable during both incursions into the North. Neither little Mac nor Meade followed up their victories and pressed the advantage (though Sharpsburg was less of a victory than Gettysburg). Iirc, the Army of Northern Virginia, after Gettysburg, was actually trapped on the northern side of the Potomac for 2 days as the river was swollen.

Anyway... I'm rambling.


-S



Don't forget Nashville. In that battle the Confederate Army of Tennessee was basically annhilated.

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Sat Mar 08, 2008 1:23 am

I do think that the South had a chance to win - but it was before Gettysburg. At that time the Anaconda was coming into place.

The CSA might have been victorious at Gettysburg and Lincoln for sure would have considered negotations - perhaps to gain time to secure the border states from Southern sympathic movements - but with the Anaconda plan starting to work out - the Southern fate was already sealed. And Lincoln would never accept the Confederate terms at ending the war.

just my 2 euro-cents - so non American opinion here :niark:

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Sat Mar 08, 2008 3:13 am

From a purely economic and military perspective, the South couldn't win. I think Shelby Foote's comment on this was that the North fought the war with one arm tied behind its back, and if things had gotten serious it would have used both arms.

I'm not entirely in agreement with this, but not because I disagree with his assessment of the raw power and potential raw power of the two sides.

My take on the war is that the determining factor was political (it was, after all, a civil war, and those tend to be fought over politics). I'm probably influenced by the fact that I've lived my life in an age where Americans have clearly lost the will to fight and back off in the face of real casualties and serious resistance, but I do believe that the perception of a military stalemate (rather than an actual stalemate) would have handed the election of 1864 to McClellan, and that, in turn, might well have resulted in some kind of a peace settlement. And any settlement that left the CSA in existence would have been, for game purposes, a Southern win.

The key factor you have to decide on is how close did Lincoln really come to losing the election. Based on the actual returns, not that close. But what if Sherman hadn't taken Atlanta, and had suffered an embarassing defeat as well? A Fredericksburg-style event a month or two before the election might have produced a different result. And then it wouldn't matter that, in reality, the South was losing the war rather badly, and had been for some time. But the same military event one day after the election would have very little impact on the final outcome of the war.

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Sat Mar 08, 2008 4:02 pm

I think 4 matters were important - one being the short term "political issue" with the eventual political enemies (copperheads) - the second being the long term strategy of the Anaconda plan (blockade, cut the South in half) - third being possible European recognition and optional intervention - and last but not least major civil disorder and turmoil (see New York riots).

Honestly - the most important of the 4 matters was the long term strategy to strangle the South and cut it in 2 - Anaconda plan.

Suppose a military dreadfull campaign for the Union around Gettysburg would result in major uprisings in Union key cities - still the Anaconda plan was coming into place in 1863 and the Confederacy crumbling with every day passing. What Union president would thrown the towel ? Even a "pacifier" that would defeat Lincoln would be severly tempted at continuing the war and destroy the Confederacy from within (Vicksburg, blockades, food shortage, supply shortage, falling morale).

I think that the South could win the war if it was able to halt or reverse the Anaconda plan =
1. f.e. Britisch naval assistance to secure "free trade interests" instead of the "king Cotton strategy"

2. Retake New Orleans and keep the major Confederate internal waterways open for shipping

3. Harbour defenses - everything that would bust the blockade - from even more blockade runners to warships to foreign assistance.

Every inch of the long road of the Anaconda plan should have been made more difficult for the Union as such. That was the only real lifeline of the confederates. F.e. suppose - prior to the war - the Southern states would invest in a medium sized navy or secure seperate contracts (political action on economic level) with European nations for delivering cotton or tobacco - that would have been a total different war.

Even with 10 General Lee's and 10 General Jackson's the Confederacy stood no chance to oppose the Anaconda plan. I know those generals were absolutely cut from a special wood - but resources are not unlimited. And the foundations concerning the Anaconda plan were basicly one of the reasons for the South to go to war (free trade against protectionism). Looking back on history it still puzzles me that they didn't think about that before firing the canon at fort sumter.

Haste and speed ...

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Sat Mar 08, 2008 6:04 pm

this is clear that the south used nearly every men available (1 064 000 soldiers over the 5 500 000 free population that's something like 40% of all the available mens but this represents probably something like 70% of the available soldiers) when the north only used half the ratio (2 200 000 soldiers over 22 000 000 pop.)

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