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MP Scenario 3: Falling into a trap (26th may)

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Re: MP Scenario 3: Falling into a trap (26th may)

Post  Baztanz on Wed May 30, 2012 6:19 am

Absolutely brilliant reports, well done chaps.

Keep them coming.

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Re: MP Scenario 3: Falling into a trap (26th may)

Post  Mr. Digby on Wed May 30, 2012 4:40 pm

After reading these reports and being part of the 'knee jerk' talk at the end of the game I am not so sure cavalry needs tweaking. In this game the terrain was unrealistically (IMO) open, making it the perfect environment for cavalry. We've never seen charges this effective on the more usual 'fenced' maps, and one of the AARs above highlights how the first Rebel cavalry charge was thrown back, by a well drilled, good quality infantry regiment. The two regts that were ridden down and captured I think suffered multiple charges and were of a lower quality.

I am reluctant now to downgrade our cavalry units much, if at all, perhaps just some reduction in size. I think we need more games with cavalry in them before we tweak our rules or our cavalry unit ratings.

Also reading some of the Union AARs I am actually not so sure the two Union foces were that far apart at the critical point of the battle. I, as the CSA commander, had a hard decision to break off and would have preferred to have stayed longer. It was really the comments of my subordinates that convinced me to move. We had overwhelming force and 16 guns plus 5 captured ones and could have blown the remnants of Ords command to bits if we'd held there another 15 minutes.

But that's the issue - did we have 15 minutes? I'm not sure we did. Martin's AAR says that soon after Ord's force recaptured their guns, he rode ahead and met Rosecrans beyond Newcastle.

If we refight this again I would let the players use hindsight but not adjust the forces or start positions at all and see how it plays through a second time. I think the one thing that should be changed is the two Union columns should be allowed to agree a meeting location before the battle. I find it extremely unlikely and a little unrealistic, that a supporting force would be sent to assist a force in pursuit of a fleeing enemy and the two would make no effort to communicate. Even if their couriers did not get through because the enemy intercepted them, the absolute minimum knowledge they'd then have was that the enemy was between them.

That and...maybe give Hamilton a small cavalry regiment under an independent commander.

I'd be happy to play any role on the Union side next time and see if we can catch and squish those pesky Rebs.

As to the discussion about using generals as scouts I have no problem with this in HITS games. The game itself has no useful scouting feature and both sides would be sending out parties of horsemen and mounted officers, possibly even infantry picquets and they'd try to find the enemy. In-game a player officer is really the best way to mimic this and remember if an officer is a mile or more ahead of his units, its going to take a good bit of game time to get them to respond to a new order so the player/side does pay a fair price in that way for doing such scouting. We know that when a player sees enemy its visible to all players and if we had Goodyear blimp views it would be a definite problem, but the lack of such view sdue to HITS makes it a viable tactic I think.

Thoughts anyone? On any of this?
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Re: MP Scenario 3: Falling into a trap (26th may)

Post  Khryses on Wed May 30, 2012 6:37 pm

Well I'd be curious to join you as the Union - maybe let us see the general meeting area, and each communicate a map location to the umpire but no reply - thus there is the chance for each side to state their intended approach route, but sufficient doubt remaining that either or both may abandon this in the hope of generating a better intercept.
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Re: MP Scenario 3: Falling into a trap (26th may)

Post  Uncle Billy on Wed May 30, 2012 8:54 pm

Mr. Digby wrote:
We've never seen charges this effective on the more usual 'fenced' maps, and one of the AARs above highlights how the first Rebel cavalry charge was thrown back, by a well drilled, good quality infantry regiment. The two regts that were ridden down and captured I think suffered multiple charges and were of a lower quality.
I disagree. The problem is that artillery is not effective against them. The historic reason that cavalry did not charge an infantry line was that rifled artillery broke up the formations long before they could begin their charge. That is not possible in this game. If we are going to use napoleonic cavalry tactics then the infantry needs to be able to use napoleonic defenses. Unfortunately the AI does not know about squares. I recommend reducing the cavalry regiment size to 40-50 men. That's large enough for a raiding or scouting party but small enough not to be a danger to an infantry brigade.

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Re: MP Scenario 3: Falling into a trap (26th may)

Post  Leffe7 on Wed May 30, 2012 9:36 pm

Khryses wrote:Well I'd be curious to join you as the Union - maybe let us see the general meeting area, and each communicate a map location to the umpire but no reply - thus there is the chance for each side to state their intended approach route, but sufficient doubt remaining that either or both may abandon this in the hope of generating a better intercept.

I don't know if this is exactly what you meant, but I suggest that next time, the two Union Commanders are allowed to send 1 courier message to the other before the game, but no reply.
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Re: MP Scenario 3: Falling into a trap (26th may)

Post  Mr. Digby on Wed May 30, 2012 10:05 pm

Leffe7 wrote:I don't know if this is exactly what you meant, but I suggest that next time, the two Union Commanders are allowed to send 1 courier message to the other before the game, but no reply.
I'm just curious how you'd justify this as realistic. Marching columns generally knew where their friendly forces were most of the time, especially in cases like Ord being sent to assist an existing force (Rosecrans) to defeat what was in effect a huge raiding force. I'm sure some communications should be allowed before the battle.

If you don't allow that then I do think there's a case for starting those two divisions closer together.

40-50 cavalry per unit is going a little too far I think, Billy. I would need to know their strengths in that game before I could give a view on what I thought was a reasonable strength.

Is our aim to have every cavalry charge fail, of 3/4 of them... or what? I'm interested to know what people think is reasonable.

Remember Ords men were not volunteers/regulars and the visibility was so low the guns couldn't touch the cavalry before they charged AND it was a battlefield without fences, crops and woods that so often mess with one's line of sight. I wouldn't want to take that game as a baseline of "cavalry being too powerful" since they had everything in their favour there and nothing against. Plus I gave Armstrong orders to "go for it". In the Iuka battle there was no real cav vs inf charging so again a lot depends on circumstance.
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Re: MP Scenario 3: Falling into a trap (26th may)

Post  Uncle Billy on Wed May 30, 2012 11:00 pm

Is our aim to have every cavalry charge fail, of 3/4 of them... or what? I'm interested to know what people think is reasonable.
From a physics perspective, they should always win. 800Kg moving at 50km/hr striking a 70Kg object only has one result, hence the pike square. With that in mind, the values in the game are probably too low. But that's not the issue. The issue is that historically, cavalry charges against infantry were rare. With that in mind SOW has 2 types of cavalry. Type 1, the default one, which can melee with infantry and type 2, which cannot because they don't have swords. Confederate cavalry was for the most part swordless. Simply use them, then the original cavalry regiment sizes can be retained.


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Re: MP Scenario 3: Falling into a trap (26th may)

Post  Khryses on Thu May 31, 2012 12:01 am

Given the dearth of swords on either side - to the best I can ascertain - of the cavalry war (with the exception of a few rare units of early-war eastern Union cavalry), I'd be willing to vote for that change... provided it's applied to both sides, with occasional 1/2 unit exceptions. I'm aware Stuart and Forrest each (at various times) managed to arm a small proportion of their men to be cavalry proper.

But in that case, what do we have? Purely mounted infantry? Dragoons with the ability to fire when mounted?
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Re: MP Scenario 3: Falling into a trap (26th may)

Post  Uncle Billy on Thu May 31, 2012 3:41 pm

Khryses wrote:
But in that case, what do we have? Purely mounted infantry? Dragoons with the ability to fire when mounted?
No, they dismount and fight on foot at 3/4 strength,(1 horse holder/4men). Unmounted, they still cannot melee as they also do not have bayonets. This would have to be in effect for both sides. I am not sure when union cavalry were issued swords so it may be historically accurate that early in the war, the union side was also unable to melee.

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Re: MP Scenario 3: Falling into a trap (26th may)

Post  Mr. Digby on Thu May 31, 2012 5:54 pm

Hmm... I'm one of those people who thinks that "melee" in the game isn't actually "melee" but should be seen as "extremely close range confused combat, including possibly some bayonet and sword work but mostly shooting", so in that regard I would still like to see cavalry able to charge since in my view it shouldn't be interpreted as what Milhaud's cuirassiers did at Waterloo. I know the animations and sound effects intend it as a true hand-to-hand fight and I'm also pretty certain that's what NSDs designers think it is, but I think the game makes a lot more sense if we see "charging" and "melee" as "approaching rapidly with the intent of driving the enemy back by fear of contact" and "close ranged confused firefight" respectively.

Weren't there some significant cav vs cav charges in the war? Brandy Station, etc? Was that all just whirling point-blank revolver combat? Surely we should view that all as melee in the game. What kind of combat took place on the East Cavalry Field at Gettysburg? Was that all dismounted fighting?
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Re: MP Scenario 3: Falling into a trap (26th may)

Post  Martin on Fri Jun 01, 2012 11:13 am

Mr. Digby wrote:Weren't there some significant cav vs cav charges in the war? Brandy Station, etc? Was that all just whirling point-blank revolver combat? Surely we should view that all as melee in the game. What kind of combat took place on the East Cavalry Field at Gettysburg? Was that all dismounted fighting?
Yes there were charges at Brandy Station and also some on the East Cavalry Field, but based on my reading they were uncommon, and a matter for comment when they occurred. As others have said, much of the cavalry was just not trained or equipped to do it. And we’re talking here about charges against infantry. These were even more rare I think, although Gettysburg again does provide one example in Farnsworth’s charge.

It seems to me that the historical position was broadly:

(a) Ability to charge other cavalry – limited to some regiments and relatively uncommon

(b) Ability to charge infantry – limited to some regiments and very rare

(c) Ability to charge guns to front – limited to some regiments and very rare

(d) Ability to charge guns from flank or rear, and limbered guns – any cavalry could do this

(e) Ability to charge wagons – any cavalry could do this

If that’s broadly accepted, the risk is that we make changes to address some of these cases, but make things worse on other fronts. That said, here are some ideas:

1. I thought I had seen reference in some stock scenarios to a coding, which defines whether a cavalry regiment can charge or not. Have I misremembered? If not, why can't we apply that, at least to scenario games, to limit the ability to select regiments. Does that mean though that guns & wagons would be even more difficult to capture?

2. We could instead modify the OOB stats to make cavalry units weaker in various ways - eg by adjusting some of the following values: Experience, Morale, Close, Edged? Assuming these do actually impact on combat (and I don’t know the game well enough to be sure), that would make human players more cautious in how they use their cavalry. We could also adjust the OOB cavalry firepower values to reflect Uncle Billy’s valid point re horse-holders.

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Re: MP Scenario 3: Falling into a trap (26th may)

Post  Mr. Digby on Sat Jun 02, 2012 4:32 pm

Just hacking their strength down to 'troops' of 50 men would achieve that, if that is what we wanted to do.

I would prefer to play more games like Iuka with cavalry in use in close terrain and see then how many times cavalry charge infantry mounted successfully before we make it weaker. I think some people were asking it to be stronger a while ago but I don't see a need for that. If a cavalry unit can deliver two good charges that is about realistic, remember at Waterloo the Union and Household brigades were blown and useless after just one (though it was a long one).
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Re: MP Scenario 3: Falling into a trap (26th may)

Post  Khryses on Sat Jun 02, 2012 5:09 pm

To be fair I had also been nursing my cavalry up to that point - walking them along slowly, giving them a long rest close to the scene of battle and still the first charge rarely ever rode down its target - I had to throw in a second, and then a third as the infantry simply reformed closer to the guns.

As Mr Digby said, I'd like to see more instances of cavalry use - not necessarily by me - both with and without sabres before we talk about changing all our scenarios by default.
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Re: MP Scenario 3: Falling into a trap (26th may)

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