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AAR - Neal/Price

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AAR - Neal/Price

Post  Father General on Sun Dec 16, 2012 5:39 am

It is unfortunate to think about it, but I personally lost this battle before it even started. I made one fatal assumption, which was that Blunt/Kevin was mobile. I never had any idea his force was compelled to remain stationary, in fact, the notion never occurred to me that he could be stationary by design.

This is not to say I did not consider him remaining in position, but I felt it was highly unlikely.

When I reviewed the plans, I calculated that we had a classic, conquer-and-divide situation. There were two halves, each independently weak, but taken as a whole, quite powerful. My chosen strategy was to destroy one half before the other half could unite with it.

I had a good idea of Kevin's location, however, after surveying the ground he was expected to occupy, I opted against attacking him first. The reason was that his terrain would be too easy to hold against my attacks, even with his inferior numbers.

However, while the possibility that he might hold position crossed my mind, I thought such a thing would be foolish. The key to his victory lie in uniting his force as quickly as possible. So logically, I expected Kevin to move with the two halves uniting somewhere mid-map, probably around the Plank Road junction with the Jerusalem Town Road. I calculated that this would be his fastest route to linking up with his reinforcements, then he could attack me, or at least remain impervious to my assault, should he choose to defend. It would give him the initiative and the fastest victory.

Therefore, my plan was devoted entirely to this conclusion. The cavalry was to put itself into locating the reinforcements to the east while screening our movements to the west. Our infantry would move as one body to Jerusalem where it was expected to locate the enemy. We would affix their front, then flank them, and roll up their line from the south to the north. Following that, we expected Kevin's arrival, so we would be well positioned to occupy the high ground and destroy him at our leisure.

And so the plan was agreed and we set out.

The first shock was not finding the reinforcements where we expected them. The second was that Kevin was not approaching. We spotted an ammo wagon to the north, and prepared to intercept when the game crashed the first time.

On the second go around, I ordered all scouts to the east and north, right from the start. The infantry marched only to the road junction in the middle of the map. I had a suspicion that the Union was moving its men along the map edge.

After clearing the east, I sent one division north and the other south, towards Babylon Hill. My decision to head south was solidified when I observed friendly cavalry routing from that direction. I felt at that moment that my concerns were vindicated. Kevin was moving along the southern edge of the map to link up with his reinforcements.

As I approached Babylon Hill with WJPalmer, we both heard artillery. Canister in fact. That sealed the deal and I ordered all my forces to Babylon Hill.

However, we could see nothing in the area. We could hear canister, but saw nothing. I redirected to Uniontown. There, I finally saw Union cavalry, but nothing more. I figured that Kevin was moving north and had sent cavalry south as a diversion.

By now, I was terribly frustrated. It didn't help that every courier I sent to kg_sspoom would not work. I sent multiple messages, but no courier would leave. I found this very bizarre.

Eventually, I happened to see infantry -- Kevin's southernmost troops. I waited on the top of a hill for Palmer to come up. His men were exhausted and moving slow. I realized that Kevin had hardly moved, or perhaps not at all, and that by now the reinforcements had probably reached him from moving around the north edge. I was not very happy.

I sent couriers to kg_sspoom to attack from the north, none would go.

I finally got one off seeking a report.

By the time WJPalmer came up, the union infantry appeared to move to the north. I directed Palmer to move parallel to them and to see if he could strike them through Meadow Woods. I decided to ride north to locate kg_sspoom.

By then, he had to leave, so his men although marching along the correct route, were left to AI control for some time. By the time I came up, they were already engaged in a losing battle against Kevin standing on the high ground.

I was game and went in anyway, but the attack was doomed. The Union troops managed to unite, I think, and Palmer, as far as I could tell, was not ready to attack. We were going in piecemeal against an enemy on the high ground and I had minimal control.

Eventually, I recognized the effort was futile, and to save the army to fight another day, I ordered a withdraw to Jerusalem town. My logic was that it was a friendly place, where some provision could be had, and the high ground could be defended. I resolved to recover there and try to fight again another day.

Ultimately, the day was very frustrating and I felt quite badly for my men.

Tough break, guys. Sorry for the fumble. Embarassed

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Re: AAR - Neal/Price

Post  Blaugrana on Sun Dec 16, 2012 9:21 am

Thanks Neal for your AAR - and I don't think there was a fumble. That's the beauty of Martin's scenario - the little detail that buggers up the best-laid plans!

What's also great about these scenarios, and the campaign battles, is their ability to provoke huge amounts of mental replaying of the battle, what-ifs, etc etc. I know I have spent quite a while going over what-ifs about my bit in the fight with Blunt.

Thanks again for taking on the onerous responsibility of overall command. I trust you received Marmaduke's commission late last night at your HQ? He was last seen riding NW with a few men, and appeared to be drinking.

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Re: AAR - Neal/Price

Post  Mr. Digby on Sun Dec 16, 2012 12:47 pm

I'm very cross that I had to leave due to a game crash - I now discover it was preventable as well since it seems that whisper keys bound to game keys makes SoW unstable. I'll fix that before the next battle.

For my part, as Col Huston, the second division of Brig Gen Herron's force, my job was to follow our cavalry brigade under Maj Bredett as we marched west to join Gen Blunt. I had Col William Dye's infantry under command and Capt Murphy's battery. Brig Gen Herron (Niall) made a sound decision from the start as it turned out, and rather than marching direct (south west) towards Blunts location which would have taken us via Jerusalem and the Plank Road Crossroads, he elected to swing far to the north keeping the long ridgeline that is cut by the Pipe Creek and the Bear Branch and of which Worley Knoll forms a prominent feature, on our left hand, so that the whole column moved in defilade and also avoided all the obvious roads.

This was a risky gamble. While it would surely keep our troops location hidden from the enemy, it exposed Blunt to an attack by the whole enemy force alone, should he chose to go that route. Fortunately, he didn't.

Everything was going very smoothly and we were at the J Frock/J Crouse Farm area when I spied enemy to the south, sending a messenger to the Brig Gen. Bredett's cavalry (Mitra) had ridden on far ahead and disappeared towards Coopersmith and while I halted on a hilltop above the J Crouse Farm I heard musketry to my east and saw that Brig Gen Herron's other brigade commanded by Col Wm Orme was being attacked, apparently from its south-east.

Herron and I formed a hasty plan which involved me ordering Col Dye to deploy his brigade on the ridgeline facing east with Murphy's guns out in front about 50 yards and for Herron to get Orme and his other two batteries through my position, across the Bear Branch (which was at my right rear) and onto the south-western side of the valley so that he could deploy on the rising ground and then my command would leap-frog through his.

As it turned out, Rebel infantry appeared along the ridge to my east and for a while seemed to deploy to attack and then countermarched about, partly in pursuit of Orme. As they did this Murphy's guns played upon them to good effect and many roundshot were seen to skip and bounce through their manouvering formations. Herron got his command across the Bear Branch and the rebs withdrew back down the ridge to the south-east. I sent some staff officers forward and they returned having counted almost 120 enemy dead and wounded.

I then ordered my formation to move off which they did in good order, passing through Brig Gen Herron's troops. We then continued marching south-west towards Gen Blunts last know location. I observed the enemy brigade shadowing us to the east, marching south.

At this point my hemorrhoids unfortunately became too acute and painful to permit me to remain in the saddle and I had to lie down on some blankets in one of the supply wagons. I passed the command of the division to Col "braindead" Dye and so was quite unaware of the rest of the battle although I hear that we repulsed those rebs entirely and sent Gen Price 'home' for good.

I must congratulate Brig Gen "cat herder" Herron on his sound plan which I see now was a significant element of our victory this day as it prevented those elements of the rebel force that was trying to bring us to battle from catching us while separated from Gen Blunts men.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sven sent a note during the fight that he thought we should not have infantry lines spiked with guns but as it turned out, in such a sudden and informal position I deployed exactly where my units were as they were marching, merely swinging them around and shifting a bit left to the crest of the ridge. Expecting an attack, I did push my guns well out in front in order that they would not be firing through my own infantry. I can't see that I had much of an option to do anything else given how close Sven's brigade had got while pushing up at Niall's troops. Sending my guns 300 to 400 yards back would just have invited the Rebs to attack my weaker infantry (I counted six regts in his brigade, twice the number I had). hat seemed foolish and in any case there was no time to do so. Sven's attack appeared very close to me (or so it seemed) and much like an ambush. I did what I could in the time available, having no idea what else was coming over that hill from the east.

Had you attacked Sven, I would certainly have pushed my infantry forwards past my guns and then limbered them up to keep them safe and as it happens my finger was on the button to issue these orders the instant your infantry came closer, but you pulled back.

I understand your frustration and as far as I'm aware the one instance we in the HITS group definitely frown upon is guns just behind infantry blasting magical canister through them to kill the enemy. Had the attack of yours developed I would certainly not have allowed that to happen. It possibly looked from where you were that my infantry were intermingled with my guns but in fact Dye's brigade was just behind or partly on the limber line.

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"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: AAR - Neal/Price

Post  MajorByrd on Sun Dec 16, 2012 12:55 pm

I reflected on the situation and have to agree. I was probably only angry about me not seeing that line through the woods and running right into it.
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Re: AAR - Neal/Price

Post  Blaugrana on Sun Dec 16, 2012 1:57 pm

Father General wrote:I sent couriers to kg_sspoom to attack from the north, none would go. I finally got one off seeking a report.

Something I've noticed a few times recently is that you must have yourself selected before going to the courier screen. If you happen to have any other unit selected, when you try and compose a message it skips to another recipient. This may always have been thus, I've only noticed problems recently.

I don't know if this is what was happening to you with Steve, Neal, or if yours was another foible entirely.

-Jeff
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Re: AAR - Neal/Price

Post  kg_sspoom on Sun Dec 16, 2012 4:01 pm

We had the enemy in sight and were pursuing.......its wholly possible that my aides didnt present me with Genl Prices messages till they were a bit stale =) I will imediately launch an inquiry !
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Re: AAR - Neal/Price

Post  Uncle Billy on Sun Dec 16, 2012 4:26 pm

Blaugrana wrote:
Father General wrote:I sent couriers to kg_sspoom to attack from the north, none would go. I finally got one off seeking a report.

Something I've noticed a few times recently is that you must have yourself selected before going to the courier screen. If you happen to have any other unit selected, when you try and compose a message it skips to another recipient. This may always have been thus, I've only noticed problems recently.

I don't know if this is what was happening to you with Steve, Neal, or if yours was another foible entirely.

-Jeff
This effect is caused by the fact that one of your previous messages to spoom was still in transit. The game only allows one courier at a time to be sent to the same human. If the recipient is far off, it is not unusual to have to wait 10 minutes before the next message will be sent off. It's frustrating when you really have to communicate, have written a long detailed message and are unable to send it. It happens to me all the time.

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Re: AAR - Neal/Price

Post  MajorByrd on Sun Dec 16, 2012 11:21 pm

I doubt it was that. I sent several couriers to Steve, one after another. I think Neal just had somebody else selected.

We had the enemy in sight and were pursuing.......its wholly possible that my aides didnt present me with Genl Prices messages till they were a bit stale =) I will imediately launch an inquiry !

Yea that was crazy. I was acting on orders to move to Babylon Hill. Still I couldn't fathom the enemy taking that rout, so I asked my superior officer to detach me for I wanted to take a last look around Jerusalem, take out the Cavalry and move to Babylon. I saw an ammo wagon moving NW and glimpsed two pieces of artillery on the ridge NW. I reported to Frost and literally chased after those guns. I had to run my men in the general direction of the ridge to not lose contact and because it was unclear if there was any more but those guns I saw, where exactly the enemy was and how we could still execute our plan, to scatter the Union reinforcements.

Pushing my men to their extreme, I double-quicked them through the forest, running right into the enemy making off to the NW. I deployed, opened fire at a battery and tried to engage and fix the enemy for Frost to strike since I knew the rest of our forces was too far away. The enemy fell back, some guns routed and I pursued, gripped by battle-fever. When I stepped out of the forest I ran into the combined forces of the 2/3 division. Retreating cost me 120 men. It was fun but I see almost no way we could have turned this around anymore. Lets hope we get through the next one without any drops and crashes. Good fun.
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Re: AAR - Neal/Price

Post  Mr. Digby on Mon Dec 17, 2012 1:34 am

The "avoiding route" plan by Niall/Herron worked well, but risked Kevin/Blunt being attacked unsupported. This problem is one both sides must find a response to and so the scenario will have definite replay value even without changing anything at all. Do the Rebs strike Blunt hard hoping Herron doesn't march direct? Or do they move north to try and catch Herron hoping he doesn't sneak off far to the NW? The fact we know who is where and where they must go doesn't actually give much away.

Perhaps a rematch with Neal and Kevin swapping hats?

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The other Martin - Charles Reille, le dernier Maréchal de France.

"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: AAR - Neal/Price

Post  MajorByrd on Mon Dec 17, 2012 10:55 am

I agree.

I'd like to play Cavalry in the next one.
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Re: AAR - Neal/Price

Post  Uncle Billy on Mon Dec 17, 2012 1:48 pm

Perhaps a rematch with Neal and Kevin swapping hats?
Niall, Ollie and Sven are the obvious choices for command. Two want to give it a try and the other...well, I'd follow him anywhere. Very Happy

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Re: AAR - Neal/Price

Post  Martin on Mon Dec 17, 2012 2:48 pm

I'll certainly run it again, but will modify it to keep things fresh & uncertain. For me as well! I already have a number of ideas, but will not spill the beans.

Glad to see we still have some volunteers for cavalry service. With further modification on speed & fatigue, it should be more fun to play, and give commanders more tactical options.

Neal - your courier difficulty must have been frustrating, whatever the cause. That triggered a memory that you were complaining of something similar during the recent campaign battle at Harrisonburg. Just a thought, but might you have a corrupt file somewhere? It may be worth trying to reinstall.

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Re: AAR - Neal/Price

Post  Mr. Digby on Tue Dec 18, 2012 2:35 am

Neal, you had some artillery batteries even refuse to move in that game we played on the Antietam map a while ago. I wonder if your game might benefit from a fresh reinstall?

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The other Martin - Charles Reille, le dernier Maréchal de France.

"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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