Civil War Estabs (Work in Progress)

Discussion in 'Command Ops Series' started by LongstreetCSA, Jan 30, 2020.

  1. GoodGuy

    GoodGuy Member

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    I'd like to mod the doctrine, too, to depict Russian 1941 tactics, for example, or to implement the German Field-Replacement Unit and March Bn regime. I'd also be interested in creating WWI scenarios, but the routines would not be able to recognize trench lines, let alone to use such lines as springboard/home base for all or most of the attacks. The Ai would also have to spread units across the trench lines evenly, to cover the whole front. For the replacement regime, the engine would have to be able to spawn and dissolve units and hand the authority over that process to the player (or AI commander).

    You could test that by pitting 2 single coys against each other and taking away all their firearms (or ammo, if you disable supplies). Sound can be modded in the game, so you could even replace a gun sound with a mix of stabbing sound effects and a battle cry or something like that, if bayonets work. Maybe Dave will have time to tinker with the formation regime, at one point.

    Yes, I took a look at that in February, already. I just checked the screenshot again, and a detail caught my attention:
    The coy-based formation (screenshot 1) spans across ~1.5 km. What happens if you select auto, instead of setting the line's width manually?
    And what happens if you set the formation to 2 lines (or rows, if you will). Historically, I am guessing that the front row kneeled, so that both lines could fire, or the 1st row stepped back after firing the salvo, reloaded and went back in front to fire the next salvo, after the 2nd row had fired its salvo.
     
  2. LongstreetCSA

    LongstreetCSA Member

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    Well decided to take some time to see if bayonets would work: Alas I was unable to create them as "armament" attached to a musket, since the estabs file suddenly could no longer be compiled correctly (showed an error that a weapon could not be found). I then tried to just assign bayonets as additional short range weapons, but this resulted in the units discarding 50% of their rifles and 50% of their bayonets on the outset. While the units then seemed to use those bayonets (the "bayonet blade ammunition" steadily was used up), this seemed hardly a good way to do it.

    I will also make a few screenshots for you, Goodguy, in order to show you the "auto" behaviour of the company based formations.

    One thing I noticed yet again earlier is that the AI (enemy as well as friendly units) always falls back on their standard behaviour and use of WW2 formations, despite them being less than ideal (due to the change made to them, looking to make them as unattractive to use as possible for the AI - which it seems to completely ignore). Case in point the "defend in-situ" orders the AI loves to use.

    Another irritating thing is that the AI always seems to dig-in, even with the dig-in times multiplied (this leads me to think that the dig-in times are hardcoded, as changing those does not seem to have any effects at all). Can anyone with more knowledge confirm this observation?
     
    #22 LongstreetCSA, May 4, 2020
    Last edited: May 4, 2020
  3. jimcarravallah

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    We discussed the estabs formation tab in the past.

    Have you adjusted the frontage and depth parameters for the formation types -- particularly line?

    If you're looking for a tight line formation, the setting the frontage per man to a smaller number than the default should close the troops closer to together shoulder to shoulder and setting the depth per man to a smaller number would close any front to back expansion of the ranks within the standard 100-meter grid.
    The dig in times are pretty standard.

    See Deploy, Dig-In, Entrench, and Fortify Your Units (pg. 117 of the game manual).

    Basically, units are hard coded to begin the fortification sequence if they are given a defend order and are lnot interrupted by a different order.

    It's actually not behavior any different than what occured in the Civil War. Troops ordered to defend a location would look for cover or build cover while they waited for the action to begin..
     
  4. GoodGuy

    GoodGuy Member

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    The majority of the battles were engagements that lasted for 1 or 2 days, some of those lasted 3-4 days. There were the famous siege operations, ofc., but digging in during such rather short engagements was not common at the time. Since line units didn't carry shovels, they had to resort to using the terrain features (stone walls in fields, drainage ditches, rocks, fences on farm grounds, trees in woods, "sunken road" in Antietam, etc.) for cover. For long engagements (longer than a few days), engineers filled sandbags and dug trenches later on, which they then reinforced with wood (planking trench floors and trench sidewalls), eventually. The Confederates also built cheveaux de frise, the portable frames with wooden spikes (eg. the defenders of Petersburg), and put sharp angled poles in front of defensive walls or trenches. But it took weeks to finish such defensive lines, especially if building material had to be hauled from distant areas to the frontline, or if besieged defenders had to tear apart townhouses to obtain building material.

    The Army then either issued shovels, sandbags and tools to the grunts, or it brought engineers (who held/brought the equipment) to the frontline, so digging in took considerably more time than currently rendered in the game. If the game should ever be modified to fully support Civil War scenarios, then digging in should probably be delayed until say day 3 or 4 (of occupation), which would simulate the pretty slow historical process (with say a number of sandbag lines built as first measures).

    So, while the Civil War was the first war with actual (more widespread) trench warfare, and while the Confederates increasingly organized defensive operations that hinged on the buildup and usage of field fortifications, if they couldn't or didn't want to dogde Union attacks, the majority of engagements developed during advances or fast evasion/manoeuvre attempts, didn't last langer than a day or 2 and was often carried out in the open - using the few terrain features at hand, or not even using any cover.
    In the main, fortifications were only built where units were trapped/besieged (eg. Petersburg), or where both sides denied to pull back/disengage, or where the buildup of a main defensive line was ordered to protect the resources of the hinterland (eg. in Virgina, where the Confederates attempted to ensure that the harvest could be brought in).

    The tactics were also quite different. Especially during early stages of the war, careful/covered placement was often seen as cowardly behaviour, but in some battles there was actually no time to move to better positions, or the enemy had taken elevated positions which had to be taken by direct assaults or flanking attacks through the open.

    A confederate officer described the fighting on open ground at Brawner's farm (part of the 2nd Battle of Bull Run, 1942, iirc):

    "It was a stand-up combat, dogged and unflinching… There were no wounds from spent balls, the confronting lines looked into each other's faces at deadly ranges, less than one hundred yards apart, and they stood as immovable as the painted heroes in a battle-piece.
    There was cover of woods not very far in the rear of the lines on both sides, and brave men—with the instinct of self-preservation which is exhibited in the veteran soldier, who seizes every advantage of ground or obstacle—might have been justified in slowly seeking this shelter from the iron hail that smote them, but out in the sunlight, in the dying daylight, and under the stars, they stood, and although they could not advance, they would not retire. There was some discipline in this, but there was much more of true valor."
     
    #24 GoodGuy, May 4, 2020
    Last edited: May 4, 2020
  5. jimcarravallah

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    I've got a full library shelf of Civil War history in my home.

    The 12-hour Battle of Bull Run was practiced in the European tradition, trained at the US Military Academy in West Point which supplied officers on both sides.

    it was during that battle that participants from both sides learned war was much more deadly and the tactics of defense began to change to taking or building ad hoc cover instead of standing "like a man" to face the enemy.

    Notable battles that included some form of ad hoc constructed defense systems included Antietam (1862), Fredericksburg (1862), Chancellorsville (1863), and Gettysburg (1863).

    The first major engineered defensive position was at the Siege of Vicksburg (1863) on the Mississippi occurring at the same time as the Battle of Gettysburg in the East. Battles prior to Vicksburg in the West were largely meeting engagements between the armies, or sieges at already constructed fortifications along the river communication lines in the west. Following Vicksburg, the Confederate forces went largely over to the defense to protect against further splitting of the Confederate territory, the most notable battle being Sherman's March to the Sea (1864) eventually leading to a practical merger of all Confederate forces at Petersburg's massive siege defense..

    Following Gettysburg in the East, the Confederate Forces went largely over to the defense, either maneuvering into blocking positions and building hasty engineered defenses to keep Union Forces from attacking Richmond, or, at Petersburg (1864-5), constructing a massive complex of fortifications which were a precursor to World War I defense systems.
     
  6. LongstreetCSA

    LongstreetCSA Member

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    I did not intend to spark a discussion about whether or not any sort of fortifications where used during the civil war. Various forms where indeed used (ranging from very simple breastworks, which sometimes were nothing more than a log or some stones or branches, or rifle pits, to elaborate earth-fortifications and trench systems) but returning back to the game as a player and modder I would like to have some say in what is going on. My comment above meant that I did not want units to start digging in after a very short time (while for example waiting to move forward) as they currently do. I did try to up the dig-in timers but noticed no change in unit behavious, even when upping the time it takes to dig in or fortify to several days - the units still dug-in regardless of what number was chosen. Which in turn lead me to the assumption that these numbers maybe might be hardcoded (as changing them made no difference).

    As for forming normal battle lines - my own units do that quite nicely actually when I tell them to form a line and even choose to march there in road columns. I also have adjusted the numbers so that the frontages do correspond more or less with the historic numbers given in the literature. The formation depth is somewhat problematic, but it is not too bad either I think. The problem here is the enemy AI, which does not seem to want to form battle lines as far as I can see, the enemy AI appears to go for in-situ defense each and every time.

    Also my own units sometimes ignore/abandon the battle line orders and jump to in-situ defence, even if I do not want them to do that at all. Hence my wish that we could mod the AI behaviour or somehow disallow the AI to use certain formations.
     
    #26 LongstreetCSA, May 5, 2020
    Last edited: May 5, 2020
  7. GoodGuy

    GoodGuy Member

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    That's why I wrote the "majority" of engagements and I was too lazy to list all the known instances where fortifications were used, so I put Petersburg as example for heavy fortifications on one end of the imaginary fortification scale and Antietam as example for the clever use of terrain features on the other end. You might have noticed the word "included" up there.
    I didn't deny the fact that field fortifications were built, anywhere, though.

    My very rough outline was supposed to demonstrate that the game has a fixed time frame in which each and every unit will reach the dug in state, if it isn't routed or forced to retreat, so that each and every stationary custom CW unit would start to build fortifications, which would be ahistoric.
    The dug-in state also grants a level of protection (bonus modifiers) in the game, historical makeshift defenses may not have offered.

    I also mentioned the precursor role of the Petersburg fortifications. The example of Petersburg still disturbed the German military in the 1900s to such extent, that they developed a rather daring (some say dreamful) plan of attack that intended a fast move into France - ignoring the neutrality of the Low Countries - in case Germany would be at war with France, to avoid the particular trench line/siege warfare seen in the CW, btw.

    The Gettysburg engagements at Culp's Hill involved makeshift breastworks on the hill's crest only, most other units didn't have/create breastworks. They mainly consisted of collected stones interspersed with some felled trees. The Union troops had occupied the hill for 15-17 hrs before Greene ordered to build those works. Greene was a civil engineer before the war, so he understood the benefits of such measure, but he had to convince his commanders that such breastworks would be useful and insist on the construction. When the site got stormed, Green then rotated units behind the breastworks after each salvo, which created a scary salvo RoF and an evil rain of bullets.
    But the creation of such makeshift positions was definitely anything but a standard procedure (in the Union Army) at the time.

    Without the breastwork the Union unit on the crest would have been overrun.
    The flanks were not secured like that, Greene had to stretch his troops on the flank to cover the lower part of that sector, so he could only field a single-line defense - which had no cover at all, maybe except for some trees.

    The crest:

    Culp's_Hill_Gettysburg.jpg

    Other sectors in the Gettysburg battle area looked like this:

    Battle_of_Gettysburg.jpg

    Or like this (Little Round Top):

    Little_Round_Top_1863_1.jpg

    So, except for the "fortified" crest, both sides' units had to rely on terrain features, and Conf. units often had to cross open ground, if they wanted to reach Union lines.

    During the Battle of Antietam, a 700-meters section of the "sunken road" was used as defensive position by Conf. troops:

    Antietam_Bloody_Lane-1862.jpg

    Conf. forward sharpshooters were placed well behind this bridge, using rocks, stone walls and trees as cover, the bridge and its approach was covered by Conf. artillery, but Union troops managed to cross the bridge with disproportional heavy losses, eventually. No fortifications involved:

    Burnside_Bridge_Antietam_Creek_1862.jpg

    In order to reach/destroy this artillery position ....

    Antietam_church.jpg

    .... the main attack of the Union troops picked this Conf. flank (Hagerstown Turnpike), which was another terrain feature, not a constructed defensive line:

    Bodies_on_the_battlefield_at_antietam.jpg

    The Union captured the Conf. batteries, actually.

    The terrain between the Union units and the Conf. troops consisted of meadow land with a corn field in the center and several woods on at least one end, the edges were used by some Conf troops as cover. No fortifications on the flanks, rather mobile warfare that included a cavalry vs. cavalry engagement and Conf. inf elements using terrain features as cover, where then the Conf. managed to lure the Union troops into a trap where they could fire at the Union's follow-up division from 3 sides, eventually. If the Confederate center line had some makeshift fortification, then it didn't play a major role, as the battle centered around the supposed weak flank of the Conf.

    And if one summarizes all the CW battles that featured meeting engagements, flexible offensive or defensive frontline manoeuvres or agile counterattacks, then one should come to the conclusion, that the majority of battles did not feature sieges, attacks on fortified blocking positions or even complex fortifications. But I did not deny that the Conf. were forced to shift their strategy during later stages of the war, either.
     
    #27 GoodGuy, May 5, 2020
    Last edited: May 5, 2020
  8. LongstreetCSA

    LongstreetCSA Member

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    While I applaud your enthusiasm guys, the utilization of various forms of fortifications during the civil war was never in any doubt and was not what was bothering me.

    The problem I was referring to was the fact that in the game I see any unit waiting to move up to engage the enemy is starting to dig in, which makes no sense. For example: Three regiments in battle line are engaged with the enemy and 1 regiment is being held in reserve, waiting. And it is these latter guys that just seem to be so bored that they start to dig-in and fortify their position (just a few hundred meters from the front line). To be honest I rather would have them rest-up before being sent forward, instead of them staring to cobble together any sort of fortifications at that location (especially when I am attacking a position).

    Trying to manipulate the timers for fortifications/entrenching/digging-in (i.e. putting in higher values) alas does not seem to have any effect, the units still dig-in right away (my hope was to prevent haphazard construction efforts this way).

    Maybe something like an additional checkbox "fortify" or something could be added for orders? Would be neat, as that way one could employ dedicated engineers to build fortifications and other units would only start to build something, if they are ordered to do so and only do so at the desired locations.
     
  9. jimcarravallah

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    .
    In that situation, you have two options.

    First is to issue a rest command when the contingent reaches the point where you want it to wait until receiving further orders.

    Problem with resting is if attacked while in that situation, the contingent is more likely to rout because of disorganization.

    The safest way to be ready for an attack, while also recovering from fatigue and disorganization is issuing a defend order.

    The other option would be to issue a reorganize command where you want them to stop.

    That command establishes a geographic locaton for a Form Up Point (FUP), primarily in preparation for an assault. If set for a place out of range of enemy fire, it's a means to ready troops to fill the line or follow on with a second thrust in support of already engaged troops..

    The reason altering the timers for each phase of the deployment mode doesn't work is because those timers are defining how long it takes to complete the step in the deployment mode rather than how long they'll remain in their current deployment mode.

    Basically, unless resting, the troops under a command are always performing or engaged in a task until a new order is issued.
    .
     
  10. LongstreetCSA

    LongstreetCSA Member

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    @ jimcarravallah - Thanks for that insight, I will certainly have to give the reorganisation order a try and see if that improves the situation and AI behaviour somewhat. It actually does make sense too, since it is like dressing the battle lines prior to an attack.

    Btw. is there any maximum limit for custom map sizes? I seem to dimly remember that there was, but have been unable to find an answer.
     
    #30 LongstreetCSA, May 6, 2020
    Last edited: May 6, 2020
  11. jimcarravallah

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    From Pg. 17 of the MapMake Manual:

    "Note that this will be rounded to the nearest 64 metres. Please do not create a map bigger than 2000 square kilometres (40 x 50). The larger the map, the more time required to determine routes and hence the slower the game play."

    2000 square kilometers is the equivalent of 772 square miles. Unless you want to do whole campaigns such as Lee'1862 and 1863 invasion of the North, or the isolation of Vicksburg before the final siege, or Burnsides 1862 efforts to outflank the Confederate Army along the the Rappahannock, or Sherman's march to the sea, the maximum recommended scale appears to far exceed the size of any Civil War Battle (e.g. Gettysburg took place over 17.7-square miles, Petersburg was approximately 576-square miles).

    Note, the map size is constrained to facilitate in theater routing, particularly for supply replenishment operations. The typical Civil War army didn't rely on outside replenishment of supplies for singe batles, and for many campaigns, so something has to be worked out to maintain a level of supplies without depending on the off map SEP to replenish those lost during battle.
     
    #31 jimcarravallah, May 6, 2020
    Last edited: May 6, 2020
  12. LongstreetCSA

    LongstreetCSA Member

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    The player can now form up ones units quite nicely (when not using "auto" frontage, depth or facing). Here is a screenshot of a brigade, made up of three regiments, in battle line. It should be noted that of the total 3380 men listed, 900 are assigned to the 4 supply units. Each of the infantry regiments are made up of about 730 soldiers (the rest of the men are either "line closers", staff or assigned to the supply units), translating into a frontage of about 200 meters per regiment.

    [​IMG]

    And here is a close look at one of the companies in the above formation.

    [​IMG]

    Meanwhile this is what the enemy AI does...

    [​IMG]

    And here a little later, using two additional brigades, but with regiments being the smallest unit. The one on the right has its frontage set to 700 meters (since it has more men in its three regiments) and its depth to 30 meters. The one on the left has only been asked to move to this point, face north and form a line, the rest was left to the AI.

    [​IMG]

    And here finally the move the AI chose to make with a brigade, with everything but the location left to its own decision.

    [​IMG]
     
    #32 LongstreetCSA, May 8, 2020
    Last edited: May 8, 2020
    ioncore likes this.
  13. ahmedreda

    ahmedreda Member

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    The world has entered a cold war between the two major alliances: The conservative and traditionalist Triple Entente of Portugal, Britain and Italy, against the ruthlessly efficient Prussianists of the League of the Three Emperors.
     
  14. GoodGuy

    GoodGuy Member

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    Maybe a spambot?
     
  15. LongstreetCSA

    LongstreetCSA Member

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    Could very well be, yes - or completely wrong thread.
     

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