European Intervention!

Comments 49


During the mid-19th Century, the United States was a world power, challenging the status of the more traditional European empires of the time. According to the Monroe Doctrine (1823), the United States would oppose any European interference in the Americas. But things have changed, with the Union dissolved, and a Civil War raging between the North and South.

European Empires.

In Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865) there are three European Empires, that could play a role in the Civil War. While Spain has lost many colonies in the early 19th Century, they still hold Cuba (or do they with 100% certainty?), and have the mindset of an Empire. The more prominent British and French empires are stronger, but exhausted by the Crimean War fought between 1853-1856 against the Russian Empire. In that war, where the Americans sent their own observers like one Captain George B. McClellan, warfare saw the emergence of iron plated ships and rifled muskets. The war also revealed some real problems with the traditional European military organization and tactics, usually associated with the Charge of the Light Brigade in the Battle of Balaclava.

The British, the former colonial masters and opponents in the War of 1812 still hold the Province of Canada north of the Great Lakes. During the Crimean War the regular troops from Canada were shipped to Europe, and have not returned. Instead, the province’s defenses rely on militia, with numbers and training being questionable at best. When the Civil War erupted, the British military took a neutral stance, observing the situation as it developed. This neutral stance took a sharp turn with the Trent Affair, where, in November 1861, a U.S. ship stopped and boarded British vessel Trent, taking Confederate diplomats into custody. This caused a great diplomatic uproar and the British started making plans for a possible intervention in North America, strengthening the forces in Canada and preparing an Expeditionary Force in Europe. While the British had some sympathy for the Southern cause, they remained neutral throughout the War. The existence of slavery in the South was seen as a moral issue, but cotton was direly needed in the British textile mills – a fact the Confederacy could try to take advantage of.

The French under Emperor Napoleon III had their own continental issues with Prussia, which made their intervention unlikely. While more sympathetic to the Confederacy, the French did not either officially recognize the Confederacy. But with the Civil War creating a power vacuum in North America, the French, along with British and Spanish see their opportunity to intervene in Middle American affairs. Mexico, still recovering from the stinging defeat in the war against United States between 1846-48, where they lost large part of their land, owes money to the Europeans. With the United States unable to intervene, a European expeditionary force is sent to Mexico to force President Juárez to pay. While the intervention begins as a joint European effort, it soon becomes clear that the French have far larger ambitions. The British and Spanish forces eventually withdraw, with the French pushing inland to conquer Mexico.

The French operation in Mexico is a large one, with troops numbers exceeding 30 000, almost one fifth of the French Army at the time. If the French are successful, it could be that the Confederacy would have a sympathetic southern neighbor, with interest to become the leading European cotton importer via Texas. And what if the Confederacy would be in position to directly support the French operation, allowing a stunning victory, and freeing up the French Expeditionary Force to other operations?


In the game it’s possible to try to influence the foreign relations with Europe. This is done by investing dollars in diplomacy, and also following policies that are appealing to the European nations. At that time, as Europe was exhausted by the Crimean War, feeding the citizen was a problem. The United States with their vast farmlands expanding to mid-West was a solution, and the Northern player could make the Union a true breadbasket of the world. Who would bite the feeding hand?

The Confederacy also holds an advantage, which is the majority of the world’s cotton production – at least for the time being. With industrial revolution, the textile mills in Europe need to be fed with cotton from the South. It is widely believed in Southern States that the King Cotton would be the decisive force, preventing a war with the North and bringing the Europeans to their aid if needed.

As the player you must weight the different political possibilities carefully, as you cannot be strong in all areas. During the game the possibility of an European intervention will change. And in case the Europeans are convinced that the Confederacy has a fighting chance, maybe a sympathetic nation would see their opportunity to grow their influence in North America, by siding with the South? The British position in Canada is not strong, but that direction offers a possibility to strike the Union’s heartlands from behind. A movement via Mexico would also be possible for the French, if the Mexican resistance is crushed.

The forces we use for the Europeans are such as they could have been during the Civil War. The capability to move huge armies to North America was limited, and the Europeans really understood the value of converting their fleets to ironclad ships after observing the Civil War naval operations. But they will not be a pushover, as the soldiers will be experienced and well drilled. In the image above you see some of the historical European commanders, operating in the American Theater at the time of the Civil War. If you play your cards right, you could see some of them on your side. And in the worst case, you may see some of them joining forces with the enemy! How many of them do you recognize?

Most Respy,

Gen’l. Ilja Varha,
Chief Designer, &c.

P.S. After a request from a follower, we made the interventions optional. In options menu you may choose to have the Europeans remain neutral no matter what.


  1. This looks AWESOME!!! Y’all are truly making an incredible game. Keep up the great work! Hopefully we will get to see more of the game soon.

  2. Awsome.

    As I understand it, if England recognized the Confederacy it risked all-out war with the United States.

    That war would likely involve an invasion of Canada, a full-scale American attack on British shipping interests worldwide, an end to American grain shipments that were providing a large part of the British food supply, and an end to British sales of machinery and supplies to the US.

    That is a powerful argument for staying out of the conflict.

  3. I am not exaggerating when i say that I have never been more exited for an upcoming release! Every detail told in these blog posts, every second of footage on your youtube channel has been scoured countless times ever since i first discovered this game in September of 2019. The only trepidation I have surrounds the maps and how many there will be. I understand that due to their relative size, historical accuracy, as well as the procedural deployment along roads you are implementing, that there will be great replayability but i worry that in areas that historically did not see much (or any) combat, say North Carolina or Illionois, will there still be the same variety?
    In spite of these concerns i have only to say that you could release this game with one map and if it has the detail already shown in your videos and screenshots, i will play it until my fingers bleed and my eyes are red!

    The Union forever!
    Your most humble servant

  4. Truly inspired stuff.

    The main concern I have with all the nuances is how practical are they to manage given the game runs in real-time.

    I hope there is a SLOW speed option !

  5. (Author)

    Mr. Gillibrand,

    Fear not! The game’s real time is not that accelerated real time from most games. The game’s pace is very slow, and it can be paused/accelerated.

  6. That is indeed reassuring.

    I also have read that the economic decisions are more in the realm of setting strategic priorities rather than ensuring powder and metal gets to ammunition factories etc as it tended to be in your 7 Years War game. This also seems to help.

    As a Brit with a less than total knowledge of everything ACW including US geography I have belatedly purchased Shelby Foote’s opus on the conflict to acquaint myself, purely because of my impressions of your upcoming release !

    I am sure it will be worth the outlay for both the trilogy and the game 😉

    Many thanks for answering my query.


  7. Have you set a price yet for the game?

  8. Can you give us a hint on when the games releasing and is the game almost done at least tell us that

  9. James, I am as anxious as you to know. The clearest answer that I have seen is “during” the summer. I suspect the good folks developing this game do not want to set a definite date too far ahead only to disappoint us with a delay should something happen.

  10. (Author)

    What we can say is that the game has all the intended features in it now. We’re hunting bugs, fixing stuff, balancing, optimizing, adding playable content (scenarios). There is no date set yet, but still on course for a summer release. June is not realistic, though.

  11. (Author)


    No price set yet.

  12. Don’t push yourselfs over the limit guys stay safe! i have been following and waiting for youre game for years now im sure i can wait couple of more months. Youre hard work doesn’t go unnoticed and im sure the game will be a great hit!
    Godspeed gentlman

  13. Same view as JVG here! Make a game you can be proud of in the time you need. We arent going anywhere so keep up the amazing work!

  14. July 1st or July 21st would be awesome release dates.

  15. hey! is the game in beta yet? if not, when do you think beta will commence?

  16. What can I say other than BRILLIANT. As an avid Total War player, and specifically Empire Total War with the subsequent ACW mods, 3.4, 3.5 and 3.6, I have never been so genuinely excited for a game. 3.6 disappointed with constant bugs, crashing after a certain time in the game, and it was not playable… Everything I could have wanted in a total war game has come to life in this game you are making. The strategic mastery this provides is astounding, truly breathtaking. It literally looks like you can take the reins of large scale armies and have them fitted and moving like in real life…

    I am massively excited, will pay any amount for this game, just take your time with this!

    My only concern has been and will be the battlefields. They look great, but the units do not. I understand this is all pre-alpha, but with such great care given to the campaign and strategy, I hope the units are being looked at. I understand that having hundreds of thousands of literal troops being displayed could be a bit cumbersome for the game, but something is left to be seen with units and their sizing.

    The thing I love about this all is that it has realistic army sizes throughout the game, something that Total War games could never reach, something that your incomes couldn’t suffice even if so. So I love the sizing and the army makeup, but in battle it seems a little less than great – comparing to the rest of the game.

    As a commander, I may just remain zoomed out and watch the battle movements on the main “map” instead of going into battle at a full zoom like a Total War style, just becasue I think the units could get some improvement. I bet you have heard this before, and this shouldn’t take away from the work you have done, this is a dream game. I couldn’t be happier, I just want to offer my two cents and push for the best possible game – I will pay anything I have to for it!

    All the best

  17. I know you guys said that this month isn’t realistic month for the game to be released this month but is it’s more realistic next month or less

  18. Will you be able to recruit black units in the game

  19. (Author)


    Yes you can recruit black units, after the political decision is made.

  20. (Author)


    The game is not yet in beta, but hopefully soon.

  21. There are three types of units in the game can all three of them be made up of black soldiers

  22. Can you command British troops in the game and can you emancipate the slaves early in the war

  23. (Author)


    No, you cannot command the British troops. You may not emancipate slaves very early in the war.

  24. Can you have three different types of black units like artillery cavalry and infantry

  25. As the Union can you Ally with European powers like Britain France and Spain

  26. So we cannot command foreign troops, but can we concert strategy with them? Or will they act in a completely independent way?

  27. Can you emancipate slaves in 1862

  28. It seems like I remember a comment made a while back that you were working on an AI for random map generation for battles that may take place outside of the more detailed Historical Maps in the game. Just curious if that ever got added, and if it did, does it generate terrain similar to the terrain of the battle location on the Campaign Map?

  29. How do you train your army in the game

  30. Is there a forum or other discussion location for this game? Sorry but I’m having trouble finding it.

  31. (Author)

    Currently we only have black infantry, not cavalry or artillery. But this is mere graphics, once USCT is activated the number of recruits will go up, meaning also artillery and cavalry units can be recruited.

    As Union you cannot have the British or French joining you to fight the Confederacy.

  32. (Author)


    Currently Europeans will be independent in their actions.

  33. (Author)

    James Adams,

    Yes, as the Union.

  34. (Author)

    John Knight,

    We do not have random maps as such, but if no historic battlefield is near, a map will be randomly selected from non-historic set of maps. The map will not represent the terrain on campaign map 1:1, this is unfortunately impossible.

  35. (Author)


    Training happens whenever units are stationary on the campaign map and not engaged. The commanders will drill them. The effect depends on commanders’ attributes and overall military experience of your nation.

    You may also choose special training/abilities for units when they are experienced enough. For single units this could be sharpshooting etc. and for campaign units maybe observation balloon or better trained scouts.

  36. (Author)


    We have a forum in the game’s Steam-page, here:

  37. Can you give specialized training to your corps in army

  38. Development question is the game in beta yet

  39. Is the city of Vicksburg in the game

  40. Looks fantastic, keep up the amazing work — and don’t rush just to meet the deadline! And James, why are you posting so many comments lol just put your questions into one comment

  41. Is every command unlock at the start of the game and can you give non cavalry commanders Calvary do you start off with every level of the command structure unlocked or do you have to wait until 1862 to get corps

  42. Any chance there would be a multiplayer dlc ?

  43. Shut up and take my money!

  44. (Author)

    Corps can also be given specialization. Corps becomes available with organization reform (a military policy). You can assign non-branch specialized commanders to a branch, so infantry officer to cavalry and so on.

    We’re approaching beta real soon. A multiplayer DLC is very unlikely, though we are planning on trying out multiplayer at some point.

  45. Can I make Grant general in Chief of all Union armies in 1861. Will you guys announced something when the game is ready to be released also all commanders unlocked at the start of the game or will you have to wait to unlock all of them

  46. Will there be a release sound track for the game?
    and will there be fleet battles?

  47. ^^

  48. Is the city of Vicksburg in the game
    Also it’s the game in beta yet.

  49. Hey devs, I really love this game and play it everyday. I am submitting this on the European intervention. I have been able to accomplish it on a few occasions. Every time I do, I find it frustrating that I can’t see any in depth details ie Brigade commanders, division, corps. Also I can’t fight in battles directly on their side. And the few my southern soldiers have been able, I don’t get to see the siege details. It simply shows as a siege and my corps shows as “in battle”. It is very similar in the naval warfare as well. I understand not being able to control the British/French forces directly(although that would be amazing) due to the fact that the French and British empires most likely wouldn’t let the fledgling CSA army commanders have overall strategic command of their expeditions. I do hope in the future that the European intervention forces would be able to fight in battles(AI could control all European forces similar to a total war ally in a battle).

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