In Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865) you will command great armies, with realistic organization. To make the war-machine work, commanders are needed to lead the units on all levels of hierarchy. You will have hundreds of legendary, historical commanders available for commission. They all have their personal attributes, making them unique, but they also develop during the campaign game. Managing your commanders will be important, as right generals in right positions will be a true force multiplier.
Amateurs go to War.
Just before the Civil War, U.S. regular army was only 16,000 strong. The professional career officers trained at West Point were not used to commanding brigades and divisions, let alone corps later on. The amount of professional officers was also insufficient to command the greatest armies massed on American continent. Many older officers received quick promotions to high command, and many non-professionals were also appointed to high ranks to lead the inexperienced men into battle.
In The Civil War (1861-1865) we have created large commander database, which includes information such as historical rank progression, branch, veteran status from previous wars, and personal attributes. Starting a campaign or battle at any point during the war will result in historically available pool of commanders. Their progress during the war will also be simulated, so during the 1st Battle of Bull Run / Manassas all commanders will be inexperienced, while later on they will be more capable in their tasks.
Commanders’ experience comes from battles only. Even a major general with no combat experience is considered green. Those who fought in the Mexican War or Indian wars will have some experience, but in most cases from a lower command level, and also war itself had evolved. While veterans will provide some needed experience during the early days, they too need to learn in the maelstrom of battle. Those with formal military training will have more skill in the duties of their original branch. Civilian soldiers could prove as capable as the professionals, but they will lack this former knowledge.
The Legends and the Infamous.
In addition to combat experience, each commander has a fame rating that changes during the war. Fame comes from leading troops in victorious engagements, and from heroic stands. Famous commanders, especially on high places, will inspire the populace and raise morale on the home front. Fame also inspires the troops and makes the enemies tremble. A commander may rise to great fame slowly, or like a rocket, like Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, when stopping the Union advance at the 1st Battle of Bull Run.
But the flip side of the fame coin is the loss of it. Losing a famous commander in battle will sink hearts at home. But more problematic than losing the commander, would be losing only the fame! A prominent general promoted to command an army, but who faces disaster, will lose his fame faster and more completely, than how it was achieved. Defamed commanders will cause trouble, as their subordinates will lose confidence in them, as will the populace. After a disaster it will be better to remove the failed commander from command, before morale plummets. During the war many generals faced this fate, from McDowell and Patterson to Burnside and Bragg. As fame will be dynamic during the campaign game, maybe “Fighting Joe” Hooker will lead Army of the Potomac to gates of Richmond, who knows?
The Tacticians and the Administers.
While experience and fame may change during the war, commanders’ personality will not – at least not so quickly! Each commander has his personal rating in leadership, initiative, administration and cunning.
- Leadership is the skill to inspire and rally soldiers when the situation is dire. Usually it’s the charisma and bravery, that men will follow, even to their deaths.
- Initiative is the ability to read the situation and take action. Whether it is aggressiveness in attack, or speed in processing orders and getting the men moving, a commander with high initiative will always be more effective than one with none. If initiative is low, the commander will be less likely to attack, and will consider a retreat as a viable option even if there is no real reason to it.
- Administration includes everything from organizing a well run staff to managing every day military life like drilling of the troops or keeping them supplied. Good administrators come up with solutions to fight desertion and other problems, so common within large armies, especially of drafted soldiers.
- Cunning commanders employ clever tactics against their enemies. They will be more successful in gaining intelligence, as well as fooling the enemy. A feint or a deception could even allow an army to slip away from under the very noses of the enemy, to join a battle elsewhere and to turn the tide.
Using these attributes, how would you rate the famous commanders of the war, who faced each other on the battlefields of the Civil War, shown on the image above? It will be important to know the commanders, your own and of the enemy, as wrong commander in wrong place can cause a lot of trouble. But not only to himself!
When commanders lead one another, the highest ranking will usually influence his subordinates, shaping their opinions and attitudes. This is especially so, if the commander is charismatic and famous. He will lift up or drag down the attributes of fellow commanders under his command, whether for better or for worse. But this is not automatic. A strong minded subordinate, with completely opposite views, could cause a feud between the officers, which will never be a good thing in battle. So managing your officer corps will be critical for your success, though sometimes fate could decide to derail your plans!
Gen’l. Ilja Varha,