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TOPIC: Courier Battle: Action At Trostle Farm

Courier Battle: Action At Trostle Farm 4 years, 3 months ago #1

This is an AAR of a corps-size battle in the vicinity of Trostle Farm. It was fought using only couriers for sending orders to my troops. I wanted to show that no TCing is necessary, that the courier system is extremely robust and capable of directing troops to critical spots at critical times. Oh, and I should mention that this battle is being fought in the saddle...kind of. I use the normal settings, rather than historic, but I press the 'F' key twice. This glues me to the saddle, but allows me to turn and move up and down, (a small cheat). If I select one of my subordinates, I am immediately teleported to his saddle. I justify this as a substitute for couriers coming to me from my brigade commanders, updating me on the battle in their sector. That part of the courier system does not yet exist. Hopefully, in a later feature patch, it will be included.

This AAR will be a little different than most. I will spend most of the time showing how to write courier orders and how the troops respond. There are a few tricks to learn, but once mastered, they allow for a very 19th century battle.

The first thing I always do is learn what sort of troops I command. In this battle, I am David Birney, commander of the 1st Div., III Corps. Graham, 1st Bde, is a very good commander with a defensive bent. He is in command of a mix of seasoned and inexperienced regiments. Ward, 2nd Bde, is my best subordinate. His troops are very good and include two sharpshooter regiments. It will be interesting to see how he uses them. He is also defensive in nature, so I won't have to worry about him running off and chasing the enemy. Finally, Trobriand, 3rd Bde, is another very good, defensive commander. His troops are also experienced and reliable. His brigade is the smallest of the three so I will try to use him as a reserve force.

While I'm at it, I'll also look at my fellow division commander, Andrew Humphrey. He is an excellent commander with a bold streak. He will push his troops and take the fight to the enemy if at all possible. If I am on his flank, I will have to watch that flank carefully, as he may move away without warning. Finally, our illustrious commander Daniel Sickles. Nothing more needs to be said. His strategic genius will be amply displayed here.

Orders received at 0700 to advance to the area of the Emmitsburg-Wheatfield crossroads. There is information that the enemy has been spotted NE of there. Apparently, III Corps will form a line extending from the crossroads to Little Round Top. This will be very good ground to fight on.



My first orders go to Ward.



After selecting the recipient, the first thing I do is select the time. It's important to have the Time and Execution Time that's written at the top of the order be the same. If the execution time is later, the orders won't be carried out until then. If they are much earlier, they may not be carried out until tomorrow.

Next, I always start my orders by going to the Info section and select, "Execute the following orders." It is not necessary to include this when ordering your own troops, but if you ever ask for help from your commander or someone of equal rank, you are unlikely to receive it unless you start the message with this phrase. So I put it in all my orders, so as not to forget.

Next, select "Move your unit...", then "Move to this location" then "Sherfy Farm."

Next, Back to "Orders", "Move your unit...", "Use the roads." Wards brigade will now march to Sherfy Farm via the road system.

When he gets there we better have him face the enemy axis which is NE and not move away to attack until the rest of the division is up.

So, "Orders", "Face your unit in this direction", select "NE', back to "Orders", "Hold." Press the check mark and the courier is on his way.

As you can see, the courier system allows you to chain several orders together, each being executed in the order they appear. This is a very nice feature.

Now it's time to get Graham moving. His orders are similar, except I send him to the Peach Orchard.



Select Graham
Time
Info: Execute the following orders
Orders: Move your unit..., Move to this location, Peach Orchard
Orders: Face your unit in this direction, NE
Orders: Use the roads
Orders: Hold
Send

The ordering may seem a little strange in that the "Use the roads" comes after 'face a certain direction'. It is written this way so that the regiments will take the shortest path to get to the road and begin their march. If the 'use roads' order comes before a 'change direction' or 'change formation' the regiments will follow the path of the brigade commander. That may be a bit longer for some of the regiments. It's just one of the quirks of the game.

Next, I give Trobriand his orders. I want him to form up behind Graham as the reserve. However, I cannot just give him that order.



If I do this, he will march to a point ~200 yards behind the spot that Graham occupies at the time Trobriand gets his orders. So in this case, since Graham is just moving out, Trobriand will only march a short distance before stopping and deploying. What I will do instead, is order him to the Wentz Farm, and once he is nearly there, give him new orders. This is one of the few shortcomings of the courier system. We can't just point to a spot on the map and say, "go here."

Finally, I get the artillery moving. I am playing with a modified OOB where the artillery batteries on both sides are commanded by division leaders. Under my command, are two batteries of Napoleons, commanded by Bucklyn and Seeley. I will place Bucklyn with Ward's brigade and Seeley with Graham. Smith commands a battery of Parrotts. I will send him to the Wentz Farm which is the high ground in the area and behind the front lines.



A stance does not need to be given to artillery. They assume a "Hold at all costs" stance themselves, once they see the enemy and begin firing.

With everyone moving, I ride ahead to scout the crossroads area. On the way I look back and see the troops on the road, following orders.



I am concerned that the enemy will also want to take up position at the Peach Orchard. My fear is that when I reach the crossroads, I will see the Stars and Bars moving down the Emmitsburg Road and I'll have to fight a meeting engagement.



My fears are unfounded. While here, I extend my neck and view the positions I have ordered my troops to occupy.



Once My troops arrive, I will reposition them more carefully. But first, I better see where Humphrey has been ordered to so I can support his flank.



Amazing! Sickles has given up the high ground and placed Humphrey behind me. He either knows something of the enemy's intentions or he's a complete fool. Care to lay any bets?

My troops are arriving and I will need to finish their deployment. But first, I take a look around to see if I can find some indication of the enemy's advance. All seems fine until I turn my binoculars to the SE.



Apparently, the enemy places a higher value on that high ground than does our budding Napoleon. Now instead of simply walking over to that high ground, we'll have to fight for it. Looks like Andrew will be in for a rough time.

I need to face this new threat. It is a gamble though. If I turn my forces to the SE, the enemy could still send a force down the Emmitsburg Road and into my rear. This enemy movement could well be a diversion. I decide to position both Ward and Graham to face the enemy I see. I will move Trobriand to the crossroads where he can quickly move to the left if need be. Orders are written.



This is an important trick I use to position the troops when there is not a convenient landmark available. If I order a unit to move to my front or rear, the troops will position themselves ~150-200 yds. in front or behind me, facing the same direction I am facing. This is the only way I know, to circumvent the lack of being able to point to the map and say, "go here." For extra credit, do you see the error in the message above? Hint: when I gave this command, Graham didn't move.

Select Graham
Time (the mistake)
Info: Execute the following orders
Orders: Move your unit to my rear center
Send

I ride to each location where I want my brigades and issue identical commands. After everyone has moved, here is a view of my position. I cheated and got out of the saddle for this Goodyear blimp view.



That's the kind of positioning that can be achieved using the courier system, not perfect, but very realistic. I position myself on the high ground behind the Wentz Farm along with Smith's battery. From here I can see my entire line. I won't have to ride around to see what is happening. This is important, especially in historic-mode play. Without the courier system working up the chain of command, I have to be near my boys and see both my troops and the enemy's. This is one of the few spots in the Gettysburg area where all this is possible.

Having completed my disposition, I have another look to the SE. Indeed, the enemy is building up strength here. He definitely wants that high ground that we handed him.



0732: I try not to do this too often as it's a blatant cheat, but I check the map to see the positioning of Humphrey. He apparently is moving to contest Devils Den. The enemy appears to be concentrating there too. That's a grave mistake. His right flank is badly exposed. I will order Ward and his brigade to the Trostle Farm to get a better view of the situation. If the Rebs really are bunching up at Devils Den, this will be a preview of Custer's Last Stand.





Select Ward
Time
Info: Execute the following orders
Order: No orders
Orders: Move your unit..., Move to this location, Trostle Farm
Orders: Hold
Send

The "no orders" stance is necessary in order to have your units respond when they are engaged with the enemy. If they are in a fight or nearly so, the commanders will usually ignore your order since they feel they have more important things to do. For artillery that is firing away at the enemy, giving the "no orders" stance is crucial. They absolutely will not move otherwise. Although Ward is not in contact with the enemy and would have responded anyway, I always use the "no orders" command whenever the enemy is in view, just so I don't forget.

Since Humphrey has advanced to meet the enemy I will advance Graham 600 yards so I can support his flank if need be.




Select Graham
Time
Info: Execute the following orders
Order: No orders
Orders: Move your unit..., Move your unit forward 300 yards
Orders: Move your unit forward 300 yards
Orders: Hold
Send

I also give Seeley the same orders. I want Graham to have close artillery support.

Ward's courier arrives and Ward moves out.



Looking to my right-center, I see that Humphrey has made contact with the enemy. I also note that Rebel troops keep pouring down Wheatfield Road.



I check back on Ward. He is moving into position as ordered.



I call up my OOB and jump into Ward's saddle for a better view of his position. Imagine my surprise when I see the rebel line extending as far as Ward's. Although the right flank of the enemy is not very strong, my plan of using Ward's brigade to flank the enemy will have to be modified. Moving back to my own saddle, I see that Ward is going to have slow going, ejecting the Rebels from that woodlot.



Usually, I advance my Napoleons along with my front line. However in the case of Bucklyn, who is supporting Ward, his position is too commanding to move him to the wood line where he has very limited lines of sight. Besides, the enemy does not appear to be that strong on my left.



No, I will not move him. Instead, I will order Trobriand to advance and extend my left flank. He should be able to extend past the enemy right. At the very least, I will not be outflanked. That is, as long as the Rebels do not come down Emmitsburg Road. I will now hold Graham where he is as my reserve. Humphrey will be on his own a little longer.



Select Trobriand
Time
Info: Execute the following orders
Order: No orders
Orders: Move your unit..., To the left flank of..., Ward
Orders: Defend
Send

0743: Cheating again, I check the map. Yes, Trobriand should be able to flank the enemy and roll him up.



Returning my attention to the right-center of my position, I see that things are heating up. Humphrey's men are trying to hold back a sea of gray fellas. Graham is ~150 yards to the rear of this fight.



Trobriand deftly maneuvers his men into position. He is ready to begin operations against the Rebel flank.



Notice how Ward keeps his sharpshooters away from the enemy's fire, but close enough for them to do damage. I noted that he did this with both regiments the entire battle. I told you he was good.

It's time to commence the counter attack. I order Trobriand to advance.



Select Trobriand
Time
Info: Execute the following orders
Order: No orders
Order: Orders: Move your unit..., Move your unit 300 yards in this direction, SE
Order: Probe
Send

As soon as the orders reach him, he takes the 3rd Brigade into action.



I jump to Trobriand's saddle and take a look at the situation.



Apparently there is not much in the way of opposition. I now jump to Ward to see the enemy flank from his perspective.



Much the same. The Rebel flank should collapse quickly. But just as I was contemplating an advance by the 2nd Brigade, I receive news of our victory.



Perhaps Sickles and is NY newspaper cronies are tired of waiting for the medals and parades, but I do not think this battle is won just yet. I'll ignore the press reports for now.

Still in Ward's saddle I examine his right and center. Resistance has noticeably decreased. The enemy does not seem to have much left.



Time to advance Ward.



Select Ward
Time
Info: Execute the following orders
Order: Probe.
Send

Since I am only changing Ward's stance, I do not have to give him the "no orders" first.

Now I turn my attention to my right. I am confident the 2nd and 3rd brigades will quickly dispatch the enemy. But the right is where the Rebels are still concentrated.



Humphrey is used up. But the enemy must be tired too. They appear to be one, thin, gray line and no reserves. Time to send in Graham.



Select Graham
Time
Info: Execute the following orders
Orders: No orders
Orders: Move your unit..., Move your unit forward 300 yards
Orders: Probe
Send

Again the brigade responds as soon as the order is received.



The enemy in front of Ward breaks.



I now decide to advance Bucklyn. Since Ward is advancing, the artillery can safely move and breakup any pockets of resistance.



Select Bucklyn
Time
Info: Execute the following orders
Orders: No orders
Orders: Move your unit..., Move your unit forward 200 yards
Send

0807: I check the map one last time. Humphrey's command no longer exists. There are still plenty of Rebels on the field, but these are tired men while mine are mostly fresh. The enemy is in a bad fix. The fat lady is singing, and it's not Dixie.



I jump into Trobriand's saddle again. I want to see who is holding him up. It's Brockenbrough's Brigade. They must be the last of Hill's reserves. The Virginians won't stand long.



No more orders need be given. My role as commander is over. My troops are advancing against worn down and disorganized resistance. My brigade commanders are more than capable of operating without my involvement in this situation. I'll leave Trobriand to it and return to my own saddle and see how Graham is coming along.



He secures the Wheatfield with little effort. Now he begins his attack on the enemy hiding in the woods.



Resistance in front of Ward dissolves.



Attacks by both Ward and Graham causes the complete collapse of the Rebel center. It's over.



0817: The final map view of the battlefield. Where did everyone go?



Using my telescoping powers, I survey the field. First the right flank.



And now the left.



Humphrey's fight for Devils Den was bloody.



The battle is over and time to count the dead.





I hope I have shown just how useful the courier system is for managing a battle. With a little practice, a player can accurately order his troops into position and then engage the enemy. It is certainly a different experience from the usual 'eye of god' mode and micro-positioning troops by clicking on the battlefield. Combined with staying in the saddle, this is probably the closest we can come to 19th century warfare.
I can make this march and I will make Georgia howl.
Last Edit: 2 years, 9 months ago by Marching Thru Georgia.

Re:Courier Battle: Action At Trostle Farm 4 years, 3 months ago #2

  • RebBugler
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Excellent read and Informative to boot. However, after 5 minutes of perusing, I did resort to a 20th C flyover...still, I greatly respect this effort of 'courier play' enlightenment, even though my fellow Rebs were your fodder. Salute
In rememberance: John "2nd Texas" Bonin (1977 - 2012)

Re:Courier Battle: Action At Trostle Farm 4 years, 3 months ago #3

  • Chamberlain
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Outstanding AAR Kevin !!



Excellent screenshots !!

Chamberlain
-Col. Joshua Chamberlain, 20th Maine

We cannot retreat. We cannot withdraw. We are going to have to be stubborn today

Re:Courier Battle: Action At Trostle Farm 4 years, 3 months ago #4

Thanks for the kind words guys. Hopefully there are a few folks out there that play via courier and will benefit from this. Randy, I'll try to do another one where your Rebs triumph. It actually might be nice to command a decent sized corps for a change.
I can make this march and I will make Georgia howl.

Re:Courier Battle: Action At Trostle Farm 4 years, 2 months ago #5

  • Tobe123
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I have just been using this excellent post as a tutorial for using courier when I noticed something odd.

The “Probe Ahead” and “Defend Position” orders have disappeared from the list.

If you compare the screen shots in the post with the one from my copy of the game. You can see the Orders are not there.

I am running v1.10, No Mods.

Can somebody check their version of the game and confirm if I have a corrupt file or if it is a Bug.

Thank Tobe

Re:Courier Battle: Action At Trostle Farm 4 years, 2 months ago #6

Tobe123 wrote:
The “Probe Ahead” and “Defend Position” orders have disappeared from the list.

It's not a bug, they do not exist in the release version of the game. They, along with a number of others are in my Courier & Maps Mod. If you find you like playing the game via courier, I suggest you use the mod. It makes things much easier. I will soon be releasing an updated version which takes advantage of a few improvements that were made in the 1.1 release. But the current mod is 100% compatible with the 1.1 patch.
I can make this march and I will make Georgia howl.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Jsteed

Re:Courier Battle: Action At Trostle Farm 4 years, 2 months ago #7

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Thanks, just down loaded the mod. works great
The following user(s) said Thank You: Jsteed

Re: Courier Battle: Action At Trostle Farm 4 years ago #8

  • Jsteed
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MTG,
I just read this AAR and I have to say it's great. I'm just getting into using the couriers for sending orders. I haven't had much luck up to now. After reading this, I see where I am making my mistakes. I also downloaded your mod and I must say you have really improved on the number orders that can be given. And using your maps with all those added locations looks like it will make ordering my men around much easier. I don't know if I'm ready to order a division around with couriers just yet. Have you ever considered writing an AAR for a brigade fight? I think it would be easier for newbies like me to start at a small scale.

Re: Courier Battle: Action At Trostle Farm 4 years ago #9

Jsteed:
Thanks for the kind words. I'm glad to hear that the AAR was helpful in explaining the courier system. The Courier & Maps mod does make writing orders easier. Hopefully the next feature patch will bring even more functionality to the courier system.

I don't know if I'm ready to order a division around with couriers just yet. Have you ever considered writing an AAR for a brigade fight? I think it would be easier for newbies like me to start at a small scale.

Funny you should ask, I am actually in the process of writing a brigade-size courier AAR. It will be from the confederate point of view so Reb Bugler won't get so riled and will finish reading it. I hope to have it up in a week or so. But I would suggest that you start using the courier system as a division or even corps commander. Brigades are nothing but micro-management. You'll write three times as many orders trying to get all those regiments in line and supporting each other than you will bossing around 2 or 3 brigades. I found myself writing so many orders, that I lost focus of the greater battle and could only worry about what was happening directly in front of me at that moment.
I can make this march and I will make Georgia howl.

Re: Courier Battle: Action At Trostle Farm 4 years ago #10

  • NY Cavalry
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This is one of the best topics on the forum for anyone who wants to use couriers. It has helped me and others immensely.
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Re: Courier Battle: Action At Trostle Farm 4 years ago #11

  • BOSTON
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MTG

I like your idea of the point- "Go Here" concept. It would save on scrolling through the locations index.

BOSTON
HOISTINGMAN4

Drafted in Boston

Re: Courier Battle: Action At Trostle Farm 4 years ago #12

Again, thanks for the kind words, NY Cavalry.

Boston wrote:
I like your idea of the point- "Go Here" concept. It would save on scrolling through the locations index.

It's on the list for the feature patch. Whether it is included or not will depend on how difficult it is for Norb to implement. An alternative is to add the ability to write orders such as "Go to a position 400 yds. SE of the Trostle Farm." That would be nearly as good, but would require putting a scale on all the maps.
I can make this march and I will make Georgia howl.

Re: Courier Battle: Action At Trostle Farm 3 years, 5 months ago #13

Thanks for the AAR. I need a little more help. I've been trying to use the courier method in McPherson’s ridge. When I tell the Captain of 3 cannons to go somewhere, only the captain goes, and the cannons stay. I tried the division tutorial and noticed the same, but also with a colonel as well. How can I get the captain’s and colonel's units to go with them?

Is it also not necessary to tell the artillery to limber/unlimber?

Thanks,

Charles

Re: Courier Battle: Action At Trostle Farm 3 years, 5 months ago #14

charlesonmission wrote:
I've been trying to use the courier method in McPherson’s ridge. When I tell the Captain of 3 cannons to go somewhere, only the captain goes, and the cannons stay

This problem is due to the fact that the stock courier commands have inconsistencies. Some will only affect the commander and some the commander and his units. There is no way of telling which is which unfortunately. I made a mod named Courier & Mini-maps which fixes those problems. But mods cannot be used when playing the stock scenarios or tutorials. So it will only work when playing in sandbox mode, or player created scenarios.

Specifically, what orders did you give Garber in the division tutorial? I just tried:
1. No orders (necessary since they are unlimbering and preparing to fire)
2. Move your unit 300 yards east
3. Face south.
All as one order. Garber and his battery responded and moved correctly.

Is it also not necessary to tell the artillery to limber/unlimber?

They will do that on their own. You don't need to tell them to do it.
I can make this march and I will make Georgia howl.

Re: Courier Battle: Action At Trostle Farm 3 years, 5 months ago #15

  • con20or
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charlesonmission wrote:
Thanks for the AAR. I need a little more help. I've been trying to use the courier method in McPherson’s ridge. When I tell the Captain of 3 cannons to go somewhere, only the captain goes, and the cannons stay. I tried the division tutorial and noticed the same, but also with a colonel as well. How can I get the captain’s and colonel's units to go with them?

Is it also not necessary to tell the artillery to limber/unlimber?

Thanks,

Charles


i have been having this problem for months - with almost all of the batteries in this scenario. The one at the building closest to your starting point will even change himself from the 'no orders' command you give him back to 'hold to the last' - although i only saw that happen once and may have been mistaken.

Re: Courier Battle: Action At Trostle Farm 3 years, 5 months ago #16

Con,

I switched to the MTG courier mod and it solved the problem (except nothing works for me in the Jackson what if scenario) as I think you aware.

Charles

Re: Courier Battle: Action At Trostle Farm 3 years, 3 months ago #17

  • con20or
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thanks, i'll check it out. Do yo have a link?

Re: Courier Battle: Action At Trostle Farm 3 years, 3 months ago #18

I can make this march and I will make Georgia howl.
Last Edit: 3 years, 3 months ago by Marching Thru Georgia.

Re: Courier Battle: Action At Trostle Farm 3 years, 3 months ago #19

  • con20or
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this has been out a year!?!

jimminy jillickers.
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