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Thread: Italian Campaign on VH/VH

  1. #1

    Default Italian Campaign on VH/VH

    I just completed a VH / VH Italian campaign and thought I would both share my thoughts on it and solicit comments from others who have played it on that difficulty.

    Build plan (prior to Turin Barrakcks ready):
    - 1 Chasseur du Cheval every other turn starting turn 1;
    - 2 Nat. Gd. Militia a turn, funds permitting, in Nice;
    - NEVER Call Allies To War responding to a DOW by Venice or Papal States - that triggers a back-stab by Piedmont-Sardinia
    - No infrastructure except:
    + Supply Post in Mondavi,
    + Cantonment in Milan & Parma; and
    + Repairs as needed.

    Opening Plan (Early April through capture of Parma in Early July):

    Early April:
    - Napoleone defeats d'Argenteau and sets ambush-trap for Colli with Dragoons
    - Massena joins Serurier
    - Colli sorties from Coni and is crushed

    Late April:
    - Napoleone detaches 1 artillery and assaults Genoa (auto-resolve)
    - Massena finishes off any remnant of Colli in Mondavi
    - Serurier accepts surrender of Coni and collects detached artillery
    - Reinforcements: Nat. Gd. chase Napoleone

    Early May:
    - Napoleone assaults Alessandria (auto-resolve); detaches dragoons; advances towards Nuara
    - Serurier sets ambush trap for Colombo in woods near Turin
    - Massena sits on road to Turin as bait
    - Reinforcements: Chasseurs du Cheval chases Serurier, Nat. Gd. chases Napoleone

    Late May:
    - Napoleone collects Dragoons; accepts surrender of Nuara;
    - Massena backs-up Serurier's assault, then makes full movement through Alessandria with one C du C
    - Serurier assaults Turin (auto-resolve) and moves as far as possible towards Alessandria
    - Repair Turin Barracks
    - Reinforcements: Nat. Gd. advance along coast road through Genoa towards Parma

    Early June:
    - Massena w/ 2 C du C and 2 Nat. Gd. besieges Milan (no resolve yet)
    - Napoleone moves to just short of Milan
    - Massena now can accept surrender (usually) or assault (auto-resolve) Milan siege
    - Napoleone detaches one unit back to Nuara to forestall strike; enters Milan; detaches 1 C du C; advances to Lodi and accepts surrender
    - Lay down Cantomnent in Milan
    - Serurier advances through Alesssandria giving movement boosts as he can
    - Reinforcements: Nat. Gd. advance along coast road via Genoa towards Parma

    Late June:
    - Napoleone collects his preferred full stack at the first road bend east of Piacenza
    - Massena and Serurier shepherd replacements and recovering troops west of Piacenza
    - C du C in Milan chases Napoleone, trailing unit in Nuara advances to Lodi
    - Negotiate Trade Agreement with Venice
    - Reinforcements: Nat. Gd. advance along coast road through Genoa towards Parma

    Early July:
    - Napoleone assaults Parma

    Late July:
    - Napoleone assaults Modena or Mantua, whichever has now completed its Supply Post

    Early August
    - Napoleone assaults whichever of Modena or Mantua remains in Austrian hands

    Recap
    With the campaign opening now over, the AI script is complete. Actions now ill be driven by player preference and randomized decisions by the AI both towards the player and its own factions.

    All thoughts, comments, and suggestions most welcome. This most recent campaign rapped up in Early may, 1797 - but that was 3 or 4 turns earlier than usual because the AI decided to be complicit in its own destruction.

    =====================================

    Playlist for entire campaign, 13 videos
    ========================
    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...Ao7nCHrDe-actI

    Introduction

    Playthrough of the Italian Campaign in Napoleon Total War on Very-Hard / Very-Hard. The goal is to successfully assault Klagenfurt in summer 1797, for the win with turns to spare.

    Given sufficient time, the combined forces of Piedmont-Sardinia, Austria, Venice, and Papal States can be challenging to overcome on this difficulty level.

    This challenge can be eased by a strong opening in April through June:
    - Reducing Piedmont-Sardinia to a 1 province protectorate; and
    - Liberating Western Lombardy and defeating the main Austrian force at Parma in Early July, 1796.
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    Grand Strategy

    Note: Beside repairs to military buildings, almost no infrastructure is built. In this short campaign, the break-even of 24+ turns is well past when finances are expected to be irrelevant - following the vanquishing of both the Papal States and Venice (for 8,000 and 4,000 bonus respectively). The funds are better spent on scarce troops through the early campaign.

    Three lone exceptions are made:

    1) The Supply Post in Mondavi assigned as an objective. The free Grenadier unit is worth the cost on its own, and the bonus chevron for all existing land units sweetens the deal.

    2) Cantonments in Milan and Parma, to speed up both light infantry recruitment (through the Cisalpine Legion) and general recruitment by replacing Nice and Turin with depots 3 turns closer to the front.

    In some games I have upgraded to an Ordnance Factory in Mantua, but in truth that is probably an indulgence.

    Additional notes on the financial mechanics of the game can be found in Chapter 1 of my Steam Guide for the campaign:

    https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfil...?id=1225698567
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    Opening Strategy

    The French strengths are their light cavalry, (Chasseurs du Cheval), their morale bonuses from the French commanders, and the artillery direction of the greatest artillery commander ever - you, as Napoleone Buonaparte.

    To overcome the early insufficiency of fully trained French forces, one must leverage these strengths, making do with the Nat. Gd. so readily and quickly available; and who make up for in enthusiasm what they lack in training. Almost until the fall of Parma, recruiting will be exclusively Nat. Gd. and Lt. Cav.

    First order of business is to eliminate d'Argenteau's Austrian and Colli's Piedmontese forces at the border - in detail, before they can unite - thus opening up the road to Turin, Milan, and Parma.

    Join me, as we relive Napoleon's exciting First Italian Campaign against the most challenging AI settings for both campaign and battle difficulty.
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    Opening Moves

    - Buonaparte crushes d'Argenteau & Colli, then swings through Genoa, Alessandria, and Nuara, finally uniting with Massena's reinforcement division at Milan and continuing to Lodi.
    - Serurier & Massena liberate Coni & Turin, then advance to Alessandria. Massena with the Lt. Cav. & 2 Nat. Gd. leads assault on Milan with assistance from Buonaparte.
    - All three columns unite east of Piacenza in late June.
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    Mid & Late Game Plan

    Following the capture of Parma the goals are:
    - Prevent either of Lucca and Tuscany entering the war against us.
    - Prevent Piedmont-Sardinia from re-entering the war against us: by never "Calling it to War", and maintaining a token garrison (1 militia each) in both Turin and Nuara once their arm is rebuilt.
    - Subdue Venice and Papal States in turn, freeing forces for an assault on Klagenfurt and gaining financial freedom from the monetary bonuses for capturing the cities of Ancona and Venice.

    The AI moves are now unscripted, so every game will be different from this point on. However, keeping one's eye on the goals above will smooth the path to victory
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    Thoughts on Ambushes

    This play-through ambushes the Ai three times - twice as a set-piece in the opening against Piedmontese forces under Colli and Colombo, and once oportunistically against the Papal States. I don't see this as being unfair to the AI.

    Buonaparte had three truly great strengths (with some flaws) as a commander:
    - Morale;
    - Artillery Direction; and
    - Grand Tactics (or Operational Art)
    The ambush facility is merely one means by which the Human player counters the AI's Very Hard buffs by truly mimicking the latter two of Buonaparte's great strengths: artillery direction and march speed.

    Not just in Italy in 1796 and 1800 but at Ulm and Austerlitz in 1805: Corunna in 1808; Abensberg, Landshut, and Eckmuhl in 1809; and throughout 1813 in France Bonaparte's march speed continued to *surprise* his opponents. There is no reason for Human Players to willingly deprive themselves of a similar capability.

  2. #2
    Caillagh de Bodemloze's Avatar to rede I me delyte
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    Default Re: Italian Campaign on VH/VH

    You've given us two new AARs at once! And this one has both text and videos.

    Well, I can see I'm going to be occupied for a little while.






  3. #3

    Default Re: Italian Campaign on VH/VH

    Quote Originally Posted by Caillagh de Bodemloze View Post
    You've given us two new AARs at once! And this one has both text and videos.

    Well, I can see I'm going to be occupied for a little while.
    Thank you, thank you. I have not yet mastered talking while I both play and think, so no audio on the videos. i did start putting together subtitles for the first video last night though. If I can get that more efficient i might do more of them.

  4. #4
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: Italian Campaign on VH/VH

    Your strategic thinking is impressive! When I play the Italy campaign, I can't resist upgrading infrastructure, but you've shown that this isn't necessary.

    I like your assessment of the strengths of the French forces (as you said, their light cavalry can be very effective) and your historical analysis of Napoleon's strengths. I agree that using ambushes reflects Napoleon's historical ability to surprise his opponents.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Italian Campaign on VH/VH

    Quote Originally Posted by Alwyn View Post
    Your strategic thinking is impressive! When I play the Italy campaign, I can't resist upgrading infrastructure, but you've shown that this isn't necessary.

    I like your assessment of the strengths of the French forces (as you said, their light cavalry can be very effective) and your historical analysis of Napoleon's strengths. I agree that using ambushes reflects Napoleon's historical ability to surprise his opponents.
    Playing Austria and Prussia in Campaigns of the Coalition (on VH/VH of course) I again make extensive use of the ambush facility seemingly spending most of the game with three stacks hiding in the Black forest and Western Fulda Gap ambushing french forces. The buffs on VH, combined with the already ferocious French buffs and Officer Morale Bonuses, pretty much rule out success with any other strategy.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Italian Campaign on VH/VH

    Quote Originally Posted by Caillagh de Bodemloze View Post
    You've given us two new AARs at once! And this one has both text and videos.

    Well, I can see I'm going to be occupied for a little while.
    Quote Originally Posted by Alwyn View Post
    Your strategic thinking is impressive! When I play the Italy campaign, I can't resist upgrading infrastructure, but you've shown that this isn't necessary.

    I like your assessment of the strengths of the French forces (as you said, their light cavalry can be very effective) and your historical analysis of Napoleon's strengths. I agree that using ambushes reflects Napoleon's historical ability to surprise his opponents.
    I have now subtitled most of video #1, including annotation for the first assault of d'Argenteau's position atop Montenotte with just 26 casualties (on battle=VH). Comments on whether this is worth the considerable effort (still much longer than making the original video, though perhaps i will stumble on efficiencies) would be appreciated.

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