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Alternate ACW, for fun (because everyone's bored by this point and tired of CV19)

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  • Alternate ACW, for fun (because everyone's bored by this point and tired of CV19)

    Today, you are approached and given 30 days to prepare by researching. You will be sent back to 1858, US state of your choice, in a Terminator-style time machine. No papers, equipment, etc, just physically only you and what you know. Presuming that you spend some time studying up on markets and such, it's logical that with special knowledge you will have gained a certain amount of wealth by 1861.

    You have a certain amount of wealth, and are also approached by the governor of this state. A Brigade is being raised due to the heightened tensions that might possibly (you know will) lead to some sort of armed conflict. The Governor has heard of your uncanny mental acuity, and wants your help in making this brigade the most capable it can be. You have some limited financial resources from the State, as well as your own not inconsiderable wealth, to work with. The Governor's blessing also gives you a relatively free hand in procurement and training for the 1000 volunteers who will be placed under your command.

    What force do you build.

    How would they be equipped, within reason but with your modern knowledge and a relatively substantial quantity of resources for procurement

    How will they be trained, none of them are 'men out of time' as you are.

    How will you recommend they be employed.


    Have fun. I fully expect that the others will make you justify what you do.
    Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

  • #2
    Well I'd take Finch and his men of course, I've grown to like him, the planter turned reluctant hero, on the outskirts of Baltimore....

    He was based on a character from a Harper Lee novel, 'Go set a watchman'.
    Lambert of Montaigu - Crusader.

    Bolgios - Mercenary Game.

    Comment


    • #3
      Since this is a brigade and not a regiment I'll make my brigade a mixed arms unit.

      One mixed artillery battery . With four 12 pounder smooth bore cannon and two rifled cannons maybe three inchers. Equipped with the number of horses a "flying " cavalry unit would have to enhance mobility.

      8 Dragoon companies with 70 men.
      All horse mounted for mobility but mostly fighting on foot.
      They would be trained to fight in open order.
      Training would stress marksmanship.
      They would be armed with Sharp's rifles and one of the common revolvers of the era.
      The Sharp's rifle from my quick research was one of the fastest firing and relatively accurate rifles of the pre war era.
      Since these troops have horses they can have the added weight of a revolver.
      Since these are highly trained men in both maneuver and marksmanship they can fight in open order.

      Four companies of light cavalry.. 70 men each. They would have the best horses . Instead of the Sharp's rifle they would have Sharp's carbines and revolvers. These companies would mostly scout, cover the brigade's flanks and act as a quick reserve.

      In addition to the colonel in command, I would have three other senior officers, either majors or lieutenant colonels. One would command the cavalry battalion of four companies. The other two would command the dragoons which would be split into two battalions of four companies.

      Drill the brigade at task organizing the brigade and sub commands.

      For instance you could have the brigade with the two dragoon battalions on a thin line in defensive positions. They only have two of their own companies each, but have one of the cavalry companies each covering their flanks and acting as a reserve. The cavalry battalion would be the quick reaction force with two of its own companies two companies of dragoons from the other two battalions and the artillery battery.

      As the war goes on upgrade weapons as better equipment becomes available.

      This brigade would have a good amount of firepower and be highly mobile.

      It would be best suited for use as a mobile reserve, skirmishers or covering an open flank in an economy of force operation. Possibly providing covering fire to an attacking unit. They would not be suited to standing in line and fighting like standard era infantry.

      As a force multiplier I would study field sanitation to keep​ down the number of troops killed or disabled by dysentery and other diseases that could be fought by cleanliness.
      Last edited by 17thfabn; 27 Mar 20, 22:51.
      "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" Beatrice Evelyn Hall
      Updated for the 21st century... except if you are criticizing islam, that scares the $hii+e out of me!

      Comment


      • #4
        I wouldn't bother with things directly military. My first move on arrival would be to draw up and submit a means to cheaply produce steel versus wrought iron in quantity. The Bessemer process is pretty straight forward and could be done using mostly extant technology. A vanaxial or centrifugal blower to pump air into the kiln wouldn't be difficult to make. The kiln itself is open hearth and lined with standard firebrick. Those are easily done too.

        Given my experience designing high temperature furnaces, that'd be item 1.

        Then there's inventing electrical power. I could design and patent a basic AC or DC electrical generator. Imagine what that would do along with an incandescent light bulb... Take that Edison!

        Then invent dynamite and picric acid as explosives. Picric acid is easy to make with existing chemicals. You treat carbolic acid with sulphuric acid then nitrated with nitric acid to form the final product. Now you have a high explosive for shells. Dynamite in another form gives you nitrocellulose, another means for ending black powder use in firearms.

        Invent guncotton and smokeless powder next. So much for using black powder in firearms. I bet the South would pay handsomely for that invention...

        One thing, given 30 days notice on this is I'd definitely memorize the design of the Gardner (no relation) machinegun and patent that ASAP. Unlike the Gatling, it is highly reliable and massively vicious. Using primers with something like mercury fulminate and brass cartridges, it would bring WW 1 to the ACW battlefield.



        While still a cranked gun, it can be manufactured with extant technology and improved massively once steel production gets going.

        Another item I'd sell the navy is patent an armor piercing shot for use against ironclads. This is a simply method that would give a basic shot that would easily penetrate ACW ironclads. You pour the shot into a mold that is chilled in ice causing it to harden much more rapidly. This was the Palliser method devised shortly after the ACW. Adding a lead or soft iron cap on the shot increases its effectiveness even more.

        Once you have steel being produced it's possible to use hydraulics and make quality springs that mean you can invent something like the French 75mm field gun. A shell firing gun that shoots 5 to 7 times more rounds in a minute with greater accuracy...

        Another would be to introduce reasonable levels of sanitation and sanitary practice within society and the military. After all, sickness and infection killed more people back then than battlefield casualties. Just the practice of doctors and such making sure their instruments and selves were as sterile as possible would go a long way to reducing deaths. Introducing water purification methods would help immeasurably, like filtration by activated charcoal and washed fine sand or fuller's earth (diatomaceous earth).

        Why try to get yourself killed on a battlefield when you can make serious bank inventing stuff that's easy to invent and will have endless customers?

        Comment


        • #5
          I missed the part where we were supposed to pick a state. I'll pick my home state, Ohio. Or maybe my ancestral home of old Kentucky. I could call it the Abraham Lincoln Brigade!

          Uniforms are important. I'd like to go with green for camouflage but worry about friendly fire. Would have the best summer and winter versions available.

          So uniforms in Union Blue unless I can get away with green. Maybe give the brigade green ponchos that can be used for camo. Maybe Green hats, green pants and blue jackets with a green poncho.
          Last edited by 17thfabn; 19 Mar 20, 13:04.
          "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" Beatrice Evelyn Hall
          Updated for the 21st century... except if you are criticizing islam, that scares the $hii+e out of me!

          Comment


          • #6
            I'd pick Texas, the Galveston area, though I would eventually build elsewhere (knowing about Hurricanes...)

            I like TAGs thoughts about commercial production of stuff pre-war. I'd also bring back the Bessemer process for steelmaking, I'm certain I could find investors to fund such an endeavor. This would be key later on as I'll need some high quality (relatively) steel. Plus, I'm going to have a spring manufacturing concern, as well as manufacturing various steel bits such as rifle barrels for various contracts, boiler parts, etc.

            I would also spread the wealth a bit and work very hard to convince investors, even from up North in Pennsylvania, to give oil-drilling a shot in the Spindletop area of Texas. I'd memorize the lat and long of a couple of the original oil-boom wells there. I'd accept royalties and also buy some of the land/rights in advance. Plus I'm going to want some of those products before too long.

            As for things that I'd work towards memorizing and/or bringing back, I'd be aiming for the following, primarily in the knowledge of what's going to be happening shortly:

            Gardner Machine Gun, yes I agree with TAG. This can be a brutally effective tool.

            Interrupted Screw Breach with de Bange system obduration. Not perfect, but easily doable with the technology at hand, and perfect is the enemy of good enough. I won't need specs so much as concept, as I'll have some development time.

            Horizontal sliding breech. Again, not perfect, but again, enemy of good enough. Same on just needing the concept vs more complete specs memorized.

            Chassepot Needle-rifle. Ultimately I had a toss up between this one and the Dreyse. However, the Chassepot is a bit newer, and can much more easily be converted to cartridge firing, plus the obduration system is basically the same as what I'm bringing back for artillery. The reason to not start with cartridge firing is that I know brass cartridges will be hard to come by en masse, and paper cartridges can be manufactured in cottage industries or even by the troops themselves to a limited degree.

            Coincidence rangefinder. Again, a matter of principles rather than specs are needed.

            Inertia fuze....Again, principle first. There's time to experiment.

            ..........

            So, when things start to kick off, I will have my foundry producing 3 and 6 inch rifle cannon barrels, only without closed breaches. I will also start producing horizontal sliding breechblocks for the bog-standard muzzle-loading artillery, to allow them to be bored through and have the new breechblock mounted to increase their fire rate. Obduration would be through the use of a relatively thick copper 'case' which would hold the back portion of the powder-bag and could be reused multiple times in the field. My own guns would use the interrupted screw, the 3in for rifled artillery with several heavy springs for recoil mitigation to improve accuracy and fire rate, the 6in as a naval high velocity (relatively) gun that could outrange and definitely outshoot most other naval guns for either defensive positions or shipboard use.

            I would also be producing and equip my 'brigade' I've been asked to create as a model for Texas troops with the Chassepot (though without the french name of course, and with a barrel length between the original and the carbine). Things I would be doing with this model brigade are the following:

            General abandonment of close-order drill for firing, only for movement or when in the assault. Zouave-type training for physical fitness of the infantry.

            Operating in a 'heavy' skirmish line with ranks always in motion when in the open, either advancing by rank leapfrogging or retrograde in the same manner.

            Emphasis on use of the kneeling, prone, and cover.

            Combined arms, with 2 troops (~240 men) of cavalry scouts attached to the infantry. Cavalry would equally use the same rifle as the infantry, it's breachloading and a 'universal short rifle'. Cavalry would scout, and then be used as a flanking force or as reserves for the infantry.

            Artillery utilizing coincidence rangefinding as well as walking fire and ladder shooting techniques. I'll also be pushing for rangefinders for my big guns, but to describe my brigade's 'battery' it would have 4 of my breachloaders, and fire time or inertia-fuzed shells for maximum effects on the battlefield. Artillery would always fire in counter-battery first to eliminate enemy artillery before redirecting to fire on cavalry and infantry respectively.

            A Company (~120) men, mounted and equipped with 4 Gardner Guns. These would be deployed as the Brigade commander's shotgun to reinforce specific areas, divide amongst the infantry battalions or cavalry, or as a single high-firepower unit to suppress the enemy and allow for infantry to maneuver into the flanks or into an assault.

            Training of Officers and NCOs would emphasize the utilization of massed fires from combined arms and multiple directions against a single point rather than massing of men at a single point. Denial of close combat except when necessary or advantageous would also be emphasized. Troops would be uniformly equipped in butternut as its cheap, effective camo in many conditions, and a 'uniform'.

            My goal would be to end the war very quickly through pushing as many of these 'new model brigades' into service as possible and creating a general shift in the Confederate Army to high-firepower-based operations that preserve the manpower of the Army and allow follow-on operations after a major engagement. Plus, despite my naval guns being the best naval guns on earth, I'm still pretty aware that the US can simply out-produce ships, and my excellent naval rifles will merely slow that pendulum, not swing it back the other way.
            Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

            Comment


            • #7
              Well of course Kentucky, build up my wealth with bourbon and horses, start a small arms company here in Lexington making a variant of the Henry repeating rifle that is easy to mass manufacture in small dispersed factories across the state. Raise a mounted brigade of Kentucky militia. Mount a reverse of Morgans raid crossing the Ohio river at Ashland, flank around the north of Cincinnati. Infiltrate the city from the north causing all kinds of havoc. Burning it down like Sherman did to Atlanta.

              th?id=OIP.Rb-u9Ky-rlgbfrgtJm3EagHaEl&pid=Api&rs=1.jpg

              Preparations-for-defense-cincinnati-1862.jpg

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              • #8
                My True Blue Union Abraham Lincoln Brigade is gonna have its work cut out for it facing down three brigades of traitorous rebs led by TacCOVERT4 TAGardner and OttoHarkaman! Add to the numerical advantage the time traveling witch craft of advance technology!

                Fortunately the men of my brigade are taller, smarter, faster and better shots. And my horses are faster, smarter, stronger and have better endurance!

                "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" Beatrice Evelyn Hall
                Updated for the 21st century... except if you are criticizing islam, that scares the $hii+e out of me!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by 17thfabn View Post
                  My True Blue Union Abraham Lincoln Brigade is gonna have its work cut out for it facing down three brigades of traitorous rebs led by TacCOVERT4 TAGardner and OttoHarkaman! Add to the numerical advantage the time traveling witch craft of advance technology!

                  Fortunately the men of my brigade are taller, smarter, faster and better shots. And my horses are faster, smarter, stronger and have better endurance!
                  Not having Cincinnati as a base will hamper you a lot in your operations against TacCover4

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                  • #10
                    Just finishing up one. I'll let someone else lead off this time, I have enough on my plate.
                    Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by OttoHarkaman View Post

                      Not having Cincinnati as a base will hamper you a lot in your operations against TacCover4
                      Like an American Cincinnatus I will rally the good citizens of Cincinnati to crush any invader. Any reb who comes near will learn why even Morgan's Raiders had the good sense to swing wide of the Mighty City on the North Bank of the Ohio River.
                      "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" Beatrice Evelyn Hall
                      Updated for the 21st century... except if you are criticizing islam, that scares the $hii+e out of me!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by OttoHarkaman View Post

                        Not having Cincinnati as a base will hamper you a lot in your operations against TacCover4
                        But in all seriousness, if you want to run a game, there are a handful of people who would play, myself included. I could even provide some guidance on how to get one started and running that's at least reasonably fun.
                        Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by TacCovert4 View Post

                          But in all seriousness, if you want to run a game, there are a handful of people who would play, myself included. I could even provide some guidance on how to get one started and running that's at least reasonably fun.
                          Ha put my foot into it. I would love to referee such a game. Do you guys base them on boardgames or are they more of a role playing style? I need to have a look in the forum games threads.

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