Ultimate General: Civil War

Ultimate General: Civil War

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The Artillerist's Guide to Ultimate General: Civil War
Da The Soldier
With the 1.04 update, the balance of artillery has changed significantly. It's high time to look at the less-respected cannon in Ultimate General: Civil War to see if their repuation has improved.
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General Information
In this guide, we will examine all the cannons available in Ultimate General: Civil War, going over their strengths and weaknesses as well as showing you the proper usage of each weapon. The 6-Pounder Field Gun, 6-Pounder Wiard, 12-Pounder Napoleon, 3-Inch Ordnance Rifle, 10-Pounder Parrott Rifle, 10-Pounder Tredegar, 12-Pounder Whitworth, 14-Pounder James Rifle, 24-Pounder Howitzer, and the 20-Pounder Parrott Rifle will all be covered. We will also go through artillery terminology, tactics, and misconceptions in Ultimate General: Civil War.
Terminology and Information
To start off, I'll describe some of the terminology I use in this guide, in case you're not quite as intimate with Civil War and armament history as I am.


Smoothbores are the most basic type of cannon. They are able to fire all manner of effective ammunition types across a moderate distance, though they do become more effective as the distance closes.

Rifles are the most advanced cannon type in the American Civil War. They use rifling to increase accuracy and effectiveness at range. Thus, they fire bolt and case shot much better and further than other smoothbore cannon, but their effectiveness falls off quickly in canister range.

Howitzers are an offshoot of smoothbore cannons. Often having a much shorter barrel in relation to the caliber of the gun than smoothbores, howitzers have very short range but tote extremely effective spherical case and canister shots.

Round Shot and Bolt Shot are the longest-ranged ammunition type used in Ultimate General: Civil War. Round shot is the classical cannonball, made of solid iron and is the basis of the weight of guns - however much a solid iron ball weighed that fit down the barrel. Bolt shot is exclusively used by rifled cannon, to take advantage of the rifling found in those guns, and is normally shaped like a spitzer bullet (your normal bullet) or a roundnose bullet with ridges near the rear to engage rifling. Round shot is normally used by smoothbores and howitzers while bolt shot is used by rifled guns. Both are also known as Solid Shot.

Spherical Case and Case Shot is the mid-ranged ammunition type used in Ultimate General: Civil War. Spherical Case is essentially a hollowed-out cannonball with an explosive charge set inside along musket balls and a fuse to top it off, loaded in with the fuse facing forward so firing the cannon ignites it (but does not instantly set it off). Case shot is essentially the same thing done to bolt shot, a hollowed-out bolt with bursting charge and musket balls and a fuse at the tip. However, before the adding of musket balls, these projectiles only had a bursting charge, which was called Shell, or altnernately Shrapnel shot. In general, any of these terms can be used to describe this mid-range ammunition type in Ultimate General: Civil War - and so, for the sake of simplicity, I shall refer to this type of ammunition as Shell for its shortness.

Canister is the close ranged ammunition type used in Ultimate General: Civil War. It is also the most deadly form of fire for smoothbore cannons and howitzers. Canister shot is generally a tin can filled with musket balls, and effectively turns the cannon into a massive shotgun capable of blowing holes in enemy lines, should they come close enough. A cannon crew might sometimes load two canister tins at the same time to increase its deadly effect - known as "double canister".

Close, Medium, Long, and Very Long Range is how I describe the ranges in The Artillerist's Guide to Ultimate General: Civil War. However, these do not refer to set distances away from the cannon, rather these are based on when the cannon transitions between ammunition types. Close Range is when the target is close enough for the crew to start using Canister shot. Medium Range is the point where the cannon crew transitions to shell shot, and goes from then to midway through shell range. Long Range is midway through the shell shot range up until the point where the target is too far away to engage with shell shot. Very Long Range is whenever the target is too far away to use either of the two previous ammunition types, and thus must use bolt or round shot. pandakraut's "UI and AI Customizations Mod"[forum.game-labs.net] provides range indicators for when Canister, Shell, and Solid shot is used (among other UI and AI improvements), I highly recomend it!

Battery Size

To make things very clear, a 12-gun battery is the optimal size of artillery brigade you want. Going higher than 12 guns in a battery will result in the battery actually performing worse - an 18-gun battery, for example, is going to get fewer kills than a 12-gun battery with everything else being constant. There is some credence adding one or two extra guns if a particular battery is going to be taking a lot of fire (also taking into consideration a damage buff that batteries get with more guns), but any more and effectiveness drops too much. Keep batteries at 12 guns.


Much of the information from the historical section of the Artillerist's Guide to Ultimate General: Civil War comes from "To the Sound of the Guns":
This is an excellent source of information regarding guns, rifled guns, howitzers, siege guns, and all other manner of cannon used during the Civil War. What I have here is only a small bit of each gun's shining developmental and combat history. From the smallest field cannon to the biggest coastal artillery, this is a wonderful source, I recommend you read up on it!
Corps Artillery Composition & Ratio

After the disaster that was the 1st Battle of Bull Run / Manassas, the Federal army underwent a substantial change in leadership across multiple levels. However, even with the leadership change from Irvin McDowell to George B. McClellan, McClellan retained the same chief of artillery that McDowell had - William Farquhar Barry. Barry along with Henry Hunt and William French authored the manual Instructions for Field Artillery that would later become the reference book for training artillery crews as the war went on. In September 1862, Barry laid down the groundwork for his vision of the artillery arm of the Army of the Potomac:
  • 2.5 to 3 guns per 1000 men
  • Ratio of 2/3 smoothbore and 1/3 rifled cannon
  • 6 gun batteries, though 4 acceptable
  • Batteries under divisional command, 4 batteries per division, and half went to the corps reserve
  • The army should maintain a 100 gun artillery reserve
  • On campaign, there should be 400 rounds per gun
  • The army should retain a 50 gun siege train
  • Training and instruction of artillery be given to regular army officers
  • Army chief of artillery should inspect all batteries to ensure quality of drill

In-game Organization:

From experience in my Union campaign, I brought 398 guns in batteries ranging from 12 to 16 guns and 211,000 men to Richmond. Of those, 51 were 20-Pounder Parrott Rifles, 103 12-Pounder Napoleons, 114 24-Pounder Howitzers, 94 3-Inch Ordnance Rifles, 12 10-Pounder Parrott Rifles, and 12 6-Pounder Wiard Rifles, with ratio of smoothbore / howitzer to rifles being roughly 30% (not including the four batteries of 20-Pounder Parrott Rifles, which I treated as my “siege batteries” to crack fortifications, which performed particularly well at Bayou Forche). Had I not experimented with 16 gun batteries, I would have had a ratio of about 530 men per gun, which is actually fewer cannons than Barry’s idealized 400. However, this layout served me well during my Union campaign, from Antietam through to Richmond. I created this corps artillery composition before ever reading Barry’s September 1862 report on artillery, which goes to show how effective this historical artillery composition fairs in-game.

Barry’s vision of the organization of artillery in the Army of the Potomac translates excellently into Ultimate General: Civil War. For a division consisting of six brigades, four infantry brigades of 2500 men and two artillery brigade of 12 guns suits Barry’s ratio closely and works well tactically in-game. However, you may also find that five infantry brigades and one artillery brigade may be useful under some circumstances that require more presence on the field. For the Confederates, achieving such a high number cannons (especially powerful guns, such as the 14-Pounder James Rifle or 24-Pounder Howitzer) may be more difficult, but it will be worth if you do. In regards to the type of cannon, a ratio of upwards of 50% smoothbore / howitzers to rifled gun is perfectly fine, as you’ll find uses across all your battles for both types of cannon in Ultimate General: Civil War. Do not be afraid to switch out some of your cannons out for more specialty ones however, such as a dedicated counter-battery artillery brigade or for more rifled guns or howitzers depending on the circumstance - your crews will not need to re-learn how to load or aim a cannon, after all, though do keep in mind that the Veterancy 2 perk you have chosen may affect what kind of cannon you wish to arm them with.
6-Pounder Field Gun

The 6-Pounder Field Gun originally entered service in 1841, just in time to become the workhorse artillery piece in the Mexican-American war. Its bronze construction and small size made it extremely light and easily maneuverable, harking back to the days of Gustavus Adolphus and his mobile light guns directly supporting the infantry. By time of the American Civil War however, its diminutive size and weight of shot was beginning to become long in the tooth. The Union army phased out the 6-Pounder Field Gun in favor of 12-Pounder Napoleons, but it remained in active service throughout the Confederacy due to arms shortages, though Robert E. Lee at one point ordered that his 6-Pounder Field Guns be melted down and recast into 12-Pounder Napoleons.


The cheapest cannon available to both armies throughout the campaign. Basic smoothbore cannon - acceptable shell shot and canister, and will perform reasonably well in medium to close ranges for its cost. Due to their cost and high availability, you can make multiple larger batteries of these guns perform well compared to other smoothbore guns such as the 12-Pounder Napoleon. However, it is recommended to move onto other cannon given the chance, just as the Union army did in the war.


The 6-Pounder Field Gun is unexceptional in every respect except availability. To make the most out of these guns, keep them close to the frontlines to leverage their close ranged canister and medium ranged shell shot power. Furthermore, make larger batteries of these guns to make up for their lesser power. Since they're so common and cheap, it is possible to use batteries of these guns as close-support assault cannons, if you're willing to take the losses with cannon crew.
6-Pounder Wiard Rifle

The 6-Pounder Wiard Rifle was of semi-steel construction, unusual for cannons of the time. Even more unusual was its carriage mount and configuration, allowing it to fire more than 7,000 yards on a 35° incline, the most of any cannon in the civil war. However, the cannons exceptional qualities are marred by the fact that service during the Civil War was limited to no more than 60 guns and was not the most well-liked cannon.


Perhaps the most underappreciated rifled gun in all of Ultimate General: Civil War, this cannon previously was actually quite good. With the 1.04 update however, the playing field has changed once again for the 6-Pounder Wiard Rifle. The 6-Pounder Wiard is the first and most basic rifled gun of Ultimate General: Civil War and can teach you the general rules of how rifled guns work compared to smoothbores and howitzers. Though perhaps not toting the same range as it has historically, compared to the 6-Pounder Field Gun, the 6-Pounder Wiard has a leg up in killing power at long and very long ranges using bolt and shell shot. Close range fire, however, is (put politely) underwhelming at best - the 6-Pounder Wiard lags significantly in canister power as well as medium range shell shot compared to the 6-Pounder Field Gun. As of version 1.05 however, compared to the gold standard 3-Inch Ordnance Rifle, the 6-Pounder Wiard Rifle performs poorly until very close shell ranges, so switch these out for better rifled guns when you can.


If you can, keep this cannon out of canister range at all times - no exceptions whatsoever. The cannon crew is not able to defend itself due to the poor canister damage at all unless it has an infantry screen. Keep this cannon well behind your front line and let the bolt and shell shot deal with the enemy. Roll them up to keep the enemy within relatively close shell range. If you treat the 6-Pounder Wiard Gun well, it will treat you well, with accurate fire raining down on the enemy.
12-Pounder Howitzer

In history, howitzers were preferred over more conventional field guns for when sheer mobility and arced fire were required and range was of no concern. The 12-Pounder Howitzer, accepted into service in 1841 and made of bronze, filled that role well. It was light enough to be rolled around and rotated by hand, yet its heavy weight of shot allowed it to hit targets with extreme prejudice at close range. This made the 12-Pounder Howitzer particularly useful for close infantry support, wheeling up the guns with the advancing infantry and blasting the enemy line at close range. The guns stayed in constant use with the Confederate army due to a lack of cannon, while in Union service a majority were melted down and recast into Napoleons.


The 12-Pounder Howitzer is the first howitzer the player has access to, though it is only one of two howitzers in the game (the other being the 24-Pounder Howitzer). Compared to the 6-Pounder Field Gun, this cannon has much-reduced overall range. Round shot is more or less worthless, and is recommended to hold fire until the enemy enters very close range. Its shell shot however, is notably more deadly than the 6-Pounder Field Gun (at closer ranges). Canister is even more so. Due its cheap cost, wide availability, and the necessity to be in close range for optimum effectiveness, this cannon is effective more the attack and ineffective on the defense, so do not hesitate to wheel them close. However, despite its qualities over the 6-Pounder Field Gun, it is still lackluster when compared to more advanced cannon like the 12-Pounder Napoleon. Upgrade when feasible.


A good tactic to use with 12-Pounder Howitzers is the same as in history - have your infantry move up for an attack and wheel the guns up behind them, using the infantry to shield the cannons as they get into position or load. Then let loose with shell and canister and give the order to Charge. Due to the very short range at which it's ammunition becomes effective, this cannon does not perform well on the defense. Do note, however, as the battlefields change, your tactics must as well, and this cannon will become less effective in the face of tougher fortifications and better rifles. Phase this cannon out when possible.
12-Pounder Napoleon

The 12-Pounder Napoleon Light Field Gun "gun howitzer" was the standard smoothbore cannon of both sides during the Civil War. Not only was it the standard cannon of the Civil War, it was the single most common field artillery piece of the entire war. Due to the simplicity of its construction, both the Union and the Confederates produced vast quantities of the cannon throughout the war.
Introduced in 1857 and made of bronze, the M1857 Napoleon was exceptionally safe and could fire a wide variety of effective ammunition depending on the circumstances, including round shot, spherical case, shrapnel, and canister. During the course of the war, various tactics for firing these types of shot were created - for example, you could "skip" round shot and canister across the ground to create a bowling ball that mowed down a column of infantry or mained their legs. The Napoleon was the most effective, feared, and widespread cannon of the Civil War, with good reason.


The Napoleon's effectiveness in Ultimate General: Civil War is perhaps as much as history has it made out to be. The Napoleon is widely considered to be an effective cannon to arm the artillery with. Compared to other cannon, its very long ranged round shot and long ranged shell shot aren't very effective, but as the distance closes, shell shot becomes much more effective in medium range, moreso than the 12-Pounder Howitzer. Canister, however, is the Napoleon's strong point, able to blast an enemy brigade into Wavering and second-guessing their ill-fated attack with a single volley from a well-trained crew.


12-Pounder Napoleons are, as in real life, extremely versatile and can deal with most situations that involve blasting the enemy. Napoleons are equally effective on the attack and defense due to increased medium range of shell shot over the 12-Pounder Howitzer - sit back just behind the lines to shred the enemy as they march on your lines or move them up to support the attack. Though due to the cost of crew training to keep up skilled gunners, it's recommended to keep the crew out of harm's way if practicable. But do not be afraid to get them into the fray to blast the enemy at close range if you lack other forms of firepower.
10-Pounder Ordnance Rifle

Also known as the 3-Inch Ordnance Rifle (as it will be refered to it from now on, it's proper name), this cannon was the second most common rifled gun of the war. The rifle itself was an innovation in that it was made of wrought iron rather than cast as other iron cannon were made in that time period. This made it exceptionally safe against the cannon bursting and wounding or killing the crew. Its smooth, streamlined (and beautiful) shape was the result of the Federal Ordnance Department ordering that all cannon have smooth shape without sharp corners to avoid unnecessary stress on the gun, which could cause the cannon to burst - henceforth, the "Ordnance shape" was born, and proved its worth in the cannon that bears the name. Furthermore, the cannon was exceptionally accurate, with one Confederate soldier famously commenting that a Federal gunner could, "hit the end of a flour barrel more often than miss, unless the gunner got rattled." Along both sides of the war, the 3-Inch Ordnance Rifle was a favorite among artillerists, and deserves its place as one of the world's finest muzzle-loading artillery pieces ever made.


The 3-Inch Ordnance Rifle is the gold standard of rifled guns in Ultimate General: Civil War. Due to it being a rifled gun, its base damage is unimpressive, as is its canister barrage. Accuracy and overall damage potential also drops off very quickly against targets in the far half of its range, in spite of actual history stating otherwise. However, this is where the cons end - the Ordnance Rifle is the second most accurate cannon in the game, second only to the 10-Pounder Tredegar made at the Tredegar Iron Works in the South. Furthermore, the 3-Inch Ordnance Rifle has the highest rate of fire out of all the cannons. These two facets make the Ordnance Rifle possibly the most deadly rifled gun in the entire arsenal, often second only to the much scarcer and more costly 24-Pounder Howitzer.


The 3-Inch Ordnance Rifle, being a rifled gun, has exceptional shell shot. It's canister is not as effective as those from the previously discussed smoothbore or howitzer cannons, but is notably better than the 6-Pounder Wiard Gun. Due to the shorter than average effective range, keep this cannon close to the front lines and bombard the enemy with shell shot. Especially effective against enemies out in the open. It's high rate of fire combined with good accuracy make for a deadly cannon in medium range engagements. However, if the enemy closes in, the 3-Inch Ordnance Rifle is capable of defending itself given there is an infantry screen.
10-Pounder Parrott Rifle

The 10-Pounder Parrott Rifle, made of cast iron with a wrought iron reinforcing band around the rear of the cannon, was the single most common rifled gun of the Civil War. The simplicity of the creation process of the Parrott rifle meant that Confederate foundries could produce the cannon nearly as well as their Union counterparts, and thus was produced in vast quantities in both the Union and the Confederacy. However, that same simplicity using brittle cast iron meant the cannon was more likely to burst if something went wrong, killing or maiming the crew in the process - crews weren't ecstatic about servicing a Parrott rifle in combat. The 10-Pounder Parrott was initially made in one unique caliber, 2.9-inch, but after an ammunition mix-up at a critical time at the Battle of Gettysburg, the Union ordered all 10-Pounder Parrotts rebored to 3 inches, meaning they could share ammunition with 3-Inch Ordnance Rifles if necessary. However, the Confederates did not do this, complicating their logistics lines. Later on, new production 10-Pounder Parrotts in the Union dispensed with the muzzle swell and had an "Ordnance" shape to it, removing the shoulder near the trunnion. The 10-Pounder Parrott Rifle represented in-game is of this production.


The 10-Pounder Parrott Rifle has an unusual spread in effectiveness. It deals very, very reasonable damage out to it's 1700 maximum range. In fact, it's long ranged solid shot is the best out of all the cannons until you get to the pricier guns such as the 14-Pounder James Rifle. More interestingly, its solid shot deals more damage on average than it's shell shot does - as such, shell shot is underwhelming. Canister is unusally effective for a rifled gun, though not nearly matching that of smoothbores.


The usage of the 10-Pounder Parrott Rifle should be as a counter-battery gun targeting brigades of tactical importance on the enemy line. Keep this cannon near the front targeting enemy artillery batteries, and prioritize targets further out due to it's poor shell shot performance. Its strengths lie in the long ranged effectiveness of its solid shot.
10-Pounder Tredegar Rifle

The 10-Pounder Tredegar Rifle in-game is a mashup of all the cannons produced by Tredegar Iron Works near Richmond, Virginia during the Civil War, as there was no single gun made by Tredegar Iron Works known as the "Tredegar Rifle". Tredegar was the largest ironworks in the Confederacy during the Civil War, and was further known for producing high-quality cannons and weaponry for the Confederate army rivaling that of the Union's foundries. However, due to the poor quality of iron, the unbanded iron rifled cannon made at Tredegar had a tendency to burst. Thankfully, the cannon that represents Tredegar Iron Works appears to be of a safer, banded design.


The 10-Pounder Tredegar Rifle has one statistic that jumps out at everyone who looks over the weapon - its impressive accuracy of 50, leading the charge by a massive margin over the 3-Inch Ordnance Rifle, which was even then known for accuracy. With the 1.04 update, this cannon received a substantial improvement over its old life. Bolt shot is lackluster at best, around the same effectiveness as the 3-Inch Ordnance Rifle. Shell shot is mildly effective at long range, somewhat moreso than the 3-Inch Ordnance Rifle. However, once you close the distance to medium ranged shell shot, this cannon starts to shine. As of version 1.05, its extreme accuracy at medium ranges means shell shot will rip enemy brigades apart that dare to come closer. Canister is mildly effective, comparable to that of the 3-Inch Ordnance Rifle - capable of defending itself.


The 10-Pounder Tredegar has a very, very picky engagement range at peak effectiveness. But when you do find that range, the Tredegar starts to show how effective it can be. The best way to use the Tredegar is to keep it in that optimum engagement distance, between canister range and midway through shell shot range. Actively move the cannons forwards and back to keep targets in that range, otherwise the Tredegar will start to become less effective. But when it is kept in that Goldilocks zone, the 10-Pounder Tredegar rifle is capable of reaping a harvest that any artilleryman would be proud of.
12-Pounder Whitworth Rifle

The 12-Pounder Whitworth Rifle is an all-steel cannon created by Sir Joseph Whitworth (yes, the same Whitworth who created the Whitworth Rifle) and manufactured in England, mainly imported by the Confederates during the Civil War. The cannon was extremely unique in two ways - the loading system and the barrel. The 12-Pounder Whitworth was the first breech-loading cannon to be created, an exceptional step up in weapons development. Furthermore, the ammunition it used and the barrel it had were hexagonal, using Whitworth's own rifling scaled up from the smaller Whitworth Rifle. During the war, it was noted as being incredibly accurate, but as ammunition has to be imported and the breech loading mechanism was prone to jamming, the Whitworth cannon was seen seldom on the battlefield.


As of version 1.06, the Whitworth received a buff. This made the Whitworth much more effective at long range than before, so much so that it hits harder at longer range than shorter range. Use this to your advantage to hit targets well outside of the range of other cannon to harry enemy troops as they close. Shell shot is acceptable, but only in the second half of it's range. Canister shot, however, is unusual - due to the Whitworth’s exceptionally long base range, the canister has especially long range, long enough that it can fire canister on approaching enemy infantry while being out of musket range. Canister damage is such that it can hold off an enemy bridge for a short while while you rally reinforcements, but if infantry have gotten that close then a mistake has been made.


Keep this gun well behind friendly lines, as this cannon will be grow more deadly the further the range is. At long and very long ranges is where this cannon's potential lays - the capability to reach out and touch the enemy far beyond their own ranges. It can and will deal very consistent damage at those ranges, even though cover.
14-Pounder James Rifle

The 14-Pounder James Rifle actually isn't the kind of cannon that has a set shape or look to it - in fact, it's a both conversion process that could be applied to any cannon that required rifling as well as newly manufactured cannons. However, Charles T. James designed and preferred a 3.8 inch, 14-pounder shell to be used in such rifles, known as "true" James rifles, which we will go over here. There are two main "types" of true James rifles known - the first, Type 1, is a converted 6-Pounder Field Gun to have 15-groove rifling. Type 2 uses the "Ordnance" shape as directed by Ordnance Department in the Union and are new manufacture. There was a third, experimental version - Types 1 and 2 were both bronze, while Type 3 is made of iron and uses a unique trunnion band. All used James-patent ammunition, which appeared to be an oversized minie bullet with slots cut in the skirt and had greased hemp or canvas stuffed inside to act on the rifling. No cannon could ever be called a "James Rifle", rather that a cannon used a "James system" of rifling. The in-game cannon (as well as the one portrayed in the photo), however, appears to be a Model 1829 32-Pounder Siege Gun using the James system of rifling, and is thus incorrect when referring to it as a "14-Pounder James Rifle".


As of version 1.05, the 14-Pounder James Rifle in-game deals good damage all across it's relativley short range, keeping the challenge up for the competition. Its very long ranged potential shooting its James ammunition (i.e. bolt shot) is particularly good with the 14-Pounder James - it's fully capable of doing counter-battery duties dealing consistent damage over volleys. The shell shot is effective as well, from long to medium range, losing no effectiveness. Canister is actually mildly effective with the 14-Pounder James, and can deal substantial damage and cause brigades to think about their approach a second time.


The 14-Pounder James is the jack-of-all-trades cannon in Ultimate General: Civil War. Give a battery of 14-Pounder James an artillery target and they'll happily reduce it to smoking timbers and twisted iron, or they'll blow an infantry brigade to pieces. If you do get into canister range, be sure to provide and infantry screen and the 14-Pounder James Rifle should be able to help. However, this cannon's unusually short overall range means you'll constantly have to move this cannon up into range, but the payoff is large.
24-Pounder Howitzer

The Model 1841 24-Pounder Field Howitzer was part of the same line of artillery piece as the 6-Pounder Field Gun and the 12-Pounder Howitzer. Made of brass, its imposing size deceives the eye, as it is only around 100 pounds heavier than the well-known M1857 Napoleon. However, weights in the carriage and ammunition chest added up so that the cannon required more men and horses to move around than the Napoleon and carried less ammunition, which posed a serious logistical problem. Despite these problems, the cannon saw relatively widespread usage across both sides on the war, stretching from beginning to end. One of the largest artillery pieces to be hauled across the battlefield by regular armies, both sides valued the piece for it's awesome firepower in the form of 24-pound, 5.82 inch shells bursting over the heads of their enemies, and so they remained in service on both sides in forts and in field armies.


The 24-Pounder Howitzer is a veritable brass bell of a gun that belches out fire and brimstone at whatever happens to be unfortunate enough to wander into range. It's round shot is surprisingly effective for a howitzer - the crew must have learned how to skip round shot through multiple regiments by simply equipping these guns. Shell shot is even more deadly, capable of wreaking havoc incomprable to any other weapon, slicing through even dense cover. Canister range is something you simply do not do against a 24-Pounder Howitzer - a skilled crew might pull off 200 kills in a single volley, instantly routing any brigade foolish enough to charge into canister range.


The 24-Pounder Howitzer is a defensive weapon only - due to it's incredibly high cost. rarity, and upkeep required to keep the crew in shape with veterans, it is simply not worth the risk of taking these cannon out of cover to enemies. Doing so will be at your own peril - and expense. However, on the defense, the 24-Pounder Howitzer is hands-down the best cannon for the job. If anything gets close, it gets blasted into oblivion - skirmishers, infantry, cavalry, and even other artillery units should they wander into range. However, do not fire canister into a melee with a battery of these guns - due to the absolutely mind-boggling amount of damage that you deal with these cannons combined with the fact you're firing into the rear of your own troops (even with the minimal amount of friendly fire), you are going to end up Routing both the enemy brigade and the friendly brigade it was in melee with. Best if you find another target, as you'll only do more damage to yourself.
20-Pounder Parrott Rifle

The 20-Pounder Parrott Rifle was created in the same line of thought as the 10-Pounder Parrott Rifle. Except bigger. And that's essentially what it was - a more strongly built (though perhaps not as safe) and larger-bore version of its little brother, the 10-Pounder Parrott. The shells it lobed were known for being highly accurate and having reasonable effect on target. However, despite increased firepower, the gun was plagued with a slew of issues. It was known to be too heavy for conventional field use, and too light for siege purposes, and had a very nasty tendency to burst on firing, even worse than its smaller brother. The size of the gun had pushed the limits of the strengths of brittle cast iron. Further compounding the issue was the fact the 20-Pounder Parrott never transitioned into the "Ordnance" shape as its smaller 10-pounder cousin did. General Henry Hunt at one point even tried to have it completely removed from Union service, though fell on deaf ears due to the low cost, ease of manufacture and easy training for such a weapon. In-game, The 20-Pounder Parrott is portrayed incorrectly, as it lacks the muzzle swell that all 20-Pounder Parrott Rifles had.


Now, I'm known for harping about the 20-Pounder Parrott Rifle in the past, about how terrible it was. But, that's about to change - with the 1.04 patch, this cannon is now absolutely deadly from close range all the way out to its maximum range. Its bolt shot is more than capable of killing off the crew of artillery brigades, or plinking infantry at range. As of version 1.05, its shell shot will more than happily tear holes in enemy lines, moreso than even the 3-Inch Ordnance Rifle across all ranges on a per-volley basis. And, unusual for a rifled gun, the 20-Pounder Parrott is more than capable of defending itself with its close ranged canister blasts. Due to the cannon's long range, the canister range is also notably long. Not as effective as the 12-Pounder Napoleon, but it can get the job done much better than any other rifled gun. I believe I can safely say the 20-Pounder Parrott is on-par with the effectiveness of the 3-Inch Ordnance Rifle, and moreso in certain circumstances. The 20-Pounder Parrott has gone from the single worst cannon in the game to one of the best, a position worthy of its price and a position it should be proud to be in.

The King is Dead, Long Live the King.


Hands down, the best rifled gun in the game. The 20-Pounder Parrott Rifle is effective throughout all ranges, from Close, Medium, Long, and Very Long Range. Shell shot is deadly at both Medium and Long range, and a battery of 20-Pounder Parrotts can defend itself with canister easily. This gun is very, very versatile and can engage any target at any range effectively.
Alright, so now you've learned what each cannon can and cannot do and how each compares to the other cannons in the game. As it stands, the 24-Pounder Howitzer and the 20-Pounder Parrott Rifle (displacing the King, the 3-Inch Ordnance Rifle) are the two best cannon in the game. You've learned that nearly every gun has a good time and place to be used. You've also learned the differences between the classes of guns give each a specific role on the battlefield, as close support, counter-battery, defense, and others. Cannons of particular note:

The 3-Inch Ordnance Rifle. The Gold Standard, very effective at Medium range.

The 12-Pounder Napoleon. Excellent close-support gun with reasonable ranged power.

The 10-Pounder Tredegar has earned a notable highlight as an excelent medium ranged cannon capable on both attack and defense.

14-Pounder James Rifle. Excellent counter-battery gun.

24-Pounder Howitzer - downright lethal shell and canister shot. Buy them all.

Finally, the 20-Pounder Parrott Rifle is an excellent cannon across all ranges. Some cannon may be more effective at certain ranges, but this claims effectiveness across all ranges. Buy them all!

Hopefully you learned something from reading this! Good luck on the battlefield, Generals!
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131 commenti
DANDECHINO 6 ott, ore 21:29 
This is impressive. THANKS
Caramirdan 10 giu, ore 17:21 
Not sure if it's mentioned anywhere, or if this is the right place to mention it, and please correct me if this is wrong: limbering a loaded battery does not waste ammo; instead it just unloads the ammo, then reloads once setting up to fire (as ammo only gets used when fired). I mention this because somewhere I got the opposite into my little brain -- testing seems to show that was thankfully wrong.
=BYOB= Sgt_Rock 26 mag, ore 9:37 
Impressive article. Thanks!
II-2ndVA(I)Rct.Dredd 24 mag, ore 17:44 
My lord. What a magnificent commentary. My compliments to you sir.
The Soldier  [autore] 17 dic 2018, ore 23:45 
Alien147 16 dic 2018, ore 19:38 
For a complete novice, this guide is fantastic reading.
(I have the game, just not through Steam.)
sekelsky 16 nov 2018, ore 16:06 
i find the firerate incress perk to be beter then thte acury perks becuse if you miss your target you may hit a difrent units howery you use slitghly more amo per shot
Human72 14 ott 2018, ore 10:03 
another thing i did in my union run though is the combine arms approach of when maxed out to 6 birgades per division 3 infantry one artillery one dedicated skrimish battalion and one cav brigade of 2 shock and 2 carbine over the 4 disions with each division having a cav section of either shock or carbine as it's own. it got me though and cleared the game at least twice.
Human72 13 ott 2018, ore 23:40 
the veterncy perk 2 is basically either for gun movment while unlimbered more stealth etc and the other two basically is either the gun crews can aim there peaces with better accuracy or load up said peace with speed it is the third perk to me honesitly that determins which cannon barrel to use do you want the long range guns that can do more damage with round or shell? or guns that can do damage with canaster shot at short range and go for the lighter more moble guns. those two will lock in the gun barrel option for the crews.
The Soldier  [autore] 14 set 2018, ore 1:02 
Couldn't tell you much - most of what I know comes from research through the internet.