HQs, Generals and Admirals
Three critical concepts in warfare are Headquarters, Generals and Admirals.
There is a nominal HQ (or headquarters), for each strategic region. This isn’t a building or a place, but rather an organizational concept under which all of the battalions or flotillas in the barracks, naval bases and conscription centres in a region are collected in reserve until they have been assigned to a general or admiral. After battalions or flotillas are assigned to a general or admiral, then they will stay with that general or admiral as they follow the orders given to it.
So, for example, continental France is split into three strategic regions – France, Occitania and Rhine – and has a HQ for each. If it has barracks buildings employing people in all three regions, and has not yet recruited any generals, then each of those HQs will have battalions assigned to it.
This is what one possible France looks like in 1868 with the military lens (Alt-4) selected. The France and Rhine HQs are as they appear without mousing over, while the Occitania HQ has been moused over to provide more detail – in this case, it shows that in Occitania there are 130 battalions under one general, and 5 unassigned, and 49 (of a maximum of 52) flotillas under one admiral, with 4 unassigned – the reason the 4 unassigned flotillas haven’t been assigned to the admiral is that they have recently been in a battle and some of their ships were destroyed, and haven’t been replaced yet, but will be in time.
Importantly, for naval invasions, admirals can only launch naval invasions with generals from the same HQ. If playing a nation that is likely to undertake naval invasions, it is worth bearing this in mind when decided where to build barracks and naval bases, to ensure that adequate flotillas and battalions (under admirals and generals) can be matched together for an invasion.
Generals lead battalions, and are the principal unit of land warfare (they can be thought of as abstract ‘stacks’ of units). When a general is recruited, they are assigned to a HQ, to which they are attached permanently. Given this, when recruiting a general, use the table to see which HQs have the most unassigned battalions available as a useful guide as to where the general should be assigned (while it is possible to recruit a general to a HQ with no available battalions, in the vast majority of cases this is unlikely to be a productive use of the bureaucracy that pays for the general).
When recruiting a general, the starting traits of that general are shown – many of these traits have substantial modifiers attached to them (which can be both positive and negative) with which it can be worth becoming familiar. Once recruited, each general has a maximum number of battalions they can command, which is influenced by their rank (see below) and sometimes by their traits. Note that this capacity is separately calculated for regular and conscript battalions.
General Nadir Pasha of the Ottoman Empire is a good general to defend with in hilly or mountainous terrain, something the Ottoman Empire has no shortage of. This general would be particularly powerful defending a front in Anatolia.
Admirals are the naval equivalent of generals, and when it comes to recruiting and leading units operate similarly to generals, except that they lead flotillas rather than battalions, and that there no conscript flotillas (so there is only one type of command capacity, for flotillas). Like generals, admirals are assigned to a HQ on creation and remain with that HQ permanently, and like generals there is generally no reason to assign an admiral to a HQ that does not already have spare flotillas ready to command.
Pay attention when recruiting generals and admirals, as not all traits are positive.
Generals and admirals, as recruited, both start with a relatively low command capacity, which can be increased by promoting them. Both have five levels of promotion, with command capacity increasing with each. Each level of promotion increases the bureaucratic upkeep of the general, but in terms of sheer numbers of battalions under command, it is more efficient in bureaucratic upkeep to promote a general to a higher rank, than recruit a new general.
Promoting general Muravyov-Karsky from Major General to Lieutenant General will increase his command capacity by 20 regular and 40 conscript battalions.
It can be valuable promoting a general or admiral with powerful traits to command a large number of battalions, but it is worth bearing in mind that the general/admiral can only be in one place at a time, and sometimes it may be more useful strategically to have two lower-ranked generals/admirals for a HQ rather than one higher-ranked general/admiral.
Death and Retirement
Like all characters, generals and admirals grow old and die, and when this happens the battalions under their command will first be attributed to any generals assigned to the same HQ with spare command capacity, and then be returned to the HQ and remain there in reserve as a garrison force.
It is also possible to remove aenerals and admirals prior to the end of their natural tenure, by retiring them. Both generals and admirals can acquire negative traits over the course of their careers, and removing them can open the way for replacements with better characteristics. However, be mindful that retirement comes with the cost of making the Armed Forces interest group unhappy.