Grand Tactician The Civil War (1861-1865): Basic Weapon Guide

I haven’t noticed something like this made so far, So here’s a basic look at Infantry and Cavalry Weapons with some tidbits about Artillery I’ve learned from my experience


To Start, Infantry Weapons

To start the guide I’m going to start with the parts that I have the most experience with: Infantry

With infantry there’s two important things to know:

First is that Range is more valuable to Infantry in specific because infantry is Slow.

The second is that the Melee Weapons attached are important in a order from Best to Worst: Sword Bayonet>Bayonet>Mixed Knives

Grade A for Excellent: Our Lord and Savior the Sharps Field Rifle

Here at the Top, there’s only space for one rifle and said rifle in virtually any scenario is far superior to the rest of the competition and if used properly can beat any weapon and unit in the game

The sharps is the best infantry Rifle in the Game, with a stat line of 500 meter Range, Very Good Accuracy, 9 Rounds per minute rate of fire, and a Sword Bayonet. What is there to not like about this gun apart from the generally low availability. Simply put the early ones you get on your Regulars and/or your Veterans and watch them mulch enemy infantry, cavalry, and artillery at any range and easily repulse enemy charges. Though do favor longer range to not only limit the attrition your units will take, but also(As Confederates) to stay away from the odd Yankee Unit that might have one of the two guns that can actually match or do better at close ranges

B for Good, the Superior Line Infantry Rifles

This category will have an astounding 7 Rifles, the most of any category not because these rifles are common persay, but because there’s just many types of rifles that you’ll only have 2-4 units armed with them(save the final two on this part of the list)

The Spenser Repeating Rifle
With a range of 350 meters you can get bullied some by other rifles of this category firing from long range, but where it comes into its element is the 16 Rounds per Minute rate of fire, medium accuracy, and with what’s going to be a rule of most of the rifles it has the basic Bayonet. So generally I rate this category based off of rifles that I know I can give an infantry unit and it’ll result in them being able to take on 2-3 other brigades and win, and with this rifle’s blistering rate of fire you’ll be able to stand your ground and devastate Johnny Reb, and its one of the two rifles that can outdo the Sharps if you get in close enough to make up for the difference in Accuracy. Generally I can’t say how much I love this rifle except that I typically don’t use it for infantry as its one of the best rifles to give your cavalry which I find need it more than the Infantry

The Henry Rifle
With a stat line of 300 meters which does result in it being somewhat more tedious to use, it has the same accuracy of medium, but it has the same deliciously sweet 16 Rounds per Minute rate of fire that the Spenser has, and to round it off sadly mixed knives as its melee weapon. This to put it plainly a discount Spenser, you use it the same as a Spenser, and it too can beat a sharps at close quarters, it will be harder to use. Similarly I typically don’t use it for infantry because the Cavalry needs it more, but in the hands of good infantry it can just shred opposing infantry like the Spenser and Sharps though its 300 meter range does drag it down somewhat

The Hall Rifle
One of the two rifles that seem to be the parents of the Sharps Rifle, and the first of the out-of-production weapons on this list, it has the standard Rifle range of 400 meters, Very Good Accuracy9 Rounds per Minute, but sadly a normal Bayonet. Plain and simple this is a baby sharps in combat, although you don’t get the bonuses of the additional 100 meters of range but in all other aspects its similar to the Sharps, put this on a good unit and it’ll be able to do whatever you need to do as it’ll put out the same or more damage of 3 brigades armed with normal Infantry Rifles. Put a veteran unit with one of these on a bridge or ford, and the enemy will pay dearly to even attempt to cross and as general advise I recommend you put these on your Regulars once you get them.

The Mississippi Rifle
The other of the two rifles that seem to be the parents of the Sharps rifle, strangely for a rifle made in 1861 it has a superior range of 500 meters, with Very Good Accuracy, sadly only 2.5 rounds per minute, but it does have a Sword Bayonet to seemingly make up for it. This rifle is better on the offense rather than the defense, using its increased range to dictate when and where the fighting starts. Use it at longer ranges as at closer ranges regular rifles will perform similarly to it and your Springfield Muskets will do significantly better if they are in buck n’ ball range but this rifle does pair Supremely with the Sharpshooter and Ace of Spades brigade perk and if the brigade is managed right you can make a complete mockery of units armed with shorter ranged weapons

The Whitworth Rifle
The newest rifle to the game, and what happens if you give a munchkin privileges to make a rifle but he couldn’t make a Sharps. It is what happens if you take the Mississippi rifle and make what it does good better, but what it does worse even worse. It has an astounding 600 Meter Range, the expected Excellent Accuracy, a Pitiful 2 rounds per minute, but it still has the Sword Bayonet. This you cannot ever use at close quarters, as even standard rifles will keep up to it, but instead you have to have the enemy march to your tempo using its extreme range and use its incredible accuracy to deliver devastating volley after devastating volley at specifically long range and if someone gets close use your superior Bayonet to charge home(though I generally would advise just falling back and continue to pelt them at long range as melee is a gamble of if things go as planned or if something derps with their unit getting wiped out while yours takes something like 1500 casualties)

The Dreyse Needle Gun
This Prussian Rifle is the best mass service rifle that you’ll get as traditional Confederates. It has the average rifle range of 400 meters, Medium Accuracy, a good 9 Rounds per Minute rate of Fire, and the usual Bayonet. This is quite literally the standard Infantry Rifle but with three times the rate of fire, and because it isn’t a unicorn gun like the ones mentioned above where you’ll only have a few of them I’d recommend you use this at medium ranges to make the most use of the rate of fire but preventing excessive attrition. At medium ranges poor Billy Yank armed with a Springfield stands little chance against units armed with these

The Fayetteville Rifle
Another Confederate rifle that’s a mass use rifle instead of things like the Whitworth and Sharps, this time it has a superior 500 meter range, the normal Medium Accuracy, with the typical 3 rounds per minute, but also has a Sword Bayonet this time as well. Its quite seriously just a superior Line Infantry Rifle at all ranges and in CQC, not too much better apart from the toying you can do with the longer range but in general you vollies will hit harder and if you decide to charge home(reasonable this time since you’ll have quite a few of these by ’62-’63) you’ll do a bit better overall the low end of the Superior Grade but it is still very nice and helps even out Billy Yank’s numbers advantage

C for Average, the Standard Infantry Rifle

Although this category technically has 6 Rifles in it, it effectively has only 3 that have any degree of major difference

The Springfield Rifle, The Enfield Rifle, The Lorenz Rifle, and The Minie P1851 Rifle
These are the bog standard rifles that you’ll end up arming most of your troops with after the initial phase of the war where you need every single rifle and musket you can get your hands on to replace the Mixed Muskets, and although they likely vary some in the specific accuracy values and in other ways they all have the standard 400 meter range, Medium Accuracy, the bog standard 3 rounds per minute, and the standard Bayonet. These are the standard later in the game, but early on where I would consider these “Power” weapons in a time where the most common weapons are the Mixed Muskets and Springfield muskets use these at longer ranges as to keep the units with the precious rifles alive and not get attrition’d by 3-4 Brigades throwing themselves at your rifle boys

The Richmond Rifle
This has a different spin on the standard rifle, with having an above average 450 Meter Range, the average Medium Accuracy, a below average 2.5 rounds per minute, and the Standard Bayonet. I personally prefer it over the above rifles, but only because I like the initiative to start the fight provided by the increased range and the Preference for Longer Ranges that I like to fight in and this rifle lends nicely to, as while at longer ranges You’ll beat out Billy Yank armed with a Springfield, if Billy Yank gets close to a unit armed with these he’ll go either better or equal due to the increased rate of fire

The Plains Rifle
You’ll only be getting one or two of these at the start, but it does play significantly differently from the Standard 4, and is significantly better than the Poor Rifles. With its stat line of the standard 400 meter range, a not so standard Very Good Accuracy, with a sub-par 2.5 round per minute Rate of Fire, and sadly with Knives as its melee weapon. With this you need to stay at longer ranges to take advantage of its accuracy and downplay its rate of fire disadvantage, but generally I like it and not only because its one of the few rifles that you get to sprinkle thought the theaters when you really need them in ’61-early ’62

D for Poor, the Poor and Unreliable Rifles and Weapons

This section contains 4 Weapons, 3 of which are technically Rifles but still weapons here are ones that you should replace with the rifles of the C tier as soon as practical, as while the Springfield and the Merrill Carbine can beat out a unit of rifles on its own, it requires aggressive plays and specific situations where you can get in close which significantly reduces their flexibility too much with too little reward in my opinion

The Merrill Carbine
To start off with the more complex one. You get a mere 300 Meter Range, Medium Accuracy, a 9 Rounds per Minute Rate of Fire, and only Knives for their melee weapon. Now I can see someone asking “Timmerz, why is this in D while the Henry with the same range is at B?” and that’s because the Henry has almost double the rate of fire, so that while you are still inflexible with it, at least you melt the enemy in exchange compared to this carbine. It matters not really anyways, as this should be pockmarked for the Cavalry as while 300 meters is horrible for Infantry, at times I feel willing to kill to get more 300+ meter range Cavalry Weapons so in general use this for cavalry not Infantry.

The Springfield Musket
The bog Standard weapon of 1861, it has a mere 250 meter Range, a pitiful Poor Accuracy, but a standard 3 rounds per minute rate of fire, and a Bayonet. This can scale somewhat since it does devastating damage in Buck N’ Ball Range(I think its about 50-100 meter range) so you can go even or better with your Standard Rifles in that short range and if you really need to you can do better than the Mississippi or Whitworth by going into knife range and blowing them away, but I don’t trust it as with order delays “Aggressive” maneuvers like advancing or charging has a delay since it needs to be given by the commander of the brigade while “Defensive” orders like falling back or retreating are instant, so the enemy can just walk backwards to keep in their prime range while you have to advance to just have a chance

The Re-bored Musket Rifle
This is the Mixed Muskets of the Rifles, but because its a Rifle its alright. It has the standard 400 meter range, a pitiful Poor Accuracy, a below average 2.5 rounds per minute rate of fire, and the knives expected from rebored mixed muskets. You use these because they are actually rifles and are vastly more flexible than the Muskets, and if used in cover you can actually stand up to proper rifles but don’t overestimate them and know that they are the worst of the 400 meter range rifles.

The M1817 Rifle
This is the Springfield Musket to the Mixed Muskets compared to the Re-Bored Muskets. It has the same stats of the 400 meter range, Poor Accuracy, a below average 2.5 rounds per minute. While it may seem initially that it has no advantages compared to the Rebored Musket, just as in the actual numbers that we don’t see the Springfield is significantly more accurate compared to the Mixed Muskets this is significantly more accurate compared to the Rebored Muskets, though its used the same way just slightly better.

F for the Sad Mixed Muskets, and Strength in Numbers

I presume you already know that the Mixed Muskets have the pitiful 250 meter range, poor accuracy, 2.5 rounds per minute, and have Knives. But this section I feel is more to explain how to use them as opposed to complaining about how terrible they are. The ONE Saving grace of Mixed Muskets is that they like the Springfields get the Buck N’ Ball effect when they are close enough, during which they actually do pretty good damage and during which they can even defeat the D tier weapons that isn’t the Springfield(as its just a superior version to Mixed Muskets) so be aggressive but not go into melee since your green boys will just get their arses handed to them(at least I HOPE you aren’t giving Vets or Regulars Mixed Muskets), Keep your commanders close(Alt+Click) to minimize order delay, and preferably to attack from multiple directions to make falling back as hard as possible for the enemy

Continuing, Cavalry Weapons

With Cavalry, there’s two more things to know for them:

First, Cavalry grant a 5% Morale per Hour Boost to nearby Infantry and Artillery, this makes them an exceptional Reserve force when combined with the next point

Second, Cavalry tend to be more focused on close quarters combat with their weaponry tending to favor shorter ranges and higher rates of fire, this makes them perfect Reserves as if say one of your infantry in Line gets charged through you can react with your cavalry who’ll already be within their prime range to deal massive damage. All the while buffing the morale of all of your infantry nearby

A, The Triumvirate of the best Cavalry Weapons

This Section technically has four different Carbines, but in practice there’s only three different weapons

The Sharps Carbine
The little brother of the Sharps Rifle, it looses its excellent range with the carbine only having a 350 meter Range, but it keeps its very good Accuracy, and 9 rounds per minute rate of fire. Generally I’d say a sidegrade compared to the next rifle but it is a pretty good golden standard for Cavalry Weapons as Cavalry armed with this Carbine will perform excellently in pretty much all situations

The Spenser Rifle
While only good on Infantry, it is arguably the best Cavalry Firearm, as while the 350 meter Range is a liability for Infantry, but the aggressive nature of Cavalry means that the 350 meter Range gives flexibility compared to the other Cavalry Weapons while the Rate of Fire makes it the king of Carbines(reposting the stats, 350 meter range, medium accuracy, and 16 Rounds per Minute)

The Henry Rifle and the Spenser Carbine
It is good the same reason why the Spenser is good, just that instead of having a Great 350 meter range for Cavalry it instead has an average 300 meter Range. Still the 16 Rounds per Minute rate of fire makes it top of class for Cavalry(reposting the stats, 300 meter range, medium accuracy, and 16 rounds per minute)

B, The Good Carbines

Sadly there’s only two weapons here as Cavalry Carbines vary wildly in terms of Quality

The Enfield Musketoon
This Carbine with a Great for Cavalry 400 meter range, Very Good Accuracy, and 3.5 rounds per minute gives it good performance at longer ranges, and superior to standard line infantry. However that’s also its limitation as it will perform like Line Infantry as opposed to Cavalry, that being its limitation but a brigade armed with these will always be useful on the battlefield unlike some other Carbines I can think of

The Maynard Carbine
This Carbine has a good range with its 300 Meter Range, Very Good Accuracy, and has a 12 rounds per minute rate of fire. Its overall a good carbine and is the king of the 300 meter range class, though it doesn’t have much competition and is vastly better than the 200 meter range weapons. Though it is significantly outclassed by the top three weapons still.

C, The Average Carbines

This section is also going to be somewhat sparse with only 3 Carbines, And this marks the end of the “good” Carbines that result in Cavalry that’s easy to use during a battle

The Joslyn Rifled Carbine
This Carbine with 300 meter range, Medium Accuracy, and a 10 Rounds per Minute rate of fire is a good carbine, a bit better than the Merrill Carbine because of the slightly faster rate of fire and I swear I get a bit more effect per volley out of these than the Merrill, though I admit I haven’t used these that much since production is small for these.

The Merrill Carbine
In its proper category although I put it at C, it is better than the VAST majority of carbines available just due to the fact that its 300 meter range gives it so much more flexibility compared to the 200 meter range carbines. It is pretty good nothing more and nothing less(reposting stats: 300 Meter Range, Medium Accuracy, and 9 Rounds per Minute rate of fire)

Colt Revolving Rifle
This Rifle is the first of the dreaded 200 meter range Carbines, meaning you might find it difficult to even engage with the carbine. However you do have the redeeming factor of a 12 rounds per minute rate of fire with the typical Medium Accuracy. I put this up here only because if you do get into proper range you can get a very good return, but its very difficult to get into that range without accidentally going into melee

D, The many, the Bad Carbines

In this section we get to the dreaded 200 Meter Range Carbines, of which 4 Carbines of 3 distinct types resign. My problem with 200 meter range isn’t the fact that you need to be aggressive, its because many times you will find it hard to properly engage, and when you do you have four outcomes: You win, the enemy Breaks. You Retreat with severe casualties. The enemy Retreats with both of you even. Or you Break on the Enemy. with little in between because you have to be so balls deep aggressive with these and you’ll likely be within Buck n’ Ball range when you do which heavily favors infantry with Muskets. Rants aside, lets begin

The Smith Carbine
A bog standard Carbine of both sides, it has 200 Meters of Range, Medium Accuracy, and a 7 Rounds per Minute Rate of Fire. Generally bad, while within its engagement range its better than the Springfield Musketoon and the Mixed Carbines, those have the option of going into Buck n’ Ball Range to get more effective while the Smith is outclassed by the Burnside and Frank Wesson Carbines.

The Burnside Carbine, The Frank Wesson Carbine
Pretty identical with the difference being that the Union can build the Burnside while the CSA Can’t. At 200 Meter Range, Medium Accuracy, and a 9 Rounds per Minute Rate of Fire they’re an upgrade to the Smith but not by much. Generally I dislike these carbines as I find using them to be difficult and micromanagement intensive, though I swear the Frank Wesson does better per-volley, I can’t really back that up with experience due to how rarely units that I’ve had with these engaged

The Springfield Musketoon
it is a Carbine Version of the Springfield Musket, with a 250 meter range, 2.5 Rounds per Minute Rate of fire(how does shortening the Barrel of a Muzzle Loading Musket Reduce the Rate of Fire?!), and poor Accuracy. Generally I’d find this top of class for this tier of Carbine, as while the 50 additional meters don’t sound like much it actually has resulted in my cavalry armed with these engaging much more often than with the other three carbines mentioned above. On top of that it can also do Buck n’ Ball, still is horrendous and should be replaced with any 300 meter+ range carbine, but it isn’t too bad

F, The sad, the Mixed Carbines

At 200 meters of Range, 3 Rounds per Minute, and with the expected Poor Accuracy its no real surprise that they are horrible, but its not its fault its the default for your cavalry and honestly isn’t too much worse compared to the D tier carbines. At least with these if you are going aggressive you might as well go balls-deep and allow your 3rpm to do some work with the Buck n’ Ball effect and generally the advise I gave for Mixed Muskets apply here, just with even less range and being more fragile than Infantry

End, some comments on Artillery

Although I use plenty of Artillery in my campaigns I don’t really have that much experience with it. Mainly because during the part of the campaign which I pay extreme amounts of attention to(’61) I typically have to make do with 6pdrs as I typically have something akin to 20-40 Artillery Batteries with only 2-10 actually Artillery pieces to distribute across them. But I have picked up on some things:

Remember, Canister Shot devastate Morale regardless of the actual damage from all artillery pieces

6pdr fields Suck, they won’t do much of any damage at any range, with their use being for doing morale damage especially at close quarters with its Canister Shot

The Howitzers(12pdr and 24pdr) apparently have a bonus against entrenched units, but I haven’t really noticed it much. Treat 12pdr Howitzers as discount 12pdr guns while the 24pdrs are the kings of medium-close range combat

The 12pdr guns, both field and Napoleon are best used at medium-close range. Their canister devastates morale and they will fire to decent effect, with Iron Napoleons being worse than Bronze Napoleons at medium but practically the same at close quarters with the 12pdr field being better than the 12pdr Howitzer but worse than the Iron Napoleon

The rifled guns(10pdr Parrot, 14pdr James, 3 inch ordnance, 12pdr Bakerly, 12pdr Armstrong) are best used at Medium to Longer ranges to fire for effect, although all have very serviceable canister with the 12pdr Armstrong being the king of the category with almost double the rate of fire at 5 rounds per minute.

Heavy Guns(20 and 30pdr Parrots) are best kept for long range fire, as they do good damage per volley but their rate of fire lets them down at medium to close ranges. Notably they do nasty things to Forts as well

Specialist Guns(6pdr and 12pdr whitworths) are best used at long range, as their very consistent damage does allow them to do well against the fragile artillery batteries, though the 12pdr Whitworth is able to fire for decent effect against infantry similar to the Rifled Guns

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