I’ve mentioned skirmishing as a rule, a formation and an action on various occasions but have never gone in depth into the topic. Hopefully I’ll clear this up now.
Units that have the Skirmishing special rule are able to deploy a base (with the same footprint as its own) of skirmishers. These skirmishers are a single combat die worth of men and are armed usually in the same fashion as the unit to which they originated from.
Skirmishers are designed to be a thorn in the approaching forces side. As such although they often lack the firepower to throw back a unit on the advance, they can disrupt them. Skirmish troops often target the NCO’s and Officers of an enemy formation in order to cause this disruption.
My thoughts therefore are that if skirmish troops successfully hit an opposition unit while skirmishing, instead if causing one damage and one morale damage, any hits from skirmish bases automatically inflict 2 morale damage but no physical damage. (i.e., hits from skirmish bases are not counted towards the overall losses at the end of the game, and also the player that suffers the damage is not at risk of losing a combat dice on 5+).
Infantry battalions would ignore such skirmishers and generally attack the larger infantry units that the skirmishers are screening. Therefore infantry battalions are unable to attack skirmish bases and if they advance into contact with a skirmish base, that skirmish base will withdraw 4cm away from the advancing enemy.
Cavalry are able to attack skirmish formations in the normal manner.
If two opposing skirmish bases meet, they will engage in exchanging small arms fire and cannot target any larger infantry blocks. When firing on opposing skirmishers, they cause normal damage instead of the 2 morale damage when firing on infantry blocks. The base is removed from play if a successful hit is caused against a skirmish base. The combat die assigned to that base is lost to the parent unit and they cannot deploy any further skirmishers.
This may well be an inelegant solution, but this can be refined further as the game is developed.