Category Archives: Units

Austrian Artillery Units

Artillery Officer, Gunner and Train Driver 1809-1813, by Ottenfeld

Austrian artillery units before the Napoleonic Wars were held in high regard by the other nations of the world and were often thought of as the best artillery units. Men volunteered for the artillery units of Austria and were not recruited, all the rank and file were able to read and write in German. Enlistments were for 14 years in the artillery, while a member of the Austrian infantry was enlisted for only 6 years.

Several French generals including Massena admired the Austrian artillery and its professionalism, and the Austrians had both gunpowder and ammunition of higher quality than that of the other nations. However, while the Austrian artillery units were extremely professional and benefited from higher quality supplies the French and many other nations artillery had a larger calibre and further reach than the Austrian weapons.

The accuracy of Austrian artillery far appeared to be superior to that of the other major nations. At the Battle of Leipzig in 1813 a duel occurred between 12 Austrian guns and 21 Saxon and French guns near Paunsdorf. After 30 minutes of fire and despite being outnumbered almost 2 to 1 the Austrian gunners had lost six of their guns while the Saxons and French had lost seven.

www.napoleonguide.com has a very handy table showing the different ranges of the Napoleonic guns of each nation at the time. I’ve summarised this below into the 1/5300 basic scale for Clausewitz.

WeaponMaximum RangeEffective Range
3 Pounder Cannon16 cm8 cm
6 Pounder Cannon17 cm9 cm
12 Pounder Cannon21 cm12 cm
7 Pounder Howitzer23 cm12 cm
Austrian Artillery Ranges at 1/5300 scale

Unit Attributes

Austrian Artillery Unit Card

Special Rules

Artillery – When in melee this unit halves its combat dice.

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SOURCES

http://www.napolun.com/mirror/web2.airmail.net/napoleon/Austrian_artillery.htm

https://www.napoleonguide.com/artillery_ranges.htm

Austrian Cavalry Units

Austrian cavalry contained Cuirassiers, Dragoons, Chaveauxlegers (Light Dragoons), Hussars and Uhlans. All were well trained, well mounted and had a good reputation across Europe.

Much like the article I wrote on the Infantry units for Austria, I’ll run through each type of cavalry and then define their attributes and any special rules after doing so.

CUIRASSIERS

Austrian Cuirassiers being ambushed by French Cavalry

Austrian had eight regiments of Cuirassiers, which were fewer than some of the other nations such as France who had between twelve to fifteen and Russia who has ten to twelve.

In 1809 a regiment of Cuirassiers consisted of 975 men across six squadrons, in 1812 this was changed to four squadrons of 144 men each.

The name Cuirassier comes from the name of the breastplate armour that the cavalry wore; the Cuirass. They were also armed with a brace of pistols as well as a straight broadsword. Each squadron of Cuirassiers had eight men armed with rifles and eight with carbines.

Unit Attributes

Austrian Cuirassiers Unit Card

Special Rules

  • Pistols – Cuirassiers are armed with short ranged weaponry. If the player wishes, this unit may fire its pistols once an enemy closes within range. Pistols have a long range of 2cm and short range of 1cm.
  • Cavalry (-1) – Units of this calibre have a fearsome reputation on the battlefield. As such any enemy foot units that are within 10cm of a unit of Uhlans suffer a -2 modifier to any morale checks that the unit makes.
  • Impetuous (3+) – Uhlans occasionally struggle to maintain their composure in the heat of battle. After this unit has fought in melee, during its next action roll a D6; on a roll of 3+ the unit can act normally, if the unit fails this roll it must make its quickest move towards the nearest enemy unit and contact them in melee if possible.

DRAGOONS

The Austrians possessed six regiments of Dragoons and six of Chevaulegers. Dragoons were armed with carbines and the heavy pallasch. Each squadron had sixteen men armed with rifles.

Unit Attributes

Austrian Dragoons Unit Card

Special Rules

  • Pistols – Dragoons are armed with short ranged weaponry. If the player wishes, this unit may fire its pistols once an enemy closes within range. Pistols have a long range of 2cm and short range of 1cm.
  • Cavalry (-1) – Units of this calibre have a fearsome reputation on the battlefield. As such any enemy foot units that are within 10cm of a unit of Dragoons suffer a -1 modifier to any morale checks that the unit makes.
  • Impetuous (4+) – Dragoons occasionally struggle to maintain their composure in the heat of battle. After this unit has fought in melee, during its next action roll a D6; on a roll of 4+ the unit can act normally, if the unit fails this roll it must make its quickest move towards the nearest enemy unit and contact them in melee if possible.
  • Rifles – During an action the unit can choose to fire its rifles instead of performing any other action. If it does so it can use 1 combat dice and fire at the enemy using the rifle weapon profile (long Range 8cm / Effective Range 4cm).

UHLANS

Austrian Uhlan

“I saw a great many French horse carabiniers with lace wounds …”

Dezydery Chlapowski

Austrian has three regiments of Uhlans, and in 1814 formed a fourth regiment. In comparison France had nine lancer regiments and Russia increased the number of their own Uhlan regiments from two to twelve.

Uhlans were armed with pistols, curved sabres and a lance. Each squadron had eight men armed with rifles and eight with carbines. A Uhlan regiment was divided into four divisions, with the central two divisions armed with lances while the flanking divisions were armed with carbines.

Unit Atrributes

Austrian Uhlans Unit Card

Special Rules

  • Pistols – Uhlans are armed with short ranged weaponry. If the player wishes, this unit may fire its pistols once an enemy closes within range. Pistols have a long range of 2cm and short range of 1cm.
  • Cavalry (-1) – Units of this calibre have a fearsome reputation on the battlefield. As such any enemy foot units that are within 10cm of a unit of Uhlans suffer a -1 modifier to any morale checks that the unit makes.
  • Impetuous (4+) – Uhlans occasionally struggle to maintain their composure in the heat of battle. After this unit has fought in melee, during its next action roll a D6; on a roll of 4+ the unit can act normally, if the unit fails this roll it must make its quickest move towards the nearest enemy unit and contact them in melee if possible.
  • Rifles – During an action the unit can choose to fire its rifles instead of performing any other action. If it does so it can use 1 combat dice and fire at the enemy using the rifle weapon profile (long Range 8cm / Effective Range 4cm).

CHEVAULEGERS

“…was of the opinion than, as I am still today, that the Austrian light horse is the best trained in this kind of warfare [skirmish]. The Austrians are always the most skilled at placing outposts to guard their army.”

Chlapowski/Simmons – “Memoirs of a Polish Lancer” P15

As of 1802 there were six regiments of Chevaulegers with a seventh being formed in 1814.

Chevaulegers carried a carbine and a sabre, with each squadron having sixteen men armed with rifles.

The Austrian Chevaulegers formed large regiments and served effectively in pitched battles while also being effective in escort duty, skirmishers and in smaller engagements.

Unit Attributes

Austrian Chevaulegers Unit Card

Special Rules

  • Pistols – Chevaulegers are armed with short ranged weaponry. If the player wishes, this unit may fire its pistols once an enemy closes within range. Pistols have a long range of 2cm and short range of 1cm.
  • Cavalry (-1) – Units of this calibre have a fearsome reputation on the battlefield. As such any enemy foot units that are within 10cm of a unit of Chevaulegers suffer a -1 modifier to any morale checks that the unit makes.
  • Impetuous (5+) – Chevaulegers occasionally struggle to maintain their composure in the heat of battle. After this unit has fought in melee, during its next action roll a D6; on a roll of 4+ the unit can act normally, if the unit fails this roll it must make its quickest move towards the nearest enemy unit and contact them in melee if possible.
  • Rifles – During an action the unit can choose to fire its rifles instead of performing any other action. If it does so it can use 1 combat dice and fire at the enemy using the rifle weapon profile (long Range 8cm / Effective Range 4cm).
  • Deployment Marker – Units of Chevaulegers allows the owning player to use an additional deployment marker in the scouting phase.

HUSSARS

Austria had twelve Hussar regiments, eight from Hungary, two from Transylvania and two from Slovakia. The name ‘Hussar’ derives from the Latin word Cursarius which means raider, and originally was used to refer to marauders from the Northern Balkans. It was later adopted by the Magyar people of Hungary as the name for irregular light cavalry.

Hussars carried a large sabre and a carbine. There were six sharpshooters in each squadron carrying rifles.

Unit Attributes

Austrian Hussars Unit Card

Special Rules

  • Pistols – Hussars are armed with short ranged weaponry. If the player wishes, this unit may fire its carbines once an enemy closes within range. Carbines have a long range of 2cm and short range of 1cm.
  • Cavalry (-1) – Units of this calibre have a fearsome reputation on the battlefield. As such any enemy foot units that are within 10cm of a unit of Hussars suffer a -1 modifier to any morale checks that the unit makes.
  • Impetuous (3+) – Hussars occasionally struggle to maintain their composure in the heat of battle. After this unit has fought in melee, during its next action roll a D6; on a roll of 3+ the unit can act normally, if the unit fails this roll it must make its quickest move towards the nearest enemy unit and contact them in melee if possible.
  • Rifles – During an action the unit can choose to fire its rifles instead of performing any other action. If it does so it can use 1 combat dice and fire at the enemy using the rifle weapon profile (long Range 8cm / Effective Range 4cm).
  • Deployment Marker – Units of Hussars allows the owning player to use an additional deployment marker in the scouting phase.

Austrian Cavalry Unit Card

Below is the full unit card for the Austrian Cavalry. Pistols will be removed from the special rules and have their profiles included elsewhere once the full rules are published.

As always, if you have any suggestions, thoughts or comments please let me know.

Austrian Cavalry Unit Card

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SOURCES

https://www.napoleon-series.org/military-info/organization/Austria/ArmyStudy/c_AustrianArmyCavalry.html#:~:text=The%20Austrian%20cavalry%20consisted%20of,wore%20white%20coats%20and%20breeches.

http://napoleonistyka.atspace.com/Austrian_cavalry.htm#_cuirassiers

Austrian Infantry Units

The army of the Holy Roman Empire/Austrian Empire was known as the Imperial-Royal Army, the “Royal” referring to the Kingdom of Hungary which was under Habsburg rule but not part of the Holy Roman Empire.

At its largest in 1809 it contained 261,000 infantry, 59,000 cavalry and 12,000 artillerymen, however due to a lack in funds the army in the field was often much smaller.

I’m going to run through each type of infantry unit in the Austrian army and then summarise there attributes and special rules at the end of their respective sections.

All of the unit cards given in this article are assuming a full strength unit of roughly 1,200 men. The Austrian units were often thought to be unwieldly, and therefore all infantry units have had the number of combat dice reduced by one.

LINE INFANTRY

Austrian Line Infantry

Austrian infantry were divided into two groups; ‘German’ and ‘Hungarian’. Hungarian regiments were known for their fierce fighting spirit, while the German regiments were known for their training and discipline.

In March 1809 there were 46 ‘German’ regiments and 15 ‘Hungarian’ regiments, Grenadiers of these regiments were detached to form their own battalions. In the case of all Austrian regiments, and not only the line infantry they were often referred to by their Colonels name and not their regiment number. For example the 1st Line Infantry Regiment was known as Infantry Regiment ‘Kaiser Franz I’ Nr. 1.

Austrian line regiments were armed with Muskets, and the third rank of the line regiments were able to be deployed as skirmishers in battle.

Unit Attributes

UnitTypeCombat Dice‘Steady’CC v FootCC v MountedBase MoraleSaveWeapons
‘German’ Line InfantryFoot55+5+6+7Muskets
‘Hungarian’ Line InfantryFoot55+5+6+6Muskets
Line Infantry Unit Attributes

Special Rules

  • Skirmishers Line infantry are able to deploy skirmishing troops in front of the main battle line. When doing so they can only be attacked by cavalry or opposition skirmishers.

LANDWEHR (1808-1809) (1813-1814)

“Only provinces in Germany were allowed to form landwehr battalions, as the territory of Galicia, heavily populated with Poles and sympathetic towards Napoleon, were forbidden to raise such formations.”

– John Stallaert (The Austrian Army)

Landwehr battalions were each roughly 1,200 men spread between 4-6 fusilier companies and 2 Jaeger companies. These Jaeger companies were armed with Jägerstutzen which were primarily used as hunting rifles and were accurate up to 300 paces. The rest of the battalion would often be armed with what ever muskets could be found. Often these would be 1754, 1774 or 1784 pattern muskets.

150 battalions of Landwehr were initially going to be raised, but by the point that war broke out with France in April 1809 only 70 had been raised.

When war broke out in 1809 the Landwehr battalions were used as garrison troops freeing up the regular infantry for field combat. Some battalions were used in the field – 12,200 Landwehr were deployed in upper Austria but when the French approached close to three quarters of these troops deserted.

Upon Napoleon’s victory he decommissioned the Landwehr battalions. They were reinstated when war broke out once more in 1813.

Unit Attributes

UnitTypeCombat Dice‘Steady’CC v FootCC v MountedBase MoraleSaveWeapons
LandwehrFoot55+5+6+5Muskets and Rifles
Landwehr Unit Attributes

Special Rules

  • Jaeger Company – One firing dice per firing action can be rolled using the ranges of Rifles (8cm Long/4cm Effective).

GRENZERS

Austrian Grenzers

The Grenzers were light infantry troops originally raised to defend the border from the neighbouring Ottoman Empire. These troops were trained in skirmishing, marksmanship and the basics of linear tactics. Although the troops were effective Skirmishers, they were found lacking when it came to combat in line they were less effective than their line infantry counterparts. At the start of the conflict with Napoleon there were 18 Grenzer regiments raised which formed roughly a quarter of the army.

Although the Austrian command did not hold Grenzers in high regard, following the battles of Austerlitz and Marengo they had earned a level of respect from the French. Napoleon considered them the most effective troops in the Austrian army, so much so that once his victory over the Austrian Empire was confirmed he employed some of these troops in his own army, where they continued to serve until his abdication in 1814.

Unit Attributes

UnitTypeCombat Dice‘Steady’CC v FootCC v MountedBase MoraleSaveWeapons
GrenzerFoot55+5+6+7Muskets
Grenzer Unit Attributes

Special Rules

  • Deployment Marker – Units of Grenzers allows the owning player to use an additional deployment marker in the scouting phase.
  • Skirmishers – Grenzers are able to fight as skirmishing troops in front of the main battle line. When doing so they can only be attacked by cavalry or opposition skirmishers.
  • Marksmen – Grenzers are able to re-roll one failed ‘Fire!’ dice per shooting attack.

GRENADIERS

Austrian Grenadiers

“The first Austrian grenadiers came into being in 1700, at the height of the European vogue for grenade-throwing heavyweight infantry. The fashion passed soon enough, for the grenades were cumbersome, tricky to ignite, and only marginally less perilous to the thrower than to the target. However the grenadiers themselves survived in virtue of being elite troops in their own right, and they were marked out by their stature, their swarthy complexions, their bristling moustaches, their arrogant demeanour, their grenadier marches (characterised by alternate passages on the rim and the skin of the drum), and their grenadier caps …”

Duffy – “Instrument of War” Vol I p 234

The Grenadiers were the elite soldiers of the Austrian army. The men that made up the Grenadiers were taller and more experienced than most (due to the joining requirements). The Grenadiers were primarily used at critical moments to break through the enemy lines and were kept in reserve until this moment. Austrian Grenadiers had a reputation for using their bayonets at every available opportunity.

In 1809, at the battle of Aspern-Essling the French Young Guard were ordered to recapture the village of Essling. The young Guard eventually pushed the Grenadiers from the village but paid a large price in doing so, with three of their Generals wounded and roughly a quarter of the rank and file killed or wounded. The Young Guard were so enraged by these losses that they killed or wounded Grenadiers left in the village.

There were twenty-one Grenadier battalions with four or six companies each.

Unit Attributes

UnitTypeCombat Dice‘Steady’CC v FootCC v MountedBase MoraleSaveWeapons
GrenadiersFoot55+4+6+7Muskets
Grenadier Unit Attributes

Special Rules

None

JAEGERS

Austrian Jaeger

“Austrian Generals don’t understand this kind of fighting [Skirmishing].”

General Radetsky

The Jaegers were the Austrian light infantry. The Austrian light infantry units would ofen only send out small amounts of men as skirmish screens in front of the main battalions. This usually consisted of between 60-80 men operating as a skirmish screen. It wasn’t until 1813 that entire battalions of light infantry would form skirmish lines.

The first and second ranks of the unit would be armed with muskets, while the third rank were armed with Rifles.

In 1809 there were nine Jaegar battalions which later increased to 12 in 1813. These battalions were often 6 companies of 200 men each. The quality of the Austrian skirmishers were not as effective as their French counterparts and they would often be found wanting when facing Voltigeurs.

Unit Attributes

UnitTypeCombat Dice‘Steady’CC v FootCC v MountedBase MoraleSaveWeapons
JaegersFoot55+5+6+6Muskets and Rifles
Grenadier Unit Attributes

Special Rules

  • Jaeger Company – One firing dice per firing action can be rolled using the ranges of Rifles (8cm Long/4cm Effective).
  • Skirmishers – Jaegers are able to fight as skirmishing troops in front of the main battle line. When doing so they can only be attacked by cavalry or opposition skirmishers. Skirmishers of Jaegers are armed with Rifles (8cm Long/4cm Effective).
  • Deployment Marker – Units of Jaegers allows the owning player to use an additional deployment marker in the scouting phase.

FULL AUSTRIAN INFANTRY UNIT CARD

UnitTypeCombat Dice‘Steady’CC v FootCC v MountedBase MoraleSaveWeaponsSpecial Rules
‘German’ Line InfantryFoot55+5+6+7MusketsSkirmishers
‘Hungarian’ Line InfantryFoot55+5+6+6MusketsSkirmishers
LandwehrFoot55+5+6+5Muskets & RiflesJaeger Company
GrenzersFoot55+5+6+7MusketsDeployment Marker, Skirmishers, Marksmen
GrenadiersFoot55+4+6+7Muskets
JaegersFoot55+5+6+6Muskets & RiflesJaeger Company, Skirmishers, Deployment Marker
Austrian Infantry Unit Card
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SOURCES

Cuirassiers

I’d like to take time to dedicate an article to each type of troop type that took part in the Napoleonic Wars. As such I’d thought I’d start this little series with the Cuirassiers.

WHAT IS A CUIRASSIER?

Cuirassiers were cavalry equipped with cuirass armour, sword, and firearms, first appearing in late 15th-century Europe. The first cuirassiers were produced as a result of armoured cavalry, such as the men-at-arms and demi-lancers, discarding their lances and adopting the use of pistols as their primary weapon. In the later 17th century, the cuirassier lost his limb armour and subsequently employed only the cuirass (breastplate and backplate), and sometimes a helmet. By this time, the sword or sabre had become their primary weapon, pistols being relegated to a secondary function.

Cuirassiers achieved increased prominence during the Napoleonic Wars and were last fielded in the opening stages of World War I. Cuirassiers continue to be employed as ceremonial troops by a number of countries. The French term means “one with a cuirass” (cuirasse), the breastplate armour which they wore.

During the first few decades of the 19th century most of the major states of Europe, except Austria which had retained its armoured cavalry, readopted the cuirass for some of their heavy cavalry in emulation of the French. The Russians fielded two divisions of armoured cavalry, but most other states armoured a few senior regiments: Prussia three regiments, the Kingdom of Saxony three, the Kingdom of Westphalia two, Spain one (Coraceros Españoles) and the Duchy of Warsaw one. The three Household Cavalry regiments of the British Army (1st and 2nd Life Guards and Royal Horse Guards) adopted cuirasses shortly after the Napoleonic Wars as a part of their full dress uniforms, but never had occasion to wear the armour in battle. However as late as 1887 these regiments were still wearing cuirasses on manoeuvres in “field day order”.

GAME ATTRIBUTES

I’m also going to allow Cuirassiers to have a base 6+ save. I say base as some nations Curiassiers were better armoured than others, while some had no armour at all. For example the French were equipped with helmets as well as the Cuirasse, so for these regiments I’m tempted to give a 5+ save.

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Game Revision to Strength

Following feedback from testing and comments from others who have been following the blog on a regular basis (thank you to you all by the way!), I’ve decided to make some changes to some central aspects of the game itself.

STRENGTH

Strength will no longer be needed to be shown by either base or unit, instead each base will show the number of combat dice it has available to use.

This value can still be calculated using historic orders of battle. By taking the number of men present and dividing the value by 200 will give the number of combat dice the unit has available.

Order of Battle from the Battle of Talavera

For example, in the image above we can see that the 2nd Foot Guards have 970 men, dividing this figure by 200 gives 4.85, so we always round the figure up giving us 5 Combat Dice. The 3rd Foot Guards have 1,019 men available, after dividing this gives us 5.095 which when rounded upwards gives 6 Combat Dice. The company of Rifles has 56 men, therefore this will be 0.28 and rounded up giving 1 Combat Dice.

SUFFERING DAMAGE DURING BATTLE

Instead of tracking the units strength, a more simple method will be implemented where the unit will lose 1 firing dice each turn it receives 2 or more ‘hits’ in the same turn. For example;

Turn 1 – A unit receives 1 hit and loses no dice

Turn 2 – Once again the unit receives 1 hit and loses no dice

Turn 3 – The unit receives 5 hits and loses 1 dice.

Players may still track the number of hits received against their army overall and multiply the number by 50 to give a rough estimate of their casualties.

CAVALRY

Cavalry combat dice will be calculated using the same method as foot troops above.

UNIT ATTRIBUTES

This will allow each individual unit in the game to have their own attributes (and possibly special rules) to differentiate them not only inside their own faction but against other factions as well. The attributes will be;

  1. Movement
  2. Number of Combat Dice
  3. Melee Roll v infantry (e.g. 4+)
  4. Melee Roll v Cavalry (e.g. 6+)
  5. ‘Steady’ Roll (e.g. 5+)
  6. Save (if any) (e.g. -)
  7. Weapons (e.g. Musket & Bayonet)
  8. Skirmish Companies (e.g. 1)
  9. Any Special Rules (e.g. Impetuous 4+)

SUMMARY

This should mean that each base in the army may either show on their bases using D6’s the number of combat dice and their formation. Alternatively this can be shown on the order of battle.

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Cavalry – Impetuousness

We’ve covered the basic movement and combat of cavalry but we’ve I’ve not yet gone over a very important aspect of Napoleonic Cavalry which was their impetuousness. This can be seen throughout the wars and in all nations that were involved. I’ve included some sample statements below from websites which I’ve used as sources during my writing of these rules. These show not only the cavalry’s impetuousness but also on occasions their commanders (looking at you Ney).

The first instance of the British cavalry throwing away an opportunity and charging on in blind fury occurred on 21st August 1808 at Vimeiro, in Portugal. Led by a Colonel Taylor, the 20th Light Dragoons were sent against the French infantry reserve whom they caught in column and overran. Taylor thereupon lost all control of the 20th and they raced on past the now fallen infantry to a distance of over half a mile. At that point they were charged by Marshal Junot’s cavalry reserve and horribly cut up, taking fifty per cent casualties and losing their commander. The battle was, nevertheless, a British victory and Portugal was liberated: but, of the 720 British casualties suffered during the battle,
over half were from the 20th Dragoons.
” – Waterloo Association

Hussars of all nations tended to suffer to an even greater degree from the same faults as Napoleonic cavalry in general, that is they were impetuous and difficult to control and although generally having excellent moral they tended to get carried away.” – History of War

Charging cavalry is like a fired projectile, whose effect is incalculable. The sight and sounds of the advancing line of enemy had an unsettling effect. If the officers felt any anxiety, they never showed it. They seemed eager to close with the enemy.” – Napoleonistyka

However, the third phase of the battled occurred near the village of
Vierzehnheiligen when Ney, without orders, directed two regiments of light cavalry and
five infantry battalions to attack.32 Although Ney’s impetuous attack initially proved
successful, he soon attacked beyond the range of the supporting French units on his
flanks, Lannes to his right and Augereau to his left.
” – Napoleon’s Cavalry: A Key Element to Decisive Victory

D’Hautpoul (1754-1807) was a giant of a man, with enormous body strength. He was a self-confident and very proud individual. In contrast to Nansouty, d’Hautpoul was a fiery commander eager to charge at any time. In 1794 at Aldenhoven he crushed enemy cavalry twice as numerous and was promoted to the rank of general. In 1806 at Jena Hautpoul led the 2nd Cuirassier Division (1st, 5th and 10th Cuirassiers).” – Napolun

THE RULE

Taking this into account and following comments from the play testing, I think it would be suitable to implement a special rule for impetuousness for certain cavalry units. There would be three versions of this rule for use with different cavalry/commander units depending on their historical personalities.

Impetuous (4+)

Impetuous (5+)

Impetuous (6+)

The roll for impetuousness would be taken after any combat takes place in the previous action and before any morale test in the following action. Units would roll a D6 for their Impetuousness any units which roll the specified value of above are free to take their morale test and act accordingly afterwards. Units which fail this roll will immemidately carry out their fastest move towards the nearest enemy unit and if they make contact commence with melee.

Any units which fail the test and carry on their attack must continue to roll for this test each action until their unit regains its self control.

It’s likely this rule will need further tweaking as always, and I’m always open to suggestions for improvements so please feel free to leave any comments below with your thoughts.

SOURCES

Waterloo Association

History of War

Napoleon’s Cavalry: A Key Element to Decisive Victory

Napolun

Napoleonistyka

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Writing a Wargame – Cavalry

As always for the latest rules and updates please visit the Napoleonic War Game page.

TYPES OF CAVALRY

Napoleonic Cavalry had various different roles and names, but could generally be broken down into three distinct groups. These groups were split depending on the size and weight of the horse the cavalry rode.

Due to speed of cavalry and the range of musket fire, infantry would often only manage to discharge one volley from their muskets before the cavalry were upon them. This made them ideally suited for shock tactics.

Light Cavalry

4th French Hussars at the Battle of Friedland 14th June 1807

Light Cavalry included units such as Hussars and Russian Cossacks, Chasseurs à cheval and Chevau-légers. They were lightly armed and theirs role involved reconnaissance, raiding, skirmishing, screening, patrolling and tactical communications. They were also the primary units used in pursuing enemy armies once broken or to screen the retreat of their own army in the case of a loss.

Medium (Line) Cavalry

French Dragoons with a captured Prussian flag at the Battle of Jena.

Medium Cavalry units such as Dragoons and Uhlans originally Dragoons were designed to use their mounts to approach quickly and then fight on foot. However by the Napoleonic Wars this rarely happened (there are exceptions to this, on particular during the Peninsular Campaigns).

Line cavalry were used to cover the flanks of an army and as shock troops to charge the enemy.

Heavy Cavalry

French Cuirassiers at the Battle of Waterloo

The role of heavy cavalry during the Napoleonic Wars was the same as the Line Cavalry, to act as shock troops and charge the enemy troops.

Charges were in the most part carried out against an enemy’s flank with the aim to force them apart through fear and the initial impact of the charge itself. Primarily used to smash holes in the enemy’s battle line and exploit these breakthroughs.

Cavalry Organisation

All cavalry were organised in to squadrons rather than Battalions and these usually contained anything between 50-200 troopers. Light cavalry contained the most, while heavy Cavalry the least. This was due to the costs associated with raising the units. Heavy cavalry horses were the largest (which is why they have the title heavy) and sometimes there was more equipment carried by the troopers themselves such as body armour in the case of Cuirassiers.

To represent their size but combat efficiency on the table top, the strength value will likely have to changed to something closer to a factor of 1:10. This would mean that for every hit inflicted on the cavalry they would lose 10 men instead of 50 when compared to infantry. This would also be an ideal way of representing less casualties from gunfire, due to infantry only being able to fire one volley before cavalry engaged them.

Speed

A charge carried out by cavalry very rarely moved faster than a trot as can be seen from the sources I’ve cited below. They also had to work up to the gallop. Units would begin at walking pace, move to a trot and finally if needed the gallop.

On the Battlefield

Cavalry units would act in conjunction with the other arms of the military to attack enemy units. Infantry would advance on the enemy while cannon would cover their advance, cavalry would often be with the advancing troops. This would add to the enemies dilemma on how to respond to such an attack, should they form a firing line against the infantry and risk being over run by cavalry, or should they form square but suffer increased losses from artillery and gunfire.

This is what I would ideally like to represent on the table, for example and infantry attack without supporting would result in an enemy being more stalwart in its defence and also troops would be unable to run down the enemy should they break.

GAMING REPRESENTATION

We have an idea of the different units roles, now we need to translate this into the game itself.

Combat

We’ve as yet not covered any hand to hand combat within the mechanics of the game itself, but currently I believe combat should be linked to the firing dice, with each 5+ a successful hit against the enemy and likewise from the enemy. These dice may be thrown at the same time as the opposition, with both units taking the relevant amount of damage. (i.e. Unit A attacks unit B in base to base combat, both units roll 6 firing dice. Unit A scores 2 hits at 5+ causing 2 strength damage to unit B, while unit B scores 1 hit against unit A causing 1 strength damage. As a result Unit A withdraws from combat while suffering an additional D3/D6 casualties). In all likeliness this mechanic will need a lot of revision before I’m happy with the way it flows and affects all the units in the game.

Cavalry v Cavalry combat rarely caused as many casualties as cavalry v infantry combat, therefore all combat where units are attempting to hit cavalry units are only scored on a 6+.

Fatigue

Presently, I believe that each unit will have a fatigue value before the game begins. During the course of the battle, depending on different factors, this fatigue may go down or recover after a certain length of time. Thus, troops in a prolonged running battle with the enemy will eventually tire and become less effective. How this will be tracked or presented at present has still not entirely crystallised in my mind.

Galloping

I mentioned earlier that cavalry would have to build up to the charge. This can be represented in game by having cavalry spend 1 action for the walk, the next a action can then be a trot, which can then be followed by the gallop. In total this would mean three a cavalry unit would have to spend three actions to use a gallop.

To limit the gallop to charging enemy and not for moving across the battlefield, we’ll have to do two things. The first is to add a mechanic for fatigue, while the second would be to limit the gallop within a certain distance of the enemy. This is open for debate at the moment, but considering we have a gallop distance of 27 cm. I’m currently going to rule that cavalry cannot gallop unless within galloping distance of the enemy and a gallop action must end a units move closer to the enemy than when it started.

Also, due to the fact that much of Napoleonic cavalry would not gallop on the charge but instead trot at most, I’m limiting the charge capability for now to light cavalry only.

Shock Tactics

To represent shock tactics in battle, cavalry within 30cm of enemy infantry units cause unrest and therefore unless the enemy unit chooses to reform into square formation they will suffer a +1 morale modifier for all tests while in proximity of cavalry. This also may need further revision once game tests have been carried out.

Light Cavalry – In Game

They were used for reconnaissance, which could be useful in gaming terms. Currently I’m thinking of having a similar system to Blucher where units outside of a certain distance are just represented by a marker. Due to the speed of cavalry this makes them ideally suited to determining enemy forces. We can cover this topic in more detail at a later date. But perhaps light cavalry would have a larger ‘spotting range’?

They can still be used for shock tactics like the medium and heavy Cavalry although they would not be as effective. Therefore we’ll need to show this through our mechanics. Perhaps heavy Cavalry would inflict a +2 morale modifier on nearby units (apart from those in square), while light cavalry and line cavalry would only inflict a +1 modifier.

Also used for skirmishing, these troops were ideal for covering the advance and retreat of formations and scaring away the enemy skirmishers. As such Light Cavalry will be the only cavalry able to use the skirmish formation and any benefits associated with that.

Light cavalry will be the only cavalry type that are able to charge.

Line Cavalry – In Game

Line cavalry would cause the same +1 morale modifier to enemy infantry units while within 30cm as light cavalry, however these units would not be able to skirmish.

The fastest pace that line cavalry would be able use is the ‘trot’, due to keeping their lines dressed for visual effect.

Heavy Cavalry – In Game

Heavy Cavalry would cause +2 morale modifier to enemy infantry units while within 30cm. Heavy Cavalry would also be unable to skirmish or gallop.

Troopers in UnitStrengthCombat/Firing Dice
190-200205
180-189195
170-179185
160-169175
150-159164
140-149154
130-139144
120-129144
110-119123
100-109113
90-99103
80-8993
70-7982
60-6972
50-5962
40-4952
30-3941
20-2931
10-1921
1-911
Cavalry Unit Strength Table

SUMMARY

  • Light Cavalry only can use the ‘Gallop’ pace, and only if it has used two actions beforehand in the same turn which include ‘Walk’ and ‘Trot’.
  • Light Cavalry are the only cavalry type that are able to skirmish.
  • All cavalry cause +1 modifier to morale rolls of enemy infantry units within 30cm, apart from Heavy Cavalry who cause a +2 modifier.
  • Combat will be carried out using firing dice, with dice rolls of 5+ counting as a hit against the enemy unit. Hits can only be caused against cavalry on a roll of 6+.
  • Fatigue will come into play, once the mechanic has been established.

REFERENCES:

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