Tag Archives: 15mm Wargaming

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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Casualty Rates

Having done a few test games now the casualty rates of the battles seems a little off. So to get to a more realistic casualties per hit ratio I’m going to go through some battles and show the casualties and their percentage against the starting number of men in that battle. From here we can then tweak our hit numbers as testing continues to make them more realistic.

BattleArmyStarting StrengthCasualties% Killed or Wounded
CorunnaBritish16,0009005.6%
CorunnaFrench16,0007004.4%
MarengoFrench24,0004,70019.6%
MarengoAustria31,0006,00019.3%
TalaveraFrench46,1007,40016.0%
TalaveraAnglo-Spanish55,6007,50013.5%
AusterlitzFrench75,0008,30011.1%
AusterlitzRusso-Austrian95,00016,00016.8%
BorodinoFrench190,00040,00021.1%
BorodinoRussian160,00045,00028.1%
WaterlooFrench73,00019,00026.0%
WaterlooCoalition118,00024,00020.3%
Jena-AuerstadtFrench66,00012,00018.2%
Jena-AuerstadtPrussian117,00041,00035.0%
LeipzigFrench195,00038,00019.5%
LeipzigCoalition365,00054,00014.8%
BailénFrench24,4003,00012.5%
BailénSpanish30,0001,0003.3%
WagramFrench172,00040,00023.3%
WagramAustrian173,00041,30023.9%
TOTAL2,042,100409,80020.1%
Casualty Rates from Various Battles

From the table above we can see that casualties would equate to roughly 20% of an armies strength, which we can then use in our games in the future. The next step is to establish how many hits are made during an average game, so that the 20% can be spread out across these to give a more representational figure of the number of casualties.

There’s a lot more work to do on this via play testing, but it should yield fairly accurate results for those wanting to re-fight and compare to historical engagements.

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Cavalry Fleeing

Following on from yesterdays post regarding Infantry movement rate when fleeing, it seemed only sensible to continue the thought process with Cavalry.

A QUICK REVISIT TO INFANTRY FLEEING

Before I do however, I wanted to a very good point that was made on Reddit by u/Db102 who reminded me that the infantry would be carrying their kit and also their shoes would not be designed for the individuals wearing them. To see his comment please click here.

For that reason I feel it would be sensible to reduce the fleeing rate of foot troops further to 5 cm to take in the reasoning that u/Db102 stated in his comments. This would mean that Infantry have the potential to flee 25 cm per turn instead of 30cm. However, I may well do some further research on this yet to find any more information.

CAVALRY FLEEING

I believe that ideally the fleeing rate for Cavalry should be between their quick pace (trot) and their charge (Gallop), so I’m going to use another horse gait that I’ve not yet used, the canter.

While the gallop is a full tilt run across unbroken ground at roughly at roughly 25-30mph and the trot is at roughly 8mph, the canter comes nicely between those rates at between 10-17mph.

So if we take somewhere around the middle of this pace and use 14mph as a start, how does that equate as a distance over ten minutes?

SpeedDistance in 10 Minutes (14/6)
14 mph2.33 Miles
Canter Distance in 10 Minutes

Next we need to work out how far this would be in our 1:5300 scale:

DistanceIn MetresAt 1:5300 Scale
2.33 Miles3754.3370.83 cm
Canter Distance in 10 Minutes at Scale

So a horse at a canter would cover 71 cm of the gaming table in one turn of our game. But we also need this broken down into actions like we did with Infantry fleeing:

Distance in 10 MinutesPer Action (Divided by 5)
71 cm14.2 cm
Distance per Action

Which brings us to 14 cm per action, but again we have to account for the kit and the man that the horse would be carrying, so let’s use the same method that we used for the Infantry rate at the beginning of this post and reduce it by a sixth.

Per ActionReduced by One Sixth
14.2 cm11.83 cm
Per Action

There we have it, as scientific as we can get without any in depth analysis of the kit that each troop wore and the types of horses used etc.

The Cavalry fleeing distance will be set at 12 cm per action.

As always I’d love to hear your feedback.

SOURCE

Wikipedia – Horse Gaits

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Infantry Fleeing

So far I’ve used the quick march rate as a fleeing distance for infantry, but I want something a little more scientific rather than just plucking a figure out of the air.

Therefore I have been researching across various websites to try and find an average running speed for humans. So where better to go to that RunnersWorld.com.

On the article I’ve linked you can see that based on 300 million uploads to the Strata App the average running pace for a man running the mile was 9 minutes 15 seconds. So that seems to be a good place to start. Let’s convert this into our scale:

1 Mile Time1 Mile in Metres1 Mile at Scale (1:5300)
9:15 (555 Secs)1,60930.36 cm
Running the Mile

Now we need to establish how far they would run in 10 minutes (1 turn):

DistanceDivided by Seconds (555)Times by 600 Seconds (10 mins)
30.36 cm0.05 cm32.82 cm
Distance in 10 minutes

Next I’d like to break this down into individual 2 minute actions:

Distance in 10 minutesDivided by 5 Actions
32.82 cm6.564 cm
Distance in 2 Minutes

Not exactly a nice round figure, however if we make this 6 cm per action we have a running distance of 30 cm in 10 minutes. Which considering the extra kit that men would be carrying seems reasonable.

THE RULES

So when a unit breaks, following a loss in combat or failing a morale test they would run 6 cm per action. This would form its reaction. For example:

Red Forces Brigade closes to within 2 cm of Blue Forces Brigade on its 3rd Action and unleashes a deadly volley at close range. Once the damage has been calculated Blue takes its morale test as normal for its reaction and fails by more than 2, it therefore flees 6 cm for its reaction directly away from the Red Brigade ending its reaction facing away from the enemy. The Red Forces in its 4th Action pass a morale and advance on Blue Brigade. Blue Brigade once more fails a morale test ad flees 6 cm. On the fifth action Red Forces are now 12 cm away from Blue and choose to hold. When it comes to Blue forces turn, they can attempt to rally at the start of the turn, otherwise they would flee 30 cm (5 actions).

I’ve removed a test every action once a broken unit is outside of 10 cm of the enemy and replaced this with a single test. However i’m willing to consider having a unit test 5 times after each action if people feel that’s a more realistic option.

Let me know your thoughts.

Peter

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Small Game Test 2 – Video

As promised I’ve uploaded a video of the small game test I carried out over the weekend.

One disclaimer, is that I got many of my own rules wrong along the way! Such as fleeing distances and limbering/unlimbering artillery. Just goes to show even the rules writers can’t know all their own rules…..

Let me know your thoughts on the video. I have plans to replicate a small historic battle next, once I do I will also share that via the website.

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Game Revisions

Following the second game test (which I will post a link to later today or tomorrow), I’m making some slight adjustments so that the game flows slightly better.

SHOOTING

The first revision is to change the hitting at short range for all weapons from 5+ to 4+, this should allow firefights at short range to potentially cause on average one damage every six dice.

CHARGE/COUNTER CHARGE

I’m also going to add charge and counter charges as an action and reaction respectively.

This is to take into account that many units would often charge at an approaching enemy to break them up and remove the threat.

I’m going to set charge distances as the ‘Quick’ pace for infantry (3 cm) and cavalry (8 cm) and these can only be performed once the enemy unit is within range to do so.

MOUNTED TROOPS FLEEING

I’ve not yet set conditions for mounted troops and fleeing so I’m going to implement the following rules:

  • A failed morale test of 1-2 will result in the the cavalry unit withdrawing 4 cm while facing the enemy. They will also suffer 1 damage if within 4 cm of an enemy unit armed with muskets or D3 if within 2cm.
  • A failure of 3+ will result in the cavalry unit being ‘Broken’ and fleeing 8 cm. They will also suffer 1 damage if within 4 cm of an enemy unit armed with muskets or D3 if within 2cm.

FLANK AND REAR ATTACKS IN COMBAT

A unit which successfully makes a flank or rear attack will have an additional -1 or -2 to all its combat roll results respectively. This will mean that a unit fighting foot will need 3+ (Flank) or 2+ (Rear). An infantry fighting cavalry will need 5+ (Flank) or 4+ (Rear).

WHEELING

Instead of making a ponderous wheel at the cost of many actions, the unit may, if not marching before or after, choose to use the ‘About Face’ action for 1 Action Point to face any direction. To do so the unit pivots on its front centre point.

AWARENESS POINTS

Going forward no commander will start with any Awareness Points.

BROKEN UNITS

Broken units will be unable to rally if within 10 cm of the enemy. If an enemy approaches to with 10cm of the unit, that unit cannot make no reaction and will once more move it’s quick pace distance directly away from the enemy.

CAPTURING UNITS

If a unit is completely surrounded by enemy units and is broken so that it can not make a flee move. That unit is removed from the table and considered to have surrendered to the enemy.

As a result I have updated the quick reference sheet on the Clausewitz Wargame page.

That’s it for now but as always I love to hear your thoughts and suggestions!

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