Tag Archives: 20mm Wargaming

Command and Control

I’ve written a few articles on command and control now and none of the rules I’ve written so far feel like they’ve hit the sweet point of historical accuracy and speed of play.

In this article I would like to run through a few options I’ve been considering and hopefully get feedback from yourselves about your favoured option (or an option I haven’t even considered!).

CURRENT SYSTEM

As it sounds, each general generating AP per turn and spending these to activate brigades as needed. There would be some further adjustments along the way, such as rolling to see if units understand the orders (with a random objective selected if they don’t).

AWARENESS POINTS V2

Each commander in chief rolls a D6 (or possibly 2D6) at the beginning of the turn. This roll determines how many awareness points the commander may use. There may also be modifiers to this roll such as +1 for the general being on higher ground, or for holding more objectives than the enemy.

A CinC will then task a division with capturing an objective, they will allocate a certain number of Awareness Points for that purpose. Once the Divisional General receives those orders he then rolls to check that the orders are understood before ordering his Brigades to attack. The divisional will have to be withing a certain distance of the units he commands to be able to order them, however some units such as Hussars, Rifles and Guerillas may be able to act independently of Divisional Command bubbles.

Divisional General Zone of Control Example

A CinC may allocate further resources to objectives further down the line but each Division can only be tasked with capturing and holding one objective.

The number of allocated awareness points to a division will determine how soon they could move in the turn. For example a unit that has had four awareness points allocated to it, will move before a unit that has been allocated three awareness points. If more than one division has four awareness points then players roll off to determine which units act first.

Additional Option to Above Rule

A general would only be able to send one order per turn, and once orders are received by a division their allocated Awareness points decrease by one per turn. One they are reduced to zero that Division can no longer act without further orders and that division would have to withdraw to their own table edge and reform.

STANDARD COMMAND AND CONTROL

This is an option used by many systems in that the players roll dice which determine the number of activations they get to make that turn.

This has always felt too simplistic to me for what should be possibly one of the key elements of the game.

FROM VALMY TO WATERLOO VARIATION

From Valmy to Waterloo has been touted as having one of the best command and control systems for Napoleonic Wargaming, therefore the option would be to adapt this for Clausewitz.

The system would work by giving units and commanders ratings from 1 to 5 (with 1 being the best), a rating of 1 would mean that a unit would be able to issue an order (in the case of generals) or change their orders (in the case of units) every turn, a rating of 2 would move this to a change of order or issue of orders every two turns, and so on.

Divisional Commanders who have a better rating would be able to attack or defend multiple objectives at once, while poor Divisional Commanders would only be able to focus on the one objective. Some Divisional Commanders may be able to have their brigades perform certain actions that other divisions cannot (such as detaching/attaching bases etc).

YOUR OPINIONS

Please let me know should you have an idea about a command and control system you fell may work for the period. At present I’m leaning towards the v2 of Awareness Points. But I’d love to know what everyone else thinks.

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Game Choices

Initially when I started writing these rules I imagined a set of rules to simply play historical scenarios. To an extent this is still my intention, however having read some of the comments from various people I’ve decided to expand this some what.

POINTS

There will be a points system which will allow players to create pick up and play games where the forces are evenly matched.

I’ve already laid the basic ground work for the math behind the points and so these should be fairly simple to produce once we get to that stage.

RANDOM STRENGTH

Anyone who has played the Polemos system for Napoleonic will be familiar with the randomised army selection process. This will also be a feature for a Clausewitz, enabling players to choose how many generals they would like and then having a random number of battalions, squadrons and artillery units based on this.

HISTORICAL SCENARIOS

A scenario has already been written for the Battle of Rolica and this should be published either inside the rule book once it becomes available or as a downloadable file from this website.

SINGLE PLAYER

I’m also considering writing an AI system which would be available either through an app or via a page on this website. More news on this in the future.

CAMPAIGNS

A campaign systems will also be written further down the line and should be available also with the single player rule set.

CURRENT FOCUS

But these are all future ideas and at present the sole purpose is to make sure that the rule mechanics work, are reflective of the period and are not too difficult to master.

I’m currently working on making sure that the Command and Control is going to be suitable to the time period and fun to play.

Actions & Reactions

During my own testing and following the feedback of the play testers it has become apparent that reactions are incredibly strong and allow for an opportunity for players to cover over mistakes they may have made in their movement or deployment. Therefore I’m reinstating the five actions/reactions rule, i.e. a unit can make a maximum of five actions and reactions combined.

For example, the red player has a unit of line infantry 15cm away from the Blue players infantry. The Red Player chooses to use 3 actions to move 6cm towards the enemy, once complete he decides to leave his remaining 2 actions for reactions should the Blue player decide to make any counter moves.

This will mean players have to think about the oppositions potential reactions to their movement. For example if I use all five actions to move towards the enemy, I will have no actions left to shoot at any units should they threaten me.

It should add an additional layer of ‘Resource Management’ to the game itself and avoid any players covering their mistakes by using all 5 reactions to do what they will (change formation, shoot, withdraw etc).

The Rule Book Snippet

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Time Off

I’ve been writing rules for Clausewitz now non-stop for six weeks. As such, I’m choosing to take a couple of weeks rest from Clausewitz.

Hopefully I’ll be able to come back with fresh ideas to drive the game forward once more. There are various areas I’d like to improve on at this point and I’ve outlined a list of items I’m hoping to improve/produce upon my return.

  • Command and Control – Chain of command
  • Number of Actions
  • Fatigue
  • Unit profiles
  • Faction specific rules
  • Multiplayer games
  • The Rulebook
  • Tracking issues
  • Reducing the number of dice rolls
  • Victory Points
  • Attack Columns
  • Sieges
  • Campaigns
  • Scenarios
  • Plus many more……

Command & Control Thoughts

There is always a clear chain of command for the issuing of orders in a battle.

  1. Commander-In-Chief
  2. Corp Commanders
  3. Division Commanders
  4. Brigade Commanders
  5. Unit Commanders

For Clausewitz, the CinC may be at any level from Divisional and upwards, therefore I believe I need to implement a sounds system which can replicate the Napoleonic battlefield orders (and their blunders).

Each Brigade already has a morale value which can be used to determine whether orders are interpreted correctly (or followed at all!). However, I need to replicate the dissemination of orders from the upper tiers of the command structure. After all Napoleon wouldn’t order individual Brigades into the fray, he’d leave that to the Divisional Commanders.

At present I’m considering using the Commander-In-Chiefs awareness points to issue the order (as it is currently), but these orders have to be passed down the tiers to the relevant unit.

So for example, Napoleon wants some of his troops to take and hold Hougemont, he sends an ADC to Marshal Ney with orders to that effect and dedicating a certain amount of his AP for that purpose. Marshal Ney receives the orders and tests to see whether he understands and follows them correctly. At present I’m considering using a simple dice roll on 1 D6 (with adjustments for different types of commanders), this may be as simple as passing a simple roll on 2+, perhaps if the general is particularly inept it may be a 3+ or even 4+. If the roll is failed then a number of things may happen. The resources Napoleon has committed to taking this objective is adjusted (meaning not as many brigades can be dedicated to the task), perhaps another random battlefield objective is chosen or maybe the Marshal chooses to ignore the orders altogether believing them to be out of date considering the current Battlefield situation.

If the Marshal then decides to forward the orders, he will send ADC’s to the relevant number of units that Napoleon has given him resource for. For example, Napoleon dedicates 8 Awareness Points to the capture of Hougemont, so Ney uses 4 AP to activate his 1st Brigade (with 4 battalions), 2 AP for two squadrons of cavalry and the last 2 AP for two units of artillery. ADC’s are sent to these units to show that they have been activated.

THE REWRITE

This will of course require some rewriting of the current Command and Control rules. I believe that CinC’s will have a set number of AP that they can use during the course of the battle (dependent upon the battle size), and they ‘lend’ this out to their Divisional Commanders to activate the units required to take the objective.

Divisional Commanders will need to then activate the units required and stay within a certain distance of these troops to ensure that reports from the battle line and the ability to call of an attack is still possible. This may be a range of 30cm. Any activated units outside of this command range cannot act in an aggressive manner, only defensively the same as the un-activated units inside the army.

If Divisional commanders are wounded/killed during the course of the battle, it will take some time to find a replacement in order for that Division to be effective again. This may also be determined by a dice roll as simple as on a 5+ a new commander is selected from the Brigade Generals.

Some units have a degree of independence and may operate outside of their Divisional Commanders zone of control (e.g. Hussars, Rifles and Guerillas).

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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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2nd Small Test Game

I’ve attached another video of a second small test game I carried out over the weekend, this time without any scenery and deployment phases just two lines of identical armies lined up opposite each other.

My concern after this test is that cavalry seem to be possibly overly powerful on that attack. One Brigade of two squadrons was able to put the entire Blue left in disarray. How accurate this is, i’m not sure…

Also there is till work to be done on firming up the broken rules.

I’d love to hear everyones throughts.

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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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Broken Units

I established how units became broken in an earlier post, where a unit fails their morale test by a value of 3 or more. I also stated that other units that are near a unit that fails its morale test and becomes broken also have to test. What I haven’t covered is some of the after effects of units breaking.

MAKING FRIENDLY CONTACT

A unit may break as part of a reaction, a move or as a result of losing combat. Units will flee a certain distance (5cm for foot troops, 12cm for mounted troops). However what happens if a unit that is broken collides with another unit broken or otherwise?

There are four options here;

  1. The unit that is collided with automatically becomes broken and also flees.
  2. The unit that is fleeing rallies once it makes contact with a friendly unit.
  3. The fleeing unit is classed as destroyed and removed from the table.
  4. The fleeing unit ‘skips’ over the friendly unit to line up in the same direction as to when it made contact. With the unit that is being ‘Skipped’ taking a morale test (possibly with a morale modifier).

Personally at the moment I’m favouring the fourth option with a +1 modifier to the skipped units morale test. But that said I’d love to here other people’s opinions.

MAKING ENEMY CONTACT

A unit which flees into an enemy unit should be removed from the table with the men if the unit classified as captured for all intents and purposes.

A NOTE ON MORALE TESTS

A unit that is broken can use every subsequent action to attempt to rally using a morale test. For each action where the rally is failed, the unit will flee the distance required for that unit type.

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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