Tag Archives: 3mm Wargaming

Broken Units

We’ve covered broken units previously but this far have assumed they will act normally the following turn. This obviously didn’t always happen, so I’m going to introduce the following rules.

Units that have broken (a unit that has failed it’s morale test by more than two points) will continue to flee each turn until it has managed to restore order in its ranks.

This can be done via two methods;

1) the unit will make morale checks at the beginning of each of its turns (if outside of 10cm of the enemy). This counts as one action, if it passes, it can carry out its remaining actions as normal.

2) the commander in chief can make base to base contact with the unit, at which point the unit can pass it’s morale check on a 10 or less. However, this does not come without risks to the commander in chief himself! This counts as one action, if it passes, it can carry out its remaining actions as normal.

If a unit still fails it’s test, it will withdraw a further 10cm that turn to its own table edge. If a unit leaves the table edge it can take no further part in the game.

RISKS TO GENERALS

A unit may use a CinC’s to rally itself on a 10 or less as long as the CinC is in base to base contact with that unit at the beginning of the turn. However throughout history there are stories where generals have lost control of their troops and as a result have been under threat themselves from their own men.

The murder of General Dillon

“The force re-formed level with the Fives gate, with a mixture of soldiers from different regiments forming a garrison. Dillon’s second-in-command, the engineer colonel Pierre-François Berthois, was stopped by the soldiers, hung from one of the battlements and fired him and 3 or 4 prisoners from a gun.[3] Wounded, Dillon was shot in a cart and bayonetted. His body was tied to the cart and dragged through the streets as far as the Grand Place, where it was thrown on a fire, made up of signs from several neighbouring shops.[3]

An excerpt taken from Wikipedia on the death of French General Dillon following the battle of Marquain in 1792.

General Jackson

Darkness ended the assault. As Jackson and his staff were returning to camp on May 2, they were mistaken for a Union cavalry force by the 18th North Carolina Infantry regiment who shouted, “Halt, who goes there?”, but fired before evaluating the reply. Frantic shouts by Jackson’s staff identifying the party were replied to by Major John D. Barry with the retort, “It’s a damned Yankee trick! Fire!”[47] A second volley was fired in response; in all, Jackson was hit by three bullets, two in the left arm and one in the right hand. Several other men in his staff were killed, in addition to many horses.

Another example where men fired on their own General ‘Stonewall’ Jackson mortally wounding him, also from Wikipedia.

Both of these events occurred when the troops morale was low or in great fear of the enemy. I would like to replicate this in the game by introducing an element of danger for the General if he attempts to rally a broken unit.

Therefore when a unit rolls for morale using the Generals morale of 10, any failures on a 12 would mean a further single D6 dice roll, the effects of which are shown below:

1 – The General is killed by his own men and they flee completely from the field of battle.

2 or 3 – The General and his staff are confused for the enemy and shot at. However the troops realise their error and soon cease but not before wounding the General.

4+ the general is ignored and the men continue fleeing.

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO SEE?

I’ve only given two options here, however if people make fantastic suggestions as to the fate of the general I’m willing to add them in. The table could be based on D66 rather than D6 of we have enough suggestions, and may add a bit of fun to the fates of our generals.

Please leave a comment below with your suggestions and I’ll try and include them all or as many as I can.

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Revision to Artillery

Following some testing over the weekend, I’ve decided that Artillery will be deployed on their own outside of any Brigades.

This has mainly been due that Artillery will often be remaining in one static position if deployed defensively, if deployed on offence where any artillery are attached to a Brigade, the artillery would often advance before it’s parent unit, deploy, and then fire while the Brigade catches up.

This would mean for the majority of a game, players would be detaching their artillery most of the time. For these reasons and to save time and for more historical sense, I’ve decided to split these away from Brigades.

Because of this any artillery bases are deployed on their own and always have a morale of 7.

As artillery were often firing from the outset of battle, I’ve also revised orders for these units. Each artillery unit deployed at the beginning of the game will have an objective to hold or attack as if it has already been given an order. Therefore these units are all active from the start and can have their representing dice added to the draw bag for each turn.

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The Battle of Talavera – Allied Forces Replication

As a test for how many Brigades an army could place on the battlefield, I conducted a test where I’ve replicated the Order of Battle for the forces at the Battle of Talavera. This is for the British and Spanish forces only.

For the order of battle I’ve used Charles Oman’s figures given from his book A History of the Peninsular War Volume I. & A History of the Peninsular War Volume II.

The total forces you see below amount to 28,000 Spanish Infantry, 6,000 Spanish Cavalry and Spanish Artillery at 800 men and 36 guns, with the British at 20,700 British Infantry, 3,180 British Cavalry and British Artillery at 1,010 men and 30 guns.

A total force of roughly: 57,000 men

If we also add the French forces of 46,000 to this we come to a combined battle field total of 103,000 men.

The British and Spanish forces look fairly spaced but we also have to look at their historical deployment to see if this can be achieved.

Deployment map of Talavera

This may be achievable, but considering the depths of some of our units we may struggle a little. But we do have to remembers that some units were held in reserve further away from the main battle and so wouldn’t appear on our main area at first.

So the next task will be to replicate the French forces and see if both forces can be deployed on a table top in their historical locations.

SOURCE

Wikipedia – Battle of Talavera Order of Battle

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Battlefield Objectives

What’s the point of fighting in a particular place? If you look back over history, virtually all battlefields had objectives of some kind for both armies which they fought over.

At Waterloo both armies fought over control of Le Haye Sainte, Hougoumont and the hamlet of Papelotte.

Nassau Troops at Hougoumont Farm

These could have been considered primary objectives on the battlefield, with both armies aiming to control them. Secondary objectives may have been points on the ridge which Wellington’s army held, as well as Placenoit and La Belle Alliance held by the French.

The French aim was to defeat the allied army before the Prussians arrived, to do so they had to secure the farms to stop any fire on their advancing forces after which they had to take the ridge line upon which the allied army stood.

By looking at these battlefields in this fashion we can see between 2 to 3 objectives on each one, sometimes more. Securing these objectives would often mean a tactical victory in the forces that did so.

If we’re to have a pick up and play option in our game and we want to get the most out of historical reenactment as well we need to have objectives of our own battlefield.

OBJECTIVES

First thoughts would be to have 3 primary objectives on a battlefield and 3 secondary objectives. All these would be numbered 1 through 6. Players would place three objectives each, a player’s own objectives would be their primary objectives while the opposing players would be their secondary.

These objectives must be placed on a terrain piece on the table top, such as a hill, village, forest etc.

Primary objectives would score an army 3 ‘tactical points’ if they held it at the beginning of a turn. While secondary would score an army 1 ‘tactical point’.

Holding these objectives would also grant a player additional Coup d’Oeil points.

HOLDING AN OBJECTIVE

Holding an objective would mean having more units in proximity to the objective than your enemy. The proximity to which a unit could hold an objective could be 10cm.

ORDERS AND OBJECTIVES

A unit cannot hold an objective unless they’ve been given an order to do so. For example, an ADC must have been sent to a brigade to assign them an objective number. For the rest of the game once the unit receives it’s objective it may only score points for being near that particular objective. If a player wants to change a units Objective he will have to send another ADC to do so.

ADC’s

Generals can send an ADC to a Brigade once they have enough Coup d’Oeil points to do so. The ADC moves at the same speed as mounted troops at the ‘trot’ pace. If an ADC has to move through difficult ground it is considered to move at the same ‘march’ pace as infantry.

Once an ADC reaches a Brigade that Brigade is considered ‘activated’, players would place a marker next to the unit to denote its activation. The player can also choose which objective he wants that unit to attack, once he’s decided, he then marks this on the marker for his opponent to see. From that point onward that unit can only score ‘tactical’ points should it hold the objective specified.

TACTICAL AND STRATEGIC VICTORIES

A player who has accumulated the most ‘Tactical’ points by the end of the game is considered to have won a ‘Tactical’ victory.

The other player may still win a ‘Strategic’ victory if he manages to score more ‘hits’ on his enemy than they do on his own forces. Remember that hits for infantry count as 50 men per hit killed or wounded, while for Cavalry or Artillery a hit would count as 10 men killed or wounded. A player can then calculate how many of his men were killed or wounded during the course of the battle and compare this to their historical counterpart if they are re-fighting a particular battle.

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Artillery

We’ve covered Infantry and Cavalry (which does need some slight amendments to Light Cavalry) so now we’re onto the third arm.

There were many different types of Artillery available to Napoleonic Generals.

  • 24pdr Cannon
  • 12pdr Cannon
  • 9pdr Cannon
  • 8pdr Cannon
  • 6pdr Cannon
  • 4pdr Cannon
  • 3pdr Cannon
  • 5.5-inch Howitzer
  • 6-inch Howitzer
  • 8-inch Howitzer
  • 6pdr Howitzer
  • 7pdr Howitzer
  • 24pdr Howitzer
  • Unicorns
  • 6pdr Mortar
  • 24pdr Mortar
  • 3pdr Mountain Gun
  • Congreve Rockets

I’m not even sure whether the above list is the full variety of artillery that was present in the Napoleonic period (also some of these would have been used in siege warfare or naval warfare only).

Our first step will be to take the weapon types and where possible establish what their effective and long ranges were.

One useful page I’ve found for this is on www.napoleonguide.com, which has the below table:

Artillery Ranges by Nation

This doesn’t cover our entire list but its a pretty decent summary of the most common artillery types used on the open battlefield during the time. Let’s start by working out an average of the different cannon weights above

NationCannon TypeMaximum RangeEffective RangeCanister Range
Austria3-pounder850 metres400 metres275 metres
British3-pounder1,000 metres400 metres275 metres
Prussian3-pounder920 metres400 metres275 metres
Average920 metres*400 metres275 metres
3-pounder Cannon Ranges
*rounded from 923 metres

For now we’re going to work on averages, eventually we may differentiate between nations but if we do that it will be a long way down the line. Let’s move on to the 6 pounders.

NationCannon TypeMaximum RangeEffective RangeCanister Range
Austrian6-pounder920 metres470 metres370 metres
British6-pounder1,350 metres640 metres360 metres
French6-pounder1,350 metres725 metres410 metres
Prussian6-pounder1,350 metres825 metres360 metres
Russian6-pounder1,350 metres725 metres360 metres
Average1,260 metres680 metres370 metres
6-pounder Ranges
Averages are rounded to the nearest 10 metres

Finally, the 12-pounders:

NationCannon TypeMaximum RangeEffective RangeCanister Range
Austrian12-pounder1,100 metres640 metres460 metres
French12-pounder1,600 metres825 metres550 metres
Prussian12-pounder1,800 metres825 metres500 metres
Russian12-pounder1,800 metres825 metres550 metres
Average1,580 metres780 metres520 metres
12-pounder Cannon Ranges
Averages are rounded to the nearest 10 metres.

What’s immediately apparent to me is that the Austrian artillery design must have either been out of date or flawed, all of their ranges are significantly less than those of the other countries (perhaps I will have to include national ranges on cannon types in the future…).

Now we have a single value for all of the cannon types that we can convert into our game scale of 1:5300.

Cannon TypeMaximum RangeEffective RangeCanister Range
3-Pounder17 cm8 cm5 cm
4-Pounder21 cm12 cm7 cm
6-Pounder24 cm13 cm7 cm
8-Pounder25 cm14 cm9 cm
9-Pounder29 cm16 cm8 cm
12-Pounder30 cm15 cm10 cm
Cannon Ranges in 1:5300 Game Scale

We also have the Howitzers, here there are no averages to calculate so we can just use the information on the original table scaled down.

Howitzer TypeMaximum RangeEffective RangeCanister Range
7-Pounder23 cm12 cm9 cm
5.5-Inch29 cm12 cm9 cm
6-Inch21 cm12 cm10 cm
7-Pounder27 cm12 cm9 cm
12-Pounder34 cm12 cm9 cm
Unicorns42 cm12 cm10 cm
Howitzer Ranges at Game Scale 1:5300

So we’ve established the ranges of the different weapons, what about the type of ammunition they could fire. Essentially this boiled down to Roundshot, canister or shell.

RELOAD TIME

Information I have found about the French 12 pounder suggests that the cannons were able to fire roughly 1 shot per minute.

So in game terms, each of our cannon are able to fire two shots per action. Fairly simple.

AMMUNITION

Round Shot

A round shot, is exactly as it sounds a massive ball of metal that is launched from the cannon at the enemy. The cannon ball would pass through ranks of infantry or cavalry formations killing all in its path. A round shot in good weather could actually be fired further than the Cannon’s maximum range due to ricochet of the ground if it was hard and dry enough. However, for now we’re going to ignore this and stick with our maximum ranges. The round shot would pass through ranks killing or injuring maybe one or two in each rank before either coming to a stop or passing through the battalion and possibly into any other battalions behind.

Shell

The shell was exactly as it sounds a shell packed with shrapnel and a timing fuse which the gun team cut to length. It was then fired from the cannon and exploded after the timing fuse has ran down. This could be quite devastating to enemy units if armed and fired accurately.

Canister

Canister were fired at closer range than the other ammunition types and essentially fired a canister filled with musket balls that would disintegrate and pepper the enemy unit.

For the time being, we’re going to leave the types of ammunition alone and say that a hit from a cannon at any range and ammunition type will cause one damage.

We can establish the number of rounds artillery were able to fire based on the information from www.napolun.com.

Ammunition

So from this table we can see that 8-pounders carried roughly 214 rounds, which if fired at once per minute allows them to fire for roughly 3.5 hours. However we’re spreading our battles over 8 hours in time, so let’s spead these out a little more. 214 divided over the 8 hours means one shot every 2 minutes. We can adjust for this by instead stating that per action a cannon will fire once every action. There will be no concerns about running out of ammunition at present as the adjusted shots per action would account for spreading fire across the whole 50 turns of our game.

MOVING ARTILLERY

On the training ground limbering up ready to move usually took at least 2-3 minutes. During battle however the gunners (and horses) were under tremendous stress and their movements were not perfect.

Unlimbering a weapon was easier than limbering up and usually took approximately 1 minute on the training ground.

ORGANISATION

A company/battery of artillery could consist of between 6-12 guns, two pairs of guns (i.e. 4 pieces) were called “half-company” in France or “Division” in Russia. Two half-companies in France (2×4 = 8 Pieces) or three divisions in Russia (3×4 = 12 pieces) formed “company” or “battery”. This was the fundamental tactical unit.

Each piece of artillery has roughly 50 men allocated to the maintenance, transportation and use of that weapon.

Comparison of Battery Sizes

NationBatteryCannonsHowitzersTotal Pieces
FranceFoot (Position)6 (12 Pounders)28
FranceFoot6 (6 Pounders)28
FranceHorse4 (6 Pounders)28
RussiaHeavy8 (12 Pounders)412
RussiaLight8 (6 Pounders)412
RussiaHorse8 (6 Pounders)412
PrussiaHeavy6 (12 Pounders)2 (10 Pounders)8
PrussiaFoot6 (6 Pounders)2 (7 Pounders)8
PrussiaHorse6 (6 Pounders)2 (7 Pounders)8
PrussiaHowitzer8 (7 Pounders)8
Artillery Battery Composition

Sometimes the light cannons (3 and 4 Pounders) were attached to infantry battalions, or infantry regiments. For example during Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812 many (but not all) French infantry regiments has 2-4 light guns. There were no light cannons attached to cavalry regiments.

The foot and horse batteries made of medium (6 Pounders) and howitzers were attached to infantry and cavalry divisions as divisional artillery. The infantry division could have one, two or even three foot batteries. The cavalry division usually had on horse battery of medium guns.

The corps commander usually had in his reserve or more batteries. Often the corps artillery consisted of heavy cannons (12 Pounders) and howitzers. The overall commander-in-chief had an artillery reserve also comprising if several foot and horse batteries. In total this could have been 50, 100 or more guns.

There were pros and cons of attaching the artillery to divisions:

+ It greatly increased the firepower of the division.

+ It strengthened the morale of troops, especially the young and inexperienced.

– Terrain favourable to infantry was not always favourable to artillery which required harder and higher ground, good visibility and open terrain for the deployment of ammunition wagons, limbers etc.

– Infantry commanders often pressed gunners to open fire at too great a range and withdrew the guns too early when attacked in fear of losing their artillery.

GAME PRESENTATION

As the majority of the power from an artillery unit will be coming from its guns, we’ll use the number of guns to represent the strength. Therefore is we want a dice for each gun, each gun should be 4 strength as a starting point.

Artillery units were often attached to brigades, therefore a brigade may have an artillery base attached with a strength representing the number of guns present. (I.e. 5 guns = 20 strength, 3 guns = 12 strength) and so on. A loss of strength from an artillery unit, would like Cavalry, mean a loss of 10 men killed or wounded.

ACTIONS

So artillery actions mat be:

  • Move (1 Action)
  • Unlimber (1 Action)
  • Fire (1 Action)
  • Limber (2 Actions)
  • Detach from Brigade (1 Action)
  • Attach to Brigade (1 Action)

This would in theory allow foot artillery to detach from their Brigade move forwards in advance, fire for a few turns while the main brigade advances and then either reattach or stay positioned. In one turn a foot artillery unit may be able to move 2cm, unlimber, fire and then limber up again all in one turn.

OTHER NOTES

Despite games showing this, it was actually very rare for artillery to engage in “duels”. But I’m not going to stop this rule wise, as I think any players that start engaging in firing at their enemies artillery would soon learn the error.

SOURCES

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Clausewitz

I’m going to take the weekend off from rule writing and have a rest this weekend (I may even paint some models!), but there will be a big announcement early next week!

In the meantime the keen eyes among you may have recently noticed the name Clausewitz popping up here and there.

I couldn’t keep going with the name “Writing a Wargame” and so had to adopt something else that was both shorter and in keeping with the period. My first thoughts were either “Vive le France!” or “Coup d’Oeil”, but in the end I settled on Clausewitz.

Who is Clausewitz?

Mr Clausewitz

Carl von Clausewitz was a Prussian general and military theorist who stressed the psychological and political aspects of war. His most notable work “Vom Kriege” (On War) was unfinished at his death.

For more information I would direct you to the following sources:

His most telling quotes are, (in my opinion) are “There are very few men-and they are the exceptions-who are able to think and feel beyond the present moment” and “…as man under pressure tends to give in to physical and intellectual weakness, only great strength of will can lead to the objective.”.

With morale being such an important part of the game mechanics it felt suitable that the name Clausewitz should be there on the front.

Anyway that’s it for me until Monday for now. I’m off for a rest over the weekend. But, please check back next week for my announcement!

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Battalion & Brigade Formations

I ironically started writing my own set of rules because I couldn’t find a ruleset that would suit what I wanted to do. Namely representing battalions on a relatively realistic scale on the tabletop with movement and effects realistically modelled but in a quicker format than other such rules were doing them previously. I also wanted a set of rules where I could either play a matched game against my opponent or re-enact a historical battle.

Part of this will be to ensure that Brigade and Battalion formations are easily represented on the tabletop without too much trouble.

There were three main battalion formations.

The Line

Taken from Napolun.com

Above is a typical line formation for infantry at the time. 3 Ranks of men spread out over a considerable distance. Line formation of three ranks was used by most of the main factions apart from Britain whose battalions often fought in two ranks.

The obvious benefit of fighting in line formation was the battalion had the most amount of muskets available to fire on the enemy. In three rank formations the first two ranks would fire while the third would pass their loaded muskets to the second rank to fire.

The weaknesses of the line formation were that it was vulnerable to flank attacks from cavalry, and column attacks could smash through the thin line of men if they made it through the fire.

To represent this in gaming terms I’m currently using the following rules:

  • Battalions in line can use the maximum amount of firing dice allocated to them. (I.e. a brigade is 80 strength made up of 4 battalions, the battalion would fire 10 firing dice – one quarter of 80)
  • Battalions in line are vulnerable on their flanks in close combat. Therefore when attacked in the flank they roll half their allocated combat dice (Combat will be covered on a later post).
  • Battalions in line cannot use the ‘Quick Step’ pace (and by result this means the Brigade cannot also use ‘Quick Step’ pace. This is due to the time taken to redress ranks after passing obstacles.

Column Formation

Taken from Napolun.com

There were different forms of column, such as the column shown above which was ideal for marching long distances across the battlefield at a faster pace than when in line. There were also attack columns, which in some cases had files of 50 men and 16+ ranks. These columns were designed to move quickly through enemy fire and smash through opposing infantry lines. Columns were not the useless plodding advance you see so popularly depicted on TV series and films (Looking at you Mr. Sharpe).

They were also a small deterrent to cavalry due to the men being packed tightly together and cavalry horses often refusing to charge at densely packed men.

However as you are no doubt aware, they were vulnerable to artillery fire and enfilading fire through their many ranks.

Despite this, men in column felt more secure than when in line formation due to having so many comrades in close proximity.

We can represent all these factors on the table:

  • Brigades can add +1 morale for each battalion in column formation within their unit.
  • Column formation allows the unit to use ‘Quick Step’, all units must be in column for the unit to take advantage of this.
  • Artillery and small arms fire on columns deal double double damage.
  • Very little firing was made from battalions in column formation, therefore when battalions are in column they are not able to fire.

Square Formation

Square formation

The square formation was ideally suited to repelling cavalry attacks. It was however, very vulnerable to small arms fire and artillery fire.

Square formations also reduced a units firing in any one direction so that a unit may only have one quarter of its muskets available to fire.

As you may also appreciate after looking at the picture above, moving in square and retaining its shape to deter the cavalry was almost impossible.

Table representation:

  • Units in square cannot move.
  • The number of fire dice they can use is reduced to 2.
  • Artillery and small arms fire on square cause double damage.
  • Cavalry cannot attack a unit in square.

So that’s the main battalion formations covered, but what about Brigade formations?

There were many brigade formations, some used only once some used many time. Let’s look at an example or two.

Taken from Napolun.com

This shows a brigade where the front units are in line formation and the rear supporting units are in column. This could be used on defence, allowing the front units maximum firepower against approaching enemy and the rear units in column to allow them to move forward in support of needed.

This would easily be represented on the table top by having the units in the same formation.

What we could also do is for every “rank” of battalion behind the first +1 morale would be added to the brigade. For example, if we use the example above where there are six battalions of 1,000 men and have three units side by side in line with three units behind in column. The front units would be using 20 firing dice for firing their weapons while also having +1 morale for the brigade having two ranks and +3 morale for having three brigades in column.

Taken from Napolun.com

Multi Brigade formations may also be possible. In the picture above you can see MacDonald’s Column at the Battle of Wagram. This was suited to advance towards the enemy with four battalions able to use their full firepower, while having their flanks protected from cavalry by Brigades in column formation.

The above could be represented by:

With this, our rules would currently suggest, that 1st Brigade has 5 units in column therefore will have +5 to its Brigade morale, 3rd Brigade would have +3, while 2nd Brigade can use its full firepower to the front, safe in the knowledge that cavalry cannot attack its flanks.

In our game we could potentially have options to; A) join brigades together to create divisional formations like above, this would cost maybe 2-3 actions for each brigade that wishes to do do. B) be able to detach units from Brigades for certain tasks. (i.e. detaching a unit of skirmishers to hold a village while the remaining Brigade advances on an enemy position).

SUMMARY

Formation Summary:

  • Line Formation – Gives full allocated firing dice to its unit, Battalions in line roll half of their combat dice when fighting in melee. Battalions in line cannot use ‘Quick Step’ and any Brigade the Battalion is inside also cannot use ‘Quick Step’.
  • Column Formation – Allows the use of ‘Quick Step’ Pace, all units inside this Brigade must be in column formation to do so. Brigades will be granted +1 morale for each Battalion within its formation that assumes column formation. Units in column formation cannot fire. Small arms and artillery fire, cause double damage to units in column formation.
  • Square Formation – Cannot move. Its number of firing dice is reduced to 2. Small arms and artillery attacks on this unit cause double damage. Cavalry cannot attack units in square formation.

Following on from this I will include the following options for actions:

  • Join Brigade, for each Brigade that wants to attach to another, they must spend a full 5 action points to do so. This would represent the period of time it take to get organised. There will be an upper limit currently that no more than 3 Brigades can attach to each other in this fashion. Likewise Brigades can detach from each other for a cost of 5 action points. Once Brigades are joined together, they act as one unit using their actions together. This could be represented by a General of Division stand of some such. Alternatively, Brigades being joined together may cost Coup d’Oeil points.
  • Battalion detachment/Skirmisher Detachment. Units may be detached from their parent Brigade for the sole purpose of holding an objective. This would cost 1 Action point. From that moment onward the detached Battalion will have a morale of 8 (a base morale of 7, +1 for the single battalion). If the Brigade a Battalion detaches from has a lower morale than 8, then it assumes its parents morale upon detachment. Battalions can then rejoin their Brigade at a cost of 1 action.

A NOTE ON MORALE

I realise that at this stage I have a fair number of morale modifiers and that these may well not be balanced as yet. But my intention is to have a foundation with which to build upon in the future.

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Game Test 3 – Deployment Phase

I tested a deployment phase the same as that featured in Chain of Command by TooFatLardies as recommended by a number of people on Reddit.

Deployment Phase Test

I’m pleased with the results so far, it does need tightening up however. My initial thoughts are:

  • You have a number of markers representative of the number of Light Infantry and Light Cavalry units in your force for the battle.
  • Units come on at a certain point on the board, players take it in turns to move all their units onto the battlefield.
  • Once all units are at the entry point, players take it in turns to move the units 15cm at a time to claim as large a deployment zone as possible.
  • Movement is 15cm regardless of terrain (apart from being unable to cross rivers without using a bridge or ford).

Let me know your thoughts and subscribe below to get a notification on my latest posts.

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Writing a Wargame – Skirmishers

I’ve left this one alone for a little while, whilst I’ve spent some time deciding on other factors.

But I’m keen to have this troop type crossed off my to do list due to their role in the wars and including everyone’s favourites the 95th.

BAKER RIFLE

A replica Baker Rifle

So let’s start by taking a look at the Baker Rifle. The weapon of the 60th and 95th Rifle regiments as well as the King’s German Legion during the 100 days.

The Baker Rifle although much more accurate than the smoothbore musket wasn’t widely used due to both it’s slow reload time and it’s expense compared to a musket.

While a trained soldier with a musket could fire four shots a minute, a rifleman could only manage two. However the range of the rifle was much further than that of the musket with its effective range being twice that of the musket. Thomas Plunket of the 1st Battalion 95th Rifles is said to have managed to shoot General Colbert at the Battle of Cacabelos at a range of around 600 yards which is twice the long range of a musket.

Thomas Plunket’s shot

This makes our like easy in some respects so that the effective range of the Baker Rifle in game would be 4 cm while the long range would be 8 cm.

SKIRMISHERS

Not all nations employed skirmishers, but they were prominent during the Peninsula Wars.

Often deployed in front of an advancing Brigade, the Skirmishers would firefight with enemy skirmishers and pluck out officers from the enemy formation.

This makes representing them on the tabletop fairly simple. Skirmishers can still fire like any other Brigade, however their hits do not cause any damage on the strength of a unit, instead the unit hit suffers 2 morale damage.

Musket armed Skirmishers will only be able to fire these shots at the usual range. However, Rifle armed Skirmishers would be able to fire at double the range but due to the time it would take to reload can only use half the fire dice that the equivalent musket armed troops would be able to use.

TABLE REPRESENTATION

Talavera Order of Battle

Skirmisher Strength/Firing Dice

Above is a screenshot taken from Wikipedia showing the Talavera order of battle for the Anglo-Spanish forces. As you can see the usual tactic was to attach a single company of rifles to a brigade (usually those lacking their own light infantry). This is a pretty tiny unit. In our game terms it would currently be presented as a 1 Strength, 1 Firing Dice unit.

Even battalions with light companies armed with muskets would only throw forward at most 50 men to act as a skirmish screen.

Base Size

Base size would not be an issue and a company would still be modelled on a 40mm wide base due to the men spreading out and taking advantage of cover.

Unit Coherency

These skirmishers would close to within range of the enemy at which point they would hold position sniping enemy officers while the brigade they’re attached to advanced and attempted to drive the enemy away.

For this reason Skirmishers do not have to be in base-to-base contact with other units of their brigade, however, they must remain within 4 cm of their parent unit so that they can quickly find safety should cavalry approach.

Additional Actions

Brigades with attached Rifle companies or battalions with light companies may choose to deploy a skirmish screen for 1 action. This screen is then represented by a skirmish base on the table deployed in base to base contact at the front of the battalion.

Actions for Skirmishers are carried out separately to its parent brigade and Skirmishers do not take morale tests for moving within 10 cm of an enemies radius. It cannot be targeted by shooting unless by opposition Skirmishers.

When the skirmish unit uses a move action, the skirmish unit can move in any direction at ‘quick pace’ (if able to do so) as long as the unit stays within 4 cm of its parent battalion.

The Skirmish stand will also not move closer than 2 cm to an enemy brigade.

Skirmish stands can be charged by enemy cavalry or skirmishers. If cavalry successfully charge Skirmishers the skirmish unit is considered destroyed. Remove it from battle and reduce the parents battalion strength and modifier by 1.

CHANGES TO THE GAME AS A RESULT

  • Skirmish formation is not available to battalions.
  • Brigades that have light infantry or rifle infantry attached may deploy them at the cost of 1 action.
  • Destroyed Skirmishers count as 1 damage and 1 morale loss for its parent Brigade.
  • Skirmishers act independently of its parent brigade but remain within 4 cm.
  • Skirmish stands cannot use any other formation other than Skirmish until they rejoin their Brigade.
  • Skirmishers armed cause 2 morale damage to enemy units but no strength damage.
  • Rifle armed infantry have an effective range of 4 cm and a long range of 2 cm however they have half the firing dice (if deployed as a battalion).
  • Rifle armed battalions may still only deploy one stand as skirmishers.
  • Actions available to Skirmishers are:
    • Fire!
    • Move 3cm (if able otherwise 2cm)
    • Fall in (rejoin the Brigade)

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