Napoleonic army level Kriegsspiels

by Martin James

“Everything in war is very simple, but even the simplest thing is difficult” Clausewitz.

Overview

This is an article discussing how to run an army level kriegsspiel.  We will focus on recreating the tempo of battle, essentially making sure that things happen in a realistic fashion, and in a timely way.  We will examine one approach to dealing with combat in the Napoleonic period.

We will start with some brief comments on the overall structure of the game, then quote some general principals or guidelines, and attempt to justify them.

We will round of this part with a few comments on how the game flows in practice.

We finish with the following charts:

  • Chart 1 – timing of attacks.
  • Chart 2 – sample attack from order to completion.
  • Chart 3 – umpires’ checklist.
  • Chart 4 – players’ guidance notes.

Webmaster note.  Charts and other resources are available below.  NB  The counters require the Napoleonic font available from  mapsymbs.com

Controller and liaison notes

Additional notes for players

Counters

Message sheet

Orders Sheet

It is important to realise that everything that follows is for the umpires’ guidance only. For every general principle, one could quote exceptions

As an example, you will see that our approach focuses on the time required to make things happen, making allowance for orders to flow through the chain of command. If, however, a player joins a brigade to hasten its attack preparations, we may allow things to happen more quickly (the player will not however be able to do anything else while so engaged – e.g. receive messages and reports).

Game structure

The game proceeds in 15-minute increments.  (Webmasters note;  we often adopt 30 minute increments depending on the scenario).

Unless a player is actually with a subordinate formation, orders will take at least 15 minutes (and frequently longer) to arrive. Under normal circumstances, it will take at least a further 15 minutes for them to be assimilated, understood and transmitted through the chain of command at brigade level.

It is crucial to realise that any brigade involved in a planned attack, which is itself attacked in the interim, will react to that attack. It will not therefore take part in the originally planned attack. This will normally abort the original attack, but in certain circumstances, the umpires may permit it to go ahead with reduced forces.

Principles & guidelines

The basic tactical unit throughout the horse & musket period was the infantry or cavalry brigade, and much combat involved one brigade engaging another.

This is based on a study of detailed battle accounts, and the statements of senior Napoleonic commanders, who commented that they had rarely seen more than half a dozen battalions (or squadrons) engaged at one time. Sometimes where battle accounts mention attacks by a division or corps, it is evident that only one or two brigades were actually involved – the remainder being held in reserve for exploitation (or recovering from previous attacks).

In large battles, brigades were rarely split, due to command inflexibility and the risk of individual battalions being overwhelmed.

Notwithstanding the above, a feature of the later Napoleonic campaigns was the use of larger formations such as divisional columns and squares. This has been ascribed to declining standards of training and motivation and, in the case of the French in 1813, to the Allies’ cavalry superiority, which threatened to ride over weaker formations. The inflexibility and vulnerability of such massed formations to artillery was clearly itself a further contributory factor in the decline of French battlefield superiority. Nevertheless, our rules need to reflect this development.

The most simple infantry brigade attack would take time to organise – we suggest a minimum of 15 minutes from receipt of orders.

The brigade commander needs to understand and digest the orders, reconnoitre the ground and enemy position, and make decisions on his attack formation, possibly in conjunction with the battalion commanders. Following this, orders are passed down the line to companies, and the troops need to adopt the desired attack formation.

In addition, regimental precedence requirements will need to be met – ie. some battalions may need to change position, and artillery preparation might slow things further (see below).

Without specific orders to the contrary, subordinates would organise artillery preparation before an advance against unshaken infantry

Attacks against infantry in good order had a much lower probability of success, and artillery preparation of at least 30 minutes was usual. In addition of course there would be the time required to send and assimilate orders, and to manoeuvre the guns into position. The latter could be considerable for the heavier foot batteries.

Even the simplest attack would normally last a minimum of 45 minutes; from the commencement of the advance to the time the losing side ceased its retreat.

Opposing forces typically deployed around 1500 paces distant, and a reasonably speedy advance would therefore take around 15 minutes to approach the defenders. The nature of the ground and the possible need to halt to close or dress ranks would clearly be variables. We assume that final skirmishing, possible deployment from column to line and any subsequent decision with the bayonet would take a minimum of 15 minutes. This would be followed by either the attackers or the defenders falling back for a further 15 minutes to a position again around 1500 paces distant.

I should stress that this represents a minimum. It was possible for an attack to degenerate into an extended firefight, and our rules need to address this. This will be covered in more detail in the next part.

High odds attacks were rare.

Space and deployment restrictions meant the law of swiftly diminishing returns set in for an attacker above 2 v 1. At the outset of a battle, there was rarely a shortage of muskets (or sabres) to man the front line. Given this, there was little opportunity for most tactical attacks to bring a massive superiority to bear effectively. Some reserves would be useful to fill gaps as casualties were suffered – and in an advance against infantry, the attackers would normally suffer more severely than the defenders, during the advance. It could be argued that a numerical superiority would also give the attackers some morale advantage to offset the power of the defence. But there clearly was a limit, which the maps and accurately scaled troop blocks used in Kriegsspiel bring out nicely.

A large cavalry superiority could likewise be countered for a while, provided that the defender could maintain a second line. This provided both a rallying position, and the opportunity to take attacking squadrons in the flank if they overlapped and attempted to envelop the first line.

This limit on effective odds is something that some hex-based commercially produced board wargames sometimes still get wrong – although they are learning.

Unsupported cavalry can advance with less delay than infantry under battle conditions, and therefore simple impromptu attacks are sometimes possible.

The individual brigade or divisional commanders may be more aggressive by temperament, and their troops are very responsive to this type of order. Shock attack is after all cavalry’s only significant battlefield function (the difficulty may be in holding them back!).

The objectives of a simple cavalry attack are simple – e.g. charge those troops! There are less likely to be complications with terrain objectives (but not always – at one point at Borodino, Napoleon sent cavalry against the Great Redoubt.) There are also fewer decisions on attack formation than for infantry.

If cavalry do make an impromptu attack however, they are assumed to do so without reconoitrering the ground over which they advance. They will suffer the consequences if it is less than ideal.

Attacks involving more than one brigade, will take more time to organise – we suggest an additional 15 minutes per brigade.

As the attacks increase in scale, other ‘friction’ factors come into play. With a multi-brigade attack, we are introducing an additional level of command (say a divisional commander) into the detailed attack planning, as opposed to merely transmitting orders, as with a single brigade attack. We also have an additional ‘tribe’ – the extra brigade – with its own commander and, possibly, different ways of doing things.

Complex attacks, particularly those involving combined arms may be more effective, but will take even more time to organise.

Combined arms attacks were potentially devastating, since they typically countered the optimal tactics for the defending arm. E.g. infantry facing a combination of attacking infantry and cavalry would be forced into square, even though this minimised firepower and made them more vulnerable to the attackers’ musketry.

Even if senior commanders fully appreciated the capabilities of the various arms, there were several impediments to implementing this approach. For this reason such attacks seem to have been more rare than we might have expected.

They were even more difficult to organise than other attacks, since one was dealing with different arms of service, with their own ethos, traditions and ways of doing things. Coordination would be more complex because of the differences between the arms, and ground and weather conditions would impact them differently, and perhaps in ways not understood by each other. Cooperation might also be hampered by differences in attitudes and social class of the officers.

Senior commanders rarely involved themselves in detailed planning of attacks

Custom dictated that subordinate commanders were allowed considerable latitude in how they carried out their orders. The military art was in a state of flux throughout the period, with many new tactical developments. Given this, there was simply no agreed practice in many areas to force commanders to adhere to, even if that approach would have been considered acceptable by the military community.

Drill books were normally privately published and, although they were sometimes endorsed by the high command. Napoleon occasionally issued tactical guidelines (e.g. how many ranks a battalion in line should adopt), but in practice even l’Empereur’s pronouncements were often ignored.

For this reason players are not encouraged to give detailed instructions for deployment etc – this being the province of their subordinates.

Impact on a typical game

Much combat will be at the single brigade level, as this is the best that can be achieved in the time available.

Occasionally one side may pull off a choreographed attack and win big. But often (more often??) one side will have seized the initiative through getting their blow in first with a series of simple attacks, and disrupting their opponents’ preparations.

Individual combats can be quite decisive with villages lost and retaken; cavalry repulsed or even put to flight. At the grand tactical level however, battle will often be attritional due to the numbers of troops, and the availability of reserves. One may see a sequence of attack and then counter-attack, or a succession of blows against a gradually weakening enemy – what Haig would have called the ‘wearing out fight’. Until one army cracks – or maybe neither does.

Chart 1 – Timing for attacks

Time
(hrs)

Infantry
(1 bgd)

Infantry
(2 bgds)

Cavalry
(1 bgd)

Cavalry
(2 bgds)

Combined
Arms
¼ organise organise advance,
resolve
combat
& retreat
organise organise
½ advance advance,
resolve
combat
& retreat
¾ resolve
combat
advance
1 retreat resolve
combat
advance
1 ¼ retreat resolve
combat
1 ½ retreat

 

  • If artillery bombardment is to precede the attack, this will take ¼hour to organise (more for a grand battery), but this can be done concurrently with the above.
  • The cavalry advance, combat and retreat lasts ¼hour if the cavalry fail to break the infantry formation. If they succeed in breaking any of the battalions, then advance, combat and retreat last ½ hour.
  • Note particularly that the timings for infantry attacks are minimums, and assume that an attack does not degenerate into an extended firefight.
Chart 2 – A sample attack, the struggle for Maslowed

Let’s see this in action in an example. At 7.45 am the player sends orders to the 12th Inf. Bgd, some little distance away – having just arrived on the battlefield – to advance 1500 paces to an attack position. It is then to join 15th Inf. Bgd in an attack on the village of Maslowed as soon as possible. The attack will not be preceded by artillery bombardment.

Remember that, under battle conditions, a brigade takes ½ hr to pass a particular point. A typical infantry brigade of 4 or 5 battalions would occupy 4-5,000 paces on a route march. When battle was imminent, attempts were made to close up the column to around 3,000 paces. Around half of this would be occupied by the baggage. To put it another way, the column is ½ hr long.


Time
What’s happening? What’s taking the time?
7.45
to
8.00
Orders carried to 12th Bgd Understanding orders, in case of questions
Riding to 12th Bgd (400 paces pm)
Finding commander
8.00
to
8.15
Move organised by bgd Orders read by brigade commander
Brigade commander studies map, route etc
Any questions resolved
Orders passed down the line to battn & co
Troops collect their kit and get into march order
8.15
to
8.30
12th Bgd moves to
attack position
100 paces per minute
8.30
to
8.45
Note rear of the column takes a further 15 minutes to arrive
8.45
to
9.00
Joint attack
organised
Brigade reconnoitres ground and enemy position
Discussion & agreement required with 15th Bgd.
Decisions on attack formation
Discussion with battalion commanders
9.00
to
9.15
Orders passed down the line to companies
Troops need to adopt attack formation
Regimental precedence requirements to be met (ie some battalions may need to change position
9.15
to
9.30
Advance on Maslowed 100 paces per minute
9.30
to
9.45
Fighting for the village A fairly quick result in this case. Village fights frequently take longer.
9.45
to
10.00
Defenders of Maslowed retreat Troops fall back about 1500 paces.

 

  • The march to its attack position takes the 12thBrigade 30 minutes, although it is only 1500 paces, because the rear of the column is 15 minutes behind the front.
  • If 12th Bgd was accompanied by its baggage, this would not arrive until 9.00, although organisation of the attack would not be delayed because of this.
  • Had there been artillery with 15th Bgd, artillery bombardment could have been organised and implemented while the 12th Bgd was moving into attack position.
  • If the artillery was at the rear of 12th Bgd, its bombardment would have been organised between 8.45 and 9.00. With ½hour’s bombardment, the advance on the village would have been delayed by ¼
Chart 3 – umpires’ checklist (at say 10.00 am)
  • Announce time now 10.00 am and advance clock
  • Collect orders/messages (these will be considered sent at 10.00 am)
  • Put messages in card index file for delivery appropriate time
  • Deliver messages due to be received at 10.00 am
  • Written from other players
  • Verbal from umpires (aides, patrols and subordinate brigade commanders)
  • Brief players on what they can see/hear at 10.00 am
  • Movement
  • Changes in formation
  • Artillery firing
  • Results of combat completed – Advances/Retreats etc.
  • Combat in progress
  • Remember effect of smoke
  • Can they hear firing from other parts of the battlefield?
  • Carry out troop movements scheduled for 10.00 am
  • Resolve combat scheduled to begin at 10.00 am
Chart 4 – players’ guidance notes

This week we are again trying out a larger scale game. The following should be borne in mind:

The game
  • The game will proceed in 15 minute increments.
  • Immediately after the clock is moved on, one of the umpires will collect any orders/messages from the tray provided. These will be considered to have been sent at that time.
  • Following this, any messages or reports which have arrived will be delivered to the players. Verbal briefings will also be given by the umpires. These will relate to what has happened in the previous 15 minutes and to what the player can currently see and hear.
  • Following this, the umpires will return to the map room to implement any movement/combat for the next 15 minutes. When this has been done the clock will be moved on again.
Your role as a player
  • The building blocks of your army are infantry and cavalry brigades. You can detach individual battalions/squadrons for specific purposes however.
  • Each brigade will occupy about 3000 paces when in road column. Half troops and half brigade baggage. Typically the baggage will be at the rear of the column.
  • As you are operating at a higher level in the chain of command than in the usual Kriegsspiel, it will normally take time for your orders to reach your subordinate brigades.
  • The brigadiers will also take time assimilating those orders and organising their men. As an example it will normally take around 15 minutes to organise a one-brigade attack from receipt of orders.
Some points to be aware of
  • If you have ordered a multi-brigade set piece attack, it will probably take longer.
  • Your brigadiers expect to run their brigades. You may attempt to interfere – say to hasten an attack – but this will take you from your other duties.
  • Unless you specify, your brigadiers will probably precede any attack with artillery preparation, if they have the guns available. To be reasonably effective this would need to last at least 30 minutes.

In detachments Kriegsspiel we still occasionally use the Reisswitz rules, albeit with some simplification. With larger forces we find these are unsuitable however, as the detail is too low level, the time increments too short, and the umpiring burden too heavy.

We have therefore developed alternatives. The approach I cover below is one which I typically use for a large scale Napoleonic battle. We do use other approaches however, and Arthur will cover one based on the late 19th Century ‘Strategos’ system, in a future issue.

I would like to stress is that a detailed treatment of combat is not at the heart of our approach. This is partly because combat systems tend to focus on the minutiae of tactics, weaponry and troop quality, and it is our view that the differences between armies in these aspects were seldom decisive (although Wellington in the Peninsular would be at least one special case). The Kriegsspiel approach emphasises rather the friction of war, the difficulties of communication and control, and the fog of war, which miniatures, boardgames and even PC games find so hard to reflect, but which so often decided battles.

Also, the administrative burden of umpiring a game with several players, and briefing them frequently and appropriately, means we do not have the time for convoluted combat routines.

This need for speed is one reason why we do not explicitly track casualties. The other is that this type of information was unlikely to have been available to commanders during a battle. General Duhesme did not know that the 2rd Voltigeurs had suffered 172 casualties in that last attack on Plancenoit. Firstly he may not even have witnessed their engagement. Even if he was reasonably close, how much would he have seen, with the smoke and confusion of battle?

Hopefully you will see that our approach, while relatively quick and simple, is not entirely simplistic. This is not to say it is right! As ever, we are anxious to receive comments and suggested improvements, particularly when supported by evidence.

Combat process
  • Typically a 10-sided dice is thrown and the die roll is modified to take account of special factors, such as troop quality, terrain etc. Adjusted die rolls of less than 0 are treated as 0, and rolls of more than 9 are treated as 9.
  • All modifiers are at umpires’ discretion. They are for guidance, and are often expressed as a range. Numbers in brackets are negative modifiers to the force they apply to. Where a range of modifiers is given (e.g. +1 or 2 for elite troops), the actual modifier used will depend on, circumstances. In this example if only 50% of the force was elite, we would allow only +1.
  • The adjusted roll is then cross-referenced against a table (see (a) & (d) below), which gives combat results for different odds. This is the sort of approach normally used in board wargames, and has the inestimable advantage that each combat is resolved quickly, by a single die roll.
  • In each box in the table the first result applies to the attacker, and the second to the defender. Results are expressed in terms of retreat, and as a period of disorder for the units involved. This is recorded on the brigade status roster (see (j) below).
  • As mentioned in the last issue, we regard the brigade as the basic tactical unit, and accordingly we keep track of brigade status using a roster. At the start of a battle, a brigade will normally be fresh, but will then lose cohesion until the point where it is no longer effective. This is not a linear process, may happen quickly or slowly, and may involve periods of partial recovery, particularly if the unit has been generally successful in combat. The roster keeps track of this quite simply.

The tables are as follows:

 

  • Infantry (& combined arms) combat – results
  • Infantry (& combined arms) combat – die roll modifiers & explanation of results
  • Infantry (& combined arms) combat – feedback to players
  • Cavalry combat – results
  • Cavalry combat – die roll modifiers & explanation of results
  • Cavalry combat – feedback to players
  • Cavalry v infantry combat
  • Detailed explanation of combat results
  • Troop status
  • Sample brigade status roster
Infantry (& combined arms) combat – results

As mentioned in the last issue, the law of diminishing returns set in at higher odds. Also it was difficult to bring very high odds to bear. The table does give some benefit for increased numbers however, up to 3 v 1.

Whilst we assume that infantry combat (once the range has closed) will normally be resolved within 15 minutes, the table does allow for the possibility that the attack will bog down in an extended firefight. Struggles for villages were frequently more prolonged, and the table also caters for this.


Odds adjusted
die roll

less than
1 v 1

1 v 1

more than
1 v 1

1½ v 1

2 v 1

3 v 1
or more
0 2R 0 2R 0 2R 1 2R 1 2R 1 2R 1
1 2R 1 1R 0 1R 0 1R 0 1R 1 1R 1
2 1R 0 2R 2 2R 1 2R 2 1R 1 1R 1
3 1R 1 1R 1 1R 1 1R 1 1R 1 1R 1
4 1R 1 Village

Skirmish

Village

Skirmish

Village

Skirmish

Village

Skirmish

Village

Skirmish

5 Village

Skirmish

Village

Skirmish

Village

Skirmish

Village

Skirmish

Village

2 2R

Village

1 1R

6 Village

Skirmish

Village

Skirmish

Village

1 2R

Village

0 1R

1 2R 0 1R
7 Village

2 1R

Village

2 1R

1 1R 1 1R 0 1R 1 2R
8 1 1R 0 1R 0 1R 1 2R 0 2R 1 2R
9 0 1R 1 2R 1 2R 0 2R 0 2R 0 2R
Infantry (& combined arms) combat – die roll modifiers & explanation of results

Factor
Modifier Classification
Elite troops, guards etc. 1 or 2 Troop quality
Poor troops, militia etc. [1 or 2]
Fresh troops 1 or 2 Fatigue
Disordered troops [1 or 2]
Cavalry support 1 to 4 Combined Arms
Artillery superiority 1 to 3  1
Defending hill, behind stream etc. 1 to 3 Terrain
Infantry defending (fortified?) village 2-4
Infantry defending woods 1
Jaeger superiority (if appropriate) 2
Flank/rear attack 4 Position
Notes on combat modifiers
  • Cavalry support modifiers are ignored if combat takes place in wood or villages etc.
  • Attackers gain no credit for artillery support if attack is made without ½ hour artillery preparation. Defenders always gain credit for artillery support.
  • The number after the is an additional modifier available for each additional ½ hour artillery preparation.
  • Effect of artillery is doubled against brigade mass or division mass.
Explanation of combat results
  • 1, 2 – means force is temporarily disordered for 1 or 2 hours from point combat ceased
  • 1R, 2R – means force retreats 1500 paces and suffers a permanent loss of cohesion/morale. It is also temporarily disordered for 1 or 2 hours from point combat ceased
  • Skirmish – means assault may be bogging down into a firefight. If no further troops are thrown into attack, throw again in 15 mins, and thereafter every hour until result achieved
  • Village – means that, if attack is against a village, fighting continues. Throw again in 15 mins, and keep throwing every 15 mins. until result achieved. When this happens, add 1 hour’s further disorder to both parties’ result to reflect the prolonged and bloody struggle
Infantry (& combined arms) combat – feedback to players

Naturally we don’t wish to burden the players with details of the combat results, or give them more information than their real-life counterparts would have had. This chart provides guidance on the sort of information that would be available in the immediate aftermath of a combat.

Later, as their troops regroup, players can be given some indication of how soon they will be ready for further action.

Result Attacker told Defender told
2R 0 Attack repulsed, troops are falling back in some disorder Attack repulsed, troops can be seen cheering
2R 1 Attack repulsed, troops are falling back in some disorder Attack repulsed, but some of own troops can be seen straggling to rear
2R 2 Attack repulsed, own troops are falling back in some disorder Attack repulsed, but many of own troops can be seen straggling to rear
1R 0 Attack repulsed, own troops are falling back in reasonable order Attack repulsed, troops can be seen cheering
1R 1 Attack repulsed, own troops are falling back in reasonable order Attack repulsed, but some of own troops can be seen straggling to rear
0 1R Attack successful. Enemy are falling back after brief exchange of fire. Attack successful. Own troops are falling back in reasonable order after brief exchange of fire.
0 2R Attack successful. Enemy are falling back after brief exchange of fire. Attack successful. Own troops are falling back in some disorder after brief exchange of fire.
1 1R Attack successful. Enemy are falling back. Attack successful. Own troops are falling back in reasonable order.
1 2R Attack successful. Enemy are falling back. Attack successful. Own troops are falling back in some disorder.
2 1R Attack successful after prolonged exchange of fire. Enemy are falling back. Attack successful after prolonged exchange of fire. Own troops are falling back in reasonable order.
2 2R Attack successful after prolonged exchange of fire. Enemy are falling back. Attack successful after prolonged exchange of fire. Own troops are falling back in some disorder.
Village Your troops have penetrated the village in places. Heavy fighting continues. There is heavy fighting for the village. Your troops appear to be holding their own.
Skirmish An extended firefight is taking place between the rival skirmishers. Your troops appear to be holding their own. An extended firefight is taking place between the rival skirmishers. Your troops appear to be holding their own.
Cavalry combat – results

We work on the premise that cavalry engagements are more likely to produce a decisive result than infantry fights, and that they also tend to last a much shorter time. Horses have less stamina than men, and combat is at close range, which involves physical more effort from both man and beast.

We assume that advance, resolution and any resulting retreat, takes place within a 15-minute period.

As with infantry combat, increased odds give only a small improvement in the chance of winning an engagement. However the failure to maintain a second line will mean that the consequence of a reverse will be much more severe, as there is no reserve to rally on.


Odds adjusted
die roll

less than
1 v 1

1 v 1

more than
1 v 1

1½ v 1

2 v 1

3 v 1
or more
0 2R 0 2R 0 2R 1 2R 2 2R 2 1R 1
1 1R 1 1R 0 1R 0 1R 0 1R 1 1R 1
2 1R 0 1R 1 1R 1 1R 1 1R 1 1R 1
3 1R 1 1R 1 2R 2 1R 1 1 1R 1 1R
4 1R 1 2R 2 2 2R 1 1R 1 1R 1 1R
5 1R 1 2 2R 1 1R 1 1R 1 1R 0 1R
6 1 1R 1 1R 1 1R 0 1R 1 2R 1 2R
7 1 1R 1 1R 1 1R 2 2R 0 1R 0 2R
8 0 1R 0 1R 0 1R 1 2R 0 2R 1 2R
9 1 2R 0 2R 0 2R 0 2R 0 2R 0 2R
Cavalry combat – die roll modifiers & explanation of results
Factor Modifier Classification
Elite troops, heavy cavalry etc 1 or 2 Troop quality
Poor troops, landwehr cavalry etc [1]
Fresh troops 1 or 2 Fatigue
Disordered troops [1 or 2]
Artillery support 1 or 2 Combined Arms
Infantry support 1
Defending hill, behind stream etc 1 to 3 Terrain
Flank/rear attack 4 Position
Notes on combat modifiers
  • Attackers gain no credit for artillery support if attack is made without ½ hour artillery preparation. Defenders always gain credit for artillery support.
Explanation of combat results
  • 1,2 – force disordered for 1 or 2 hours from point combat & retreat ceased
  • 1R – force falls back 1500 paces (force is totally defeated if no reserve line). Force is disordered for 1 or 2 hours from point combat & retreat ceased
  • 2R – force totally defeated (note this is much more severe than a 2R result for infantry)
Cavalry combat – Feedback to players
Result Attacker told Defender told
2R 0 Attack repulsed. Own troops streaming back in disorder. Enemy are rallying. Attack repulsed. Own troops are rallying. Enemy appear to be falling back in disorder.
2R 1 Attack repulsed. Own troops streaming back in disorder. Enemy are rallying. Attack repulsed. Own troops are rallying. Enemy appear to be falling back in disorder.
2R 2 Attack repulsed. Own troops streaming back in disorder, pursued by enemy. Attack repulsed. Own troops are pursuing the fleeing enemy.
1R 0 Attack repulsed. Own troops falling back in reasonable order. Enemy are rallying. Attack repulsed. Own troops are rallying. Enemy appear to be falling back in good order.
1R 1 Attack repulsed. Own troops falling back in reasonable order. Enemy are rallying. Attack repulsed. Own troops are rallying. Enemy appear to be falling back in good order.
0 1R Attack successful. Own troops are rallying. Enemy are falling back. Attack successful. Own troops falling back in reasonable order. Enemy are rallying.
0 2R Attack successful. Own troops are rallying. Enemy appear to be falling back in disorder. Attack successful. Own troops streaming back in disorder. Enemy are rallying.
1 1R Attack successful. Own troops are rallying. Enemy are falling back. Attack successful. Own troops falling back in reasonable order. Enemy are rallying.
1 2R Attack successful. Own troops are rallying. Enemy appear to be falling back in disorder. Attack successful. Own troops streaming back in disorder. Enemy are rallying.
2 2R Attack successful. Own troops are pursuing the fleeing enemy. Attack successful. Own troops streaming back in disorder, pursued by enemy.
Cavalry v infantry combat

If cavalry are attacking infantry, we regard the key factors as the distance at which the defending infantry become aware of the threat, and the formation they are in at that point. The combat table is therefore structured on this basis. Other factors are taken into account as die roll modifiers.

As a rule of thumb, we assume that a body of cavalry will only attempt to charge unbroken infantry if there are at least as many squadrons as defending battalions since, otherwise, the volume of fire would itself be prohibitive. Of course, depending on circumstances, such an attack may still not be a good idea.

As infantry casualties mount and the troops become disordered, the chances of a successful charge against even unbroken units increase significantly.

Distance Column of route Attack column Line Square Division or brigade mass
0-300 automatic 4 1 7 6
3-600 1 6 3 8 8
6-900 2 8 5 9 9

 

Factor modifier
Infantry disordered 3
Infantry poorly trained 3
Cavalry have artillery support 3
Squadrons 2 x battalions 1
Cavalry are lancers 1
Infantry have artillery support [1 or 2]
Ground obstacle to charge [1 or 2]
Notes
  • The attacker throws one 10-sided die for each battalion attacked, and appropriate modifiers are then applied. If the number in the table is equalled or beaten, the battalion is destroyed.
  • If the defending infantry is in division or brigade mass, the attacker throws one die only. If formation fails its roll, then the attacker throws one die for each battalion depending on its particular formation.
  • Battalions which are not destroyed form (or remain in) square, or remain in division or brigade mass.
  • All cavalry ordered to attack will carry out their orders, even if their targets have formed square. Afterwards they are automatically disordered for 1 hour even if victorious.
  • The cavalry advance, combat and retreat lasts ¼ hour if the cavalry fail to break the infantry formation. If they succeed in breaking any of the battalions, then advance, combat and retreat last ½ hour.
Detailed explanation of combat results
Result Infantry Cavalry
2R Fall back 1500 paces. Disordered for 2 hours.
If unit is already disordered, simply add 2 hours to its recovery period.
It cannot launch attack for remainder of day. Can still defend at full strength however once it has recovered from disorder.
If unit has already accumulated 2R it is considered totally defeated.
Totally defeated
1R Fall back 1500 paces. Disordered for 1 hour.
If unit is already disordered, simply add 1 hour to its recovery period.
If unit has already accumulated 1R or 2R, it cannot launch attack for remainder of day. Can still defend at full strength however once it has recovered from disorder.
Fall back 1500 paces. Disordered for 1 hour.
Totally defeated if no second line.
If unit has already accumulated 2R it is considered totally defeated.
If unit has already accumulated 1R, it cannot launch attack for remainder of day. Can still defend, but is considered to remain disordered for remainder of day.
1,2 Disordered for 1 or 2 hours.
If unit already disordered, simply add 1 or 2 hours to its remaining recovery period.
If unit has already accumulated 1R or 2R, there is no additional effect.
Disordered for 1 or 2 hours.
If unit already disordered, simply add 1 or 2 hours to its remaining recovery period.
If unit has already accumulated 1R or 2R, there is no additional effect.
Village No initial effect other than to extend fighting by 15 mins.
At end of that time all attacking and defending units will be disordered for 1 hour in addition to the combat result.
Not applicable
Skirmish No effect other than to extend skirmishing by (initially) 15 mins.
If Skirmish result recurs after 15 mins, the attack degenerates into an extended firefight, with additional troops being fed into the skirmish line.
Throw a die every hour thereafter, and if a combat result is achieved, all attacking and defending units will be disordered for 1 hour in addition to the combat result.
Not applicable
Troop status
Status Explanation Game effect
Fresh Troops have not yet seen any action, and are raring to go. If they have force marched to battle, we will treat them as ‘committed’ – see below. Troops benefit from combat die roll modifier when first engaged.
Committed Troops who have been engaged, but are not ‘disordered’. None.
Disordered
(1, 2)
Troops temporarily disorganised by combat. They will take time to recover, but will then be reasonably effective. They cannot attack while ‘disordered’ and if attacked will fight at some disadvantage. Troops cannot attack and may be slow to respond to move orders. If attacked, they will suffer an adverse combat die roll modifier.
Disordered
(1R, 2R)
This represents a more insidious and permanent form of disorganisation, as troops have been bested in combat and forced to retreat. If this happens too often it may ultimately destroy their morale. Infantry (and cavalry with supports) can withstand some of this. As above, but troops will become increasingly vulnerable with each R result.
Totally defeated Troops have suffered severely in combat. Either through casualties or because they have been routed, they will be of no further use in the battle, even if they can be collected. Troops have no capability. Remove troop blocks from map.
Sample brigade status roster

As stated earlier, we do not explicitly track casualties. The following roster allows us to keep an administratively simple record for each brigade, largely by merely ticking the appropriate box.

Formation Committed R1 result R2 result Disordered until
Leib Brigade ¤
7thBrigade ¤
8thBrigade ¤
12thBrigade ¤

 

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close