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 Post subject: Voluntary Withdrawals?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 1:43 am 
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A question came in our BLBv2 game today. Is there a mechanism for a voluntary withdrawal/retreat? I've searched for those terms on the board but didn't find anything on it.

We had a foot unit or two that were near 50% casualties and wanted to withdrawal from the front line. Is there something I missed in the rules about this? How do you feed in fresh units while withdrawing damaged ones?

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 Post subject: Re: Voluntary Withdrawals?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 5:14 am 
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I think you're looking for a Passage of Lines rule, this tricky maneuver was perfected, if you can call it that, way later than the period BLB was written. And a bugger to duplicate on the tabletop. The men of this period could barely chew gum and walk at the same time let alone try to move through each other in an orderly fashion. See page 26, Interpenetration.

One of the ways troops were deployed early in the period was a sort of zigzag line across the front. One in front, one behind, one in front, one behind, etc.. I think this is mentioned in Anatomy of Victory.

For BLB you have to wait until the unit routs through the unit behind and only if there is no other path for them to take. Then see pg 26. Or you could make a house rule to allow a unit to voluntarily break; the save our a$$ rule. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Voluntary Withdrawals?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 8:30 am 
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18th Century Guy wrote:
A question came in our BLBv2 game today. Is there a mechanism for a voluntary withdrawal/retreat? I've searched for those terms on the board but didn't find anything on it.

We had a foot unit or two that were near 50% casualties and wanted to withdrawal from the front line. Is there something I missed in the rules about this? How do you feed in fresh units while withdrawing damaged ones?


Could it be you are looking for RETIRE FROM FIRE or BREAK OFF page 49, MORAL. I would say from the text that this is voluntary.

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 Post subject: Re: Voluntary Withdrawals?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 11:36 am 
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Retire from fire is not voluntary and is only applied to Horse. It is an adverse response to being shot at.

Passage of lines was still causing problems in the ACW. Veteran units taking heavy punishment often REFUSED to withdraw because of the additional stress and casualties taken as they pulled out was not a price worth paying. They often decided to stand and tough it out even though it meant certain death.

In the context you have described it here Greg, it sounds somewhat like a 'wargamer's choice to minimize adverse morale check results and get more muskets to bear on the enemy. As Joe mentioned, BLB does not cater for this as the rudiementary nature of drill meant it wasn't happening. Cadenced march was not even universal.

Best advise I can give is this:

1. Put your best troops where it's hottest and hope they stand
2. Concentrate your fire on part of the enemy line and do not go for general engagement ALL along the line of battle.
3. Leave space to manoeuvre and don't wedge battalions together like books with a line behind and no spaces to move through.
4. Remember that routers will go for gaps if they are big enough (something of a stand width or greater would allow routers to pass unless they have friends directly to their rear within a few inches.

It is a TRICKY period for manoeuvres. I have stated at least once in BLB... get your troops in the right positions before you start something!!

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 Post subject: Re: Voluntary Withdrawals?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 3:14 pm 
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Thank you gentlemen. I thought that there really wasn't a gaming mechanism like this and I too agree now in retrospect that what the person was thinking of was a gaming mechanism versus what really happened in combat during this period.

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