Q: Cavalry vs Infantry

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Q: Cavalry vs Infantry

Post by Mark Wightman » Mon Nov 10, 2008 10:49 am

Hi Everybody,

I've a question regarding Cav vs Inf combat. Am I right to assume that if the Infantry lose the first round of combat that they can never win a subsequent round (unless another unit joins the combat to help them), as they do not fight back?

I'm pretty sure that's how you are supposed to play it, but it caused quite a heated debate at our club last night. The infantry player didn't like this at all and I offered to ask the question here, to confirm we didn't miss anything.

Did we miss something?

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Post by barr7430 » Mon Nov 10, 2008 11:32 am

This is quite a common question Mark and it comes from the fact that some people misunderstand the choices facing infantry when charged by Horse. If the unit chooses to form square and is successful it's chances of survival are very high. The 'square' would be some kind of defensive hedgehog and not necessarily a Wellingtonesque square.
If however they choose to stand and fire to stop the cavalry they have a reasonable chance of success or failure. The act of commitment to this limits their options somewhat.
In the age of plug bayonets it is going to be hard to get a couple of shots off and then ram a wood and metal plug into a red hot barrel with a couple of hundred horseman thundering down on top of you. Many infantry may not even have been issued with bayonets. Defence against cavalry in such circumstances would be extremely difficult hence the infantry do not fight back.
It is not an automatic death sentence of course because depending on how well the cavalry perform they may:

1. Lose because they caused less casualties than the infantry did when shooting at the charge
2. Fail to kill any infantry in the subsequent two combat rounds thus no negative effect on the infantry.
3.Still win but not enough to break the infantry through pushbacks because of infantry quality.

I would let you firend read this. His reaction is common. The mechanism is well founded and works cleanly and must be pointed out that you may be in his position one day.. what goes around comes around :wink:
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Post by Mark Wightman » Mon Nov 10, 2008 1:41 pm

Thanks, Barry. I thought we were playing it properly, but it is very useful to have your reasoning behind the rule.

Dave should have tried to form square :lol:

I like the trade off between, trying to form the square, or taking the shot. Circumstances will dictate which is better, but even if you form a square your not safe as a 6 figure Cavalry unit has about a 42% chance of getting at least one six and winning the round of combat.

I like it.
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Post by barr7430 » Mon Nov 10, 2008 5:23 pm

Mark,

have had several conversations over the piece about the use of 'square' as a descriptor. Serious historians like Ian and Dan get twitchy about that kind of stuff :) . No one in any of the interactions I have been involved in has ever produced definitive YES/NO evidence. I personally would love to see it solved one way or t'other. In the meantime it stands!
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Post by Saxon Warrior » Mon Nov 10, 2008 5:54 pm

Why is there no difference in the rules between troops with plug bayonets and those with socket bayonets?
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Post by Saxon Warrior » Tue Nov 11, 2008 11:24 am

So sorry it is an automatic death sentence as the infantry can inflict no casualites and will therefore loose the melee. Being attacked by a unit less than a quarter of your own strength and not being able to fight in the second or susequent rounds is surely a nonsense. Most rules sets assume that subsequent rounds of fighting the melee is just a swirling mass. I agree that the losers will be at a disadvantage, some will have taken the opportunity to attend to urgent business elsewhere, but not to have the chance to fight back...? So sorry I think it's nonsense.
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Post by barr7430 » Tue Nov 11, 2008 6:03 pm

Your opinion
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Q: Cavalry vs Infantry

Post by Churchill » Wed Dec 17, 2008 5:32 pm

Hi Mark,

Are you counting the casualties caused by shooting in with the casualties caused in the melee to determine the winner?
The sequence is the cavalry declare the charge and test, if they pass the charge begins with there normal move of 12" for horse.This is the time when all wheels must be made.The target infantry now test and if they pass may "stand and fire" at which time they throw another D6 to determine when they fire.If the infantry are Guard or Elite this gives them a added chance to fire at short range which is what you want to cause more casualties.If the infantry still have their first volley and are halted and steady they can devastate a charging cavalry squadron.If a casualty is caused on the chargers it must test to charge home.
If the cavalry manage to pass their charging home test then they move to contact and the infantry can only hope the cavalry don't manage to inflict more casualties than they inflicted in firing.
Even if the cavalry do manage to charge home there's a chance the infantry regiment will have Pikes and a chance to save casualties.
I think the BLB rules work very well and I can only suggest that if people don't like them they look for a set that they are happy with instead of moaning :roll:

Best Wishes.............Ray.

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Post by simon » Thu Dec 18, 2008 8:35 am

The rule works if you follow Barry's ratioale behind it. Infantry with pikes will get a chance to fight back by 'saving throws'. We had a situation recently where the infantry being attacked failed to form the defensive formation, for simplicity in the rules this is called a square, and thus were broken.

In fact, one question I have on this rule, if the infantry fail to form square do they still count as having the pikes to counter cavalry inflicted casualties, or do they not as they are unformed when contacted?

We have come to the conclusion in our group that the rules are best suited to larger armies than we are currently using (two brigades of infantry and one of cavalry) but still work at this game size.
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Post by Mark Wightman » Thu Dec 18, 2008 10:05 am

Hi Ray,

Yes - we counted the shooting casualty in the combat resolution. If I recall the infantry had used their first volley and only caused 1 casualty. The cavalry caused 3.

I didn't have a problem with this at all. I just wanted to check we hadn't missed anything, as one of the players didn't like the situation at all. His reasoning was pretty similar to that expressed by "saxon warrior".

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Post by barr7430 » Thu Dec 18, 2008 10:23 am

I often think that such situations are difficult to reconcile if a 'personal bad experience' has provoked the question. ie if was the questioner's infantry or cavalry that got butchered the rule must be crap. Hardly objective. Mark and Ray you both get it 8) but alas many gamers do not.
As my old boss once said to me
"Barry, I can make this simple but I can't make you understand it!" :oops:
Many people tend to think in absolutes and black and white.
What IS actually happening during this action? What are the toys simulating?
NOT: 200 cavalrymen wantonly butchering 400 passive, cowering infantrymen huddled in little heaps on the ground, rather:

A disorganised infantry unit who have failed to cohesively form or fix bayonets or have let off an ineffectual volley at too long a range and are now in no position to offer spirited resistance. Some men will lie down and play dead, some will take cover, some will simply try and avoid or ward off blows, a few(but not enough) will fight, draw hangers, swing musket butts or throw stones.. but not enough!
The cavalry charge destroys the infantry unit's integrity and it ceases to be a reliable, directable battlefield unit. It is the same EFFECT as all of the men being dead but not the same THING!

I have written before in articles about the implausibility of wargaming 'casualty levels'. Most mirror armageddon. That was a very rare thing in real life with perhaps the exception of some WW1 & WW2 annihilations.
Casualty rates including ratios of killed to wounded are extremely interesting data and for Saddo like me just as interesting as nice uniform plates :shock:
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Q: Cavalry vs Infantry

Post by Churchill » Thu Dec 18, 2008 10:53 pm

Hi all,

Simon :- Infantry do not have to be in square formation to use their Pikes as long as the regiment has Pikes is nither Shaken or Disordered they count as fighting in the front rank when charged by cavalry.This gives the infantry a 50% saving throw against each casualty e.g. 4, 5 or 6.If the cavalry fail to break or push back the infantry they may still count the Pike in subsequent rounds of melee.

Mark :- You seem to have got it spot on mate :wink: Yes if cavalry pass their charge home test the result can be devastating.

Iain :- I total agree with you, it was rare for cavalry to charge steady infantry in a frontal charge, but it did happen e.g. James II Life Guards charged the Dutch Gardes te Voet and Viscount Clare charged the Danish Guards at the Boyne granted both charges were repulsed.
The Rules do work well and it is a big gamble if a player decides to charge a squadron of six cavalry into a frontal charge against steady infantry especially if these still have their first volley available.
So it is best to use these rules historically, cavalry v cavalry and infantry in a fire fight with enemy infantry.

Kind Regards.............Ray.

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Re: Q: Cavalry vs Infantry

Post by simon » Fri Dec 19, 2008 11:26 am

Churchill wrote:Hi all,

Simon :- Infantry do not have to be in square formation to use their Pikes as long as the regiment has Pikes is nither Shaken or Disordered they count as fighting in the front rank when charged by cavalry.This gives the infantry a 50% saving throw against each casualty e.g. 4, 5 or 6.If the cavalry fail to break or push back the infantry they may still count the Pike in subsequent rounds of melee.

]
of course, if you roll crap dice then your infantry can always run away like girls-had that one more than once.
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Post by Churchill » Fri Dec 19, 2008 10:27 pm

Hi Simon,

Yes mate bad dice throwing doesn't help and it wouldn't be the first time my infantry have done their version of Monty Python "RUN AWAY, RUN AWAY".Always try and support your infantry regiments by keeping them within 6" and always have a brigadier close by.
Try and use cover e.g. wall, wood or defend a river edge.Use plenty of cavalry to counter enemy cavalry, you should have one cavalryman for each two infantrymen or three squadrons of cavalry for each two regiments of infantry.

Regards...........Ray.

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Post by Adam Hayes » Sat Dec 20, 2008 10:52 am

On a related note; the one part of a recent game that did not feel quite right was when infantry narrowly lost a melee and then got a "Retreat" morale result. Turning your back on cavalry in contact seemed like an unlikely and suicidal option (and did turn out to be in our game.) Were we doing something wrong?
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