Republic to Empire fine Tuning

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thinredline
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Post by thinredline » Sat Oct 25, 2008 9:59 am

[quote="Liam A of E"]Charge of the Light Brigade - I seem to recollect (Caton Woodville and contemproary accounts) that survivors didnt just talk about getting through the guns, but seemed to suggest there was a whole lot of gubbins after that - and it was those who got through that who found the Ruski Cavalry looking at them in some surprise. Anyone else recollect? quote]

Quite right Liam, 2000 Russian Cavalry had already been routed earlier in the Day by the Heavy Brigade under Scarlett. Those 2000 fell in behind the Russian guns at the head of the North Valley. Irrespective of the losses suffered by the Light Brigade due to cannon fire, they did cause the Russian cavalry quite a scare when they broke thro the guns. The Heavy Brigade pulled up having suffered more losses due to the crossfire, than in the earlier cavalry engagement. Had they pushed home their charge, there would have been no guns to charge to the front (Light Brigade had already taken em out) and there would then have been a bigger surprise for the Russian Cavalry :shock: Sad to say, we all know the outcome, and were it not for the 4th Regiment of Chasseurs D'Afrique, not many of the survivors of the charge would have made it back to British Lines.

Bob :D :D
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Post by Duke of Plaza-Toro » Sat Oct 25, 2008 10:48 am

Great to hear things are progressing well Barry. Really enjoyed looking at the pictures and reading the report, and I'm starting to get quite excited about these rules now. I would just concur with the previous poster who asked you if you'd got the "Republic" bit of the rules sorted out as well :wink: :D

On the artillery debate (if indeed it is a debate) - there's an excellent diagram in Adkin's 'Waterloo Companion' (page 298) that gives a good impression of the dense 'carpark' or limbers, caissons, and other associated wagons that would typically be found behind a Napoleonic grand battery - in this case, a cluttered zone up to 400 metres deep.
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Post by simon » Tue Oct 28, 2008 10:16 am

Looking good Barry, any chance of a taster sometime, maybe not a full pdf but just enough to whet one's appetite (unless I have missed it)?

I am looking forward to these coming out though.
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Post by barr7430 » Tue Oct 28, 2008 9:20 pm

Yes I am sure a taster will be possible as soon as we've sorted out the book format Simon.

In the meantime I may load up some rules segways just to let people have a feel for what the games are like.

I will perhaps be extending the playtesting circle a little soon and plan to run a couple of games here and there to get a further perspective on the new mechanisms.
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Post by 18th Century Guy » Tue Oct 28, 2008 11:33 pm

Barry,

So does that mean you'll come over to the States to run a game? :wink:

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Post by simon » Wed Oct 29, 2008 11:18 am

barr7430 wrote:Yes I am sure a taster will be possible as soon as we've sorted out the book format Simon.

In the meantime I may load up some rules segways just to let people have a feel for what the games are like.

I will perhaps be extending the playtesting circle a little soon and plan to run a couple of games here and there to get a further perspective on the new mechanisms.
We would be interested but it may be a little far for you to come for a game. I would be happy to give them a go for you, generally we play GdB but having played your Lilly Banners rules I am sure these will work well for an evening game.

:D
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Post by janbruinen » Sun Nov 09, 2008 3:17 pm

As some others already have said, I'm also interested in the Republic part, from which years onwards will the rules be usable; I don''t suppose, the early french revolution (1792 onwards) will be covered?? :?: :(
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Post by barr7430 » Sun Nov 09, 2008 6:02 pm

Actually Jan, it was not my original intention but a variety of events are pushing me towards including something to cover the earlier period too.
1. Republic is in the working rules title as somebody helpfully pointed out recently :wink:
2. There are several ranges out now/imminent for release covering this period
3. There seems to be an active interest in it.

I may consider subcontracting a chapter to someone who has the right level of knowledge or alternatively work with them or through them to finish it.

I would be interested to hear from anyone with ideas relevant to the 'key perceived differences' in tactics of the main protagonists...
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Post by Duke of Plaza-Toro » Mon Nov 10, 2008 2:57 pm

I’m not claiming to be an expert on the period (or a clever writer of rules), but in response to Barry’s questions perhaps I can kick some discussion off here regarding the ‘Republic’ period of RtoE?

Modelling the character of the Old Régime armies like the Austrians and the Prussians for the period c.1792-96 (and beyond) should hopefully be relatively straight forward. Think classic SYW horse-musket doctrine, but with a few late 18th Century ‘modern’ overtones (manoeuvre columns were used, significant use of light infantry all be it in limited numbers, and the formation of semi-independent commands approximating something close to divisions and even corps – although invariably temporary bodies). i.e It’s not all ‘linear’! Some of these ‘modern’ overtones might be restricted and the tactical flexibly limited if your Austro-Prussian-Anglo-Spanish-Russian commander is rated as unimaginatively or poor (as they indeed were sometimes), but beware of portraying the Old Régime forces as always out-dated, purely linear armies, who popular myth tells us stood rooted to the spot, mesmerised by ‘brilliant’ or ‘new’ French tactics - as the latter ran rings around them.

These comments aside I would have thought the key aspect (in terms of getting at the flavour of the earlier period) is going to be how you choose to simulate the way the French armies fight. This might be tricky within the context of a broad set of ‘Napoleonic’ rules, as special mechanisms will be needed that capture the early French armies’ somewhat anarchic character: on the one hand, tactically flexible, sometimes unconventional and occasionally brilliantly victorious – but more often than not, unpredictable and fragile, with disastrous results. The commander of a French Revolutionary wargames army should perhaps be elated and frustrated in at least equal measure!

At the beginning of the wars, for example, some of the old regular army units might still have retained a degree their old professionalism and were capable of fighting well, as might a few of the better motivated National Guard formations (although the latter’s training and manoeuvre abilities might be restricted) – but most regiments were in poor shape, denuded of quality officers, of poor morale, and potentially even mutinous. In the early campaigns of 1792 they ran away in droves.

Revolutionary zeal, and combat experience (painfully gained), gradually improved things for the French through the rest of 1792, 1793-94, but the erratic characteristics remained in varying degrees from army to army, brigade to brigade, and (I suspect) even battalion to battalion within the same regiment – at least until the demi-brigades of the final amalgamation of late 1795 came into full effect.

Off the top of my head, I wonder if early French battalions will require some form of random ‘Revolutionary Fervour’ rating, coupled with an ‘officer quality/ unit training’ factor that might have some affect on manoeuvre and fighting abilities, as well as morale? One thing is certain – rules will have to be found (if not already) to handle grandes bandes skirmisher mobs, and LOTS of skirmisher shooting with resulting attrition effects on the enemy, remembering that (at least to begin with) the French adopted these tactics not because of some clever innovation, but because many of the mass volunteer battalions of 1792-94 didn’t have enough training to even manoeuvre in basic column, let alone fight in line.

If you intend to introduce random events like Under the Lily Banners, there are of course a few things you can layer in for the early period such as interfering Representatives on Mission from Paris, and nervous commanders who might decide defection to the enemy is better than the guillotine!

Just my two cents worth to get us started.
:)
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Post by Duke of Plaza-Toro » Mon Nov 17, 2008 12:02 pm

This is going well :D Either that or I just bored everyone into silence!


Judging by the overwhelming forum response Barry - perhaps it’s time you changed the working title to ‘Consulate to Empire’ :wink:
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Post by janbruinen » Mon Nov 17, 2008 9:28 pm

Well lets see if I can add my two (euro)cents regarding the revolutionary period. I consider the 1793-1797 as the early revolutionary period; the later (consular period) I think, could (with some minor amendments) be seen as an early Napoleonic one.

What mostly different was between French and the coalition troops was motivation and the morale of the troops. In some instances this could change rapidly (routing, shooting their general etc) when things went wrong but this occured mostly in the beginning with the new, citizins armies. But this should be included in rules for this period.
Also, the appearance of the Representatives of the people should be portrayed. Mostly non-military functionaries but with a high political influence and revolutionary enthousiasme they sometimes override generals orders, be it a good or bad thing.

As motivation and morale was very different to the old army but also to the coalition armies, the fighting tactics could be different and portrayed more on the individuality of the soldier and not on strict discipline.
This was not new, as in the French army already a lot of the "newer" tactics (advancing and attacking in column, far more importance given to skirmishing etc) were already hotly discussed before the revolution.
I think that the revolution with their volunteers and patriots delivered the soldiers who made the new tactics possible.

Interpreting John A Lynns' "Bayonets of the republic" correctly, it was the capacity of the French army, particularly the infantry, to adapt its tactics and formations to the circumstances of the field that brought them victory. So they used close order colums and lines, dispersed as skirmishers, ably supported by artillery if need arose, as circumstances required. In my opinion, these adaptions are unique to the French in this period.

Admittedly, the coalition forces using more modern tactics then before but they still in fact were 18th century linear armies who marched to the field in colums and formations which would't surprise Frederick the Great. Maybe more skirmishers, but which the same task as before (guarding flanks or defend specific positions ), lighter artillery, maybe quicker marching but still in the heads the same old routine.

So where does this lead us regarding rules, you ask.
To be honest, I think that there are two possibilities.
The first one is to use 18th century (7YW??) rules and give the French extra possibilities (more skirmishing, moving and attacking in battalioncolumn (although according to the 1791 reglement it was , not an attack formation) and giving them a (maybe sometimes brittle) morale, plus some extras (representatives, the demibrigade structure etc). Some extra's for all the combatants in the period are eg more light (horse) artillery, quicker marching, more use of squares and more light infantry.

The other possibility is using a napoleonic ruleset but than rearwards in time so restricting some Napoleonic capabilities.
Although in first instance I opted for the first I now think that the second (rearwards in time) is maybe a better solution.
So what need adapted:
- lesser light/horse artillery, but replaced by battalion guns; all battalions (be it French or coalition) had them
- no combined (grand) artillery batteries
- less light infantry, esp. coalition troops had less but also restricted to their task so no screening line troops for them
- more rigid/linear movement for coalition (use eg prussian 1806)
- no big divisional/reserve cavalry troops; cavalry was added to infantry divisions/brigades
- use unly troops whcih were available so nu french cuirassiers, french guards,etc etc
- The capability to skirmish/grandes bandes should be given to a lot of French troops but use it wisely
- combined grenadiers were used in almost all armies, including French
- broken ground, woods, etc give more problems to coalition troops then to French troops.

In conclusion, in my opinion, a French Napoleonic rule set can be used, with adaptions, to the French Revolution but the adaprions are more regarding the coalsition troops then be used for French troops.

I think I here will end this ramblings and hope others will react.
Greetings,
jan
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Post by Duke of Plaza-Toro » Tue Nov 18, 2008 1:47 pm

janbruinen wrote:So what need adapted:
- lesser light/horse artillery, but replaced by battalion guns; all battalions (be it French or coalition) had them
- no combined (grand) artillery batteries
- less light infantry, esp. coalition troops had less but also restricted to their task so no screening line troops for them
- more rigid/linear movement for coalition (use eg prussian 1806)
- no big divisional/reserve cavalry troops; cavalry was added to infantry divisions/brigades
- use unly troops whcih were available so nu french cuirassiers, french guards,etc etc
- The capability to skirmish/grandes bandes should be given to a lot of French troops but use it wisely
- combined grenadiers were used in almost all armies, including French
- broken ground, woods, etc give more problems to coalition troops then to French troops.

jan

Jan’s list of ‘adaptations’ makes for a good starting framework I think.

I would just expand a little on his comments regarding artillery. Yes, combined grand batteries are probably out, until the late Republic / Consulate - although perhaps it can be argued that the French formed a sort of ad hoc grand battery at Valmy(?), and Kléber is supposed to have combined all the guns from “three divisions” (Paddy Giffith – Art of War of Revolutionary France) at Kostheim 1794 (but I can’t find much on this action). Even so, pre 1796 examples are very rare even if these examples qualify. I think Marmont’s 19 piece battery at Castiglione (1796) is one of the first ‘grand batteries’ broadly recognised by historians, and he repeats the trick at Marengo in 1800 (but with a gun less).

Prior to this, as Jan says, the vast majority of foot artillery elements were diluted as regimental and battalion guns by all sides. However I think it’s worth reinforcing the point that the new and increasing number of horse artillery units (especially French and Prussian) were used as field batteries in a manner that would be familiar to any Napoleonic wargamer (i.e. often aggressively and with the guns concentrated in a forward position) – it’s just that there were relatively few in number in the early campaigns and examples of their employment somewhat limited. However, full horse batteries were deployed, by the French as early as Jemappes and Wattignies (1792-93) and by the Prussians at Pirmasens and Kasierslautern (1793) with some notable successes.

One problem for the French artillery from this early period is its ability to sustain fire for long periods. Horse and vehicle shortages (amongst other things) seem to have limited the amounts of ammunition carried directly with the batteries/guns. Resupply was from rear areas and susceptible to long delays.
In enterprise of martial kind, When there was any fighting, He led his regiment from behind -
He found it less exciting.

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