maandag 18 augustus 2014

Upgrade notes: Civil War era using version 3 -part one

The original DBA Humberside extension allowed players to game eras beyond the original DBA 1.1 time frame and with minor adjustments to shooting ranges, combat factors and troop types it was possible to play Pike and Shot era battles up to the Colonial wars of 1900.

With DBA version 2.0, I like others adapted features of the new version for other periods while keeping the army lists (1500 – 1900 AD) produced by Tony Barr. From these changes our interest and armies grew to include the conflicts of the 18th century South America, China, India, Africa as well as continental Europe.

Now, with the appearance of draft version 3 this has prompted a re-examination of the old set with a possible inclusion for the wars of Napoleon, in particular the Russian Campaign of 1812. With that revised variant we allowed skirmishers to deploy from their parent units (elements) for both cavalry and infantry, command and control mimicked the classic WRG 1685 – 1845 approach by adapting bold, cautious and rash characteristics for its generals, while morale distinctions allowed elite troops to outperform less trained types. Using an element to represent a battalion of infantry or cavalry regiment, most 18th century battles could be represented with 50 or 60 elements a side on a standard 4’ x 6’ table.

Nonetheless, looking at the Civil War era with an intent to modify the current Horse and Musket era variant, I realized this was not possible without disregarding many of the characteristics that made that conflict so unique. The consequence is a separate variant exclusive for the Civil War era or mid-19th century warfare. As with previous period variants, the basic rule set (DBAv3) is required.

Infantry, artillery and cavalry.

For infantry, the backbone of any civil war era army, version 3 offers some useful features to reflect a diversity of training and morale; to name a few, side support, increased move distance, resilient skirmishers, pursuit moves and useful combat outcomes from even results.

Side support between certain ancient troops types can have a similar application among civil war troops. Trained troops can be steadied by veterans as could veteran troops with each other. Reference the Iron or Irish brigades for the Union or Stonewall and Texas brigades for the Confederacy.

Increased move distances, for those how have played the ancient set have noticed the game moves faster. Therefore, close order foot move as “solid” troop types while loose order and open order troops as “fast”.

Subsequent moves for skirmishers are allowed but with the same parameters.

Resilient skirmishers are so labeled as in most circumstances they flee when the situation arises and return to harass the enemy. Skirmishers are not part of a command, but are deployed by trained or veteran troops during the course of a game. Deployment costs one pip and the parent element remains stationary while skirmishers deploy. Veteran troops need not remain stationary.

Pursuit moves now include blade which make mandatory moves. That prompted an idea have a distinction between “green” and veteran troops, by making pursuit move (1/2 BW) mandatory for the former and optional for the latter. This also includes fire fights were one side must recoil, if “green” troops will edge forward the same distance as a pursuit move. Veteran troops need not but may do so. This duplicates the ragged lines, hampered by smoke and noise to make independent decisions forcing a general to take corrective action.

An even score for a combat result give blade and extra chance when fighting knights. This similar result gives veteran troops an advantage in combat when fighting trained troops and likewise for trained troops fighting militia.

From the opening stages of the conflict, battery of guns was distributed among the various infantry brigades. Grouping them into larger formations did not occur until the following year and despite the numerical superiority of the North the Confederacy were ahead on the learning curve.
In DBA, one model represents 25 pieces of artillery. Looking at historical numbers present within the division and given the scale used for this variant, this equates to an average of three batteries of 12 to 15 guns.
By the second year of the war, both sides would add reserve formations of artillery separate from the infantry divisions.

In DBA, all artillery types move as solid troops, which seems right for man-handled pieces. With the improvement of harnesses and horse breeds, artillery by the mid-19th century could keep pace with cavalry averaging 4 or 5 miles per hour.

One of the more popular aspects of the DBA system is record keeping is not needed. Therefore, tracking munition sort and quantity will not be found in this variant. Testing, over the past months has demonstrated factors and range set by DBA-HX work well. Reading P. Griffith’s study of artillery ranges and effectiveness, neatly underscores this.
Move and shooting is still not allowed, but movement distances have been increased.

During the early part of the war, cavalry like artillery found itself in a support role for infantry divisions or parceled out at brigade level. As the infantry became effective with the use of rifles, the appearance of cavalry on the battlefield becomes redundant. Reconnoitering the enemy or screen the army while on the march and occasional raids were its primary role.
As the war progressed, we read larger mobile formations with own artillery operating away from the main army. Again, the Confederacy was to take the lead in this area.

Move distances remain 4BW for cavalry and mounted infantry. Both dismount to shoot, but cavalry should be efficient at doing this and mounted infantry less so. Further testing is needed as to how this is played.  

Skirmishers can be deployed in the same manner as infantry. While mounted, they may make subsequent moves as LH.

Shooting must be done dismounted. This follows a similar method as knights dismount to fight on foot at a cost of one pip. The process has yet to be tested, but there may be room for troops dismounting and shooting. Which troops may do so or if any movement is allowed will be seen during testing. To remount no other activity can be done and this costs a pip.

Next, command and control

1 opmerking:

Cincinnatus zei

Very interesting article, looking forward to the following thoughts on command and control.