Command and control
In the basic DBA game, a player’s ability to move troops is reflected by the cast of one die at the beginning of the player’s bound. There is no change to that process, but there are a number of modifications put in place to reflect varying qualities of the commander. These characteristic have worked well for our DBA Horse and Musket games and thus have been adapted for the Civil War game.
Unless playing a historically based scenario were the characteristic of the commanders is known, we cast one die to determine if a general has rash, bold or cautious qualities (it was expedient to adapt the WRG terminology here). On the battlefield, these traits can influence how a division is deployed, controlled or rallied when demoralization occurs.
Determining a General’s characteristics (subject to change):
North: 1, 2, 3, cautious, 4, 5 bold, 6 rash.
South: 1, 2 cautious, 3, 4 bold, 5, 6 rash.
The basic DBA system uses an army’s aggression factor plus die roll to determine who is defender or attacker. Rather than debate which side should have what factor, each general’s quality can now be expressed in terms of an aggression factor. Encounter battles or non-campaign battles can follow the same method of determining who is defending by using the following; cautious generals = 0, bold generals = 2 and rash generals = 4.
This replaces the sequence table described earlier in posts covering Corps Level tests. The change should duplicate neatly the diversity of command styles on both sides.
DBAv3 has increased the command radius distance to 8BW and for groups comprised solely of LH, 20BW. The distances are reduced if intervening terrain obstructs the line of sight.
There are differing approaches to this; the current restrictions if held would make for a prolonged game as field of vision was generally impaired if not by terrain they fought over, then by clouds of thick smoke generated by small arms and artillery fire.
The second, which I favour, commanders at brigade level had certain autonomy and would take an initiative within the parameters of their orders and thus would not be affected by the distance to division command. This underscores the value of veteran brigades that can be relied upon as opposed to the brigades made up of green units that would need prompting.
That said veteran brigades ignore the penalty for intervening terrain or beyond 8BW but in sight of their general. Green troops would still pay the extra cost if in a similar circumstances.
In previous tests we increased or decreased the score needed to reach demoralization based on the General’s character. While this worked it did not quite complete the picture.
As brigades are now subject to their own break point which produces a gradual breakdown of a division’s capacity as an effective unit, holding a broken brigade in place is now a simpler task. Using the big battle option of basic DBA, this restricts broken commands to holding their ground with no tactical moves permitted.
For the Civil War period, I would allow the construction of temporary obstacles or breastworks as sheltered about a farmstead or woods would seem prudent behavior and serve as a rally point.
The battle map system, which caters to multiple day engagements, broken troops may recover and renew their fight on the next day. A new score set for demoralization and how the different Generals play a role in the process will be covered then.
At the start of the war and in particular the Western theater, many states offered commands to those less militarily qualified, but politically connected. The following year a review board was established to address the short coming of this practice and to put command standards in place.
An added element of complexity was the fact that generals during the early years had to deal with all three services within their command. Infantry brigades had artillery attached and/or a unit of cavalry as part of their command. Eventually, the artillery batteries would be grouped to form their own units under division command and likewise, the cavalry units would form their own brigades within a cavalry division.