Questions & Answers
In every rules set there are inevitably parts which – because the designer was attempting to explain things clearly yet concisely – aren’t clear to everyone. These are questions from several gamers with my responses, reprinted in the in the hopes that they might help others understand some troublesome sections. Oddly, everyone who wrote had questions about one or two parts of the rules… but they seldom seemed to be the same parts!
Q: I have a question on firing. It says on Page 14 “Artillery fire precedes small arms fire and results are applied immediately.” I get that artillery fire is applied before any small arms fire takes place but what happens during an artillery exchange or a small arms duel? I have interpreted the rule to mean “While results are applied immediately all artillery is resolved simultaneously followed by simultaneous small arms.” If I got it wrong, in what order does the fire get resolved between artillery and then between small arms?
A: All firing in each “class” is simultaneous, with artillery firing first and the results being applied first (reason: a few well-directed shells could have an immediate morale effect on a unit, incapacitating large numbers of soldiers and scattering the rest …while attrition through rifle fire generally was slower and not as dramatic). Then, after the artillery results are applied, the infantry has their turn. Finally, charges are resolved: three distinct steps in the Fire Phase. A battery engaging in counter-battery fire could run off the opposing battery, but not before the target battery had also fired. Or, it could destroy or run off the intended target of a charge or rifle fire, thus depriving the infantry or cavalry of their target.
Same with a small arms duel. Two infantry units would engage each other simultaneously, and the results would be applied immediately. An infantry unit firing in support of a charge (by another unit) might destroy or knock back the target of the (planned) charge before the charge even engaged. This could cause the charge to be aborted, of course …or the charging unit could follow its target if it was still in range …or the charging unit could simply occupy the ground where the now vanished target once stood. Attacker’s choice!
So your interpretation is mostly correct. All artillery fires first and simultaneously with other artillery …the results of the artillery fire are acted upon while the infantry patiently waits their turn to fire. Then the infantry fires simultaneously with all infantry …and the results are acted upon. Finally, charges surge forward against their intended targets — which are hopefully now damaged by the preceding prep fire — drive off or destroy them, and claim all the credit.
Q: Units can supply prep fire in support of charging units and opportunity fire against units that are not in sight or range (including arc) at the end of movement. I think we’ve established that artillery or infantry adjoining the target of a charge can fire at the charging troops as opportunity fire, since they will likely be out of arc at the end of their charge. But could an infantry regiment form a line behind artillery, have the artillery provide prep fire on their intended target, then charge through it to their foe?
A: Although this actually violates the sacred turn sequence (which mandates that movement must precede firing), we’ll assume that the gunners are not taking that literally in this case. It is allowed for on page 15, under “partial fire”: the arty uses the partial fire modifier if infantry interpenetrates the gunline while advancing.
If the “adjoining” arty or artillery is not itself the object of the charge, it can fire at the charging unit as opportunity fire, right. That is, at partial effect.
Q: There seems to be a little confusion about when an R order is needed in the reconstitution process.
A: In an earlier version of the draft rules, an R chit was needed to reconstitute a lost stand …and that unfortunately still appears on pages 9 and 29, as well as the front of the QRS. This is incorrect. In the final, definitive version, a commander within an inch of a reconstituting unit is, in effect, a reconstitution chit. Ergo, a separate R chit is not needed to reconstitute – just the command stand. This is now mentioned in the errata page as well.
Q: Did you consider putting cavalry on ¾” depth bases or was there some greater need or desire to have based on the ½” ones? Was it simply to maintain compatibility with the infantry stands? They seem a little cramped and it seems that a 3/4’” depth wouldn’t effect play to any degree at all.
A: Quite right; 1/2″ basing was just to keep the cavalry on the same brass strips I use for infantry. 3/4″ would work fine. All the recommended stand sizes are just that: recommended. The actual frontage of the units portrayed varied wildly, depending on whether the unit was attacking or defending, full strength or attritted, and whether all elements were on line or not. The recommended sizes were an average of the historical/regulation and the practical (stands that were too wide tend to be awkward, especially on sculpted terrain). I use same base size for units representing companies as when they represent battalions because of that same flexibility… and will when I change the game board scale to 1″ = 50m (as is necessary for some very small battles). Bottom line: Doesn’t matter. And: Who cares? The game will play the same despite relatively minor differences in basing.
Q: We are used to you-go-I-go alternating movement type rules sets. We find simultaneous orders sometimes can be a bit nefarious. How do you play it as we not really up on simultaneous rules that much
A: Simultaneous play does take a little getting used to, and certainly works best when all the players are gentlemen. That said, the general rule is: All chits are revealed simultaneously during the activation phase, and stay revealed until they no longer apply. Everybody knows which unit is withdrawing, which is charging, which is marching in which direction from that moment. During each player’s movement, it is expected that his opponent will be watching closely to see how the order is carried out (or aborted), and will respond to his opponent’s moves as best he can, given his own orders. Good communication is key here. Games go fastest — and with the least discord — when the players inform their opposite numbers that a charge is being attempted (in case he was asleep!), or that some unit is withdrawing to a more covered position, etc. This allows his opponent to do what the troops on the ground would naturally do when they notice such things, whether it be directing artillery fire, arresting one’s own unit’s movement, or whatever. It’s not uncommon for some moves to end up being pro-rated because of this simultaneous reaction. The idea is not to “surprise” one’s fellow gamer with a move that can be devastating (and thus contentious) because it wasn’t noticed by the other fellow, but to allow all the forces on the field the courtesy of behaving rationally.
One convention gamer, for instance, once marched an entire infantry regiment up to an enemy cavalry unit unnoticed, and had difficulty accepting my ruling that he wouldn’t be allowed to blast them at point blank range. He was used to sequential movement, I suppose. His opponent had been too busy moving his own stuff to see what was coming, and his opponent didn’t see fit to warn him. But the cavalry unit would’ve seen 2,500 infantrymen walking across the field from 700 meters away… and would have of course not been there by the time the infantry arrived. Had it been an infantry unit, it wouldn’t have been able to march off without a chit, of course, but there’s no way in the real world that the cavalry would have been “surprised” like that, whether the gamer was paying attention or not.
Charges are special cases, being announced at the Activation Phase, but moving and engaging (maybe) at the end of the Fire Phase. This gives the defender ample time to react to the charge… but does not include running away or reinforcing the threatened area, unless he played a chit authorizing him to do just that.
Q: The rules say that the defender has the choice of when to fire at the advancing enemy. We assume that means the defender basically chooses to fire a long, medium or short range, depending on where he is hoping to stop the charge and where the charge started from. Correct?
Q: What is the sequence of events in this situation. Regiment ‘123’ charges Regiment ‘ABC’, but neither ‘ABC’ or ‘EFG’ move this turn.
A: Ahh – a by-the-numbers solution is called for here. In the Order Activation Phase, it’s revealed that 123 is going to charge, because he turns over a Charge chit. In the Movement Phase, Regiment 123 checks its morale, fires at ABC at partial effect and – if it passed — starts forward, drums beating, flags flying, etc. Regiment EFG can shoot at 123 at any point after 123 has moved one inch [dumb thing for 123 to do, charging past a formed unit like that!]
Regt EFG shoots first because all shooting precedes the charge portion of the Fire Phase. EFG shoots at full enfilade, but at partial effect, since it isn’t able to shoot at the end of 123’s movement (123 would be on top of ABC, which would preclude EFG’s firing). If EFG’s volley stops 123 (and 123 is still standing), then the charge reverts to just some left-over business of the Fire Phase — ABC and 123 exchange shots and call it a turn.
If 123 absorbed EFG’s volley without being stopped, then the charge sequence continues as normal: Regt 123 moves forward to the point that Regt ABC opts to open fire on it, as shown in the diagram. ABC checks its morale, and shoots or flees. Or, if it rolled the same number that 123 did, there would be a melee after ABC fired, no matter what the results of the fire were.
If Regt EFG moved as well this turn, it would get to shoot at the passing 123 regiment at the end of EFG’s move, but would still shoot at partial effect and full enfilade. It would be easiest if EFG just shot at 123 when the latter reached the point that ABC opted to fire.
Q: If EFG shoots and routs ‘123’ during it approach march, does ‘ABC’ still need to take a ‘fear of being charged’ morale test??
A: No, the charge would be aborted as a result of EFG’s first fire… precluding ABC’s morale check.
Q: When infantry after a successful charge move up to ½ their remaining charge move how is this calculated? For instance it is up to ½ their remaining charge move at the point where they come under fire or is it ½ their remaining charge move after the point where they would have theoretically contacted the enemy unit if it had not routed?
A: It’s calculated from the point that he carries the position, i.e., the latter circumstance.
Q: Another situation I’m unsure of. Regiments 456 and 123 in two line brigade formation declare a charge against ABC. Can 456 actually declare a charge against ABC and if yes is it resolved at the same time as that of 123’s charge?
A: It’s the brigade that’s charging; Regt 123 is the assault element; Regt 456 is in support. If the brigade order is activated, and the morale check passed, the whole brigade moves forward as one. The morale check should really only apply to the lead unit; the other one is just tagging along (which is why it’s a good idea to charge with your best units, if you really want that charge to go). It’s also a good idea to have a fair idea of what your chances for success are, before launching any charges, since you want the defender to fail his morale roll when charged; close-range fire fights are no fun.
Q: Do both units need to take pre-charge moral checks?
A: Just the lead regiment
Q: What happens if ABC shoots 123 and causes it to rout? Does 456 continue the charge? If yes does ABC get to have a shot at it? Does ABC have to take another morale test before doing so?
A: Good question, since it’s not in the rules anywhere… but there is a rule about not being able to charge through a suppressed unit, whose logic I’ll apply here: If the lead element is routed, the charge is stopped, and the supporting line (and everyone else within an inch of its retreat route) would have to take a morale check. So: if 123 regiment runs off but the 456 regiment stands fast, the latter may not continue to charge on the same turn. But, the brigade charge order is still in effect for the brave remainder of the brigade. Next turn, having a valid charge order in hand, 456 would go through the charge sequence of prep fire, morale check, go… just like those lily-livered lads in 123 did the previous turn. If the 456 regiment failed their pre-charge morale check, incidentally, the charge chit would go away.
Q: What happens if multiple enemies declare a charge against a single regiment. Are these attacks resolved simultaneous or in a particular order i.e. cavalry attacks before infantry, or whichever unit is estimated to make contact with the defending unit first? Does the defending unit get a shot at all of the attacking units or only one? How many ‘fear of being charged’ morale tests does it need to take?
A: Sometimes this does and did happen, but I’ve never found any instances of infantry and cavalry units charging the same unit at the same time. So, this is prohibited. If a cavalry unit wants to complete the destruction of an enemy unit broken by an infantry charge, it’ll have to do it on the following turn. If two like units are simultaneously charging the same target, most logically the closest unit – or the one with the greatest chance of success – would go first. For instance, a non-attached Jäger battalion and an infantry regiment both declare charges against some hapless French regiment. The Jäger battalion is the closest, but is just a single battalion, so the obvious choice to go first is the infantry regiment. Both the infantry and the Jägers prep fire, check morale, and advance – with the Jägers timing their attack to coincide with the arrival of the infantry.
If the attacker launches several waves of attacks, the defender can gets a shot against them all, in turn, unless it’s defending artillery, which can only fire once. Each new charge involves its own set of morale checks, with cumulative casualties affecting the MMR.
Q: If an artillery battery is charged, how does it defend itself? What are gunners armed with? (I’m ignorant of the period, sorry)
A: The usual: pistols, swords, ramrods, and carbines. Not enough to bother a determined cavalry charge or infantry assault, though. Basically the gunners defend themselves by working their pieces; if they’re successful, it’s reflected in the results on the Artillery Hits Table. If their gunnery is bad (unlucky die roll) then the unit removed from play. The tiny amount of damage a few brave gunners could inflict with their small arms is so negligible that it’s not even worth bothering with in a grand tactical game.
Q: Since cavalry can charge in successive lines, and infantry can shoot at each line during the course of an attack (page 26) Does this mean Infantry can fire more than once a turn?
A: Yep. That’s the only time infantry can fire twice in a turn. Otherwise, I found, players would try to “game” a charge… they’d send a lone cavalry stand in the soak up the defensive fire, and follow it with a different cavalry unit (which wouldn’t have to check morale if the sacrificial stand was obliterated) to charge home free on the infantry.
Q: How does a Cavalry multiple line attack work please? Could you write an short example?
A: Cavalry generally charged in several lines by choice; in the game that’s replicated (in a macro sense) by putting one cavalry stand behind another, to get the “superior depth” advantage in a melee. Usually, the infantry/artillery blasts the first line, and when the cavalry checks its morale (to see if it’ll charge home) its losses lower its morale enough that the survivors sheer off and run away. This is a nice authentic outcome; cavalry charging steady infantry armed with breechloaders in this war was practically suicidal. But — if the first stand took two hits, and the survivors (the second stand) passed their morale check and pressed on, it would charge home without further ado. No more morale checks by either side would be required… just go right to the melee. The point blank volleys of the defending infantry against the remaining cavalry are factored into the melee calculations.
Chances are that the cavalry won’t survive to charge home, though… especially if just a single two-stand regiment is charging (since two-stand units loses two Morale Points for every Combat Points loss (see Morale Rating Modifier table). The cavalry sheering off should be the expected outcome whether a cavalry regiment (two stands) is charging, or whole a brigade (four stands). If the latter, the regiments could be aligned one behind the other, or abreast… the brigade would resemble a four stand square in either case.
Let’s say that two cavalry regiments are charging abreast, in two lines, against one lonely infantry stand. The infantry fires – with 9 or even 12 fire points (depending on the type of infantry stand) – and obliterates 2 cavalry combat points. The losses, to be fair, should come equally from each of the two regiments, since each has a stand in the front rank, and the infantry would of course shoot at the whole line of cavalry, not just the one stand to their immediate front.
So, minus two points, the cavalry brigade checks its morale. It was an MR 8 unit, now it’s down two from losses, and two more (three more, in the 1859/64 and 1866 rules) from facing steady infantry: its now an MR 4 unit … It’ll need to roll a 1-3 to close. Should the brigade be aligned one regiment behind the other, the result should be the same. A stand is eliminated in the lead regiment, and the rest of the brigade checks its morale as an MR 4 unit… and probably breaks off. [Not specified in the 1870 rules (but fixed in the 1859/64 rules): What happens when a morale results precludes cavalry unit from charging home? It falls back 8 inches].
Besides the new minus three to the cavalry’s Morale Rating mentioned above, another retro-fit to the earlier 1859/64 and 1870 rules involves the cavalry’s losing two points in a melee with steady infantry (introduced in the 1866 rules). It’s still possible for cavalry to win against steady infantry – but it’s even harder. Cavalry really, really didn’t do well charging steady infantry in this period – especially infantry armed with breechloaders!
This is why cavalry shouldn’t charge steady, intact infantry. They should prey on the weak and disorganized: units that are in a rout status, or are attritted, suppressed, disorganized, with no command stand present, from the rear, etc, etc… anything to skew the odds in their favor.
Of course, there’s the historical counter-example of von Bredow’s charge, that was used by cavalry types for a half century to justify the continuance of shock action as a legitimate mission of their arm. That, however, was an aberration, nearly impossible to duplicate! (Just look at the Morale table) …it could be done, but only in certain very specific circumstances, and with a lot of luck. I’ve introduced that luck (surprise) into the 1859/64 rules to allow the cavalry to be as effective as it was against muzzle-loaders… but against breechloaders, most cavalry leaders (even Bredow) were very, very chary about hazarding their commands against anything but very weak or wounded targets…
Q: Before charging, attacking infantry fires at Partial effect — at what range?
A: For the charging infantry, wherever they are at the start of the turn. For supporting infantry/artillery, wherever they are at the end of the Movement Phase.
Q: If the Attacker is not suppressed, or stopped by a morale check after losses, the surviving infantry overruns the battery…. and eliminates it?
A: Yep. And the Attacker becomes disarrayed (not disorganized, since there was no melee). [Note that in the final, 1866 version of the Grand Tactical Rules, this was dropped as more trouble than it was worth. An attacker who chases off a defender without a melee stays in good order.]
Q: Urban fighting seems to involve some special problems — could you elaborate on how to fight in towns?
A: Units in buildings are tough nuts to crack. They can shoot better because they’re largely under cover, usually have a steady rest for their rifles, and often have their best shots doing the shooting while the remainder of the squad loads for them. And, their morale is enhanced by the protection and concealment afforded by walls. There are some disadvantages to defending towns, though. Stands get the “in buildings” cover advantage when being fired on or meleed while within the area occupied by buildings, though; if only two stands of a three stand regiment can “fit” in the area the buildings occupy, the third stand is regarded as being in the open.
Visibility in towns is one inch, therefore, all combat in towns is necessarily at close range. Firefights between stands that are occupying buildings give both sides the cover advantage; they’re harder to hit, and suffer ½ casualties when they are hit. Both get the morale advantage of being in buildings, too… but not much harm will likely be done!
To clear a town of an enemy ensconced in the buildings, an attacker must repeatedly charge the enemy unit. When a unit in a town charges an enemy who is occupying buildings, the attacker does not get the cover advantage when he comes under fire although he may be within the boundaries of the town; he’s out of the buildings and exposing himself. Except during second impulse charges, the attacker must also be formed when attacking, of course.
Here’s how an attack sequence goes against a defended town:
The attacker fires at partial effect when the attack starts from outside the town, or from within 1 inch if the attacker is in the town. If the defender and the attacker both pass their pre-charge morale checks, the attack will go home unless the defender’s fire stops or repulses the attack. Historically, troops attacking defended towns were much less prone to stop short of their objectives when their enemies were behind walls; they wanted to get up to the cover those walls represented for them, too.
If the defender is bested in the house-to-house melee that follows a successful charge, the attacker may press on – albeit disorganized – as a second impulse attack. Coming upon another target, the charge sequence is repeated, but without the attacker’s “prep fire” or morale check steps. If the new defender doesn’t check the attack by fire, another melee will occur – but this time the attacker goes in disorganized. As in any melee, the presence of a command stand with the troops could make the difference.
Based on further study (associated with the 1866 rules), the urban combat business was further refined: if there is no winner after the Phase I combat in town fights, Phase II is deferred until the next turn… and combat continues as a Phase II melee each turn until a winner is determined. Since everyone is “under cover” during the Phase II combat, all losses during this phase are halved for each side; thus town fights are both lengthier and less costly than combats in the open field. They can also be more easily fed in subsequent turns, too – if there are fresh units available. Reserves join the Phase II combat as usual – by simply adding their Combat Points to the total of the on-going scrum – in the hopes of tipping the balance and producing a victor. All this should be retro-fitted to all the Grand Tactical Rules games.
Q: What is meant by a rear attack, I cannot find a definition?
A: Since a flank attack is mentioned as being outside the defender’s frontal 90 degree arc (in the section describing cavalry charges), a rear attack is hereby defined as being within the defender’s rear 90 degrees. This also applies to infantry charges.
Q: If there is another unit immediately behind a unit that is pushed back is it also pushed back or does the unit interpenetrate it?
A: This was finally codified in the 1866 rules, and so can be applied to the whole set of Grand Tactical Rules: Supporting units should not be closer than three inches behind the unit in front of them unless they are in extended line, column, or have fewer stands than the lead unit (leaving stand-wide gaps through which the lead unit can withdraw in the event of a reversal). Units that have closed up on their lead units without leaving gaps in their line become disorganized if the lead unit is compelled to retreat or tout back through them them.
Q: Are routing units assumed to interpenetrate friendly units with cost no to either of them?
A: If there’s insufficient room to stream back after a reversal, the second line is disorganized as mentioned above, and would have to take a morale check if the routers passed within an inch, of course.
Q: In the Morale results (page 30) it specifies that “Units routed while adjacent to the enemy lose one combat point before departing…”; does ‘adjacent’ just mean stands in contact, or does it include uncommitted 2nd Line, or is it all units within 1” of the enemy that were involved in the combat?
A: If any part of the routing unit is adjacent to the enemy (within 1 inch) when it breaks, the unit (usually a regiment, since that’s our normal core morale unit) loses 1 Combat Point. Most losses in close combat didn’t come from bayonet and butt strokes, but when one side broke and ran… and their opponents shot them down when they presented their backs. Same with cavalry fights, when the victor pursued a broken enemy and cut them down from behind. Note that the presence of a support line within 3 inches behind a routing unit will prevent that 1 Combat Point loss – even if the support line belongs to the routing unit. The engaged portion of the unit routs; the unengaged portion covers their retreat, and then runs after them. While the whole unit is routed, at least the portion left in support prevented further losses first.
Q: What does a ‘withdraw from combat’ constitute once a unit’s second break point has been reached?
A: The unit leaves the fight… clear back out of range of anything that could cause it further casualties. Depending on where the unit was, this could mean just retreating off the board.
Q: Does it retire directly away from threat?
A: More or less… terrain dependent.
Q: For how long, i.e. number of turns?
A: Until it’s out of range.
Q: If it cannot withdraw does it surrender/is it eliminated? Can it rally?
A: It won’t rally because its not routing, per se… just had enough. It may be on the verge of a rout, or the commander may have lost his nerve because of the high loses. It can return fire and fight, if attacked, but its main concern is to get out of the fight. This rule was designed to keep players from fighting their commands down to remnants… usually individual unit morale results takes care of that, but not always. Some division size Republican French units simply left the battle after their division break points had been reached… and it could happen to the Germans, too. At Mars-la-Tour the 6th Div certainly reached their 1st break point, and were precariously on the verge of their second.. a goodly part of the VIII and II Corps troops at Gravelotte failed their 2nd break point test towards the end of the day.
Q: Do you ALWAYS take equal casualties on every stand in a regiment before giving more to one stand than another? If 3 battalions take 5 casualties, could there be 1 casualty on one and 2 on the other two? Whilst his reduces morale by 5 it still doesn’t trigger a morale check due to stand loss…
A: If the regiment is together, take the casualties from one stand until it is removed, and trigger a regimental morale check. That’s the intention — to take recurring morale checks as casualties mount. If the player got to choose, he could conceivably have a regiment operating at 1/3 its combat strength, and never have had to take a morale check. The only time casualties ought to be split is when one battalion is physically removed (at least 3 inches) from the others. The detached stand’s loses wouldn’t effect the rest of the regiment and vice versa… but, once the stand rejoined, the casualties would be consolidated, which might trigger that check.
Q: When a cavalry brigade suffers a repulse result do both regiments of the brigade fall back?
A: Yes, in the grand tactical scale game nearly all results apply to core morale units — like cavalry brigades. Even though I cheerfully admit that this result historically might be rare — especially when applied to infantry regiments — the intent was to capture the historical results that were happening to smaller units in a macro sense. If, in a grand tactical game with scores of stands in play, individual battalions were allowed to behave as independent elements for combat results purposes, we’d shortly have regiments broken and scattered all over the board. Just because this is what actually happened in many cases is beside the point. It would fatally slow down the game, and require far more micro-managing on the corps commander/gamer’s part to keep track of them all. So the regiments just hang together and suffer similar fates (unless some element is physically detached from its parent unit, of course). Quicker, less trouble, and more decisive that way.
Q: “R” Result Against Artillery
A: There’s nothing in the 1870 rules that mention the “R” (repulse) result against artillery. The intent of the repulse result was to simulate the spontaneous withdrawal of a unit under unexpectedly heavy fire… before enough casualties were actually inflicted to cause a measurable loss. For an artillery target, this would have meant a snap decision to displace out of an obvious danger zone… So (Official Ruling): artillery hit with an “R” result is treated like infantry (displace 3 inches to the rear). This has been incorporated into the 1859/64 rules.
As a matter of interest, I’ve had enough queries on that “Repulse” result by bloodthirsty gamers that I magnanimously ruled that (if both sides agree beforehand) an “R” result does carry with it a loss of one combat point as well as the repulse effect… this has also been codified in the 1859/64 rules.
COMMAND & CONTROL, ORDERS, ACTIVATIONS, SUPPRESSION, ETC.
Q: The movement of generals: They ‘teleport’ (once only, though, I presume?) to where most needed at the order activation stage. But then when their units step smartly off, do they leave their generals behind, or do they move along with them in some way?
A: Good point and one I obviously never thought to clarify. I’d say that, once the general had trotted on over to some recalcitrant unit to help with it’s activation and having succeeded it would be the player’s prerogative to leave the general behind as the troops march off to glory, or to accompany them, as he saw fit.
Q: Does a brigade commander need to be within the command radius of his division commander and him in turn to be in command radius of the corps commander, for the corps commander to pass orders?
A: Hmm… probably some confusion about “passing orders”, here. No. This order business is just an abstraction; there doesn’t need to be a link between the brigadiers and their senior commanders for them to place order chits. Ordering troops starts with the brigade commanders… whether the brigade is in command radius of its div or cps HQ doesn’t matter at this stage; what matters is whether the regiments’ stands are within command radius of their brigade commander. If they’re not, its 20% less likely they’ll activate. Where the div and cps HQ command radius is important is in the activation appeals process… if the brigade level activation fails, and the unit is within the division (or corps) command radius, the gamer can roll again on the higher level HQ’s command rating, to see if he can get a second chance to activate.15mm Brigade Commander
Q: Or can a corps commander allocate order chits to divisions and brigades beyond his command radius?
A: Yes; the brigades don’t have to be within division or corps command radius to get chits or activate normally… but they do, as noted above, have to be within superior HQ command radius to “appeal”.
Q: An Order Chit can only be used to move an entire division when all brigades are in the same formation moving the exact same way? Or is it ONLY brigades and regiments–not artillery, light infantry and cavalry divisional assets?
A: The chit could be used to move an entire division (including any attached units like some corps artillery batteries or additional infantry assets) if it was capable of acting on the single order chit in the turn it was issued. For instance, both brigades of a division in bivouac (a “disorganized” formation) could be given a single REFORM order to prepare them for a MOVE order the following turn. You wouldn’t be able to give two different units a single CHARGE order, though, if one brigade was disorganized, and the other already in line formation, since disorganized units usually can’t charge. To fall under the influence of a single order chit, all units to which the order was intended to apply — including arty, light infantry, attached units, etc — would have to be capable of responding identically.
Q: Cavalry divisions have no commanding officers. It is not clear when or if they require an officer to receive orders. Which officers can help activation and appeal?
A: The flag-bearing stands of a cavalry unit (usually one per brigade) are the command stands in cavalry divisions; one of those stands also represents the divisional CO. As long as a flag-bearer is present, the unit can receive orders… if the flag stand is eliminated, some other stand becomes the flag/command stand, just like the infantry “commander kill” criteria. Some players like to have a separate divisional CO stand for their cavalry divisions, just to work their command mechanics for cavalry like the infantry units. This is okay, too… it would be a non-combat stand, just like the infantry’s. The appeal process would follow normal chain of command; divisional cavalry regiments would appeal to the division commander of the infantry division to which they were assigned; cavalry brigade commanders would appeal to their division commanders… who might appeal to the Army commander.
Q: Is a “continuing order” part of the corps order allotment, or is it in addition to the corps total? Could you give some examples?
A: A continuing order is one of the corps orders that remains in effect for several turns, not an additional order. For instance, a French corps of one cavalry and three infantry divisions generates four order chits per turn. On the first turn, the player (corps commander) issues one chit to his first division (which is still encamped) to “reform” into line. The second division is already formed in columns, and so gets an order to move to (and occupy) a distant town — this division’s order chit is in effect a “continuing order” because it will stay with the unit until it accomplishes its mission several turns later (or until the unit is stopped by the enemy, or receives new orders).
Meanwhile, the third order chit goes to a single brigade of the third division (also formed in columns), which the corps commander wants to occupy a strategic bit of high ground on his flank; because the corps reserve artillery park is within an inch of this brigade, the player attaches a couple of batteries to the brigade as well (their close proximity to the unit of attachment obviated the need for a separate chit to move the artillery). The last order chit goes to the remaining brigade of the third division, to move up and face the approaching enemy. It changes formation from column into line at the end of its move, so can move 2/3 of its movement as a column (8 inches), and spend the remaining 1/3 assuming a line formation.
At the end of the turn, therefore, the corps has one division moving towards a town under a continuing order, another division forming into a line in place, a brigade with a couple of batteries moving onto a hill, and another brigade moving forward a few inches. The cavalry division and the remaining reserve artillery, for want of orders, remain where they are.
Q: If a continuing order does not require a chit each turn, does that mean, theoretically, that an entire corps could be moving during a turn on continuing orders and not require any order chits or activation rolls to move?
A: Exactly. The new chits the corps generates each turn could be used to change some moving unit’s objective, or split off a part of that unit to advance in another direction. Or they might not be used at all.
Q: How about an example or two on command radius, order activations and appeals?
A: Let’s say that one brigade of a division needs to be reformed, and the other brigade needs to move; further, let’s say that the first brigade has a weak commander. The division is given two order chits by corps, so the division commander trots on over to first one to personally supervise the execution of the REFORM order by placing himself within an inch of the brigadier during the “Command and Control” phase, when the chits are being placed. He can now add his command rating to his subordinate’s, to increase the probability of the order being activated during the activation phase. In doing so, however, he took himself farther than 8 inches (his command radius) from his second brigade.
The second brigade successfully activated its MOVE order by rolling less than its brigadier’s command rating — but if it hadn’t, there would have been no opportunity to appeal (except to the corps commander); the division command was both beyond 8 inches, and was fully engaged in getting his first brigade moving anyway. As it was, the division commander’s presence didn’t help the first brigade activate; it failed its activation roll by rolling too high. The brigade was still within the corps commander’s 12-inch radius, however, and he undertook to intervene. Since he was rated as a “Good” corps commander, a die roll of 3 got the brigade reforming.
Q: What is the difference between activation rolls and appeals? It seems that both division and corps commanders can do appeals, correct?
A: Correct. You attempt to activate each chit is by first rolling against the brigade commander’s rating. If the roll was too high to activate the order, it can be “appealed” to the division commander and/or the corps command to activate using his rating …if the senior commanders are available for appeals, that is. Sometimes units (a brigade, say) get more than one roll because part of the unit (one of its regiments) is out of the commander’s command radius. Since this lowers the probability of activation by 20%, you’d have to roll twice on the same order… once for the regiment within the command radius of the commander, at his rating, and once for the regiment out of the commander’s radius, at 20% less.
Q: It seems that even when using one chit to move the entire division, each brigade has to roll separate activations… doesn’t it?
A: Like the previous example, two rolls on a single (divisional) order chit would be necessary only if one brigade was out of the division commander’s command and control radius. Otherwise, the whole division activates (or doesn’t) on the strength of the division commander’s command rating. Since he’s the one giving the primary order, you apply his rating (let’s say it’s “Average”) to his roll as if he was an Average brigade commander. He’d activate his whole division with a “7”.
Q: Do the non-activated Order Chits carried over from a previous turn count against the overall number of orders (chits) that can be given by that corps?
Q: Say a German corps places 4 order chits turn 1, 2 do not activate in Turn One and hold over to Turn 2. Therefore does the German corps have 2 new + 2 old order chits in Turn Two or, 2 old + 4 new?
A: 2 old + 4 new
Q: Suppression Markers come off at end of turn of the second turn after a unit was suppressed. Does it take an Order Chit to do this? Do ‘Continuing Orders’ still apply?
A: The suppression marker comes off automatically two turns after the unit was suppressed, unless re-suppressed the next turn, or is “unsuppressed” by order and morale check. When a unit is suppressed, the Continuing Order is no longer valid, and is removed. Once no longer suppressed, a new order gets the unit moving again (the order chit can be issued the same turn the suppression wears off)
Q: Why a black marker for suppression?
A: Like the green casualty markers, it was inconspicuous and doesn’t mar the aesthetics of the game board unduly. Plus, the black marker can also be used to show that a unit is routed by placing it on the unit – instead of using a marker of yet another color. If you’d rather use some other method to denote suppression, though, be my guest — some guys like to use a wounded casualty figure, for instance: first turn of suppression gets two of these, second turn gets one.
On Woods Fighting, Disorganization, and Disarray
In an 1870 game that featured a lot of woods, some circumstances arose that pointed to the need for additional rule tweaks, and a whole new category of disorder.
As originally written, units proceed through woods in good order for one turn at their normal movement rate, then become “disorganized”. To withdraw from a fight in woods, the unit had to move backwards beyond the 1 inch visibility/combat zone of their opponent (requiring a MOVE order), then REFORM for a turn, then return to the fray with another MOVEMENT order. Three turns! Meanwhile, the unit could only fight with one stand while disorganized, and could not charge it’s opponent (no matter how insignificant) because charging while disorganized was permitted only as part of the “second impulse” of a charge turn. This was too restrictive, and has now been officially amended.15mm Brigade Commander
There is now a lesser state of disorganization known as disarray, which is used in 1859/1864 and 1866, and can be retroactively used in 1870:
- A disarrayed unit can be reorganized back into good order as a mere change of formation, rather than a requiring a REFORM chit (this is a change to the 1859/64 practice); once that is accomplished, it can advance in good order through woods for 5 inches before going into disarray again.
- Units in disarray – unlike disorganized units – may charge enemy units, and do not suffer the “disorganized” modifier in melees and on the Morale Table.
- Disarrayed units may shoot with all stands, albeit with the “disorganized” modifier on the Rifle Table.
- Jägers do not become disarrayed in woods
- Any disorganized unit that blunders into an enemy unit in woods may break contact (withdraw back 1 inch out of sight) with a REFORM order chit, and reform itself beyond harm. A disarrayed unit may do the same thing as part of its reorganization, too.
Further ruling: In the original charge sequence, “If the [non-melee] assault is successful, both attacker and defender are disorganized at the end”. This was changed in the 1859/64 rules, allowing the successful attacker to become disarrayed rather than disorganized. Even this seemed like too much detail for a grand tactical game, though, so in the definitive 1866 version, a defender who falls back after failing his “fear of charge” morale check still becomes disorganized, but the attacker stays in good order.
This leaves the victor with a deserved advantage. He can defend his captured objective more easily, and, if he has enough movement to “second impulse” into the just-ejected defender, he’ll have an advantage against a disorganized defender in the melee that follows. There will be an automatic melee if the defender falls back a lesser distance than the attacker can pursue.
Q: When a Jäger battalion ‘screens’ a friendly regiment what area is physically protected by the base? Is it double the frontage?
Q: …or do you simply say that if a Jäger unit is in front of ‘line units’ then it is assumed to be in extended order covering the whole front? Do the support units then become immune to fire from the front as the Jäger unit in extended order takes all the casualties from fire?
A: Against infantry directly in front of them, Yes. In actuality, of course, units behind skirmishers frequently took casualties from long rounds — sometime enough casualties to trigger morale checks. But in a game designed to minimize extraneous die rolls and checks, that situation is ignored.
When a Jäger (or infantry) stand is put into extended order in front of friendly troops, it is assumed to occupy twice its normal stand width/frontage and — being the closest unit to the enemy — would be the focus of their fire and take casualties. But its “protection” is limited to just that double stand width; any enemy infantry firing from beyond the double wide skirmisher stand could engage the forces behind it directly.
And, any artillery batteries not under fire by the skirmishers could shoot right through them against the line formations behind them; the skirmishers would provide no “protection” at all in this case.
Q: How are ranges measured ranges when firing i.e. from what point of the firing unit to what point of the target? For instance is it the closest point on the front edge of the closest battalion to the target, the centre of the front edge of the closest battalion to the target, or the centre of the firing line to the closest point of the target?
A: If your firing line is diagonal to the target (and all the shooting stands are in range), just use the median distance as the “official range.”
Q: Let’s say a stand is 45 degrees on to a target. The furthest part of the stand is just out of range, although the other 2/3 are barely within maximum range. Should you allow only the 2 points that are “in range” to be counted?
A: My philosophy: Let the whole stand shoot, for goodness sake… that flank company no doubt would’ve been moved up by the battalion commander or even the company commander… or would’ve been firing even though it was just a bit beyond the recommended engagement range of its rifles.
Q: When determining if a target is in a unit’s firing arc is this calculated on a battalion by battalion basis or on a regimental basis. Below is the kind of situation I’m thinking about here. Regiment ‘123’ is outside of Battalion ‘A’ firing arc but within that of Battalions ‘B’ and ‘C’. When calculating firing points are ‘A’ included or excluded?
A: All things being static, A would not shoot… But, here’s where that “local commander initiative” stuff comes in. Movement is simultaneous, as it is in reality. Local commanders (on whom you’re relying to do the logical thing, while you’re worrying about “grand tactical” matters) are most likely aware of the approach of enemy forces, and would adjust their commands to fit the tactical situation. If Regiment ABC was approached by Regt 123, ABC’s commander would be justified in adjusting Battalion A’s position slightly to enable it to fire in the fire phase – if their was nothing else compelling him to stay put (like the regiment occupying trenches or already engaging some other unit to its front).
This adjustment would be considered a “change of face or formation”, which doesn’t need a chit (Regt ABC would simply realign itself to face the approaching threat by wheeling around its center of mass). If ABC was in the position shown at the beginning of the turn, and enemy Regiment 123 approached from over three inches away, by the time it got to the position shown the ABC boys could be turned and facing it. If Regt 123 started less than 3 inches away, ABC wouldn’t have had enough time to change its facing.
Q: When is a unit’s line of sight blocked and therefore ineligible to fire? Here is another situation to illustrate this point. In this situation can Battalion ‘C’ see and shoot at Regiment ‘123’?
A: Easy one. If C couldn’t adjust its position to engage with all points, I’d let it shoot with a single point.
Q: Is partial fire used just by the charging unit or does it apply to the defending unit as well?
A: Just the charging unit and those firing in support of the charge. Supposedly the target/defender is firing all the while, but the attacker/support firers are constrained by time and proximity of friendlies (the charging unit) from firing the whole period.
Q: Can artillery on higher ground over 3” from friend‘ shoot over friendly troops that are charging? For instance if friends are Charging from 3” range can artillery on higher ground prep fire the target? I think the answer is yes as the Infantry are not in 2” of the enemy and as long as the ¼” clearance is maintained?
A: That’s correct; they could fire in support, at partial effect. The rule reads: “Artillery cannot engage a target next to which friendly troops remained within two inched throughout the turn…” But, artillery can prep the target of a charge because it’s firing at partial effect – i.e., it’s checking its fire as the assaulting infantry approach that 2 inch danger zone in front of the target.
Q: In some rules you talk about the “forward 45° arc” as being the firing arc of infantry and artillery units, and in others it’s the “forward 90° arc”. Which is it?
A: Sorry for the confusion! It’s actually the same thing. The angle of fire from each corner of the unit is 45°, which is why I initially began referring to the forward arc in those terms – but some people took that to mean that only the front 45° arc was covered. The correct arc is shown by Regt ABC in the first example, above.
Q: What are the rules for a flank attack, does a unit start behind a line drawn from the front edge of the target Unit’s bases?
A: A flank attack can be defined as one delivered from outside the defender’s frontal 45 degree firing arc.
Q: When a Defender with a supporting line is attacked by an Attacker who can overlap his front line, does the support line physically move onto the flank or stay in line and count as flanking?
A: It would move to meet the Attacker’s overlapping stand… you’d have what would amount to two “L’s”, one inside the other
Q: In Phase 2 of the melee, the rules say that all non-committed infantry stands within 1 inch of the engaged units may be moved into contact and counted. Is that within 1 inch of the melee or 1 inch of the enemy? And what is their movement limit? 1 inch?
A: Within one inch of the engaged units means within one inch behind or beside the stands that engaged in the first phase. The movement is theoretically still the normal line movement rate, but in actuality, anyone within an inch will only have a very short distance to travel before he runs into someone unfriendly!
Q: For a cavalry support line, they can engage and be counted if within 2” …so could the cavalry support line sweep onto flanks and envelop their enemy… and would this be counted as a flank attack?
A: They could sweep around to engage, but this wouldn’t could as a flank attack — supposedly by the time the units are into Phase 2 of a melee, there’s not much of a flank anymore… that’s why only two modifiers are counted in the Phase 2 melee (cuirassiers and superior morale). If there’s enough spare stands to actually envelop the enemy, that will eliminate him if he loses the melee, though.
Q: Since morale is normally tested by cavalry brigade, if one cavalry regiment charges does any morale result affect the rest of the brigade, even if it is a ways away?
A: No, if the brigade is operating as separate regiments, it’ll test morale as individual regiments.
Checking Morale for Smaller Units
Another point I seem to have overlooked in the 1870 rules involved circumstances of morale checks. Single stand units are proportionally penalized in the rules for losses i.e., they’re docked 3 from their morale grade for each combat point lost)… but there’s nothing in the rules that states when single stand units must check their morale! A single battalion/stand could lose 2/3 of its strength (and notionally be down by 6 morale points), but would never have to check its morale, since none of the morale checking criteria applied (except maybe “losses to artillery fire”).
So, the fix for that (which has been incorporated into the 1859/64 and 1866 rules) is this: Two and three-stand units check at each stand loss, and single stands check at each point loss. The exception to this is if these small units are the survivors or portions of once-whole regiments, as noted in the rules. They would continue to check as regiments, since the remnants of the rest of the unit is “implied”.
A: Since a flank attack is mentioned as being outside the defender’s frontal 90 degree arc (in the section describing cavalry charges), a rear attack is hereby defined as being within the defender’s rear 90 degrees. This also applies to infantry charges.
Q: On what point do regiments pivot when changing face?
A: Almost any. The regiment could wheel on one flank or another, or pivot around the unit’s center point… All this was fairly straightforward parade ground maneuvering. It should be emphasized that changing a unit’s facing by wheeling is not an invitation to move a unit without an order chit. It can change its alignment, but may not leave the area without a chit.
Q: The ability to form a square formation is mentioned on several occasions in the rules. How is it represented what are its firing and combat properties?
A: The square was intentionally given short shrift in the 1870 rules because it was an obsolescent formation hardly ever used during the FPW… given the firepower of modern breech-loaders, it was believed (and proven) that infantry could do just as well if not better against cavalry staying in line. Squares assume a greater importance in the 1859, 1864, and 1866 rules, however, so I had to come up with some rules anyway. Here’s how it’s handled in those rules: If the charging horse starts its charge from over 5 inches away, the infantry forms its square before the cavalry reach it. If the charge is begun from less than 5 inches away from a target, or the infantry unit is disorganized, then the unit can only form square with a low die roll: 1-3. Any unit that fails this die roll is regarded as being disorganized at the time of impact (if there is impact).
Form stands into a square, triangle, or back-to-back to represent a square, depending on the number of stands available. A single stand square would have to be marked (I use a ½ inch square counter with a square symbol on it).
Units in a square present a much smaller number of rifles to an attacker than do units in line, so they lose their x2 or x3 fire bonus when engaging cavalry. Units in square get a Plus ONE to their MR during cavalry attacks, and the cavalry take a Minus THREE when checking their morale before attacking squares (which is composed, by definition, of steady infantry). If there is a melee, the poor cavalry also lose a couple of Combat Points against steady infantry, too.
Q: When pro-rating for units wish to change formation when being charged by cavalry – if it turns out that the defending unit didn’t have enough time for a formation change before the charging cavalry contacts it, is the unit automatically disordered? (I know it will be eliminated if it is artillery).
A: For the sake of simplicity, I didn’t go into auto-disorder in 1870, since there seemed to be little reason to… units had no real reason to form squares, and few cavalry charges, I figured, would be launched from so close (less than 5 inches) that the infantry couldn’t turn at least one stand to face it. This has generally been borne out in the scores of games I’ve played. No, so auto disorder in 1870. You’ll note in the 1859/64 and 1866 rules that it does come into play, however.
Q: Is it ½ move only when moving backwards in Line, or in Extended Order?
Q: Linear Obstacles (streams, low wall, fences, hedges) cost 2 inches for infantry, and 4 inches for cavalry; are these therefore impassable to Artillery as there is no movement modifier?
A: Good catch. This has been included on the new cheat sheets. Treat foot artillery like infantry, and horse arty like cavalry for obstacles. No such thing as “impassable” unless specifically noted in the scenario Terrain Notes.
Q: As there is no mention of a wheel, sidestep, or oblique movement in the 1870 rules, can units move anywhere within the allowed distance provided that no element moves more than the maximum distance allowed (e.g., 8 inches for infantry in line)? If so is this irrespective of formation?
A: “Sidestep” is included in the new 1859/64 Movement Table as “sideways” movement: ½ normal movement rate (basically 4 inches, since this is only done while deployed in line); the other maneuvers are also done while in line, and are therefore subject to the line movement rate… applied to the portion of the unit that moved farthest — i.e., the outer stand in a wheel.
Q: Artillery may prolong 1” and fire at partial effect. Can artillery change facing on the spot, and if so is there a limit to its rotation (e.g. 90 degrees) or is the 1” the governing measurement? Can it combine rotation and movement (and vice versa) in the 1”?
A: This was an oversight in 1870 that’s been addressed in the new rules (and should be made retroactive to 1870), to wit: “Once unlimbered, a battery can engage targets in its forward 45° arc only. To engage targets outside that arc requires an entire turn to displace and reorient the battery – during which time it cannot shoot.”
Q: How is movement through towns handled when in line formation?
A: I had originally thought to declare infantry line movement through towns the same as movement through woods: it would cause the unit to become disorganized, and halve its movement. But, that seemed a little severe, so line movement through a town is just treated as line movement through an open area. Cavalry is only allowed to transit through towns on the streets, however – at their normal road column movement rate.
Q: Is infantry disordered by occupying buildings, or can they be reformed in good order in the buildings?
A: A unit in good order can occupy buildings with no disorder (and without an order chit, if it is adjacent the buildings) as a change of formation, or as the last 1/3 of a normal move. If a unit already in disorder is adjacent the buildings and is ordered to REFORM, it can reform inside the buildings. As with any REFORM, this would take all turn, so the unit would start the next turn in good order in the buildings. Of course, a unit could also occupy buildings even if it was in disorder, too, at a cost of 1/3 its (halved) movement rate… but it would remain in disorder.
Q: In the visibility section, it says ‘units in buildings and entrenchments or under concealment may be seen at 2-40 inches. Is that correct? Do you mean 2-4 inches?
A: No, it’s as written. Patrols poking around at 2 inches, or officers with good field glasses at 40 inches both have a straight 40% chance of noticing “hidden” units.
Q: On page 3 of the 1870 rules it says that units beyond 40 paces should be described to the player in the suitably vague terms of ‘small’, medium’ or ‘large’. Can you give an example of what constitutes a ‘small’, ‘medium’ or ‘large’ force? i.e. regiment = small, brigade = medium etc.
A: Kind of depends on the size of the scenario… if there’s several corps involved on the board, a “large unit” could be a division-plus in size; if only a few divisions, then a correspondingly smaller unit might be described as “large” …perhaps a brigade or more.
Q: What are the benefits of hedges and stone walls in the rules regards cover from fire. We assume that hedges offer concealment (as per visibility rules) but no fire defense advantage however stone walls offer both concealment and some protection…
A: I suppose that some very dense, high hedges would adequately block line-of-sight and conceal whole units, but that’s very much case dependent. Such hedges existed in Italy, and in Norman bocage territory… but a blanket rule that hedges conceal units might be subject to a lot of abuse. A nice little garden hedge concealing a whole battalion of infantry? Don’t think so! Generally, if I came across accounts of hedges being extensive enough to do that, I’d put it in the scenario notes as a special case (example: Magenta or Jagel). I can’t think of any FPW battle where hedges were tactically significant. I allow stone walls, railroad embankments, and deep ditches to provide cover and concealment to units in extended formation only, and in 1864 Denmark, the well-banked knicks (hedge-topped dikes) get “field works” protection from small arms (and sometimes artillery) fire, besides counting as linear obstacles to movement – just like stone walls.