Monday, 18 May 2009

Line Vs Line

If you've been reading the comments on the British 4000pt army thread you'll be aware that there's been some discussion about 30 man British battalions fire-fighting French 36 man battalions. So I decided to go through it using average dice scores for both firing and morale. The results were interesting (well, to me they were) and possibly more historically accurate than I would have supposed. I'd better start out by saying that this is for ITGM rules and a general idea of the infantry firing procedure used is needed for any of this to make sense.
I started with the premise that a French battalion had deployed into line outside of long range and then moved into long range to commence firing. This puts them at an initial disadvantage as they fire second and have a -4 modifier for having moved. The British line gets a +4 for first volley and fire as 38 men. All casualties are halved at long range.
Using a 7 for firing and a 10 for morale both battalions slug it out for six rounds of firing until the French finally go into the third bracket and retreat. Simple enough you may think but I had been alternatively rounding up then down on the half casualties. When I did the exercise again rounding the half casualties down then up both units went into the third bracket on the same turn. For the morale I'd just been using a 10 + unit class (3) for each unit, no generals no support etc. Minuses were enemy in 12 inches and casualties this period.
Of course it's unlikely that this situation would occur but it does give an idea of how two battalions would have fared firing long range volleys at each other for about 2 and a half to three hours. I think historically one or both would have attempted to close the distance. Most of the accounts I've read have the French closing to about 50 yards in column and then having a lot of trouble getting their troops to line out. By the way if you try this method, that is, advancing to effective range in column, lining out and then fire-fighting you will get murdered. If you've got that close in column you're much better off charging and hoping for the best.

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