EXERT FROM APPENDIX 1 from Don Featherstone's Battles With Model Soldiers
(The book that got me started.)

"Nothing in these pages is a dictate, no word says you must or you shall do it this way. On the contrary, the book sets out from the very beginning to stimulate the reader to think for himself, and to use what he has read merely as a foundation for efforts and ideas which reflect his own temperament and character. Only in this way will he obtain maximum satisfaction from the hobby of battling with model soldiers."

-Don Featherstone 1918 - 2013

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ripples

The weather forecast is calling for 15-25 cm of unseasonable snow  on Wednesday so I postponed my trip and spent the day getting the yard ready and stacking more firewood into the shed.

Well, not ALL the day, I didn't have time for  a game but I broke out Vol 1 of Battles and Leaders and looked at a couple of Orders of Battle, contemplated elastic ground scales and scenarios then did some experimental maneuvering of various regiment and brigade sizes and configurations.  Apart from Gettysburg, I'm more interested in the early years of the war, 1861 & 62 when many of the armies were smaller and it was all new. It seems that if gaming 1861 at least, a  500 man regiment is not unreasonable in either army. Depending on where you peg the ground scale, each of my stands can reasonably be anywhere from 120 to 200 men so 3 stands is reasonable but 2 or  4 would also work.  A total of 15,000 troops or 30 "standard"  regiments would cover a number of battles but they need anywhere up to about 10 miles of frontage as opposed to the 1 or 2 miles that I can squeeze onto my table unless I measure in centimeters in which case each stand becomes a regiment and the whole thing will look out of scale anyway. So, no firm conclusion yet but  I'm leaning towards 4 stand regiments as units without dismissing the 3 stand ones yet.  For teasers, I'll field 2 regiments per scenario "unit'" (once I have enough troops) and for historical battles, I'll calculate how many stands per brigade and use that to decide how many regiments to field rather than adjusting the regiments even though that will lead to some units being the "3rd & 5th Texas" or what have you.
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I also took some time tonight to play out some Brigade firefights and some charges. it didn't take long to notice the ripple effect of taking of stands as originally intended. Losses went from severe to unsupportable. The double dice in melee was a relatively recent introduction so I went back closer to Morschauser's original values.  So, for infantry with rifles for example, instead of 1 die over 4,5,6 when shooting and 2 dice for 4,5,6 in "melee" (up to 3" apart so we aren't talking fisticuffs). it is back to 1 die per stand 4,5,6 to hit in melee and 5,6 to hit when shooting, 6 if using muskets.  Those are the values I originally used for Morschauser meets MacDuff and after a number of 1 on 1 brigade scuffles, they seem to still work. i also went to check the details on the Hold Fire rule and couldn't find it so that has been added. A necessary rule if fire and movement is allowed so, another ripple.
  
Having noticed that I need more guns, I also spent time looking at the Musket Miniatures 23mm ACW range again. Pity they don't take Paypal. If you have coin for  a bulk deal, the artillery actually works out cheaper for actual model guns than buying boxes of plastic. At least if you leave off limbers but even these are reasonable. They also have command figures.

3 comments:

  1. My Dear McDuff,

    While you are right about the size of most eastern ACW combats, as well as those around Chattanooga, you should not ignore more western battles. Places like Glorietta, Westport, the Red River campaign and a few others did involve less than 30,000 per side. The comats during Lee's retreat from Gettysburg were small as well although cavalry intensive, while even Champions Hill during the Vicksburg Campaign was small by Eastern standards. I recently read that there were more than 2,000 combats during the ACW- there's a lot to pick from including a very large cavalry clash at Mine Run Creek during the Westport Campaign.
    Be well. Don't shovel too much snow!
    Jerry Lannigan

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  2. Hi Jerry, I definitely have my eye on the Western Campaigns. For now I'm looking at engagements with under 10,000 a side. It takes a bit more digging to read up on them but they have the benefits of not being known to most gamers and tending to fit better on a small table.

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  3. The New Mexico campaign would certainly repay study then if you're looking for something small and self contained.

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