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

Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Dangers of Late Night Blogging

Last night I decided to post a picture and a few quick comments before heading to bed. Somehow that turned into a lengthy rambling post which I kept editing, chopping, expanding, chopping, etc etc until I suddenly found myself an hour past my intended bed time! I quickly chopped out most of it and hit post. This morning I noted that it wasn't quite as accurate as intended but since I have barely scratched the surface of the full rules that's not really a problem.

One of the errors was that my original units were 8 figures including one officer, not 4 units of 4 which was something proposed but never carried out. One of the discussions that got badly chopped about was about the old question of "bigger units vs more units"

My intention is that a standard infantry firing line will be 8 figures (4 stands) wide in an area whether that be one unit or two. However there are situations where one unit in one area will not be enough unless I increase the size of my scenario forces and there were some armies that sometimes deployed infantry at very extended distances to allow them to make better use of cover. There were also some even rarer instances of masses of troops being used for launching assaults. Some of the reports of massed German units in early 1914 have been questioned but the rules also need to cover massed Dervish assaults and the like, not to mention the ambush of the massed Highland Brigade just before it deployed at Magersfontein.

The question was whether I should have 8 man standard companies which could be broken into 2 sections in some circumstances or 4 man companies which could be deployed as 2 units side by side in an area. Which would be more complicated in play or harder to describe in the rules and which would be  more effective  as a game mechanism to get the desired result.

After some more thought and pushing about of figures I have decided that the simplest solution is the one that makes normal custom the default behaviour but allows for some exceptions. This gives me the following:

1. Basic infantry units will be 8 figure/4 stand companies.

2. Any infantry can split into 2 detachments to occupy buildings or fortifications. They are then treated as separate units but cannot move voluntarily except to rejoin or if a detachment has been joined by a senior commander. For example, this would allow a company to occupy both sides of the road in a small town in a game where a Commander only has a handful of companies to deploy but not to send little parties of troop everywhere to infiltrate the enemy lines.

3. Units designated as Light Infantry may be split before the game into 4 man units which will be treated as being better shots and better at dispersal and use of cover. This decision cannot be reversed during the game.

4. Lastly, some armies will be allowed to form Masses at the start of a game (or when they arrive) by combining 2 companies into one large unit which will be vulnerable to enemy fire. This is to simulate the occasional attack by massed company columns or by spear armed  natives. A player may break up a mass into its component units but may not form them during a game.
 
5. Rather than worrying about formal battalion structures I will just allocate a number of subordinate commanders who will command the companies assigned to them for the game. Could be a proper battalion, could be an adhoc collection.

 Alright, next chore: artillery! Shrapnel vs HE, observed indirect fire vs direct fire and bathtubbing the ranges!

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