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Combat phase attacks on fortifications and Built Up Areas


tolstoy1807@gmail.com
(@chris)
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1) In the combat phase, I know you count the threat of battalions in contact, but not the threat of battalions which are not in contact, even when they're deployed. Do you likewise count the coherence of battalions contacted? 

Or do you count the coherence of all deployed battalions that cohere within the enemy formation (are within coherence range)? 

The answer to the first question may make the second one irrelevant: 

2) I send a division to assault Hougomont at its back door entrance. I am assuming only one battalion can assault here. Hougomont is within coherence range of the British line, and contains a single battalion. I have one battalion attacking with a threat of (say 3, with shock) rolling against a coherence of say (7 or 8 - just a single d6 worth). Threat is 1d6 plus 3 plus 1 for leadership. The best I can hope to do is fatigue the defender, unless being inside Hougomont makes them somehow NOT coherent with their division. Likewise, since I have my whole French division in coherence range, the defenders won't do more than inflict fatigue.

How should I treat this? I understand the philosophy of batch resolution, but this seems a special case, no?


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David
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Posted by: @chris

1) In the combat phase, I know you count the threat of battalions in contact, but not the threat of battalions which are not in contact, even when they're deployed. Do you likewise count the coherence of battalions contacted? 

Or do you count the coherence of all deployed battalions that cohere within the enemy formation (are within coherence range)? 

The Cohesion Value is counted for all deployed Units (and a value of '1' for any ployed portion) that are within Cohesion distance (225 yards), plus whatever value the Formation Commander has. So effectively the only thing that prevents a Unit's Cohesion Value from being included is distance of separation.

Posted by: @chris

2) I send a division to assault Hougomont at its back door entrance. I am assuming only one battalion can assault here. Hougomont is within coherence range of the British line, and contains a single battalion. I have one battalion attacking with a threat of (say 3, with shock) rolling against a coherence of say (7 or 8 - just a single d6 worth). Threat is 1d6 plus 3 plus 1 for leadership. The best I can hope to do is fatigue the defender, unless being inside Hougomont makes them somehow NOT coherent with their division. Likewise, since I have my whole French division in coherence range, the defenders won't do more than inflict fatigue.

How should I treat this? I understand the philosophy of batch resolution, but this seems a special case, no?

Ignoring any special scenario considerations one might create – just because that's rabbit hole – assuming the Infantry Battalion occupying Hougomont is Cohesive with the rest of its parent Formation, then it would have a Cohesion of whatever its total Formation Cohesion has… and assuming – per your notes – that only one enemy Infantry Battalion can Threaten the Formation, your conclusions seem likely correct.

Generally, what I'd guess will make the difference is how much of the rest of each parent Formation is able to Threaten how much of the rest of each parent Formation. Can the attackers drive off the troops supporting the defender occupying Hougomont? If so, it will only stand so long by itself. Can those supporting the defender aid in wearing down the attacker? If so, the attack may break-off. Obviously, this is a good illustrative example of the advantages of a salient for defense.

Is this helpful? Does it answer what you were looking for?

-David


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tolstoy1807@gmail.com
(@chris)
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Hi!  Yes, thank you, it answers one question. The key is to drive off the British formation that's on the hill above Hougomont, putting it more than 225 yards away. 

What if Hougomont is more than 225 yards from its deployed formation? Then it's French battalion trying to break into fort defended by British battalion. One stand of Threat vs. one stand of Cohesion for the French; and coming back, one stand of British Threat vs. the entire French formation's Cohesion? Is that right? 


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tolstoy1807@gmail.com
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You mention the rabbit hole of scenario design, and I fear Waterloo is a battle that may turn on scenario design. Two fortified farms played a pivotal role (maybe three): Hougomont and La Haye Sainte + Sandpit. 

Both points stalled the French advance. They acted as if they had to eliminate these strong points before they could close with the British line. The British acted as if they had to defend these places to trip up the French advance. It's fair to assume they knew what they were doing.

In the rules as written, the French are on at attack order and it would seem they cannot flow around these two positions but must stop and take them. Is that right? How would you explain it, so that we avoid the rabbit hole and so I can explain it to players? 


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David
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Posted by: @chris

What if Hougomont is more than 225 yards from its deployed formation?

Well, this is a difficult circumstance to stage. A Unit (sans Committed, unlimbered Artillery Batteries) must attempt to remain Cohesive with the rest of its Formation. Which means either the British player will have a hard time moving the Hougomont Infantry Battalion more than 225 yards away from its parent Formation's main body, or a difficult time moving the main body of the Formation away from the single Infantry Battalion placed in Hougomont. With that said, as commentary I'd tell you that bridging such gaps is a good job for a bunch of Rifle Companies – not necessarily the best solution, but one option.

The most common way a non-Artillery Battery could become separated/not Cohesive with its parent Formation is for individual Units that are providing the Cohesion link to be made to Retire or Rout due to Combat Losses.

Posted by: @chris

Then it's French battalion trying to break into fort defended by British battalion. One stand of Threat vs. one stand of Cohesion for the French; and coming back, one stand of British Threat vs. the entire French formation's Cohesion? Is that right? 

Yes, that would be correct – assuming that Hougomont is considered to be a Strong Point, the Infantry Battalion will have its Cohesion doubled, and Threat against it will be halved. The Infantry Battalion will still get to count its Formation Commander's Cohesion Bonus even if it is not Cohesive with the rest of its parent Formation, but it will still only last so long if the rest of its Formation can't be kept near enough to provide it Cohesion.

-David


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David
(@david)
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Posted by: @chris

In the rules as written, the French are on at attack order and it would seem they cannot flow around these two positions but must stop and take them. Is that right? How would you explain it, so that we avoid the rabbit hole and so I can explain it to players? 

Not sure I'd conclude that. A French Formation on an Attack [A] Directive will probably (depending on where the respective elements sit and where the French Force's Objective is placed) have to Threaten any British Infantry Battalion occupying Hougomont (specifically the Regulating Unit does), but that does allow potential for a variety of options beyond what the French did in practice while maintaining the reality that "just screening it off" isn't as easy as "just" would insinuate.

So I guess I'm saying that the French can't just ignore the position and march past it, but at the same time they aren't required to just keep slamming into it.

That make any sense?

-David


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tolstoy1807@gmail.com
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It's evident that the French formation can threaten Hougomont in the Movement Phase, but in the Combat Phase, the only historical access is through the gates - and the historical "best" choice was the back gate, as I believe. 

So, when you say the regulating battalion has to threaten Hougomont, do you mean it has to be the stand which attempts to break into Hougomont in the Combat Phase? And that the rest of the formation needs only to remain cohesive with it, but may (or must?) assault the British division on the heights behind Hougomont? 

 


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tolstoy1807@gmail.com
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@david 

A difficult circumstance to stage is accurate. I believe that Hougomont might be considered within cohesion distance, as I recall reading that the British ran a steady supply of ammunition down the hill to the chateau, which enabled it to hold firm for the entire battle. That is, Hougomont was "in communication" with its division the whole time. It would seem that cohesion with the division was not broken. 

But La Haye Sainte was separated - or became separated - from the main British line (the formation to which the battalion of the 95th, which occupied LHS, belongs) by a greater distance. But even there, a chain of rifle companies is certainly possible. 


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tolstoy1807@gmail.com
(@chris)
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Is there a section in the rules dedicated to "strong points"? I am sorry, but I may have missed it if there is one. I understand that a fortification has basically 3 sides. But a chateau is a special case, isn't it? 


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David
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Posted by: @chris

So, when you say the regulating battalion has to threaten Hougomont, do you mean it has to be the stand which attempts to break into Hougomont in the Combat Phase?

Short answer: Yes.

Longer answer: The Regulating Unit can be any Unit in the Formation, the requirement of the Attack [A] Directive is that the Regulating Unit must move full, by the most direct route, towards its Force's Objective, and Threaten any enemy that intervenes. Then all other Units must remain Cohesive with it. Once you've got a Unit Threatening the intervening enemy, the rest of the Formation has some significant leeway in that it only has to remain Cohesive with the designated Regulating Unit. This has its limitations through, as maintaining Cohesion to the Unit Threatening Hougomont will require additional Units and thus reduce what proportion of the Formation can usefully "flow around" the salient.

Now, theoretically, a crafty player could drop an Artillery Battery in a position to Threaten the Hougomont garrison and designate it each turn as the Regulating Unit, but that doesn't solve the tethering restriction caused by Cohesion as while deployed Infantry and Cavalry Units are not required to stay Cohesive with Committed, unlimbered Artillery Batteries – the Units of a Formation must remain Cohesive with the Regulating Unit…

One point I would make that sets a divide between scenario specific rules and the general case: Hougomont, if designated in the scenario as a Strong Point, is therefore considered Fortified, but that does nullify reduce ranged Threat (from Infantry or Artillery), so the Regulating Unit that Threatens the Hougomont garrison doesn't necessary have to be trying to break in via the gate. A scenario specific rule could change this condition if the designer saw fit.

-David


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David
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Posted by: @chris

A difficult circumstance to stage is accurate. I believe that Hougomont might be considered within cohesion distance, as I recall reading that the British ran a steady supply of ammunition down the hill to the chateau, which enabled it to hold firm for the entire battle. That is, Hougomont was "in communication" with its division the whole time. It would seem that cohesion with the division was not broken. 

But La Haye Sainte was separated - or became separated - from the main British line (the formation to which the battalion of the 95th, which occupied LHS, belongs) by a greater distance. But even there, a chain of rifle companies is certainly possible. 

Something else I should note: While I have generally referred to Cohesion distances as the distance between individual Units, a Unit is considered Cohesive if it is within 225 yards of another friendly Unit of the Formation (effectively daisy chaining home) or within 900 yards of the Formation's Reformation Area. Now the Reformation Area is generally 900 yards behind the rear of the Formation and streaming forward as the Formation does – but the Defend [D] Directive is an exception to this, where the Reformation Area is frozen in place, thus limiting the Formation's movement and realignment. But… in this case, depending on the facts on the ground as it were, a British player could get their Reformation Area placed within 900 yards of Hougomont to maintain Cohesion, and then, on Defend [D], legally shift the remaining Units of the Formation away. Not sure that this is practical or prefer able to supporting it with a string of Units though.

Posted by: @chris

Is there a section in the rules dedicated to "strong points"? I am sorry, but I may have missed it if there is one. I understand that a fortification has basically 3 sides. But a chateau is a special case, isn't it? 

You'll find Strong Points noted in the Combat Phase chapter within 8.5.Determining Threat, and with relationship to fortifications in 8.6.Determining Cohesion. The long and short of it is that Threat against a Strong Point is halved (unless a Unit has a Trait allowing it to ignore such), Strong Points are considered fortifications and thus Cohesion within a Strong Point (like within a fortification) is doubled, Units within a Strong Point are considered to have no rear edge (and thus can't suffer the Cohesion penalty for being Threatened on their rear edge).

-David


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tolstoy1807@gmail.com
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Great to learn so much. The rules are not the kind that most wargamers are used to, for certain. 

 

I understand you to sat that while the regulating battalion under an Attack directive needs to threaten the Objective, it is not required to assault the enemy if it can put the objective within skirmish threat range...or using a battery as regulating unit, artillery threat range. Or am I not paying attention? 


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David
(@david)
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Posted by: @chris

I understand you to sat that while the regulating battalion under an Attack directive needs to threaten the Objective, it is not required to assault the enemy if it can put the objective within skirmish threat range...or using a battery as regulating unit, artillery threat range. Or am I not paying attention? 

The Attack [A] Directive requires the Regulating Unit to move full towards the Force's Objective and Threaten any intervening enemy – Units with a ranged Threat Value can achieve that by Threatening at range. So… yes, you're following.

-David


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