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Orders, objectives and activations  

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mj.martino481@gmail.com
(@mj-martino481gmail-com)
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12/02/2020 5:10 pm  

Apologies for the long post, it's just to be sure I've understood the process, and I'd like to explain it in my own words and see if it makes sense.

There are three levels of "command," of which two are player levels: Army and Force. The Formation level is represented by an officer figure and command ratings, but is not a player perspective.

The Activation step comes before the Issue Orders step, so on a given turn an order cannot normally be activated until the next turn. However, if a Force or Army commander is in personal command of a formation he may issue and activate an order in the same phase. If an Army/Force commander is in personal command of a formation, order activations to other formations suffer the negative result on the chart.

The Army Commander issues Objectives to the subordinate Forces, and the Force issues Directives to the formations. 

The Army Commander rolls to activate Objectives sent to each Force, and the Force Commander rolls to activate the Directives of each subordinate Formation. 

Now, a couple of questions:

1. "Double hatted" commands - right now I'm building a scenario for the 1809 campaign in Italy, and have the issue of both sides lacking the formal Army->Corps->Division chain of command. Eugène at the outset decided he would not have the intermediate level of command between himself and the divisions. I could represent this by creating "wings," but there's also the problem of who commands what. In this case it would probably be one of the Formation commanders delegated to command each wing, so would they detach, and a generic division commander assume command, detatch and the division be left without command, or remain attached and suffer the negative consequence of attempting to activate other formations within the wing? Is it simply my choice?

2. Objectives - I have the misfortune of being retired military, with nearly 30 years in uniform, having served on staffs from battalion to division level, so I often find myself making assumptions about game mechanics based on how certain words imprinted on me. One example is "objective." An example of an objective order I would be inclined to issue would be: "2nd Corps will advance to the ridgline east of the village Ober Untersdorf and establish a defensive line on the ridge to the village, inclusive." Now, for sure that isn't an objective that can be easily represented by a marker on the table, but would it be valid?


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David
(@david)
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Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 261
15/02/2020 12:57 pm  
Posted by: @mj-martino481gmail-com

There are three levels of "command," of which two are player levels: Army and Force. The Formation level is represented by an officer figure and command ratings, but is not a player perspective.

Correct.

Posted by: @mj-martino481gmail-com

The Activation step comes before the Issue Orders step, so on a given turn an order cannot normally be activated until the next turn. However, if a Force or Army commander is in personal command of a formation he may issue and activate an order in the same phase. If an Army/Force commander is in personal command of a formation, order activations to other formations suffer the negative result on the chart.

Correct.

Posted by: @mj-martino481gmail-com

The Army Commander issues Objectives to the subordinate Forces, and the Force issues Directives to the formations. 

Correct.

Posted by: @mj-martino481gmail-com

The Army Commander rolls to activate Objectives sent to each Force, and the Force Commander rolls to activate the Directives of each subordinate Formation. 

Correct.

Posted by: @mj-martino481gmail-com

1. "Double hatted" commands - right now I'm building a scenario for the 1809 campaign in Italy, and have the issue of both sides lacking the formal Army->Corps->Division chain of command. Eugène at the outset decided he would not have the intermediate level of command between himself and the divisions. I could represent this by creating "wings," but there's also the problem of who commands what. In this case it would probably be one of the Formation commanders delegated to command each wing, so would they detach, and a generic division commander assume command, detatch and the division be left without command, or remain attached and suffer the negative consequence of attempting to activate other formations within the wing? Is it simply my choice?

This is a really good scenario-design question, generally speaking (and sorry for the delay in replying to this question as a little bit of research was required to confirm), once we get to producing scenarios for this campaign, Eugène's "army" will likely be organized as a single Force of multiple Formations and the majority of the scenarios will be nominally 1v1 engagements.

You certainly could re-organize Eugène's troops differently, but we try to stay as close to the historical organization as possible when designing the scenario. The alternatives you propose are not bad ones, whether they best suit the scenario is really left up to you (as the scenario designer).

Posted by: @mj-martino481gmail-com

2. Objectives - I have the misfortune of being retired military, with nearly 30 years in uniform, having served on staffs from battalion to division level, so I often find myself making assumptions about game mechanics based on how certain words imprinted on me. One example is "objective." An example of an objective order I would be inclined to issue would be: "2nd Corps will advance to the ridgline east of the village Ober Untersdorf and establish a defensive line on the ridge to the village, inclusive." Now, for sure that isn't an objective that can be easily represented by a marker on the table, but would it be valid?

The translation of the Order Objective for ESR is vastly more simplistic than you are thinking. An example similar to yours would be "ridge" or if there are multiple ridges, "east ridge", "Ober Untersdorf ridge", or at most "ridge east of Ober Untersdorf".

As you noted above orders in ESR Napoleonics are formed from two parts: Objectives and Directives. Forces receive Objectives which simply indicate the destination they are to move to. Objectives can be thought of as a waypoint or destination. Formations subsequently receive Directives which is to indicate how they should behave, one might think of a Directive as a disposition: Attack [D], Defend [D], Move [M], Support [S], Reserve [R].

To accomplish what you described, you'd issue an Objective to the 2nd Corps of some derivation of "ridge". The 2nd Corps Force Commander would then be left to decide what Directives to issue to their Formations, likely Move [M] to bring them to the ridge, but perhaps some Formations would be on Support [S], one might even be left on Defend [D] or Reserve [R] to maintain a position rearward of the ridge should the situation call for it. Upon reaching the Force's Objective, Formations convert to Defend [D] by default.

Let me know if that helps!

This post was modified 6 months ago by David

-David


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mj.martino481@gmail.com
(@mj-martino481gmail-com)
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Joined: 8 months ago
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15/02/2020 5:57 pm  

Thank you David, that does help. 

As I go through the Italian Campaign battles, I see that Eugène from time to time gave one of his division commanders a larger force to manage, though it was ad-hoc. At Sacile, for example, he gave Seras command of the Italian division as well as his own 1st division for the attack on Porcia. In any event, the Italian campaign will have some interesting command issues to deal with. I may just leave it up to the player who represents Eugène to decide, though if I get more than three players for the game when I play it, it may be mandated that he form such a Force command.

On the question of objective, I think I understand. Have you envisioned the possibility of a linear objective that isn't tied to a linear terrain feature? For example "1st Corps objective: Line between the villages of Ober Untersdorf and Unter Untersdorf, including both villages." I think it may be obvious what I'm trying to figure out: how to assign an objective which prevents concentration of a Corps on a fairly small point, without getting too creative with rules interpretation. Such an objective would need terrain features to anchor each end of a line, of course. 


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