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Scenario Design and Army Construction Questions


Iorwerth
(@iorwerth)
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Joined: 10 months ago
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I am trying to put together a Quatre Bras Scenario and have a few questions about how to organize the armies.

 

1. Squadron Groups:

In the rules is says a squadron group covers from 1 to 4 squadrons and up to 250 men. Many of the cavalry regiments I am looking at had over that many men, so I am putting these regiment into multiple units (Squadron Groups) e.g. the  6th Hussars (Regiment Huzaren van Boreel) had roughly 560 men, so I am thinking of braking it down into 2 units, both the 6th Hussars (A and B perhaps). As a rule of thumb I am using the following system for splitting large cavalry regiments up, and wondered if this would cause problems, or whether there is a better way of doing it, or whether this is a reasonable way of doing it:

Around 250 men or under = 1 unit

Around 250+ men to around 500 men = 2 units

Around 500+ to around 750 men = 3 units

Over 750 = 4 units

 

2. Situations where units of what would normally be a single formation, arrive on the battlefield at different times:

 

If/when this arises in scenario design, I see two main ways of handling it:

  1. Split the formation into two formations – both members of the same force, just they do not arrive at the same time.
  2. Keep the formation as one, but have them act like wings of the same formation, just they have been split apart.

 

Option 1 seems simpler, and is the one I am leaning towards. Option 2 keeps them in the same formation, but presents problems I am not sure how to resolve:

i. what happens if one wing is ployed and the other deployed? Can two wings of the same formation choose to have one wing ploy and the other stay deployed?

ii. What about fatigue and formation status if one wing is off the table? My presumption is that an off table wing (if such a situation is possible) would be considered ployed, so its units would not count in checking fatigue and unit status for the tother wing on the table. However, what happens if the wing on the table breaks or routs? Does that impact the wing off the table? It would seems pretty odd if it did, so my guess is it wouldn't impact the 2nd wing. However, what happens when this wing comes on ployed? Would it then rout and break, as it is part of the same formation?

Basically, option 2 (keeping them part of the same formation) seems very problematic, so I have been building around option1 at the moment (separate formations but part of the same force). I am just wondering if I am missing something that simplifies it all, or whether I am on the right track.

 

3. Lastly, if a corps is split up into brigades and not into divisions is it good practice to split that force into brigade formations, or just keep the force as having only one formation? In the early war British lists in the rule-book, I see that Stuart’s force in 1805 and Clinton’s Division in 1812 have been split into Brigade formations, each being small (2-3 battalions each), which is why I thought splitting in this way would be a reasonable thing to do with a corp taht has only brigades and no divisions. But I wanted to check to see if I was on the right lines. What are the ramifications of splitting them, beyond each is going to be more fragile on the battlefield (i.e. less fatigue needed to cause their status to change)?

 

This third question ties into my second question, about units of same formation arriving at different times. In Quatre Bras, for example, parts of the Brunswick corps (Corps consists of two brigades, an Advance Guard and some cavalry), come on at different times. To make life simpler and avoid the problems I forsaw with having wings of the same formation being split on and off table, I am planning on splitting the corps into separate brigade formations, but all part of the same force.


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David
(@david)
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Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 322
 
Posted by: @iorwerth

Many of the cavalry regiments I am looking at had over that many men, so I am putting these regiment into multiple units (Squadron Groups) e.g. the  6th Hussars (Regiment Huzaren van Boreel) had roughly 560 men, so I am thinking of braking it down into 2 units, both the 6th Hussars (A and B perhaps).

That is correct, we label cavalry (and infantry) regiments in the rosters of our Campaign Guides so that players can use distinctive uniforms as such as they please, but a Unit is a stand which for cavalry is a 'Squadron Group'. Most historical cavalry regiments will have multiple squadron groups as you're doing. As far as game play in ESR, there is no reason to differentiate between them.

Posted by: @iorwerth

2. Situations where units of what would normally be a single formation, arrive on the battlefield at different times:

 

If/when this arises in scenario design, I see two main ways of handling it:

  1. Split the formation into two formations – both members of the same force, just they do not arrive at the same time.
  2. Keep the formation as one, but have them act like wings of the same formation, just they have been split apart.

It isn't terribly common for a divisional sized body, i.e. a Formation, to arrive very piecemeal, but in an instance where one brigade of a division might arrive a substantial amount of time ahead of the rest, yes, the way to deal with that in ESR is to treat each of those elements as their own Formation.

Posted by: @iorwerth

3. Lastly, if a corps is split up into brigades and not into divisions is it good practice to split that force into brigade formations, or just keep the force as having only one formation? In the early war British lists in the rule-book, I see that Stuart’s force in 1805 and Clinton’s Division in 1812 have been split into Brigade formations, each being small (2-3 battalions each), which is why I thought splitting in this way would be a reasonable thing to do with a corp taht has only brigades and no divisions. But I wanted to check to see if I was on the right lines. What are the ramifications of splitting them, beyond each is going to be more fragile on the battlefield (i.e. less fatigue needed to cause their status to change)?

There are multiple considerations to address here. The first is what is being represented as a Force. In 1812 at Salamanca, the Anglo-Portuguese army is not historically organized into corps. Its largest element below the army level is the division. This allows for two options for the scenario designer:

Represent the Anglo-Portuguese army as a single Force made up of 11 Formations and a potential 12th (the artillery park), or treat each historical division as a Force made up of brigade-sized Formations. The former results in a single player running a single Force with a bunch of Formations, while the latter results in a bunch of players each commanding a Force with a couple small(er) Formations.

The designer could also get a bit more crafty and clever by doing some with each, i.e. perhaps keeping the bulk of the infantry divisions as individual Formations reporting to the Force Commander, but treating the cavalry division as a Force made up of several brigade-sized Formations. In this example, the player acting as Wellington would be considered both the Army Commander (so as to issue Objectives to the cavalry Force) and a Force Commander (issuing Directives to their own Formations).

The general rule of designing Forces is that you should not "skip" a command level, i.e. if the player is representing a historical corps commander whose corps was made up of divisions, then the Formations in that player's Force should be divisions.

The big ramification of small Formations is their fragility but their coordination is also innately more difficult.

Posted by: @iorwerth

This third question ties into my second question, about units of same formation arriving at different times. In Quatre Bras, for example, parts of the Brunswick corps (Corps consists of two brigades, an Advance Guard and some cavalry), come on at different times. To make life simpler and avoid the problems I forsaw with having wings of the same formation being split on and off table, I am planning on splitting the corps into separate brigade formations, but all part of the same force.

The Brunswick Corps has no divisional organization at Quatre Bras, so if the Brunswick Corps is treated as a Force, the player would be Frederick William, the Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, and they would have a handful of brigade-sized Formations. An alternative is to make the Brunswick Corps a Formation reporting to another player above them in the historical chain-of-command, i.e. the Wellington player. This works well in situations where the Brunswick Corps arrives as a single element and poorly in situations where it arrives piecemeal. In the latter circumstance, the designer could either make the Brunswick Corps a Force, albeit a small and fragile one. Or, they could treat it as individual Formations as part of the larger Army – the question there is, what is the appropriate role for the Duke of Brunswick, did he historically coordinate the efforts of each portion of his corps, or did he remain with a portion while another was effectively attached to someone else's command structure because of necessities on the field?

Designing scenarios is fun right? :-p Hope this helps?

-David


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Iorwerth
(@iorwerth)
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Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 8
Topic starter  

Thanks. A lot to think about there. I am enjoying thinking through how best to represent the battle.

Is there a place where I can find scenarios developed by other players? Also, if I do get mine finished, is there a place I can post it up to get some feedback and share it etc?


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David
(@david)
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Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 322
 
Posted by: @iorwerth

Is there a place where I can find scenarios developed by other players?

You can find one here.

The posting them in the After Action Reports section is not a bad place.

Once you have posted it you may also wish to link to it from our ESR Napoleonics Facebook Group.

 

This post was modified 10 months ago by David

-David


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pmyers920@cox.net
(@pmyers920cox-net)
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Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 5
 

Something I have been thinking about in scenario design is what constitutes a force. I have been looking at some revolutionary era stuff where the on field commander is the senior formation (division) commander, no pretense of a corps organization. Don’t forget the penalty to activation for being attached elsewhere (his own division)

you will want to look at what the divisions did in an action. Were they operating together against a single objective or were they operating against multiple points? In the first case you have a single force of multiple formations as expected in the rules.  In the second case you may want to create multiple single formation forces that could create detachments if necessary. (Or use brigades as forces, though they become fragile).

again, all of this scenario specific thinking


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