Auteur Sujet: Skirmish formation  (Lu 6935 fois)

Hors ligne Count von Csollich

  • Officier HistWar
  • Colonel
  • ***
  • Messages: 861
Re : Re : Skirmish formation
« Réponse #15 le: 30 avril 2010, 01:03:51 am »
Nosworthy, who writes an awesome book about tactics, says that it was customary to sent out some skirmisher companies from a battaillon column or line in advance of the battallion, to pester the enemy prior to attacking and charging.
Once the bataillon  closed in, the skirmishers would fall back or just let the battaillon pass by, and join up in its rears.

Exactly, and this is what happens right now in the game, not as often as one might want to see it, but it happens enough! -

 and you said it yourself: light companies of the bataillons were sent out as skirmishers to harass the enemy and fall back to their respective bataillons before they closed into firing range- I couldn't have summarized it better myself - thanks mon Général!

CvC
« Modifié: 30 avril 2010, 01:08:16 am par Count von Csollich »
"parcere subiectis et debellare superbos", Vergil

Hors ligne General_Chasse

  • Lieutenant
  • **
  • Messages: 54
Re : Skirmish formation
« Réponse #16 le: 30 avril 2010, 14:25:30 pm »
No thanks, dear Count!

Citer
the skirmish formations we all know of to avoid the dense artillery fire were rarely used on any Napoleonic field

I have read this before somewhere - but it wouldn't make sense, would it? Advance in skirmish to avoid being shot up by artillery, to quickly bundle up again to make a charge on enemy infantry or artillery. By the time the skirmishers have heard the order, and formed up, they would already have been cut to pieces.

Appearantly, it was customary to stand and just let the artillery blow holes through the ranks, just to have them filled up by other soldiers. And during Waterloo, the British had their soldiers lie down early on in the battle to avoid artillery casualties.
Lord Uxbridge: As I am second in command and in case anything should happen to you, what are your plans?
Duke of Wellington: To beat the French.

Hors ligne AJ

  • Général de Brigade
  • ****
  • Messages: 1844
  • Sir Arthur Wellesley
    • Napoleonic Battle Corp
Re : Skirmish formation
« Réponse #17 le: 30 avril 2010, 14:56:38 pm »
Apparently, to get the Brits to stand and take fire, Wellington made sure they were more afraid of him than the enemy.

amrcg

  • Invité
Re : Skirmish formation
« Réponse #18 le: 30 avril 2010, 17:45:22 pm »
I agree with your arguments that it was very difficult to return to compact formation once a regiment/battalion was deployed in open order. However, there was another reason that could motivate a commander to do it: lack of skirmishers in line or conscript units. Some well trained LI battalions could in this case be used to form skirmisher clouds to screen the other units. Someone has already mentioned this being done by the Austrians with "Grenzer" or "Jaeger"  units.

Regards,
António

Hors ligne Count von Csollich

  • Officier HistWar
  • Colonel
  • ***
  • Messages: 861
Re : Re : Skirmish formation
« Réponse #19 le: 30 avril 2010, 20:03:36 pm »
However, there was another reason that could motivate a commander to do it: lack of skirmishers in line or conscript units. Some well trained LI battalions could in this case be used to form skirmisher clouds to screen the other units. Someone has already mentioned this being done by the Austrians with "Grenzer" or "Jaeger"  units.

yeah, I mentioned this in one of my earlier posts and in another topic, which already had "skirmishers" as the main discussion...
this feature is not implemented yet, but if you read through the various battle, you will see that this rarely happened at all...and obviously a PC-game can't handle seldomly occuring things on a regular basis...
maybe we'll have that option in the future to put at least an entire bataillon of a regiment into skirmish formation (something which happened more often in the later stages of the napoleonic wars, but I think I start repeating myself anyway...)

CvC
"parcere subiectis et debellare superbos", Vergil

Hors ligne Hook

  • Chevalier d'HistWar
  • Modérateurs
  • Général de Brigade
  • ****
  • Messages: 1752
Re : Skirmish formation
« Réponse #20 le: 30 avril 2010, 23:09:45 pm »
Changing an entire unit into "skirmish" formation in order to avoid artillery casualties is a more-or-less standard wargame convention that has no basis in reality.  It might make for an interesting game, but without any real life examples, it's impossible to incorporate it into a simulation.  

Problems like this only become apparent when you're attempting to simulate an actual battle.  In a game, everything is abstracted and conceptualized, and you don't have to think too much about how it was actually done when you're designing the game.  When you try to model the reality, rather than just abstract it, you soon find out that some things that seemed obvious before have no way to be modeled.  When you have to figure out how things actually worked, you find out they didn't always work the way you always thought.

For example, in TONG (This Other Napoleonic Game, in my case Austerlitz: Napoleon's Greatest Victory), if I had a unit under artillery fire, I'd change them to skirmish formation (actually in this case more like "open order").  They'd double their unit frontage.  They took fewer casualties, and usually the artillery would shift fire to a more inviting target.

Let's say I was writing a Napoleonic simulation and wanted to include this.  The problem comes in when I start reviewing drill manuals from the period and can't find any instances of how the troops were actually arranged, so I can't determine the actual unit footprint (width and depth) or how to move my troops to get into this new formation.  Simply doubling the interval between troops would have little effect anyway, especially with enfilade fire coming from anywhere other than directly to the front.  Also, I start trying to find examples from battle reports and there are none.  Then, when I'm positioning my file closers (the sergeants who stood behind the formations to make sure no one left the formation) I find that I don't have enough to be effective, and I lose some morale effect from being shoulder to shoulder in formation.  Troops will start running away.  

The above is not a frivolous example.  I was actually designing such a game at one time.  What JMM has come up with is very close to my design.

So what were the light battalions used for?  They were sent places that were unsuitable for formed troops, like clearing woods or attacking a town.  Why were the light troops special?  They could be counted on to act independently and not run away.  Generally they were the only troops trained to use aimed fire.  

I'll defer to Count von Csollich on how the Austrians actually used their light troops.  Generally they'd be use for typical light troop duties as above, and in modern times some would be broken into companies and attached to individual battalions if skirmisher screens were deemed necessary.

Hook
« Modifié: 30 avril 2010, 23:16:35 pm par Hook »

amrcg

  • Invité
Re : Skirmish formation
« Réponse #21 le: 01 mai 2010, 03:50:32 am »
I'll defer to Count von Csollich on how the Austrians actually used their light troops.  Generally they'd be use for typical light troop duties as above, and in modern times some would be broken into companies and attached to individual battalions if skirmisher screens were deemed necessary.
Hook
Yes, all what you said makes sense. To partition the light battalions and attach companies to other units would make more sense than sending them to an area as an independent big cloud. And this I think can be modeled based on the OOB and Doctrine rules in HW-LG.

Regards,
António