Auteur Sujet: Formation for Defence Line  (Lu 10494 fois)

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Re : Formation for Defence Line
« Réponse #30 le: 14 août 2010, 01:17:43 am »
If you're looking for mathematical differences, these are a few possibilities.

And another:  I haven't tried to confirm this, but the defending units should always get off the first volley, which immediately places the attackers at a disadvantage. 

Also, usually the defensive line has artillery support which will be firing on the attacking troops.  Even if the attacking corps stops for artillery preparation, they will have taken several shots from the defending artillery before the attacking artillery is in place to do the bombardment.

Hook

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Re : Re : Formation for Defence Line
« Réponse #31 le: 14 août 2010, 01:36:12 am »

Infantry units on the field during this period did not take advantage of cover the same way units in the American Civil War did.  The terrain was usually more open, so there was less cover to be had even if they wanted to use it.  Think about cavalry charges:  if the terrain had been as broken in Europe as it was in the US, the cavalry couldn't charge through it.  This is probably why there are so few reports of cavalry charges from the American Civil War... there simply wasn't any opportunity.  I only know of one instance, during Gettysburg where a Union cavalry unit bluffed a charge and caused a Confederate infantry unit to form square.

Hook


As an aside, of course terrain had some influence, but I have always thought that the main reason for the diminishing role of cavalry in field battles during the XIX century had mainly to do with the ever increasing firepower of the other arms (mainly infantry) during the same period. I think that a classic cavalry charge usually did not stand a chance against organized infantry during the ACW (and was rarely even tried, AFAIK), and squares were not even necessary because of this.

But as ajlewis says, we are drifting along nicely, talking about our passions... :smile:

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Re : Re : Formation for Defence Line
« Réponse #32 le: 14 août 2010, 01:36:29 am »
And another:  I haven't tried to confirm this, but the defending units should always get off the first volley, which immediately places the attackers at a disadvantage. 
Also, usually the defensive line has artillery support which will be firing on the attacking troops.  Even if the attacking corps stops for artillery preparation, they will have taken several shots from the defending artillery before the attacking artillery is in place to do the bombardment.
Hook
Hook, what about if one corps is attacking and the other is static, but both have received the deploy order and not the defend order. Won't the static corps have precisely the same advantages?

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Re : Formation for Defence Line
« Réponse #33 le: 14 août 2010, 01:50:41 am »
Hook, what about if one corps is attacking and the other is static, but both have received the deploy order and not the defend order. Won't the static corps have precisely the same advantages?

They won't maintain their line formation.  The units will start moving forward to attack as soon as someone is within the 500 meter sighting distance and they will probably not be in line formation when they do.  Also, the artillery won't be already deployed in front of the formations firing on the attackers.

Hook

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Re : Formation for Defence Line
« Réponse #34 le: 14 août 2010, 02:16:22 am »
As an aside, of course terrain had some influence, but I have always thought that the main reason for the diminishing role of cavalry in field battles during the XIX century had mainly to do with the ever increasing firepower of the other arms (mainly infantry) during the same period. I think that a classic cavalry charge usually did not stand a chance against organized infantry during the ACW (and was rarely even tried, AFAIK), and squares were not even necessary because of this.

The square formation was still taught and practiced at this time.

The idea that it was the increased firepower is the usual explanation, but keep in mind that muzzle loaders still load at the same speed, or possibly even slower because of the riflings in the barrel, and increased accuracy only matters if people take the time to aim.  Units still generally opened fire on each other at the same range.  The Sharps Repeater rifle would have a much higher rate of fire for a short time, but was less accurate and had shorter range, if I remember correctly.  Certainly true for the carbines.

In all the books I read from personal accounts from the ACW, cavalry charges simply weren't mentioned.  The only thing I read that's pertinent was, "During this period only elite European cavalry could be counted on to charge home."  In the Gettysburg case, they didn't even try to charge home, they just bluffed the charge and forced square.

The true power of cavalry isn't in the melee anyway, but the ability to force infantry to form square, which unlike in HWLG were generally static and unmoving.  Infantry in square has reduced firepower, but fairly good morale... you can't leave the square to run away without exposing yourself to greater danger.  Of course, if the cavalry encounters infantry who haven't formed square, then they do attack with melee with excellent results, especially if they can attack from a flank.  In HWLG, generally any infantry that has cavalry within the 500 meter sighting distance will form square automatically.

Hook

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Re : Re : Formation for Defence Line
« Réponse #35 le: 14 août 2010, 02:29:48 am »

(...)
  In HWLG, generally any infantry that has cavalry within the 500 meter sighting distance will form square automatically.

Hook


A little back to the point, I have seen several instances of inf units not forming square with nearby enemy cav, mainly, IIRC,  if the infantry is in a defensive line and the cav is in difficulty.

 I always thought rather appropriate seeing inf  blasting away at the poor chaps on horse... :mrgreen:

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Re : Re : Formation for Defence Line
« Réponse #36 le: 14 août 2010, 05:03:39 am »
The true power of cavalry isn't in the melee anyway, but the ability to force infantry to form square, which unlike in HWLG were generally static and unmoving. 
During the Napoleonic wars, at least, troops would be trained to move in square formation, albeit at a slower pace. Remember the Battle of the Pyramids, where divisional squares (!!!) were able to move. Later battles well into the HWLG period also provide some instances.

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Re : Re : Formation for Defence Line
« Réponse #37 le: 14 août 2010, 05:04:47 am »
They won't maintain their line formation.  The units will start moving forward to attack as soon as someone is within the 500 meter sighting distance and they will probably not be in line formation when they do.  Also, the artillery won't be already deployed in front of the formations firing on the attackers.
Ok, good explanation.

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Re : Formation for Defence Line
« Réponse #38 le: 14 août 2010, 13:33:38 pm »
A little back to the point, I have seen several instances of inf units not forming square with nearby enemy cav, mainly, IIRC,  if the infantry is in a defensive line and the cav is in difficulty.
 I always thought rather appropriate seeing inf  blasting away at the poor chaps on horse... :mrgreen:

Yeah, this seems like it should be correct behavior.  Does defensive line ever form square?  I haven't noticed.

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Re : Formation for Defence Line
« Réponse #39 le: 14 août 2010, 13:49:23 pm »
During the Napoleonic wars, at least, troops would be trained to move in square formation, albeit at a slower pace. Remember the Battle of the Pyramids, where divisional squares (!!!) were able to move. Later battles well into the HWLG period also provide some instances.

Whether or not troops in square should be able to move gets debated in wargame circles a lot. I've seen descriptions of squares moving but nothing from personal accounts.  This is why I don't complain about it in the game.  The opinions range from totally unmovable squares to squares that can move at normal speeds or even run, and at least one description mentions a running square.

There are some people who believe that the hollow square used to defend against cavalry was unmovable, while there was another formation more like troops in attack columns that was often called a square, I believe it's called "open square", that was able to move.  It gives considerable protection against cavalry attack, but has very little firepower.

While it's conceivable that a troops in a square formation could modify their formation a bit so that they could march (they can't possibly march if they're maintaining the actual square, and it's not because of facing but because of the amount of ground each man takes up... if they're moving it's a different shape than if they're in square).  If they're not maintaining the square formation proper, then if they're threatened by cavalry they have a chance of being unable to form square.  Now, they're obviously already in a formation very close to square so it won't take long to form, but they are not actually in square.

Because of the above, I'd put a lot of restrictions on squares moving at all.  It would require higher quality troops with good morale, for example.  If they tried to move and were charged by cavalry, they'd have to take a morale test to reform square (which would make them stop) and then have an additional die roll to see if they formed square even if they passed the morale check.  Most of the time the infantry would be successful.  But if you could control whether or not they attempted to move, how much risk would you be willing to take?  If cavalry catches them unformed, as they would be in this case, they're at a severe disadvantage.

Actually, if I'd written the game, squares wouldn't be able to move.  If enough people complained, I'd implement the above rules.

Hook

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Re : Re : Formation for Defence Line
« Réponse #40 le: 14 août 2010, 15:38:21 pm »
Because of the above, I'd put a lot of restrictions on squares moving at all.  It would require higher quality troops with good morale, for example.  If they tried to move and were charged by cavalry, they'd have to take a morale test to reform square (which would make them stop) and then have an additional die roll to see if they formed square even if they passed the morale check.  Most of the time the infantry would be successful.  But if you could control whether or not they attempted to move, how much risk would you be willing to take?  If cavalry catches them unformed, as they would be in this case, they're at a severe disadvantage.
I would implement it differently. I would just force the square to remain static when there are enemy cavalry nearby.

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Re : Formation for Defence Line
« Réponse #41 le: 14 août 2010, 18:54:58 pm »
I would just force the square to remain static when there are enemy cavalry nearby.

That's my first preference as well.

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Re : Formation for Defence Line
« Réponse #42 le: 15 août 2010, 03:48:50 am »
Given the fact that in the "Defend in Line" order we are never sure about the precise position of units and - as Hook said - in the deploy order the units will still take the initiative to leave their position, maybe we need a way to say that once deployed, the units are to keep their position like in the defend order. This could be an add-on to the deploy order menu or a new "Defend in current position" order. With the latter we could always enforce a defending attitude keeping the current unit positions even if the previous order was March or Deploy.

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Re : Formation for Defence Line
« Réponse #43 le: 15 août 2010, 08:47:01 am »
How is this different from the current defend order?  You can give a corps an order to defend in place by specifying a line on top of their current position.

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Re : Re : Formation for Defence Line
« Réponse #44 le: 16 août 2010, 01:19:15 am »
How is this different from the current defend order?  You can give a corps an order to defend in place by specifying a line on top of their current position.
Nope. In the current defend order, the corps commander will still try to use the terrain and the regiments will be moved to occupy advantageous positions (e.g. villages), thus breaking the deployment formation. In fact, regiments will individually rush to occupy those positions. Most of the time, those positions are well ahead of the drawn line, so if you put the line to be defended precisely on top of the line in the deploy order, the regiments will probably rush forward, risking to be caught during movement. It is very common for the player to be forced to cancel and redraw the Defend order several times before the AI selects the intended position.
Now, this kind of defend order is also useful, if the enemy is distant and you wish to prepare the defense in the most advantageous spots offered by the topography.

With the "Defend current position" order that I propose, the regiments are ordered to keep their current deployment positions (whatever they are), eventually changing the formation of the first rank to line (if not already in line).