Just recently Mark Dudley of Ilkley Old School blog spot proposed an interesting compromise of Charles Grant's The War Game morale rules to fit his 16/32 figure infantry and 8/16 figure cavalry units. The two numbers for each means that depending upon the scale of the action he can field the 'standard' 32 figure infantry, or, for larger battles, 16-figure battalions. Given that Mr Grant's rules involves infantry units of 5 officers and 48 men; and cavalry of 4 and 24 - that is to say large units with an HQ element distinct form the main body of troops.
|Two infantry regiments in the service of the Grand Duchy|
of M'yasma. Each comprises mounted CO, subaltern, flag and
musician, 1 8-figure Grenadier coy, and 3 8 -figure musketeer coys;
a total of 36 figures apiece. Figures are ESCI.
Mark has decided to dispense with the distinct HQ element, bringing the officers in with the main body. But then he was faced with the two-fold problem of how to assess morale. Particularly he needed one rule that would work irrespective of the size of the battalion. He also wanted it to be easily assessed - increments going up by easily determined fractions of the whole. Simplest seemed to be to apply a modifier to morale for every 1/8th lost from the original strength.
But how to deal with officer casualties? First of all, how to determine them? (Roll of 1D6 each time the unit takes losses, as Mark does). What is the moral effect? (Further loss to command and control).
Here's my comment:
"I reckon you have a good compromise, here, but much depends upon how many 'officer figures' you have in your organisation.
"I've headed in much the same direction as you have with my Napoleonics, my 27-figure infantry units (6 coys of 4 plus HQ of officer, flag and musician) being reduced to 24 (and thus generating new units). My organisation used to be inconsistent in this respect, my cavalry (mostly) being 12 figures all up.
"Going back to the Chas Grant handling of officer casualties, it seemed to me that there need not be any change, there.
"I think I feel a posting coming in in my own blog on this subject, so I'll enlarge upon it there.
|My standard WSS Imperialist battalion/regiment: 2 Officers,|
2 flags, 2 drummers and 30 other ranks. No separate HQ line.
Figures are Wargames Factory plastics.
It seemed to me this is an interesting topic upon which to enlarge. Having dispensed with the separate battalion HQ in my Napoleonic armies, and am doing the same with my new War of the Spanish Succession army. Incidentally, I'm also going the flexible route with the WSS, with 36-figure infantry and 24-figure cavalry units as standard, but which may be split respectively into 18-fig and 12-figure units. My 7 bn and 3 cav rgt army then comprises 14 bns and 6 cav rgts. Part of the reason for the change to my Napoleonic armies was my acquiring second hand a British army comprising 20-figure battalions that included an officer, drummer, and two flags with 16 'other ranks.' To make it 'fit', the other armies really had to be adjusted.
|Double-scaled WSS Imperialists: the 36-figure unit split|
into 2 18-figure battalions comprising Officer, flag, drummer,
and 15 other ranks. When painted, the two units will (obviously)
have the same uniform.
But I'm not consistent. My 7YW-period imagi-nations armies comprise 36-figure line infantry each with 4x8-figure companies (1 grenadier) plus HQ of mounted Colonel, subaltern, flag and drummer; and cavalry of 2x8-fig squadrons plus HQ of C.O., flag or guidon, musician. Although I have occasionally thought to change it, my ACW infantry standard remains C.O. flag, musician and 24 other ranks (though there are some variations in the numbers of 'other ranks'). Cavalry units are smaller, but retain the 3-figure HQ thing.
|American Civil War Union regiment comprising|
CO, flag bearer, bugler, and 24 'other ranks'. HQ element distinct from battle line.
Figures are Airfix, the flag paper and wire attached to the running figure.
Now, for these games, my combat system for musketry is are very similar, and owes a great deal to Charles Grant's original idea, but with modifications. Actually I thought I had invented my idea, but CG's scheme, which I had read some time before, must have been lying dormant in my memory. At any rate, it involves volley groups to obtain 'hits' and a method of resolving 'hits' into 'casualties'. I won't go into details here, but I regard my method a refinement that is easier and less rigid to apply, and slightly less bloody.
How officer casualties come into effect lay in my method of resolving 'hits'. As my method did 'pick out' individual figures within a specific 6-figure target group, but was added to and applied across the target unit as a whole, the appearance of double 6s in a 'hit group' would imply an officer casualty; and treble-6s a General Officer casualty if there was one present (i.e. standing within 5cm [2"] of the target unit).
|24-figure Austrian and Hungarian Grenadier columns,|
led by skirmishing jager, attacking a French-held village. The 'HQ'
figures form the second rank within the columns.
I find that this system would work whether you had a separate HQ group or not, provided the number and type of officers were exactly the same. The main difficulty is that it isn't easy to accommodate Grant's system for 5 HQ figures to 4 or 3. These days, I am disinclined to trouble with officer casualties at all, but I do like the idea of flags as trophies. So my rule sets have an option whereby, having lost a melee, a unit takes a separate 'morale' check to determine whether it kept its flag(s) - one colour or two in a given unit representing a 'stand' of colours. Otherwise, if an officer is a casualty, his identity is diced for if there is a choice. For instance, 101st new York has taken some stick and it is determined that an officer has been lost. The choices are the C.O. and the musician (not the flag). Rather than 50-50 the option, I enact that a 6 needs to be rolled for the CO to be taken. The reason is that the CO figure represents one man and his HQ staff. Several of the staff may be lost with the CO surviving. Had the musician already been lost, then there is no option: off goes the CO. The musician, then, is there solely to absorb one 'officer' casualty. The presence of the CO himself offsets some of the effect of losses, cancelling one negative.
|American Civil War infantry in action. Airfix figures. The stone wall,|
by the way, is made from real stones.
I reserve the loss of the flag to a melee outcome, or - very rare event this - the annihilation of the unit. Years ago, in a Gettysburg refight, a regiment of Howard's Corps, facing most of Rodes's Brigade just west of the town lost every single figure in one bound to incoming musketry and gunfire. Even though there was a heck of a lot of incoming, this outcome I had never seen before with my rule set and was totally unexpected. I awarded the flag to the nearest Confederate regiment.
The reason for this simplification is that my armies having developed somewhat piecemeal, there are some inconsistencies in composition of the units. The numbers in my Austrian battalions when switching from 27 to 24 figures, were eked out by a large surplus of drummers I had obtained some years before on account of a mistaken order (which turned out to be a piece of luck). So each of my Minifigs units comprises 1 officer, 1 flag, 2 drummers and 20 other ranks. Other units, made up of figures from other manufacturers (Warrior, Hinton Hunt (?) and another, unknown lot), all obtained second hand, have a different composition. As a result for Napoleonics at least, I have pretty much dropped officer casualties at all, barring the flag thing.