Actually the system I have in mind does offer the option of batteries down to single company level to be represented, but only on an ad hoc basis. The objection is, however, well made - or at least leads me to think about the matter, and reach a decision I can justify, at least to myself.
The problem I have with scaling in this way I propose (1 figure to 200 men; 1 gun representing multiples of 8 cannon depending on the number of crew figures) is that to depict artillery down to company level requires a heck of a lot of cannon compared with your other figures. I have noticed this with Fire and Fury/Age of Eagles, Paddy Griffith's Napoleonic Wargaming for Fun rules, if you're playing an army level game, and my own set. You could fudge it as I have done with the 'Cordery' system, where the 4 guns I have suggested represents 96 cannon. But 4 cannon seems a lot against maybe 80 figures of the other arms. Tending to conservatism on such matters, I regard a horse and foot figure to cannon ratio of somewhere between 50 and 80 to 1 as something to aim for. My French Army comprises 560 foot and 168 horse - a total of 728 figures. So anywhere between 9 and 14 cannon seems about right.
|Generals being worked on. Davout, Bessieres, Gneisenau:|
Some Russian and a French general, and Napoleon;
Another French general and a riderless horse. Minifigs,
except for the Italieri Russian. Lot of work needed to polish these fellows.
As it happens, the 'Cordery' system is attractive enough to cause me to reconsider. After all, I am proposing to depict skirmishers as drawn from their parent formations, whereas Age of Eagles simply abstracts them by having 'skirmish-capable' brigades shooting at longer ranges (at a reduced effect for the extended range). There are practical reasons for doing this (scaling, multiple-figure stands...). As I have no formal organisation below Division level, and I don't have stands larger than 2-figures, it is feasible for me to depict skirmish screens of 'brigaded' light companies.
It might be argued, then, that single artillery companies ought to be feasible. It is. Sort of. A cannon with a single crew figure would represent under my system a single company of 8 cannon. But I don't really want to do this, except in some exceptional circumstances. So, what other options are there?
One is, as I have said before, to allow 'detachments' on an ad hoc basis down to single batteries from the 'central pool' so to speak. This isn't quite historical, since the odd company was organic to Divisions and/or Brigades, depending upon the army. But there will arise occasions in which a given Div artillery simply has to be placed separately from the rest.
Another idea - not one I like, actually, but let's shove it out there - is to subsume Brigade and Divisional artillery within their respective formations, the single piece allocated being representative of the Corps Reserve only. Under my rule set, each French Division could be allowed one die shooting (representing a single company) at 'medium' artillery ranges ('heavy' 6pr through to 9pr), this even though no battery is depicted. This is precisely similar to the building in of battalion guns in a Division or Brigade-level game, even though battalion guns aren't shown. Incidentally, the idiosyncratic features of the rule set we used in the 1970s could just about have been justified on this ground. Long 'musketry' range reached out to 12 inches - a whole foot! - for a 9-figure battalion, whole linear frontage was 2.5 inches. For a long time I felt that this system was much too unrealistic. Now... I'm not so certain about that.
The problem with this scheme of subsuming artillery companies at Divisional level and below, is that three artillery companies of an Austrian Division ( one for each Brigade plus the Divisional 'positional' battery) seems to me too many to subsume, so I would probably place one 6pr gun on table with 3 crew figures. This would only very slightly over-represent the 22 cannon of a given Austrian Division.
But that seems to lead to an inconsistency, and I don't want to give my Austrians 25 guns (for an army of fewer than 600 figures) neither!
At this point I'll diverge a little. An idea I had associated with my BBforST project was that instead of full Divisions, my 24-figure units could represent Brigades - two Brigades to a Division. The ground scale would then be 1:1800; the time scale 1 bound representing 40-45 minutes; one figure represents 100 men. Cannon would represent multiples of 4 for each crew figure.
Under such a scheme, depicting Divisional artillery becomes much more feasible. An Army Corps could be made up of 6 Infantry Brigades (3 Divisions), a light cavalry Brigade/Division (12 or 24 figures), 3 Divisional artillery companies (3 cannon each with 2 crew figures) and the Army Corps Park (one cannon with 4 crew figures or possibly two cannon with 3 each).
Even under this Slightly Smaller Big Battles for Small Tables I would require quite a lot of cannon for my French army, say. The organisation would look something like this;
I Corps: 3 Infantry Divisions (144 figures) , 2 light cavalry Brigades (24 figures), 4 cannon (10 crew)
II Corps: 4 Infantry Divisions (8 brigades, 192 figures), 1 light cavalry Brigade (12 figures), 5 cannon (12 crew);
III Corps: 3 Infantry Divisions (144 figures), 2 light cavalry Brigades (24 figures), 4 cannon (10 crew)
Imperial Guard: 3 Infantry Brigades (72 figures), 2 horse Brigades (24 figures), 8 Sappers, 2 cannon (8 crew)
Cavalry Corps: 3 Cuirassier Brigades, 3 Dragoon Brigades, 1 light cavalry brigade, 1 horse gun (3 crew)
That is 560 foot, 168 horse, 43 gunners (16cannon) representing an army of
56,000 foot, 16,800 horse, 4300 gunners with 172 cannon. I have to admit, from a representative point of view, this army would be by no means over-gunned. At that, were II Corps to be split up into two Corps of two Divisions (four Brigades) each, then an extra Corps Reserve Park would have to be found, with 4 crew, and the Army numbers would reach 188 cannon.
That might be 'do-able'. And I'll someday revisit that. For the time being I am thinking of ignoring the artillery at divisional level or below, and subsuming it into the Army Corps Reserve Park. But to introduce a little bit of flexibility, and bump up the numbers a little, I'm considering placing 2 guns in at least some of Divisions, each with 3-man crews. I probably have enough gunners for this, but I'll need to get more guns.
Of course, the artillery of my other armies will require a commensurate increase.