Monday, August 29, 2016

How many Guns?

In response to my previous blog, it has been pointed out that my proposed system will converge the entire artillery of an Army Corps into a single park.  Divisional or brigade artillery completely disappears.  It is subsumed, abstracted or ignored?

Totally unrelated to this article:  my Brunswick Corps:
Minifigs line infantry, Warrior Jager, Very early Minifigs
uhlans, Italeri plastic hussars, and gun scratchbuilt from
ESCI artillery wheels, homecast metal gun, and balsa trail.
Plastic Duke from an Italieri command set.

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!
Artillery of Napoleon's Imperial Guard.  Experimenting with larger sabots.  These are
 trapezoids 7cm deep, long parallel 10cm, short parallel 3cm.  Instead of placing
 the crew off the sabot, I'm thinking of placing them on.
There are practical reasons for this.

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.
Placing crew figures on the artillery sabot gives a better 'look',
and makes it clearer where the artillery stands. As each gunner
represents an 8-cannon company, the whole represents 80 cannon.
Probably my 4-man crews will be placed on 8.5/2.5 x 7cm
sabots, the current triangular ones being reserved for 3-figure crews.

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.

Oh, well...

Monday, August 1, 2016

Austrian Armeekorps, 1809

Austrian Reserve Corps: Heavy Cavalry and Grenadiers.
See below.

In a kind of blog conversation with Bob Cordery, I promised to look into what an Austrian Army Corps might look like using our respective game systems.  Both of us are exploring ideas for staging large-scale Napoleonic battles on small playing surfaces.

The notion is, of course, not new, as I have described in my posting immediately preceding this one. However, so far as I know, both Bob and I have developed features unique to our respective game systems.  In this posting I shall explore how an Austrian Armeekorps might look under our respective systems.

Austrian Armeekorps.  More anon...
To start with, let us look at the establishment of a couple of Austrian formations.  The first is an Army Corps that fought at the Battle of Abensburg, April, 1809.

VI Armeekorps: 

Feldmarschall-Leutnant (FML) Johann von Hiller

Reserve Artillery: FML Karl von Rouvroy:   3 x 12pr Position Bty (each 6 guns [cannon])
   1 x  6pr Position Bty (6 guns)

1st (Line) Division:

FML Friedrich Kottulinsky
 Brigade: General-Major (GM) Otto Hohenfeld)
      IR14 Klebek Infantry (3 Bns)
      IR59 Jordis Infantry (3Bns)
      1 x 6pr Brigade Bty (8 guns)
 Brigade: GM Nikolaus Weissenwolf
      IR4 Deutschmeister Infantry (3 Bns)
      IR49  Kerpen Infantry (3 Bns)
      1 x 6pr Brigade Bty (8 guns)
 Division Artillery:
      1 x 6pr Position Bty (6 guns)

2nd (Line) Division:

FML Franz Jellacic (Note: Jellacic detached to Munich)
Brigade: GM Josef Hoffmeister (Brigade attached to FML Vincent - see below)
      IR31 Benjavsky Infantry (3 Bns - Transylvanian/Hungarian)
      IR51 Splenyi Infantry (3 Bns - Transylvanian/Hungarian)

       1 x 6pr Brigade Bty (8 guns)
Brigade: GM Konstantin Ettingshausen (Bde detached at Munich)
      IR32 Esterhazy Infantry (3 Bns - Hungarian)
      IR45 De Vaux Infantry (3 Bns - Italian)

      1 x 6pr Brigade Bty (8 guns)
Division Artillery:
      1 x 6pr Position Bty (6 guns)

Light Division (a.k.a. 'Advanced Guard')

FML Karl von Vincent
   Brigade: GM Dollmayer von Provencheres (Bde detached at Munich)
      GzR5 Warasdin-Kreutzer Grenz (2 Bns)
      4th, 5th, 6th Vienna Freiwilliger (3 Bns)
      CLR3 O'Reilly Chevauleger (8 Sqns)
      1 x 3pr Grenzer Bty (8 guns)
      1 x 6pr Horse Bty (6 guns)
   Brigade: GM Arnaud von Nordmann
      GzR6 Warasdiner-St George Grenz (2 Bns)
      CLR6 Rosenberg Chevauleger (8 Sqns)
      HR7 Liechtenstein Hussars (8 sqns)
      1 x 3pr Grenz Bty (8 guns)
      1 x 6pr Horse Bty (6 guns).

Some notes:

1.  You can see that quite a bit of this Corps had been detached prior to the Abensburg action: a Brigade each from 2nd and Light Divisions detached (I suppose) under 2nd Div HQ (Jellacic); and the remaining 2nd Div Bde placed under von Vincent's command.

2.  I have mentioned the Transylvanian/Hungarian regiments specifically as they wore a uniform distinguished from other line infantry by their blue pants.

3. In general the Light Div cavalry were light - chevaulegers, hussars or uhlans - but occasionally a dragoon regiment might be attached.

4. In general grenadiers and cuirassiers were reserved for the aptly named 'Reserve Corps'.  See below.

5.Total establishment strength of VI Armeekorps was about 35,600, of which maybe 20,000 were engaged at Abensburg.

6.  It is probably worth mentioning that this design was Archduke Charles's own, and appears to have been a formal, possibly permanent, arrangement. The other Army Corps were very similarly - almost identically - organised. Despite his wishes, though, exigencies of the campaign led to detachments and attachments that made rather a mess of his tidy system.

Austrian I Reserve Corps under the 'Cordery' system.  The
II Reserve Corps list below would remove 2 Grenadier and
 2 Cuirassier units.  Note that this formation is not over-furnished
with artillery! 

II Reserve Armeekorps

FML Michael Kienmayer

1 Brigade: GM Konstantin Ghilian Karl d'Aspre

   - Puteani Grenadiers (2 coys each from IR14, 45, 59)
   - Brezinczinsky Grenadiers (2 coys each from IR20, 34, 41)
   - Scovand Grenadiers (2 coys each from IR4, 49. 63)
   - Kirchenbetter Grenadiers (2 coys each from IR34, 37, 48 - Hungarian)
   - Scharlach Grenadiers (2 coys each from IR31, 32, 51 - Hungarian)
   1 x 6pr Bde Bty (8 guns)

2 Brigade: GM Andras von Schneller

   - CR1 Kaiser (Franz) Cuirassiers (6 Sqns)
   - CR6 Gottesheim Cuirassiers (6 Sqns)
   1 x 6pr cavalry Bty (6 guns)

3. Brigade: GM Josef von Clary

   - DR4 Levenehr Dragoons (6 Sqns)
   - DR3 Wurttemburg Dragoons (6 Sqns)
   - 1 x 6pr Cavalry Bty (6 guns)


1.Overall establishment strength of II Reserve Armeekorps, based on this list, was very close to 8000 all ranks.  However, instead of just the 5 grenadier battalions in II Reserve, I Reserve Corps had as many as 12 - a much more powerful outfit.  Possibly II Reserve had some battalions detached.

2. It appears that the reserve formations were named for the purpose: to reinforce success, or restore a crumbling line, or perhaps as a specially designated masse de rupture against a stretched enemy.

3.  Having discovered something of the real ability of the commander of this formation, one feels that he would have been rather wasted in the role.  Michael Kienmayer had a fine military record, notably as a cavalry commander, and was holder of the Military Order of Maria Theresa (not an easy award to achieve!).  Later in the 1809 campaign, he was appointed an independent command in Saxony/Northern Bohemia, where he organised an XI Armeekorps out of the troops already operating in that area.  Two days after Wagram, he beat General Androche Junot at the Battle of Gefrees, and, with 15,000 troops, by and large outmanoeuvred and forced back more than double his numbers of Saxons and Westphalians sent against him. 

Now, I have included these lists to show where the following come from.  We'll begin with the Bob Cordery system, which I think makes a very good 'fit' for the Austrian orders of battle.   Bob bases his system around a Division sized formation of all arms, infantry regiments comprising 6 figures, cavalry 4, and the Divisional Artillery. 1 cannon with a two-figure crew.  Divisional HQ comprises a mounted general figure.  For reference, here's a link to Bob's article in this topic.

Adapted to an Austrian Army Corps of the 5th Coalition, we might have something like this:

Austrian Army Corps:

   - 1 x Corps Command/HQ element (GoC plus ADC, say)Corps artillery reserve: 
   - 1 x 12pr artillery (2 figs, 1 gun)
1st Division:
   - Division GoC
  - 4 x  Infantry Regiment each with 6 figures (24 figs)
  - 1 x 6pr Brigade artillery (2 figs, 1 cannon)
2nd Division:
   - Div GoC
   - 4 x Infantry Rgt each with 6 figures (24 figs)
   - 1 x 6pr Bde Artillery (2 figs, 1 cannon)
Light Division/Advance guard:
An Austrian Army Corps under Bob Cordery's system:
 Advanced Guard leading two 'Line' Divisions. I see I have
 forgotten the freiwilliger.  No very serious an omission...
   - Div GoC
   - 2 x Grenz Infantry each with 6 figures (12 figs)
   - 1 x Freiwilliger Infantry with 6 figures
   - 2 x Light Cavalry Rgt each with 4 figures (8 figures)
   - 1 x 3pr Grenz OR 1 x 6pr Horse artillery (2 crew, 1 gun)


1.  This formation comprises 5 command figures, 66 foot, 8 horse, 8 gunners and 4 cannon.  I admit that seems like a lot of cannon, but the original formation had 96 pieces - 18 x 12pr, 16 x 3pr, and 62 x 6pr. The single gun I currently use is a clear under-representation, even with 4 gunners.

2.  Rule sets like Shako recognise that, Austrian foot and horse unit establishments being quite large, an extra element was added to each in their TOandE.  Instead of 3 elements, Shako Austrian line infantry were given 4 and light cavalry in particular given 3 cavalry elements instead of two. Something similar would not be out of place in the Bob Cordery system.  An alternative organisation would then have 8-figure line infantry units, and 6-figure cavalry.  Irregular, semi-regular and light infantry remain at 6 figures per unit.

Austrian Reserve Corps:

Austrian Reserve Corps under Bob's system.
As I have just the one 12-figure Cuirassier unit, I have
had to eke them out with Dragoons to obtain 4 regiments.
   - Corps Command HQ
   - 4 x Grenadier Infantry each with 6 figures (12 figs)
   - 2-4 x Cuirassier Cavalry each with 4 figures (8 figs)
   - 2 x Dragoon Cavalry each with 4 figures (8 figs)
   - 1 x 6pr Bty (2 crew and 1 gun)

While I believe Bob Cordery's system is an excellent 'fit' for Austrian orders of battle, I am less sanguine about my own.  Ostensibly more flexible, I suddenly find myself with having to make some uncomfortable decisions.  The main reason for this is the eclectic sort of collection I have.  The majority of the army comprises Minifigs figures, but there are Warrior, possible Hinton Hunt (or maybe they are  Freikorps) knock-offs picked up at a bring-and-buy sale, other metal figures even more obscure provenance (though they look like originals) and a few plastics (hussars and grenz).  Wishing to mix types within each formation as little as possible, I have had to made some pretty tall compromises: 

Several years ago, I came up with this:

Austrian Army Napoleonic Wars:

I Corps
   - 3 x Infantry Divisions @ 24 figures;
   - 1 x Jager Brigade @ 12 figures; 
   - 1 x Uhlan Brigade @ 12 figures; 
   - 1 x 6pr gun. 
   (Total 100 figures) [All Minifigs]
II Corps:
   - 2 x Hungarian Infantry Divisions @ 24 figures; 
   - 1 x Hungarian Grenadier Division @ 24 figures; 
   - 1 x Freikorps Jager 'Division' @ 18 figures; 
   - 1 x Chasseur (Chevauleger) Brigade @ 8 figures; 
   - 1 x 12pr gun.  
(Total 102 figures) [Grenadiers possibly Hinchliffe. Freikorps are Minifigs; the others of unknown manufacture.  Artillery Minifigs crew, scratchbuilt piece]

III Corps:  
   - 3 x Infantry Divisions @ 24 Figures; 
   - 1 x Jager Brigade @ 12 figures; 
   - 1 x (Light?) Dragoon Brigade @ 12 figures; 
   - 1 x 6pr gun. 
(Total 100 figures) [All Minifigs]

IV Corps
   - 2 x Infantry Divisions @ 24 figures; 
   - 1 x Grenz 'Division' @ 24 figures,
   - 1 x  Hussar Brigade @ 16 figures; 

   - 1 x 6pr gun.
(Total 92 figures) [Line Infantry: Hinton-Hunt (?) knock-offs (?), Grenz  HaT plastics; Hussars Italieri plastics, artillery Minifigs]
IV Army Corps under my system.  Guns reduced from 4 to 1 is probably
too stringent, and the Advance Guard is over represented.  Points to Note:
1. The right hand Division in the picture represents the formation drawn
up in masse formation:
2.  The Grenz being specialist light infantry, half the formation may be
deployed in skirmish order.
3. The 16-figure hussar unit is a nod towards the 8-squadron light
cavalry regiments favoured by the Austrians. 

V Corps

   - 2 x Infantry Divisions @ 20 and 18 figures;
   - 1 x Grenadier Division @ 16 figures;
   - 1 x Grenze Division @ 24 figures;
   - 1 x Hussar Brigade @ 16 figures;
   - 1 x 6pr gun. 

(Total 98 figures) [Infantry Warrior; Grenz HaT plastics, Minifigs Hussars (yet to be acquired) and artillery]
I Reserve Corps:

I Reserve Corps under my system, minus
the light guns. That needs a rethink! The more
distant Grenadier Division is below Establishment
at just 20 figures.  
- 2 x Grenadier Divisions @ 24 and 16 or 20 figures; 
   - 1 x Cuirassier Brigade @ 12 figures; 
   - 1 x (Heavy) Dragoon Brigade @ 12 figures;
   - 1 x 12 pr heavy gun; 

   - 2 x 3pr light guns.
Total 76 figures). [Minifigs figures, 12pr gun scratchbuilt; 3pr guns Revell Plastic 7YW pieces, crews Minifigs]

Grand Total: 568 figures, not counting generals and their staffs.

You will see from this that I have had to play a little fast and loose with the historical precedents, but at least you can see some sort of connection with them.  The only actual Army Corps that had grenadiers attached was the IX, four battalions of which were attached for Archduke John's operations in Italy.   For his invasion of Poland, Archduke Ferdinand d'Este had a brigade of cuirassiers attached to his VII Corps.  He would have needed them against Poland's famed cavalry.  At any rate, the grenadiers in my army are so placed as in keeping with line infantry figures of the same, or similar, make or style.  

IV Armeekorps.  Metal line infantry, Minifigs command and
artillery; plastic grenz (HaT) and hussars (Italieri).  The
'logistics' element is actually a limber team bought
at a bring-and-buy many years ago.

I appreciate this is rather a long posting with a lot to chew on.  I hope the meal is tasty enough!