My blog about my wargaming activities. I collect a lot of 15mm miniatures for the American War of Independence and so collect a lot of rules for this period. I started miniatures with Napoleonics, so I have a number of armies in 6mm and 15mm figures for skirmishing. I have15mm WW II figures that I use for Flames of War, Memoir '44, and someday, Poor Bloody Infantry. Finally there is my on-again, off-again relationship with paper soldiers that I sometimes write about.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Movement Adjustments to AWIW

Some interesting conversations going on over at the Yahoo group for Neil Thomas' rules. I started a couple of polls, John Acar has posted some ideas about using DBA armies for the Ancients and Medieval Wargaming (AMW) rules, a Vassal module for AMW has been posted (also by John), and there is a new post about using the Napoleonic Wargaming (NW) rules for the Crimean War.

I've been thinking a bit about the test game with the American War of Independence (AWIW) rules, and some possible changes. I think movement was too fast. The basis for the changes to the speeds from NW was that infantry in line would remain at 2 base widths (BW). My goal was to show that American and British troops marched faster than German and French troops, as was often written about in contemporary diaries and journals. The problem is that in order to make a difference between loose order movement and column, you need to increase the speed of columns from that in NW.

If you go back to the source and try to discern why the Americans and British were faster than the Germans and French, you get the following logic:

  • Terrain in North American was heavier than what was generally found in Continental Europe.
  • Terrain slows a unit down by disrupting its formation.
  • When a unit's formation was disrupted enough, it would 'dress the line' in order to recover from the disorder.
  • Units with more space between files tended to suffer less from disruption by terrain.
  • Units with fewer files tended to suffer less from disruption by terrain.
  • The less disruption suffered, the less frequently the unit had to stop and dress the line. The fewer stops, the faster the march.
Putting all this another way, perhaps the approach to be taken is that the units do not march faster by formation, but that terrain has less impact on loose files or fewer files. Clearly, NW models the unit dressing the line by reducing movement, i.e. the more frequently a unit would have to dress the line, the slower its effective speed would be. As a line must dress more frequently than a column, its speed is slower. As a line moves through woods, it must dress even more frequently than in the open, so again its movement is slower still.

So, the question goes to whether a loose order line should have the same speed as a column in AWIW. I'll start by examining why an AWI unit uses a column:

  • Unlike the Napoleonic, and later, period columns were not generally used for assault, but for pre-battle deployment.
  • Columns allow you to maneuver around terrain.
  • Columns allow you to take advantage of roads.
  • Columns allow the passage of units.
On the other hand, a 2 rank, loose order line allows a unit to:

  • Maneuver through terrain with less impact than close order.
  • Maintain better firepower, compared to a column.
  • Maintain acceptable shock power.
I am considering setting both column and loose order line to 3 BW movement, having both affected by terrain basically the same (save for road giving a benefit only to columns), and having the difference be in their combat power.

I can also see in reviewing the rules that I need to define terrain better, in terms of the effect on movement, line of sight, fire, and hand-to-hand combat. More on that later.

Drop a comment or an email if you have any thoughts.

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Huachuca City, Arizona, United States
I am 50 yrs old now. I bought a house in Huachuca City, AZ (although I have a townhouse in Houston, TX and a small home in Tucson, AZ) working on a contract for "the next two years" that is going on five years now. To while away the hours I like to wargame -- with wooden, lead, and sometimes paper miniatures -- usually solo. Although I am a 'rules junkie', I almost always use rules of my own (I like to build upon others' ideas, but it seems like there is always something "missing" or "wrong").