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Borodino: Napoleon in Russia 1812» Forums » Rules

Subject: Double Defense against Bombardment rss

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Ryan Nip
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6.51 Redoubt Combat wrote:
D2 applies only to one unit for Bombarding hits.

How does it work? When is a half-hit recovered? After each bombardment? Or, at the end of all bombardments?

For example, consider the following scenario:
* 3 Russian units are at Great Redoubt - one infantry unit (3C2), one cavalry (3B2) and one artillery unit (3A2).
* The Great Redoubt is surrounded by 3 French artillery units - 2A3 at Borodino, 2A4 at the west of Borodino and 3A3 at The Fleches.
* French AHQ Napoleon activates himself and commands the 3 artillery units to bombard into the Great Redoubt.
* The bombardment sequence and result are: 2A3 (1 hit) -> 2A4 (1 hit) -> 3A3 (2 hits).

Which of the following cases is true?

Case 1: Half-hit is recovered after each bombardment
* 2A3 bombards inflicting 1 hit. Infantry unit 3C2 (with D2) is assigned to take the hit, which becomes half-hit under D2. The half-hit is recovered after this bombardment. i.e. The Russian is intact.
* 2A4 bombards inflicting 1 hit. Infantry unit 3C2 is again assigned to take up the hit, which becomes half-hit under D2. The half-hit is recovered after this bombardment. i.e. The Russian is intact.
* 3A3 bombards inflicting 2 hits. Infantry unit 3C2 is assigned to take up the 2 hits, which becomes a single hit under D2. The infantry unit becomes 2C2.
* Result: The Russian loses one step to the French bombardment, which is on par with the French step loss (due to activation of AHQ Napoleon).


Case 2: Half-hit is recovered only at the end of all bombardments
* 2A3 bombards inflicting 1 hit. Infantry unit 3C2 (with D2) is assigned to take the hit, which becomes half-hit under D2.
* 2A4 bombards inflicting 1 hit. Infantry unit 3C2 must be assigned to take up the half-hit (under D2) and becomes 2C2.
* 3A3 bombards inflicting 2 hits. These 2 hits must be evenly assigned to the artillery unit 3A2 and cavalry unit 3B2 (for they are now with the highest strength) Without D2, they become 2A2 and 2B2 respectively.
* Result: The Russian loses 3 steps to the French bombardment. With only one step allowed to be added to the Great Redoubt during Supply Phase, the damage dealt to the Russian is significant. Double Defense is of little help, merely reducing the step loss from 4 to 3.
 
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Carl Willner
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The half-hit would be recovered after all the bombardment of the Great Redoubt in that turn, not after each separate unit fires. So, assuming three Russian units of equal 3 steps as you've presented the example here, the 3 step unit that you've designated as being in the redoubt for the bombardment would incur the first two hits, and go down one step due to double defense. After that, the other two Russian units would have to take hits until they are also down to 2 steps, at which point hits could be put on the unit with double defense again. So, in this hypothetical involving the three best French artillery units all concentrating their fire on the Great Redoubt, the Russians could indeed find themselves down 3 steps, one of which could be replaced by supply at the end of the turn, assuming the French have not launched a melee attack first and driven the Russians out of the redoubt.

So, what can the Russians do about this? It will take the French at this rate three turns to wear the Russians down to one step each, at which point they will be immune to further bombardment, though vulnerable to a melee attack. Stacking limits would allow the Russians to bring in one more unit to the Great Redoubt to prolong that moment further. Militia are quite useful in this situation - though less valuable in melee, they can absorb a decent number of bombardment hits before being sent to the rear and making way for better troops. The Russians can also, assuming the French have not launched their melee attack, cycle a corps of fresh units into the redoubt and force the French to start the process all over. But the most useful thing would be to hold onto, or recover by counterattack, one of the flanking positions the artillery is firing from. The Fleches redoubt area is somewhat easier to defend against this grand battery bombardment than the Great Redoubt, because it has woods on either flank that impair the effectiveness of the artillery, with only one clear area available to the French from the west. Hold the Fleches through mid-morning at least, and delay the French from setting up their grand battery against the Great Redoubt. If the French can't get their full bombardment going there until late morning or midday, resupply and cycling in reserves can delay the French opportunity to try an all out melee at the Great Redoubt until mid to late afternoon. Meanwhile, Russian artillery on the heights behind the redoubts can seriously punish any French who have managed to melee their way into either of the redoubts, and force the French to burn up supply just trying to keep their unit in shape for the assault to come.

If the half-hit were recovered after each separate bombarding unit fired, you can see that even the most powerful French bombardment (these three artillery units represent about 168 guns, twice as much as Napoleon's grand battery at Waterloo) would be of little use. The Russians would just keep replacing the one-step loss with supply, and the French would never really be able to soften up the redoubts effectively for a melee attack against the defenders, who all enjoy double defense against the melee.

Carl
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Ryan Nip
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Thank you very much for your quick response, Carl. coolcoolcool

6.52 Double Defense wrote:
A half-hit carries forward between battle rounds, but is recovered after the battle ends.

The rulebook states how half-hits are handled in battle rounds but it doesn't mention how half-hits are handled in bombardments. That's why I'd like to have a clarification.

Therefore, in order to make the best of it (i.e. D2 for one unit against bombardment), the Russia should deploy a 4-step unit in each of the Fleches and the Great Redoubt. In such case, a 3-hits bombardment will only inflict one step loss to the redoubt, which can be easily replenished during the Supply Phase. It's a significant improvement in rulebook v1.1. A big big thumb for you, Carl!!

The good news is that the Russia does have two 4-step units. And, the bad new is that these are the only 4-step units the Russia has (not that bad).

Carl Willner wrote:
in this hypothetical involving the three best French artillery units all concentrating their fire on the Great Redoubt

I don't think it's hypothetical. It's practical. Such tactics is mentioned in "Grand Battery" at the sidebar on p.5 of the rulebook. It happens in every single game I've played. The sole purpose of AHQ Napoleon is to bombard every turn with the best artillery units: 3A3 is the best, 2A4 is the second best, the two 2A3 and two 3A2 are 2nd-runners-up. (these four are effectively the same in clear-to-clear bombardment) I can't see the reason why I shouldn't bring the best (particularly guard artillery) to the front line from the outset.

The French has an insurmountable advantage in the old set of rules. I would try the game with the new ruleset and hope that the tweaks work.

 
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Carl Willner
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Ryan,

Glad you like the rules change on bombardment and my clarification.

In referring to this as a "hypothetical" I wasn't suggesting that the tactic of concentrating the three best French artillery under Napoleon was improbable or unlikely, but just using the term in the sense of "example." I completely agree that the grand battery tactic is contemplated by the rules and indeed realistically reflects what Napoleon did during the actual battle. His battle orders for the opening bombardment against the Fleches showed his intent to use the artillery of the Guard and I Corps in combination, at that point concentrating about 100 guns, so that in game terms Napoleon would logically be coordinating the guns for that bombardment. Even though Napoleon held back the Guard infantry and cavalry for the entire battle, he was quite willing to use his best Guard artillery from the outset, the guns being less likely to take heavy casualties. But most of the guns initially proved to be out of range and had to move up before the bombardment could commence in full strength - something reflected in the game by the need for the French player to clear the woods to the north and south of the Fleches before he can concentrate three artillery units against that target.

And yes, it makes a lot of sense for the Russian player to get a 4-step unit into a redoubt facing heavy bombardment if possible. Preferably the one in VIII Corps (though in the Borodino Sept. 7 scenario it needs to be built up first after the losses it suffered on Sept. 5), since the Guard infantry is further back at the start and makes such a nice reserve for counterattacks if it is still intact.

Carl
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