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Subject: Discussion on Movement Allowances rss

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Leong Yew Lam
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I have been playing GBACW and TSS for some time and have noticed that infantry in line and in column has the same Movement Allowances. In my opinion, this does not seem right.

My take on this is :
it is more difficult to move a unit in line formation (and keep that formation intact) than one in column formation. Meaning, a unit in column can move faster in open ground than one in line formation. Having watched the movie "Gods and Generals", once can see that a unit in line formation needs readjustment every few paces with officers directing the adjustment. Whereas a for a unit in column, the men just follow the guy in front ...no formation adjustment required.

This is reflected in other tactical games (see Wellington's Victory or Ney vs Wellington) where a unit in line formation has a lower MA.

Any comments?
 
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Darrell Pavitt
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The difference between line and column is already well differentiated between the Attack and March orders. Units in attack mode have half their move allowance. Units marching on roads have double their move allowance.
The only dubious one is Advance, which has the frontage of line but allows road movement. It doesn't allow contact with the enemy though.
 
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Leong Yew Lam
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nyhotep wrote:
The difference between line and column is already well differentiated between the Attack and March orders. Units in attack mode have half their move allowance. Units marching on roads have double their move allowance.


Thanks for nyhotep's response. I believe you are using the rules from GMT's GBACW series. However, i am referring to the TSR's edition of TSS and the GBACW rules for that generation (Pea Ridge, Cedar Mountain, Pleasant Hill, Corinth, etc).
Looking at the Terrain Effects, for clear terrain, it costs 1 MP whether the unit is in line or column. My contention is that units in line should have a lower MA or higher movement cost.

Note that in Pea Ridge, infantry in column takes 2 MP to move through heavy forest whereas the same unit in line will use up 3 MP.

Perhaps this issue is addressed by Sir Rich Berg in the latest rules.
 
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James Laubach
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In TSS2 you can adopt the Rapid March optional rules (29.0) to boost the movement of units in column at the expense of possible fatigue.

I suspect that if the Rapid March rules were adopted for the original games in the series, that the play balance would be compromised. It also begs the question of whether to allow the arrival of any reinforcements to be accelerated.
 
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Richard Berg
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"Perhaps this issue is addressed by Sir Rich Berg in the latest rules."

Sir? Oh, my. . .

All rules in latest editions address issues from former editions . . . Movement Allowance do not reflect foot speed (altho to some extent they do). They more reflect maneuverability on a battlefield relevant to other units.

RHB
 
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Leong Yew Lam
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BROG wrote:
"Perhaps this issue is addressed by Sir Rich Berg in the latest rules."

Sir? Oh, my. . .

All rules in latest editions address issues from former editions . . . Movement Allowance do not reflect foot speed (altho to some extent they do). They more reflect maneuverability on a battlefield relevant to other units.

RHB


WOW!!! It's THE MAN himself.

Yep ...we decided to leave the rules as they stand ..cos we were sure that the developers would have caught on and there must be a good reason to leave the MA and movement rates as stated in the rules.

With the new rules for GBACW (I already own Red Badge of Courage) ..should i spend the extra $$$ to get 3 Days of Gettysburg(since i already own TSS)? ...or maybe spend them $$$ on River of Death instead?
 
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Darrell Pavitt
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BROG wrote:


Sir? Oh, my. . .


RHB


Better than "Sir or Madam"..
 
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Jason Cawley
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Column in ACW terms means actual road column, and its movement effect occurs on the terrain costs, through use of roads to double speed and paths to negate difficult terrain. This is historically a column of fours, meaning four men abrest walking along a road or path.

Column in the Napoleonic era means something entirely different. It means a battalion deployed on a frontage of one company (column of companies) or two companies (column of divisions). Each company is itself in 3 rank line. So a battalion in column of companies is 18 men deep but something like 25-30 men across for a battalion, 50-75 men across for a regiment. Double those figures for the more common column of divisions, which is a 9 man deep formation and one typically used for actual fighting.

The benefits of a column of divisions over fighting in line in the Napoleonic era come from its ability to continuously present a fully-lined frontage of charged (loaded) muskets, and to do so regardless of casualties or even the discharge of the weapons in the first rank or two.

Since the effective range was so low that a man could cover the distance between only a few percent hitting to half or more hitting in the time it took to reload once, Napoleonic era infantry combat was chicken played with guns, and firing first was flinching. You weren't going to get another before the enemy was right on top of you and firing charged muskets into your face at point blank range. One 2 company front volleying at 5 paces would knock down the entire line opposite; the depth was just meant to ensure a full line of 2 companies made it to that distance no matter what shots the other side got off, on the way in.

A secondary reason was greater ability to withstand cavalry and a somewhat easier starting point to form square.

Wargamers tend to think column useless and line the only reasonable formation because they are thinking of maximizing firepower. But this is largely a mistake. Any formed infantry formation covered the entire frontage in actual contact at lethal ranges. You don't get any more lateral distance to fire by being thinner front to back.

Moreover, in longer term fighting a man could fire off all the ball he actually carried in the space of about 20 minutes, but battles lasted all day. Firing faster doesn't mean firing any straighter. Thinner formations (open order, not lines) inflict just as many hits per unit of time as denser ones (they make up in defensive spread whatever they lose in delivered firepower, both being directly proportional to the lined portion of the frontage), and they can keep it up longer. Therefore open order, not line, is the superior form for sustained fire combat. And this was fully understood in the Napoleonic era, and columns for brief close approaches ("melee" in game terms, pretty much) worked with screens of open order skirmishers for sustained fire combat.

In the ACW era, people actually do fight in line all the time. But that is quite new, and results from the much greater range and accuracy of rifles over smoothbores. When aimed shooting becomes realistic, the direct relationship between portion of the frontage lined and hits received weakens, and the thicker lined frontage is superior to open order in hits delivered per unit time - though only marginally so and at some cost in higher absolute losses per incoming shot.

The biggie though is it becomes possible with rifles to fire many times at effective ranges before a marching man can close the distance enough to meaningfully change the hit probability of each exchanged shot. Which makes shooting "early and often" superior to holding fire until you see the whites of their eyes. Thus the dominance of ranged fire from lines of riflemen.

In that context there is no purpose whatever in a column of divisions depth. Column therefore came to mean column of 4s or road column for marching. Men used to those relationships then misunderstood the nature and purpose of Napoleonic column, and thought it was meant for speed or maneuvering - not so. It was simply meant for depth along a particular part of the frontage either to outlast the enemy (feeding a skirmisher screen ahead to top it off continually, the column proper being out of range or in dead ground), or to briefly push to point blank irrespective of hits taken on the way in.

The French also confused everyone by also using what they called ordre mixte or mixed order, which simply meant the depth of column of divisions (9 deep) on the flanks of typically a regiment, with the center two companies in 3 rank line - thus averaging 6 deep or double the depth of a line. This is very close to being in square already and was a flexible formation for fire or receiving cavalry. It was Napoleon's preferred or advised formation for general use, but some of his generals found it too fiddly for whatever advantages it gave and stuck with column of divisions.

When people loosely say "column" they are ignoring the fact that the military term only takes on a definite meaning when the "what" that is "columned" is specified. Column alone just means "something or other right behind something else similar to it". Column of fours isn't column of companies isn't column of divisions etc.
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