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The Battle of Fontenoy: 11 May, 1745» Forums » General

Subject: Attack column rss

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David K
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I'm completely new to this system. So far I've played the two Melle scenarios from Fontenoy and I'm happy to discover that this system is nowhere near as complicated or hard to figure out as people sometimes make it sound.

One question I have concerns the formation "attack column". There seem to be major disadvantages to this formation (only one strength point can fire, automatic enfilade) but there don't seem to be any advantages to it.

Am I missing something? What is the advantage to being in attack column? When would you ever use this formation?
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Paul Borchers
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As you've seen, Attack Column is not in use for Fontenoy and Melle. It dates from a slightly later era (Seven Years' War) and is the predecessor to the maneuverable columns that became more famous in the Napoleonic era.

Its main use in the BAR games has been for the times that infantry has to attack a special structure (like a church or chateau). In those cases, its speed and morale boost are important assets. Its drawbacks are its lack of maneuverability (Disorder Check required before changing facing) and vulnerability to enfilade. It is definitely not meant to be part of the front line, exchanging volleys with the enemy.

Don't forget, though, that cavalry can use the formation (it can be useful if you point the unit at its target, change formation, and then get the morale benefit before declaring a charge). Also, if other units can provide an opening in the enemy's line, an Attack Column in reserve can rush forward to seize an objective or penetrate beyond the front line. It does have its uses, but most of the time Line provides more ready firepower and steadiness under fire.

I'm glad you've tried the games and like the system. I hope more gamers try it following the printing of the Primer.
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