Saturday 5 May 2012

Corps, Divisions, Brigades and Battalions

Action around Hougomont - held throughout the battle

Over the past couple of days, usually between job related phone calls and labelling blocks, I have been giving some further thought as to how I should best be representing the units for the three armies for my 1815 mini campaign. Simply replicating the individual Divisions with a single unit on the table top is too high a level for the tactical game and so I am looking at the Brigade being the basic formation. This is exactly the scale used in Volley and Bayonet and I am now regretting offloading the 1815 campaign supplement that was available a few years ago called, as I recall, Napoleon Returns or something similar, as it contained the complete orders of battle organised at Brigade level. I will have a look out for this publication and see if I can rustle up a copy from somewhere. I have sufficient OOBs in my collection for this campaign in any event so it is not a show stopper by any means - Jac Weller's Wellington at Waterloo being a case in point.

Using the Brigade as the basic tactical unit will give sufficient flexibility for a good table top game although I shall still be using the Division as the strategic level formation for map movement etc.

I have also settled on using Bob Cordery's 'Memoir of Battle' rules pretty much as they are written because I can think of little reason not to! They work very nicely for the 19th century and the Napoleonic battle I fought using them worked well enough. The action was crisp and dramatic and aside from some period flavour add-ons are pretty much good to go. I had flirted briefly with the idea of formations for units - using the smaller blocks certainly allows for such - but reasoned that is a unit of four blocks is representing a Brigade then it is not really relevant. The only concession I will make though concerns deployed light infantry/skirmishers. A unit of these individuals will have the blocks that comprise the unit spread about within the hex rather than the regulars that will have their constituent blocks in contact. Troop quality is already factored into the rules although unit sizes are not so I will opt to use the rules as they are but will assign the appropriate number of blocks based upon the strength/quality after having checked a number of sources or even OOBs within a number of rule sets I have.

The final decision I have made is that the the new 6ft by 4ft table with a hexed area equal to 12 x 16 hexes will be the battleground size of choice and so the maps will be drawn up on that basis.

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