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 Post subject: Skirmishers
PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2007 8:24 am 
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On the subject of detachable skirmishers, the Nappy engine has the following:

1./ Independent "S" skirmisher units (ie. with no parent body)

2./ Light (and also guard) infantry that can break down completely into skirmisher companies

3./ Line infantry that can deploy a single skirmisher sub-unit

4./ Restricted line infantry (and also militia) that can't deploy any skirmishers at all.

In contrast, the less flexible ACW engine only has the last one (ie. 4./ restricted units). This distinction between the Nappy and ACW engines has been around since the BG days.


Now I can quite understand that some folks are rather disturbed at the prospect of hordes of detached skirmishers running all round the map.

But there's no reason whatsoever why incorporating Nappy style skirmishers into the ACW engine would produce this result - unless of course a scenario designer deliberately wished it.

It would still remain quite possible for an ACW OOB to contain absolutely NO units capable of deploying skirmishers, since the Nappy engine has both restricted and militia units.

On the other hand, incorporating Nappy skirmishers would make the ACW engine a lot more flexible, since a scenario designer could, according to his requirements, add:

1./ A handful of "S" skirmisher units or light units able to break down fully into skirmishers. (Creating tiny say 25 man piquets with the existing ACW engine won't have the same effect, since these units will still have flanks/rear and will still block LOS)

2./ A moderate number of units able to deploy skirmishers

or (say for a scenario with a small number of units on a heavily wooded map) even

3./ The ability for most/all units to deploy skirmishers.

So, clearly, since no OOB would have to have any skirmishers, there can no disadvantage whatsover in incorporating the Nappy style skirmisher system into the ACW engine. On the other hand, permitting the option of skirmishers into the OOB would make the engine a lot more flexible.

Some advantages of having skirmishers would include:

1./ The ability to "see" beyond the edge of a wood. The ACW skirmisher system only allows a unit to "see" 2 hexes ahead, which means that units in a wood can't detect a stack of enemy units two hexes beyond the wood. However, a detached skirmisher sub-unit could move to the edge of the woods and see everything beyond without the need to move an entire unit forward to the edge.

2./ To help protect the flanks of units moving through a wood. Again the ACW skirmisher system doesn't permit this.


I agree that a skirmisher leash (for detached skirmishers, but not for independent "S" skirmisher units) would be a very useful improvement. Ideally, such a leash could be set in the pdt at 1-3 hexes from the parent unit. Routing skirmishers would automatically rejoin the parent unit and would be unable to move away again until rallied.

By the way, if Nappy style skirmishers were to be incorporated into the ACW engine, I feel that it's still also worthwhile keeping the current ACW skirmisher system too, with any non-militia units that can't form Nappy style skirmishers still able to form ACW skirmishers.


Brig. Gen. Rich White
3 Brig. Phantom Cav Div
III Corps ANV


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2007 2:06 pm 
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During the CW the use of a true skirmish formation was relatively limited. This was primarially due to command control problems in combination with the more difficult terrain in America versus Europe. The men didn't have the training that would keep them effective once deployed far from their regiments. And, due to lack of LOS the skirmisher would quickly be lost has a useable formation. This is what happen to Cumming's at Champion Hill when he had to change facing to the north. He had deployed a large number of skirmishers on the Jackson Road but could not recall them when he changed facing.

There is also a game imbalance due to the differences in engines. In the Nappy games cavalry is the bane of the skirmisher and keeps them in check. The ACW games lack anything to counter them.

LG. Kennon Whitehead
Chatham Grays
III Corps, AoM (CSA)


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2007 7:49 pm 
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Here is what Paddy Griffith has to say about skirmishers in "Battle Tactics of the Civil War"

<blockquote id="quote"><font size="3" face="book antiqua" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">Most Civil War battlefields were pulsating with skirmishers, especially by 1864. Anything between one and all ten companies of a regiment might be detailed for the duty, and often there might be two regiments sent forward from each brigade. Yet the standard procedure for these skirmishers was to do no more than probe the enemy, occupy his attention and maybe cause him some loss.<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

Here are some ideas derived from my sleep-deprived brain:

1) I think the skirmisher status ought to be a function of density. The occupants of any hex containing 100 men or less are considered skirmishers.

2) Any regiment in line with more than 100 men can detach 100 men to occupy the hex directly in front of them if it is empty. Kind of like the extended line concept for the Nappy games.

3) Fire against skirmishers is modified by -10% in addition to other modifiers.

4) Skirmishers don't block LOS or LOF.

5) In melees involving skirmishers, the cavalry model applies; only 1/4 casualties to all, and nobody is disrupted. A skirmisher unit that loses a melee will rejoin its parent unit, if applicable, and if a parent unit is meleed, the skirmishers automatically rejoin the parent unit.

Anyway, these are just ideas. I realize there are a lot of flaws in my logic, but I think the whole system is flawed, and these ideas might help make for a better skirmish model than what we have.



MG Mike Mihalik
1/III/AoMiss/CSA


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2007 8:30 pm 
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Very valid point about cavalry riding down skirmishers. But I'd never imagined having lots of skirmishers for this engine, just the ability to create some.

Ideally, it would be best if skirmisher subunits were just an extension of the parent unit - eg. only able to move 1 hex to the front or flanks of the main unit. <b>So, basically, a refinement of the current skirmisher system but represented by an actual sub-unit moving into an adjacent hex rather than abstractly.</b>

So, unless there can be a 1-3 hex leash between skirmishers and parent unit, perhaps for this engine the best solution might be just to get the "S" skirmisher unit to represent small piquets.

While small piquets can already be created (ie. with normal units), these have various disadvantages - they'd have flanks/rear, block LOS and a 25 man piquet would be able to hamper the movement of much larger units.


Brig. Gen. Rich White
3 Brig. Phantom Cav Div
III Corps ANV


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 2:34 am 
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<blockquote id="quote"><font size="3" face="book antiqua" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by mihalik</i>
<br />Here is what Paddy Griffith has to say about skirmishers in "Battle Tactics of the Civil War"

<blockquote id="quote"><font size="3" face="book antiqua" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">Most Civil War battlefields were pulsating with skirmishers, especially by 1864. Anything between one and all ten companies of a regiment might be detailed for the duty, and often there might be two regiments sent forward from each brigade. Yet the standard procedure for these skirmishers was to do no more than probe the enemy, occupy his attention and maybe cause him some loss.<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

Here are some ideas derived from my sleep-deprived brain:

1) I think the skirmisher status ought to be a function of density. The occupants of any hex containing 100 men or less are considered skirmishers.

2) Any regiment in line with more than 100 men can detach 100 men to occupy the hex directly in front of them if it is empty. Kind of like the extended line concept for the Nappy games.

3) Fire against skirmishers is modified by -10% in addition to other modifiers.

4) Skirmishers don't block LOS or LOF.

5) In melees involving skirmishers, the cavalry model applies; only 1/4 casualties to all, and nobody is disrupted. A skirmisher unit that loses a melee will rejoin its parent unit, if applicable, and if a parent unit is meleed, the skirmishers automatically rejoin the parent unit.

Anyway, these are just ideas. I realize there are a lot of flaws in my logic, but I think the whole system is flawed, and these ideas might help make for a better skirmish model than what we have.

MG Mike Mihalik
1/III/AoMiss/CSA
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

The last line of that quote, "Yet the standard procedure for these skirmishers was to do no more than probe the enemy, occupy his attention and maybe cause him some loss." presents the problem with representing skirmishers as independent units in the games. They just weren't that effective. The main use of skirmishers, early warning and forcing the enemy to deploy, are very much represented by ZOC's in the game. There heavy use in 1864 mostly reflected the static nature of the battles allowing small units to operate without getting lost (as in wandering off and not being seen for days). But they were not an effective offensive force as Nappy skirmishers are. To further quote Griffith

"By 1864, when the armies had passed their peak of enthusiasm and energy, both sides quietly but determinedly boycotted the attaque a outrance in favour of indecisive stand-off skirmish action which saved lives even if it did not win the war."

The main problem with the existing system is it doesn't extend out as far as skirmishers could project the fire power of a regiment or brigade and it can't do any damage so other than movement effects its ignored. This could be corrected by having the ZOC representing skirmishers extend out further to the front, maybe 3 hexes, and to the flanks. Also maybe adding an attrition effect for enemy moving through these hexes would make them more effective.

I favor the use of ZOC to represent skirmishers mostly because it locks them tightly to the parent formations. It doesn't look as nice as having units but it simplifies all the problems with linking separate units to parent units.

LG. Kennon Whitehead
Chatham Grays
III Corps, AoM (CSA)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 3:51 am 
What if we just modified the current skirmisher system as follows:

Extend teh "visible" range from two to three hexes.

Extend the "visible" range from the current front-only hexes to include a full 360 degree radius so that we would have "flankers". If not a full 360, then at least a full 180 so that the flanks are covered if not the rear areas.

Movement penalties remain the same for both the skirmishing side and the side advancing into their area.

No detached people running around, but better "visibility" all the same.

Regards,

Brig. Gen. Alan Lynn
2nd Div, II Corps, AoA
VMI Training Staff

God Bless <><


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 3:58 am 
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<blockquote id="quote"><font size="3" face="book antiqua" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by ALynn</i>
Extend the "visible" range from the current front-only hexes to include a full 360 degree radius so that we would have "flankers". If not a full 360, then at least a full 180 so that the flanks are covered if not the rear areas.
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

Unless my math is off, 180 is what we currently have--3 hexes out of 6.

Facing the hexside, our units really have only 3 front and 3 rear hexes, and no flank hexes. Nappy, there it is 2 front, 2 flank, 2 rear.

Gen. Walter, USA
<i>The Blue Blitz</i>
3/2/VIII AoS
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 5:45 am 
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<blockquote id="quote"><font size="3" face="book antiqua" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">This could be corrected by having the ZOC representing skirmishers extend out further to the front, maybe 3 hexes, and to the flanks. Also maybe adding an attrition effect for enemy moving through these hexes would make them more effective.<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

Hi, General,

I think the weakness of the current ACW skirmish system is that, in a system that utilizes OOBs that, as near as I can tell try to account for every man under arms, down to 10 or 25 man escorts, skirmishers really account for nobody. In and of themselves, they can neither receive nor inflict casualties. They can't get up on that hill and see what's down in the valley. They can't hunker down behind the rocks at Devil's Den and pick off artillerymen on Little Round Top, or get picked off in return. For myself, I would prefer something tangible but, as others have mentioned, tethered to the immediate frontal hex. That still isn't realistic; Jack Coggins in his book "Arms and Equipment of the Civil War" places skirmishers at 400 or 500 yds in front of the parent unit. But it at least allows you to peek over the hills and through the trees to see what's on the other side without risking your whole unit.

MG Mike Mihalik
1/III/AoMiss/CSA


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 6:50 am 
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Well, I think I've made my position clear, I'm NOT if favor of detached skirmishers.

But since altering the OOB is simple, I created an alternative OOB that allows each brigade to deploy 4-25man skirmish units. I haven't, nor will I design any that use these units, but others that are wanting to create them will have the opportunity.

I could live with the leach idea, but I still don't like the idea of detachable skirmishers. But no way to independent skirmishers.

Capt. Richard Walker
I Corps
Army of the Mississippi
2nd Brigade, 3rd Division
"Defenders of Tennessee"


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 7:06 am 
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All

I agree with Gen Lynn, the system works fine like it is. If we want to change for change sake why not have straggler recovery or the old BCE'd rule!

BG R Trembley
3/2/IX AoO


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