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 Post subject: Skirmishers in HPS
PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2009 8:02 am 
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Posts: 28
Location: USA
I'm fairly new to the HPS Titles, I've only recently been virtually handed a handful of them within the last month or so...

But I was curious about Skirmishers. According to the Manuel, Skirmishers are Regiments in Line with Skirmishers deployed out front. However, I had been led to believe that they were the whole Regiment thrown into Skirmish formation, similar to in HPS's Napoleonic titles.

I'm curious because of some things I've observed in my most recent and currently ongoing game. My units in Skirmish formation seem to be taking significantly greater casualties from Artillery then my Units that are in line or even, in column. They also seem to be firing with considerably less effectiveness. I realize that a unit in Skirmish would Fire less effectively as you no longer have massed fire, you've now got pairs, or single men firing at a time. However, if what the Rules state is true, then the Loss of Firepower should be negligible, because you're only throwing a Company out into Skirmish ahead of the Main Line.

I guess, what I'm asking is, what are th eModifiers for Units in Skirmish and what advantages do they recieve, aside from More Enemy Unit information?

Lt. Jason Fitch
commanding, 4th Bde
1st Div IX Corps
Army of the Ohio

" At the end of forty-three minutes of a desperate and unequal contest, I found the enemy completely around my flanks. To prevent a useless destruction of life, or entire capture of my regiment, I gave the order to retire. I was Honored to be forced to repeat it, and even then the brave fellow complied reluctantly -- many refused" -- Colonel Bernard Mullen, commanding 35th Indiana Infantry, 1st Irish....Report of the Actions of the 35th on the Last Day at Stone's River


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2009 8:04 am 
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Location: Somewhere between D.C. and the battlefield
<blockquote id="quote"><font size="3" face="book antiqua" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Fitch</i>
I guess, what I'm asking is, what are th eModifiers for Units in Skirmish and what advantages do they recieve, aside from More Enemy Unit information?
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

You got 100 men less in the firing line. And the enemy has to pay +1 MP for entering a hex covered by skirmishers. That's pretty useful when defending in broken terrain.

Gen. Walter, USA
<i>The Blue Blitz</i>
3/2/VIII AoS
West Point Class of '01
[url="http://www.home.datacomm.ch/dierk.walter/2VIIIAoS/persrecord.htm"]Image[/url] Image Image
"... and keep moving on."


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2009 11:01 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 D.S. Walter</i>
<br />[quote
You got 100 men less in the firing line. And the enemy has to pay +1 MP for entering a hex covered by skirmishers. That's pretty useful when defending in broken terrain.
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

Actually, it started as a +1 penalty, but is now normally a +3 penalty, which can slow the enemy down to 1 hex/turn movement in the woods. You have to be careful though, as I have had opponents move a column along a road adjacent to my skirmish unit. This negates the skirmishers, so then line units can move adjacent on the same turn. Not very realistic, but neither are skirmishers as modeled in HPS.

There is no reason I know of that skirmish units should suffer disproportionately from fire. The density modifier (if checked) or flanking fire will cause excess casualties though.

I believe that skirmishers in these games need to be revisited. I don't think we need Napoleonic-type units, but the current model is inadequate. In the old SSI Napoleon's Battles, you could designate the percentage of a unit you wanted as skirmishers; 25%, 50%, 75% or 100%. I think the greater the percentage, the less effective fire was against the unit, but the more effective melee was. I believe something along those lines would be more realistic.

MG Mike Mihalik
1/III/AoMiss/CSA


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2009 11:15 am 
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Location: USA
The HPS implementation of skirmishers is rather limited. As said they reduce the strength of your unit by 100 men which reduces their fire power. They represent the ability of a regiment to detach it's left and right company which in theory were trained as light infantry to deploy as skirmishers in front of the regiment. In reality the so called light infantry only existed for a short time at the beginning of the war. The intent was to have them armed with rifles and trained in open formation tactics while the rest of the regiment was armed with smoothbores and would fight in line. This was quickly dropped in favor of all companies armed with muskets and all being able to deploy as skirmishers if needed.

Normally a regiment in line would still deploy one or two companies as skirmishers. But if the terrain favored it it was not unusual for the whole regiment to deployed as skirmishers.

However the HPS implementation is rather limited. They only have two affects. They exert a zoc into the front hexes of the unit for two hexes which allows them to "see" units in covered terrain as "?" and increases the movement of enemy units through these hexes.

LG. Kennon Whitehead
Chatham Grays
1/1/III AoM (CSA)


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2009 10:48 pm 
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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>
You have to be careful though, as I have had opponents move a column along a road adjacent to my skirmish unit. This negates the skirmishers, so then line units can move adjacent on the same turn. Not very realistic, but neither are skirmishers as modeled in HPS.
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

You could say this represents the skirmishers being driven in by the first unit. Of course then you run into the problem of sequential movement during a single turn (the following units don't lose a part of their MP allowance for the time they'd have had to wait for the first unit to do the driving in), but that problem's omnipresent in this game format anyway.

Gen. Walter, USA
<i>The Blue Blitz</i>
3/2/VIII AoS
West Point Class of '01
[url="http://www.home.datacomm.ch/dierk.walter/2VIIIAoS/persrecord.htm"]Image[/url] Image Image
"... and keep moving on."


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 22, 2009 5:26 am 
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Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2007 1:48 am
Posts: 345
Location: United Kingdom
I've never been able to get a feel for using skirmishers properly in games. Are there any members here who have perfected the "art" of in-game skirmisher tactics? For every benefit to using them there seems to be an equal penalty. I try to avoid their use. Personally, I dislike the penalty of extra MP's being expended by units moving with skirmishers deployed. I certainly don't feel that any game I've ever played has had the result affected by the use of skirmishers.

How important were they during this time period? Are they worth including in-game? should their portrayal be overhauled?

Here is an interesting site I stumbled over while chasing down pictures of civil war officers:

http://www.cfspress.com/sharpshooters/index.html

Brigadier-General Jim Wilkes.
2nd Brigade, Cavalry Division, XX Corps.
AoC. U.S.A.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 22, 2009 6:55 am 
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Hi, General,

The single most important function of skirmishers is to delay the enemy, particularly with the +3 terrain cost. In the woods, you can limit the enemy infantry to 1 hex/turn. In the open, you can prevent enemy units up to five hexes away from closing with you. This is especially useful if you have your infantry in defilade, with artillery covering the open ground. It is probably most useful in phased play where there is no op fire, but almost as useful in single turn. Ideally, the enemy doesn't find out about the skirmishers until he discovers his units couldn't move as far as he thought they could.

Related to this is a tactic I have used when the enemy is trying to screen his artillery with light forces. I stack a skirmisher unit with a large stack and melee the screening unit, not using the skirmisher unit in the melee. If the artillery is directly behind the infantry, it will cost 6 or 7 to limber, depending on limber costs. That means it can't limber, fall back a hex, and unlimber again, unless the cost to limber and unlimber is 3, and it happens to be on a road. Even then, only one artillery unit would be able to do that, because only the first unit would be able to use the road. It can also limit mobility if the lines are two hexes apart by increasing the cost of units to change formation and facing as well. Skirmish units are very effective using these tactics, especially if the terrain is favorable.

MG Mike Mihalik
1/III/AoMiss/CSA


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