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 Post subject: Column Assault
PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2016 5:57 pm 
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Gents:

Please consider this additional exception to the house rule for no assaults in column:
If an infantry unit in column meets a artillery unit in column the infantry player should have the option to execute a hasty assault. Otherwise, the infantry has to stand there until the artillery unlimbers and fires in its turn, a very unrealistic scenario.
Thoughts anyone?

John Ferry
Overland co-designer


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 Post subject: Re: Column Assault
PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2016 8:18 pm 
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Hi, John,

I am against that house rule period, but the arguments for and against have been debated in several previous threads.

In your example, the column can retreat before the artillery fires, since artillery cannot unlimber and fire in the same phase.

If you are playing turn, and you have enough movement points, you can change to line and melee before the artillery unlimbers, since limbered artillery has no ZOC.

If you don't have enough movement points, it is rougher, as you risk opportunity fire when you change formation and again when you melee. But there is a chance you will receive no fire whatsoever.

If you are playing phase as I do, you need to receive only one shot before you change to line and melee, barring disruption from that shot. That is if the lone artillery unit is brave enough to unlimber in the face of enemy infantry.

But as I stated at the beginning of this post, I don't practice that house rule anyway.

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MG Mike Mihalik
Forrest's Cavalry Corps
AoWest/CSA


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 Post subject: Re: Column Assault
PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2016 11:50 am 
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In the game the "Column" formation is route column intended for movement on roads. It only has a four man frontage. There weapons would normally be unloaded since it isn't a combat formation. It shouldn't be able to melee under any circumstance but because the game has no column of companies for assault across bridges, etc. it has to be used for that. Unfortunately, the game system does allow it to melee.

Historically, no commander would retain his command if he allowed his troops to run into combat troops while still in route column. When regiments entered the battlefield area they would leave this formation.

Without "house" rules restricting column melee in Turn play, the game degenerates into Panzer Blitz tactics.

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General Kennon Whitehead
Chatham Grays
AoT II/1/3 (CSA)


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 Post subject: Re: Column Assault
PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2016 12:27 pm 
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Hi, General,

The original question was how do we feel about meleeing limbered artillery with infantry in column. I'm assuming your answer is no.

I guess a related question would be how do you feel about infantry in column meleeing Frank Stringfellow, dismounted and all by himself.

The embedded melee option was introduced for turn play to eliminate the panzerblitz tactic. It should have succeeded in its purpose.

You say it was a bad idea during the war to attack in route column. I say it is also a bad idea in the game against any kind of credible
defense. Only when a defense is woefully undermanned is column assault a viable option in the game.

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MG Mike Mihalik
Forrest's Cavalry Corps
AoWest/CSA


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 Post subject: Re: Column Assault
PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2016 1:37 pm 
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Mike
I agree with you about the column melee in general, and thanks for steering us back to the original question. Having cut my teeth on HPS while designing Overland, the question of column melee never came up among the testers in any way. It appears to have become embedded within the forum so deeply that it is gospel, and one can be accused of chicanery if one violates the "house rule."

John Ferry
Overland co-designer


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 Post subject: Re: Column Assault
PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2016 4:18 pm 
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The only house rules recognized are those included in the club rules unless there is an agreement prior to the battle between the players to play something otherwise. It is not gospel to automatically include any other house rules and it is chicanery (not sure what that means but I'll use it) to play any other way. The pro-house rules parties are so vocal in the forums that some members do indeed think that those other house rules are club standards - but they are not. Meleeing in column under any condition is allowable unless the parties mutually agree beforehand to put restrictions upon it.

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Gen Ned Simms
1/1/XIV Corps/AotC
Blood 'n Guts hisself, a land lovin' pirate. Show me some arty tubes and we'll charge 'em.
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 Post subject: Re: Column Assault
PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2016 4:51 pm 
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Well said, General Simms! (Use "chicanery" ten times in a sentence and it will be in your vocabulary for life!)
:)
Or so they say....

John Ferry
Commander
20th Corps
A/C


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 Post subject: Re: Column Assault
PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2016 11:40 pm 
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The chicanery chicanery chicanery chicanery chicanery chicanery chicanery chicanery chicanery chicanery of it all.

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General Ernie Sands
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Western Theater, Commander, USA
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 Post subject: Re: Column Assault
PostPosted: Sun Dec 18, 2016 10:23 am 
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mihalik wrote:
Hi, General,

The original question was how do we feel about meleeing limbered artillery with infantry in column. I'm assuming your answer is no.

I guess a related question would be how do you feel about infantry in column meleeing Frank Stringfellow, dismounted and all by himself.

The embedded melee option was introduced for turn play to eliminate the panzerblitz tactic. It should have succeeded in its purpose.

You say it was a bad idea during the war to attack in route column. I say it is also a bad idea in the game against any kind of credible
defense. Only when a defense is woefully undermanned is column assault a viable option in the game.

If you follow official "House" rules other than their restrictions you can melee anything you run into in column. If you are using the optional Melee phase rule the worst abuses of column melee are reduced. It did eliminate the worst abuses of panzerblitz tactics but it still allows something close to it.

Their are a number of serious problems associated with allowing infantry to melee from column. The obvious is it allows you use roads to make deep penetrations that might get you into the rear of the enemy and then melee them at no risk at all. Picture historically a Union regiment near Gettysburg watching a Rebel column march down a road, through the town and then turn and strike them in their rear with a column of four and suffering no combat disadvantage for doing it? Actually a combat advantage since they get a shift for striking the Union rear but there is no negative shift for having been in column. That is 20 minutes this regiment watches a Rebel unit move almost a mile and strike them in the rear in the worse formation they could assume with no penalty. Reality is they would have changed facing, struck them as they moved, and routed them from the field easily.

Columns only suffer receiving fire penalty. Since in Turn play that fire is already halved there is very little penalty for staying in column if you plan to melee. In games like Overland there is an actual advantage to staying in column to close for combat. You are usually in woods which column can move three hexes in instead of two. In Turn play the defender's fire is further reduced by the woods. While the attacker in column suffers no penalty. Not being able to fire isn't really a penalty. It gives you a bonus in melee and it keeps you from activating enemy fire.

But my main objection to Column Melee is that it isn't historical. In the Civil War they didn't march up to enemy units in route column and do anything. They changed to line formation before entering firing range. They sometimes used column of company or division to assault but these units couldn't use roads. They were just mass units for meleeing when they could approach without attracting heavy fire.

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General Kennon Whitehead
Chatham Grays
AoT II/1/3 (CSA)


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 Post subject: Re: Column Assault
PostPosted: Sun Dec 18, 2016 7:50 pm 
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To address the original question--again, since there seems to be no opinion on the specific situation--I will reserve the right in future to column melee any enemy unit of any type which is also in column.
The original intent of the use of the column formation, by the makers of the game, was that when marching from point A to point B, the column was a marching formation, four men abreast and dozens of ranks deep. In combat, it was an assault column formation, such as Upton used at Spotsylvania.
All of the reasons for not using it, including the historical, are valid, however, and I will in all other cases respect the wishes of my opponents.


John Ferry
Commander
20th Corps
A/C


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 Post subject: Re: Column Assault
PostPosted: Sun Dec 18, 2016 10:32 pm 
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John Ferry wrote:
Gents:

Please consider this additional exception to the house rule for no assaults in column:
If an infantry unit in column meets a artillery unit in column the infantry player should have the option to execute a hasty assault. Otherwise, the infantry has to stand there until the artillery unlimbers and fires in its turn, a very unrealistic scenario.
Thoughts anyone?

John Ferry
Overland co-designer

Regarding this original question. The problem I see is we are penalizing the faster unit, limbered artillery, for running into a slower unit, infantry on foot, just because they had the bad luck of the slow unit being the current player. In the real world unless the terrain around the road prevented the artillery from turning they would quickly make a U turn and head back the way they came. Infantry could never catch them.

But in the real world no Infantry regiment would march down a road in enemy controlled area without skirmishers leading the column. They would probably shoot the lead horses.

But I still favor melee not allowed. The column formation handles road movement well but is a very poor simulation of column of companies. Better just to shut it down as a combat formation and give the player no reason to use it. There are just to many ways to exploit its peculiar properties in combat.

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General Kennon Whitehead
Chatham Grays
AoT II/1/3 (CSA)


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 Post subject: Re: Column Assault
PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2016 4:08 pm 
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Assault columns should be allowed in Overland as long as they are being used to assault entrenchments (trenches). The use of column formations in this way is historically accurate -- although the frontage of the assault columns were much wider, the game engine does not accommodate the assault column formation -- so we use the next best thing.

Try assaulting the Mule Shoe salient with line formations. It will be an almost impossible task to take the confederate works.

Outside of attacking entrenchments, I agree that columns should not be used in melees except over bridges.

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BG Ken 'Muddy' Jones
5th Brigade/Old Reliable Division/XV Corps/Army of Tennessee
USA


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 Post subject: Re: Column Assault
PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2016 10:05 pm 
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We have tinkered with house rules wherein units were not allowed to entrench (trenches) until May 7, when both armies got religion about fighting it out in the open field; and assault columns were allowed as of May 10, when Emory Upton demonstrated his technique for overrunning entrenched positions.
John Ferry
Overland co-designer
(Ken Jones is the other co-designer)


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 Post subject: Re: Column Assault
PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2016 10:32 pm 
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What about the situations were assaults in column are inevitable.
AFAIk you can't assault over a bridge in line so you have to use columns. Question is how often did this happen at all.

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Brigadier General Christian Hecht
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 Post subject: Re: Column Assault
PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2016 10:33 am 
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ken jones wrote:
Assault columns should be allowed in Overland as long as they are being used to assault entrenchments (trenches). The use of column formations in this way is historically accurate -- although the frontage of the assault columns were much wider, the game engine does not accommodate the assault column formation -- so we use the next best thing.

Try assaulting the Mule Shoe salient with line formations. It will be an almost impossible task to take the confederate works.

Outside of attacking entrenchments, I agree that columns should not be used in melees except over bridges.

Don't quite follow your reasoning. Why would you want to assault trenches in the game's version of column? You would be slaughtered.

The reason the game's column is a problem is it allows faster movement through woods and use of roads for deep penetrations followed by melees. It gives no real advantage over line in the melee but it does increase the ability of units to slip around and attack from the rear.

The reason Upton used assault columns was so he could create a formation with more depth than line. This allowed him to have overwhelming numbers at the point of contact. Since the game's version of column gives you the same hex density there is no advantage of column when there is no road to give it higher movement rate. If a column of company or division could close with breastworks without coming under heavy fire as was the case for Upton's and the Mule Shoe, it was an extremely effective formation for melee.

However, in the open the Column is a disaster. Barlow's advance toward Barlow's Hill being the best example. To quicken the movement he put his troops in Column formation. I don't remember if it was of Company or Division. Early's artillery caught them in the open before they reached the Hill where they planned to deploy to line. The result was most of the regiments being broken before they could get into line. A cannonball bouncing through a Column of Company is a devastating thing. One shot can take down 20-40 men. If the fog had lifted and the Rebel artillery had been where it was suppose too, the Mule Shoe would have gone down in history as a disaster worse than Cold Harbor. They would have been slaughtered by the thousands before reaching the trenches.

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General Kennon Whitehead
Chatham Grays
AoT II/1/3 (CSA)


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