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 Post subject: Artillery battery retreats
PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2013 3:20 pm 
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Everyone knows the vulnerability of batteries to melee, unless accompanied by very strong support. We have been discussing an improvement for the system:
Currently if infantry or cavalry melee they can retreat. If they are routed they instantly go to column formation and beat feet!
The proposal is that an artillery battery may conduct a morale check. If it fails it, it stays in the hex and is overwhelmed as is presently the case. By passing a morale check however, the battery instantly limbers up and retreats, and may or may not be routed, or lose guns.
Could y'all give us your take on the vulnerablity of artillery and whether this rule would improve the games?
J Ferry
2LT 2/20th Corps


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 Post subject: Re: Artillery battery retreats
PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2013 4:12 pm 
My simpleton thought is only that if I attack a hex with guns in it and I win then I want to, at least, take the guns. But if they were to retreat from the hex I think they should also incur losses equal to a cannon or more rather than just suffering a fatigue loss. If my enemy is dumb enough to leave guns in the front ranks where I can attack them though I want him to pay for his error rather than seeing the guns just slide away like a slick pig at a BBQ.

Now I'm hungry... :shock:


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 Post subject: Re: Artillery battery retreats
PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2013 5:01 pm 
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I usually don't try to reason with a hungry man until he's been fed, but here goes. You have addressed the situation from the perspective of the guy who gobbles up (still hungry?) the enemy guns, but what about your position as the owner of the guns, on the defensive? Do you feel that artillery in our battles is totally in sync with the way it was in the day, or more, or less? Chew on that and let me know... :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: Artillery battery retreats
PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2013 5:41 pm 
Dinner time is coming up with the first pitch of the Nationals game in about 20 minutes!

Are you asking if we players use the guns the same way they were used historically? Sometimes I think. But also the inability to use indirect fire is kind of a downer. Some players create rolling batteries of massed guns while others spread them out to cover more ground. It's all who you play. As the defensive player I accept the risk and reward of having my guns in the front lines. As long as everyone plays by the same rules things are fair. But if you allow guns to fall back and retreat sometimes, but in other times they dont and are captured... then I can almost see David Elkin now... "why do Union guns ALWAYS surrender! Confederate guns NEVER surrender! The game is broken!" A friendly dig at my old buddy General Elkin :wink:

Interesting idea overall. I'm curious what others have to think.


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 Post subject: Re: Artillery battery retreats
PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:13 pm 
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If infantry and/or cavalry are able to charge and reach an artillery battery, the battery shouldn't expect to survive if the battery loses the melee, whether supported by infantry or not. I don't see that as being ahistorical.

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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: Artillery battery retreats
PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:23 pm 
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Between the two choices, I vote leave it the way it is. Your chance to get away evaporated when you delivered a load of double canister into the enemy ranks at point blank range.

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MG Mike Mihalik
Forrest's Cavalry Corps
AoWest/CSA


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 Post subject: Re: Artillery battery retreats
PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:54 pm 
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I just think of a certain battery in the Trostle farmyard, dealing with Barksdale's brigade and all the impediments of a barnyard, and still able to save some guns. I'm not saying that they should get away all the time, but they should have the opportunity to live to fight another day--sometimes.
And I was not asking if players use their guns historically. I was asking if the guns act in anyway as they did historically--if players have the same options that commanders did.


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 Post subject: Re: Artillery battery retreats
PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 12:35 am 
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I think the idea has merit, in a 20 minute turn a lot can happen, certainly there were cases where a battery limbered and retreated before or as the enemy were upon them.
Case in point, toward the end of Jackson's flank attack at Chancellorsville, Dilger's Battery I, 1st Ohio Light Artillery (6 guns) held the center of the "Buschbeck Line”. Dilger worked his guns to good effect for a while then as the line collapsed from the over whelming confederate advance, Dilger was able to limber and remove three of his guns and with the assistance of the 73rd Pa. two more guns that had lost their wheel horses to infantry fire were dragged off, leaving only one gun captured.
In this instance at least half the battery escaped in a condition that was still serviceable.
It would be good if moral modifiers were considered for; infantry support, number of attackers, if fired on that turn, etc. and that the retreat would end in disorder or rout. It might even make the Artillery Capture Option more realistic (“workable” as in my opinion it isn’t now) as a six gun battery could lose a melee, some guns captured, some destroyed/inoperable and some retreated.

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 Post subject: Re: Artillery battery retreats
PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 6:24 am 
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Thanks. We would just like to see some options between "all" and "nothing."
Another example is the Confederate horse artillery commander at Laurel Hill saving a gun and thumbing his nose at the Yanks!
Quality wise, the edge would be with the yank batteries.
j Ferry
2lt 2/20Corps


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 Post subject: Re: Artillery battery retreats
PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 9:27 am 
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While batteries had a lot more options than the game give them I am not sure the AI can handle them properly. Often a battery retreated before it could be captured. Since it was considered quite a breach of duty to lose your guns they went to considerable trouble to avoid it. The problem in game terms is that it requires the battery commander to make a choice before the gun is engaged. In game terms this means the decision should be made before melee not during.

In Turn play using the Embedded Melee rule the AI would have to decide whether to take defensive fire or attempt retreat. In other words, there has to be a penalty for deciding to run whether successful or not.

In Phased play it is going to be more difficult to implement. Since defensive fire occurs separate from melee and their is no melee fire. In order to have the option to run the battery would have to withhold using defensive fire which would commit it to retreating whether anyone tried to melee it or not.

All this is really hard to simulate in a turn that represents 20 minutes. A whole lot of different things can happen in 20 minutes. Trying to lump them all together in a number of random outcomes is going to be difficult.

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Chatham Grays
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 Post subject: Re: Artillery battery retreats
PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 2:49 pm 
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I would totally support such a change. Having reenacted in a Union artillery battery for many years I know very well just how quickly those guns can be limbered up and moved by well motivated cannoners (even by hand if needed) or pulled back by prolong.

This would be my ideal scenario for it, but I'm not certain the game can make this distinction or not:
If guns supported by infantry: morale for both the guns and infantry/cavalry; if infantry and guns pass all guns should escape; if only the guns pass; some chance for losses.
Alternatively maybe just the infantry passing gives the guns a bonus on their test.

If guns unsupported, then the guns should maybe have a penalty for their morale test
In either case horse artillery should get a bonus; and maybe should be penalty depending on the terrain for the artillery's check.

Reason for the distinction of when artillery has infantry and doesn't have it would be that good infantry will try and cover the withdrawal of the guns. In addition this might help equalize the situation for confederate and union guns, as the generally higher quality confederate infantry would more often give a bonus to the generally lower quality confederate artillery.

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 Post subject: Re: Artillery battery retreats
PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 3:36 pm 
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You mentioned retire by prolong. There is a provision for this in the game, but with so many restrictions as to make it practically useless. The unlimbered gun has to withdraw to a clear terrain hex, directly to its rear, and the hexes must be of the same altitude. Guess what? It can still fire, but is disrupted.
Everybody knows about that provision, right?
Bueller....?Bueller....? :P
J Ferry
2lt 2/20th Corps


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 Post subject: Re: Artillery battery retreats
PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 4:22 pm 
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I knew about it; but yea it's practically useless.

A battery should be able to go up and down most terrain by prolong as well as go to any of the three hexes behind it(but no change of facing. There's no reason you can't move a battery by oblique with prolong. A battery should also probably be able to change its facing once/turn while unlimbered and still shoot, but either become disordered, or at least risk disorder. We've done some battery maneuvers before with 4-6 guns moving about and it doesn't take much to turn a battery's front.

A battery which also doesn't move except to unlimber should probably be able to fire that turn(it had to sit a whole turn under enemy fire unlimbered anyhow). In those cases as long as a fused round isn't needed it's literally less than a minute to get the gun in action. The only cause of delay would be transitioning between a single column/column of sections to line. But the game doesn't account for any difference between a limbered battery in line, in single column, or in column of sections.

We've moved guns uphill by prolong before many times(both by hand and with horses). its not an issue unless the hill is extremely steep.

Edit: actually thinking about it some more, depending on exactly how big a hex is, an artillery battery should probably just be able to move 1 hex in any direction and be disrupted as you'd be surprised how fast an artillery battery can move unlimbered by hand(and of course the limbers and caissons would still be moving by horse.

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Lt. Phillip Messier
7th Reserve Brigade, 2nd Division, I Corps


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 Post subject: Re: Artillery battery retreats
PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 9:49 am 
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J. Ferry wrote:
You mentioned retire by prolong. There is a provision for this in the game, but with so many restrictions as to make it practically useless. The unlimbered gun has to withdraw to a clear terrain hex, directly to its rear, and the hexes must be of the same altitude. Guess what? It can still fire, but is disrupted.
Everybody knows about that provision, right?
Bueller....?Bueller....? :P
J Ferry
2lt 2/20th Corps

Hi, John,

You've got me on the Bueller reference. What does it mean?

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MG Mike Mihalik
Forrest's Cavalry Corps
AoWest/CSA


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 Post subject: Re: Artillery battery retreats
PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 12:33 pm 
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Before I come clean on "Bueller" did anybody get it?
J Ferry
Maj 2/20th Corps


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