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PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:30 am 
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You haven't heard from me, at least in this forum. However, I was recently heartened to hear that the CCC had a set of "optional" (nee "house rules"). My Bad for not checking these out when I first joined back up a few years ago. However, after now checking them and being told that there is a rule...a good house rule...for NOT meleeing while in COLUMN FORMATION...I was confused to not see that rule listed. Unless of course I carelessly read the rules. BTW, the links seem to be broken for the image examples that go with the rules.

I was also astonished also, on the assumption that there was a rule for not meleeing in column, that it has been stated by some that it was a 50-50 popular split of agreement to such a rule.

While not wanting to start a "magilla" over this I am prompted to say a couple of things that might sound provocative and evoke discussion, such usually being a good thing.

About me, please note that after playing in the HPS clubs for 10 plus years...EXCEPT the CCC...I have broken service having returned only recently in 2009 and haven't been terribly active upon my return. Now that the WWII HPS clubs have become defunct, I have turned my attention once again to the CCC.

So my first comment about Meleeing (charging in column) is that John Tiller et.al. meaning Rich H. and Rich W. stated in the ACW forum that the COLUMN formation in the old Talonsoft games and the newer HPS games was strictly a ROAD MOVEMENT function and not intended to be a combat formation/tactic i.e. charging in formation EXCEPT in the Napoleonic arenas. In the Nap battles it WAS a highly used tactic and the formations of course were huge. In the CCC, F&IW, 1776, and 1812 as well as the ACW, the scale is Regimental with a half dozen companies and the tactic of Melee in Column is rare..meaning you will not find many examples of it in the history of those arenas without searching rather scrupulously, and then you may find that "it may have happened" somewhere, sometime i.e. not at all common. It was further maintained that why there had to be a "house rule" concocted was because it was not possible because of some complication of the game engine and code, to differentiate between the INTENTION of it being a road movement formation only and the perversion...or convenient use...of it to CHARGE HOME.

Aside from it not being a common by any means tactic in these (non Nappy) HPS games, I maintain that it is consequently an inappropriate tactic. Think about what a column formation is in regimental scale...how many columns wide would it actually be in particular when charging a unit or units in LINE formation. In the play of it in our games, it is devastating while in reality it would be a relatively "small" hole in the front...being blown through and continuing on as in a cavalry charge shocking perhaps but not doing much damage except to either side "of the hole.".

Well I go on too much...it seems to me that if the designer has stated that its use is an unavoidable (a "loophole"...my word not his) but none-the-less for lack of a better word, it ought to be given more credence than "50-50" and should be respected with an actual entry in the listed "House Rules."

All this said, there is one noted exception when all have agreed in the past for Melee in Column and that is:

To avoid a "Horatio-at-the-Game" defense tactic. Meaning: When the MAP presents a situation or circumstance when a road is a "causeway" and passes over a BRIDGE while the road is flanked on both sides with SWAMP or any other impassible or disrupting terrain where one MUST ATTACK IN COLUMN because one can't cross bridge except in column and thus can't mount an attack over the bridge in LINE or with terrain disrupted units to either side...hence the Horatio-at-the-bridge result.

While my intent was to stimulate an awareness and/or discussion of the column and melee issue, it seems fitting since the premise is "optional/house rules" to bring up a couple of others...admittedly at least "touched" upon in the current "house rules" which are listed.

One is the issue of using a LONE wagon, intentionally or unintentionally, placed atop a high hill anywhere in a LOS of the enemy OR a LONE leader in such situation. Whether done purposely or by happen stance (by routing) such units irrationally cause the AUTOMATIC defensive fire mechanism to draw enemy artillery fire at them wasting, usually, precious artillery ammunition. The regular, purposeful use of the tactic should, it seem be avoided...and if purposeful...just plain gamey.

Likewise and akin to the stated house rule of not conducting "long range scouting" sometimes extremely circuitously, to capture a wagon or raid to pick off a unit in the far rear or flank or occupy a victory hex - it is not appropriate for A LONE LEADER to range out beyond its side's obviously "front lines" to open a LOS to possible enemy formations UNLESS he is also accompanied by a combat unit...mounted infantry or cavalry. Perhaps in a WWII game using some speedy jeep to do so including the tactic of recon by fire is appropriate, but not by a LONE General Grant, or Lee or Arnold unaccompanied with their nose stuck out way beyond the front line. A troop, meaning more than one cavalry unit might well go into harms way in a form of scouting but not a lone leader or cavalry unit. Not only would they not be so bold but if "on high" LONE leaders also draw auto artillery defensive fire wasting the other side's ammo an much more often than not...to no avail...a LONE leader is almost impervious to artillery fire.

One last thing about melee in column. I had an epiphany thinking that maybe the War of 1812 might be an exception to the tactic...it being a war contemporaneous to a degree with the Napoleonic period, but then by chance I found the following paragraph on an 1812 website about formations and tactics of the period:

http://www.warof1812.ca/northpoint.htm

Movement on the battlefield consisted of most regiments or companies moving in column and then forming into line once they had position on the field. Once in the firing line, most units remained stationary in their two-rank formation. In terms of light troops, as stated earlier, American militia forces had at North Point utilized riflemen for their skirmishing need and could deploy line troops, if necessary. The British infantry regiments at North Point were mostly made-up of light troops. This was the case of the 1st British (Light) Brigade consisting of light companies from various regiments to include the 85th Light Infantry. This type of formation was effective in the terrain of North America and could be deployed to fight in line or in the traditional light formation that was to move in pairs, using an extended-order formation.

Notable is the fact as it talks nowhere about "charging" or meleeing in column formation. The reference to "Lights" fighting in pairs doesn't mean a column of pairs, but that broken down for "extended" action...skirmishing...was done in pairs...like in the modern "buddy system" so to speak.

Well you get my drift whether you agree or not. I would add that I was encouraged that pointing out such things, as well as the issue of the HPS list of "optional rules" (at some point in the future), are healthy topics for the forum...we all learn from them and especially if they prompt a little discussion and research into their historical origins. Everyone usually has some experience or sensible opinion or historical knowledge to share. I would also add that a poor agreement to the "set" of optional rules in a single game or a tournament can mean an devastatingly unfair playing field for one side or the other. But that is a discussion for another time.

Thanks for you for your kind and patient attention. Once again, my intent is for the good of the club, not to idly waste anyone's time with controversy for controversy's sake.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 2:26 pm 
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I personally asked Tom to discuss this....I'd also like to discuss in game optional rules too at some point.

I don't have time to go in depth right now, but Tom, where were you looking for the CCC House Rules?? Was it in that post you emailed me??

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 3:54 pm 
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Sir! I consulted the CCC main page, tab under Club Rules/ Optional rules last updated 03/08/2008. The "optional rules" under that tab were several "house rules" related mostly to historical formations and not being gamey with lone scouts going deep behind the enemy's rear with single units.

http://www.wargame.ch/1776/rules.html

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 5:07 pm 
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Tom,

Glanced over your post briefly, so if you hit this point sorry.

The best reason in the EAW engine to not melee in column is scale. In this game engine scale a column is 2 or 3 men wide. A line of two or three ranks does a right or left flank and it's in column. Historically, meleeing from a defile commanders would get a wider frontage before charging through if possible, in the engine we can't in some places so across a bridge, etc in column melee is okay in a game, otherwise you're asking the front 4-6 men to fight while the rest of the company remains in formation watching. Not a good thing.

Getting into the extended line discussion is fun. In our engine we have two linear formations: line and extended line. Historically there were three: close order, and two types of open order (I forgot the names... I think Extended and Open.) Close order was @ 2', Extended @ 4' and Open at 10'. In each formation the files remained, and only two rank formations used the two looser formations. These two formations allowed easier movement throughout N American terrain and was used because of the lack of cavalry. The Brits used 2 ranks throughout the Revolution and War of 1812. The Hessians taking part in the Northern Campaigns also used the 2 rank formations, but the Germans operating with the main army in around New York and New Jersey and in the Philadelphia campaign used 3 ranks. A nice melee punch reserve.

Within the game engine there have been ideas tossed about as to how to reflect these formations. I've come to the conclusion the easiest manner is to play WITHOUT the line movement disruption Optional Rule thereby assuming the base linear formation is the Extended Order of 4' intervals, and that the GAME's Extended Line is actually OPEN ORDER with @ 10' intervals, and I advocate that players keep this in mind when stacking ... basically if you have troops in Extended Line (game) only have one counter per hex. Now for those pesky Germans and French who operate in 3 rank lines, just consider they are drilled well enough to march in CLOSED ORDER without disruption.

So that's my quick take on the matter.

BTW, in FIW, I would advocate using the Optional Line Disruption Movement Rule to help show a difference of how the Euros approached warfare in N America throughout the years. Different commanders had slightly different approaches to tactical drill at this time and the various troops had different drill capabilities. Again, an interesting way to model how the armies evolved over the years.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 5:32 pm 
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Thank you Al...very informative...some I knew, some is new. I like the insight about line disruption. If I understand you correctly and one USES Line Disruption in a FIW game you still have the option to assume "extended" order but keep the men in line formation effectively trading mobility for less lethal meleee effect but at least you don't disrupt when moving. I am embarrassed to say I didn't realize that. I generally don't like playing with line disruption on as it seems that the Americans are penalized enough having usually the smaller sized units compared to the monsters of the British army what with often not many units that are not at least 50-60 men and larger. However, your explanation of the merits of using extended order is really good.

I don't have the energy at the moment but soon I will start a post on the Optional rules and what I know about them from the other forums. I just got sidetracked with this melee in line thing because my opponent and I forgot to bring it up before we started out tournament game....my bad...such is the fortunes of war. The intent is to get some people talking about it and eventually getting something written up to help set up tourneys with a relatively balanced playing field, in other words a set of opts for newbies and tourneys..at least to my mind. Maybe doing so would attract more interest in tourneys and MP games.

Thank you very much for your post Sir! I know that you are a busy, busy guy SALUTE!

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 6:16 pm 
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Tom, you understood correctly.

One thing about the company size in 1776. After Valley Forge the army used a universal drill thanks to Baron von Stueben's training. This resulted in a more uniform approach in battalion and company frontages. Since men and officers were all 'trained' the same they could be interchanged more easily. Before they couldn't be because of training or other non-military reasons. So....

Before Valley Forge you may find a brigade of 640 men in five battalions that have dwindled down to rank & file 240, 160, 80, 80, and 80 men. Since the units could not combine effectively you'd see, in our game, five battalions with eight companies of 30, 20, 10, 10 and 10 men apiece.

After Valley Forge Steuben dictated that the frontage of each battalion should be uniform with a maximum of 160 rank & file files (320 men.) He commanded that units bigger than this would break into multiple tactical units and those smaller combined, disbanded or sent on detail.

This then would cause our 640 man brigade to be broken down into TWO battalions formations with eight companies each of 40 men. At some point, I want to remake The Battle of Monmouth scenario and later battles to reflect this.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 7:16 pm 
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Very interesting. Some of it was familiar but not from my reading. One of our NYS historic sites in the Bureau of Historic Site was Steuben's Cabin above Rome, NY...interesting place and the exhibits there centered in part around his manual of training. Still 40 men sized units make going up against those over 6'-2" Lobster Backs a pretty tough row to hoe. It seems to me that one lesson easy to forget sometimes is to avoid melee with them, but that is easier said than done. Not too much room for clever tactics when the bullies just can push their weight through any line.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 12:41 am 
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House rules are always optional, except in tourney situations. Both players should discuss optional and house rules before the game. Generally speaking, you use them or any others as long as there is agreement.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 6:35 am 
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Indeed agreement is always key. I've enjoyed reading this so far and have learned a lot of historical tidbits too.

Our House Rules page could use a good update, which is what I am hoping we can get out of this discussion.

I wanted to note though that many a time, I have had my 70-80 man units run down by the overwhelming numbers of American companies. Garry Cope just did in two of my 90+ companies at Queenston Heights. Granted I do not melee like I should though. I am meleeing a lot with Tom Phillips at Detroit, but time is against me and he does have the upper hand. We did agree to no melee in column unless they are natives and thankfully so, my natives have carried a lot of work for me in the battle, but I am doomed with the overwhelming amount of American units....so the British are at a disadvantage in ways too and our numbers can be overcome....

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 7:44 am 
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I also wanted to highlight that I thought the lone wagons and leaders were good additions we should to optional house rules too....

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 8:23 am 
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Optional Rules add a lot of interesting "color" to our battles from a number of perspectives. I am interested in developing this thread further and would like to suggest that we break this discussion into multiple threads based on the Option Rule, itself.

What say you?

If, "yea", I'd like to kick-start the one or more.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 9:24 am 
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I am very glad to see that this thread has provided popular and thought to have merit...I was a little worried that it sounded a bit finicky or reinventing a wheel that may have already existed. Thank you and a SALUTE to you all.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 1:18 pm 
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Sure Phil! Please do that, I think it'd be a good exercise for everyone to go through and offer up some debate.

Not at all Tom, these things are good to do! :)

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 2:42 am 
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Guys--I'm confused. As I am new, my question is this: If Line Movement Restriction is On and I move with the unit who is already in line formation, the unit has a chance of becoming disrupted, but if I put the unit in extended formation what exactly does this do? How is properly done? when a unit is in line or column formation? what are the Pros and Cons of this? Lastly, does this apply to the Nap Series as well?

Thanks Guys!!

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 7:27 am 
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More later. The scale in this game is different than the Nap series, can't lump them together. EAW has company level counters all evolutions should be in line. You form columns of battalions by placing these companies one behind the other. You form battalion in line by placing them side by side. Company columns in this scale is only to use roads/trails or cross defiles/bridges.

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