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 Post subject: Extended Line
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 4:05 am 
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:frenchsalute:

Sirs,

Who still uses the extended lines in JTS/HPS Napoleonic games? The one hex of lines is typical, no problem for us. We often use their to increase of strength firepower or to protect from artillery fire. The line needn't concern the lonely battalion, may be a long line of battalions, side by side, in the scale of regiment, brigade, even in the division. What do you think? Tips, tactics, thoughts. I ask, becouse, what is the difference between a column and a line? The column of battalion is also the line, exactly lines of companies into the depth. :thumbsup:

:frenchvive:

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Last edited by Cezary Pluskwa on Fri Sep 16, 2016 2:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Extended Line
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 4:10 pm 
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There may be times I use extended line, especially if I have a gap that is threatened. Also sometimes line vs column has it's own advantages....depends on the game & circumstance....

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 Post subject: Re: Extended Line
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 6:32 pm 
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I wish units in extended line would not act as 2 separate units but as 1, it's just a large battalion that has such a large front that it covers 2 hexes.
Besides that, playing phases and using the right rules improves the need to extend big battalions into lines because the typical 3-Rank Infantry in "Shortened Line" fires with 75% effectiveness while in "Normal Line" or "Extended Line" it fires at 100%.
This can make battalions above the extended line value less effective compared to being in Extended line.

The typical behavior of that time was to make a battle line as long as possible to have the ability to wrap around the enemy flank if his line isn't as long as yours.

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 Post subject: Re: Extended Line
PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2016 7:00 pm 
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Mssrs.,

One problem with deploying into Extended Line is that the resulting units cannot form square. If your opponent has a strong cavalry force, they will shred your extended line units in the blink of an eye. :french???:

Regards,


Paco

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 Post subject: Re: Extended Line
PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2016 3:08 pm 
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Indeed but at least my test in Austerlitz showed that you can fold back into shortened line and form a square within the movement phase.
Of course unless disrupted but at that point it doesn't matter if your extend or not.

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 Post subject: Re: Extended Line
PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2016 4:06 pm 
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Christian,

Carrying out multiple formation changes (Extended Line to Line to Square) only works if you keep the subunits adjacent to each other at all times. The change into or out of Extended Line must be the first thing a unit performs during its movement phase. Any other movement, such as moving to be adjacent to the other subunit, prevents the unit from executing the extended line formation change.

Moreover, if one of the subunits is routed away or destroyed, the other is trapped in Extended Line for the rest of the battle.

Regards,

Paco

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 Post subject: Re: Extended Line
PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2016 6:40 pm 
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Paco wrote:
Carrying out multiple formation changes (Extended Line to Line to Square) only works if you keep the subunits adjacent to each other at all times.

Well that is what you should do anyway, it's still one unit although spread over 2 hexes, you don't do that to have 2 units instead of one. If one wants that he should use skirmishers.

Paco wrote:
The change into or out of Extended Line must be the first thing a unit performs during its movement phase. Any other movement, such as moving to be adjacent to the other subunit, prevents the unit from executing the extended line formation change.

Indeed there is room for improvement, if the extend line feature would be treated like a separate formation and not like an extension of the line formation one could directly change into and out of any formation be it line, square, column or extended line.

Paco wrote:
Moreover, if one of the subunits is routed away or destroyed, the other is trapped in Extended Line for the rest of the battle.

Yes but we have that problem also with skirmishers. In general a check if the parent unit still exists would be great, if that fails the unit left would become the parent unit and by that would be eligible to do anything a normal unit could do.

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 Post subject: Re: Extended Line
PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2016 8:23 am 
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Christian,

Pretermitting the issue of what improvements should be made to the current game engine, my basic point is that, in its current form, deploying into Extended Line poses significant risks.

This thread was begun by someone who, I assume, is a novice seeking advice on the relative advantages of the extended line formation and when it should be used. It CAN be a very useful formation which I have employed on numerous occasions. However, I would discourage any novice from using it until they have fully grasped the risks it entails and how best to minimize those risks.

Regards,

Paco

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 Post subject: Re: Extended Line
PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2016 11:15 am 
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Paco.... please share the benifits/risks with us.

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 Post subject: Re: Extended Line
PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2016 1:27 pm 
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Here are a few:

1. Cant square with one portion of an Extended Line (EL).

2. Diminished defense value means that it is more vulnerable to melee. (odds heavily in favor of attacker)

3. If one part of the Extended Line routs means that the other part is hung out to dry. It cant reform with its other half until that part rallies.

Note: Extended Line CAN form Column. So Tip: if one half of the EL does rout away put the other half into column and get it off the line.

EL works best when you have:

1. Good cover - like behind a HIGH WALL

2. Lots of reserves behind it. Sure let the other side attack. Disorders their troops and you can attack them in your turn. Just watch out for cavalry charges that can reach your reserves in the same turn that your EL is struck.

But like Paco said, its risky at best to use this formation.

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 Post subject: Re: Extended Line
PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2016 3:45 pm 
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Just to know under what perspective I view the Extended Line:
- Phased gameplay, I think that is the only way to play the engine.
- Scaling of the fire value by unit size, if you look at the calculation you will understand.
First, phased gameplay will conduct defensive fire at 100% and not 50%, big and not to be neglected difference besides the fact that the AI defensive fire in turn gameplay often enough does not trigger at all.
Second the fire value of a unit depends on its size. Simply put:
- Units of 540 or smaller(these are shown as Line)will fire with 100%
- Units of 541 or bigger(these are shown as Shortened) will fire at 75%
That simply means although larger in size a unit bigger than 540 can have a lower fire value compared to a unit of 540 men or less. And you will only solve this if your unit has at least 720 men or above, because only from that size on it's guaranteed that the 75% fire value of such a large unit is better than the 100% of a 540 men or smaller unit.

There are now 2 things one can do.
A. Send out skirmishers to lower the unit size to or below 540 to get 100% fire value.
B. Switch to Extended Line what gives 100% value.
When to do it is the question and that simply depends on the units ability to send out one or more skirmisher units and the size of the skirmishers fraction.
The attached graphic shows the situation for units only able to deploy a single skirmisher unit in Leipzig which uses 1/6 skirmisher fraction. Simply explained:
1. Units of 540 or smaller will fire with 100%(that is the red line up to the point of the sharp drop), nothing has to be done.
2. Units between of 541 up to 648 will fire at 75%(that is the red line after the sharp drop). This can be countered by using skirmishers, by this one lowers the unit to less than 540 men what means that the unit fires with 100% while only the skirmishers fire with 75%(the combined fire value of unit & skirmisher is shown by the blue line).
3. Units of 649 or bigger can't lower themselves below 540 even with skirmishers so it will only fire with 75%(that is the red line from the point where the blue line sharply drops). At that point one must consider using Extended Line to maximize the fire value back to 100%.


Now all the drawbacks when using Extend Line can also be seen as a benefit, just like any other formation that is usually beneficial in some situations but nor formation is beneficial in all situations.
Bill Peters wrote:
1. Cant square with one portion of an Extended Line (EL).

Surely on purpose as a square has a ZOC all around it while line/column has a ZOC only in the hex left and right of its orientation. Squares already block cavalry completely although cavalry could simply ride around them, now if one could make 2 squares instead of one it would be even more problematic than it already is.

Bill Peters wrote:
2. Diminished defense value means that it is more vulnerable to melee. (odds heavily in favor of attacker)

AFAIk the defender isn't more vulnerable, because the damage done to it depends only on the attackign units size and its modifiers. One can say that a single hex of an Extended Line dishes out less damage because of less men in the hex that gets attacked, but if the defender maximized its fire value by using Extended Line he can do more damage by fie what leads to a higher probability of disrupting the attacker what would drop its attack value to 2/3 and by that makes it less likely to win a melee even against a unit in Extended Line. That is what line is all about, stop the attacker by fire.

Bill Peters wrote:
3. If one part of the Extended Line routs means that the other part is hung out to dry. It cant reform with its other half until that part rallies.

One can also see the benefit here, if only one half of the unit is routed the other is still capable of firing unaffected into the column that now shows its flank and by that is even more like to fail a triggered moral check because the rules state that if the unit is fired upon Enfilade 2 is subtracted from the Morale value.
If its about rallying & ordering it it is not much different because is disorder or routed formation changes can't happen anyway.


Besides all this one can also see other benefits:
- Covering 2 hexes instead of 1 with a single unit enables you to form reserves.
- It forces the attacker to spread its fire onto 2 not 1 unit.
- It forces the attacker to spread its melee onto 2 not 1 unit.
So overall I do not advise to use Extended lines under all circumstances but it surely has it's benefits that get easily overlooked b<y the clumsiness of the way it's depicted in the game.
If John ever finds time to modifier a feature I would like to see that Extended Line command as full independent command and not as a follow-up command of the line command.


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 Post subject: Re: Extended Line
PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2016 4:19 pm 
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I quite like using extended line every now and again. Paco and Bill have pretty much covered pro's and con's.
The big downer is the square issue I agree.

The only thing I would add is that its more useful with artillery than infantry in my mind. Breaking 8 gun batteries down into 2 x 4 can be helpful depending on the tactical/operational situation and the resultant stack sizes.

This can increase tactical flexibility. Eg 12 Guns in Leipzig is 1500 men. Put a 300 man light infantry unit with it that has detached some skirmishers and you have a viable defense of the battery and a lot of firepower in one hex within the stacking limit. Particularly good for the Russian artillery in these later titles.
The skirmishers you detached can be placed out the front to enhance defense a little further. Just remember to move them out of the way when you fire.

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 Post subject: Re: Extended Line
PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2016 5:21 pm 
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I am currently playing a small Austerlitz Scenario (33 turns Wertigen) in phased based (and Colin and I played a phased based game about a decade ago!), and I see Christian's points about extended line's usefulness in phased based play.

I will also note that the use of line changed over time for the different armies. By 1809, the Austrians heavily relied on column and "mass" formations (a mass is between a column and a square), and I think much of the French army was fighting in column in 1809 vs. Austria. I am not as sure about 1812, but in 1813-1815, as many recruits were rushed to the colors to replace losses and build armies from scratch, all of the main combatants with the exception of Britain (and maybe Spain) mostly used lines---in this period the % of losses went up drastically as the artillery ratio increased for many armies and the density of formation increased...

my semi-informed 2 cents.

I rarely use extended line except as Bill describes---in a strong position with reserves...

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 Post subject: Re: Extended Line
PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2016 6:51 pm 
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Christian Hecht wrote:
Just to know under what perspective I view the Extended Line:
- Phased gameplay, I think that is the only way to play the engine.

Given that the overwhelming majority of HPS/JT games are played using the "single-phase" mode, this is a non-starter. Since the introduction of the HPS/JT engine with Campaign Eckmuhl I have only ever played using the single-phase mode.

Bill Peters wrote:
2. Diminished defense value means that it is more vulnerable to melee. (odds heavily in favor of attacker)

Christian Hecht wrote:
AFAIk the defender isn't more vulnerable, because the damage done to it depends only on the attackign units size and its modifiers. One can say that a single hex of an Extended Line dishes out less damage because of less men in the hex that gets attacked, but if the defender maximized its fire value by using Extended Line he can do more damage by fie what leads to a higher probability of disrupting the attacker what would drop its attack value to 2/3 and by that makes it less likely to win a melee even against a unit in Extended Line. That is what line is all about, stop the attacker by fire.

You miss Bill Peters' point. A unit in column formation gets a bonus when it initiates a melee. Couple that with the reduced strength of a unit in extended line and the defender is more "vulnerable." Moreover, 1/2 of a battalion firing at 100% is not likely to inflict greater casualties (or increase the odds of disrupting an attacker) than the entire battalion firing at 75%.

Bill Peters wrote:
3. If one part of the Extended Line routs means that the other part is hung out to dry. It cant reform with its other half until that part rallies.

Christian Hecht wrote:
One can also see the benefit here, if only one half of the unit is routed the other is still capable of firing unaffected into the column that now shows its flank and by that is even more like to fail a triggered moral check because the rules state that if the unit is fired upon Enfilade 2 is subtracted from the Morale value.

What you fail to consider is that if one subunit routs away, the other subunit will, at a minimum, disorder if it is adjacent and might even rout away too.

Regards,

Paco

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 Post subject: Re: Extended Line
PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2016 1:04 am 
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Paco wrote:
Christian Hecht wrote:
Just to know under what perspective I view the Extended Line:
- Phased gameplay, I think that is the only way to play the engine.

Given that the overwhelming majority of HPS/JT games are played using the "single-phase" mode, this is a non-starter. Since the introduction of the HPS/JT engine with Campaign Eckmuhl I have only ever played using the single-phase mode.

Well unfortunately the majority seems to have never throughly checked the way the engine works, and even if they did they just want to do turns to get it faster done instead of taking time and playing it like it should be played.
The fact is that when looking at the way the engine works phased gameplay is the way it was meant to be played. Counts for the CW series too. Turn gameplay does not work out and there is a reason for things like the embedded melee rule.

Paco wrote:
Bill Peters wrote:
2. Diminished defense value means that it is more vulnerable to melee. (odds heavily in favor of attacker)

Christian Hecht wrote:
AFAIk the defender isn't more vulnerable, because the damage done to it depends only on the attackign units size and its modifiers. One can say that a single hex of an Extended Line dishes out less damage because of less men in the hex that gets attacked, but if the defender maximized its fire value by using Extended Line he can do more damage by fie what leads to a higher probability of disrupting the attacker what would drop its attack value to 2/3 and by that makes it less likely to win a melee even against a unit in Extended Line. That is what line is all about, stop the attacker by fire.

You miss Bill Peters' point. A unit in column formation gets a bonus when it initiates a melee. Couple that with the reduced strength of a unit in extended line and the defender is more "vulnerable." Moreover, 1/2 of a battalion firing at 100% is not likely to inflict greater casualties (or increase the odds of disrupting an attacker) than the entire battalion firing at 75%.

You have to consider all points here:
- The way melee is calculated in the game forces the attacker to attack with 66,66% more men than the defender just to achieve even odds.
- Considering all the possible boni for an attacker it will just get you at best to 55% so even then you still have to have 11,66% more just to get even odds.
- Units in extended line, unless strangely positioned, can surely fire on the same target. An attacker is usually always in the firing arc of more than a single hex.

Paco wrote:
Bill Peters wrote:
3. If one part of the Extended Line routs means that the other part is hung out to dry. It cant reform with its other half until that part rallies.

Christian Hecht wrote:
One can also see the benefit here, if only one half of the unit is routed the other is still capable of firing unaffected into the column that now shows its flank and by that is even more like to fail a triggered moral check because the rules state that if the unit is fired upon Enfilade 2 is subtracted from the Morale value.

What you fail to consider is that if one subunit routs away, the other subunit will, at a minimum, disorder if it is adjacent and might even rout away too.

Well if they were not 2 but a single unit they would rout away completely, Extended Line gives the chance to bend with the unit that is still there and that is still be able to fire. And this is the worst case. Less worse would be just a disorder of the attacked unit while the other half stays unaffected and dishes out more lead into the assault column.


As I said I would not use it all the time, if you got small enough units go and harass the attacker with skirmishers as long as you can but the really large battalions can surely be put in Extended Line and are a benefit for the defense as it covers 2 hexes with enough men to not make it a cake walk for the assaulter while it allows you to form a reserve that otherwise would have to cover that second hex.

Just some more calculation:
1000 men in Shortened Line with muskets can achieve in average 56,25 casualties
2 x 500 men in Extended line can achieve in average 75 casualties.
These casualty values are without any modifiers, a usual modifier would be the +25% for firing at units in column.
That does not sound much in men but that makes a difference in triggering a moral check.
Lets say the attacker is also 1000 men strong the difference would be:
Shortened Line inflicts 56,25 casualties = 36% probability
Extended Line inflicts 75 casualties = 42,86% probability
Using the modifier of +25% gets you too:
Shortened Line inflicts 75 casualties = 42,85% probability
Extended Line inflicts 93,75 casualties = 48,39% probability

And the way I understand the triggering of moral checks in the Napi series it considers the original strength of the unit.
That makes it more likely to cause a moral check if you inflict heavy casualties on small units compared to low casualties on large units.
That means don't miss the opportunity of dishing out a lot lead into smaller assaulter's so that they are more likely to take a moral check just because you want to stay shortened or even in column all the time.

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