Napoleonic Wargame Club
Edition 11 - August 2000
Publisher: Pierre Desruisseaux
Editor: Ken Jones, British Army
Rob Hamper, Prussian Army
Tom Simmons, French Army
In this Issue ...
From the Editor
Volunteers. Without the generosity of these NWC members, this place, this club, would not exist. In our two year history, there have been a core group of members who have committed their time (countless hours), knowledge, and skills, into making this club a viable organization -- a great place to play games and share with others our interests in history and gaming. By any measure this club has been a real success. It's site attracts not only gaming enthusiasts but amateur and professional historians as well. Indeed, it is a great credit to those who put forth the effort to create this club and who keep it running. Yet, the 'Old Guard', those guys who built this club and have given it life since its foundation, cannot sustain it on their own. The club needs a constant flow of new energy, new blood if you will, if it is to continue to be the great club it has become. So, as some of the 'Old Guard' stand down, I issue a call for new members to step forward and to volunteer in whatever way they can to keep this place up and running and help ensure that it remains an exciting place to visit (even in that means just joining in the banter at the Rhine Tavern). Soon there are going to be a host of new Napoleonic games. New games mean new players. If we want the NWC to continue to be the club for Napoleonic gamers, then we need volunteers to make it so. Heed the call. Get involved. And thanks to everyone who contributes.
No, I wasn't kidding about the new games. There are several that are very close to release, including that Eckmuhl game Bill Peters keeps hinting about and a monster new game on Napoleon's Russia campaign from John Tiller (see the newsletter's 'Game News' section below for previews and reviews). I am sure that some of these games are similar enough to the Battleground games to be incorporated into the club's system. I suggest, therefore, that we all begin to think how the NWC is going to handle this expansion of game options and the new players that hopefully will come with them.
On the battle front there is much to report. The Allied Coalition Tournament wrapped up in June and the Continental armies (the Russians, Prussians, and Austrians) bested the British and their Allies -- claiming 10 victories to the 7 won by the redcoated faction. There were 2 draws. Final results can be viewed byclicking here. Well played gentlemen. On-going is the French-Prussian Westphalia Campaign. To date, it appears the Allied Armies have stalled the French advance and even succeeded in wrestling the initiative away from the Emperor's forces on at least one front. Click here for a short summary of results so far. You can follow all the action though at the tournament's web site. Thanks to all the officers who gave of their time to help organize and run these events.
Elsewhere on the battlefield, the French armies turned in a strong performance for the three months ending in July. According to club records, the French scored 47 victories over the Allied armies versus only 21 defeats. Moreover, Napoleon's forces won deciscively on every battlefield in each of the three months. For a complete breakdown of game results(click here). Again, many thanks to Lt. Col. Ian Travers, Scott's Greys, for keeping the records for us.
In the meantime, there are plenty of battles to be fought. Enjoy the camaraderie, keep your honor intact, and remember the immortal exhortation of Lt. Col. William Inglis of the British 57th (West Middlesex) Regiment at Albuera, "Die hard, boys, die hard!"
Your Humble and Obedient Servant,
K. Jones, Editor
Strategy and Tactics | Dispatches | Regimental Histories | On the Internet | Letters to the Editor
Game News -- Coming Soon
a John Tiller Production
John Pumphrey's Napoleonic Wargame Pages boasts a newsletter with bulletins on upcoming games. With John's permission I have reproduced the NWP's bulletin here for the benefit of our members. For more information on other games (not necessarily of the battleground type) visit theNWP newsletter.
John Tiller, veteran designer of East Front, the Battleground Series, Campaign 1776, Panzer Campaigns: Smolensk '41 and Panzer Campaigns: Normandy '44, has announced the forthcoming publication of two new titles based on his Campaign 1776 game engine. John Tiller's first new title, Campaign Civil War: The Battle of Corinth, will take on the American Civil War and allow players to re-enact the circumstances surrounding the ill-fated battle on and around October 3, 1862, where Confederate troops tried to break Grant's strangle-hold on vital Union supplies in northern Mississippi. The second title, Napoleon's Russian Campaign, will be sure to delight fans of the exploits of France's best-known, vertically-challenged military leader. Publication negotiations for both titles are currently in progress [...]
Breaking News:Again thanks to Darren Knorr, I received notice of the Wargamer Preview of Napoleon's Russian Campaign just as I was about to send this newsletter. Wargamer, noted for the online support it has given to historical wargames, has devoted four pages to the review and Joe Kussey crams them with detail on the new game, certainly sufficient to satisfy newcomers to the Campaign 1776-type engine that is clearly being used here.
The game, we are told, contains ninety-six scenarios and variants including Salta-Novka, Ostrovno, 1st Krasnoi, 1st Polotsk, Smolensk, Gorodetchna, Lubina, Shevardino, Borodino, Tarutino, Maloyaroslavets, Vyazma, 2nd Polotsk, 2nd Krasnoi, Berezina, and Borisov Bridge. Charlie Cutshall, the scenario designer, has spent two years creating these scenarios.
Ardent Battleground players should take note that Mr Kussey has at hand a very early alpha version of the game, and furthermore is unaware of the post-release history of Battleground wargaming itself. We can therefore forgive his tending to laud as new quite a few features which are old hat to us -- he is writing for a more general audience, one which has probably never downloaded a Talonsoft patch.
This is quite clear from the part where Mr Kussey tries so very hard to highlight tactical mechanics of the game as new and different. Naturally he fails. He does mention individual casualties and fatigue measured 0-900. Unfortunately, single-man strength points (which can in fact be implemented currently by a one-line change to the pdt text file) will be rejected by Battleground players until the case of 10-man "remnant battalions" running around throwing out ZOC against cavalry is fixed (vide 1776). From the review we cannot say if it has been. Mr Kussey does not venture any comments on the nature of the tactical combat and whether current Battleground flaws (eg the vulnerability of forward artillery) are cured, although he does say skirmishers "wear out more quickly". He would encourage us to prefer the new model, "especially at the scale of 15 minutes per turn and 100 meters a hex". Huh?
A final quibble. Mr Kussey chooses to refer to the "campaign option" as operational although a simple version of it is known from boardgaming and is never called operational. The essence of a wargame lies where the map is, and this game is clearly "tactical with a campaign option" and not in any way operational.
As I said above, these comments are quibbles by someone who has continued to play Battleground past its expiry date, and overall the review is to be welcomed. Only time and a more worked on version of the game will give us the detailed answers we seek.
Another great review of Tiller's upcoming game can be found atCD Magazine Online. The editors kindly granted permission for me to give you this short snippet. To read the rest of the review please go to CD Magazine's web page.
... Enter Napoleon's Russian Campaign, being designed by Charlie Cutshall and by series designer and developer John Tiller. An adaptation of Tiller's Campaign 1776, Tiller intends this new title to form the basis of a new series, with more (and better-known) campaigns to follow. The philosophy of Tiller and his team is to start small, saving some of the better-known actions (like Waterloo) for later in the series. This lets them both build-up interest in the series (a good marketing tactic) and lets them show wargamers that they're not only series about covering a somewhat less popular (at least in the U.S.) topic, but that they're even going to cover lesser-known-but-equally-worthy topics within the context of the larger conflict. As with the new Campaign Civil War, Tiller hopes to "eventually cover most every thing people are interested in."
When we say, "start small," you should know that we're speaking somewhat comparatively. While Napoleon's actions in Russia occupy a smaller niche in the attention of wargamers, the battles themselves-at least as portrayed here-are anything but small....
GO TOCD Magazine Online NOW
Also coming Soon -- Eckmuhl Campaign Game
From Bill Peters
Our own FZM Bill Peters has been dropping hints for months about his "soon-to-be-released" game centered around the 1809 campaign in Bavaria. Bill has given us a few clues and insights into the game via his rantings and ravings in the Rhine Tavern, but it only leaves us wanting more information. I asked Bill if he could give me something for the newsletter and he provided a short historical description of the miliatry actions which form the basis for the game (click here). Other than that, we have to wait and see. Bill does say it will be very soon.
In this Issue ...
A Tribute to Col. John Elting
Editor's Note: I was researching mapmaking techniques when I came across what I thought were two really inciteful articles on the subject. I found them onThe Gamers Net. With the author's permission, I give you ...
Real vs. Game Terrain
by Paul Saunders
A very important part of any scenario is the map. A good commander will try to use the terrain to his advantage, so the underlying terrain tends to shape the course of the battle. The importance of a well-designed map cannot be overstated; it can make the difference between a good scenario and a great one.
Scenario maps typically fall into two categories; game terrain and real terrain. Game terrain tends to be far more commonplace, real terrain a relative rarity. The differences are fairly obvious. Real terrain will be based on an actual map and attempts to represent the real location as accurately as the game will allow. Game terrain on the other hand is fictitious; it is not based on an actual map. It is simply created by the designer.
Game terrain can be further categorised into two types; realistic and unrealistic. Realistic is not the same thing as real. Often it may be difficult or impossible for a scenario designer to get hold of a map of the actual battle area. If this is the case he has to be creative. With a reasonable knowledge of the typical terrain of an area, plus information gleaned from battle accounts, it becomes possible to design a map that captures the appropriate characteristics of the area and recreates the same challenges that the participants of the battle faced.
Then there's the unrealistic game terrain. This doesn't look like anything that can found in the real world. Purists could be critical of such maps, but there's nothing intrinsically wrong with them. From a gaming point of view, such maps can yield very enjoyable battles. A classic example would be the map boards contained in the board game Squad Leader. You'd be very hard pushed to find any real world locations that looked exactly like those boards, yet they were very carefully designed and many enjoyable battles were fought over them. The tactical challenges they presented were more important than strict realism.
Note that unrealistic does not necessarily imply bad. Whether a map is good or bad depends upon the designer, no matter which type of map it is. It's perfectly possible to have a real map which is badly designed and an unrealistic map which is well-designed.
Pros and Cons
The main advantage of playing a battle on a real map is that you face the same tactical challenge that the original participants did. This is obviously highly desirable for the historical purist.
Real terrain though, is not always very interesting. It's often characterised by large expanses of very similar terrain interspersed with small areas of complex terrain. This would produce a largely boring map with just a few interesting bits. There's also the limitation that the game's representation of terrain is necessarily simplified. This makes it impossible for a map to ever be totally realistic; the best that can be hoped for is a reasonably accurate approximation of the terrain. In most cases this should be satisfactory, although there are some exceptions.
This terrain presents you with the tactical problems typical of the area in question, and recreates the atmosphere of combat there, even if the actual details of the terrain are not accurate. It also offers the designer the opportunity to create a more interesting map than might have been the case in reality, without suffering from the disadvantages of unrealism.
Not strictly historical.
Good game maps often have a variety of terrain features carefully arranged in relation to one another so as to stimulate enjoyable gameplay. With sufficient effort, taking account of things like firing ranges and movement factors, a well-designed game map can make for a very satisfying and challenging battle, in spite of it not being realistic.
Not remotely historical. At it's worst; a badly designed game map can ruin a battle. Such maps often feature large homogenous areas of the same terrain type which are often neatly separated. Not only are they highly unrealistic, they're not much fun to play on either. These are generally the result of laziness and carelessness; it would be better to use a randomly generated map in this instance.
Designing Realistic Terrain
In the real world, terrain is shaped the way it is for many reasons; it's not completely random. Obviously there are many different types of terrain in the world, created by a huge range of different factors. It would be far beyond the scope of this article to try to explain all of the factors involved, but I shall provide some general pointers. These suggestions apply mainly to European terrain, as opposed to desert or jungle. I am basing most of these suggestions on my knowledge of the UK. Whilst there are bound to be exceptions, I am assuming that many of the characteristics of Britain are shared by other parts of Europe.
Geology - Hills and Rivers
The shape of the land is primarily determined by the underlying geology. Of course there are many different types of geological structures, but most of Europe is sedimentary in nature. This basically means different layers of rock which have been tilted, folded and faulted. Many landforms, which may appear to be a jumbled mess at first glance, often have distinctive patterns within them if you know what to look for.
Rock layers are often tilted at a particular angle, so the land may become gradually higher in one direction. As one layer changes to another there may be a sharp drop, an escarpment. This will result in a fairly continuous line of steep slopes, although faults often occur, which can displace the edge of the escarpment, breaking the continuity.
Rivers follow two rules; they always flow downhill and they always follow the path of least resistance. If the land slopes in a particular direction the rivers will naturally tend to flow in that direction. However, faults take precedence over this and often occur at a different angle to the general slope. When a river reaches a fault line it tends to erode into it and follow the fault. So the main rivers tend to follow fault lines with other smaller rivers joining them from the direction of the general slope.
As an example, in my local area the land slopes from north to south, but there are many faults running north-east to south-west. As a result there are a number of parallel main rivers running from north-east to south-west, with many tributaries joining from the north. So all the rivers run in one of two directions forming a very clear and distinct pattern. Of course, many of these rivers have localised twists and turns in them, but the overall trend is very simple.
Coming back to escarpments, since rivers usually run along faults and faults cause escarpments to be displaced, it's common to find that the rocks on one side of a valley don't match the rocks on the other side. So on the east side of a valley you might find a steep north-facing slope, whereas on the west side of the valley there may be a similar steep north-facing slope, but a few miles down the valley. It's the same escarpment but the fault has displaced it.
Different layers of rock don't always produce escarpments, sometimes there may be no difference in the shape of the land but there may be other clues. For instance, the rivers may suddenly change direction. There's one area I know where three rivers run parallel, north to south. When they reach the edge of the sandstone layer they all suddenly turn east.
If the above sounds overly complex, don't worry about it too much when designing a map. The main point to remember is that landscapes often possess a pattern. Rivers often run parallel, tributaries often join from the same direction, and many hills possess similar shapes. The same patterns often repeat themselves throughout the whole area. No two hills or rivers are ever identical, but there are often many similarities.
More about Rivers
The area around the source of a river is often boggy, even high up in the hills.
When a river flowing down a valley meets a layer of harder rock, the river backs up, forming a lake. If there are other rivers running parallel in adjacent valleys, they will often have lakes too, in the same relative positions.
When rivers flow across flat terrain they become wider and deeper. They start to meander across the land and produce the familiar 'S' shape. Sometimes the 'S' becomes so wide that the river breaks through the narrowest point leaving the bend behind. This forms what is known as an ox-bow lake, a semi-circular lake next to the river. These gradually silt up, becoming bogs and eventually normal terrain.
When very large rivers approach the sea they tend to diverge, forming a delta. The land in-between will tend to be very marshy.
This depends on soil and climate. The natural vegetation of most of Europe is temperate woodland. However most woods were cleared long ago to make room for farmland. Most of what natural woodland remains tends to occur in narrow steep-sided valleys that aren't easily accessible.
There are also a number of "managed" forests, which aren't strictly natural. These forests often have straight edges and good road access. Possibly the largest natural forest is in the Ardennes.
Wind has an effect on where trees usually grow. The strongest winds in Europe usually blow from the west. Many west facing coasts are devoid of trees. Trees are commonly found in sheltered valleys, on the eastern slopes of hills and on the eastern slopes of coastal headlands.
Heavy industry also has an effect on forests. I remember many years ago trees were planted to the east of an oil refinery and steelworks. They're all dead now. So a forest immediately to the east of industry is unlikely, and the same probably also applies to crops.
There's very little lowland in Europe which isn't farmed, although farmland doesn't necessarily mean crops. A lot of farmland is devoted to grazing animals, and is basically clear terrain with hedges or walls. This is typical of hilly areas. Crops are usually grown on the flattest richest soils, often near large rivers and coasts.
Don't forget that farmland needs farms, and farms need road access. Unlike the huge expanses of farmland in the central United States, much of Europe's farmland is characterised by countless small farmhouses scattered throughout the landscape, and many small fields lined with hedges and walls. Most "wild" land, typically rough moorland, is usually only found in the hills.
Towns and villages didn't grow up just anywhere; there are good reasons why settlements were founded in particular locations. These days, with the advances of transport and technology that we now have at our disposal, it's possible to found a settlement almost anywhere, even in the middle of a desert. Most settlements in Europe though, originated a long time ago, long before such advances were available. So what were the main factors that influenced their choice of location?
Firstly, a settlement must have a good water supply; this means a river or a lake. A large settlement requires a large water supply, that's why many of the world's biggest cities occur on large rivers or lakes. Secondly, they require food. Good farmland provides this, often found on flat areas besides rivers, and so does fishing, which makes the coast a good location. It's a good idea to combine these two factors; so many large settlements develop where a decent size river meets the sea.
Crossing rivers was a difficult pastime in olden days, so people would often cross at fords, a place where a river is relatively wide and shallow. Naturally many towns and villages grew up around these crossing points, Oxford is a good example of a town whose name reflects that. Hard to believe now, but London originally grew up around a ford. The River Thames was much wider in the days of the Romans, it has since been hemmed in by embankments so the river is much deeper now.
Rivers which are wide and deep and surrounded by marshland by the time they reach the coast are not suitable locations. The best crossing point usually occurs some way inland and so a settlement develops there instead.
With coastal settlements fishing is important, therefore a sheltered bay is preferable to an exposed position. Since the wind generally blows from the west, a settlement would tend to develop on the west side of a bay, with its "back to the wind" as it were.
In hilly areas, in valleys that run north-south, settlements typically develop on the west side of the valley. Not only is this side most sheltered from the prevailing wind, but it also faces east and thus gets an early sunrise. If a settlement is built on the east side of a valley, the adjacent hill tends to block out sunlight until much later in the day. In the winter this is particularly noticeable. Any overnight frost will tend to linger far longer on the east side than the west.
The same principle applies to east-west valleys. Settlements will usually be built on the northern side facing the sunny south. The north facing slopes on the southern side of the valley will rarely see any sun during the winter and frost and snow can linger there all day, even though it has melted everywhere else.
Of course there are many exceptions to these rules. Some settlements develop around natural resources, iron or coal for instance, and can therefore exist in otherwise inhospitable locations. These settlements will of course have industrial buildings associated with them.
Having established the settlements, it then becomes necessary to travel between them. Like rivers, roads usually, but not always, take the path of least resistance. Hence they will tend to follow valleys, often staying on one side of a river, but crossing bridges wherever the river meanders. Roads will usually contour around hills, they rarely go over the top if it's easier to go around. If a road does need to cross a hill it invariably does so at the lowest point, a pass, which is usually a junction between two opposing valleys. A road never leads to the summit of a hill unless it has a reason to do so, if for example a radio or television mast is sited there.
Main roads tend to run between the main settlements, with allowances made for hills and rivers. Many bridges are built at what were once fords, and that may cause another settlement to develop if there wasn't one there originally. Sometimes main roads between distant settlements will cross one another in the middle of nowhere. Very often a settlement will spring up at that point, not because it's a good location in it's own right, but because it presents a good opportunity for trade.
Roads in Europe rarely ever follow straight lines as they often do in the States. Even in flat farmland roads twist and turn for no apparent reason. The reason is the farms. They were established long ago and the current road network grew up out of the existing tracks and paths between the farms. These tracks and paths developed for convenient short distance travel, not convenient straight line distance between towns. Besides, when the road network was being established Farmer Giles probably wouldn't allow you to build a road through his fields so you had to go around instead. These days the government forcibly purchases land in order to build motorways through an area, but back in World War II the road network was still pretty antiquated, as it still is away from the main roads.
European Settlement Peculiarities
European towns and villages grew up in a very haphazard way. There was no forward planning, no convenient rectangular grid road layout as is common in the States, towns just evolved naturally, with the end result that most of them are a confusing mess. The city centre grid layout of Steel Panthers is totally inappropriate for most European towns and cities. Most streets regularly twist and turn and are usually very narrow, although the main routes in and out of a city tend to be wider and straighter.
The wide open spaces you get between buildings in Steel Panthers are very rare. Buildings tend to be very concentrated, making full use of the available space. Open spaces usually only occur as parks, on steep slopes, and on waste ground after buildings have been demolished. Since World War II there has been a policy of promoting more wide open spaces, but many areas, particularly during the war, were very congested. I imagine this is true of many European towns and cities, but there may be exceptions.
Houses have a habit of following roads out of a town or city, so rather than having a circular or square shape, many European settlements possess a kind of star shape, with the points of the star being the buildings following the roads out of the city. The roads usually originate at the centre and radiate outwards in all directions like the spokes of a bicycle wheel. Various other roads then connect the spokes together, in much the same way as a spider's web. This pattern can be clearly seen in London.
Virtually all buildings in the UK are made of brick or stone; this is probably due to most of the forests having been cut down a long, long time ago. Farmhouses are also made of stone and are usually very solidly built. The farm I lived in a while back had walls of solid stone two feet thick with very small windows. A very easy place to fortify. I imagine the same is true for many parts of Europe, although areas like the Alps, Austria and Scandinavia have a high proportion of wooden houses, possibly the Ardennes also.
As far as building types go, many Steel Panthers maps feature settlements with a fairly random assortment of building types. In reality, most buildings in the same street will be of the same type, many areas are well-known for their regimented rows of buildings. You may have a number of streets made of identical building types, and then suddenly they'll change to a different type of building built in a different time period.
Occasionally you'll get an odd building quite different from those around it, built in an earlier time period. These often occur at intersections. Larger buildings may also occur, scattered seemingly at random in amongst the regimented rows.
All of the above suggestions are merely guidelines, not unbreakable rules. For every rule there is an exception, and there are bound to be many instances where real life terrain doesn't match the guidelines above. However, for every case that doesn't match, there will be a reason why not. Terrain is not random, it merely appears that way. There is a reason for everything. If you bear these reasons in mind when designing a map, the result may be indistinguishable from the real thing, and should certainly contribute to a more interesting battle.
The Front Page | Feature Articles | Strategy and Tactics | Regimental Histories | Dispatches
by Paul Saunders
The ideal map to use for a scenario is one based on an actual map of the area, the more detailed the better. Often it may be difficult or impossible to get hold of such a map, but assuming you can get hold of one, just how do you go about translating it into game terrain? One option may be to simply look at the map and "draw" a rough copy until it looks about right. This is a very lazy approach and not at all accurate. The distance between different terrain features may have a critical bearing on the battle with regard to weapon range. Ideally the map should be as accurate as possible.
Using A Hex Grid - Two Techniques
For best results it's necessary to overlay a hex grid onto the map. There are different ways of doing this. Here are two that I favour.
ART PROGRAM: Using an art program such as Corel Draw or similar (I favour Corel Xara), it's possible to load the map into one layer then superimpose a hex grid of the correct dimensions on a second layer. Obviously care must be taken to ensure that the scale of the map correctly matches the hex grid.
With the first two layers in place, you can then create a third layer onto which you can draw the terrain features. These can be very simple, e.g. contour lines for hills, green circles for trees, grey and brown rectangles for buildings and so on. The end result can be printed out and then simply copied in the map editor.
This approach does have it's problems though; not everyone owns or is familiar with using such programs, setting up the scale and the hex grid can be awkward, and it's more time consuming overall.
A variation on this is to use a paint program, such as Photoshop or Paintshop Pro. Again it would be necessary to use layers; one for the map, one for the hex grid, and one to draw on. I've never used this type of program for this purpose, but the principles are basically the same.
I've provided two hex grids of 100x80 hexes (specifically for Steel Panthers) in GIF format, with the white colour set as transparent. These are in two sizes, a large hex grid and a small hex grid. It should be possible to load these into one layer of an art or paint program, the exact details of how to do this will vary with the program being used. Alternatively you could print out one of these hex grids as a base to draw on if you prefer that method of working.
(DOWNLOAD: hexgrid_l.gif 228 kb)
(DOWNLOAD: hexgrid_s.gif 108 kb)
SQUARE HEXGRID: The simplest method, and the one I prefer, is to draw a small "square" hex grid (a series of offset squares) onto thin clear plastic (one of those flimsy CD envelopes would be ideal). This can be placed over the map, section by section, as a guide while you work in the map editor.
It's easy enough to draw a small grid to suit the map scale. There's a potential problem though; since hexes are not squares the relationship between height and width is not the same. Assuming the same hex-grain as in Steel Panthers, for every five hexes of width you need six hexes of height, otherwise the vertical scale of the terrain will be wrong.
The following example should make what I've said clear. (insert sq_hexes.gif)
Having decided on which method to use, you can then start work on converting the map. The process may seem straightforward at first. Look at the terrain underneath each hex and set the terrain type to whatever's underneath. Unfortunately, it's not quite that easy.
Terrain Simplification - Design For Effect
Initially you may hope to make an exact copy of the map. It will soon become apparent that this isn't possible. This is partly due to game terrain providing only a small range of terrain types, partly due to quirks of the game's map editor, and partly due to the nature of hexes; forcing what may be quite complex terrain configurations into much simpler ones.
Whilst it can be unsatisfying to have to simplify complex terrain into simple terrain, you can at least console yourself that simple terrain is far more suitable to play a game on. If it were possible to represent complex terrain accurately, you'd have a lot of problems fighting a battle over it.
Since simplification will prevent a map from being totally accurate, this will affect certain aspects of gameplay. Simplification will often force you to make difficult choices; one choice may be more accurate, whereas the other choice may contribute to more realistic gameplay.
Positional accuracy may seem most desirable at first, but this can sometimes lead to unrealistic gameplay effects. From my experience I consider it better to "design for effect". Intentional inaccuracies can often make the gameplay more realistic.
Relative Accuracy - Spreading Out The Detail
Real terrain often consists of large areas of very similar, often boring terrain, interspersed with small areas of complex and interesting terrain. Consider this example; Assume there's a narrow river with a road running parallel on one bank, and a line of trees running parallel on the other. The width of all three features is less than the width of one hex. On either side are large open areas.
To be accurate you'd have to place the river, the line of trees and the road all in the same hex row. This however, would be hopelessly unrealistic for gameplay.
Consider the effects of the situation in reality. The river would form a barrier between the road and the trees. Units in the trees could fire from a position of cover at units on the road. Units behind the trees would be invisible from the road.
The best solution would be to expand the width of the three features; create a line of trees in one hex row, a line of river hexes I the next hex row, and a road in the third hex row. The placement of these features wouldn't be accurate in an absolute sense, but they would be relatively accurate. The gameplay would be realistic since the tactical problems of the terrain would be the same as in real life, even though the distances involved would be wrong.
The fact that there are large open areas on either side means that there is room to expand these features without compromising the rest of the map. Cramming everything into one hex row would be silly and unplayable, however reducing a ten hex wide open area to nine hexes would be of no real consequence. It's more important to represent the complex terrain accurately, even if only relatively so.
Concentrated Terrain - Abstract Representation
Of course, if there's a large concentration of interesting terrain, expanding terrain features can have a domino effect. Other vital terrain may be pushed out of position in the process of expanding terrain in this way.
It may be practical to continue the expansion of detailed terrain over a small area, provided there's a buffer zone of boring terrain nearby to expand into. But what if that's not the case? In this instance the only recourse is to leave detail out. The idea here is not to copy the terrain exactly, but to represent it abstractly in such a way as to capture the flavour of the situation.
Take this example; four parallel rows of buildings interspersed with three parallel roads. Normally this would require seven parallel hex rows. The actual width though is only five hex rows. Now you could expand the terrain as per the previous example, but it would be simpler to just omit one of the roads and one of the building rows. The essence of the situation would still be there, rows of roads and buildings, but the exact number would be different. This should be of little consequence to gameplay.
This kind of situation often occurs with streams and rivers also. By the same token, multiple buildings in a small area can often be represented by just one building.
Small Terrain Features
Often you will find a feature which doesn't fill the whole hex, like a small patch of trees. Do you make it a woods hex, or leave it as a clear hex?
The answer really depends on the surrounding terrain. If there are a lot of woods in the vicinity, another woods hex would just clutter up the terrain even more. It's probably best to leave it clear in that instance, since it would be of little consequence in relation to the many other woods hexes, and would only serve to block the line of sight even more.
On the other hand, if the surrounding terrain is predominantly clear, that small patch of trees would take on a significance far greater than it's actual size would indicate. Troops in the area would use it for cover because it's the only cover available. In that instance a woods hex would be appropriate.
A similar example is quarries. There are many small quarries in my locale, nowhere near large enough to fill a whole hex, but in spite of their size they would offer excellent cover for troops, who I am sure, would take advantage of such a feature. Consequently a hex of rough terrain would seem appropriate to represent them.
Another example is farmhouses. Sometimes these occur in great numbers over a small area. To represent every one might give you a countryside full of buildings. In such a case it's probably best to include only the largest ones, or ones in a position of strategic importance. In an area largely devoid of buildings, even the smallest ones would be significant.
A common problem occurs when a terrain feature coincides with the border of two hexes. Which hex do you put it in?
If the terrain feature occurs more in one hex than the other, that might seem the logical choice, but look at the line of sight effect to see if it corresponds to reality.
For instance, there may be some trees in front of a building, blocking the line of sight. Both may be on hex borderlines. The trees may be mostly in the left hex so you place them there, but the building may be mostly in the right hex so you place it there. Although both features have been placed as accurately as the hexes allow, the trees have been moved to the left but the building to the right, so the building is now visible, which is obviously wrong!
Moving the trees to the right may not be so accurate but in so doing they would block the line of sight to the building. This would make the gameplay more realistic.
A similar problem can occur when placing roads. Often when roads run along hex sides, it can be difficult to decide which hexes to put them in. Unless other terrain forces the roads into particular hexes, it's best to try to match the same shape as the actual road. Hexes have an annoying habit of putting bends into otherwise straight roads. Often this can't be avoided, but it can sometimes be used to your advantage. I remember in one instance when I was placing a road, there was a kink to the right. When placing the road in the nearest hexes it somehow ended up with a kink to the left. It was as accurate as it could be in hex terms, but the shape was clearly wrong. I ended up placing the road in the wrong hex to give it the right shape. I also moved one or two nearby terrain features so that they were in the correct positions relative to the road.
Accuracy is all very well, but it's so easy to become immersed in the details that you forget to take a step back and look at the overall shape of the terrain. However accurate the details you should always zoom out and look at the overall effect. If it doesn't look right, something is wrong.
Making lots of little adjustments, such as suggested above, can sometimes throw one part of the map completely out of whack with nearby areas. It may be necessary to move a whole section of the map one hex to the right. This is very annoying to do, but the end result will be well worthwhile.
Dealing With Hills
This is by far the most complex, difficult and time-consuming aspect of map conversion. Unless you're converting a particularly flat area, the three-dimensional shape of the land is often highly convoluted and can be extremely difficult to represent accurately in a game map.
Talonsoft's Campaign Series provide no less than twelve hill levels, and the height of the levels is user configurable, so it's possible to represent hilly terrain quite well in that game, although the stepped nature of the different levels doesn't look particularly realistic.
The hills in Steel Panthers are much smoother looking, but there are only three levels, each of fixed height, which is pretty limiting. The following advice pertains mainly to Steel Panthers hills, although the same basic principles would apply to other games.
An obvious approach to dealing with hills is to look at the highest and lowest altitudes to ascertain what the altitude difference is, then divide the result by the number of hill levels. To take an actual example from a map that I've done, the range of heights was from sea level to 600 feet. When you divide by three you get 200 feet, so level one would be 200 feet, level two 400 feet and level four 600 feet. This is nice and simple, and the obvious approach would be to simply trace the 200, 400 and 600 foot contour lines. However in practice this proved to be totally unsatisfactory.
The map in question consisted of many undulations between 150 and 250 feet, with four prominent hills rising to about 600 feet. This resulted in a map which was mostly a completely flat level one surface, depicting none of the complex undulations that actually existed. In addition, there were a number of coastal cliffs rising to only 100 feet which were missed out entirely. The shape of the land looked completely wrong.
I quickly realised that the shape of the land is far more important than it's actual height. Where hills are concerned the most significant features are hilltops, ridges, cliffs and crests. These often bear no relationship to contour lines. A crest of a hill can rise diagonally upwards for instance.
In game terms, the main effect of hills is that they block line of sight, and when you're on top of them they provide a good view of lower terrain and other hills. It's important to realise that a 30 foot high ridge can block line of sight just as effectively as a 300 foot high ridge. A concave slope may provide no line of sight hindrance to the top of the hill, whereas a convex slope usually has one or more critical crests which block line of sight to higher levels.
In creating game hills therefore, it's very important to identify the crests and ridges, in other words the line of sight obstacles. When looking at contour lines these are easy to spot; closely packed contours indicate a steep slope, where these give way to more widely spaced contours you have a crest. It's best to make the hill slopes follow the crest lines whenever possible, and reserve the highest hill levels for the hill tops themselves.
The actual height of the hills and crests is not usually very important in a game. The heights of Steel Panthers hills are far too low anyway. On my example map I have 400 foot hills on one side of the map which are the same height as 600 foot hills on the other side of the map. In theory, units on those hills shouldn't be able to see one another, but in practice no one is likely to attempt firing a gun that far anyway. Aside from the visibility considerations, the hit chance would be negligible, so the issue is irrelevant. It's more important to make the shape of the terrain accurate over short distances, within which most of the combat will take place, than long distances.
The most important thing is to use hills to create an accurate three-dimensional representation of the line of sight situation that actually exists, rather than worrying about actual heights. Study the map carefully, try to visualise what terrain would and would not be visible from particular vantage points then try to place hills to represent that.
Many errors will only be noticed when playing the game. It's a good idea therefore, to create a few test battles and have a few fire-fights over the area. Doing this can easily bring line of sight peculiarities to light. I've often thought, "I should/shouldn't be able to see that from here". In one instance enemy infantry shot at a vehicle on a road from a nearby forest. That didn't seem right. When I checked I found there was a very gentle ridge between the two. In no way did it qualify as a hill, but it was sufficiently high to block the line of sight, and in a game that should be the main consideration.
On my example map the hill levels on the west of the board represented approximately 150, 250 and 600 feet, changing gradually to 200, 300 and 400 feet on the east side of the board. It's not accurate in a strict sense, but it looks right and feels right.
At the end of the day, it's very important that the map look correct. If it looks correct and plays realistically, you can consider that a success.
The Front Page | Feature Articles | Strategy and Tactics | Regimental Histories | Dispatches
With Rob Hamper
The Editor has asked me to submit a little guide to using graphics within the discussion boards. I had taken to doing small, continuous battle reports in the Dresden Mess and 'Muddy' Jones figured that more people might be interested in doing the same.
Before we start, let me point out that you get one shot at making it correct as there is no way to edit what you have written to the discussion board, as you all know. So, if you misname the file in the message board, you'll have to write a correction message with the correct address. A better way though is to go back to the server that the image is stored on and rename the file to the mistaken name. But what about if it's a typo and you have no way of knowing what you called it? Ah, then use the View-Page Source option of your browser and look for the code that indicates your file name. When you find that battle1.gif was actually written as bottle1.gif then you have the reason for your grief. Go back to your server and rename the battle picture as bottle1.gif and everything will be fine. That's experience talking!
Obviously, the discussion board has to allow the use of HTML script. Not all boards do, a good indication is if the board provides for the use of little icons to mark messages; those little smiley faces and lightbulb pictures that accompany your message header. Alternatively, you can try typing in the text and see what happens. If the board doesn't recognize HTML, then all that will happen is that you get to see your source code (exactly what you typed).
(It's a long process to explain how to upload the image and how to correctly write the address. I assume that you already know how to do this. If not, contact the Editor or myself and, if there is enough demand, I will write an article on how to do it. I also assume that you have access to webspace in the first place.)
This line, in a nutshell, is what you need to view an image on a discussion board. This will tell the discussion board to show the image battle1.gif and where to find it. I normally place it at the bottom of the message text so that the image appears after all the words. It means fewer hassles with alignment of the text. However, there is nothing stopping you from putting it anywhere in your message.
I can't stress enough how important it is to get this right the first time around. This line has to be perfect otherwise the image won't show up and there's nothing you can do about it. Sure you can write correction messages, but we also don't want to tick off our fellow members with lots of needless messages, nor do we want to crowd the board with unnecessary threads. Again, speaking from experience.
I have found the best course of action is to write your entire message in an HTML editor (Netscape Composer etc.) and test the message first. If it works OK and you're happy with it then Copy the entire text and Paste it into the message board. If you have made the message from a complete webpage, it is only necessary to copy the text between the <BODY> and </BODY> codes. All the extra webpage source code is not needed for the message board.
Now, if you want to tidy up the appearance of your message, then there are a couple of things you can do. First, add the <P> code. This is to start a new paragraph and so there will be a jump of two lines from the last bit of text before the image is placed.
If you use the code as I've written it, the image will appear to the left margin. If you want it centred, then surround the the code with <CENTER> and </CENTER>:
This line, when placed at the bottom of your message, will place the image at the bottom of your text, two lines below and in the centre of the page. The appearance is quite tidy. If you have two images, then you can do this:
<P><CENTER><IMG SRC="http://home.webserver.net/~user/battle1.gif"><IMG SRC="http://home.webserver.net/~user/battle2.gif"></CENTER>
which will place two images side by side and in the centre of your page. It helps if the images have been cropped to the same size.
Speaking of which, it's a good idea to indicate the size of your image in the code. The browser then knows how much space to reserve for the image and can load text around it. This saves on loading times:
<IMG SRC="EAGLE3.gif" WIDTH="83" HEIGHT="79">
Two more tips to save on load times:
If there's more interest, I'll show you how to make and use thumbnails, those small images that lead to the big images.
There's lots more you can do, but I think that's enough for now. Send in your comments or questions for the next newsletter. I'll respond to you before then of course in order to get you going. I'll leave you with a few more tips for the text in the messages. These are quite easy to use and remember and can enhance your message with a minimum of fuss.
Underline: Embrace any text you want underlined with this code pair <u> and </u>, in that order. The "/" means "end this function". So for example "This club is a <u>great</u>" place" Becomes "This club is a great place."
Bold: Same idea only use <b> and </b>. "This club is a <b>great</b>" place" Becomes "This club is a great place."
Easy! No HTML editor is required just type the code as you type your message.
Good luck and have fun.
Oberst Rob Hamper
The Front Page | Feature Articles | Strategy and Tactics | Regimental Histories | Dispatches
by Rob Hamper
(THIS IS NOT A PROFESSIONAL REVIEW)
In a fashion, it doesn't seem fair to critique a work by a man who is no longer with us to defend it. On the other hand, John Elting has left behind a library of information that students, researchers and hobbyists will use for years to come. His good name alone will inspire others to read his works. Therefore, a fair critique will only serve to temper the expectations of prospective readers.
The War of 1812 is sometimes called the Second American War of Independence and sometimes, with tongue in cheek I should imagine, as the Canadian War of Independence. Most often, however, it is referred to as a forgotten war. Small wonder then that, until recently, there has been a dearth of good books on the subject.
John Elting attempted to change that back in 1991 with the publication of this book. I picked it up after reading several Canadian accounts and when looking for another perspective. The book is a decent size; 353 pages of text, maps, bibliography, index, and illustrations. There are no appendices, but there is a good section on Elting's sources, which could serve as mini-reviews in themselves.
As a description of a war, the book follows the standard structure of describing the opening political scenes, the preparations for war and so on through the many campaigns and battles. Where Elting excels is in the detailing of the inner workings of the American government, it's successes and, more often than not, its follies. It is obvious that, as a former military man, he has little time for politicians who want to "play war". No incompetent is spared his dry wit and droll humour. He wrote the following about two politically appointed and conflicting militia generals after an aborted post-Queenston invasion of Canada:
"Smyth called another council and decided to suspend offensive operations...Porter denounced Smyth as a coward; Smyth challenged Porter to a duel; and the Republican heroes exchanged pistol shots. Unfortunately, both missed."
The book is replete with such wry yet relevant remarks. He describes the American farcical attempts at invasion with a critical eye and depth. At the same time, he dolls out credit where warranted and has praise for the long suffering American infantrymen who are marched, counter-marched, starved, frozen, ill-clothed, rarely supplied and wasted in ill-conceived battles or uncapitalized gains. He details their growth from raw recruits in 1812 to outstanding regulars by 1814.
Elting covers as much as the British side as he can (there being a shocking lack of British accounts at the time of writing) and while the depth of detail may not be as great as for the American side, there is plenty to satisfy the reader with. He explains the grim opening situation for the British side, the problems of manpower and transportation on the frontier and so forth.
The book is a great study of the American account of the war and afterwards a reader will be well versed in the machinations of the Madison government and the growth and development of the American Army. I wish I could say that it is the ultimate study of this war, but I don't think I could correctly do that.
In reading the book, I felt a subtle pro-American feel throughout. Some British accomplishments are glossed over; the Battle of Chrysler's Farm, a major event in Canadian history, is spread over less than two pages. It just seems that Elting is making the British out to be the bad guys. Descriptions of British actions and tactics are less than flattering.
The most uncomfortable sections for me were in his descriptions and references to the British allies - the aboriginals. He describes them in a manner reminiscent of John Wayne movies. Elting prepares the reader for this in his opening prologue by saying: "it is necessary to deal bluntly with two of present-day America's favorite figures, the American Indian and Thomas Jefferson and his disciples" in order to understand the nature of the war. I'm not convinced that by alluding to the aboriginals as savages, murderers, cowards and skulkers that I have a better understanding of the war. One of these days, we'll understand that while the taking of scalps and other acts are horrible activities in our eyes (especially today), it was a perfectly normal thing to do in some North American Indian cultures. They were equally confounded by the white man's treatment of his enemy prisoners. How could you keep your enemy alive after trying to kill him? I'm not condoning the violence perpetrated upon soldiers and settlers, but if one is to understand the nature of aboriginal warfare...
I have one more minor quibble and this, I think, derives from my wargaming hobby. The maps; of sixteen maps, few have actual troop positions marked on them. Not even the tactical maps of Chippewa or Lundy's Lane show the relative positions of the two forces. It is a minor point since the text outlines all of the movements minutely. I guess Mr. Elting spoiled me with his Napoleonic Atlas!
The strongest points of the book are the descriptions of the Washington and New Orleans campaigns. The actions are written about at length. Mr. Elting's writing talents come to the fore here. I was especially surprised by his account of Andrew Jackson, the hero of New Orleans. I never realized what an incompetent military commander this man was. He was saved by his own tenacity and audacity and by British bungling.
In conclusion, if you are looking for "the" book on the War of 1812, this is not it. However, I doubt there is a book out there that describes the development of the American army against the backdrop of political incompetence as well as you will find here. Its treatment of the American side is fair and even-handed. If, in my opinion, Mr. Elting had been able to do the same for the British/Canadian side, this would be "the" book of the War of 1812. That not withstanding, a scholar or casual reader of the conflict would be remiss if this book was not part of the personal library.
I rate it:
I hope I have been fair Mr. Elting.
The Front Page | Feature Articles | Strategy and Tactics | Regimental Histories | Dispatches
(THIS IS NOT A PROFESSIONAL REVIEW)
In my readings and in discussions within the club, I had heard that this was an indispensable book. I checked it out at Amazon.com and gripped my wallet tightly when I saw the price of $US64 ($80 on the cover). However, indulging in my desire to build a Napoleonic library, I purchased it with eager though guarded optimism.
I needn't have worried, the size alone was worth my money. The hardcover book is huge by any standards; over 27 cm by 34 cm (10 1/2 by 13 inches) and 400 pages. The layout is unique in my experience with lucid, terse text on the left page and a clear map displayed in full on the right page. It's a military history reader's dream come true. Another feature I loved was the fact that towns and places that were mentioned in the text were referenced to the map by a co-ordinate system that made finding them that much easier though some towns are covered by unit markings. The maps are in colour in that the map graphics are green/brown while the French units are blue and Napoleon's enemies are in red. Standard military markings for the units are used.
To be sure, the text is not as highly detailed as those of books dedicated to singular battles or campaigns but I don't think it was meant to be so. The book is more like a highly detailed encyclopedia with all the major, and most minor, altercations being described. This format gives readers, especially those new to the study of the period, a synopsis of the vast majority of the battles of the French under Napoleon, thus encouraging them to delve a little deeper elsewhere. Indeed, after reading one section of the book, it's hard to restrain oneself from going out and buying a more specific book to learn more. I doubt this book was meant to be the singular authority on the Napoleonic wars.
Criticism has been levelled at this work for some inaccuracies in numbers and battle narratives. Again, I take the opinion that the book is a reference to give an overview of Napoleons campaigns. You can't wargame from this book, you can't even design a wargame from it. You can however get a good feel for the overall strategic and operational levels of the conflicts. When you look at the progressive maps of the Ulm campaign you can get a sinking feeling in your stomach for Mack as he wallows around blindly; slowly and unknowingly strangling himself in the noose Napoleon is setting for him. It's like watching the battle on a modern radar screen, each page an updating sweep of the beam. You can't stop reading and you can't stop looking at the maps.
If you are new to the Napoleonic Wars or if you are looking for a condensed version of them, this book is definitely for you. I have used it as a supplement when reading magazine articles or other books. If you love good maps, you will also not go wrong purchasing this book. However, if you want the "Holy Bible" of the Napoleonic Wars keep waiting and pass this by and let me or my unborn child know when it turns up.
I Rate It:
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Strategy and Tactics
The duty of an advanced guard does not consist in advancing or retiring, but in maneuvering. An advanced guard should be composed of light cavalry, supported by a reserve of heavy, and by battalions of infantry, supported also by artillery. An advanced guard should consist of picked troops, and the general officers; officers and men should be selected for their responsive capabilities and knowledge. A corps deficient in instruction is only an embarrassment to an advanced guard.
Napoleon's Maxim of War XXXII
In this Issue ...
For those of you who haven't read the excellent series of tactical articles by Porochick Jason Cawley, Vilna Infantry, 27th Division, VIII Corps, Russian Army, this edition's Strategy and Tactics Section is proud to present the third and fourth (in a four part series) of Jason's discourses on Napoleonic infantry tactics for your consumption. We know you will appreciate not only the time and effort Jason put into these works, but also the connection he makes between the historical use of infantry formations and how they can be replicated in the Battleground Games.
The complete set of Jason's articles (all seven) now reside at theNapoleonic Wargame Pages. I highly recommend you visiting the site and reading the rest of these works.
Jason also submitted his comments regarding a recently-played game of PTW's "Hold at All Costs" scenario -- thinking they might be of some interest to other players in the club. Actually, I thought they were just the thing for the Strategy and Tactics Section. His comments were sent to his opponent after a recent game.
The write-up is not a detailed blow-by-blow narration of the game played (which by the way resulted in an Allied major victory), but is instead an analysis of some of the key factors in this game. His comments address many of the issues important to the French side, as seen from hsi Allied (attacker's) perspective. Forces, terrain, deployment shifts, and tactical technique issues are all considered.
This scenario has the French already holding the Quatre Bras crossroads with Reille's II Corps, with its own cavalry support but without the other supports of his wing forces. Wellington then attacks as troops arrive.
A Post-Mortem of a PTW's "Hold at All Costs" Scenario, by Jason Cawley
Picton's Line Tactics
by Jason Cawley
Third in my series on national tactics and formations above the battalion level in BG games. This one deals with the fire combat tactics of the British/Allied army, through the example of Picton's 5th Division at Quatre Bras (QB for short).
Everyone knows the British used lines. Not everyone knows *how* they used them or why they worked. I have seen Brit commanders at QB line their entire army up, one battalion next to the other and all in line, all along the line of the stream or bearing back a bit on their left to fit the hex-grain - for all the world as though the "oblique order" of Frederick the Great were still the norm in European tactics. In that case, I had the French and the morale-boosting optionals (flank morale, rout limiting, etc) were off.
The French approached the position using artillery and skirmish fire, with some "ordre mixte" lines but mostly skirmishers, their columns (supporting the skirmish companies, but at a little distance) in the dead ground just waiting. Within 45 minutes the bulk of the Allied army was in disorder, and fatigue must have been hitting yellow in many places along the line. Yes, they had lots of muskets to fire back with - at skirmish companies, often at range 2 (wherever the rye would allow it), and many of those with 5 morale (lights) and small units of course, so quite insensitive to occasional hits.
At the hour mark, with some progress already made toward slipping around the flanks of the huge line, the columns charged in 3-4 places where all the defenders would only get 1/2 firepower, disordered shots. Victorious melees added +3 fatigue to the men hit, always putting them into yellow and sometimes into red fatigue - they were also disordered of course. Not enough leaders to have one in every hex. Result? -3 morale checks on the men meleed, and -1 or -2 checks (disorder, yellow) on their neighbors to either side, spreading from the points hit until everyone had to check practically. 3 disordered lines stood it and the rest all routed. Those 3, with 6 MPs in rye and no flank support, were surrounded and captured the following turn. Chasseurs pursued the flying fugitives, and a major French victory of course resulted.
The French columns had spent an hour doing essentially nothing, then charged. But they were fresh and in good order because of it. The Allies had been firing with maximum musket firepower - then seeing it quartered for skirmish targets and losing the duel. Skirmish and arty fire, plus column or cavalry charges once someone is disordered and tired, beats one thin line, hands down. (*With* the morale-boosting optionals turned off).
Does this mean British fire tactics are ineffective? No. It means the last European army to fight like Frederick the Great was the Prussians in the rout at Jena in 1806. That is what the above tactics by my QB opponent amounted to. The British system was far superior to what he tried; all they have in common is the use of line formations at the battalion level. The rest of the story is what the rest of this post is about.
Let's start by deploying the division. First off, the Royal Green Jackets are going to fight in skirmish order. Leave ~100 men in the battalion in column (to help with ammo resupply and such) and leave them in the rear (guarding ammo if you have any). That leaves 7 British battalions, 3 and 4 in the two brigades, plus 4 Hanoverian QL 2 ones.
Put the Hanoverians in column formation, 2 stacks of 2 each, and leave them in the rear for now - they are your *reserve* brigade. Take the 7 Brit battalions and line them up in one line, in line formation, 7 hexes long - the 3 of one brigade on one end, then the 4 from the other. I recommend the Gordan Highlanders for the center position (more on why, later) - the rest is mostly a matter of indifference.
But isn't this the Frederick the Great formation? It is. But we aren't done yet ;-) Next, detach the skirmish companies of each battalion and march them straight forward 4 hexes. You now have a skirmish line 7 hexes long, ahead of the formation. Next, starting with the battalion on one end *march every other battalion directly forward two hexes*. Ta da! The famous checkerboard" formation, which in square defeated the French cavalry charges at QB and Waterloo.
So, now you have a skirmish line 7 hexes long, 1 company in each. Behind that you have a line of line-formation battalions *in every other hex*, with hard ZOCs covering an 8 hex front. Behind them you have a "second rank" of battalions, 3 of them, behind the gaps in the first. Now, move up your Hanoverian reserve brigade so that its two columns stand 2 or 3 hexes behind the rear line. The Royal Green Jacket skirmish companies (if not detached elsewhere) can reinforce the skirmish line. Finally, place the two batteries with the division (if you have them) slightly ahead and toward the flanks of the two center, forward line battalions, unlimbered.
When moving, the batteries would be back two hexes - similarly, to cover them against melee threat - preferably by advancing the entire formation 2 hexes ;-) Where those 2 batteries are is where you want the crest-line to be if you line up along a crest - meaning the formed men are behind it. But step up in front of it to cover the guns (forward battalions only) when they are needed ;-)
How do you get the time for that? From the skirmish line. You merely advance to where it was. Your second rank, and reserve brigade, remain behind the crest.
When attacked by French infantry, you want to advance to contact, not the reverse. He will probably slam your skirmish line. If he uses formed columns to do it, it is time to advance to contact certainly.
The point is to have your first fire phase when formed meets formed be your *offensive* fire phase. Hits then will create disorder even when morale checks are passed. Disordering one unit in a stack will "lock" that stack into column, preventing deployment to line (lest mixed line and column in one hex, cause disorder). A disordered French column gets 1/6th firepower, an ordered British line gets full.
Then you don't care about his shots very much. Just shoot till he runs. He won't want that, so he will try pushing with the bayonet. Fine.
Here is how your formation is set up to deal with French melee attacks (in column especially) from infantry. As all of your battalions are separated by open "interval" hexes, and the whole front is a solid ZOC-line, there is only one place he can go with his melee. He comes into your formation and ends up where one of your lines used to be.
Look at your formation. Look at one of the forward, center two lines. There are *4* battalions within 1 hex of point-blank to it. From 4 different directions. Even a disordered line can rotate once and move a hex - all that is needed. No one can face 4 different hexes. Therefore, you will have the option of *multiple flanking fires* against any stack that melees into your division formation.
Let us look at what happens to the lead battalion of any French stack trying this. It moves adjacent to a British line. It thus faces a defensive fire attack of 30-37 fp. That will probably fatigue it once and likely drop men too. Then it melees - successfully, say. +2 more. Then 1-2 battalions close with its flank or flanks, and fire again, enfilade and column target but down a bit for moving. One of them probably hits/causes casualties, and this time in offensive fire. Well, that is +4 fatigue likely, then a disordered flanked fatigued morale check ;-) Bye bye Frenchies.
See the idea? The defense of the British formation is by *morale failure* on the part of the attackers. That is brought about by fire attacks delivered to a flank, on a unit that has disordered and fatigued itself by its own melee attacks.
In addition, it is possible to "clamp" onto an intruding stack this way, sending battalions to locations that cut off its retreat with ZOCs - unless the French wins side-by-side melees on two battalions in the same turn. 2 battalions 180 degrees apart, with the proper facing, will put ZOCs into the two hexes from which the attackers "entered" your formation. When you "seize" a stack like this, the French must get you off be meleeing you again, otherwise you will fire until that seized unit routs, then melee and capture it yourself.
The effect you want is that charging into your formation via melee leds to stinging fire-based counterattacks, from which men either run, or you won't even *let* them run if the overall situation warrants taking that risk. The center battalion in the second line will be the one most frequently called on to deliver these local counterattacks - thus the point above about putting the Gordon's there (your biggest QL 5 unit in the division).
When battalions of your formation get disordered, back them up (or about face etc) while sending the nearest second-rank unit up to replace it on-line. The point is to get the disordered battalion *out of musket shot* so it can re-order. When a whole brigade has become fatigued (yellow), relieve the whole brigade by putting the Hanoverians into line and advancing them to take their places, then pulling back the relieved men.
Facing cavalry, obviously you can just form square with both ranks. Even a successful, square-breaking charge (always possible against single battalions) will not seriously hurt the formation. The spaced "checkerboard" has more than enough ZOCs to cover everything, and allows squares to block off an area after a rout easily, etc.
At longer ranges, this particular division fires with its elite rifles and supporting batteries, rather well. That allows it to harry cavalry whose attack has been repulsed, particularly well - as (disordered) typically they can't quite get out of range, and QL 6 shooters at +2 targets, even little shots will drop men quite often.
When units are lost or routed, the formation can adapt to their absence easily enough. The reserve brigade may have fewer battalions in it resting, for instance. Or the line may be shortened a tad to 3 across. In a pinch, the second rank of lines can be "thinned" to only 2 local counterattack battalions.
This formation can occasionally, for *brief periods*, and when starting from good order all around, adopt the continuous "Frederick style" line for maximum musket firepower. Simply advance the second rank of lines into the gaps in the first. You want to do this only when you need to disorder formed attackers ahead of you as soon as possible - and obviously, to do the work needed in your offensive fire phase (when every hit will disorder someone, regardless of morale). The next turn, step half the men back to avoid getting everyone disordered at once, and to avoid morale contagion effects, and to let men reorder if already disordered. Do not try to use this just to inflict casualties, for long periods. You will send all your men into disorder and then the formation will lose its maneuverability, flexibility, and ability to counterattack against melee-intruders smashing into you. It is a temporary formation change for one brief and intense purpose - to *disorder* an attacking formation.
When attacking, use the same formation. The skirmishers can precede the line, but when you need to "push" someone, have then fall back into the gaps between the forward battalions, doubled-up. They can also fight that way once in contact with formed infantry. When cavalry is around, put them back where the second rank is, so the ZOCs of the first rank protect them (and without providing chances to melee first one unit, then another, etc, through the whole formation). If you need to melee large units on the attack, use the reserve brigade in column formation to charge. Rotate that role same as you do for fatigued units when defending.
A darn sight more complicated than the Frederick-style line. A darn sight more effective too, I assure you.
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Russian Infantry Tactics
by Jason Cawley
Last in my series on infantry tactics, implemented in BG games, is the Russian division. In many ways the essentials of running these are easier than the more intricate formations of the other powers. The primary ideas of the Russian division are a certain clean simplicity, and two-fold redundancy on the other. Otherwise known as "it is easier to walk with two legs than one".
Start by taking inventory of your division. It contains 6 regiments, 2 of jagers and 4 of line (grenadiers, which could make up two more, are collected into other, larger reserve formations) - plus 1 to 3 batteries (1 position, or not, and 1 or 2 light batteries). Each regiment of 2 battalions, and 2 regiments each making one of the three brigades.
Start with the Jagers. Their role is to screen the front of the division and mark its actual "line". Deploy the 4 battalions side by side in line formation with 1 hex spacing between the lines - 1 regiment left of the division center-line, the other right of it. When working as part of a Corps in position, normally the position batteries would be placed next to each other between the two divisions, marking the boundary between them and anchoring the Corps' center. If deployed alone, put the position battery (if present) on the center-line of the division, between the two Jager regiments. Next, deploy 2 skirmish companies (roughly half the men) from each of the Jager battalions, and place those 1 hex ahead in an 8-hex screen.
The line formations are meant to support the skirmish line. In BG terms, they provide a line of ZOCs that cavalry can't just "overrun" right through. They also allow skirmishers to re-form and re-deploy to reduce fatigue and recover ammo. As you use up skirmishers, these may dwindle to remnant units for only that role, and eventually disappear altogether (all units in skirmish formation). In line or skirmish order, the firepower put out is the same. The difference is the lines are easier to hit (so screen them from enemy skirmishers, when their fire is not really needed) but have the ZOCs. When attacking, you can use them ahead and drop the skirmish companies back into the gaps between them, doubled up, to form a thickened skirmish line of 150-200 men per hex all along the front, to melee-push enemy skirmishers and fire on enemy formed infantry.
This screen of Jagers is meant primarily to keep French skirmishers off your columns. It is also, however, so thin that it is a sort of standing invitation to French columns to push in to your division area via melee. S'ok, the rest of the division is about dealing with that, practically.
Next the main position of the division. Leave all the men in column formation and stack them 2 to a hex in their regiments. You want the 4 regiments laid out in a square, one hex between each side to side and front to back left empty (columns 2 hexes apart). It is more historical to put the brigades across (meaning, front 2 columns are regiment one and regiment two of the 1st brigade, back 2 columns are from 2nd brigade) - but in BG game terms (with limited command radius for brigade leaders) it can work better to put them side by side. Meaning, 1st brigade on the left, one regiment forward the other back, 2nd on the right, again one forward and the other back. I recommend the latter.
Thus most of your men are in a tight group in those 4 columns - which you should set 3 hexes behind the Jagers (for the front two, obviously - 5 hexes back for the second "line"). That is far enough to let a Jager battalion get meleed, pushed, and rout - without disordering a regiment by being next to a routing unit.
Next, "inside" that "box", put your light battery or batteries. This is how you walk around the field.
When you want to hurt something that attacks your Jager line, detail the forward regiment on its side to attack, and if possible put in on a flank of the intruder to try to rout them by fire - staying in column. If they are weak - a battalion - then you can go in with the bayonet if you miss - or if you have no flank shot. If you have no flank shot *and* the intruder stack is too big to easily melee with just a regiment, then it is time to use the main Russian tactic.
That being, you "fix" him with one or two of your regimental columns, which being full regiments tend to be big enough that he can't just brawl with them in melee easily - then you park a light battery 3 hexes away, covered by the ZOCs of those columns and "sighted" to fire between them. He can leave or he can die to that battery's fire - up to him.
When a column on one of those missions gets disordered (by fire or a bigger melee, or its own melee attack not immediately recovered from), then rotate it to the rear-ward position on that side and send the ordered one, behind, up to take its place.
Sometimes you will face a crisis or see an opportunity to get a surround melee on a large intruding stack. In that case, you can use an entire brigade in one big column and charge. Orient the remaining two side by side in that case, as though both are now "front" regiments of the "square", while that charge goes in. Naturally, tired or disordered after their rush you will want to later rotate the charging brigade to the rear, when you can. Use the interior of the "square" of regimental columns for reordering light forces, to protect batteries, etc.
When charged by cavalry, of course you can change all the columns (or occasionally just the forward ones) into actual square formation, making a fortress-like "box" of men with a 5x5 hex pattern of overlapping ZOCs, with batteries within it to fire out at nearby cavalry, etc. If cavalry is dumb enough to melee an interior hex (one of the two, which can be approached on the flanks only anyway) to get a battery or what-not, they are quite welcome - nothing with a +2 target signature is going to live long (unrouted especially) inside that box.
Resist the temptation to put any of the full regiments into line formation or to divide them up. The only occasion when you should do so is if you are facing fire attack from infantry in front of you and your Jagers are already gone. You can't just let French skirmishers waltz up to your regimental columns and disorder them. So then you have to replace the missing Jagers with a brigade in line formation across your front, and reduce the "rear box" to just 2 side-by-side regimental columns, for melee and "fixing" work. The rest of the time, stay in column for the extra melee defense and mobility (especially when disordered). It is more important that you be able to cycle ordered men forward than that you be in line - the firepower of one of your regimental columns, if in good order, is as good as 2 disordered lines. Also lets you have a leader in most hexes you have men in, for an added morale boost.
A key thing to remember is the crucial role of those light batteries. They give the firepower that just columns don't have. The columns provide the melee defense - and depth for stoicism about losses (when combined with regular reliefs for disorder) to hold the ground and protect the guns while they do their work. At close range, a Russian light battery will drop 150 men in 30 minutes - more than doubling the firepower of a couple of columns. Essentially every offensive fire phase, whoever is ahead of it will get to check morale, at progressively worse modifiers for fatigue and disorder. Trust that they won't stand it for too long, and in the meantime just don't let them move you.
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"Hold At All Costs": A Post-Mortem
By Porochick Jason Cawley
"One may be beaten by my army without dishonor."- Napoleon
In the military, after every exercise comes the post-mortem (or "after action report"). This is meant to be a merciless discussion of the mistakes made in the course of the exercise. That is how lessons are learned and officers improve. Naturally, it is the winner who gets to give the lessons, regardless of nominal rank. Herewith my post-mortem comments on our recent struggle.
The initial French deployment you are handed to start with, is bad. You have to correct it rapidly while the Allies are still arriving. For the first hour, the French can redeploy easily because they have far more men on the field, making full-scale attack somewhat suicidal for the Allies. The biggest issue to address when redeploying is that the strongest French division, Jerome's 6th, is defending the strongest natural terrain, the Bossu wood. He has nearly half the French infantry in his division - 45% actually. He needs to shift his responsibilities, because as initially deployed he has too many men doing too little.
The Bossu wood is a very strong position, and the Allies do not have time to dislodge a strong force from the center of it and still press through to the fields south of the crossroads, and back again to take the crossroads itself. Remember, the Allies only have even or better odds for the last two hours. They can attack through the northern half-mile or so of the woods, certainly, and that portion is indeed an important position. But the southern portions of the woods, where Jerome starts personally, are completely irrelevant to the crossroads fight. And the best troops in the French corps start there.
An example of a solution to this is to immediately pull out Soye's 2nd Brigade, marching to the area around 24,27 - south of Quatre Bras and on the east side of the Bossu wood. He then goes into general reserve, giving the French a strong force of ~3500 infantry, or 20% of the troops available, able to deploy to any threatened area. Then, the 2nd regiment of Jerome's light troops, with 4 battalions, should march up through the clear terrain west of the Bossu wood, to defend the northernmost half-mile (7-8 hexes) of the woods position. A key piece of terrain here is 16,24, a bit of high ground in a hedge-lined sunken road that overlooks the flank of any force trying to get into the northern Bossu wood. That is where Jerome's battery should try to move to, as soon as it safely can. Then, the 1st light regiment of Jerome should defend that crestline (along that road), west of the Bossu wood. This gives you low, dead ground to shelter disordered men, and in the open so reordering is possible. It is a great trap to fight for the woods only inside them, at their forward, west edge. Because then you disorder and can't reorder.
You handled this part well, defending out of the woods, but the mass of Jerome's division was too far south and you did not pull Soye back until way too late. The result was that Perponcher's tired and low-quality division managed to occupy 45% of your infantry for nearly the entire battle. That also meant the match-up in the center and east part of the field gets to equality for the Allies much faster, giving them far more time to attack. Moreover, Perponcher was able to do this while sending most of the Nassauers, his best troops, to attack the northern Bossu wood, tangling with Foy's division and hurting him fairly seriously. You don't need 2:1 in the southwest to defend; instead you can get by with more like 1:2. Then delay with the light infantry, make the Allied player fight tree to tree if he goes southward. You will quickly tire out most of Perponcher's men, and they and Jerome's lights will play little part in the main battle - expect perhaps at the north woods area, where the Naussauers and Jerome's 2nd light regiment will be evenly matched.
Next, you have to beef up even this reserve (Soye's whole brigade). Add the lancers to it, and the horse battery. That gives you a force of all arms ready to intervene in any direction, including the ability to launch a strong cavalry charge or two strong infantry charges, the ability to block a half-mile of ground after a rout, and fire support if that is called for.
You can't afford to send the Chasseurs on flanking movements in strength. In full Quatre Bras the French have 2 1/2 horses for every Allied one, but in this fight the numbers are even and you are defending. That means you want to save the cavalry to counter-charge Allied cavalry, or to smash a disorganized, large infantry force pushing too far into your position. For counterattacks as full brigades, in other words. If you want to do recon on the east side of the map, just send two squadrons (250-300 horse). That still leaves the Chasseurs with a near-stacking limit ~900 men, thus able to act as a true cavalry brigade. If you don't send these two squadrons out on recon, though, then you will have them for another, usually more valuable service. That being cavalry overruns and the threat thereof, against the Allied skirmishers and the rifles in particular. You can assign one squadron to this work each to Foy and to Bachelu. Then the main body of the Chasseurs is your "non-reserve" cavalry brigade, used to support those units and usually that means to support Bachelu, because the ground near him is better for cavalry.
Still in the shifts and reorganizations, Bachelu should shift a bit eastward. 40,15 and 38,16 are the sorts of hexes I am thinking of. Those are a bit of high ground in a wood, and a high, hedge-lined sunken road position. Both are natural forts, and they overlook the whole area northeast of the crossroads. There is a hedge-lined field in front of them suitable for an infantry regiment to cover them; rough covers the northeast flank. Putting one brigade east of the north-south road there is best, with a regiment up in the field in lines, and another behind in column able to counterattack. Move the battery over there too, right at the first turn. Then put the other brigade west of that sunken road (34,17 e.g.) , and support it with cavalry to its left rear.
Then Foy gets to defend the crossroads area itself. Jerome should have the woods left of him. This gives him a front of only 6-8 hexes to worry about, and then Soye's reserve and the lancers are behind him too. One of his regiments starts out tired. Put it in the chateau to rest and as his own local reserve. Then he has his lights for the buildings and villages and to screen out front, and the other two line regiments to face north and northwest respectively. You have to watch the cross-fire, as you saw. Keep the formed infantry down in the rye in front of the hill where they are harder to see, or in the village hexes. Guard the guns by having a line of ZOCs out in front of them, not by stacking with them. Not just a skirmish line - ZOCs. A trick there BTW is to use the half-battalions (after deploying many companies, I mean) of the lights in column formation 1 hex behind their skirmishers, to put ZOCs in the same hexes and prevent cavalry charges through the skirmishers. Then they form square on a charge threat, and the skirmishers run to them next chance they get. You can also send disordered companies to stack with them to re-order. You want the lights, their ZOC line, the occasional single-squadron cavalry threat, etc - to try to keep the Allies back out of rifle range of the guns on the hill - as long as possible anyway.
You will lose guns to the cross-fire, no question. Converging fire is better than diverging. But that is the reason to get the flank division batteries to locations like 16,24 for Jerome, and 38,16 for Bachelu. You can put the horse guns, when not on a reinforcement mission, in 29,22 to cover the field northeast of the crossroads and get some cross-fire going with Bachelu's battery farther east. Similarly, Jerome's battery and the ones on the center hill will get cross-fire on men trying to attack from the west.
Next, there were some tactical points along the way. You saw how much the British infantry cut up your cavalry when you tried to break Picton with frontal charges. You have to look at the ground where this happened, in 3-D view preferably. It is terrible ground to commit the cavalry, while a little farther south it would have been fine. See, that area from 33,19 to 31,15 and nearby, is a kind of bowl or "stadium". Both sides look down from rye into the low ground along the road, with hedges and sunken roads channeling everything to the openings. It is absolutely perfect rifle country, some of the best on the map. Muskets down on the low ground cover everything up to the opposite crest, and rifles cover everything, period, from the rear crest, sheltered by them. Meanwhile, a second line of infantry just hides in the rye one hex back from the crest-line, and nobody can shoot at them. That means fresh, ordered men can be fed down into the stadium again and again, like they are coming from the "locker room" fully rested. The roads to the northeast make it easy for cavalry to arrive to support, or to get away again after a charge - especially so when you haven't occupied the field at 37,15.
Now, that is fine ground to initiate a fight with infantry, but not to decide it. It is a sort of "outpost" line, where you can stand while you have fire dominance and before the attacker brings enough to outmatch your shooting. But for a main line, or even more so for a place to commit cavalry, you want it to be much harder for the attackers to see you and to send in more untouched guys. If you look at 34,20 and the area right around it, you will see what I mean. There you are on the reverse slope. The rye hides you even when you step forward a hex. The other guy has to come along uphill through rye to get at you. When you charge, only guys right next to you can see you in the rye. When you have to get away, it is downhill, not uphill, so you can move 2 hexes and cleanly break contact, sending in infantry to stop the other guy from following to shoot you again. In addition, with a battery in hex 29,22, looking down over the attackers, you can see their dispositions and they can't see yours. They have to face the battery, southwest, or give flank shots, but if they do then infantry or charges from the southeast get flank attacks on them.
See, you should have waited for me to push forward another 200-400 yards before cutting loose on me with the cavalry. You charged too soon, too far forward, into the "stadium". Bachelu's battery got some fine shots, but you should have taken those and then limbered it up and run it back to the hill at 29,22 (assuming you didn't send it farther east at the beginning). Batteries aren't meant to stand forever at point-blank to infantry. If you have numbers to make sure he can't take the guns, it can push the other guy back, but if he's the one with the numbers you lose the guns. Better to take your shots and then quit while you are ahead, and displace to another annoying spot for more good shots, even if farther.
The tactical problem on the center hill was deploying the "supports" for the guns right on the hill itself, thus is full view and subject to cross fire. Because they weren't out front, I got the rifles close enough to help annoy them. But fundamentally, you just were on the forward slope facing converging artillery fire. Well, men cannot stand that for long, and they didn't. When some disordered and routed, it let me rush the guns. Similarly, your skirmishers who were out tussling with mine weren't supported by their battalion parents and their ZOCs, so once I was willing to be shot at to charge, I just ran right through them with the Dutch-Belgian cavalry. You have to try to keep a line of hard ZOCs ahead of your gun positions. And especially try to ensure that there is a hard ZOC along roads that lead into your position, or the other guy can charge very rapidly. Just a skirmisher there is not enough.
Finally, some tactical points on using the French in column and using their skirmishers. Columns are fine, and they maneuver well so they often make sense; they are especially better compared to disordered lines. But to use them right, they should never be alone in a hex unless just going from point A to point B (out of action), or temporarily, right before they charge into someone in melee (and re-stack that way). Columns are for stacking. With their skirmisher, with 2-3 skirmishers, with another column, with another column and 2 skirmishers (a very useful formation or stack), etc. They don't have enough firepower alone. The "line" infantry can fight well in column with 2 battalions and 1-2 skirmishers stacked. The "lights" (and guards, when you have them) can use 1 battalion and 2-3 skirmishers. You really want 3-4 shooters from a column hex. They fire in "lots o' littlest" fashion, but they can fight fine that way. This matters, because any formed-infantry hex should be able to defend itself by disordering attacking units that move to point-blank with it. (Any hit in offensive fire will disorder the guys hit, regardless of morale). And the added depth and maneuverability of stacked columns can help with melee.
Now, to do this right you need to be careful with the skirmishers and keep them alive, so their parents have them for column fire stacks. Don't go charging after people with 4 skirmish companies and nothing else, into melee. It invites surround kills and cavalry overruns. Skirmishers are too valuable for that; you need them all day to help the columns fire. If you want to melee someone with 200 men, send a battalion, like a column stacked with some skirmishers. And support flanks of melee attackers - you did that most of the game but neglected it a few times early on. Always remember, when you melee it means you go to a hex where the other guy's men are - and *he* is the one who decided where to put his men ;-) If you let your enemy decide where *you* go, you can get hurt very quickly. So melees should be planned ahead, looking at the likely reply, and supported.
I hope these comments help you improve your game. It was a fun fight and you have been a sport, with excellent turn-around times and such.
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Officers of the French and Allied armies! Welcome to our Regimental Histories section! Your researched biographies or regimental histories are hereby solicited for submission. If accepted, you may earn an award or mention in dispatches. At the minimum, you can join us for a flagon or two at the Rhine Tavern....our thanks go out to this month's contributors, with a special mention to artist Romain Baulesch for his kind permission to use the image (below) from Osprey Publishing's Campaign Series 33 by Ian Castle. Click on the image to go to the Regimental History Section.
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To act upon lines far removed from each other, and without communications, is to commit a fault which always gives birth to a second.
Napoleon's Maxim of War XI
British Army | La Grande Army | Prussian Army | Russian Army | Austrian Army
Below are listed the Army Orders for the month of August, following resignations and other commitments there has had to be a re-shuffle of the commanding officers of certain Divisions and Brigades, I would like to personally thank all those fellow officers who have contributed to the smooth running of this Army, when they feel they have the spare time to take command again, PLEASE do not hesitate to contact my Headquarters. Please take time to introduce yourself to your new commanding officer and visa-versa.
Brigadier-General Tony Dobson to Command II Corps
Brigadier Mick O'Reilly to Command 4th Division
Colonel David Frey to Command 3rd Division
Colonel Tom Curry to Command 2nd Division
Lt Col Neil Henderson to Command 6th Division
Lt Col Chris Cook to Command 2nd Brigade KGL
Lt Col John Munro to Command 3rd Brigade
Lt Col Roubard to Command 1st & 2nd Light Brigade (Dutch Cavalry)
Lt Col Ian Travers to Aide de Camp
Ladies and Gentlemen: George, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and of the British Dominions beyond the seas, King, Defender of the Faith, does hereby order the promotion of the following officers for their continued success against the French and for their diligent discharge of their duties:
Lt. David Pell to the 69th Reg't of Foot
Lt. Michael Reagan to the 25th Regt of Foot
Capt. Chris Cook, 1st KGL 'Lights', to Major, to Lt. Colonel
Lt. Cleas Melbro, 51st Reg't of Foot, to Captain
Major Dan Cotter, 2nd Jussars, KDL, to Lt. Colonel
Major Greg Hanbuch, 1st Reg't Foot, to Lt. Colonel
Capt. Philip Roubard, 8th Belgian Hussars, to Major, to Lt. Colonel
Major David Frey, 2nd KGL, to Lt. Colonel
Lt. Col. Ken 'Muddy' Jones, Dutch-Belgian Cavalry to Brigadier General
Maj. Ralph Taylor to Colonel
Capt. Steve Kyffin to Major
Medals and Awards
Distinguished Conduct Medal for victory in a Multiplayer Game
Michael Gjerde / Rodrigo Leon / Andreas Naujoks / Paul Harris
Lt. J de Visser, Military General Service Medal (MGSM)
Brig. Gen. Mick O'Reilly, bar to Army Gold Cross for 10th Victory
Brig. Gen. Tony Dobson, 6th, 7th, and 8th bars to MGSM
Lt. Col. Philip Roubard, 2 (two) bars to MGSM
Brig. Gen. Ken 'Muddy' Jones, Waterloo Medal and bar to MGSM
Col. David Frey, 3rd bar to MGSM, and appointment to Guards
Col. Ralph Taylor, 2 (two) bars to MGSM
Lt. Col. Jack Nazor, 2 (two) bars to MGSM
Points awarded above and beyond the call of duty.
It is normal for the Corps/Divisional Commanding Officers to nominate candidates for the monthly bounty & Admin points, but since I have had no nominees I would like to submit the following officers:
Lt Colonel Ian Travers - 10 points - (for recording ongoing / end games)
Brig-General Ken Jones - 10 points - (Editor of the Newsletter)
Colonel David Frey - 10 points - (Field craft - awarded medal, Promoted in Rank & Promoted to Staff 3rd Div All in one month)
I have the honour to remain your humble & obedient servant
Lieut General Paul Harris
La Grande Armee
L'Armee du Nord
I must confess that my headquarters has been in disarray this last month. To begin with, while we were in the midst of the extensive correspondence entailed by the AdN vs. AdR Maneuvers, my clerical staff was felled by a virulent plague, Ethanitis, doubtlessly introduced into our midst by the thousands of Russian prisoners recently captured on the fields of Eylau. A team of surgeons dispatched by the distinguished McAfee Institute quickly quarantined the affected staff and stemmed the spread of the plague. Unfortunately, this brush with contagion spurred me to initiate a general upgrade of the HQ's facilities.
Despairing that the demands of the local, war-profiteering contractors would gravely drain our treasury, I embarked on these improvements relying on the native ingenuity of our gallant Gascons. Alas, they set to with such gusto that in their haste they demolished what turned out to be a central support, leading to the collapse of the chateau where the AdN's HQ was lodged. I had no recourse but to consent to be robbed by the aforesaid contractors in order to restore the edifice. Needless to say, it became impossible to submit a timely report on the state of the AdN for the month of June. I am hence submitting a combined report for the months of June and July.
AdN HQ -
I am pleased to report that the Summer 2000 Grande Armee Maneuvers have begun, featuring 22 teams from the AdN and AdR. The tourney is based upon the use of a brief, custom scenario designed by Gen. Davis which focuses on the proper use of cavalry to reduce an infantry opponent. As noted above, a plague struck while in the midst of preparing the attendant dispatches, but with minor exceptions the 1st round has started and should be completed soon. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Gen. Frederiksen, for his kind assistance in launching this tournament, Gen. Davis for the use of his scenario, Gen. Hamilton for his assistance in stemming the plague amongst our HQ staff and to all the participants for helping to make this such a successful tournament.
Given the absence of many officers on summer leaves, the muster returns for the I and III Corps noted below are as of July 1, 2000. Special mention should be made of Gen. Davis and Col. Jensen, of the I Res & IIC respectively, for submitting timely reports for July despite the problems brought on by the summer leaves amongst their own members.
Palomo: 20 CoA
Einarsson: 20 CoS
I Corps d'Armee -
This corps has three sous-lieutenants in training at the moment. I should also note that the I Corps has the largest contingent of participants (9) in the Summer 2000 Maneuvers.
Current strength: 8 commanders, 21 rank & file. Total: 29
Reserve Assignments: None.
Promotions: Stuart Wilson to LtC; Ian Weightman to Col.
Mitchell: 20 (Corps CO)
Sloan: 20 (CoS & Dv CO)
Falconetti: 6 (Bg CO)
Weightman: 6 (Bg CO)
Fogato: 6 (Bg CO)
I Res Corps de Armee -
While in the midst of laying out a new, more historical OOB for the I Res Cav, it was discovered that the 1st, 5th & 10th Cuir had been "raised" by both the 1ere Cav Lourde/I Res and the AdR's Cav Reserve Corps. Following an amicable exchange with Gen. Fredericksen, it was agreed that the aforesaid rgts would be permanently assigned to the AdR and removed from the 1st Res' OOB. By way of compensation to the affected commanders, the 1ere & 2eme Carabiniers have been transferred from the Adr to the 1ere Cav/I Res.
The corps ADC, Lt. Tessier, has begun work on a new web page for the I Res which will incorporate these changes in its OOB. Sous-Lts Farmer and Morris were recently assigned to the I Res and have begun their training. Lt. Boroughs training continues and Lt. Rossano has graduated from the Camp de Boulogne and is ready to take the field. While Colonel Rios is on leave, Cpt Esteller is acting commander of the 3eme Cav Lourde.
Commanders: 3, Rank & file: 10. Total: 13
Lt. Alan Lynn is appointed to the command of the 1ere Div de Cav Lourde.
Assignment to Reserve: None
GdB Davis: 20 (Corps CO)
LtC Rios: 10 (Dv CO) + 5 (CoS) + 10 (2 Training games)= 25
Cpte Esteller: 8 Bg CO
Lt. Tessier: 10 (ADC)
Lt. Rossano: 10 (2 Training games).
II Corps de Armee -
No changes in command for the month of June
No assignments to the Reserve
Laurels to the Order of the Iron Crown and 5 points for Lt. Col. &
Quartermaster General W. Crotts for his outstanding work on the II Corps homepage
Medaille Miliatire to Lt. W. Schulze for his first Major Victory.
Reporting for duty:
8 Officers, 8 Rank & File
2 Sous-Lieutenants in training
Not reporting: 1 Officer, 8 Rank & File.
Géneral de Brigade E. Masson: 20 pts. (Corps CO)
Colonel C. Jensen: 20 pts. (Div. CO & CoS)
Colonel W. Crotts: 15 pts. (Div. CO & Iron Crown)
Major R. Forster: 10 pts. (Div. CO)
Lt. Albrechtsen: 1 pt.
Lt. Manu: 2 pt.
Lt. Nicol: 2 pt.
Capitaine T. Simmons: 10 (Div. CO)
Lt. Simmons Jr. 2 pt.
Lt. Schulze 2 pt.
Capitaine S. McPhee 3 (Bde CO)
Capitaine Y. Lamezec 6 (Bde CO)
Lt. Kimball: 2 pt.
Lt. Millard: 2 pt.
Lt. Mazier: 2 pt.
Lt. Earls: 1 pt
Capt. Hocking: 1 pt
Other administrative notes:
Sous-Lt. Joyce is being trained. Please include him as a member of II Corps on the French officers list. Please remove Simone Tombezi listed with II Corps on the French officers list. He is not a member of II Corps.
III Corps d'Armee
We are pleased to report that under Colonel Martin's able leadership the IIIC is quickly restoring its strength as a combination of new recruits and old veterans rally to the colors.
Changes in command:
Lt. Aymonier-Ameline in charge of 1e brigade, 3e light cav. div.
Lt Blewer reintegrates from Reserve and is in charge of 22nd RI in 2e brigade, 10 div.
No assignments to the Reserve
Iron Crown for Lt Paul Worthington for his dedication in training.
Reporting for duty:
7 Officers, 10 Rank & File,
3 Sous-Lieutenants in training
Lt. Col. Jean-Denis Martin: 20 pts. (Corps Co.)
Lt. Col. Gatto: 10 pts (Div. Co.) + 10 (IC)
Major Bellerby: 6 pts. (Bde Co.)
Capt. Guegan: 6 pts. (Bde Co.)
Lt. Morgan: 10 (ADC)
M. Francisco Palomo
Gen. de Division
Count of Massena
CoA - Armee du Nord
L'Armee du Rhin
Dispatch from Army HQ, L'Armee du Rhine:
Note from the Commander:-
'The army is preformning very well, getting a fair share of victories and awards from the Emperor. At Osnabrück the results are
starting to come in and without letting to much out, we're not doing too bad! Lately the army have also fund time to engage in
a multiplayer contest against our brothers in arms L'Armee du Nord. The army staff have seen many changes and even some new faces,
and I must say these are doing a great job getting into their new roles. Amough the junior officers I have already spotted a few very
admirable joung officers who could become AdR's next generation of senior commanders. In all I'm positive that L'Armee du Rhin will
carry on as one of the best armies in the future to come.'
-Sign. Gén de Bgde Louis-Nicholas Davout
The following Officers have been promoted to the following ranks and shall enjoy all privileges and pay associated with their new rank.
Col. Maunsell to Gen. de Bgde.
Gerry O'Shaughnessy to Colonel.
Nano Capfer to Colonel.
John Cotter to Colonel.
Murat to Lt. Col
Zbyszek Pietras to Major
Leign Monk to Captain.
Mark A Demello to Captain.
The following officers have finished their training at EdM, and are hereby
promoted to Lieutenant.
Lieutenant Peter McPartlin - 06/11/00
The following officers have started their training at EdM
Sous Lt. Mike Gracik 07/04/00
Sous Lt. Will Davies 07/12/00
Sous Lt. Andrew Morris 07/14/00
Sous Lt. Michael Morris 07/15/00
Sous Lt. Valentino Confalone 07/20/00
Sous Lt. Mark Webb 07/24/00
Medals & Honours:-
It is with great pride the 'Medaille Militaire' is awarded to the following Officers for their first victory.
Lt Col. Nano Capfer for his actions against an Anglo-Allied led force.
Captain Dominik Derwinski for his actions against an Anglo-Allied led force.
Captain Mark A DeMello for his actions against an Anglo-Allied led force.
Capt. Leigh Monk for his actions against an Anglo-Allied led force.
It is with great pride the 'Military Star and the Order of the Confederation of the Rhine' is awarded to the following Officer.
Col John Cotter
On the recommendation of their Corps Commander, the following Officers have received awards. These Officers continue to show, willingness, commitment and service over and above the call of duty to their Corps, Commander and fellow Officers. Their active status do them credit, as well as being a great asset to those around them.
On the recommendation of their Armee/Corps Commander, I have great pleasure in awarding the following Officers the 'Legion of Honour':-
Major Murat, RCC
'Especially in recognition of his continued commitment in providing AdR with an elite cavalry corps, which he has build up from the very start. This award should also bring him up to the rank of Lt.Col. which is much more fitting for him.'
Major R. Cipressi, VC
'For his continued and seemingly ever lasting success in wining over any Allied Coalition Officer. He is with out any question one of our finest officer within AdR.'
Capt. R. Truitt, VIIIC
'For his major victory over the very esteemed Allied officer Mr. Paul Harris.'
I have great pleasure in awarding the following Officers the 'Order of the Iron Crown'.
Lt Gerry Nivison
L'Armee du Rhin Commanders Special Recognition Award & Mention in Despatches:-
Lt Col Capfer takes over command of the Ecole de Mars
Well, things have been very quiet in the VIII Corps. Most officers are
either busy fighting the invaders in Westphalia, on holiday, or drunk
themselves into a coma.
Col John Cotter, Commander of the 23rd Westphalian Division, who had the honour of receiving the Military Star and the Order of the Confederation of the Rhine in the same day. He must be proud as he is the first recipricant of this order in the Corps.
Gén de Bgde Davout (Erik Frederiksen) has assumed command of AdR from Gén de Bgde Ney (Jon Brewitt).
Gén de Bgde Eugene (Barry Maunsell) has assumed the role of COS for AdR.
Gén de Bgde Bardon has assumed command of the Imperial Guard.
Colonel Goodwin has taken up the role of club Matchmaker.
Special request from VIII Corps
Colonel Goodwin would like to update VIII Corps page with a 'Confederation
of the Rhine' theme. To this end he requires pictures, scans, or just any
information regarding what he feels were some of the hardest worked
units during the Napoleonic Wars.
Gén de Bgde Eugené
Chief of Staff
AHQ, L'Armee du Rhine.
SECOND ARMY OF THE WEST DISPATCH
With the Ogre still at large, recruits continue to flock to the Tsar's service. Seven new recruits joined the Russian Army since the last dispatch. Of these, the following have completed training and received their command assignments:
Podporuchik Phillip Chimara: Orel Infantry Regiment, 26th Division
Podporuchik Richard Durham: Nishki-Novgorod Infantry Regiment, 26th Division
In addition to thenew recruits, two officers have returned to active service. Podporuchik Dilwyn Roberts has been assigned command of the Narva Infantry Regiment, 12th Division, VII Corps. Polkovnik Gil Ocampo has also been persuaded to return from his estates and has reassumed command of the Tsar's cossacks.
II. BATTLE HONORS\DECORATIONS\PROMOTIONS
Allied Spring Tournament
The Allied Spring manuevers were a resounding success. Congratulations to the Russian contingent which logged a record of 5 wins, 1 loss and 1 canceled game:
MajorGeneral Peter Yrureta
Podpolkovnik Ruben Lopez
Shtabs-Kapitan Zachary Becker
Kapitan Ross Sutton
Kapitan Chris Suttles
Poruchik Peter Green
Poruchik Victor Vityai
Polkovnik Karl Schneider:
Major Victory in HS03 of the Westphalian Campaign. The French seized Borodino and the Russians captured Beezobovo early in the game. Strong French counterattacks at Beezobovo threw the Russians back over the stream but were not strong enough to penetrate the village. At Borodino, the French pushed beyond the village towards the ridge where the Russian guns were massed. Desperate fighting at the foot of the ridge ensued but the point blank fire of the Russian artillery repulsed the Poles, although a Russian division was destroyed and the Russian guns suffered from the French artillery situated across the Voina Stream.
The French cavalry appeared en masse and struck the tired Russian infantry still defending the guns. The Russian cavalry had been weakened due to the impetuous cossacks' insistence on running down French skirmishers. The French cavalry were only repulsed in the final turns with the commitment of the relatively fresh Grenadier division and elements of the Russian heavy cavalry. This prevented the Russians from using these forces for trying to retake Borodino but was enough for a Russian victory.
Podpolkovnik Ruben Lopez:
Promoted to Podpolkovnik
Shtabs-Kapitan Simon Ward:
Promoted to the command of the 26th Division, VII Corps
Kapitan Chris Suttles:
Promoted to Kapitan
Kapitan Chris Suttles won his battle in the Allied spring manuevers, forcing his opponent to surrender after 14 turns. French losses: 12,350 infantry, 3,300 cavalry, 96 guns, 17 leader casualties including Marshals Lefebvre and Mortier, both wounded. Russian losses: 12,500 infantry, 4,400 cavalry, 45 guns, 6 leader casualties.
Kapitan Suttles reported a second major victory in his game of NIR scenario 16- Raevskii's Redoubt. Forcing his opponent to surrender after 8 turns (of 10), Podpourchik Suttles inflicted the following losses on the enemy. French losses: 10,500 Infantry, 650 Cavalry, 25 Guns and 5 Leaders. Russian Losses: 4,650 Infantry, 225 Cavalry, 8 Guns and a single Leader. The game ended with the French a comfortable distance from the Redoubt, which was never directly threatened the entire game. The French casualties included the majority of the Italian Guard.
Kapitan Suttles has been awarded the General Service Medal for his first victory (10 turn minimum).
Kapitan Joseph Ayres:
Promoted to Kapitan
Kapitan Joseph Ayres has recorded two major victories . In the NIR Prevenant Scenario, Kapitan Ayres foced his opponent to surrender and concede a major victory after 12 turns. French losses: 46,350 Infantry, 10,025 Cavalry, and 189 Guns. Russian Losses: 22,500 Infantry, 8,775 Cavalry, a mere 18 Guns (!) and 52 leaders. In the second victory, another NIR Prevenant scenario, Kapitan Ayres again forced a surrender after 12 turns. French losses: 39,950 Infantry, 8,775 cavalry and 158 guns. Russian losses: 25,725 infantry, 8,275 cavalry and 40 guns.
Kapitan Ayres has been awarded the General Service Medal for his first victory (10 turn minimum). In addition, Kapitan Ayres has been awarded the prestigious Order of Alexander Nevsky for destroying over 10,000 enemy cavalry and inflicting over 400 points in leadership casualties in a single engagment.
Kapitan Jason Cawley:
Promoted to Kapitan
Kapitan Cawley won major victory in game #0398 (PTW-Hold at All Costs-14 turns completed). The French conceded defeat after 3 1/2 hours. Por. Cawley's Anglo-Allied Army took the crossroads and defeated the defending French force, inflicting casualties of nearly 2/3rds of those engaged on the French side, for a loss of less than 1/6th of the Allied force. Battle honors for the day go to the Royal Green Jackets for effective anti-cavalry work, to Picton's 5th Infantry for defeating a superior French force of all arms and using up their reserves, and to the Brunswick Contingent and Merlen's Dutch-Belgian Cavalry for smashing the French center and driving to the edge of the crossroads. Alten's Division mopped up and had the honor of seizing the crossroads itself. On the French side, the gallantry of Brigadier Soye and his men are recognized. Their attempt to restore the line with a late charge on the Brunswickers was doomed, but magnificent.
Kapitan Cawley followed up this victory with a minor victory against a French colonel in the Battle of Craonne after 12 turns. Kapitan Cawley's Russians blocked the French successfully and thus delaying Napoleon as ordered. The French lost 4000 Young Guard infantry in these 3 hours, to about 2500 Russian infantry and 100 cavalry.
For continued contributions to the NWC by way of historical research, articles and scenario development, Kapitan Cawley has been awarded the Order of St. Vladimir, 4th class.
Kapitan Ray White:
Promoted to Kapitan.
Kapitan White won a major victory in game #279 (10 turns).
Kapitan White has been awarded the General Service Medal for his first victory (10 turn minimum).
Poruchik Victor Vityai:
Promoted to Poruchik
Poruchik Peter Green:
Promoted to Poruchik
Poruchik Green won a minor victory in the Allied spring manuevers playing the French against a Lieutenant Colonel of the British Army. French losses: 2,150 infantry, 475 cavalry, 2 guns, 3 leader casualties, total points 1029. Allied losses: 1,400 infantry, 2,175 cavalry, 3 guns, 1 leader casualty, total points 0.
LONG LIVE THE TSAR!
Polkovnik Karl Schneider
Chief of Staff
Second Army of the West
Bekanntmachung der Preussischen Armee
Dispatches of the Prussian Army
It was a slow period since the last newsletter. Some people are knee-deep in summer activities while others have defied the wrath of spouses and the sensible advice of physicians and continued indoors with their battles of the Westphalia Campaign and other battles.
The Prussian Army would like to extend best wishes and speedy and complete recovery to General Ritter v. Reuter (PlM). Our details are sketchy, but Herr Reuter has undergone hospitalization for repairs to his sight. Our thoughts are with you Stefan.
Slow period for promotions, just one to report:
Oberleutnant Miller to Kapitan
Prussian Westphalian Campaign
This tournament continues. No phases have been completed yet, but matches are slowly coming to a conclusion. Preliminary results so far:
HH05 GdB Bardon vs. Gen Ritter v. Reuter French Major Victory
A hard fought battle to be sure, von Reuter will be back to avenge his defeat!
HH12 Lt DeMello vs. Olt. Tombesi Prussian Minor Victory
Herr Tombesi continues to contribute to the glory of Prussia with victory over the French. A close fight, a mere 260 point edge to the Prussians. Well done Herr Tombesi!
HH06 General Naujoks vs. Steve Peluso Prussian Major Victory
Herr Naujoks continues his mastery over the French!
Meanwhile other results show a split of victories by our Allies:
HS03 GdB Trebosc vs. Colonel Schneider Russian Major Victor
HW06 LtCol Dobson vs. Maj Cipressi French Major Victory
Allied Coalition Tournament
The Allied Tournament has concluded with a victory for the continental side! The standings were 10 victories to 7 with two draws. The contest was a hard fought affair and our neighbors across the Channel have shown themselves to be more than worthy opponents.
The Prussian Army had a highly respectable 43% participation rate by its members. Well done officers. The Prussian results were an even five victories and five defeats with one draw, proving once again Prussian officers are a force to be reckoned with.
Austrian Army News
Greetings to all and this summer has been a busy one for the Austrian Army. We have added seven new officers to the Army. They are:
Unt-Lt Bruno Nackaerts
Unt-Lt Jeff Hunt
Unt-Lt David Duff
Unt-Lt Trevor Sterling
Unt-Lt Craig Delery
Unt-Lt Robert Heinz
Unt-Lt Russell Deven
A special thanks to Obert Dermot Quigley who has been training some of the new ecruits. He has also been adding in historical articles for the Newsletter. Dermont has become my right hand man in the Army!
On the battlefield - we are doing quite well - Victories were recorded during the last quarter by:
Ober-Lt. Tom DeHoff
Unt-Lt Jeff Thomas.
Personally, I saw much action in the on-going The Westhpalian campaign where General Macdonald (Steve Goodwin) and I fought a slugfest on the plains of Russia. I was bested, but staved off the major defeat in the last fire phase of the game! Fortunately for me, a stack of routing French infantry ran through a stack of Gen. MacDonald's fine cavalry - disrupting them and robbing that fine officer of a chance to overrun more of my artillery batteries! (Where in the world do the French keep getting cavalry in that game? I thought I had cut down all of the 'cavalry trees' in the area before the game!)
The Cadets in the Academy (currently seven) have been very busy! With fighting on all fields. Sseveral will graduate in August and join the ranks of the regular army and start fighting for the Kaiser! Look for them soon on the battlefield.
Major Quigley to Oberst
Unt-Lt Jeff Thomas to Ober-Lt.
Unt-Lt BG Schlueter to Ober-Lt.
Our first Academy Grad
Ober-Lt. BG Schlueter became the Army's first graduate in June! He has started Advanced Training with Oberst Quigley. Good show Ober-Lt!
Next month we will probably be starting up our 2nd Korps. Look for more exciting news on our army in the next newsletter!
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On the Internet
There is a heck of a lot of stuff our there on the web for those interested in Napoleon and the Napoleonic Wars. More than we can possibly put in the newsletter. A few of the more interesting sites that we have come across are described below. We encourage members to share their favorite sites as well (just drop one of us a line). KJ
Hey, I have been enjoying some vacation time this summer and was a bit busy at work so I didn't do as much surfing as normal. Hence, I regret to say that I don't have any sites to recommend other than the ones I already mentioned elsewhere in the newsletter -- like John Pumphrey'sNapoleonic Wargame Pages.
The Front Page | Feature Articles | Strategy and Tactics | Regimental Histories | Dispatches
Letters to the Editor
If you have something to contribute or would like comment on any aspect of the newsletter or the NWC, then feel free to write a letter to the editor (firstname.lastname@example.org). However, this newsletter reserves the right to ignore, edit, delete and/or refuse to publish any letter received if it is deemed to be inappropriate or worthless. All letters absolutely must include the name of the author and his/her e-mail address or they will not be posted. KJ
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, August 27, 2000 7:22 PM
Subject: Picture in the May 2000 issue
The picture in the May 2000 issue depicts an incident at the Battle of Waterloo. Uxbridge is seen directing British Hussars (the 15th I think) against the 2nd Regt of Guard Lancers.
Sorry if this has already been answered several times before!
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The Old Guard Surrender at Waterloo