Cavalry Corps???

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Blathergut
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Cavalry Corps???

Post by Blathergut » Sat Nov 11, 2017 8:12 pm

Has anyone actually tried running pure cavalry corps? I tossed an 1809 French one against British today. It didn't meet with much success despite 24 bases of cuirassiers. Just wondered if anyone had some possible tips??

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Re: Cavalry Corps???

Post by BrettPT » Mon Nov 13, 2017 7:53 pm

There have been a couple of players in Melbourne that have run Cav corps, with considerable success I understand.
A sensible opponent will not engage in a cavalry fight to deny you easy points, but instead tuck their mounted behind squares. So the key is to have a set of tactics to break a square or 2.

My impression is that the cavalry corps standard tactic is move a couple of cavalry units (ideally lancers/cuirassiers with attached artillery) up to 6MU of a square, along with a horse artillery unit. Blast the square then charge it. Hope for success and a succession of failed enemy tests and/or a chance to get through into the enemy cavalry. Repeat until victorious or time runs out.
Over the course of a tournament get only wins and draws and, with luck, a top 3 placing.

Attaching an infantry division of course makes a cavalry corps much more threatening - especially if you can get a couple of reformed superior infantry units and a perhaps a LI unit or 2 to target enemy squares.

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Re: Cavalry Corps???

Post by Blathergut » Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:05 pm

Yes. I reworked the cavalry corps to include an imported 1812 infantry division with two units of veteran light infantry w artillery attachments. It also gets an imported Guards division with the light cavalry superior veteran lancers to tuck in behind the light infantry. I figured that will give me more punch at one point. We'll see. That was initially against Brits. I think Dead. has Austrians waiting next time. Large units everywhere, no doubt. It was interesting to try.

That's one thing about this set of rules and lists: You can have such incredible variety in your army. Battles are rarely the same.

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Re: Cavalry Corps???

Post by hazelbark » Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:46 pm

I ran the Cavalry Corps variation in V1 a bit.

It created a ridiculous process where I would sweep in and if my opponent wasn't very careful I would just roll up the position.
The shock cavalry being willing to charge even spent, two shock cavalry with attached artillery would rough up any square.
It was a piece I grew to dislike about the game.
We tried to go to 900 points to give more stuff to fend off the cavalry corps and it didn't work.

As said by another it was a heads I win, tail we draw situation.

It left me a bad test about the whole concept because it just emphasized to me it was a game and not history.

There was the infantry Corps with that attached shock cavalry I think the Austrians could manage it IIRC.

Even now reflecting on it...eek. I remember contemplating an Ottoman Cavalry attack corps and then thankfully I saw v2 start developing.

The other piece in the description is cavalry comes in at an angle to not meet the full firepower of the infantry and artillery, but especially concentrate on the hinge.

So looking forward to v 2.

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Re: Cavalry Corps???

Post by BrettPT » Sun Nov 19, 2017 9:31 pm

Getting a balance for mounted v squares is tough.

One good thing about FoGN IMO is that tabletop cavalry commanders have a go against squares - which is highly realistic (they charged squares all the time historically). We didn't want to lose this game dynamic by making squares immune to mounted.

I don't really have too much of an issue with squares being broken by mounted with artillery attachments - bringing up a horse artillery battery in close support for the cavalry was what you were supposed to do, & I also have no problem with a disordered squares being broken.

But I agree, too many fresh squares were broken in v1.

v2 has rolled back the mounted just a little with a number of small tweaks:
Spent Guard and Shock cavalry now need a CMT to assault (unless charging wavering troops) like lighter mounted.
If a square has friends in a flank support position on both flanks (even though flank support doesn't count with squares) then it can only be assaulted by a single enemy unit.
You no longer get rear support against a square (this is actually quite a big deal. A triangle of 3 units assaulting a square will get 2 fewer dice than in v1, while the square will not lose a dice)
Guard no longer get re-rolls.
You only pass through a square if you beat it (by which is meant you end up on a higher cohesion level than the square).
Only a single unit may pass through a square (the rest bounce)
If you pass through a square you become disordered (if not already).

The net result? Squares are just a smidgen more resilient. And the chances of mounted being bounced back Spent is slightly greater .

As an aside, being Spent is significantly worse for shock and guard cavalry now, with no free charges and generally less CP availability with the removal of free pips for commanders.
Cavalry which stray to far from their DC now get hammered - out of command range, Spent cavalry need no less than 4 CPs and 2 successful test to assault anything but a wavering unit.

I'm not sure if we have gone far enough to help the humble small infantry unit in square. But hopefully we have found a much better balance whereby cavalry commanders will still chance their arm, but they'll need significantly more luck than in v1 to ride down fresh squares.

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Re: Cavalry Corps???

Post by BrettPT » Sun Nov 19, 2017 10:01 pm

hazelbark wrote: I remember contemplating an Ottoman Cavalry attack corps and then thankfully I saw v2 start developing.
Just a heads up that the Ottoman mounted will likely be getting some major chances in v2 lists. They will be less the rapier-like force we tend to see at the moment, and be more a horde of potentially dangerous, but largely impotent units.

Lance upgrades will disappear for irregular type mounted (like Cossacks, you can still model the figures with sticks but they don't count or pay for a Lance bonus).
The bulk standard Sipahi will become Irregular Poor HC (impetuous). Basically the same as Mamelukes except Poor rather than Superior.
So cheap as chips at 5 points a base, and ok-ish if they get into combat against enemy cavalry.
But they will struggle to charge home against firepower (1 dice for CMTs, re-rolling 6s as poor), or indeed do anything at all (except assault waverers) once spent.

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Re: Cavalry Corps???

Post by hazelbark » Mon Nov 27, 2017 8:26 pm

BrettPT wrote: Just a heads up that the Ottoman mounted will likely be getting some major chances in v2 lists. They will be less the rapier-like force we tend to see at the moment, and be more a horde of potentially dangerous, but largely impotent units.
Excellent because even knowing the Egyptian campaign I don't really think they fit as "Napoleonic" and I am thankful I resisted. I know others disagree.

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Re: Cavalry Corps???

Post by adonald » Tue Nov 28, 2017 3:59 am

But I agree, too many fresh squares were broken in v1.
I also agree. In fact, you could count the number of actual battalion squares that were broken in the Napoleonic wars on two hands. Those are BATTALION squares too, and the FOGN rules have units of three or four battalions that are broken regularly. Completely unrealistic. Further, some of the examples are written up by the victors and are probably masses of infantry already retiring and being subsequently being run over - not formed squares.

I am aware Brett likes the idea of cavalry having a chance to break squares, otherwise players won't charge squares at all. In a way I agree with him, but I don't agree with the subsequent FOGN game mechanic. Rather than make it possible to break squares to encourage charges, ALL cavalry should test within charge reach of enemy infantry in the open to see if they charge, and if they fail, they do. I certainly agree with the current Version 2 changes to reduce the chances of a square breaking, but I would go further in reducing the chance of a disordered or wavering square (in fact, a group of squares mutually supporting each other) breaking by making the cavalry only hit on a 6.
Certainly, cavalry in FOGN sized units did charge infantry in squares. This occurred with Fane’s and Anson’s brigades at Talavera – the effect being totally spoilt by a hidden ravine and no French square was troubled. But not only the British did this – the French cavalry at Fuentes de Orono and El Bodon charged British squares and broke none of them – and, of course, there’s Waterloo.

Then there was the successful charge of the KGL Dragoons at the Battle of García Hernández against French squares – but even then, only two battalion squares of the eight French battalions were actually broken – the rest retired. Also, a French witness had a very different take on what happened and said the French were caught out of formation.

Alastair Donald

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Re: Cavalry Corps???

Post by BrettPT » Tue Nov 28, 2017 9:11 am

Rather than make it possible to break squares to encourage charges, ALL cavalry should test within charge reach of enemy infantry in the open to see if they charge, and if they fail, they do.

This is the old v1 impetuous cavalry rule, applied to squares only. Much maligned (including by yourself Al?) and discarded for v2.
I would go further in reducing the chance of a disordered or wavering square (in fact, a group of squares mutually supporting each other) breaking by making the cavalry only hit on a 6.
This would give more realistic results I agree. However I don't think that players would ever assault a steady square if they needed 6s. There would be virtually no chance of winning, and a slim chance of even doing any damage. So while it would promote realistic outcomes, it would not promote realistic gameplay (ie assaulting squares). You would then need a new mechanism to force players to assault against their wishes, such as the impetuous-against-squares idea above.

Anyway, for better or worse v2 is now more-or-less in its final form and there is no more time to test substantive changes in a tournament setting before publication. So we'll have to settle for better, but still not perfect on this one I'm afraid.

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Re: Cavalry Corps???

Post by hazelbark » Tue Nov 28, 2017 7:57 pm

adonald wrote: But not only the British did this – the French cavalry at Fuentes de Orono and El Bodon charged British squares and broke none of them – and, of course, there’s Waterloo.
I think some of Kellerman's Cuirassier at Quatra Bras broke into a square as it was being formed. Therefore it doesn't violate the Rudyard Kipling never broke a British square rule. But in game terms one of the things that a "square" breaking represents is the square was improperly formed or failed to form in time. Something we need to remember because we all are used to saying its a square. No if it got beat maybe it wasn't. (or as you say parts weren't)

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Re: Cavalry Corps???

Post by hazelbark » Tue Nov 28, 2017 8:26 pm

adonald wrote: Rather than make it possible to break squares to encourage charges, ALL cavalry should test within charge reach of enemy infantry in the open to see if they charge, and if they fail, they do. I certainly agree with the current Version 2 changes to reduce the chances of a square breaking, but I would go further in reducing the chance of a disordered or wavering square (in fact, a group of squares mutually supporting each other) breaking by making the cavalry only hit on a 6.
I would alter it slightly, if they fail they charge or fall back 1/2 move. I agree that large cavalry formations especially fresh did not loiter in firing range of the enemy. The closest example of loitering is at Waterloo after the umpteenth charge the French were spent and the anglo-allies were conserving ammunition. The French sort of stared as their generals were worried that if they retired the whole army would fall back being brittle at the end of the day.

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Re: Cavalry Corps???

Post by hazelbark » Tue Nov 28, 2017 8:27 pm

BrettPT wrote: Anyway, for better or worse v2 is now more-or-less in its final form and there is no more time to test substantive changes in a tournament setting before publication. So we'll have to settle for better, but still not perfect on this one I'm afraid.
True. True. Let's keep whittling out the typos.

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Re: Cavalry Corps???

Post by BrettPT » Tue Nov 28, 2017 9:15 pm

hazelbark wrote: Something we need to remember because we all are used to saying its a square. No if it got beat maybe it wasn't. (or as you say parts weren't)
Excellent point worth remembering.

I did think of one idea perhaps worthy of consideration, to simply place a maximum on the total number of dice that can ever be rolled by cavalry units against a single square to (say) 6.
Idea is that you can only really get so many squadrons into an attack and so large numbers wouldn't really help you.
Game effect would be to place limits on 'loading up' against an exposed square, which is where the issue really lies.

This would also allow us to do away with the limitation on numbers of units that can charge a supported square rule - which, together with the removal of rear support for mounted against squares is designed to try and achieve a similar purpose.

However, I sadly thought of this idea too late in the process so it will have to remain an untested thought ...

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Re: Cavalry Corps???

Post by hazelbark » Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:09 pm

Also if a turn is what 30 minutes we are talking a succession of charges and squadrons or regiments could roll in like waves in succession. There are so many pieces that are "factored in" but we are used to looking at it like its actually exactly like the figures sort of portray.

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Re: Cavalry Corps???

Post by adonald » Fri Dec 01, 2017 1:01 am

Rather than make it possible to break squares to encourage charges, ALL cavalry should test within charge reach of enemy infantry in the open to see if they charge, and if they fail, they do.

This is the old v1 impetuous cavalry rule, applied to squares only. Much maligned (including by yourself Al?) and discarded for v2.
Yes, but slightly disingenuous, Mr PT! i am suggesting ALL cavalry behave like that. What I objected to in the past was that 'impetuous' cavalry charged without orders, which was not true in most cases. However, I am certainly happy to support non-spent cavalry charging at infantry in range if it was a FOGN rule characteristic of all cavalry, particularly regular cavalry. It would make players more circumspect in how they manoeuvre and position cavalry on the battlefield. There was a reason why major cavalry formations were kept in the rear, and would lead to better player behaviour ibn that they would use cavalry more historically. That is much better than offering an unhistoric opportunity to break infantry formations just to see players charging infantry.
However I don't think that players would ever assault a steady square if they needed 6s.
That's why it would have to be some automated response to infantry being in range. And as it is automatic, none of the CMT's need to charge would be required.
Anyway, for better or worse v2 is now more-or-less in its final form and there is no more time to test substantive changes in a tournament setting before publication. So we'll have to settle for better, but still not perfect on this one I'm afraid.
I doubt it would need much testing, it's a bit obvious..., but you could save it for v3...

Alastair

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