Commanded Shot

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nikgaukroger
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Commanded Shot

Post by nikgaukroger » Tue Nov 22, 2016 5:26 pm

Another one of those that seems to continue to be not quite right.

Kevin and myself posted (rough) ideas to a topic recently so I am repeating them here for discussion.
nikgaukroger wrote: Change to make it markers for a BG with commanded shot attached. Then say how they affect movement. Not sure I'd go with any shooting from them, but not bothered either way. Can be discarded to allow the mounted full movement (need to think if this is automatic if the mounted pursue) at which point they are lost for the rest of the game. Points cost would differ between Horse and DH/Cavaliers as the latter can function in shallower formations.
kevinj wrote: 2) Commanded Shot are costed and represented as LF Av/Po with Musket. They become part of a Horse BG of the same grade. They may shoot or provide Protection from a second or third rank. The combined BG moves as the slowest of Horse or LF dependent on terrain. It is treated as a Mounted BG so may deploy in the outer 12 MU and may march up to 3 times. Commanded Shot are not allowed Regimental Guns. Remove the +1 point for Commanded Shot. As the Foot are interspersed with the Horse, all shooting at the mixed BG counts as shooting at Horse. Similarly, if one of the LF bases is contacted, the enemy fights as if it had contacted Horse. Turn a Horse base to face the enemy if possible. Any file which has bases fighting in more than one direction does not count the benefit of Protection.
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ravenflight
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Re: Commanded Shot

Post by ravenflight » Tue Nov 22, 2016 8:19 pm

Devils advocate:

I HATE commanded shot. I think they are WAY too powerful, but the one bad thing about them is that they make a massive hole if/when they do break. You can take 3 BG's (2 commanded shot and 1 mounted) out when you FINALLY WIN. You can also destroy the commanded shot by shooting.

Making them a marker (IMO) increases their effectiveness and decreases their weaknesses.

I admit that they will force people to use them more historically.

I don't have another solution, however.

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Re: Commanded Shot

Post by nikgaukroger » Wed Nov 23, 2016 10:06 am

One additional thought about the current system just springs to mind as well; by having commanded shot as bases it allows a player to stretch the frontage of their mounted cheaply. As far as I can see commanded shot went in the normal spaces between squadrons and so this extending of frontage is not really historical.
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benjones1211
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Re: Commanded Shot

Post by benjones1211 » Wed Nov 23, 2016 11:31 am

Not only that, but the size between squadrons would not be two bases worth more like .5-1 base worth.

Ie there wasn't 1/2 a squadron of commanded shot between each squadron.

I looked at doing some replaying of Historical ECW games, and came up with a base to troops ratio that worked across a number of battles giving very good number of units, approximately the same number as historically, and that was

Horse 60 men
Infantry 100 men
this ratio also gave the reasonably correct frontage/depth for each type of unit.
Which meant a Horse unit was 240 and a P&S was 600, and commanded shot 200.

Edgehill on one flank there where 400 Commanded Shot amongst 5 Squadrons which would be 100 between each or 1 base
First Newbury there where 200 Commanded Shot amongst 6 squadrons which would be 40 between each or .4 of a base.

Breitenfield the swedes used the following

Right flank 860 Musketeers amongst 7 squadrons totalling 2450 at approx 350 men per squadron. SO 4 bases would be 90 Horse per base, if working on the same ratio then
we would have cmd shot at 150 per base or 6 bases ie. 1 base between each squadron.

Left flank the ratio was about doubled so 2 bases between each squadron.

Lutzen was another that Commanded Shot was used a lot, but I cannot find the ration info I do have it at home but I remember it as being much the same as the Breitenfield right flank ratio.

So a lot of time two base Commanded Shot is much too large and I suspect there just because cannot have 1 base units.

nikgaukroger
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Re: Commanded Shot

Post by nikgaukroger » Wed Nov 23, 2016 1:03 pm

benjones1211 wrote:Not only that, but the size between squadrons would not be two bases worth more like .5-1 base worth.

Ie there wasn't 1/2 a squadron of commanded shot between each squadron.
FWIW I believe it is usually stated that there would be a squadron's width between them with the squadrons of the 2nd line positioned covering the gaps. Same for infantry where there would be a battalion's width between battalions. We tend to fudge and gloss over these with wargames rules :shock:

So a lot of time two base Commanded Shot is much too large and I suspect there just because cannot have 1 base units.
Almost certainly true as we would not have wanted to create an exception when the rules were developed.

Thanks for the calculations BTW, I think it nicely illustrates the point :)
Nik Gaukroger

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Re: Commanded Shot

Post by nikgaukroger » Wed Nov 23, 2016 1:20 pm

To add to Ben's useful numbers above here is my understanding of what commanded shot were for and how they worked.

In Gustav's army they were introduced as a response to the much superior Polish cavalry in his wars in the 1620's. Their job is to disrupt the enemy cavalry so that the Swedish cavalry can take them on - hopefully successfully :) He continues with this use into the TYW as the Imperial cavalry (initially) outclasses the Swedish cavalry with perhaps the exception of the Finns.

Tactically the idea is that the shooting of the commanded shot, probably at close range and by volley, caused a disruption in the oncoming enemy cavalry (which might last a relatively short time) allowing a counter-charge by the supported horse to take advantage of this temporary advantage. Whilst this seems to have been fairly successful casualties amongst the commanded shot at Breitenfeld were high which is one reason they were given regimental guns at Lutzen (one of which contributed to Pappenheim's death).

In the ECW (and this probably reflects European use of the 1640's) commanded shot are used when the cavalry are expecting to be on the defensive. Good examples are both armies at Marston Moor and the Royalists at Naseby. Of course in both these cases circumstances overtook the plans. Fairfax at Marston More certainly credits the Royalist commanded shot with causing his cavalry some problems due to their shooting which contributed to most of his wing being swept away by Goring's wing.

Tactically the idea seem to be pretty much the same as Gustav (unsurprising).

After the 1640's I don't think we see commanded shot - so they must have had enough draw-backs to see them disappear.

One important thing that comes out for me is the fundamentally defensive nature of commanded shot and that must be reflected in whatever we do with them.

Of course, if you disagree please post about it :D

I think that the current implementation in the rules is something of an abstraction (by making the important effect of the commanded shot a close combat one) to try and get the right effect without the mechanisms specifically reflecting what happened. Is this the right way to do it? What would be an alternative?
Nik Gaukroger

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Re: Commanded Shot

Post by benjones1211 » Wed Nov 23, 2016 1:50 pm

Martson Moor

The Royalist wings where 2500 Horse 500 Musketeers , and 2100 Horse 500 Musketeers

With the ratios above that would be 10 squadrons in two lines, or 9 squadrons in 2 lines with 120 musketeers in each gap (as they where in the front rank only) or 1.2 cmd shot bases.

Naseby
The Royalist wings where each 3 squadrons in the first line supported by 200 musketeers, or 1 base cmd shot in each gap

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Re: Commanded Shot

Post by marshalney2000 » Wed Nov 23, 2016 7:06 pm

I still like the command shot marker solution that was discussed at some length about two years ago.
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Re: Commanded Shot

Post by ravenflight » Wed Nov 23, 2016 7:32 pm

I think the 'marker' solution or the 'third rank light infantry' solution is best.

Having had time to think about it, one of the issues I've had with commanded shot is that I could see no solution or way to beat average horse with commanded shot when using my Loius XIV DH. I'd go in evens and then be disadvantaged after that. All while costing substantially more. Or, not go in and be shot to pieces. In addition, they add to the break point of the army and give the ability to put down a 'first quarter' of nothing, effectively taking the initiative.

So, with the changes being made, this may not be as big an issue:

1- DH are being rehashed;
2- The footprint of a Horse with Commanded Shot is being reduced;
3- the 'unit count' is being reduced (as a marker doesn't count); and
4- (presumably) the shooting will be reduced.

I think if we made the 'marker' almost identical to the regimental gun, it would be good. This is totally unthought, so accept I may not have a good idea here,but how would it play out if the commanded shot was EXACTLY like a regimental gun. 1 dice of shooting. 1 dice of POA 0 at impact. How would that affect things?

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Re: Commanded Shot

Post by donm2 » Wed Nov 23, 2016 9:53 pm

Has anyone thought of treating horse and commanded shot as a new formation within the rules, much like a pike and shot unit?

You join the units up at time of writing army list and then they have to remain together for the whole game.

This would prevent them going off and doing their own thing.

As they cannot march for three moves, it slows the cavalry.

As the shot cannot charge, the new combined unit cannot charge (add - unless the enemy are unsteady) and so they become a defensive formation.

One of the strongest parts of the rules are the mixed infantry formations.

Don

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Re: Commanded Shot

Post by nikgaukroger » Thu Nov 24, 2016 6:28 am

I think this is what Kevin suggested more or less - see the first post in this topic.
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Re: Commanded Shot

Post by nikgaukroger » Thu Nov 24, 2016 6:30 am

Looking at the way commanded shot are used in the game it is often to bolster the weaker shooting Horse - arkebusiers and the like - which is completely at odds with history as far as I can see as I cannot think of an example where this happens; they are actually used to support "fighting" mounted.
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Re: Commanded Shot

Post by benjones1211 » Thu Nov 24, 2016 1:04 pm

If you use the LF or marker approach then it can be defined which Horse units they can work with.

If using the marker, using the regimental gun approach would be fine, but I would say you don't get the additional dice if you charge, only if you are charged. But doesn't give protection, ie. help when down during melee otherwise for one gun 4 DH in line could be protected. Getting better value than 4 Horse in two files due to fighting in two ranks.

I like the LF because you can buy the number you require and that many files will be protected. So if you are DH and have two LF then only two of your files would be protected, so once expanded to be 4 wide you would have to decide where to place them, or would the definition be that it would have to be the outside files that are protected.
Also there again if you charge the LF don't help, only if charged or in the following melee, the foot have caught up with the mounted melee.

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Re: Commanded Shot

Post by timmy1 » Thu Nov 24, 2016 3:13 pm

I prefer MF markers at the back of the BG 2nd or 3rd rank. Provide protection to the files they are based behind only. Keep the Movement as is, i.e they slow down mounted. The become part of the mounted BG they are attached too (stops them wandering off as super MF) and they don't count for ABP. They and any Reg Gun don't shoot. Remain optional.

If you are going to do this, the Swedish Command Shot need not to be paid for as Salvo.

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Re: Commanded Shot

Post by timmy1 » Thu Nov 24, 2016 3:14 pm

Also will help solve some of the Ave 4-pack mounted issues as the BG is now 6 bases.

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Re: Commanded Shot

Post by madaxeman » Thu Nov 24, 2016 9:05 pm

Would some sort of combined formation (either 2+2 or 4+2) which had a single factor for all of the bases - like pike and shot currently - work?

Then the shot are there as a visual thing, but every base in the unit is pointed and fights as an upgraded troop type "horse with commanded shot" ?

I'm already thinking about rebasing some horse with 2 mounted and 1 shot on each base ...,!
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Re: Commanded Shot

Post by nikgaukroger » Fri Nov 25, 2016 5:58 am

I think a problem with such a combined BG, which would have to be limited in its movement IMO, is that it does not allow the commanded shot to be left behind if the mounted go onto the offensive which is what happened - e.g. Lutzen, Marston Moor, Naseby.
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Re: Commanded Shot

Post by nikgaukroger » Fri Nov 25, 2016 5:59 am

timmy1 wrote:Also will help solve some of the Ave 4-pack mounted issues as the BG is now 6 bases.
The proposed BG autobreak change is aimed at mitigating that (and universally not at a small subset that commanded shot would).
Nik Gaukroger

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Re: Commanded Shot

Post by ravenflight » Fri Nov 25, 2016 6:39 am

nikgaukroger wrote:I think a problem with such a combined BG, which would have to be limited in its movement IMO, is that it does not allow the commanded shot to be left behind if the mounted go onto the offensive which is what happened - e.g. Lutzen, Marston Moor, Naseby.
How's this as an idea:

Mounted can have 'comanded shot' and take up the central file of an otherwise all mounted BG (so would look like the pike elements of a P&S formation.

They move as MF unless the owner opts to move as mounted, in which case they permanently lose their commanded shot.

The whole BG is counted as covered by the commanded shot (rules to be determined how they affect combat etc).

The commanded shot are lost and considered destroyed in these circumstances:

1- the BG routes;
2- the BG charges enemy;
3- the BG opts to march move a third time;
4- the BG opts to move as mounted.

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Re: Commanded Shot

Post by kevinj » Fri Nov 25, 2016 10:24 am

When I thought of replacing Commanded Shot with included LF, one of the reasons was as a way to increase the size of Average/Poor BGs. If we change the Autobreak levels this becomes less of a priority, so I'm coming around to the marker idea. I particularly like:
I think if we made the 'marker' almost identical to the regimental gun, it would be good. This is totally unthought, so accept I may not have a good idea here,but how would it play out if the commanded shot was EXACTLY like a regimental gun. 1 dice of shooting. 1 dice of POA 0 at impact. How would that affect things?
So, here's a slightly more thought out suggestion:

Commanded shot is represented by a marker in the same way as Regimental Guns. Armies may have 1 marker for each 2 bases of Commanded Shot allowed in their list.
One marker may be added to a BG of Average or Poor Horse, Determined Horse or Cavaliers.
A BG with Commanded Shot attached moves at the slower rate of LF or Horse. Simple/Complex moves are as defined for Horse.
If the BG charges or pursues the marker is removed.
The marker may be voluntarily removed, in which case the BG reverts to normal Horse movement.
The BG gains 1 dice shooting (Musket POAs, 3MU range) with target priority and arc of fire determined as for Regimental Guns.
If the BG is charged it gains 1 dice at impact at the same POAs as Regimental Guns.

As a starting point, one base of Commanded Shot currently costs 8 points Average, 6 points Poor. That might be more than the benefits are worth, especially given the limitations that come with it. But in any case I think it would be best to agree the effects and then assign a cost.

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