Extended line and unreformed

General discussion forum for anything related to Field of Glory Napoleonics.

Moderators: hammy, terrys, Blathergut, Slitherine Core

KeefM
Staff Sergeant - StuG IIIF
Staff Sergeant - StuG IIIF
Posts: 274
Joined: Mon Mar 11, 2013 5:08 am

Re: Extended line and unreformed

Post by KeefM » Sat Feb 07, 2015 7:39 pm

A small unreformed AD infantry unit with rifle attached costs 42pts compared to 40pts for a vanilla reformed AD unit. In the presence of cavalry the unreformed unit will shoot with 2 dice while the reformed unit gets 1 dice - not a bad buy for just 2pts ! In the case of large units, the cost is 58pts for unreformed vs 60pts reformed - ie an unreformed large unit outshoots it's reformed equivalent AND is cheaper !!

In game terms, that's an amazing bonus in shooting effectiveness brought about by a hundred or so rifle armed skirmishers compared to to an equal number of musket armed equivalents (always bearing in mind that the otherwise 'unreformed' infantry wouldn't get to shoot at all at medium range without either !).

Rifle attachments to unreformed infantry allow them to outshoot their reformed counterparts ... so, either the points cost for rifles needs adjusting upwards or the game benefit for rifles needs adjusting downwards.

deadtorius
General - Elite King Tiger
General - Elite King Tiger
Posts: 4176
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 12:41 am

Re: Extended line and unreformed

Post by deadtorius » Sat Feb 07, 2015 10:14 pm

A small unreformed AD infantry unit with rifle attached costs 42pts compared to 40pts for a vanilla reformed AD unit. In the presence of cavalry the unreformed unit will shoot with 2 dice while the reformed unit gets 1 dice - not a bad buy for just 2pts ! In the case of large units, the cost is 58pts for unreformed vs 60pts reformed -
Said small reformed unit also moves faster than its unreformed counterpart. That is part of its inherent cost as well as having the ability to shoot at 6 MU. Take any unreformed unit dont give it an attachment and see what it can do, its a sitting duck for getting shot to hell.
Add an artillery attachment to a reformed unit it gets 4 dice right off the top for shooting, the unreformed unit gets 2 dice. Toss in a horse somewhere and the unreformed stays at 2 dice the reformed dropt to 2 dice. Reformed takes a skirmisher it gets 4 dice. Unreformed gets 3 dice with rifle attached. Put a horse out there and the reformed gets 2 dice the unreformed gets 2 dice. At best Austria is going to get a single rifle attachment per division, not going to make a huge difference in being shot at by a reformed opponent where every unit can shoot at 6 MU and only 2 units of Austrians per division can shoot at 6 MU at +20 points for the necessary attachments. Hardly a game breaker. Roll up a reformed light infantry unit with artillery and its likely your going to see the unreformed unit taking the worse in the shooting. Considering how with most armies rifle attachments are still pretty rare I don't see a problem with the points cost for a single unit that can actually shoot to 6 MU when most of its division can't shoot that far in the first place and its still slower in movement.
Reformed unit can move to just within 6 MU of an unreformed opponent with attachment. Both can shoot. If the unreformed drops cohesion the reformed can charge into them next turn. If the reformed unit drops cohesion the unreformed still can't charge into its opponent but can move up and hope to not be driven back or drop cohesion in the opponents turn. Advantage is still with the more expensive reformed unit. Gosh but that 1 die from the rifles could have completely changed that outcome and must be priced over the top for unreformed units because they might get 1 extra die for shooting, not that they can easily exploit it as they need to pay points for running shoes so they can charge up to 6 MU as well. :roll:

Seriously, rifles are not that big an advantage and the reformed still have it better in the long run with longer inherent range and faster movement. Leave the rifles as is, they are not numerous enough or
deadly enough justify a points increase.

marty
Sergeant Major - SdKfz 234/2 8Rad
Sergeant Major - SdKfz 234/2 8Rad
Posts: 635
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2008 1:26 am
Location: Sydney

Re: Extended line and unreformed

Post by marty » Sat Feb 07, 2015 10:31 pm

I think you're overselling the value of skirmishers to unreformed armies a little KeefM. It is still essentially "cost about the same to shoot the same and move much slower".

My main army is Austrians and personally I feel it is a mistake to try to use attachments to turn your unreformed army in to a "Faux-Reformed" army. The limits on numbers of attachments per division mean you will never really be able to fire all that effectively at medium range. At Cancon I ran 1805 Austrians with no attachments (of any sort). I can have one skirmisher and one artillery attachment per division (which generally contains 4 infantry regiments). This is far from unusual for unreformed armies. Half your units been able to put out some fire at medium range is simply not worth the investment, especially in a game where so much of the importance of medium range fire revolves around concentrating the fire of multiple units. Even if you take an unreformed army with a more flexible divisional/attachment organisation you are still essentially a less effective reformed army.

I say don't try to remove your weakness by throwing good money after bad. Use the extra points to get numbers (I ran 18 units, 2 of which were large), field the mixed divisions these armies often get (all three of the divisions I'm allowed are mixed) and ensure you have enough cavalry ( I have 6 regiments). Use the fire splitting and cavalry rules to your advantage and I think you will find you can sit under medium range fire all day long with no lasting ill effect (at least until they wheel their artillery to within 6" but avoiding that is a whole little sub-game in itself). I didn't win every game but I didn't lose any because I got shot up by enemy infantry at medium range.

Are unreformed infantry overcosted? Maybe slightly, but if they dropped a point a base I still wouldn't be using the extra points to buy skirmisher attachments (not even rifles).

Martin

Saxonian
Administrative Corporal - SdKfz 251/1
Administrative Corporal - SdKfz  251/1
Posts: 130
Joined: Tue Feb 04, 2014 12:00 am

Re: Extended line and unreformed

Post by Saxonian » Sun Feb 08, 2015 10:15 am

I am not a fan of the idea of tinkering with the points values as I think they are ok.
I have used unreformed 1809 Saxons from the start, and usually manage to win a battle every now and then. :D

There ARE two things which have never quite sat right with me:
1 - That unreformed infantry, who by definition manoeuvre in line, are penalised in the cohesion test the same as reformed when using line formation.
2 - That unreformed infantry move 33% slower than reformed - this seems a big difference to me, more than my (limited :wink: ) reading of contemporary drill manuals would indicate. And yes, I actually have read one or two :shock: .
I would like to have a conversation about maybe a 5MU move for unreformed in tactical.

Reformed infantry get quite a lot. Upside - Shoot at medium range and 6MU. Downside - 1MU less move when in line.
Unreformed infantry. Downside - move 33% slower and no medium range shooting. Upside - 20% less cost, and 1MU better move in line..... which nobody uses because of the 1 dice cohesion loss..... so not much apart from cost.

The funny thing is, unreformed armies seem to regularly figure in the top 3 or 4 in tournaments.........

And as far as the British are concerned, just make them reformed

Blathergut
Field Marshal - Elefant
Field Marshal - Elefant
Posts: 5873
Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2008 1:44 am
Location: Southern Ontario, Canada

Re: Extended line and unreformed

Post by Blathergut » Sun Feb 08, 2015 3:08 pm

Curiously enough, lately, since Dead. has switched from Austrians to Russians with field forts, the French have had an easier time. I've always found the unreformed Austrians to be tough to beat:

-veteran only costs them 2pts a base...for reformed it's 3 and for my lights it's 4...
-I almost always face large units, packed tightly together, so actually getting medium ranged hits is difficult...
-if they are careful with cavalry, my medium range shooting is reduced...their arty attachments are not...they end up out-shooting me

I think the points are fine.

adonald
Administrative Corporal - SdKfz 251/1
Administrative Corporal - SdKfz  251/1
Posts: 127
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2012 1:33 pm

Re: Extended line and unreformed

Post by adonald » Sun Feb 08, 2015 3:21 pm

I personally think the rifle issue is one of the smaller problems, and I wouldn't describe it as an "amazing bonus". As a user of rifles in my British army because they used then historically rather than because of any perceived bonus in using them, I find they only occasionally have an effect. This is through either the bulk of my troops are not facing cavalry and I may as well have bought musket skirmishers, or my targets don't have attached generals and there's no chance in picking one off. Now, this COULD be the result of my opponent actively avoiding my rifle armed units, but I suspect they care little about whether there's a rifle there and more about the overall combat situation. I can't recall killing a general with rifle fire.

At Cancon, when I was fine tuning my army, initially each of my two infantry brigades had a rifle armed average veteran light infantry unit. However, I found myself with a poor drilled Portuguese cavalry unit. I upgraded them to average drilled and "downgraded" the KGL lights to a Chasseur Britanniques type musket armed light infantry unit. In the five games I can only recall twice where their fire was reduced by cavalry to three dice, when, if they had remained rifles, it would have been four. I can't recall any dramatic outcome from those circumstances.

I have always taken the price for rifles as a marginal cost based on the problematic effect of them in a battle , in no small measure under the control of your opponent, who usually makes the call whether your rifles have any effect at all through how THEY deploy and manoeuvre.

Alastair Donald

adonald
Administrative Corporal - SdKfz 251/1
Administrative Corporal - SdKfz  251/1
Posts: 127
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2012 1:33 pm

Re: Extended line and unreformed

Post by adonald » Sun Feb 08, 2015 3:32 pm

In regard to the extended line issue, just allowing unreformed troops to for extended line without dropping a cohesion level will just make an untenable situation slightly less so.

The extended line, as described earlier, is vulnerable to two (or more) enemy units attacking it in tactical with the same frontage. If the extended line is overlapped at all it's even worse (say two large units or three small in tactical ageist a small unit in extended line). It's due to the fact that the extended line still takes casualties as one unit , while having to spread its effects over the number of units attacking it. The only bonus for the extended line player is that the ex line is tying two or more units up briefly before it breaks.

How do we fix that if we don't give the extended line extra shooting dice to offset its vulnerability?

Alastair Donald

KeefM
Staff Sergeant - StuG IIIF
Staff Sergeant - StuG IIIF
Posts: 274
Joined: Mon Mar 11, 2013 5:08 am

Re: Extended line and unreformed

Post by KeefM » Sun Feb 08, 2015 6:51 pm

Extended line already does get extra shooting dice ! It shoots as 2 small units at short range ...

adonald
Administrative Corporal - SdKfz 251/1
Administrative Corporal - SdKfz  251/1
Posts: 127
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2012 1:33 pm

Re: Extended line and unreformed

Post by adonald » Sun Feb 08, 2015 8:26 pm

Extended line already does get extra shooting dice ! It shoots as 2 small units at short range ...
Yes, but rarely enough to save them.
It's the multiple tactical units against the one extended line unit.

Alastair Donald.

marty
Sergeant Major - SdKfz 234/2 8Rad
Sergeant Major - SdKfz 234/2 8Rad
Posts: 635
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2008 1:26 am
Location: Sydney

Re: Extended line and unreformed

Post by marty » Sun Feb 08, 2015 8:38 pm

Personally I think the bigger points issue is the undercosting of light infantry.

Martin

shadowdragon
Brigadier-General - Elite Grenadier
Brigadier-General - Elite Grenadier
Posts: 2047
Joined: Sat Nov 28, 2009 7:29 pm
Location: Manotick, Ontario, Canada

Re: Extended line and unreformed

Post by shadowdragon » Sun Feb 08, 2015 8:53 pm

I hate the name 'extended line'. It's a brigade formation not a battalion formation so It should not be confused with battalions necessarily being in line. I would prefer simply 'extended' to represent the brigade extending its frontage to twice normal ...as a result everything is in the shop window. There are no reserves. So, yes, when a brigade extends its front to twice normal you do end up potentially taking on more foes and, yes, you are more vulnerable - see above - no brigade reserves / no second line. It's use is to prevent being outflanked....delaying until divisional or corps reserves come to the rescue. It should not be a preferred formation even for unreformed - seems to me that at brigade and division frontages were not much different for reformed and unreformed since battalion columns were supposed to maintain enough distance between columns to deploy in line.

KeefM
Staff Sergeant - StuG IIIF
Staff Sergeant - StuG IIIF
Posts: 274
Joined: Mon Mar 11, 2013 5:08 am

Re: Extended line and unreformed

Post by KeefM » Mon Feb 09, 2015 1:37 am

2 reformed line AD infantry units cost 80pts . . . I would expect them to eat up a small unreformed line AD unit at 32 points. Cost effectiveness is the measure of like-for-like points costs.

deadtorius
General - Elite King Tiger
General - Elite King Tiger
Posts: 4176
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 12:41 am

Re: Extended line and unreformed

Post by deadtorius » Mon Feb 09, 2015 1:39 am

The only time I do use extended line is with my Austrian Grenzers. Depending on the list they have to be permanent skirmishers and I will run them up in extended skirmish line just to try and block as many second moves as I can. Downside is that the extra width puts them in range of enemy cavalry and extended line means extra burst through dice or 2 units that can't move if I pull back to behind my front line. Permanent skirmishers have little use on their own out front, too easy to get driven back. Other than that I think I have only ever put my line troops in extended line once when attacking a building at 2 MU with wavering defenders inside. Decided to change formation so I could get twice the dice for shooting at them in an attempt to break them.

adonald
Administrative Corporal - SdKfz 251/1
Administrative Corporal - SdKfz  251/1
Posts: 127
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2012 1:33 pm

Re: Extended line and unreformed

Post by adonald » Mon Feb 09, 2015 12:08 pm

I would prefer simply 'extended' to represent the brigade extending its frontage to twice normal ...as a result everything is in the shop window. There are no reserves.
The problem is what the hell IS an extended line? The British 4th Division at El Bodon advanced with the 7th Fusiliers in line and the 23th and 48th in close column on the flanks - not only an example of the British using the order mixte but the brigade was technically in line with no reserves. Is that an 'extended line'? And yet it was a formidable formation and certainly wouldn't warrant the loss of a cohesion grade. At Castrillo in July 1812 Wellington launched an attack with Anso s brigade in line and Stubb's Portuguese brigade's regiments in quarter columns on their flanks against Brenniers advancing French. Complicated by the use of two brigades ( units) under the rules but no reserves. Another 'extended line'?

Was the British opening attack at Salamanca in extended line as they crossed the plain under artillery fire?

It's only use in the rules as I see it is to reduce the effect of long range artillery fire.

Alastair Donald

shadowdragon
Brigadier-General - Elite Grenadier
Brigadier-General - Elite Grenadier
Posts: 2047
Joined: Sat Nov 28, 2009 7:29 pm
Location: Manotick, Ontario, Canada

Re: Extended line and unreformed

Post by shadowdragon » Mon Feb 09, 2015 2:31 pm

adonald wrote:
I would prefer simply 'extended' to represent the brigade extending its frontage to twice normal ...as a result everything is in the shop window. There are no reserves.
The problem is what the hell IS an extended line? The British 4th Division at El Bodon advanced with the 7th Fusiliers in line and the 23th and 48th in close column on the flanks - not only an example of the British using the order mixte but the brigade was technically in line with no reserves. Is that an 'extended line'? And yet it was a formidable formation and certainly wouldn't warrant the loss of a cohesion grade. At Castrillo in July 1812 Wellington launched an attack with Anso s brigade in line and Stubb's Portuguese brigade's regiments in quarter columns on their flanks against Brenniers advancing French. Complicated by the use of two brigades ( units) under the rules but no reserves. Another 'extended line'?

Was the British opening attack at Salamanca in extended line as they crossed the plain under artillery fire?

It's only use in the rules as I see it is to reduce the effect of long range artillery fire.

Alastair Donald
You seemed to have missed the point. It wasn't specifically about whether or not there were reserves but about the unit frontage. In tactical, a unit has enough frontage to have half its troops (about 2 battalions of 500 men) deployed in battalion lines in a first 'battle' line and the remainder will be in a second 'battle' line. It could also have a one of those battalions in line and two more in columns on the flank. Even if all the battalions are in column, it's unlikely that they'd all be in the first 'battle' line otherwise the columns would be shoulder to shoulder. In 'extended line' you could have all battalions deployed in line shoulder to shoulder. I suppose you could still have reserves if there were significant gaps between the battalions.

So, for your examples, the British 4th division would be in tactical (and one example of why I said there's a case for the British being considered reformed). Anson's brigade was small (about 1200 according to Nafziger or 2.75 FoG bases), so for game purposes it would need to be combined with another brigade and the resulting unit would be in tactical. As for Salamanca, I can't imagine that the British army formed up in a manner similar to armies in the Seven Years War. In Elizabeth Longford's Wellington: The Years of the Sword, p.285, there's a quote from Wellington telling Packenham, "Throw your division into column; at them! and drive them to the devil." Salamanca is a big battlefield with much of it being forces conducting operational maneouvre (or grand tactical maneouvre) and not specifically the set piece battlefield maneouvres FoGN models. It would actually be better played as a map game with conflict resolved using a divisional set of rules. In any event, no matter what level of resolution in a game there's always some loss of fidelity - true for the resolution battlefield interactions and for representation of orders of battle. The question is whether that loss is acceptable or not, if not, can it be fixed without creating bigger problems. If that isn't satisfactory then you'd need to go to higher resolution rules.

I'm sorry, I'm just a little frustrated by all the discussion of what battalions are doing in a game where the smallest infantry unit of resolution is 2000-3000 troops. I don't believe in bottom up reconstruction of higher level combat....for sure the higher level battle results needs to be calibrated so the outcomes are appropriate but it should not be a bottom up reconstruction. If I recall the old WRG rules modelled things on what troops could do in 2 minutes or so but then had each turn represented 20-30 (?) minutes. The result was an infantry attack across the battlefield would take 8 hours. Empire is the only set of rules I know that somewhat successfully combined battalion level (with each stand one company) interactions with Corps level operations. In some ways it resulted a magnificent sight, but....the rules has it's issues but they did claim it was a 'simulation'. LOL

hazelbark
General - Carrier
General - Carrier
Posts: 4957
Joined: Tue Feb 13, 2007 9:53 pm
Location: Capital of the World !!

Re: Extended line and unreformed

Post by hazelbark » Mon Feb 09, 2015 5:08 pm

I think people are making a LOT of valid points about the game bits of extended line formation.

To my mind it seems as a holdover from early ideas that didn't get discarded.
It is a marginal bit more useful to defend some frontage of an obstacle.
I also notice it is used more often in some of our historical games with more terrain than a tournament board.
I also think the apparent abundance of cavalry in tournament play also contributes to the why go into extended line.

shadowdragon
Brigadier-General - Elite Grenadier
Brigadier-General - Elite Grenadier
Posts: 2047
Joined: Sat Nov 28, 2009 7:29 pm
Location: Manotick, Ontario, Canada

Re: Extended line and unreformed

Post by shadowdragon » Tue Feb 10, 2015 3:42 pm

hazelbark wrote:I think people are making a LOT of valid points about the game bits of extended line formation.

To my mind it seems as a holdover from early ideas that didn't get discarded.
It is a marginal bit more useful to defend some frontage of an obstacle.
I also notice it is used more often in some of our historical games with more terrain than a tournament board.
I also think the apparent abundance of cavalry in tournament play also contributes to the why go into extended line.
I wouldn't want to drop extended line. It has it's uses in scenario/historical games if not so much in tournaments. It's not all about tournaments. :wink:

I think Alastair's suggestion of removing the -1 dice for cohesion tests has some merit. At least for unreformed troops.

adonald
Administrative Corporal - SdKfz 251/1
Administrative Corporal - SdKfz  251/1
Posts: 127
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2012 1:33 pm

Re: Extended line and unreformed

Post by adonald » Tue Feb 10, 2015 3:49 pm

It is a marginal bit more useful to defend some frontage of an obstacle.
Good point, sitting on the opposite bank of a difficult river in extended line would be a good use for one.

Alastair Donald

hazelbark
General - Carrier
General - Carrier
Posts: 4957
Joined: Tue Feb 13, 2007 9:53 pm
Location: Capital of the World !!

Re: Extended line and unreformed

Post by hazelbark » Tue Feb 10, 2015 10:38 pm

shadowdragon wrote: I think Alastair's suggestion of removing the -1 dice for cohesion tests has some merit. At least for unreformed troops.
I'd be fine with that of removing it for everyone. Not a big enough deal.

Post Reply

Return to “Field of Glory : Napoleonic Era 1792-1815 : General Discussion”