Prussian Army 1806-07 Adaptations

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Re: Prussian Army 1806-07 Adaptations

Post by shadowdragon » Sat Feb 04, 2017 3:59 pm

richafricanus wrote:
I think part of the 06-07 Prussians and Russians. (possibly 05 Austrians and Russians) need to better reflect their command and control handicaps. I think it was a real lost opportunity to not reflect these better.

Limit them to less divisions (unless allied).
Limit the first couple Divisional commanders to just Competent.
Require a division to have more units if the above doesn't work. This will create cumbersome maneuver and harder to rally.
Then the Prussian infantry should likely have better firepower at close range. Veteran?
Probably only letting brigade commanders attach to cavalry.

In short the Prussians should if the French walk straight into them, be quite effective.
If you did this, wouldn't it make the list unusable in a Wargames context? Because you don't pay points for a balanced command structure (beyond the points costs of generals), an army with say a minimum of 5 units per division, may save 30 points on a Div General but be crippled by command control problems.
Maybe more relevant for a historical refight than a list designed for competitive play.

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Re: Prussian Army 1806-07 Adaptations

Post by hazelbark » Sat Feb 04, 2017 10:24 pm

richafricanus wrote: If you did this, wouldn't it make the list unusable in a Wargames context? Because you don't pay points for a balanced command structure (beyond the points costs of generals), an army with say a minimum of 5 units per division, may save 30 points on a Div General but be crippled by command control problems.
So a few points wrapped in this.
1) If the infantry was good, might the list be more competitive?
2) History should matter. The lists need to be viable but I would prefer them rooted more in history.
3) 1806 Prussians are not being taken by someone looking for a "tiger" army to begin with.

I agree its a difficult question. I prefer my Napoleonic's more historical than competition game oriented, but I get others may disagree. For example I think a Russian Civil War Napoleonic game is beyond what I will consider. So the "right way" to fix it is potentially impractical. Meaning after you write the lists as you feel informed by history, then you give the weak lists extra points. Getting that balance right is very difficult. I think the other key point, a lot of Napoleonic players are not seeking a competition game first. So can you make it work for a friendly "equal game". Agreed very hard.

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Re: Prussian Army 1806-07 Adaptations

Post by shadowdragon » Sun Feb 05, 2017 5:07 pm

richafricanus wrote:When you say "Napoleon's Apogee", are you referring to Nafziger's book on Napoleon's 1814 campaign? If so, it's very heavy reading and that's from someone who doesn't mind detail. It's just written in such a dull style - no story-telling like John Gill on 1809. Just mountains of facts piled on top of each and then a few more added in case there were any survivors from the first salvo.
Just picked up the book. I'm heading out on a short business trip to Vancouver. Thought I might take it with me. Nope...it's the size of one of those old hashioned coffee table bibles - gilt edge paper and all. Colour plates covering all the Prussian regiments...here's a sample for the dragoons.

Image

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Re: Prussian Army 1806-07 Adaptations

Post by richafricanus » Mon Feb 06, 2017 11:58 am

Wow, looks like an impressive book! Of course I'm mixing up my apogees and perigrees in thinking it's about 1814...

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Re: Prussian Army 1806-07 Adaptations

Post by hazelbark » Mon Feb 06, 2017 4:56 pm

shadowdragon wrote:
Maybe more relevant for a historical refight than a list designed for competitive play.
Which begs the question, how much history will you sacrifice for competitive play? Personally I rather keep more history and find another mechanism to make the army competitive. But agree its a tough line.

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Re: Prussian Army 1806-07 Adaptations

Post by shadowdragon » Tue Feb 07, 2017 12:51 am

hazelbark wrote:
shadowdragon wrote:
Maybe more relevant for a historical refight than a list designed for competitive play.
Which begs the question, how much history will you sacrifice for competitive play? Personally I rather keep more history and find another mechanism to make the army competitive. But agree its a tough line.
Of course, but part of that history is the command structure and part is bad generalship and bad luck. We should incorporate the former but leave the latter to the players and their dice rolling. L'Estocq fought with the same army and did a bit better.

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Re: Prussian Army 1806-07 Adaptations

Post by BrettPT » Tue Feb 07, 2017 3:57 am

I have been pondering the same sorts of issue with reference to the 1809 Austrian lists. With the exception of Nordmann, its pretty hard to find any Austrian Corps or Divisional commander who managed to be much better than competent - and often barely at that.

So a historically accurate Austrian list would probably be all L1 commanders - no charismatics - with an option for a L2 DC for an Advanced Guard division in the Hauptearmee. Probably not much in the way of BCs either.

My current thinking probably aligns more with Hazelbark - if that's the way the army rolled historically, then so it should be on table...

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Re: Prussian Army 1806-07 Adaptations

Post by richafricanus » Tue Feb 07, 2017 10:22 am

Yes, I'm 100% aligned with that. My question was more how, in a points based game, one reflects a poor command structure so that an army isn't completely un-competitive. I'm not sure that's ever been cracked in army lists in any period and probably not worth trying to crack here.

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Re: Prussian Army 1806-07 Adaptations

Post by hazelbark » Tue Feb 07, 2017 4:12 pm

richafricanus wrote:Yes, I'm 100% aligned with that. My question was more how, in a points based game, one reflects a poor command structure so that an army isn't completely un-competitive. I'm not sure that's ever been cracked in army lists in any period and probably not worth trying to crack here.
Aye. There's the rub.

To some degree the argument is "supposed" to be the French in 1809 must have better generals and better troops, so there will be less vis-à-vis the Austrians who should be more numerous.

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Re: Prussian Army 1806-07 Adaptations

Post by shadowdragon » Wed Feb 08, 2017 7:40 pm

hazelbark wrote:
richafricanus wrote:Yes, I'm 100% aligned with that. My question was more how, in a points based game, one reflects a poor command structure so that an army isn't completely un-competitive. I'm not sure that's ever been cracked in army lists in any period and probably not worth trying to crack here.
Aye. There's the rub.

To some degree the argument is "supposed" to be the French in 1809 must have better generals and better troops, so there will be less vis-à-vis the Austrians who should be more numerous.
No matter how you do it, there's always some compromise. I don't play in competitions. I will do a friendly competitive points game but prefer historically-based games. However, even there one has to shoe-horn an actual order of battle into a format suitable for a given rule set. Plus the game should be fun. If one puts in too many historical restrictions you end up with a script for the actual battle - you might as well read a good account of the battle and shove the miniatures around on the table to match the account.

With regards to representing the 1806 Prussian command structure in FoG, consider, for example, Auerstadt:

1) Saxe-Weimar's advance guard got "lost" so they created a new one, the night before the battle, by stripping the all other divisions of their light infantry and light cavalry - leaving those divisions with no light troops beyond the organic schutzen of the line infantry.
2) Blucher was given command of this advance guard - so no staff and no prior relationship had been developed between Blucher and his subordinates
3) All the light infantry ended up being shuffled off to guard the right flank - reflecting an 18th century view of employing light infantry
4) Blucher demanded and was given most of the heavy cavalry of the other divisions as they arrived on the battlefield - over the protests of the divisional commanders. Blucher then proceeded to throw each brigade at the French infantry squares - very much like Ney at Waterloo - until the cavalry was spent
5) The battle was a meeting engagement the began in fog. The most of the battle was between three Prussian divisions (30,000 troops) versus the French III Corps (27,000) - effectively being over before the reserve two Prussian divisions (15,000) could engage - and by that time there was no real overall command
6) The lost of Brunswick was bad luck - perhaps the outcome would have been the same but it certainly didn't help
7) The Prussian divisions were organized as mini-all-arms corps emulating the French corps but they were too small, didn't concentrate heavy cavalry into an overall reserve and the commanders had no experience in French-type corps so they ended up employing the troops in an 18th century fashion with infantry in the centre, heavy cavalry wings and light infantry moved to the flanks after preliminary skirmishing / screening to the front.

How does one reflect a Prussian division in FoG - as a division (one division commander) or as a mini-corps (1 FoG corps commander and some division commanders). The division would have 4 musketeer regiments, 2 grenadier battalions (1 FoG unit if grouped), 1 light infantry battalion (1 or 2 skirmisher attachments), 2 medium or heavy artillery batteries (1 FoG unit), battalion guns (1 or 2 attachments), 1 hussar battalion of 5 squadrons, 2 heavy cavalry regiments, 1 horse artillery battery (attachment). That's 5 infantry, 1 artillery and 3 cavalry units. That's lot for one FoG division commander and it doesn't easily allow the historical employment where the light infantry and cavalry were detached. A mini-corps would perhaps be a better representation but the FoG corps commander shouldn't be better than competent and there's a question of how many FoG division commanders. One per Prussian brigade is too many. Perhaps one infantry and one cavalry divisional commander which is not historical but an abstraction. The challenge is that players will tend to try to fight with the Prussian force with knowledge of Napoleonic tactics and not constrained by 18th century thinking. The issue is a Prussian division in 1806 isn't a Napoleonic corps or division but something between that and a Seven Years War division which was more administrative than tactical.

I've struggled with representing the Prussian organizational structure not only with FoG but with other Napoleonic (battalion-level) rule sets. I've never been completely satisfied. The best is something not quite historical but reflects enough of the historical constraints.

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Re: Prussian Army 1806-07 Adaptations

Post by hazelbark » Thu Feb 09, 2017 3:44 pm

Very Cogent and gets me thinking.

I might suggest in FOGN, the inability to coordinate the cavalry and the infantry probably should mean they are separate divisions.
So as a historical I would do infantry division 5 +1 artillery and the cavalry division of 3 units. That is something +/- 450 points I guess.

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Re: Prussian Army 1806-07 Adaptations

Post by Saxonian » Fri Feb 10, 2017 11:51 am

BrettPT wrote:So a historically accurate Austrian list would probably be all L1 commanders - no charismatics
Seems a little harsh, my reading has Archduke Charles as one of the better European commanders - certainly a L2 - and quite inspirational. Not to the extent of a Lannes, or Bagration, or Ney, but certainly above the average.
I realise he was an army commander in 1809, so really shouldn't be considered in an 800pt Corps-sized list, but I would have thought Bellegarde and Hiller were also better than say Archduke John.

I think part of the discussion needs to be what exactly does the commander rating represent?
My thinking is that it should actually encompass two factors:
1/ The competence of the individual, and their grasp of the new tactics.
2/ The skill of their staff to actually interpret and transmit the general's orders to their subordinates in a timely fashion.
So a commander like Archduke Charles might be considered L3 on his skill, but is brought back to L2 due to the comparative ineptitude of his staff.

I can't comment on the Prussians of 1806, but the lists in general seem to allow too many divisions in a corps sometimes - the 1809 Austrians being a perfect example.
The list allows 4 divisions in an infantry corps for the Army of the Danube. This never actually occurred, and only the Reserve Corps at Wagram (which, incidently, in their list is only allowed 3 :roll: ) ever had four - two grenadier and two cavalry.
At all other times Corps 1 - 6 had only three divisions, and often only two. I don't know how the points work out for this, haven't done the calculations yet, but my point is the lists allow too much flexibility in terms of numbers of commanders in a corps - and hence the number of CP's available to a player.

I think part of this issue is that having only three levels of command rating limits options as to how commanders are represented on the table.
Similarly with having only one rating for inspiration level - charismatic or nothing.
It may be (read: is probably) outside the scope of this update, but I think that five levels for skill and maybe two for inspiration might be more appropriate.
How this would translate onto the table....... umm, yeah, haven't quite got that far. Sorry :oops: :roll:

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Re: Prussian Army 1806-07 Adaptations

Post by hazelbark » Fri Feb 10, 2017 5:04 pm

Archduke Charles was a VERY capable commander.

in 1796 as young man he showed great skills.
The 1809 campaign he made many wise decisions. Clearly her was inspiring for his troops. His weakness was he couldn't get the army to function at the speed he wanted. You can equally say he over-estimated his armies abilities.
But he got in a good move at the opening of the Bavaria campaign in 1809. He never really had tactical control there. You could critique his Korps were not in supporting distance of one another. But he was facing Davout and what was probably the best trained Veteran troops in the world in 1809. He then extracted the Armee from an unfolding disaster that would have made Mack at Ulm look good. He got the Armee down to Vienna and kept it as a force in being until Aspern-Essling where he came close to destroying an over eager and over confident Bonaparte. Then he held the Armee together for Wagram that was a muddled affair on both sides. But he acquitted himself well enough. Certainly due some criticism, but not a blundering fool either.
The Austrians always seemed to have coordination problems between commanders throughout this period and always seemed slow.

Its hard to see any better than him in the Austrian army. Schwarzenberg is usually compared to Charles. Schwarzenberg was clearly adept at coalition management, but I don't see anything inspiring about him.

So I think Charles deserves to be ranked highly among the coalition commanders.

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Re: Prussian Army 1806-07 Adaptations

Post by BrettPT » Sat Feb 11, 2017 3:30 am

Yup, Charles was ok, except he's not a corps commander, so I wasn't considering him as a FoGN CC.

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