Napoleonic French Dragoons

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Captain Reid
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Re: Napoleonic French Dragoons

Post by Captain Reid »

Contrarius wrote:
Fri Aug 28, 2020 10:06 am
Revisiting this topic as I’ve finally got a few groups of dismounted French dragoons onto the table and am greatly enjoying using them.

I’m wondering if one action to mount or dismount is too little. Remounting is far from simple — need to locate the correct horse, mount, sling the musket, etc. In effect it’s a formation change, so perhaps should take a full turn?

Then there’s the added complication of the free 1D6 move for skirmish troops. Do the dragoons get this on top of the mounting/dismounting move?

Finally, do dismounted dragoons get to fire with the full effect of ordinary skirmishers? I believe their muskets are inferior, and their training would certainly be, since much of it concerned horses rather than musketry.
Formation changes only take one Action as a usual thing (you can only do one per turn, but it's only one of your actions), so it might be a bit harsh to penalise dragoons in that way.

Personally I'd give them the bonus movement action if on foot. I get the clumsy boots thing, but quite honestly, Dragoons are expensive used as foot troops and their versatility as both mounted and dismounted is handy but not amazing in my experience.

For that reason I'd definitely let them fire at full effect. I'd suggest Poor Shots if you really felt a penalty was in order.

For dragoons used as ad hoc line formations, I just run them as the typical conscripts.
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Levi the Ox
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Re: Napoleonic French Dragoons

Post by Levi the Ox »

I'd give them full movement and shooting while dismounted, although I might not give them the free skirmish move on the turn they mount/dismount.

They already have to detach figures to hold the horses, I don't see any gameplay reason to penalize them further.

BaronVonWreckedoften
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Re: Napoleonic French Dragoons

Post by BaronVonWreckedoften »

Contrarius wrote:
Fri Aug 28, 2020 10:06 am
I’m wondering if one action to mount or dismount is too little. Remounting is far from simple — need to locate the correct horse, mount, sling the musket, etc. In effect it’s a formation change, so perhaps should take a full turn?
Bear in mind these men were operating in an age where horsemanship, even the self-taught kind, was quite common. The horse holders would be taught the best method to bring the horses up for remounting and would generally do so in a manner that facilitated forming up after mounting. In addition, each man would instantly know which horse holder to go to, and would recognise his own horse, so the manoeuvre would be relatively quick and efficient, IMO. In terms of dismounting, they would need to allow the horses to be taken away to clear the space for them to operate on foot. I would agree that a full move to mount/remount and take up a proper formation, of the player's choice, would be correct.
Contrarius wrote:
Fri Aug 28, 2020 10:06 am
Then there’s the added complication of the free 1D6 move for skirmish troops. Do the dragoons get this on top of the mounting/dismounting move?
No. Given the answer above, they would not have any extra movement beyond mounting/dismounting and taking up an appropriate formation. I look at it this way - when mounting, they cease to be skirmishers once they are in the saddle and thus they lose it; when dismounting, they don't become skirmishers until they form up in skirmish order, so haven't yet earned it.
Contrarius wrote:
Fri Aug 28, 2020 10:06 am
Finally, do dismounted dragoons get to fire with the full effect of ordinary skirmishers? I believe their muskets are inferior, and their training would certainly be, since much of it concerned horses rather than musketry.
Because they were still taught how to perform in the dismounted role, I would suggest yes (at least until the overall quality of recruits deteriorates towards the end of the period). The musketoon was slightly shorter compared to the infantry musket, but still had a longer barrel than the carbine used by the light cavalry and the cuirassiers. At the sort of ranges at which the dragoons would be operating, I would say that their weapon was no worse than the musket. Depending on how experienced your dragoon unit is (possibly based on how long it has been "in theatre"), I would say that they would be comparable with ordinary skirmishers; if you feel this is too generous, maybe roll a D6 for each time they want to utilise a skirmisher skill - 1-3 they get it, 4-6 they don't but just for that phase/turn (ie next time, you re-roll).
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