Multiple Charge clarifications

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vlad48
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Multiple Charge clarifications

Post by vlad48 »

Sirs,
This is a big post, I'll admit.
GdA has become the go-to Nappy rule set for our club. We have played the rules over at least 15 sessions (often 2 sessions for a single big battle) and continue to feel more comfortable with the depth of the rules.
That said, the one very important section of the rules which still gives us trouble is totally understanding the correct procedures and circumstances for using multiple unit vs single unit charges.
Part of the problem is 3 key rules affecting this procedure are spread over 3 different pages (listed below). As well, some things that appear to be allowed in one section are somewhat restricted in another.
We are working towards a major participation game at our Trumpeter Salute convention in April and know we will put on a much better game once we have totally mastered the issues I have outlined below:

Noting the 3 rules covering multiple vs 1 charges:

Item 5 page 41
Massed Column Formation. The attacker cannot declare multiple separate charges from a massed column against a single enemy unit.(my note: this doesn't restrict you from supporting a charge with a column unit and then meleeing with the rule below....

item 14 on page 49.
Closing to Melee: (note: my summation) Any Melee result means the lead attack unit will close to Melee...Flank support units will also close to melee if they can actually reach and contact the enemy.....(My Note: there is nothing written in the rules about rolling for each unit and taking the best result - this could be a case where attack dice for BOTH attackers are combined to resolve the Melee -see next rule)

and Multiple Unit Charges on page 46
This is the rule we are using to resolve multiple Melees not Multiple Charges - it states in a Charge Resolution both units roll and you take the best result (my note: rule 5 pg 41 states you cannot do multiple charges from Massed Column - so you can if you are in line formation??????)

So things to clarify
- if 2-3 units melee a single enemy unit (allowed on page 46 & 49) does the attacker use a single attack roll combining dice from all units OR use 2-3 separate rolls and take the best result?
- How do you use the Multiple Unit Charge pg 46 rule given the Multiple Column restriction rule of page 41?; this implies that it is easier for units in line to charge compared to units in column
- given the listed restrictions it would be very useful to expand the details for the Multiple Unit Charge (pg 46) to explain the circumstances when this is allowed
- finally, and to aid the defenders, a notation/clarification on when you cannot use a multiple unit charge against a single enemy because other enemies are in the area (ie we see multiple charges vs. 1 enemy only happening on the edge/flank of battalions – we find it reasonable that a flanking attacker should not be able to ignore a closer formed enemy to its front in order to wheel and join a 2 vs.1 charge on its flank)

A lot to cover so thanks in advance.

Archdukek
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Re: Multiple Charge clarifications

Post by Archdukek »

Hi Walt,
For what it's worth here is my attempt to answer your questions.

For starters I think you may be confusing Multiple Unit Charges and Multiple Unit Melees if the Charge Procedure gives a Closing to Melee result as per page 49. The rule on page 46 has nothing to do with Multiple Unit Melees which are governed by the rules in Chapter 9 which allow every unit involved in the Melee to roll their own Combat Dice as modified and aggregate the results to determine the outcome.

The rule on page 46 applies when 2, or more, attackers are able to launch an attack against a single enemy unit. This could be say two infantry attackers in line charging an enemy unit in line, or one in line and one in column or two attackers in column more than 5cm[3"] apart and thus not Massed or multiple cavalry units in column or line. In those cases each of the attacking units rolls it's Charge Procedure dice separately and works out the result, the best result from the attackers perspective is then used to determine the outcome of the Charge Procedure. If this results in a Closing to Melee result then all the attacking units are moved into contact with the defender and the Melee fought using the procedure in Chapter 9 with each attacking unit rolling its own Combat Dice and combining the results.

In the case of an attack by Massed Columns, the rule on page 46 does not apply because such columns cannot declare separate charges as per page 41. Instead the attacker must determine which column is to be the lead unit in the charge, leaving any others to provide support. The lead unit alone declares the Charge and rolls the dice for the Charge Procedure and its result applies. There is no "best result" option because there is only one result. If the result is a Close to Melee then the lead unit and any supporting columns in reach move into contact and all roll their own Combat Dice to determine the outcome of the Melee.

So to your specific questions:
If 2-3 units Melee a single unit then all of the units roll their Combat Dice and the results are combined to determine the Melee outcome as per Chaoter 9.

The Multiple Charger rule on page 46 makes it a bit easier for the attacker to get a positive outcome from the Charge Procedure since he uses the best result. Cavalry in column can always benefit from this rule, infantry columns only benefit if more than 5cm[3"] apart.

See my explanation above for using the Multiple Chargers rule.

In my view the rule in paragraph 2 on page 40 would support your view that an attacker cannot ignore a closer formed enemy to charge another unit. Any wheeling allowed should just be enough to bring the attacker into contact with the nearest point or middle of that enemy unit.

Hope that long answer helps.

John

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vlad48
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Re: Multiple Charge clarifications

Post by vlad48 »

Thanks Archduke - I know I have asked about multiple charges before - now my legal team and I will sort through your answer - which had to be long given my multi-headed question.
As a backgrounder to all this it is interesting that David chose to allow formations in line or line AND column to launch individual charges but has massed columns having only a single lead attacker with support - I've never been sure if he did this for historical or play balance reasons
- cheers
- Walt

Archdukek
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Re: Multiple Charge clarifications

Post by Archdukek »

Hi Walt,
I look forward to learning what you and your legal team make of my answers. :-)

Meantime, I think that the Massed Columns rule is there for both good historical reasons and play balance. I think David has come up with an elegant solution to a problem which bedevils all Napoleonic rules in the face of Wargamers trying to cram as many columns as possible into attacks on enemy lines regardless of historical tactics and practice.

Many gamers seem unaware that French infantry training, doctrine and regulations were built around the principle that battalions should "Manoeuvre in Column but Fight in Line." So they always rush around in columns which never deploy and try to mass as many as possible in any attack.

Any competent historical French Regimental or Battalion commander would always ensure that battalion columns were deployed with sufficient space on their flanks to allow the companies in the rear ranks of the column to deploy into line on either flank of the lead companies should the defender decline to run away and instead contest the position. In theory this means there should be a gap of around twice the width of a column between adjacent battalions to allow sufficient space for each to deploy its companies. In practice this could be difficult to achieve and maintain due to the vagaries of terrain.

David's 5cm[3"] spacing is roughly half this distance, but is sufficient to allow the central column of a regiment of 3 battalions to deploy into line leaving the flanking battalions in column, the classic l'orde mixte, or force them to deploy to their flank, a more difficult manoeuvre but possible. That way a stubborn enemy can be engaged in a firefight before closing with the bayonet.

The Massed Column rule, coupled with the limitation on declaring separate charges, allows players to indulge their passion for massing columns into too small a space at the risk of the lead unit failing to charge home and being forced to retreat risking the whole brigade becoming Faltered. A neat solution which doesn't deny players the opportunity, but forces them to suffer the consequences if it doesn't come off.

A well handled brigade in contrast, with columns deployed at a proper distance, can launch a multiple column attack with a better chance of securing a favourable outcome in the Charge Procedure since each column rolls separately but applies the best result and at lower risk of confusion if repulsed. If successful they can still close with overwhelming numbers. So the use of historical tactics is encouraged, but not forced on players.

As I said an elegant solution to a real problem.

John

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john de terre neuve
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Re: Multiple Charge clarifications

Post by john de terre neuve »

I have to say that that was an excellent series of questions and answers to what I find a somewhat confusing part of the ruleset. I would recommend that it be incorporated into the FAQ.

Thank you,

John

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vlad48
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Re: Multiple Charge clarifications

Post by vlad48 »

Archduke,
Great explanation of the rationale for the Massed Column rules. And yes, I've played rules in which the entire point of the game was for the French player (the attacker 80% of the time) to launch one, two, three units in 3 columns against a single defender - hoping to survive closing fire and then Melee with all 3 chargers. As you laid out, that's not how it happened.
Also, thanks for your continuing work on this forum.
And to John de terre neuve - glad the questions and answers have been helpful to you.
- Walt

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