No light troops, all skirmishers

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Valeriob81
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2018 11:10 am

No light troops, all skirmishers

Post by Valeriob81 » Fri Jul 06, 2018 11:24 am

Dear all, I did not yet managed to play since I am temporarily away from my group, but of course I already want to change the rules to suit my taste..

In particular, I am not happy with the difference between line and lights - doesn’t t really fit the mid-1800 infra-european conflict that I am preparing to play. Line troops historically adopted skirmish formation, and why should light troops be 6?!

So do you guys ever tried the following house rules or similar, or do you think it could work?

- All groups, line or light, are 8 men and can adopt a skirmish formation
- light troops lose the +1 to shoot but are commonly good shots and keep the bonus move of +1 dice
- troops in skirmish formation continue to get the bonus protection when shot at
- it is easier for light troops to change to/from a skirmish formation, slower for line troops (still don t know how to do that)

What do you experienced players think about that?
Many thanks Valerio

bob696
Posts: 43
Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2016 4:09 pm

Re: No light troops, all skirmishers

Post by bob696 » Fri Jul 06, 2018 11:43 am

Not saying it is something I agree with but a few thoughts

Any line troops adopting skirmish formation should automatically lose the ability to form a formation (the ability to control them was the main reason for lines anyway)
Line troops in skirmish order should be rated as irregular skirmishers
Light troops in line should not move any quicker than regular line .... perhaps a better stepping out rating
Use the 'drill' rating for changing from line to skirmish?

On the whole I would rather see a new formation that represents a loosely organised line.... 'Loose line' or 'extended order' rather than skirmishing. More resilient than a skirmish line but more manoeuvrable than a line. At the same time it should be more brittle and more difficult to control than a line.

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sjwalker51
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Joined: Thu Sep 05, 2013 3:01 pm
Location: Sheffield, South Yorkshire

Re: No light troops, all skirmishers

Post by sjwalker51 » Fri Jul 06, 2018 4:04 pm

Hi Valerio

Interesting point you raise: in general, the distinction made between Line and Skirmish Troops In SP reflects the tactical role that each Group has been given by the Force Leader prior to the engagement and assumes they will continue in that role for the (short) duration of the action - bear in mind the typical SP game represents a period of maybe 15-20 minutes.

So, you’ll find that several troop types historically accustomed to operating in both Line and Skirmish Formations (eg: French Napoleonic Voltigeurs) have separate listings as either Regulars or Skirmishers in the force rosters.

The use of 6-figure Groups for Skirmish Troops compared to 8’s for Line makes the former slightly more brittle and likely to withdraw if under sustained heavy attack, so you’ll find it encourages historical tactics by skirmishers.

BUT you’re right that, from the 1840’s onwards, the distinction between ‘light’ and ‘line/centre’ companies became increasingly blurred as infantry tactics evolved from linear to ‘skirmish+supports’ (in the British army from the early 1850’s and officially from around 1875 IIRC) - so there is a case for allowing trained Regulars to do likewise.

It’s an easy house-rule to adopt if you want to allow ‘skirmish-trained’ Line troops to also switch to and from skirmish order in the course of a game - I’m testing the idea for my 1879 Zulu War adaptation of the rules: Costs 1 CI and 1 Action to extend/close order, adopting all the characteristics of the ‘function’ as appropriate, treating Elite Line as Light Infantry, Regulars as Skirmishers and Conscripts/Volunteers as Irregular Skirmishers. Militia are not considered well enough trained to switch roles in the course of the game.

BaronVonWreckedoften
Posts: 189
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2017 10:28 am

Re: No light troops, all skirmishers

Post by BaronVonWreckedoften » Fri Jul 06, 2018 7:00 pm

sjwalker51 wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 4:04 pm
Interesting point you raise: in general, the distinction made between Line and Skirmish Troops In SP reflects the tactical role that each Group has been given by the Force Leader prior to the engagement and assumes they will continue in that role for the (short) duration of the action - bear in mind the typical SP game represents a period of maybe 15-20 minutes.
Also worth bearing in mind that, regardless of their "nature" (ie line, light, or "super-light") any force putting out "skirmishers" would see those troops separate into three groups: (a) the actual skirmish line (our groups of 6 figures), then (b) a slightly more formal support line from which the skirmish line was replenished (which you could consider as being represented by our groups of "light infantry"), and finally (c) a close order reserve that both of the other groups could fall back on if opposed by superior enemy numbers/quality (analogous to our groups of "line infantry"). In other words, no force of this period ever really comprised just "skirmishers" (whether you define them on a purely military basis, or by the SP2 rulebook), but - regardless of its composition - included formed bodies too, as part of the "tactical mix".

Valeriob81
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2018 11:10 am

Re: No light troops, all skirmishers

Post by Valeriob81 » Sun Jul 08, 2018 4:38 pm

Many thanks for the good ideas and comments.I will definitely adopt some of those. I am particularly happy no one wrote "this would break the game system because.."! If I ever manage to actually try it I will let you know how it went

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