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"Cavalry charge in Skirimish Order?!" Topic

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977 hits since 17 Feb 2013
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Skarper17 Feb 2013 10:10 p.m. PST

This is were a whole regiment of cavalry deploys in Skirmish order and charges – usually guns.

I heard talk of this tactic being useful to counter Grand Batteries but how realistic is it?

Troops in Skirmish order are not prohibited from charging in the rules. Have you tried it? Did it work? Should it be allowed?

Keraunos18 Feb 2013 3:53 a.m. PST

where did you hear it?

I always understood skirmish infantry (shooting) was the recommended tactic to deal with guns. not skirmish order cavalry charging.

Skarper18 Feb 2013 5:41 a.m. PST

I heard of this from a few Empire players. It is not expressly forbidden in the rules – ergo people try it. The modifiers give any fairly good cavalry a decent chance even against a grand battery.

Personally I don't think it should be allowed as I've never heard of it in any actual battle.

Keraunos18 Feb 2013 5:51 a.m. PST

smells a bit fishy to me too.

But I can see why it would be effective in a rules system.

advocate18 Feb 2013 6:08 a.m. PST

Cavalry skirmishers attacked Mercer's battery at Waterloo; they did it with (ineffective) carbine fire. On occasions, other (formed) cavalry charged but were shot off (Mercer not thinking much of the chances of the nearby squares holding if his men left the guns).

Keraunos18 Feb 2013 7:05 a.m. PST

interesting that the cavalry attempted carbine fire first
- which is the same tactic recommended for infantry
- break all formation to discourage a wasted return of fire by the guns, and then try to snipe off the gunners.

the formed charges and mercery remaining with the guns, we all know of, of course.

vtsaogames18 Feb 2013 8:20 a.m. PST

I recall Wellington's staff being charged by apparently disordered French cavalry at one of the fights in the Pyrenees. A British Light Dragoon squadron did three's about instead of three's right or whatever and Wellington's staff had to draw sabers for a while.

I think the formation was called 'en forageur'. Still don't know if it was used against guns.

At Ligny Reuter's Prussian battery was charged by some 50 or 60 French cavalry in a swarm. The lead trooper was brained by a gunner and the rest of the troop followed that man's horse past the guns.

Davout197218 Feb 2013 9:07 a.m. PST

It seems like a play on the rules, much like the Waterloo game from the Battleground series on the computer. You could break down a cav regiment of 600 into 3 (200 figure) units, who all charged and reaped the same benefits as if they were one unit.

Though the rules don't expressly forbid it, and it is skirmish on skirmish fighting, I don't condone it. The general who breaks down a formed unit into unformed to charge a battery, better make sure that the enemy unit is totally isolated and nothing formed is in the near vicinity. I have hardly ever heard of the tactic being used.

A squadron of skirmishing cavalry would usually screen the flanks and front of a cavalry division, to provide recon.

Garde de Paris Supporting Member of TMP18 Feb 2013 3:23 p.m. PST

When I first started reading about the Napoleonic period back in the 1960'/70's, I recall reading some personal memoirs (Parquin? Marbot? Proud Canaries?) that suggested that light cavalry could take an enemy battery if they went in a swarm to lessen the danger from canister fire. It was suggested that formed infantry would be slaughtered, as well as formed cavalry.

These were probably attacks by a company or squadron of light cavalry on small artillery units – possibly 2 to 4 austrian "battalion guns. I can't picture Russian hussars trying to attack Senarmont's (36?) guns at Fiedland!

I seem to remember the French doing this in the Italian campaigns before 1800. Isn't there Hourtoulle plate about the 3rd French Hussars and the 10th French Chasseurs, and their attack on enemy artillery?


nsolomon9918 Feb 2013 5:02 p.m. PST

Some light cavalry from some nationalities had a tactical doctrine for attacking guns that included skirmishing in front to fix the battery whilst a squadron charged from a flank.

I've got some doctrinal manuals on it somewhere that I'll have to hunt out – cant recall if Warnery covers it …

Most arms in most armies need to develop doctrines that cope with eventualities.

Beeker19 Feb 2013 12:33 p.m. PST

Interestingly I was just going through the Valmy to Waterlook rules, which are heaviliy influenced by Empire, and saw that there is a rule for this, for light cav.. but I don't recall if it refers to the attack being permitted from a skirmish formation or if it is abstracted from a line of cav attacking a battery. I will have to check!

bigdennis Supporting Member of TMP20 Feb 2013 11:27 a.m. PST

How did Napoleons cavalry attack the Grand Battery at Borodino? I would suspect they were in some form of open or skirmish order.

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