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"Should I base my squadrons so I can seperate the ranks?" Topic


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616 hits since 14 Mar 2017
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forwardmarchstudios Supporting Member of TMP14 Mar 2017 12:00 p.m. PST

I'm about to start basing up a lot of cavalry figures. I was wondering if I should place them in two ranks on one base or in one rank and have double the bases? In other words, for accuracy do I need to allow squadrons to double their frontage?

forwardmarchstudios Supporting Member of TMP14 Mar 2017 12:05 p.m. PST

Oddly its my post that got seperated in two… the Bug is hungry today.

MajorB14 Mar 2017 12:07 p.m. PST

Surely depends on whether the rules alllow such a manoeuvre?

forwardmarchstudios Supporting Member of TMP14 Mar 2017 12:19 p.m. PST

I'm working on a convention game that I'll be writing my own rules for. I've already decided to show cavalry by squadron, the question now is whether to create one or two base squadrons. I'm showing column, line and square in battalions, and those have an impact in my rules. I'm mostly interested in getting the footprint of the units correct. Maybe I should back up my question a bit, and ask if cavalry would deploy into single ranks for combat, if there was a difference in the formation chosen depending on the unit to be attacked? For that matter, would regiments of cavalry form up their squadrons to maximize depth or frontage?

Anyone know of any good books on cavalry formations? I'm putting together a gigantic cavalry force so I probably need to do some in depth research on this…

Justin Penwith14 Mar 2017 12:22 p.m. PST

Base your squadrons in lines and also in columns. Yeah, it will take more miniatures, but I think you've got that process down well enough, based your on past postings and images.

Splitting squadrons into halves is too fiddly for me, and as I get older, it becomes even more of a problem.

In fact, I think you should also base your infantry in columns of march too. :)

BTW, which convention are you aiming to complete this product for?

MHoxie14 Mar 2017 12:22 p.m. PST

In Soviet TMP, Bug hunts you!

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP14 Mar 2017 12:41 p.m. PST

Generally 15mm and above, I hate to base cavalry in two ranks even if the rules encourage it, since I might change rules and I hate to change basing.

(Infantry usually goes in two ranks because I'll change the rules before I admit a single rank is a volley line.)

14Bore14 Mar 2017 1:36 p.m. PST

Just a observation that a two rank stand will make it longer than any complete regiment in a road column in your ground scale most likely.

forwardmarchstudios Supporting Member of TMP14 Mar 2017 2:14 p.m. PST

I'm using 3mm, and whether i go two deep or one deep it'll be on a 1" frontage. So, either way a squadron will be 8 figures. 1"= 33m in my rules. So if I have four squadrons on 1" square bases in a column it would make the regiment ~120m long. Is that too big? The minimum depth I can go is 33m, as I don't want to make the squadrons one rank deep, which simply doesn't look that good. That said, I don't think 33m is so deep that it leads to serious abstraction the table top. How often would squadrons deploy with less than 33m of depth between them and the squadrons behind them?

Then again, 1 regiment with four squadrons lined up in a column (one squadrons in line behind another) would be 130m in depth. That seems like it might be too deep, as obviously, one could pack horses much closer. I wonder how often that happened though? I guess… maybe… I could put the cavalry on even smaller bases, say .25 inch? I'll have to look into it. That might be better. (EDIT: Leaning towards .25 inch depth now. It lets me get as close to true ground scale as possible, and thats the theme of this project.)

I'll need 1500 cavalry figures for the French. Which is only $100 USD in 3mm :)
Still, a lot of planning and work involved. Plus, some uniforms will have to be faked because there are some holes in the O8 range. I don't mind getting creative though. That said, I want to get this aspect of the project done right the first time.

Le Breton14 Mar 2017 2:15 p.m. PST

If you are asking about how to depict the squadrons with the models (only), I am of the "please yourself" school.

If you are asking if the deployment of a squadron of cavalry in a single (long) line of one rank was common, I would say very much "not common". Squadrons, half-squadrons, and even smaller horse units pretty much (as far as I know) formed in two ranks.

A possible exception was a sort of open formation for cavalry "skirmishing" (more harassment really), where a few troopers would be sent out to shoot at someone, or maybe clear a small number of opposing foot skirmishers. I think doing this with full squadrons was unlikely, but instead some smaller sub-division. The second rank could be a reserve.

Again as far as I know, it was rare for regiments to form on a frontage of more than two squadrons (a "division" for French and Russians). More squadrons or a second division could be directly behind, set back with some space, or echeloned to either side.

The French, who made some rather massive cavalry formations such as at Eylau, might have had all the squadrons abreast of each other on occasion, but it was not the usual. More usual was half-squardron, squadron or division frontage (again, in two ranks).

Maybe that helps, maybe not.

forwardmarchstudios Supporting Member of TMP14 Mar 2017 2:18 p.m. PST

Le Breton-
That helps a lot, thanks! That's what I'm looking for.

Mike the Analyst14 Mar 2017 3:22 p.m. PST

The challenge is that a cavalry model is three times (or more) deeper than it is wide. Three models side by side will fit onto a square base. This could represent a squadron with the depth representing an open or full distance but nothing closer. The original Kriegsspiel used square blocks for cavalry squadrons with stacking to represent columns at closer distance.

forwardmarchstudios Supporting Member of TMP14 Mar 2017 5:13 p.m. PST

I'm going to do a bit of modelling tonight and post the results here. It seems like I can either get the footprint right or achieve a 10:1 figure ratio, but possibly not both. Hmm… how much distance would cavalry squadrons have kept between themselves within the regiment? Did they ever form very dense formations in reserve positions like infantry? If the gaps between squadrons is large enough then I could probably get away with two ranks… time for some google book searches..

forwardmarchstudios Supporting Member of TMP14 Mar 2017 7:23 p.m. PST

"The French Ordonnance provisoire sur l'exercise et les manoeuvres de la cavalerie provides standard intervals and speeds for horses, and describe the tactical formations. Title III, Article VII, paragraph 404 states that two ranks of cavalry were 6 m deep . . . The interval between squadrons was 10 m, no matter what the formation."

From Napolun. This works out perfectly for my basing system. It looks like it's going to be single-rank cavalry, but that's ok. The effect is alright, and the ratio of figs to OOB works out to 15:1. ultimately, I'd sooner have a sound ground scale across the table than have the same figure ratio for each arm. Infantry at 10:1, cavalry at 15:1 ,artillery at 2:1. It should work.

I did a test regiment of French cuirassiers, I'll post some pics as soon as the glue dries.

Justin Penwith14 Mar 2017 7:34 p.m. PST

I do believe that squadrons, on the march, had to maintain a minimum interval (I forget the distance as my source is in storage) due to the need of room to form in line to the left or right.

If memory serves, Nafziger's "Imperial Bayonets" has a bit of information that may serve you in this regard.

I seriously doubt that cavalry stood line line for much of the time it was on the battlefield, as it would be quite time consuming, and space consuming, to maneuver in front of the enemy.

This is not to say they constantly charged in column, but rather that they probably moved about in column and then shifted into line when a target presented itself. I think we all agree with that and I am not presenting any new and profound, but rather restating, inelegantly, something that we probably understand at the basic level.

I do feel it makes sense to have columns of maneuver or march represented by both cavalry and infantry, at least at 3mm to perhaps 6mm, as one develops a better understanding of time and space, than one does say playing Age of Eagles in 25mm and having your column of cavalry being more than two feet long.

As this is for a convention game, though, I feel you may be overthinking it as switching out stands will take time, even more so if YOU are the one handling the models and not the players.

You obviously want something that "looks right" and "looks good", but there is that nagging feeling about "is it correct?" I'd say go for the first two as best you can and let the third one fall a bit behind you as you move forward.

You can always finish column stands in the future and use those for solo play and when playing with your mates.

Also, I am very curious as to which convention you intend to take this two first. I am a West Coaster and am having high hopes to play some Napoleonics at Kubla Con in May.

Note: I just noticed your last comment above, as I had a delay in posting this, you beat me to the punch, so to speak. I will leave my posting as is, however.

forwardmarchstudios Supporting Member of TMP14 Mar 2017 9:56 p.m. PST

Justin Penwith-

I'm glad you didn't delete it, it was a very interesting post. Interesting thoughts.

Here's what I came up with:

picture

Here's an action shot to show the in-game scale:

picture

Here's a link to the blog post I just whipped up quick:

1809in3mm.blogspot.com

The individual squadrons can be "folded" in half, which would give them a 33m x 33m foot print on the table. That would be a "half squadron" column. Obviously, any kind of full-sized squadron column would be possible as well, keeping pretty close to historically correct deployment depth.

I think this is probably how I'm going to base up all my cavalry. Now I need to figure out the high-level formations that cavalry fought in…

Also, I'm in Oakland, I don't know if I'll be able to make it to Kubla Con though. Right now I think that Historicon 2018 will be the target, but I'm going to try to run it a few times on the west coast before then to make sure I can coordinate it. I may hit up the South Bay Historic Wargamers for help in that regard.

Justin Penwith15 Mar 2017 4:51 a.m. PST

I think what you have done will work for the purpose you describe. It looks "good enough" and I await seeing "action" pictures of games you put on.

If you know of or met Alex F, who puts on Bolt Action and other games, for many of the Bay Area folks, then you are familiar with some of the folks I occasionally game with.

I am about 3 hours south of you, btw. If you do happen to make it to KublaCon, let me know. I am putting on a sci-fi game on that Friday evening.

As far as the higher level formations that cavalry fought in:

Obviously you have the opposites on the spectrum, Eylau to post-1812 (for the French), but I believe the cavalry regiments fielded as groups of squadrons and really did not deploy in mass except under extreme circumstances (as happened during Eylau). And of course Ney at Waterloo had a fair burr under his rear, so that too is an outlier.

I imagine that a brigade of cavalry would operate within a general area of their CO, but would be doled out as the CO (or his boss) saw fit.

Read up on the cavalry action during Austerlitz, as an example.

marshalGreg Supporting Member of TMP15 Mar 2017 8:26 a.m. PST

@ FMS
It appears you are setting your infantry with 2 ranks of model ( figures) to represent 3 rank formation- is this correct?
IF so…. the rule of thumb ratio to make near correct frontage per Imperial bayonets is this that I use:
The ration was typically 3 inf to 2 cav in regards to figure models based on the I.B. indication of 4 infantry in 3 ranks had similar frontage of 2 cavalry in 2 ranks boot to boot.
So If in your shoes ( or to say have your collection) I would do the following:

Same frontage stand as the infantry being X with 18 models…
The same size with cavalry 1:10 would be 6 models in single file. Since this may not fit on the base size and your insist on 1:15, THEN THE BASE at 1:15 would be 4 models for that stand size.
So yes a sqdn of 120 had similar frontage as 1/2 a typical infantry battalion!

With typical sqdn size at 120 men, 2 bases of 4 would be about right.
The sqdn column formation used extensively ( 4 ranks) especially in attacking infantry is period represented in your game.

good luck

MG

forwardmarchstudios Supporting Member of TMP15 Mar 2017 9:43 a.m. PST

@MG

Because of the scale of what I'm doing and the lack of exact unit sizes in OOBs, I have to do some averaging as regards unit sizes. To figure out the frontage of units I use this formula:

(# of men in OOB X 24") / 12"/ 3 ranks / 3.2 to get meters.

450 Troops= 100m frontage.

This is how I arrive at my 100m front French battalions. I assume a 450 troop campaign strength from a nominal strength of 600. I can adopt this somewhat for larger battalions when the OOB specifically calls for it, but this is my average. At some battles, like Borodino, the battalions were so small (250 men or so) that I have to recalculate the ground scale.

For cavalry, I assume 1 meter per horse in front and divide by two for two ranks. Napoleon states an average squadron strength at Wagram as 140 troops, so that gives me 70m frontage. Two of my bases are 66m in frontage, so I round this up and call it a day.

For artillery, I place the guns on a 15mm or 10mm frontage. I somewhat prefer 10mm, because this allows me to spread the guns out or constrict them into a concentrated area, a distinction I feel is important. Since I do 2:1 guns, I can show independent teams and even regimental guns, etc. I print the weight of the guns on the bases, so this is all very clear. I also include limbers that take up 100m behind the guns (60mm), and disallow any movement through that area by other troops. This makes artillery deployment a tactical choice, because it clogs movement in the area.

Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP15 Mar 2017 9:51 a.m. PST

Depends on what your rules.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP15 Mar 2017 11:19 a.m. PST

forwardmarchstudios:

With 2 stands per squadron, you have troop/company stands. Napoleon said that "The squadron will be to the cavalry what the battalion is for infantry." The British Dundas said the same thing. so, if you have company or stands that are combination of companies for infantry, I would imagine you'd want comparable detail for the cavalry.

Much of the maneuver mechanics and formations were the same for both arms. I would imagine you would want cavalry stands that allow for the same maneuvers/deployments and to match up with frontages…You will have about one horse and rider taking up as much frontage as three infantry, give or take. Cavalry allowed for a yard per horse.

How do you handle cavalry combat? That would also determine the size of your stands.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP15 Mar 2017 11:32 a.m. PST

This could represent a squadron with the depth representing an open or full distance but nothing closer. The original Kriegsspiel used square blocks for cavalry squadrons with stacking to represent columns at closer distance.

What makes this less of a problem representationally [new word] is that regardless of what order the formation was in they ALWAYS kept distances that allowed them to change formation except when entering close contact. For instance, the French would move with an open column, only closing up the lines when coming into immediate contact with the enemy. Cavalry did the same thing. The British cavalry brigades would deploy in open columns, always keeping apart from other cavalry to provide the space to change formation and maneuver.

In other words, whether a column is in close order or open, the space between other column formations would be maintained so that a column could again open up to less dense column. This principle is why companies and battalions and brigades and divisions, supporting lines etc. all had established spaces between them and other similar formations. [e.g. 30 paces between battalions]

forwardmarchstudios Supporting Member of TMP15 Mar 2017 12:22 p.m. PST

@McLaddie-

With my current basing (seen in the pictures) I can show the squadrons deployed in line (of two ranks) or in company width columns. This isn't to say that each base represents a company exactly, it just works out that way. I have seen some information that squadrons could vary in size, and for those units where I have info that shows the squadrons would have been much larger than 70m in frontage I'll take that into account and make some larger bases. This project is, after all, only trying to recreate Wagram. As an example of what I mean, I saw an OOB recently that showed the Saxon heavy cavalry at Wagram. This is from Blunders on the Danube (great website, although his "miniatures" are a bit too big for my taste):

"The Garde du Corps had 4 squadrons with a theoretical strength of 429 men; the other Heavy regiments had 4 squadrons totaling up to 734 men each."

This is an interesting sentence from a few perspectives. If the Garde de Corps has a "theoretical strength" of 429 divided by four, that would place the squadrons comfortably-enough (-ish) within my standard basing system. However, what was the actual strength at Wagram? I need to do some research, but I have a feeling that most units were at fairly high strength at Wagram, since both sides had something like a month or so to resupply after Aspern-Essling (no stragglers from the march, etc).

So, even if I take the 429 as the gospel for the Garde du Corps, it leaves the question of the other heavy Saxon regiments. If they were "up to 734 men each" that means (1) each regiment individually could have been twice the size of the Garde du Corps; and (2) they might not have all been that big- some might have been much smaller, more like my standard-sized squadrons. And, if they were twice the size, did that mean that they operated in two sections per squadron like some other armies extra-large cavalry units would? If that's the case, maybe I should break the 12 Saxon Heavy Cavalry squadrons (the Zastrow, Cuirassier and Leib regiments) into 24 normal-sized squadrons? But once again, that would only make sense if they were actually over 700 men strong at the battle.

>>>>>

As far as rules go, I'm probably going to make my own. This is for a convention game which will have a lot of players (hopefully), and so they will be very simple, IGYG, move, shoot, morale type rules with a few restrictions to make sure they keep their sub-units in generally correct historical formations. Nothing fancy, none of my weird time/cognition stuff. The chaos factor and fog-of-war issues can be added in by referees, as well as the players themselves.

As regards the cavalry themselves, I'm not quite sure how I'll deal with it yet. I need to do some more research in any event.

Mike the Analyst15 Mar 2017 4:29 p.m. PST

McLaddie, the big advantage of the column at full distance it that it can quickly form line to one flank by each squadron wheeling. With the column "right in front" this can only allow the squadrons to wheel to the left so that the line is not inverted.

Closed up columns cannot do this, they either have to open up first or they form line on the leading squadron. The open column can also form line on the leading squadron so there is no disadvantage in using the column at full distance.

Cavalry are only likely to use a close or quarter distance column when in reserve out of harms way. I would argue that when closed up cavalry will only use the walk gait, nothing faster.

Given the scale the OP is working at then there are opportunities to consider formations assembled and held in reserve.

I use a pair of figures on a square base as the starting point for cavalry as the depth and frontage being the same size allows for the representation of the column at full distance so that the depth of the regiment or brigade in column is more correct.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP15 Mar 2017 8:09 p.m. PST

I have seen some information that squadrons could vary in size, and for those units where I have info that shows the squadrons would have been much larger than 70m in frontage I'll take that into account and make some larger bases.

forwardmarchstudios:
So, large regiments might have more squadrons [Austrians] or more companies per squadron [Later Russians.] Whatever you choose, having multiple stands per squadron works at the level you are working at.

McLaddie, the big advantage of the column at full distance it that it can quickly form line to one flank by each squadron wheeling. With the column "right in front" this can only allow the squadrons to wheel to the left so that the line is not inverted.

Closed up columns cannot do this, they either have to open up first or they form line on the leading squadron. The open column can also form line on the leading squadron so there is no disadvantage in using the column at full distance.

Mike the Analyst:

That is very much the case for infantry columns too. And the highlighted part is why it was advantageous to leave room for closed columns to return to open when needed.

Cavalry are only likely to use a close or quarter distance column when in reserve out of harms way. I would argue that when closed up cavalry will only use the walk gait, nothing faster.

I would suggest that 1. it depends on the situation. There are any number of examples of cavalry in reserve in open columns… as you point out there is no disadvantage when maneuvering in column at full distance. Even in closed columns in reserve, there would be ample reason to keep enough room to go back to open columns for just that reason.

Given the scale the OP is working at then there are opportunities to consider formations assembled and held in reserve.

I would think so. Certainly a par of figures on a square stand would work.

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