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"Do you let English counter-battery at Waterloo?" Topic

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Personal logo Weasel Supporting Member of TMP15 Mar 2017 11:30 a.m. PST

Wellington forbid the British gunners from attempting duels with French batteries.

If replaying Waterloo, do you let the player make that decision or forbid them from doing so?

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP15 Mar 2017 11:34 a.m. PST

Yes. They did, which really ticked off Wellington as he had ordered them not to. Mercer describes counter-battery fire and with that instance WHY a company [battery] captain would consider doing it.

I wouldn't let artillery do it when they have infantry/cavalry targets or a specific order to fire on artillery. [which wasn't all that uncommon]

Footslogger15 Mar 2017 12:16 p.m. PST

Let them do it. Surely one of the pleasures in refighting actual battles is to see what happens if you handle it differently?

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP15 Mar 2017 12:20 p.m. PST

Always a fine line. On the one hand I don't want players doing things their historical armies never would have. Form square with cavalry, for example. On the other yeah, the fun is trying a different way to skin a cat.

marshalGreg15 Mar 2017 12:21 p.m. PST

British artillery does not initiate Counter battery. Your House Rule
But the French can (and they did).
The British RA/RHA can then fire back and they did until the French quite firing at them(which they did).
It is Well documented in many Waterloo books and memoirs!

some 2 cents

von Winterfeldt15 Mar 2017 1:01 p.m. PST

they duelled pretty much all the time during the 3 days campaign

Art15 Mar 2017 1:03 p.m. PST

But it was Mercer who opened fire on a French batterie…and stopped when counter batterie fire was executed on him…

My one cent worth

Best Regards

marshalGreg15 Mar 2017 2:14 p.m. PST

@ Art!
Thanks for the correction- I had it backwards.

And evidence why good rules do not have such in them… so "original post" the recommendation changes too … "let it go" and not have such a ruling.
If rules play with fatigue rules ( as they should), players will soon stop such, unless deem as a real "need to conduct" ( IE the French artillery barrage of the poor Stevenart's Dutch Belgian battery covering the high ground west of Gemioncourt during the initial actions at Quatre Bra) and thus typically Bleeped text away some artillery, as it should be.
2 cents minus 1 cent=
1 cents worth

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP15 Mar 2017 2:20 p.m. PST

It's something within their capabilities and training, and the point of a wargame is to see what might be done, after all.

That said, seldom a good use of defensive direct fire guns. The defender wants to take out infantry and cavalry as they try to close. It's the attacker who wants to take out enemy artillery before this happens.

So it should be possible, but I wouldn't generally do it.

SJDonovan Inactive Member15 Mar 2017 3:24 p.m. PST

I don't think you should prevent players from engaging in counter battery fire. In fact, I think you should force them to do it.

No one likes being shot at and not firing back so I think any battery that isn't already engaging enemy troops that is fired upon by enemy artillery should have to pass a command and control test or return fire.

If Wellington couldn't prevent his artillery from engaging in counter battery fire I don't see why we should be able to do so.

Personal logo Saber6 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian15 Mar 2017 3:33 p.m. PST

I let them do it, but it usually a waste of time and firepower (effort/results)

USAFpilot Supporting Member of TMP15 Mar 2017 3:57 p.m. PST

Let your players do whatever they want as long as they are following the rules of the game. Part of the fun of wargaming is developing your own strategy. Anyway, Wellington is not here. Someone else (the player) is now in command of Wellington's army.

Brechtel19815 Mar 2017 4:33 p.m. PST

Counterbattery fire took a lot of time and ammunition, which is why it was discouraged unless necessary.

The bottom line is that the enemy's artillery was not the primary target of any army's artillery except the Russians, and they learned not to do it either after 1807.

Glencairn15 Mar 2017 5:32 p.m. PST

There seem to be various instances throughout the wars, of batteries deliberately pounding enemy artillery, perhaps in preparation for a main assault at a redoubt, or some other objective, so it did happen. You might want to introduce that in a large scale game where there is plenty of artillery around, and forbid it in scenarios where each player has one or two batteries at his/her disposal.

Glencairn15 Mar 2017 5:36 p.m. PST

BTW, how many gun models do you all think appropriate to represent a battery? I used to use just one, a la Black Powder, but now I use two bases, it gives me the possibility to deploy a half battery..

Personal logo Weasel Supporting Member of TMP15 Mar 2017 5:49 p.m. PST

One is plenty but having two looks better.

Rich Bliss15 Mar 2017 8:00 p.m. PST

Absolutely allow it. Wellington isn't there. You are.

Cerdic Supporting Member of TMP15 Mar 2017 11:57 p.m. PST

Allow the player to make the decision. But have some mechanism to limit ammunition. Maybe say a battery can only fire for X number of turns before running out and needing re-supply?

Martin Rapier15 Mar 2017 11:57 p.m. PST

As Patton observed, giving orders is easy, getting them obeyed is hard.

So yes, let the British pop away if they wish. Whenever I've done Waterloo they've been far too busy firing at all the French infantry and cavalry to indulge in such a waste of ammunition.

Sparta Inactive Member16 Mar 2017 6:11 a.m. PST

Counterbattery fire is an essential part of tactics from the Napoleonic wars and forward. If you read "letters on artillery" which is baout 1866-70 you see the argument that increasing artillery efficiency requires increasing counterbattery fire to support an attack.
It is in the attackers interest to engage the defending batteries, fatigue and disrupt them before the attack, while the defender wants his batteries fresh to repel the attack.
In wargames term it could be considered a quality in artillery to be able to withhold fire in the event that it is being fired upon – although it was quite rare from what I have read (actual examples not recommendations) that batteries stood hostile fire without replying.
An attack would have more succes if "artillery supremacy" is established. This is the doctrine established from war experience by Prince Kraft zu Hohenlohe Ingelfingen in letters on artillery.

rmaker16 Mar 2017 8:25 a.m. PST

Most army commanders gave frequent orders against counter-battery fire, which tells me that battery commanders kept doing it. You don't issue repeated orders aainst something if it isn't happening.

Art, the reason Mercer suspended his counter-battery work was that he realized he was out-gunned by the 12-pdr battery he was up against.

Allan F Mountford16 Mar 2017 9:46 a.m. PST

We just finished refighting Waterloo using Age of Eagles. My first refight of this battle in 45+ years of gaming!

We did allow Wellington's artillery to counterbattery, but it didn't go down well with the French side, who suggested it was against the spirit of this particular game.

The French won, by the way: very convincingly.

Allan Mountford
Secretary Stoke Wargames Group

attilathepun4716 Mar 2017 10:03 a.m. PST

The point of wargaming is to test the players' ability against real live opponents, not to simply stage a miniature re-enactment of what actually happened in a particular battle. Therefore, rules and game-masters should allow anything which actually did happen (and counter-battery fire clearly did happen with regularity, regardless of orders). Only things which either could not be done or were never actually done during the relevant period should be forbidden.

RebelPaul Supporting Member of TMP16 Mar 2017 11:23 a.m. PST

I would not allow counter-battery fire. Wellington had enough trouble with keeping his cavalry in order.

Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP16 Mar 2017 1:02 p.m. PST

It's up to the player.

14Bore16 Mar 2017 1:07 p.m. PST

My one point is just because the commander orders it doesn't make it happen, or not happen.

Allan F Mountford17 Mar 2017 4:47 a.m. PST

Desvaux de Sainte Maurice, the French Imperial Guard artillery commander, was killed outright by roundshot fire whilst re-organising the grand battery after D'Erlon's repulse.
Just saying ;-)

pushing tin17 Mar 2017 7:47 a.m. PST

I seem to remember when we did Waterloo a couple of years ago the British were not allowed to if Wellington was within a certain distance (ie was close enough to see what they were up to and could send a note telling them to desist). Other than that they could

Sparta Inactive Member17 Mar 2017 7:54 a.m. PST

"Desvaux de Sainte Maurice, the French Imperial Guard artillery commander, was killed outright by roundshot fire whilst re-organising the grand battery after D'Erlon's repulse.
Just saying ;-)"

Great – :-)

von Winterfeldt17 Mar 2017 10:46 a.m. PST

in case reading Waterloo archives by Gareth Glover, one will see quite often that British artillery did counter battery fire – maybe rarely on the day of the battle itself, but counter battery fire was a common tactic displayed by all nations – very frequently used.

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