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"Cavalry artillery" Topic

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10 Aug 2017 10:11 a.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Changed title from "Cavalry artillery-second try" to "Cavalry artillery"

761 hits since 10 Aug 2017
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

gamer110 Aug 2017 9:20 a.m. PST

Hey guys quick question. I have been working on a board game for a couple years, mainly a labor of love at this point. The basic unit players purchase is the brigade.
Southern brigades usually have one artillery symbol/point, with a few elite brigades having two. About half the union brigades have two symbols/points to represent that the union had better and more artillery than the southern brigades.
My question is this guys, I have been doing research and reading. As most of you know the main role of Cav changed to more of screening, intelligence gathering and raiding during this time period/war. I know they had horse artillery BUT based on what I have read and understand I am not for sure if they had as much or used it(cannons) as much as the infantry brigades. Thus my question, should I give some or all of the Cav brigades an artillery symbol/point just like the infantry brigades or not? Remember, its not a question of if they had them its a question of did they use them as much as the infantry did to justify them having them in a game sense? So, any suggestions, thoughts? Thanks, Travis.

KimRYoung Supporting Member of TMP10 Aug 2017 11:12 a.m. PST

Artillery was not organized at the brigade level, it was organized at the divisional level or corps level. For example, the Confederates at Gettysburg had four batteries of artillery per infantry division, and 8 batteries in a corps reserve. The Union had four or more batteries per corps, and an army reserve of 5 artillery brigades of around 4 batteries each.

The artillery was not "issued" to brigades. The corps commanders would deploy the guns, usually assigning them to support the divisions within the corp. Guns may be positioned near a brigade, but they would not be commanded by brigade commanders.

If you are doing a game with the basic unit is an infantry brigade, you need to represent artillery as individual batteries or artillery battalions of several batteries, not intrinsic to the brigades.

As for horse artillery, these guns were organized at the corps level and often would be deployed to serve in a role of support where they could be brought into action (usually defensively) to cover an area of need. At Antietam, Stuart's horse artillery was used by Lee to cover the extreme left flank of the confederate line.

The bottom line is, guns need to be represented separately from infantry or cavalry brigades.


Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP10 Aug 2017 11:58 a.m. PST

+1 Kim

So in your game terms, they should buy artillery separately from the troops, with some sort of limit (i.e. no more than one artillery unit for every 3 infantry or whatever).

And Union artillery was better than confederate so keep that in mind either for availability or points cost.

gamer110 Aug 2017 12:38 p.m. PST

Thanks guys, I was fairly aware of the separate organization, I was just thinking I might could smooth line the mechanics by just having it with the brigade counters. Less counters, less decisions of what to "buy" and that the end result is the same, the union will normally have more than the CSA. BUT it may be more enjoyable and "comfortable" for those that are in the know that I follow your suggestion and have the artillery separate units to purchase, like cav vs inf, wooden naval vs ironclad naval. Good food for thought, perhaps some more input will show what would be most preferred by players. Always a challenge to keep the historical vs enjoyable to play balance with games:)

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP11 Aug 2017 11:57 a.m. PST

Part of the question is whether you are going to have large scale cavalry units [i.e. divisions and corps] Horse artillery was assigned along the same lines as foot artillery for infantry.

If you want an idea of how horse artillery was controlled and used in a cavalry action, Brandy Station 1863 is a good example.

Then again, up until Hooker reorganized the Union cavalry into a separate corps earlier in 1863, and Stuart's ability to form a large, single organization [division or small corps] of cavalry, the assignment of horse artillery to cavalry units on both sides could be by brigade [1861-62, particularly in the West] or division like infantry divisions [through to 1865].

donlowry13 Aug 2017 10:07 a.m. PST

The artillery was not "issued" to brigades.

You are obviously thinking only of the armies in Virginia. In other theaters, a battery was often an integral part of each brigade. On both sides.

Even in Virginia, although the batteries were administratively gathered at division and/or corps level, they were usually scattered around the battlefield. And in the cavalry they were often attached to brigades fairly consistently. For instance, Custer's Michigan Brigade almost always had the same battery attached.

As for how the horse artillery was "used." I'd say (subject to ubiquitous exceptions), it was used differently than the foot artillery because the cavalry was used differently than infantry -- more skirmishing, fewer knock-down/drag-out fights.

gamer123 Aug 2017 2:50 p.m. PST

Thanks guys, based on your feed back I decided to have separate arty counters that can be added to infantry and eventually cavalry corps. Very helpful:)
FYI I included some game mechanics on how I did the counters that will encourage players to build fairly historical corps. The arty counters can do a lot of damage up front but while not "weak" they can't take the beating an inf counter can, and the arty counters cost a good bit more.
Thus…..if a player decides to try and "game" the system and build a mostly arty corps he/she will find that while it does an impressive amount of damage up front the counters will start getting destroyed rather quickly and the owner will be swapping expensive counters for much cheaper ones, a losing exchange for sure:)

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