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"What rules have the deadliest artillery? Weakest?" Topic


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©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
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forwardmarchstudios07 Oct 2017 12:58 a.m. PST

Just wondering.

I mean by this, what set or rules have mechanisms that result in artillery be very powerful relative to other arms. Conversely, what sets have artillery rules that resulting artillery being weaker than other arms? By "relative to other arms," I don't mean strength relative in a one-to-one sort of way, but in the totality of the game itself.

I'm curious to see if different game designers are arriving at different interpretations of artilleries role, and if so, why. Do you think there are outliers amongst game rulesets? Does anyone have it completely wrong? Has anyone gotten it completely correct?

Whirlwind07 Oct 2017 1:43 a.m. PST

Strongest artillery I am aware of: Bruce Quarrie's rules

Weakest artillery…not sure. The Polemos rules, maybe?

Personal logo Florida Tory Supporting Member of TMP07 Oct 2017 3:52 a.m. PST

Stronest artillery: Column, Line and Square. It is a well-known artifact among the gamers who play the rules that the impact of artillery increases exponentially as batteries were massed.

Rick

Bagration181207 Oct 2017 3:59 a.m. PST

I don't know if anyone has gotten it completely right just now. I'm sure others will correct me if I'm wrong, but I seem to recall that a battery of medium guns was roughly equivalent in firepower to a battalion of infantry in line. Assuming that's a directionally correct assumption, then it's relatively easy to ballpark artillery's relative strength in a particular set of rules. That also makes it relatively easy, from a design perspective, to set a battalion and a battery roughly equal to each other.

To me, the difficult part of game design is modeling how artillery was used by the various nations and how that evolved over time.

For example, I really like how Sam Mustafa's Blucher models allocating artillery to various formations, but I dislike how artillery works from a fire perspective. The Empire series of rules and Legacy of Glory both do a reasonable job, in my opinion, of modeling both aspects, but they are very fiddly and take a fair amount of time to resolve fire.

Very interested to see what others think.

Allan F Mountford07 Oct 2017 4:13 a.m. PST

According to Clausewitz:

'2. The fire of artillery produces greater effect than that of infantry. A battery of eight six pounders does not occupy a third part of the front of a battalion of infantry, is worked by an eighth of the number of men composing a battalion, and does certainly twice, if not three times, as much execution with its fire. On the other hand, artillery has the disadvantage of not being so easily moved as infantry. This applies in general, even to the lightest description of horse artillery, for it cannot be used like infantry upon any ground. From the commencement, therefore, the artillery must be kept united at the most important points, because it cannot, like infantry, concentrate itself at those points during the progress of the battle. A great battery of twenty or thirty guns is in most cases decisive at the point where it is placed.' (Clausewitz, Die wichtigsten Grundsδtze des Kriegfuhrens zur Ergδnzung meines Unterrichts bei Sr. Koniglichen Hoheit dem Kronprinzen, 1812)

So this must be a reasonable starting point. I appreciate that the effectiveness is skewed by the greater range of the artillery.

Whirlwind07 Oct 2017 4:15 a.m. PST

Am I right in thinking that the original Kriegspiel rated artillery rather lower than Clausewitz did?

Allan F Mountford07 Oct 2017 4:21 a.m. PST

I would suggest that one of the difficulties in comparing rulesets is the method of representing effect. Older sets calculating losses in men (and recorded on a roster) had very short time periods per move: often one minute or less. This allows analysis of the effect of individual rounds of fire, down to individual cannons and howitzers. As time moved on, time periods per move increased and we see upwards of one hour's activity being represented by a single game move. Trying to calculate what the rules artillery effectiveness is presents so many variables as to the number of rounds assumed to be fired that the exercise is almost pointless.

Allan F Mountford07 Oct 2017 4:23 a.m. PST

@Whirlwind

Shouldn't be difficult to compare.

Allan F Mountford07 Oct 2017 4:45 a.m. PST

@Whirlwind

A very quick exercise using Bill Leeson's 1983 translation:

Per two minutes of firing:
. 6lb battery vs infantry column up to 400 paces inflicts an average of 219 casualties.
. 800 infantry vs infantry column up to 400 paces inflicts an average of the following losses at the specified range bands:
- up to 100 paces = 325
- 100 to 200 paces = 218
- 200 to 300 paces = 107
- 300 to 400 paces = 52

Apologies if I have the rules interpretation incorrect.

Generalstoner49 Supporting Member of TMP07 Oct 2017 4:51 a.m. PST

Strongest- fire and fury as a whole.
Weakest- Age of Reason.

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP07 Oct 2017 5:20 a.m. PST

The Neil Thomas rules can make Artillery pretty effective. Overly effective to my mind.

Whirlwind07 Oct 2017 5:24 a.m. PST

Thanks very much Allan, very interesting

Allan F Mountford07 Oct 2017 5:28 a.m. PST

A few rules examples for a 6lb battery firing at infantry columns @ 400 paces, expressed in casualties inflicted per hour:

'Kriegspiel' (von Reisswitz, 1824) – 6,570

'Age of Eagles, 2nd Edition' (Bill Gray, 2015) – 144

'1685-1845' (WRG, 1977) – 4,500

'Napoleonic Warfare' (Newbury Rules, 1975) – 6,780

'Napoleonic War Game Rules' ( S & J Reed, 1971) – 3,920

The Age of Eagles figure is striking.

Lascaris07 Oct 2017 6:14 a.m. PST

I think some of the discrepancy in artillery casualty rates can be attributed to short time increment rules, those that use 2 or 5 or 10 minutes for a turn, often do not use any fatigue rules to impact rate of fire as time goes on. I don't know, but I would think, that by the 60th minute of non-stop artillery fire the casualty rate would be much lower than in the first minute. Those rules that have longer, 30 minutes or more, for a turn may be factoring fatigue or other real world effects into their calculations.

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP07 Oct 2017 7:53 a.m. PST

There is also a distance between rules where you are controlling a division vs one where you are controlling ab army.

If you got 8 cannon and 6000 infantry. Then naturally infantry dominates and so in division scale rules artillery isn't as dominating as rules where you control 200-700 cannon.

Personal logo Colonel Bill Supporting Member of TMP07 Oct 2017 9:15 a.m. PST

I used Hughes as a starting point in AOE, but then calculated in some average times supporting the fact that even if a battery stand fired in a 30 minute turn, it might not be firing for the entire turn, nor would the target necessarily be in the field of fire for the entire turn. Indeed, when did the battery begin fire on the 3.00 pm turn? At 3:01, 3:12, 3:23 or some other time.

Likewise, because their is both a offensive and defensive fire phase, the battery would get to fire twice, for perhaps 288 casualties?

But 6780?

Assuming those numbers are all representative for a 30 minute turn (ie, an AOE Turn), that means a single 6 lb battery could theoretically cause more casualties in a single hour than the Prussians suffered for the entire battle of Ligny.

Are you sure those numbers are correct?

Regards, Colonel Bill
ageofeagles.com

forwardmarchstudios07 Oct 2017 10:22 a.m. PST

I think the KS numbers need to be understood in their context. They're only describing 2 minutes at maximal effect in a static environment. Against maneuvering forces in real terrain and with exhaustion factored in the total is certainly much less. I think of KS numbers the same way as the cyclic rate of a machine gun, unless the data is quantified by the author somehow.

But obviously those casualty rates are impossible, unless you had an un-ending wall of men marching directly at the battery for over an hour without stopping.

Wellington shrugs. "Same old manner."

How many casualties did the gun-charge at Friedland inflict per gun? That seems like as close to laboratory conditions as we could get on the topic of outside numbers.

Clays Russians07 Oct 2017 4:45 p.m. PST

Anyone remember bounce sticks?

MHoxie08 Oct 2017 1:06 a.m. PST

Kriegsspiel doesn't have any morale rules. I'm guessing the in-game casualties inflicted by KS fire and melee are elevated in order to make formations break at roughly the time they would in an actual fight. Or, he just made it up.

davbenbak Supporting Member of TMP08 Oct 2017 2:41 a.m. PST

I would say the most accurate example of artillery fire would come from the computer moderated rule set "Carnage & Glory2" since it tracks ammo usage and fatigue of the artillery unit as well as the casualties and psychological effects of the target. It also rewards players who deploy and use artillery in a manner like was suggested by the Clausewitz quote in an earlier post.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP08 Oct 2017 7:48 a.m. PST

I would say the most accurate example of artillery fire would come from the computer moderated rule set "Carnage & Glory2" since it tracks ammo usage and fatigue of the artillery unit as well as the casualties and psychological effects of the target. It also rewards players who deploy and use artillery in a manner like was suggested by the Clausewitz quote in an earlier post.

davbenbak:
Carnage & Glory can't be the most accurate because of what the system tracks. It is how well the tracking system models what it is based on that makes it 'accurate.' [that is, the comparison between what is modeled--historical sources--and the system] A computer system is garbage in, garbage out. What went into the system is what makes the system accurate, not how much it might track or not. It could be just as accurate in results if it only tracked casualties--if it compared well with the information it was based on.

That is a technical comment, not anything negative about the game system. I don't know what Nigel based his system on as far as history is concerned regarding fatigue and psychological effects etc. or how he tested his system for accuracy.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP08 Oct 2017 8:04 a.m. PST

Most all ordinance tests of the period 1756 through 1818 has small canister putting as many balls through the target at 250-300 yards as musket volleys do at 80 yards. Crank that up to battalions and batteries, and batteries are worth @3 battalions of infantry in hitting power. That is about 250 men per six pounder, compared to most wargames that place it at 100-150 per gun. While the actual hit rates would be lower in an actual battle compared to an ordinance test. [Sort of the perfect performance parameter], the relationship is important.

Counting casualties still leaves you with the 'so what?' The results in enemy behavior is the important issue and there is a very weak correlation between raw numbers and unit behavior. Napoleon once observed that a battery of guns could stop a brigade of infantry. [Not destroy or rout, just stop]

Back in 1985 when I designed the board game "Napoleon's Last Triumph" [battle of Wagram], I gave artillery that 250 men per gun relationship to infantry for just canister. I found that play testers began using artillery much more like they were used in the battle.

Hughes' numbers provide a cautionary tale about trying to calculate actual hit ratios from historical examples. His descriptions of Albuera and other battles don't describe the actual situations well and often didn't include artillery effects even when he had them present.

14Bore08 Oct 2017 9:50 a.m. PST

I play Empire III and like a baseball statistics keep track of 'kills' by artillery, small arms and close action. I would have to compare the battles.

14Bore08 Oct 2017 9:58 a.m. PST

If your rules as Empire states that loss of a figure isn't only killed or wounded but also active men helping off casualties as well as men shirking. So maybe artillery does a better job of silencing the opposition.

Personal logo Colonel Bill Supporting Member of TMP08 Oct 2017 1:56 p.m. PST

FWIW department . . .

- Huges in Firepower estimates between one and two casualties for each artillery round fired AVERAGE, page 167.

- CPT James Hall, USA, 2d Maine Artillery, 1st day at Gettysburg in his official report indicates he first fired upon the enemy at 10:45 am and was continuously engaged until his withdrawal at 5:00 pm. His six guns fired a total of 645 rounds for the entire day or 107 rounds per gun or 17 rounds per hour per gun.

- According to Nafziger, Lutzen & Bautzen, p 176, at the former battle Ney's III Corps was continuously engaged from 6:00 am to 6:30 pm. Its 71 guns fired 12,150 rounds for the day or 171 rounds per gun or 14 rounds per hour per gun.

Colonel Bill
ageofeagles.com

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP08 Oct 2017 7:59 p.m. PST

Col. Bill:

That is about one round every 4 to 5 minutes per battery of eight guns. While they could load much faster, artillerists had to 1. let the smoke clear so 2. they wanted to see where the battery's shots fell and aim.

I've read at least two accounts from the ACW were the officers of individual guns said they were in a 'hot engagement' where their gun fired 12 and 14 shorts for the hour engaged.

So, with eight guns for a Napoleonic battery [or company] that is going to be two shots per minute. Obviously, that is not close quarter actions, but solid shot firing at distance.

If Hughes' average of 1-2 casualties per shot comes to only 2-4 hits per minute for a battery or 120 to 240 hits per hour. That is one third of a battalion at most.

Considering how often shots missed altogether and how many did far more damage, depending on circumstances, that average would only be good for a battle average rather than any particular engagement other that one point in a range of possibilities.

At Wagram, the French reported firing 90,000 rounds during the battle. That would be at least any 180,000 casualties average at 1 or 2 per shot. The Austrians suffered 37,146 casualties and that was on the sun-baked and flat Marchfeld, really good artillery terrain.

So, lets say the French artillery caused half the damage, or 18,573 casualties, that is one hit for every 4 shots. That is what I used for my game and it still made artillery far more powerful than most wargames, board or miniature at the time, and still pretty much true… and I haven't read anywhere writers suggesting that artillery could or did cause half the casualties in Napoleonic battles, regardless of Napoleon saying battles were won with artillery.

We can play with the averages all day, but that doesn't give us what we need to know game-wise: how effective were cannon in particular engagements at particular distances over time.

badger2209 Oct 2017 12:09 a.m. PST

Troops (and people in general) really hate things happening to them they cant do anything about. I to this day hate mortars.

But I dont believe I have ever seen in any game of any period a rule about moral effects from being hit at a range you cant reply to. For casualties, yes certainly. But just about being helpless, I cant remember any. But I am old and may be being dense.

But I wonder if Napoleon wasn't referring to the disruptive effect of artillery rather than just to its casualty causing ability. Not possible to prove even if I am right, but something to consider. And no, I dont have a clue how you would factor that into a game, that is why buy them rather than write them.

Owen

Allan F Mountford09 Oct 2017 12:37 a.m. PST

***NOTES***
I posted the figures for one hour's firing only to regularise the rules casualty rate to a common time period. I could just as easily have posted the casualty rate per minute, though naturally it would not have looked as dramatic. Also, as has been pointed out, the casualty rates as posted are at a range of 400 paces against dense, columnar targets. I will post some alternative figures later today, possibly under a new topic.

4th Cuirassier09 Oct 2017 1:06 a.m. PST

If anyone cares, under Quarrie's artillery rules, a one-gun battery achieving the highest possible fire score kills 40 men per turn which is 16 men per minute or 13 per shot fired. A move is 2.5 minutes and a 12-pounder fires three times in that interval, so that's a rate of fire of one round per 50 seconds.

An 8-gun battery would thus knock over 128 men per minute.

To achieve that score you'd need to be firing canister at a column from less than 150 yards.

This seems highly unlikely.

I like McLaddie's top down approach of working out effects from total numbers per battle. Applied to the above scenario the eight 12-pounders would take out not 320 but 6 men (1 man per 4 shots, 24 shots per move).

In terms of ability to inflict losses that would actually make artillery constructively useless – but it is supported by the actual results. It must be that artillery's effect is as much moral as physical.

evilgong09 Oct 2017 1:53 a.m. PST

Hi there

Mr Badger said.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
But I dont believe I have ever seen in any game of any period a rule about moral effects from being hit at a range you cant reply to. For casualties, yes certainly. But just about being helpless, I cant remember any. But I am old and may be being dense.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

And sometimes having you own friends fire back and simultaneously damage the enemy would bolster your side's moral.

The the situation quoted above, do you need a rule? If the troops are being clobbered won't the _player_ do something about it and move them out of harm.

DB

Allan F Mountford09 Oct 2017 2:21 a.m. PST

An update to the previously posted figures (and corrections to the Newbury figures). This time I have shown the effect at ranges of 400, 800, 1200 and 1600 paces and distinguished between target infantry in line and column.
If anyone has access to any other rulesets I would be interested in the comparable data.

'Kriegspiel' (von Reisswitz, 1824) – [KS]

'Age of Eagles, 2nd Edition' (Bill Gray, 2015) – [AoE]

'1685-1845' (WRG, 1977) – [WRG]

'Napoleonic Warfare' (Newbury Rules, 1975) – [Newbury]

'Napoleonic War Game Rules' ( S & J Reed, 1971) – [Reed]

'Napoleonic Wargaming' (Bruce Quarrie, 1974) – [Quarrie]

Ruleset – 400 paces – 800 paces – 1200 paces – 1600 paces

Versus infantry lines:
KS – 5250 – 3375 – 1450 – 1000
AoE – 144 – 0 – 0 – 0
WRG – 750 – 375 – 375 – 0
Newbury – 1020 – 720 – 360 – 0
Reed – 3680 – 2160 – 0 – 0
Quarrie – 1536 – 768 – 0 – 0

Versus infantry columns:
KS – 6563 – 4219 – 1813 – 1250
AoE – 144 – 0 – 0 – 0
WRG – 4500 – 4500 – 375 – 0
Newbury – 2880 – 2040 – 1020 – 0
Reed – 3920 – 3680 – 0 – 0
Quarrie – 3192 – 3192 – 0 – 0

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP09 Oct 2017 2:22 a.m. PST

If I remember correctly you always need to take a moral test if hit by artillery in Beneath the Lilly banners. (1670-1721 period)

Jcfrog Supporting Member of TMP09 Oct 2017 2:47 a.m. PST

Don't forget Kriegspiel is moderated by pros of the time.
It does not include smoke, ammunition , confusion, fatigue, reshaping formations etc, which the umpire would realistically put on your actions. Pretty sure.
No way they would fire full speed with guns, one hour. So like for marching, don't just multiply effects by the 2 minutesx 30 or so.

But, yes the Fire and Fury family of system, have maybe a low Fire for the fury. Then one looks at overall results. Another story. Also deployed is both lines and columns, all the same. Your chaps if bombarded while just waiting, would go to line, move a bit etc, to lower the pain.

Personal logo Colonel Bill Supporting Member of TMP09 Oct 2017 3:13 a.m. PST

McLaddie,

I have no issue with your post and its perspective at all. The data was for reference, and I used Hughes as a starting point and not as an exclusive end all. Regardless, whether your calculations or mine, either are one Hell of a lot less than KSs 6563 – 4219 – 1813 – 1250.

That's why I wonder how correct those numbers are, or if there are other game mechanics that alleviate such an impact, or if not, how the calculations were arrived at. I know one older game was lovingly known as "Column, Line and Slaughter," but Jeez!

Bill G

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP09 Oct 2017 5:54 a.m. PST

Alan: Thanks for that breakdown. Very informative.

But I wonder if Napoleon wasn't referring to the disruptive effect of artillery rather than just to its casualty causing ability. Not possible to prove even if I am right, but something to consider. And no, I dont have a clue how you would factor that into a game, that is why buy them rather than write them.

Badger: Yes, that's why I emphasized 'halted' in that description. He was doing what most military men would do: Speak to the result in enemy behavior rather than the enemy condition. A 'disrupted' unit could do a number of things… what they did is the important issue.

Col. Bill:

I wasn't questioning your post content either, only pointing out where the numbers lead us. And yes, it is interesting that most wargames have artillery results that are at least 50% less than Kriegsspiel. I do question Hughes' numbers, but that is another issue.

I wonder how correct those Kriegspiel numbers are too, but I also wonder why the numbers generated by veteran officers are twice as high as most all wargames.

And yes, the question is how those numbers were arrived at--what they represent.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP09 Oct 2017 6:04 a.m. PST

But I wonder if Napoleon wasn't referring to the disruptive effect of artillery rather than just to its casualty causing ability. Not possible to prove even if I am right, but something to consider. And no, I dont have a clue how you would factor that into a game, that is why buy them rather than write them.

Badger:
The idea that we would have to separate casualties from morale effects occurs because there isn't a tight correlation between casualty losses and unit behavior. Some run with little inducement and others continue fighting with 50+ percent casualties. If that was a completely random event, then all we do is roll the die. But it isn't. Military men depended on that.

The real issue for wargaming is what units do under what circumstances and more importantly, how often. That is the issue. That is a statistical question.

It is possibly why Kriegspiel doesn't have morale or other rules for parsing out different factors affecting a unit. What can I bring to bear on an enemy unit to make it behave the way I want it to. [stop, go away, stop being a threat at all.]

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP09 Oct 2017 6:21 a.m. PST

There is also a correlation between time and casualties.

If you space out 30% casualties over 30-40 minutes the unit might stand. But if you give a volley/attack that delivers a massive 5% casualties(so a battalion of 600 would lose 30 men) in a single volley/attack) they would probably run.
That's why the volley was invented the actual casualties over time would be lower than single armed fire, but that massive loss of troops/cohesion in a second has a massive moral effect.

badger2209 Oct 2017 6:33 a.m. PST

And, if you will allow a worms eye view of it, you often dont know how somebody will react until you shoot at them for real. Most of my people and the rest of the battery acted more or less how I thought they would under fire. My always in a fight MR. tough guy was almost useless, just could not deal with it. And my screw-off never serious never work hard cpl was an absolute rock when the bullets were real.

Now of course over the whole group that averages out, most of the time but not always. Before I joined the army I loved Guard units, now, after I have seen what happens to a unit after to many of the good NCOs leave, dont like them so much.

And of course this is getting a bit away from the OP, but I believe a better understanding of what guns really do, would result in better artillery rules.

Owen

Blutarski09 Oct 2017 6:38 a.m. PST

A few comments -

> I think it is dangerous to base tactical rate of fire estimates upon ammunition consumption figures covering an eight or ten hour period of battle. It fails to make any distinction regarding actual time spent in action versus idle periods.

> Rate of fire for the period depended a great deal upon range and the nature of target engaged (see Gibbons for a discussion on this point). For broad targets within "effective range", the recommended practical battery guideline appears to have been about one round per minute per gun. Rate of fire was recommended to be about one half that rate for more distant fire, and for distant "point targets" (a building or a command group, for example), Gibbons mentioned a battery rate of fire figure of about one round per gun every four minutes or so in order to spot fall of shot, run the gun back into position, adjust sights and carefully sight in on the target (no optical sights in those days). On the other hand, canister fire might reach a rate of fire of two or more rounds per minute per gun and perhaps an effective rate of fire of four rounds per minute for brief periods if double-shotting is taken into consideration.

> Historical analyses of artillery casualty rates differ so markedly as to suggest that it is an extremely complex topic. The following data from "Map Maneuvers" by Sayre (1908 publication of the Fort Leavenworth Staff College Press in use by the US Army for war-gaming) points out how differences in the immediate tactical condition can have a profound influence upon effectiveness:

- – -

"Problem No. 7. A battery of field artillery not under effective fire and using direct fire with range approximately determined fires one minute on a battalion of infantry lying in the open at 2500 yards. <snip> It is presumed that the battalion is in one line with the standard interval (2 paces)."

The casualty formula yields a result of approximately 1 man.

- – -

"Problem No. 9. A battalion of infantry leaves cover and advances in line in double rank over open ground from 2100 to 2000 yards range of a hostile battery which has previously ascertained the range approximately. The infantry advances without halting or firing. The ground is of such a nature that they can march only fifty yards per minute. The battery opens fire upon them as soon as they appear."

The casualty formula yields a result of approximately 100 men.

- – -

FWIW.

B

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP09 Oct 2017 10:00 a.m. PST

If you space out 30% casualties over 30-40 minutes the unit might stand. But if you give a volley/attack that delivers a massive 5% casualties(so a battalion of 600 would lose 30 men) in a single volley/attack) they would probably run.

Gunfreak: Probably run? While I think the relationship you describe has merit, I still haven't found an example of a unit running away [retire or rout] from simply taking volley fire other than really raw troops or already very demoralized troops on entering the battle. [The early Spanish provide some good examples of this.]


And of course this is getting a bit away from the OP, but I believe a better understanding of what guns really do, would result in better artillery rules.

Blutarski:

I don't think it is off the OP. The question was about 'weak' and 'deadly' artillery rules… we need to know what constitutes 'weak' and 'deadly' artillery rules. Compared to what, meaning what? That speaks to understanding of what guns really do.

We also have to get our head around the reactions of the enemy troops/guns/cavalry taking that fire to determine what 'weak' and 'deadly' mean.

Group reactions are an emergent behavior rather than a simple 'the majority will…" Emergent behavior is behavior that no single individual would do, but as a group will. As most all wargames deal with groups of soldiers of some size, we have to ask how those units behaved on average in facing artillery too.

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP09 Oct 2017 10:23 a.m. PST

Gunfreak: Probably run? While I think the relationship you describe has merit, I still haven't found an example of a unit running away [retire or rout] from simply taking volley fire other than really raw troops or already very demoralized troops on entering the battle. [The early Spanish provide some good examples of this.]

Well, a volley that actually produced 5% casualties would be almost unheard of. Even close range volleys would be lucky to get 1%

Again the guard at Waterloo was driven away by fire alone(tho they had suffered from artillery on the way up the slope, and they received flanking fire. So I'm unsure if it qualifies.

Blutarski09 Oct 2017 11:00 a.m. PST

Hi McLaddie -
My motive for posting was simply to suggest that quantifying the tactical value of artillery in the H&M era is not a simple exercise. I have explored this matter with some interest and curiosity over the years and concluded that the tactical environment within which such artillery was committed was at least as important as the technical merits of the weapon itself.

- – -

"We also have to get our head around the reactions of the enemy troops/guns/cavalry taking that fire …"

This comment brings to mind an account I found in "Battle Studies" by Ardant duPicq (p.150) -

"Let us take Wagram, where his mass was not repulsed. Out of twenty-two thousand men, three thousand to fifteen hundred reached the position. Certainly the position was not carried by them, but by the material and moral effect of a battery of one hundred pieces, cavalry, etc., etc. Were the nineteen thousand missing men disabled? No. Seven out of twenty-two, a third, an enormous proportion may have been hit. What became of the twelve-thousand unaccounted for? They had lain down on the road, had played dummy in order not to go on to the end. In the confused mass of a column of deployed battalions, surveillance, difficult enough in a column at normal distances, is impossible. Nothing is easier than dropping out through inertia; nothing more common.

This thing happens to every body of troops marching forward, under fire, in whatever formation it may be."

- – -

This suggests to me that judging the effectiveness ("deadliness") of artillery may require us to accept that transitory moral casualties were more important than outright physical casualties in terms of immediate tactical effect. If duPicq's account is correct, less than 3,000 men actually reached the Austrian line, 7,000 were physical casualties, while the majority of 12,000 or so dropped out of the attack as moral casualties.

FWIW.


B

Personal logo Colonel Bill Supporting Member of TMP09 Oct 2017 11:24 a.m. PST

McLaddie, FWI, I have read that one perceived, possible flaw with von Reisswitz is that although he interviewed veterans of the Napoleonic period he may not have taken into account that they naturally remembered the most significant – and thus least occurring – events of their service, vice the more mundane situations that occurred most often.

Also, totally FWIW, a 1762 report on wounds suffered by the French during the SYW by Invalides indicated 69 % of the wounds were from muskets, 14% from sabres, 2 % from bayonets and 13% from artillery. I use this stat with caution as from 1809 forward (at least) the percentage of artillery in army was likely higher than in the SYW, but for the Revolutionary and Early Empire periods it might be a good start.

BOTTOM LINE – your 1 hit per 4 rounds will not produce anything close to the numbers above (save mine I am happy to say) and thus I am doubly interested as to why. Also yes, like you I also found that pumping up the guns more than it is now sorta made the Imperial Guard Artillerie a Cheval a land battleship with nukes.

bg

von Winterfeldt09 Oct 2017 12:35 p.m. PST

Reisswitz, they played the rules but in 1828 they were revised and artillery fire downgraded because all those who played it and who were veterans of the Napoleonic wars deemed them to high in the first edition

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP09 Oct 2017 1:35 p.m. PST

Again the guard at Waterloo was driven away by fire alone(tho they had suffered from artillery on the way up the slope, and they received flanking fire. So I'm unsure if it qualifies.

Actually, before any recoil by the Guard, the 52nd hit one column in the flank and other British regiments advanced on them. It wasn't just fire. In fact, a firefight had commenced on both sides before that.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP09 Oct 2017 1:40 p.m. PST

Well, a volley that actually produced 5% casualties would be almost unheard of. Even close range volleys would be lucky to get 1%.

Gunfreak:

What? What makes you say that? from the accounts, having the entire front line do down [obviously not everyone, but a significant number] from one volley was not unheard of. If two lines of infantry [say 100 men total facing the same number or one third more in three ranks] at close range hit with 5%, that's 5 casualties. That isn't going to stop anyone, and certainly not induce veterans to talk about whole front lines going down.

Perhaps we should talk about what induces troops to run, halt, start firing, become disordered etc. or why they would continue on in the face of it? Is that simply the number of casualties or how quickly they are incurred? I don't think so….

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP09 Oct 2017 1:55 p.m. PST

McLaddie, FWI, I have read that one perceived, possible flaw with von Reisswitz is that although he interviewed veterans of the Napoleonic period he may not have taken into account that they naturally remembered the most significant – and thus least occurring – events of their service, vice the more mundane situations that occurred most often.

Col. Bill: That certainly could be the case. He may not have. Of course, he may also have seen that as only one parameter. I do know that he considered the Prussian ordinance tests of 1811 and before. But as von Wintterfeld points out, in 1828, the officers in charge of employing Kriegspiel lowered the artillery [and infantry fire] because they thought it was too powerful. Then again, the reduced numbers are still higher than our wargames.

Also, totally FWIW, a 1762 report on wounds suffered by the French during the SYW by Invalides indicated 69 % of the wounds were from muskets, 14% from sabres, 2 % from bayonets and 13% from artillery. I use this stat with caution as from 1809 forward (at least) the percentage of artillery in army was likely higher than in the SYW, but for the Revolutionary and Early Empire periods it might be a good start.

I think that says more about the way field artillery was used in the SYW [fixed positions] than the Napoleonic wars with 40 years of development into lighter guns since the SYW.

BOTTOM LINE – your 1 hit per 4 rounds will not produce anything close to the numbers above (save mine I am happy to say) and thus I am doubly interested as to why. Also yes, like you I also found that pumping up the guns more than it is now sorta made the Imperial Guard Artillerie a Cheval a land battleship with nukes.

I'm not sure I did find the same thing 'pumping up' the guns. I did have a battery worth 3 battalions of volley fire out to 300 yards, but not for round shot. For round shot, I did two things:

I used the fire volume relationships between infantry volleys and artillery canister as one point of reference, [not the actual number of hits] and then used 1 of 6 shots equaling one hit for round shot. [There were several battles like Borodino where I found notes on the number of cannon rounds fired.] Part of the reason is that a good number of shots were what were termed 'random' shots. [see Tousard, for instance] where rounds were lobbed into areas at a steady rate to 'interdict' them, simply make it a problem to cross rather than targeting individual units. The French also did this kind of thing on reverse slope firing…as they did at Waterloo when they couldn't see any units.

In other words, it has a lot to do with range and intent.
I have reason to believe that ranges under 700 yards, that the hit rate was far better than 1 in 6 or even 3. But what troops were going to enter that range and just stay there?

Blutarski09 Oct 2017 4:44 p.m. PST

"I have reason to believe that ranges under 700 yards, that the hit rate was far better than 1 in 6 or even 3."

As regards solid shot, I suspect that was certainly true in the case of ricochet fire. Canister also benefited from ricochet effect.

….. when weather permitted.

B

von Winterfeldt09 Oct 2017 10:13 p.m. PST

"That isn't going to stop anyone, and certainly not induce veterans to talk about whole front lines going down."

I dispute that – it is just being under enemy fire, that units would stop, regardless of their number of casualties.

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP10 Oct 2017 12:14 a.m. PST

Gunfreak:

What? What makes you say that? from the accounts, having the entire front line do down [obviously not everyone, but a significant number] from one volley was not unheard of. If two lines of infantry [say 100 men total facing the same number or one third more in three ranks] at close range hit with 5%, that's 5 casualties. That isn't going to stop anyone, and certainly not induce veterans to talk about whole front lines going down.

Perhaps we should talk about what induces troops to run, halt, start firing, become disordered etc. or why they would continue on in the face of it? Is that simply the number of casualties or how quickly they are incurred? I don't think so….

Because to have a 5% casualty in a volley, the enemy needs to have a minimum 5% hit rate, which is EXTREME given that the usual hit rate is 1:200-1:800.

If you lose 30 men in a single volley(given the battalion is 600) that's a major shock to a battalion given it usually takes 3-6 minutes to suffer 30 casualties during "average" firefight"

And I said almost unheard of, it probably did happen extremely rarely.

30 men is half a British company on campaign. That is a major loss.

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