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"Rank and file rules question - cavalry" Topic

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HappyHiker10 Apr 2020 6:05 a.m. PST

Dug out my old napolionic figures during the lockdown and had a game of rank and file rules (which I've not played much). Great rules, nice and simple but found cavalry rules a bit odd so I wonder if someone can clarify them for me.

Cavalry charge a square. They hit on 6, there's 3 stands in the first rank. They actuallyy get 2 sixes. Square fights back, 2 stands facing the charge so 2 dice, hit on 4+ but -1 for foot vs cavalry. So 5+, they get 1 hit so lose and have to route. Is that rightt ? As a square will only have 1 or 2 stands facing a charge, and get 5+ to hit vs 6+ but more stands they are often going to lose a cavalry charge, which is obviously wrong. Wondered if I missed something. (I took 2 ranks of Calvary to be same depth as a square). Bit of a neiche question but thought I'd give it a go

Mike Petro10 Apr 2020 6:19 a.m. PST

I'd have to break out the rules. Are you sure the square only fights with one face?

HappyHiker10 Apr 2020 6:35 a.m. PST

Not sure, but rules say combat is fought with stands that are in contact and 1 stand overlap. Suppose we could have done 3 stands not 2 but it wouldn't have changed much. There were only 4 stands in the square anyway, and given the angle 2 were in actual contact. It wouldn't be a square if the guys at the back popped round for a fight too. I suppose you could argue the cavalry surrounded them and fought all 4 stands. Is that the way you're supposed to play it ?

korsun0 Supporting Member of TMP10 Apr 2020 7:08 a.m. PST

Cavlry v a square have to get sixes, you are correct. If a square is beaten, it will revert to an attack column; as a square it cannot move in melee (e.g. pushback etc.)
However if your cavalry are shock cavalry then I believe they will always rout any infantry or artillery that they beat in a melee (irrespective of defender morale) but not cavalry.

korsun0 Supporting Member of TMP10 Apr 2020 7:18 a.m. PST

Did you do the shooting as they went in, test to see if they charged home etc? We used to play it a fair bit, and it was hard to get the cavalry successfully in against decent troops in square.

*Just found it in the book, page 31 down the bottom right of the page(I have an old copy so numbers may be different)


HappyHiker10 Apr 2020 7:35 a.m. PST

Ok, so instead of routing they should just form attack column ? It was actually heavy cavalry(shock?) vs a hastily formed square, so they didn't get to shoot. It actually happened twice, cavalry beating hastily formed square, just seems unlikely. By test to charge home do you mean morale test if they lose a stand in closing fire? Or something else?

HappyHiker10 Apr 2020 8:27 a.m. PST

I think I might mod the foot vs cavalry -1 modifier to only apply to non squares. Then it's 4+ vs 6+.

korsun0 Supporting Member of TMP10 Apr 2020 8:32 a.m. PST

Correct, however shock cavalry rout infantry.

When you say hastily formed, not sure what you mean? If you use the standard rules, then a unit cannot change formation whilst charging or being charged. However the optional rule is infantry charged by cavalry can attempt to form square. If they throw a D6 (unmodified) and beat (not equal) their basic morale score they can form square, if not they cannot.
If they do change formation, it is done during their movement phase.

So "charge" and cavalry move to within two inches;
Infantry test to form square (if optional rule);
If they fail they can move but better to stand still and fire;
If they pass and form square they do so in their move phase;
They fire as a moving unit (-1);
If the cavalry have now lost a stand (from cumulative fire not just defensive fire) they test to charge home, if not they charge home….

HappyHiker10 Apr 2020 11:42 a.m. PST

Ah, I thought if they formed square on d6 >moral, they could not fire.
I've played a few different rule sets and like bits of each. The form square on d6 means there's little point forming square in the movement phase as it's easy to do it on 4+, at least if you can't fire that makes it a harder choice. Some rulesets make the stay in square more of a dilemma. Don't know if that's realistic or not ? I suppose I could drop the optional rule.

Still sounds as if heavy cavalry winning melee does mean Infantry rout. which is what we played, I just think it should be harder for them to beat a square.

Was I doing the number of infantry bases correct ? Only those facing the charge (so about half the square) v front row of cavalry?

HappyHiker10 Apr 2020 1:11 p.m. PST

Supplement 3 says
You would not be able to fire as well as change to square.

hexblade11 Apr 2020 4:33 a.m. PST

Yes, you did everything right. As an option you could allow squares to hold against shock cav. unless they fail morale check, at that point bypass unsteady state and route the unit.

HappyHiker11 Apr 2020 5:39 a.m. PST

Yep I like that idea

korsun0 Supporting Member of TMP11 Apr 2020 8:13 a.m. PST

you need to be careful though, not all squares held and a green square against veteran shock cavalry should not be too hard for cavalry.

One we used to do was not apply the foot v mtd modifier for squares either, so they shoot at point blank range with no mods, without the rule book that is 3+ isn't it? Apologies but we made a number of house rules (mainly d10 for morale and ignoring first stand off for units over 8 stands) so may have got that wrong.

always liked them though; they just lacked that command/control above regiment level.

Personal logo SHaT1984 Supporting Member of TMP16 Apr 2020 3:44 p.m. PST

Forgo complex rule mechanisms and misfits.
Use your own interpretation if no-one else is involved.
As for "If a square is beaten, it will revert to an attack column" -is just utter gamers tripe.
Open squares were the norm until 1809 when Austrians delivered a 'life saving' tactic (that wasn't unknown, just mostly unused by the French. Refer their 'skirmishers doctrine').
These squares had no similarity to an 'attack column' for its subdivisions, and no formed square could idely turn about and march politely into another formation whilst under threat of attack by cav.
The rules that 'require' such a formation change are faulty at best.
regards dave

korsun0 Supporting Member of TMP17 Apr 2020 3:48 a.m. PST

@SHaT1984 – "As for "If a square is beaten, it will revert to an attack column" -is just utter gamers tripe."

I trust you weren't referring to my comment; I was referring to a written rule in a book, not peddling "gamer's tripe".

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