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"Mounted colonels and basing woes" Topic

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FilsduPoitou03 Jan 2022 11:26 a.m. PST

After deciding on recreating the Niagara campaign of the War of 1812, I find myself in a bit of a pickle.

Some background information:

I decided on a medium/standard regiment size of 36 units, as I felt that the more common 24 man regiments were too small for my liking but that 48 unit battalions were not financially viable at this time.

Starting with the Winfield Scott Brigade for the Americans, regiment layout is as follows:

xxx xxx snd xxx xxx xxx
xnx xxx fcf xxx xxx xnx

x – line infantry
n – NCO
s – Sapper
d – Drummer
f – Flagbearer
c – commissioned officer

I thought about adding an NCO to the companies at the ends for decoration, so I'm not sure if this would conflict with any major ruleset. I'm leaning towards Black Powder, but I'm open to any of them!

So here is my issue. I was originally thinking of making all of my colonels mounted because in reading the Osprey supplement on the Niagara campaign, the book made note of a colonel's spooked horse. Plus, having a horse on the command base would make the regiments look MORE grand IMO. However, I realized that if I did all mounted colonels, I would have no use for all the foot officers I have on hand. Plus, I am not sure if 5 infantry and a mounted officer would fit on my bases (50cm x 60cm), or if my base sizes are even appropriate!

I think I came to a solution: Have a captain/Lieutenant on foot on the regiment's command base (c) and have the colonel/major on his own base with an ADC/light dragoon galloper. Best of both worlds! Problem is, are there any rulesets that allow for a colonel having his own separate base while also having divisional and brigadier generals? I am asking this question in multiple boards because if/when I ever do other conflicts (WSS, Naps, Crimea, etc), I think I would be running into the same problem.

BillyNM03 Jan 2022 11:34 a.m. PST

Separately based colonels seem the obvious solution, but I doubt regimental colonels would have an ADC or galloper. Also, what we're talking about is the officer commanding the battalion, not necessarily a full Colonel. Most likely a Lieutenant Colonel at best or, not uncommonly, a Major – well at least in British service, the US may well be different.

Mike Petro03 Jan 2022 12:50 p.m. PST

All my British and French battalions have a mounted officer on command stand next to the national ensign/eagle. Looks okaaay on 20x20mm bases (10mm here) but I think it would look really snazzy with a larger base.

I vote to keep your colonel with the men, generals on the other hand….

IronDuke596 Supporting Member of TMP03 Jan 2022 6:40 p.m. PST

It would be useful to know your figure ratio along with the rules that you will use. I use General de Brigade rules that stipulate 20:1. I then gauge the size of the battalion according to the historical order of battle.

My American, British, Canadian and militia companies are four figures to a base (either 40mm x 40mm militia or 30mm x 40mm trained regulars) as both American and British battalions were based on 10 company battalions with about 80 men per company. However, fully manned British battalion of 800 to 1000 was rarely seen until the latter half of 1814 and not all in the American army. Throughout most of the war the average sized battalion was around 500 men.

Your battalion diagram is based on 6 figure battalions, which reflects the company size (20:1) for the French, Spanish and other European armies. However, if you prefer the look of six figure companies then go for it.

I too like the idea of having mounted battalion commanders. I base the battalion commanders on a separate stand behind or leading the battalion and sometimes next to command stand as part of the battalion. With a separate base there is good flexibility. GdeB has risk to general table that is used when a player rolls a a double one on a 2 x D6s. We use this same table when a battalion rolls a double one when firing with the results applying to the battalion commander. If the commander is killed we remove the stand and drop the morale level of the battalion. I usually add a single standing field officer to indicate the battalion's reduced morale state.

I hope this helps. If you would like to see how this is visualized then please have a look at my War of 1812 Blog.

Here is a photo (left) of one British battalion in line and to the right two battalions in column all with their associated colonels.


Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP04 Jan 2022 7:41 a.m. PST

In our club the mounted officers are separate. Solves the basing issue for one, but alos allows the officer to act as a kind of marker.

Officer facing forward, good order. Officer "sideways" = shaken. Officer facing rearward, routed.

If you make the officer's base teh same depth as the infantry you can just stick him in between two infantry stands.

FilsduPoitou04 Jan 2022 9:03 a.m. PST

@BillyNM You are right. I should have said "in command of a regiment" instead of colonel. I know, for example, that Scott's 1st brigade had 3 colonels and 1 major AFAIK.

I'd say that would certainly help! Sorry, I didn't want to bloat the opening message any more than I had to. I am pretty ignorant/new when it comes to wargaming in general, so I was following the War of 1812 supplement for Black Powder found on Knuckleduster Miniatures' website as a guide for buying miniatures. I am using a combination of Knuckleduster, Brigade Games, and (when they get here) Parkfield Miniatures.
PDF link
I thought that Black Powder works by categorizing the regiments into 4 groups: tiny(~8-12), small (16), medium (24), and large (36). I decided to boost those numbers to have a grander spectacle, hence a medium regiment is 36 units, large units are 48 etc. Of course, I am most likely completely wrong, as I knew nothing about unit ratios.

@Extra Crispy I actually like that idea a lot. Something to look into!

Personal logo Unlucky General Supporting Member of TMP04 Jan 2022 11:52 a.m. PST


I game in 1:20 representative scale – so big battalions in 28mm. I often include mounted commanding officers – usually requiring an adjusted depth for the command base (the OIC and five other figures usually). I have several officers per battalion who represent the major, or one or more of the several captains or lieutenants. I think you have plenty of scope.

Sounds like a challenging but fun project.

SHaT198405 Jan 2022 11:56 p.m. PST

Why allow yourself to be dictated by rules?
Use separate commanders if you wish; they have no impact unless you make them so.

Personally, I reduce the number of men on a given base to accomodate the mounted officers. Makes no difference, a base is a base.
Same for rules except perhaps skirmish level games care about them.

You are directing concerns that doesn't frankly exist in game terms. Units on the table are a representation, someone elses idea, and these are for people who cannot make their own criteria matter.

If the effect of having officers and NCOs is important for your satisfaction, like me, add them where and when you want.

Niether the ratios nor the effect of a special figure should bear any relevance to the way rules play, except as noted.
Regards dave

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