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"Artillery ranges in in "De Bellis Napoleonicis v 2.1"" Topic

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Paskal Supporting Member of TMP18 Oct 2023 5:59 a.m. PST

Hello everyone,

In "De Bellis Napoleonicis v 2.1" the artillery ranges are 1000 paces for 9 -12ibs pieces and 600 paces for lighter pieces and rockets.

A little too simplistic and even unfair in my opinion.

Why not use actual ranges?

Something I would do because there are differences between the artillery pieces of each nation and this can provide a tactical advantage!

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP18 Oct 2023 6:21 a.m. PST

DBN is written to give a small, simple, super fast playing game. As such it is very abstract. If you're looking for more detail I'd suggest looking at a different rule set entirely. It glosses over many details…

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP18 Oct 2023 6:32 a.m. PST

What do you regard as the actual range, Paskal? Furthest the cannonball can roll? Target visibility? Formation? It's a lot easier to see and hit a square than a skirmish line, and a certain ranges and targets it stops being worth the ammunition expenditure and wear and tear on the gun crew. What allowance for tabletops and artillery ranges being quite a bit flatter than your average battlefield? And how often are those 18 guns of a DBN base a uniform type and caliber?

600 paces/1,000 paces is simple, yes. "Simplistic" I'm not so sure. I do not see a long table of every gun type used in period as an immediate improvement. I'd also remember that real guns are not lethal at 999 paces and harmless at 1,001. The more you refine the table the more you'll be confronted with the old wargaming stunt of trying to be in range by 1" while your opponent is out by 2". There's a reason this wasn't done on real battlefields.

(On the other side, why "9-12?" The only 9-pd guns in period had a slightly lower throw weight than a Gribeauval 8-pd gun. Did they actually have a longer range?)

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP18 Oct 2023 6:37 a.m. PST

EC, I think I might like your answer better than mine. Empire and Napoleon's Battles have exactly the sort of finicky distinctions and long tables you're looking for, Paskal.

Stoppage18 Oct 2023 7:23 a.m. PST

EC's answer for the win!

Just cracked open my DBN v2.1 pdf (second-time):

The artillery ranges might be determined by the playing-area size:

Ground scale:
- 05-15mm: 25mm = 100 paces (75m)
- 20-30mm: 40mm = 100 paces (75m)

Playing area:
- 05-15mm: 600 x 600 mm (24 x 24 inches) = 2,400 x 2,400 paces (1,800m) = 15 elements
- 20-30mm: 900 x 900 mm (36 x 36 inches) = 2,250 x 2,250 paces (1,688m)= 15 elements

Firing ranges (20-30mm):
- Foot arty: 1,000 paces (750m) = 400mm = 44% of playing area length
- Horse arty: 600 paces (450m) = 240mm = 27% of playing area length
- Rifles: 400 paces (300m) = 160mm = 18% of playing area length
- Skirmishers: 300 paces (225m) = 120mm = 13% of playing area length
- Musketry: 200 paces (150m) = 80mm = 09% of playing area length

eg This means foot artillery can reach across 2/5 of the playing area.

4th Cuirassier18 Oct 2023 7:28 a.m. PST

I was under the impression that a French 8-pounder fired an 8.8lb round, making it slightly lighter than but functionally equivalent to a British 9-pounder*?

If you wanted to draw distinctions between field artillery pieces, you could rationale three categories rather than two, I guess. 12-pounder; 8 to 9 pounder; and "light", i.e. 3-, 4- and 6-pounder. There's an argument that a French (constructive) 6.6-pounder is materially heftier than the other two, but on the other hand, the other two can probably fire faster, or for longer, or with less crew fatigue than can the 6-pounder, which would somewhat justify rating them equally.

Or there's the choose-another-ruleset view of the world of course. Chacun a son gout etc.

* Does this mean that at a pinch one could have fired French 8-pdr ammunition out of British 9-pdr guns, but not vice versa?

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP18 Oct 2023 8:27 a.m. PST

You're probably right about the throw weight, 4th. I was going from memory. And I'd agree: you can use slightly undersize ammo, though with some cost in range and accuracy. I doubt the British ever needed to, though. (This was a regular Cold War thing, with Soviets allegedly trying to get rounds a millimeter off NATO calibers.)

At some point, training, doctrine, normal tactical employment and the numbers and composition of the batteries become more important then minor differences in throw weight. For rules on this scale, two or at most three types of artillery should be sufficient.

Gray Bear18 Oct 2023 8:40 a.m. PST

"Something I would do…"

Then by all means write the rules that meet your specifications. It appears DBN does not.

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP19 Oct 2023 3:34 a.m. PST

@Extra Crispy

Impossible, I love its game system, the DBxxx rules system and as DBN is the only rule with this system apart from "horse foot and guns" rules by phil barker dealing with this period, I simply indicate what is wrong and those who know the Napoleonic wars will agree with me, not necessarily the others.

@robert piepenbrink

Firstly, we have already explained to you that there cannot be 18 guns on a DBN base but not more than one battery of the time, but let's move on…

600 paces/1000 paces, yes it's simplistic and I know that a table of each type of weapon used at the time would be an immediate improvement.

Weapons in all periods of history have had well-known maximum ranges, so I don't see why we wouldn't implement them on the gaming table?

All types of artillery pieces from the Napoleonic era have undergone tests and statistics which are well known and connoisseurs of the Napoleonic wars will agree with me, others not necessarily.

Impossible for me to abandon DBN, I love its game system, the DBxxx rules system and as DBN is the only rule with this system apart from "horse foot and guns" rules by phil barker dealing with this period, I indicate simply what is wrong and those who know the Napoleonic wars will agree with me, not necessarily the others.

You write "For rules on this scale, two or at most three types of artillery should be sufficient". DBN is like DBA, you can play armies of any size.


We don't care about the size of the playing area; the battlefield must be unlimited !

@4e Cuirassier

It's a good start, but in fact you need more categories than that because you can't put the 6-pounders at the level of the 4-pounders…


It is certain that I am certainly not going to leave DBN as it is, take nothing away from it but add things to it to refine it, pamper it, polish it and perfect it to finalize it, which I would do, I need to helps to know ideas from experts of the period.

Stoppage19 Oct 2023 4:35 p.m. PST


You have been requesting information about Napoleonic matters in the context of the DBN rules.

They appear to have been formulated using certain playing areas and certain numbers of elements. The element sizes, movement rates, and weapon ranges appear to have been calculated accordingly.

The French wargame I mentioned elsewhere may be of interest to you – it is highly stylised and the authors appear to have followed a similar process to yours.


Paskal Supporting Member of TMP20 Oct 2023 1:31 a.m. PST

To my question if in DBN, the areas given on page 11 for BUA and NLF are for 15mm or 25mm figurines, Alex replied last night:

"Hello Pascal
All distances quoted are for 15mm scale (see 1.4) Therefore with 25mm figures on a 60mm Frontage, BUA's would be approximately 160mm x 160mm and NLF's 120mm x 90mm.
However If I was using 25mm figures, my personal preference would be to go with a 80mm Frontage and double all quoted distances.


In conclusion now with 25 mm figurines 50 mm corresponds to 100 paces.

This modifies all our previous calculations!

Furthermore, after asking Alex the question, this also modifies the quantities of figurines on the bases, which suits me well :

So now on a base for 25 mm figurines we can stick on these larger bases:

- 2 5 figures on a "C-in-C" base instead of 2 4.
- 2 3 figures on a "Sub Commander" base instead of 1 2.
- 10 "muskets" figures instead of 8 per base.
- 8 "light infantry" figures instead of 6 per base.
- 4 "jagers" figures instead of 3 per base.
- 10 "Levee en masse" figures instead of 8 per base.
- 4 "Guerrillas" figures instead of 2-3 per base.
- 5 "Heavy Cavalry" figures instead of 4 per base.
- 4 "Light Cavalry" figures instead of 3 per base.
- 3 "skirmishing cavalry" figures instead of 2 per base.
- 3 "Irregular cavalry" figures instead of 2 per base.
- 5 "Foot artillery" figures instead of 4 per base.
- 4 "Horse artillery" figures instead of 3 per base.
- 4 "Rocket Launcher Servants" figures instead of 3 per base.

Stoppage11 Jan 2024 3:30 p.m. PST


Found it (J'ai la trouve)

Wiki – DEBORD/BECKER-HO – A Game of War

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP26 May 2024 2:55 a.m. PST


Bravo !

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