Sunday, 13 October 2013

Different Sized Corps

French Army of four corps

Many years ago I reorganised my armies in corps of four infantry brigades, one cavalry brigade and corps artillery.   This was to fit my 1813 solo campaign, which was designed to provide good wargames for Jan and me to fight.   Each army had four such corps, and I could manipulate the map movement to provide suitable battles.

Then I changed the campaign to PBEM, and real people started making campaign decisions about who should fight where.  One particular problem soon became obvious, and that was uneven battles of two or more against one.   Using my wargame rules at such odds the weaker side is pretty well certain to lose.

Until now I have overcome this problem by simply avoiding such uneven battles.   Either the weaker side would retreat on the map, and thus trade ground for probable defeat.  Or if they had to fight a battle, I would allow the weaker side to retreat on the table as soon as the odds became obvious.
I spent 10 days in UK recently, and had lots of time to think about the campaign – as opposed to just spending lots of time running the campaign.   During this enforced break I worked on how to allow uneven odds, but not at such odds as two to one.

The result is using the same number of wargame figures to provide five corps, or perhaps three corps and two large divisions.   Each army would still have three corps as at present.   The fourth division would be split to produce two new corps/divisions.   One corps/division of two infantry and one cavalry brigades.  The second would be two infantry brigades and (one) artillery.

This would allow more possible variations without the resulting overwhelming two to one odds.  For example you might add the first to an existing corps and the result would be six infantry brigades, two cavalry brigades and one gun.  These are reasonable odds against a standard corps of four infantry and one cavalry brigades and one gun. 
With our rules this would give the attacking corps sufficient extra manpower to overcome the defender advantage mentioned in my last post, but not overwhelm the weaker defender.
As always the proof will be in the playing.   One of the six campaign phases has just finished and will be a good opportunity to try out the new order of battle.

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