Monday, 5 September 2016

Campaign Casualties – Part Two

We use our own house rules to wargame battles from the campaign.   My wife and I have used these rules almost daily for the past ten years, so we both know them quite well.   They rely on morale and dice to add an element of chance.   Casualties received on the table top are transferred to the campaign, and can have a significant effect.

Each “hit” on the wargames table is translated 10% casualties on the campaign order of battle.   For infantry this would be 400 men out of a 4000 strong infantry brigade.   For cavalry 100 men out of a 1000 strong cavalry brigade.  For artillery it would be 100 gunners and 3 guns out of a 1000 strong corps artillery with 30 guns.

The campaign order of battle, and the rules, are designed to ensure that each corps has its own strengths and weakness.   All corps take part in the wargames, including the French Old Guard.   So it is important that whilst they are elite, they are not supermen.

Each brigade has three types of morale elite, trained and conscript.   When testing morale elite have plus 1 and conscripts minus 1.   In addition they lose minus 1 for each 10% casualties.   To test morale we roll 1D6, with a plus or minus chart.  To pass they require at least 3.   So one casualty is not too bad, but two is serious and three makes it almost impossible to pass.

Infantry brigades also have three grades for musket and skirmish fire.   The best add 1 when firing, the worse deduct 1.  Riflemen add 3 to skirmish fire, conscripts add 1.   Both require a total of 6 with 1D6.    Again they lose 1 for each 10% casualties.  

Artillery also have plus 1 for elite and minus 1 for conscript.   When firing at infantry at long range they roll 2D6 and require at least 8 for a hit.   Again they lose 1 for each 10% casualties.

The overall effect on the campaign is that a brigade with 10% casualties will continue to be effective.   One with 20% becomes a liability.   With 30% or more they are non-effective and do not take part in the wargame.

Infantry casualties tend to be concentrated in one or two of the four brigades.  These can be concentrated in one brigade when the corps halts to regroup and reorganise.   That brigade is then too weak to take part in future battles.  But the other three are returned to full strength and battle effectiveness.

Cavalry and Artillery casualties are more of a problem.  There is only one brigade and battery per corps, so casualties cannot be concentrated.   It is not unusual for a routed brigade or battery to lose 20% or 30% in one battle.   This would remove them from all future battles/wargames.

I want to ensure that the effect of casualties is carried forward from one battle to the next, but I do not want a corps to be permanently without cavalry or artillery just because of an unlucky dice throw in the first battle they fight.

I will deal with how we handle this problem in the next blog entry.


Robert (Bob) Cordery said...

I am following this with great interest. I have set up a spreadsheet to record the status of the units in my armies, but that is as far as I have got so far.

All the best,


thistlebarrow said...

Hi Bob

Thanks for your comments

I try to keep the campaign records as simple as possible. They are all on the computer, but are done as word documents rather than a spread sheet.

I have one A4 page for each army (of four corps). It is a combined order of battle and casualty sheet. One line for each brigade, showing title combat and morale rating and full strength. There is a column for detached (for example garrison) and a second for casualties.

I have a paper copy of each sheet, and amend detachments and casualties in pencil. When I am wargaming I use the appropriate army sheet to set up the table and place a marker to indicate casualties.

The detailed casualty records is on the computer, I only amend the paper copy at the start of a wargame.

It is a very simple and old fashioned way to record casualties, but it works well. And avoids having to take the computer to the table and scroll through the campaign details.

Not sure it would work for everyone, but it works for me