Sunday, 16 June 2019

Organisation of French Imperial Garde


1st Old Guard Corps

This is the orbat of the Old Guard, which is one of four corps in the French First Army

1st Old Guard corps - General Friant (Average)
1 infantry brigade     4000   CA      FB      SB
2 infantry brigade     4000   CB      FB      SB
3 infantry brigade     4000   CB      FC      SB
4 infantry brigade     4000   CB      FC      SB
1 cavalry brigade     1000   CA      light
1 corps artillery        1000   CB      12 pounders

There are four infantry brigades, two grenadier and two chasseur.  
I do not use the division level of command in my campaign
However this is in fact a grenadier division and a chasseur division

2nd Young Guard Corps


This is the orbat of the Young Guard, which is one of four corps in the French Second Army

2nd Young Guard corps - General Compans (Average)
5 infantry brigade     4000   CB      FB      SB
6 infantry brigade     4000   CB      FB      SB
7 infantry brigade     4000   CB      FC      SB
8 infantry brigade     4000   CB      FC      SC
2 cavalry brigade     1000   CA      heavy
2 corps artillery        1000   CB      12 pounders

Again there are four infantry brigades, two voltiguer and two fusilier
These are in fact a voltiguer division and a fusilier division

Combat and Morale
The last three columns indicate their morale and combat effectiveness
A is best, B is average and C is poor

C stands for class in the left hand column
A gets plus one on all morale dice throws
B neither adds nor deducts from morale throws
C deducts one on all morale dice throws

F stands for volley fire power in the centre column
A adds one to each fire dice throw
B neither adds nor deducts for firing throws
C deducts one for each fire dice throw

S stands for skirmish in the right hand column
A adds 3 to each skirmish dice throw
B adds 2 to each skirmish dice throw
C adds 1 to each skirmish dice throw

Strength of Guard Corps
The cavalry are particularly good, with both brigades classed A
The artillery is also good, with both corps equipped with 12 pounder guns
Only the senior infantry brigade is classed A (elite), the remainder are B (average)
Half of the infantry have B (average) volley fire, the remainder are C (poor)
Only one infantry brigade are C (poor) skirmish, the remainder are B (average)

Both guard corps have more average skirmish brigades than other French corps
Only one out of eight brigades are classed as C skirmishers
In most French corps two out of eight brigades would be C class skirmishers
This is because in our rules dice play a large part
If one side is unable to hold the skirmish line they suffer heavy casualties
In historical battles the guard would have been in reserve and not open to skirmish

In general these two corps are slightly better quality than the rest of the French corps
However the other three corps in each Army are slightly poorer than other corps
This is to balance the overall effect of the First and Second French Armies

9 comments:

Robert (Bob) Cordery said...

Thistlebarrow,

My current collection would almost exactly fit your organisation ... although I do have a surplus of Imperial Guard cavalry. Do you have a separate Imperial Guard cavalry corps or are they used to flesh out other corps?

All the best,

Bob

thistlebarrow said...

Hi Bob

I don't have a cavalry reserve, but only because my original collection exactly matched one cavalry brigade with each corps. In fact I had 8 figure cavalry units, so each one made two brigades, split between two corps.

However there is no reason why you should not have a cavalry reserve, indeed I sometimes wish that I did. It offends me slightly that my French order of battle does not have a couple of cavalry corps. I would have four brigades (16 figures) per corps, plus a horse gun.

The big problem, for me, is balance in the wargame. I find that infantry brigades are usually ok, for example four one one side to three on the other. However cavalry, and even more so artillery, can make a big difference. Particularly in smaller battles, one corps per side. If one side has two cavalry brigades and the other only one the weaker corps has a lot of trouble moving. This is much worse if the weaker side is attacking.

In my latest campaign I am experimenting with this type of unbalance. I have used one corps per army to provide depot garrisons. This leaves the cavalry and artillery, and sometimes one infantry brigade, as an army reserve. It will be interesting to see whether this makes it too easy for the stronger side in a wargame.

Why don't you try a couple of wargames with my type or organisation and see if you like it. Don't change the whole army, just try it with one or two corps per side. I think you will either love it, or hate it. It really works for me, and I would never change to 36 figure battalions, or even 12 figure battalions again.

best regards

Paul

Robert (Bob) Cordery said...

Paul,

Thank you for your rapid reply to my question.

At present I seem to be in a state of ennui with regard to my wargaming, but looking at your organisation has given me pause for the thought, and I am tempted to get some of my figures out of storage and onto the tabletop to play around with the way my collection is organised. Whether or not I fight a wargame with them ... well, we'll have to see!

All the best,

Bob

thistlebarrow said...

Hi Bob

As you know, the wargame itself is the most important thing for me. And therefore the rules are just as important as the order of battle.

But having said that I do think the look of my corps is about right. That is to say the balance of infantry to cavalry to artillery looks right. So for those who prefer to plan and organise, rather than wargame, this balance and look is very important.

That is why I think it would be a good idea to "fiddle" to see whether it looks right on your own table. Whether you actually fight a wargame or not does not mattere much.

It might be a good idea to just lay out your figures and see whether they "look right" to you or not?

I hope you put something on your blog so that I can see what it looks like

best regards

Paul

Robert (Bob) Cordery said...

Paul,

I suspect that because my table is a maximum of 3' x 4' (one-third of the area of yours), my organisation will need to reflect that fact ... but to get the 'look' right I really do need to get figures on my tabletop. I think that we both agree, the balance between the three arms right is paramount in order to ensure that battles won't be too one-sided. This may well mean that the part of my collection that is still awaiting renovation will end up gathering dust in storage until some point in the future, but I can live with that as I'm sure they'll get used one day.

All the best,

Bob

thistlebarrow said...

Hi Bob

The balance of arms is good, and the number of manoeuvre units is also good. I remember reading a long time ago that if you have too many units to move and control the game becomes less enjoyable. I think the ideal number was six.

You are right that you would have to tailor your orbat to the size of your table, and the only way to do that is to get some figures on it. It may well be that you would prefer a more crowded table, in which case you could get more figures on it.

I use two foot square per corps, and that works well for me. It allows me to have open flanks and to deploy the whole corps in line if required. I choose that because I wanted each square to represent a square on the campaign map. You do not have to worry about that complication, and can have as many as you like.

I will be interested to see how you get on with this project

best regards

Paul

Robert (Bob) Cordery said...

Paul,

If you manage to look at my blog, you'll see that I've organised the Old and New Guard figures in my collection into two 'Corps'. They are similar to yours, but by no means the same, and each should fit on my standard 8 x 8 (80cm x 80cm) squared terrain, and I could easily deploy two or three 'Corps' a side if I used my full-sized tabletop.

Thanks for the inspiration,

All the best,

Bob

Robert (Bob) Cordery said...

Paul,

The first and earliest fruits of this can now be seen on my blog!

All the best,

Bob

thistlebarrow said...

Hi Bob

Thanks for your two comments.

Sorry it has taken me so long to reply, but I have just returned from two weeks in the UK with our family. Surrounded by three children aged from 3 to 12 it is quite difficult to concentrate on anything, let alone wargaming. However it does me good to have a complete break from the hobby.

I am delighted to hear that you are testing a similar organisation to my own. It will be really interesting to see how you get on, and where you opt to change my system. It will also be very interesting to see what type of comments you get from your followers.

I have had a quick look at your post, and can see nothing to comment on. The real test will come when you put them on the table and see how it all works with your rules. It should be ok, because your orbat is so similar to mine. However my rules were written to complement the order of battle. You already have a rule system and are incorporating a new order of battle.

All of this is in haste as I try to catch up on two weeks emails try to get my mind back into my regular routine.

Good luck with the project and I look forward to seeing how it develops.

best regards

Paul