Austrian army of four corps
Some weeks ago I commented that some bloggers get a lot of comments, whilst others seem to get very few. I went on to place myself in the latter category. Since then I have received more comments than previously. All were very positive and supportive.
Last week I received a comment on “Role of Corps Commander” suggesting that the four infantry and one cavalry brigades in each corps should be divisions rather than brigades. Mike was obviously not satisfied with my initial reply and wrote a further two posts. I don’t think he was satisfied with my replies to those either. However there is only so much you can do in a comment section. So I thought I would explain the reasons I choose brigade rather than division in a full blog.
I have explained in the past that the concept of my 1813 campaign was to create a fictional campaign whose purpose was to provide interesting battles for Jan and I to wargame. I wanted to use all of the figures and scenery already in my collection to create all of the major armies which took part in the actual 1813 campaign. I did not want to have to collect or paint any new figures. Finally it all had to work for 28mm figures on a 6x6 foot wargames table.
It was clear from the start that there would have to be a lot of compromise to achieve this objective. My existing collection of model soldiers had been designed for use with “In The Grand Manner” rules. However before I left the UK I downsized the collection by about 50%. This was because I knew I would be using a 6x6 foot wargames table, and I only wanted enough of each nation to “fill” the table.
My existing reduced figures were organised in divisions of 4 infantry battalions of 32 figures each, two cavalry squadrons of 8 figures each and 4 guns with crew. Each battalion had a mounted officer, plus four divisional command figures. This gave me a total of 10 mounted, 128 infantry, 16 cavalry and 4 guns per division.
As planned this number of figures would fit comfortably on each side of a 6x6 foot table. I wanted to field four corps per army, and to be able to fit all of them on the table. However I planned that the initial deployment would normally be three corps in the front rank and one in reserve
Because I now wanted to field multi corps, rather than single divisions, a considerable amount of compromise would be necessary.
Each infantry battalion would become a corps, with 4 cavalry and one gun. This would give me a corps of 32 infantry, 4 cavalry and one gun with 4 crew which is 40 figures.
The average Napoleonic corps was 20,000 to 30,000 strong. This would give an approximate ratio of 1 figure to 500 to 750 men
The average Napoleonic infantry division was 10,000 and cavalry division 4,000
I decided that each corps would be approximately 20,000 men. This would give me a ratio of 1 figure to 500 men.
I decided to organise my model soldier collection into ten army groups, five French and five allied. Each army group would have four corps.
I wanted each corps to have six sub elements, four infantry, one cavalry and one gun.
This would give me a strength of 4000 per sub element.
My initial intention was to have four infantry divisions, one cavalry division and corps artillery. However 4000 men was too small for an average division of 10,000. I decided that the elements would be infantry brigades of 4000, cavalry brigades of 1,000 and corps artillery of 1,000
My wargame rules are based on Le Feu Sacre, and I particularly like their command and control rules. So commanders would have to be reduced to 1 army commander and 4 corps commanders. The corps commander figure would represent the division and corps commanders. Each corps would have 6 brigades.
Had I decided on a corps of two infantry divisions, one cavalry brigade and corps artillery I would have had four commanders per corps. this would have made command and control too easy.
I fear that many of you will have found this post to be complicated and long winded. But it is the only way that I can explain why I finally opted for brigades instead of divisions. It is quite possible that I have still failed to convince anyone, but that is not the intention.
The whole thing is designed to provide Jan and I with the type of wargames we enjoy. They are not a commercial set of rules, so I don’t have to convince anyone else.
The whole concept took a long time to work out and implement, but has proved to be well worth the effort. We have had about ten years of enjoyable almost daily wargaming and it has all stood the test of time.
I don’t envy commercial rule writers who do have to justify every aspect of their rules to a wide range of gamers who will all have their own prejudices and preferred rule systems.