WARGAMES & HISTORY

Some little tinny things may create great moments

Why “grand tactical” for Napoleonics and why Republique ruleset.

 

1a

I love Napoleonic Period as many of you but I never played it with ‘battalion level’ rules because I think it is a “must” to play the period with grand tactical rules!

The Napoleonic Wars is a typical example of how the military developments introduced by the French changed the nature of the era’s warfare. Looking at the early campaigns in detail – and battles such as Marengo, Austerlitz, Jena-Auerstadt, etc…it almost a…mystery how the French armies could have accomplished such incredible and decisive victories. Why a mystery?Because at first glance, they make little sense…Let’s see: A battalion of French fusiliers was not that different from a battalion of Austrian, Prussian or Russian musketeers and their weapons and micro-tactics employed on the battlefield. The technology remained almost unchanged from the previous period. So, this is not enough to answer for the French’s triumphs.

3aThe major innovation that the French brought to the field was the Corps d’Armee system. On paper, this is merely an organisational and structural change above the Divisional level. But it was much more than this and in our question this is the answer! The above reforms brought a revolution in command and control made the French the “quickest” army of its era. The soldiers “fight with their feet” and now make sense! When gaming at the battalion level and up to a division or two, all this “feeling” is entirely off-board and pretty much hidden from the player. So gaming this period at the battalion level, whilst colourful and spectacular (and that’s true), does not leave the player with any special new insights into warfare during this period. It fails to explain Jena-Auerstadt in any meaningful way. At the grand tactical level however, it starts to become clearer.

With Republique, it is possible for the player to experience the full meaning of this structural innovation, feel it, grasp it, and the most important for me learn from it.

4a

Republique:

The rules are available here http://www.wtj.com/games/ for free.

They cover the Napoleonic period at Grand Tactical scale, which allows for the re-fighting of major battles in a single gaming session, on a single large board (120cmx180cm or 180cmx240cm for huge battles).

A quick overview of Republique:

  • It has been in use for many years, thoroughly playtested and well regarded.
  • It is not a ‘product’ sponsored by any particular company. Its sort of like an open-source, community based set of rules. Well supported by its own online community, hosted at https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/wtj_wargames/info

Scales used by Republique at 15mm level are :

  • Ground scale, approx 1″ = 100m.  Its actually 27cm to the scale Kilometer.
  • Time scale, 1 turn = approx 40minutes

Basing :

  • Infantry, 3 figs on a 30x20mm base, represent approx 550 men, or 1 combat battalion.
  • Cavalry, 2 figs on a 30x40mm base, represent approx 550 horse.
  • Artillery, 1 model on a 30x40mm base, represent 12 guns.
  • Bases are grouped into combat units of 2-6 bases, which represent regiments or understrength brigades.

Command and Control:

  • Distinguishes between 3 different levels of command system, from Regimental Pool, Divisional System, through to French Corps d’Armee concept.
  • Distinguishes levels of command competency from Efficient down to Cumbersome / Useless.
  • Uses a simple order allocation system, command radius, and die rolls to change orders.
  • Each group of combat bases (regiment / brigade) has a morale state in the range Formed, Unformed, Rattled, Shaken, Demoralised. Troops can recover morale state during the rally phase.
  • Divisional level (and up) officers are represented on the table. Leaders can apply die roll modifications to combats and artillery fire. Leaders can also get injured and killed.
  • Simple, realistic, and playable. Minimal paperwork involved.

Rule Mechanics:

  • Movement phases IgoUgo.
  • 2 types of formation manoeuvre system – French vs Prussian.
  • Casualty rates are by base, not figure.
  • Troop grades : Elite, Veteran, Average, Green, Militia are accommodated.
  • All combat, including musketry and melee is abstracted into a single set of results for each contact between groups of bases. Works well.
  • Combat results are based on a single D10 + tactical factors for each side in the contact. Score difference dictates the combat result. During each ’40 minute game turn’, combat continues between units in contact for as many rounds as it takes to force a result. For example, a unit may assault a position, breakthrough, and smash into rear support lines over the course of several melees in the one single ‘turn’.
  • Skirmishers are abstracted by single figure skirmish bases which inflict morale hits only during ranged attacks. (1 x D10 per skirmisher)
  • Artillery is straight forward, add up the attack factors for guns at the given range, roll 1 D10, apply die roll mods, cross index the artillery table for results.
  • Historical tactics are well supported in the combat results. Factors such as formation, squares vs cavalry, enfilade fire, facing, flanks, cover, morale state and troop grade are all included.
  • Optional rules include many additional historical aspects such as battalion guns, trotting attacks, compressed attack columns, etc, etc.
  • Accurate, Realistic, Easy to learn, Fast to play … brilliant !

The figures in photographs are Adler Miniatures/ 6mm.

2a

 

Source: http://15mm-madness.blogspot.gr/

 

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This entry was posted on March 7, 2015 by in Napoleonics, Republique.

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This blog is mostly about military history and wargaming. You can find some interesting (I hope) articles about warfare and my activities on my favourite hobby: "wargaming"...

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