I have not seen the rules yet so please excuse me if this question is covered in them.
From what I can gather Infantry units are 20 figures (5 x 40mm square bases of 4 figures each) and cavalry are 8 figures (4 x 50mm square bases of 2 figures each).
Question: Does this mean an infantry unit represents a battalion and a cavalry unit a squadron. Note both of these are the lowest tactical unit during the Seven Years War and have roughly the same frontage in line, typically around 120m?
A perceptive question. This is covered in the rules, but of course at this stage it is entirely sensible of you to ask.
The basing conventions you mention are correct - that is what I use for my own 30mm figures. The basic infantry unit is the battalion, as you say, but the cavalry units are intended to represent regiments rather than squadrons. This is why your question is a good one - in choosing whether to represent squadrons or regiments as the tactical unit of cavalry, I had to make a compromise. It is true that the squadron was, in practice, often an independent tactical unit in the SYW, but my own conclusion was that more generally, and particularly at the level of combat which HoW seeks to represent, cavalry operated as regiments. It is also true that regiments could differ so widely in numbers that cavalry strength was usually assessed in squadrons, but for me this does not alter the basic conclusion.
I think your frontage for a squadron in line of 120m is rather generous - even a very strong squadron of 150 troopers would probably be in 3 lines, and at 2 paces per trooper that makes a 100 pace frontage, not much more than 50m. My own reading indicates most squadrons would be nearer 100 troopers or even less during the course of a campaign. Of course, it is quite possible to argue that my wargames unit is nevertheless too small to represent a regiment. For the record, the rules state that I take a cavalry regiment to be around 400 men on campaign, so in 3 ranks that's about 130 men per rank, or 260 paces, which makes about 150m. There would probably be intervals between the squadrons, so admittedly this distance would be increased a bit by those.
Yes, there is probably a fudge taking place here, but I feel it is justifiable in terms of what the game is intended to represent. Although cavalry regiments manoeuvred and changed formation by squadrons, they operated as regiments in battle, in the same relationship as platoons or divisions within an infantry battalion. If you feel uncomfortable with the 8 figure regiment, the rules indicate that you can go up to 12 figures without altering game play in any way. We all have our own judgements as to what best represents 'the look of the thing'.
Thanks Keith, that all makes sense. On re-reading my comment I should have said two cavalry squadrons would have the same frontage as an Infantry Regiment, so I withdraw my earlier statement re 120m. I believe Dave Millward in his 'Unit frontages in the Age of Reason', has a 3 deep Inf Bn frontage at 240 yds and a 3 deep Cavalry Squadron at 120 yds.
There is always a fudge factor in all games as getting the scaling 'right' is almost impossible. Thanks for the hint, I will play-test cavalry at both the 8 and 12 figure strength to see which I feel most comfortable with.
The Prussians switched to 2-rank cavalry formations from late 1757, and maintained them because they were more effective than 3-ranks. So when you look at the numbers of men involved on a squadron to battalion frontage ratio, for most of the SYW, you get 1 squadron to 1 battalion.
A good point Paul. However, even in 2 ranks I think a typical squadron would have a significantly shorter frontage than a typical infantry battalion. Nevertheless your point does of course make my fudge that bit less convincing.
I'm afraid you will have to swallow the discrepancy if you wish to play the rules as published - making cavalry units represent a squadron will change the whole balance of the game.
Making an allowance for 2 deep Prussian cavalry was a complication too far for me, so I simply ignored it. You could adopt my suggestion above and make your cavalry units a bit bigger, whilst keeping them within the limits specified in the rules.
If you have any ideas to make the rules better, I am always glad to hear them.
Hi Keith I got into this on other forums in some detail a while ago, so I'll dig up what I learned (when I get the chance). From memory, there was precious little difference between the frontage of the average infantry battalion and cavalry squadron. And what the Prussians did was not necessarily exclusive.
I don't have your rules yet, so I don't know about the whole balance of the game issue. But the closest representation in game terms to what I've read would be a cavalry squadron of 8 figures in 1 rank vs a 20 man infantry battalion in 2 ranks. Equal frontage. And that still has too may cavalry figures on a man-to-man scale ratio (eg 1:30) - but it *looks right*. (When you get to fewer figures than 8 cav vs 20 foot it starts to look wrong, and the distances between the cavalry figures starts to either stretch too much relative to the infantry or their unit's frontage starts to shrink too much. It's just one of those things!)
For rules, I would permit squadrons to maneuver in 2 ranks (1 company behind the other) in order to squeeze through gaps on the battlefield, but they would fight at a penalty in combat against the proper squadron formation of companies side by side, and similarly against a battalion of foot. In addition, I would fudge cavalry regiments as being comprised of 2 squadrons (instead of the typical 5) a la Charles Grant. That way, you can maintain control of the whole squadron vs regiment vs battalion thing . . . and you still get to pit a cavalry regiment (2 squadrons) against an infantry regiment (2 battalions) on equal tabletop terms. And it doesn't stop you having those massive cavalry regiments like the Bayreuth dragoons: they could be 4 squadrons (units) vs a whole brigade of 2 infantry regiments (4 units). It's flexible. Given that you use the same numbers of figures/unit, perhaps there is hope?
As to their being hope, the rules are published and have been extensively playtested - obviously I'm not changing fundamental concepts now. But I appreciate your comments are well meant. For those who share your reservations, perhaps using 16 figures in 2 ranks as the standard line formation might satisfy.
I did not work on any uniform figure:man ratio when developing the rules - as the rules say, it's about ground occupied. But any information and ideas you have will be gratefully received. As with any set of rules, plenty of users will be developing their own house rules and amendments.
Keith, this might amuse you. I just found the relevant info and my memory appears to have let me down - badly! The cavalry in 2-ranks part was correct, but the 1 squadron to 1 battalion frontage wasn't! It's 2 squadrons to 1 battalion frontage, and 5 squadrons to 1 regiment frontage as a general rule. Here are some useful details (from a TMP thread I started earlier this year):
"According to Duffy on Prussians: Infantry Regt. (2 Btns) 260m; Cavalry Regt. (5 Squadrons) 240m."
"Assuming 2-ft per infantryman and 3-ft per horseman (at least during the SYW). This is very tight, but that's how they liked it. Also, if we accept 600-men in infantry units (down from 750-regulation strength; at least in Prussian service), then we should also accept campaign strength for cavalry at 120 men per squadron of heavy cavalry. Finally, the 3-rank deployment of cavalry was seldom used, so we accept the 2-rank as the normal practice. So, 600/3=200x2ft=400 feet or 133 yards for infantry battalion frontage. Make it 150 to account for platoon intervals etc. And, 120/2=60x3=180 feet or 60 yards per squadron, make it 75 for intervals etc.. At the end, you have a typical campaign-strength battalion about the same frontage as two squadrons of heavy cavalry (Hussars had smaller squadrons to begin with)."
So, further to this, I'd treat each unit of 8 cav as a 2-squadron battle group, with 2 such units representing the bulk of a typical regiment. The 8 cav should probably be in 1 rank for attacking a battalion frontally; otherwise they could be in 2 ranks (1 squadron behind another) for maneuvering through gaps on the battlefield, with possible penalties if caught like this by a properly formed cavalry or infantry opponent. How would that design fare under your system?
Funny how one's memory can play tricks. That said, I have a nagging feeling that I got the 1 squadron to 1 battalion frontage from somewhere . . . Grant? Anyway, normal transmission appears to have been restored. We now return you to your regularly scheduled programs.
Paul, it's good of you to provide this input, and much appreciated. I'm afraid I've been involved in moving house the last couple of days, so time thinking about wargaming has been limited. Once I've absorbed the info, I'll respond. Could you provide a link to the thread? Any idea which Duffy publication the quote is from?
Reference: Christopher Duffy, The Army of Frederick Great (2nd ed, 1996, The Emperor's Press)
Infantry: p.119 - "Drawn up in three ranks, with a consequence 200 men in each rank, and making space for the intervening officers and NCOs, the battalion at full strength had a frontage of about 428 feet (143 yards or 130 metres), and a depth of 6 feet 8inches."
Cavalry: p.163 - "The length taken up by a regiment in line depended on how tightly it was closed up, and on the number of its ranks, but taking a rough average of just over four regiments per kilometre of the line of battle, we should allow about 240 metres for the frontage of a regiment, and therefore 49 per squadron."
Hey, ripped off! I have a first edition 1974 and none of that is in it.
Looks like I need a 2nd edition pronto!
Always room for 1 more book...
The second edition of Frederick the Greats Army is more like a totally new book rather than a revision of the 1974 edition but at least it is in one volume unlike Maria Theresa's army which became two very different volumes. I think that the original AOMT got translated into German and is still sold by the Army Museum in Vienna.