Once again, thanks in particular to Paul and Greg for their input. It looks like I should invest in the 2nd edition of Duffy's book!
For the rules, I worked on cavalry in 3 ranks, and a regimental strength of around 400. This was taken as a norm for all countries. Regiments did vary significantly in strength, and as Paul has shown, the Prussians in particular chose to deploy in 2 ranks. These differences I chose to partly ignore, and partly represent by allowing 'large' and 'small' units to be selected as players wished, as variations from the norm. This is all laid out in the rules.
Whichever way you cut it, I assumed a fairly compact regiment, well under paper strength. I always felt that the appropriate tactical unit for cavalry in the rules would be a regiment, and for the infantry a battalion.
As I have already mentioned in the thread, players who feel an 8 man cavalry regiment is a bit modest in size can increase the unit to 12 figures without really affecting play, as the rules indicate - see p.8.
I have played out a few historical battles with HoW, notably Lobositz, Hochkirk and Combat of Strehla. I have also worked on Kolin, and recently Hastenbeck. In all of these I worked out opposing forces by dividing the number of squadrons by 5 to get the number of cavalry regiments, and counted the infantry by battalions. This seemed to give a correct balance of forces, and battles that fought out historically (as far as any recreational wargame can claim such a thing). I don't personally think matching a cavalry regiment with an infantry battalion is beyond the bounds of reason. But as I admit in the Author's Notes, strict historical reality has been stretched at times to make for a relatively simple and playable game.
Matching a cavalry regiment with an infantry regiment would, for me, upset the balance I mentioned above. Historical battles would suddenly have half as much infantry, for example. However, I don't set myself up as an expert on the SYW - I have studied the era as best I can, and have come up with a set of rules which I think play smoothly and try and represent the historical realities reasonably well. Others may disagree.
I will continue to play the rules as written. But I salute the efforts of others to find other ways of adapting and playing the rules according to their own interpretation of the period. I will always be happy to hear from such players. Nothing in any set of wargames rules should ever be set in stone.
A couple of examples may serve to reinforce your point about relatively low cavalry strengths on campaign.
In Prussia's Glory, Christopher Duffy comments that a 30 November strength return, just before Leuthen, had Austrian Cuirassier and Dragoon regiments cavalry regiments at 377 suggesting about 75-76 sabres per squadron. The Prussian figures were similar with 9800 horse in 120 squadrons giving around 81-82 sabres per squadron. These figures are well below regimental establishment in both armies.
Dorn & Engelmann's 'The Battles of Fredericck the Great' gives an effective strength of 9663 horse for September 1756 for the Austrian horse which had dropped to 7672 by the end of that operation. This represents a 20% decline in cavalry in quite a short period. Given that Browne fielded 69 squadrons and 12 elite companies this is around 128/sqdn effective strength (against a nominal establishment of 150/sqdn) for September and c.102/sqdn towards the end of the campaign. Thus at the very start of the war some Austrian cavalry units were 15% below establishment (i.e c150/sqdn) and by the end of the Lobositz campaign, quite a short time later, were at less than 70% establishment strength having lost 20% in a couple of months.
Personally I don't see a problem. You can keep infantry units as they are (in battalions), and just refer to each unit of cavalry as a battle group (of approx 2 squadrons). 2 such units (2 battle groups) = a regiment. The only effect of this is to reduce the number of different (by name, uniform and banner) cavalry regiments on the tabletop . ie you would have 2 units of cavalry with the same uniform, banner etc instead of 1. Why would it have an effect in game play? You would just be calling the same set of abilities by a different name. It shouldn't make a whit of difference whether that cavalry unit was called a 'regiment' or a 'regimental battle group'. Should it? I would just use the rules as written, but refer to my cavalry units as regimental battle groups, and I would be pushing 2 units with the same uniforms around instead of 2 units with different uniforms. I'd differentiate the banners of the 2 battle groups to represent different squadrons/groups belonging to the same parent regiment, and that would be all. Job done.
Intending to give Honours of War a try for the War of Austrian Succession (after having used Warfare in the Age of Reason for many years) I followed this discussion with much interest. We're planning a French vs Austrians/Dutch game set in 1748. The Austrians had very large cavalry regiments with field strength often over 800 men. Such a cavalry regiment would take up at least the same frontage as 1 foot battalion, probably even of 2 battalions.
On the other hand the French had rather smaal cavalry regiments of about 300 men.
So we encountered the same 'problems' as Greg and Paul and are looking for a compromise to use the rules (which look very useful to us) with a satisfying look on the table.
In the optional rules Keith allows for larger units, but if I'm right the intention then is to split a larger unit in a standard one + a small one, so actually you don't have a larger unit then, or am I wring in this?
If I was doing that, I'd just have 2 'units' of the same bigger Austrian regiment operating close together. They would be able to take on 2 infantry battalions (1 each). Just vary their flags slightly, or give only the 'parent' unit the regimental flag. The smaller French regiment would just be represented by 1 unit in the normal way. Note: 1 'unit' of cavalry has the approx same frontage as 1 battalion of infantry in this 'system'. Presumably the French have a correspondingly larger number of little cavalry regiments than the Austrians? If so, the imbalance between the regiments should even up. Otherwise, it will effectively be 2 units versus one in the Austrians' favour.
This would not require a change in the rules (to my knowledge).
Similarly, this would be a convenient way to represent 10 squadron (double) regiments, such as Prussia's Bayreuth dragoons in armies where 5 squadron regiments was the norm. The Bayreuth Dragoons was one of two, 10-squadron regiments. It formed a brigade all by itself (see below).
In the case of the Prussians, you could have 1 unit representing 1 regiment (technically only 2 to 2-1/2 squadrons numerically & by frontage, but that's the fudge), and 2 near identical units representing 1 double-strength regiment, eg Bayreuth (technically only 4 to 5 squadrons numerically & by frontage, but there's the fudge again). The latter could be used in its own brigade of 2 units a la the Bayreuth. Or, if you desire something more 'accurate' and less 'fudge', you could have 1 unit representing 1/2 regiment (technically 2 to 2-1/2 squadrons numerically & by frontage), and 2 near identical units representing 1 regiment (technically 4 to 5 squadrons numerically & by frontage); then the double-size regiments like the Bayreuth would be represented by 4 units (each 2 to 2-1/2 squadrons numerically & by frontage). The latter would produce its own brigade of 4 units!
Which 'scaling' you employ depends as much on the size of the opposing cavalry regiments. ie it works best when both sides share the same scaling system.
There is another problem I met when dealing with larger units. If you choose to split in 2 standard units, they are not able to melee with the same opponent in the same round of melee, as you can only attack a unit with 1 unit in a particular sector. On the other hand it allows you to have a supporting unit in a melee. Do I see this correctly?
That's correct. However, don't forget that the supporting unit of the larger cavalry regiment should very well be able to charge the smaller enemy unit in the flank (p24). This would represent some of the larger regiment's squadrons (1/2 regiment) engaging the smaller regiment frontally while the rest of its squadrons (1/2 regiment) charge it in the flank. And that will cause the small enemy unit a large problem (-2 modifier, p35).
Alternatively you could achieve a similar result with a large 6 base cavalry unit vs a small 3 base cavalry unit (I know it says 2 bases in the rules). The large unit gets a +1 while the small unit gets -1 (p38). However, this will fall apart when you bring infantry battalions into it, as your unit frontages and troop ratios won't be 'accurate' anymore.
So if it were me, I'd go with one of the options I recommended above. Significantly, the rules as they are allow the job to be done with only the tiniest adjustment: what your cavalry unit actually represents in the game, eg a 1/2 regiment if 2 such units are present and near each other, or a 1/2 regiment equivalent if on its own. You could always add a rule stating that 1/2 regiment units may not move beyond a certain distance from each other.
Interesting discussion guys. I would do the same as Snowcat - if creating a 'large' unit isn't enough, create 2 separate units. I always thought if I was going to represent the Bayreuth Dragoons I would use 2 standard units. As well as the supporting role in melee and the possibility of flanking attacks, the second unit can provide a 'second wave' if the first unit loses the melee, or wins but has a lot of casualties. You just have to be a bit creative tactically.
Hi Cennedd, far be it from me to put anyone off buying the rules, but in fairness they were not designed for units that big, regardless of figure scale. As Snowcat says, the advice in the rules is to make musket range roughly the same as infantry unit frontage when in line (i.e. equivalent to about 200 paces in real life). So that would be your musket range, which is also the length of a standard infantry move in line.
If those distances look like they would work for your table, then give the rules a go.
On the plus side, I assume infantry battalions of 600 men in 3 ranks in the rules, which seems to fit in with your organisation.