i found the firing distances to be too short for the game rules i have 10mm armies and to tell the truth this is the only ruleset i have tried but im not totally convinced about ranges of fire i have readed others and in the process of writing my own as im a dnd module designer and other periods designer.
I haven't really experienced this problem. The ranges don't seem to be wildly different from other rules tackling the SYW. There was some discussion a while back about firing v charging and the overall opinion seemed to be that the prevalent tactic in the SYW was to advance towards the enemy and then spend some time weakening them with musketry before charging. I also use 10mm armies with units on a 100mm frontage.
The main discussion during playtesting was around musket ranges being too long! As the ground scale demonstrates, maximum musket range is 200 paces (300 paces being the maximum range for muskets and battalion guns firing together). I reckon this is pretty reasonable.
I can't really add anything more, apart from also noting the basic remarks made in the rules about the correlation of musket range to unit frontage (p.8 for example).
Post by lordgeorgemurray on May 21, 2017 13:08:32 GMT
Musket ranges should be pretty short. The C18th smoothbore musket was a heavy, crude, inaccurate, and clumsy device. You couldn't really aim one, more a matter of pointing it. Getting the elevation right was often the key to delivering a devastating volley. As the century progressed it tended to get less clumsy but even into the napoleonic period a practical max range on the field wouldn't top much over 200-300 paces. Most fire exchanges took place at much shorter ranges.
Couple of examples. The famous exchange of fire at Fontenoy in the WAS takes place at only 30 paces. In SYW at Heights of Abraham the devastating "volley that won Canada" was delivered at about 40 paces, the French began their fire at 100-120 paces.
To my mind the rules have got the rages about right. Have played 10mm games, though my figs are based on 25mm square and we use the 15mm ranges. This gives a long range (with battalion guns) of 16cm, and a short of 5cm. This works on the table and gives a good game.
My SYW armies are 15mm. I used the smaller basing as suggested in the back of the HoW rulebook.
However I never thought to reduce the move distances and firing ranges. So my infantry are moving 20cm in line and firing 30 cm. This actually seems right for the scale. Needless to say it makes a good fast-paced game and I'm thinking of leaving it that way.
Of course, I could always make an argument that the ranges are too long. Or at least the deductions for longer range are too lenient.
Ask a training sergeant in the army. He will tell you that, even with a modern, high-powered, accurate rifle the average untrained recruit can't hit the target at more than about 40 feet!
You tell me that the average SYW soldier was well trained? Yes, they were well-trained; in loading, and firing-on-command, formation changes and maintaining the line. But I have never read anywhere that they were ever trained in marksmanship.
Going slightly outside of the period, I remember reading that one of the big advantages of the British infantry in the Napoleonic Wars was that they were actually trained in basic marksmanship. In all other armies of the period, the recruit was lucky if he was allowed to fire off one shot, just to get the feel of firing a musket. The countries with bigger armies couldn't afford the cost of the extra powder and lead for marksmanship training. So Britain, with her smaller army and stronger economy, could afford to have that one big advantage.
Some time when you can, mark the spot where you start and pace off 100 paces in a place where you find lots of people. By the time you do and look back, the people 100 paces away (which isn't even 100 meters) will look like ants. Will you have confidence you can hit them? This is why soldiers were told, "Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes." That's about 40 feet. You don't have to aim, just point and pull the trigger. That's why soldiers were told to aim low. If you aim too low, the ball may hit the ground and ricochet up and hit the oncoming soldiers anyway. Or if you aim low but not too low, you might still hit the oncoming soldiers. The crime would be to aim too high.
So as long as your troops get at least one shot at incoming enemies, that's long enough range for me.
The other reason to aim low was to counterbalance the tendency of soldiers to raise the barrel as they fired. In the ACW (sorry, but it's the period where I know most about training) the idea imparted in training - and as far as I can tell by officers and NCO's in action - was to aim for the knees to hit the opponent 'in the guts' during a firefight.