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Ramblings of an Old Man #21
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Author:  nsimms [ Tue May 05, 2020 6:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Ramblings of an Old Man #21

21. Are you going to melee ONE of your opponent’s units? If you melee with one large unit, defensive and melee fire may disrupt your attacking unit and your melee is squashed. If you melee with more than one unit that move in one stack to the melee, your chances of all of your units being disrupted before the melee are reduced. I often include a very small unit in my melee stack hoping that they draw the fire from the unit that I am attacking. Of course you don’t have to worry about any of this if you approach and melee a unit that can’t fire or isn’t facing you.

Author:  KWhitehead [ Wed May 06, 2020 11:25 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Ramblings of an Old Man #21

I am pretty sure that when you commit a stack to the melee the defender immediately fires so you know which units are still able to melee. As long as you have more units available, which usually requires two hexes if you are going for maximum force, you can bring additional units in until you have the odds you want or hit maximum stacking. Having some small units in the mix does improve your odds that the defenders fire will be wasted.

I do wish they would change that fire to target entire stack and not just one unit in it.

Author:  Larry Mills [ Thu May 07, 2020 8:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Ramblings of an Old Man #21

Gen. Whitehead,

Does defensive fire during a melee target the attacking regiment stacked on top or is it random. I do not understand why Tiller never designated the units as one in the front line and one supporting. I agree. With the system the game uses firing should affect the stack if the stack is considered intermingled for the assault. It would be a big boon for all players if JTS would open up the game completely to modding. I believe many would like to see extended lines into adjacent hexes and the ability to refuse with part of a regiment. Also it would be nice to be able to reflect how skirmish lines grew bigger and bigger as the war progressed. The thin skirmish lines of the Napoleonic Era were virtually gone by 1863 among veteran units. The phrase " skirmishers three deep" was not just a catch phrase later in the war. Oh well a topic for another day!

Author:  C. Hecht [ Thu May 07, 2020 4:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Ramblings of an Old Man #21

Larry Mills wrote:
Also it would be nice to be able to reflect how skirmish lines grew bigger and bigger as the war progressed. The thin skirmish lines of the Napoleonic Era were virtually gone by 1863 among veteran units. The phrase " skirmishers three deep" was not just a catch phrase later in the war. Oh well a topic for another day!


If Maj. Gen. Mills is able to bring more light into skirmishing in the CW an extra thread would be very welcome to cover that topic from a historical perspective. Personally I always thought skirmishing in the CW didn't matter much, that is why it is depicted so tiny in the Tiller's CW series.

Author:  mihalik [ Fri May 08, 2020 9:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Ramblings of an Old Man #21

Here is some information on skirmishers et al:

https://www.essentialcivilwarcurriculum ... oting.html

Author:  C. Hecht [ Fri May 08, 2020 3:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Ramblings of an Old Man #21

Thanks for that article.

Author:  KWhitehead [ Sun May 10, 2020 11:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Ramblings of an Old Man #21

Larry Mills wrote:
Gen. Whitehead,

Does defensive fire during a melee target the attacking regiment stacked on top or is it random. I do not understand why Tiller never designated the units as one in the front line and one supporting. I agree. With the system the game uses firing should affect the stack if the stack is considered intermingled for the assault. It would be a big boon for all players if JTS would open up the game completely to modding. I believe many would like to see extended lines into adjacent hexes and the ability to refuse with part of a regiment. Also it would be nice to be able to reflect how skirmish lines grew bigger and bigger as the war progressed. The thin skirmish lines of the Napoleonic Era were virtually gone by 1863 among veteran units. The phrase " skirmishers three deep" was not just a catch phrase later in the war. Oh well a topic for another day!

I am pretty sure the target selected is random.
You really can't use a procedure that targets a unit designated as the front unit since that can be exploited.
Best solution is to fire at the stack and distribute casualties based on relative size of units to stack. Since that requires new coding I don't know whether we will see that as an option in the future.

Author:  KWhitehead [ Sun May 10, 2020 11:55 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Ramblings of an Old Man #21

Skirmishers are very difficult to simulate in a war game. On one hand they are very flexible and can be very effective. But on the other hand, without radios they can't be effectively controlled. From the game point of view they become overpowered because the player has practically a "god" radio system to coordinate them.

Author:  mihalik [ Sun May 10, 2020 5:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Ramblings of an Old Man #21

KWhitehead wrote:
Skirmishers are very difficult to simulate in a war game. On one hand they are very flexible and can be very effective. But on the other hand, without radios they can't be effectively controlled. From the game point of view they become overpowered because the player has practically a "god" radio system to coordinate them.


This would indicate such communication as existed would be by bugle.

https://civilwartalk.com/threads/the-ar ... ng.136888/

Author:  Larry Mills [ Sun May 10, 2020 11:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Ramblings of an Old Man #21

Skirmishing. I do not recommend this book unless you really want to dig in the weeds about the evolution of what became standard infantry tactics during the American Civil War. It is dry and somewhat repetitive, but it is one of the few volumes out there dedicated entirely to the topic. Civil War Infantry Tactics by Earl J. Hess. This section near the end of the book highlighted skirmishing and how it was viewed in the latter stages of the war.

Many commanders placed great emphasis on skirmishing by the midpoint of the conflict. Indeed, the American Civil War involved the most deadly and effective skirmishing in history. To a degree, the rifle musket, in the hands of a soldier naturally apt to use it and eager to engage in this specialized art, accounts for the impressive history of skirmishing in that war. In part, good commanders realized that skirmishing was a less costly alternative to larger action by the battle line. A heavy skirmish line was the optimal way to gain information about terrain and enemy positions, and it could exert something like the pressure a battle line was capable of pushing against the enemy. A commander with a good and strong skirmish line had more opportunity to decide when and where to commit his main force to battle with a better chance of success than a commander with weak and ineffective skirmishers.

Also consider that at Gettysburg Archer's Brigade numbered 1,197 present for duty on July 1st. When Heth ordered Archer to deploy skirmishers I always thought he sent out about 75 to 100 men in a thin line. Actually he deployed the entire 5th Alabama Battalion and companies B and G of the 13th Alabama adding up to almost 200 men. That is 17% of the brigade committed to a skirmish line. By the time the Overland Campaign began the following year the skirmish lines were getting even heavier. Everyone was trying to forgo a full engagement or get a leg up with good battlefield information. It was not uncommon by that time to have skirmisher battles between main lines last half an hour before the main event.

Author:  KWhitehead [ Mon May 11, 2020 9:44 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Ramblings of an Old Man #21

mihalik wrote:
KWhitehead wrote:
Skirmishers are very difficult to simulate in a war game. On one hand they are very flexible and can be very effective. But on the other hand, without radios they can't be effectively controlled. From the game point of view they become overpowered because the player has practically a "god" radio system to coordinate them.


This would indicate such communication as existed would be by bugle.

https://civilwartalk.com/threads/the-ar ... ng.136888/


Bugles and drums were used but their reach was limited. Especially once the battle started. It was difficult to keep the companies in the line of battle from becoming separated much less control a skirmish line. The result was that skirmishers were used only a few hundred yards in front of the regiment where they could be easily recalled. That is difficult to build into a game. You have to either artificially lock them in place like JT games (one hex out) or implement complex rules to penalize them once they get to far away.

A good example of the problem with skirmishers is Champion Hill. In the right center the Confederates deployed a large skirmish line about a mile in front of their line. It never was attacked and spent the battle doing nothing. There was no time to recall it once the battle started. I would have to reread "Champion Hill" to get there names and numbers but if memory serves it was a rather large detachment.

Author:  mihalik [ Mon May 11, 2020 9:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Ramblings of an Old Man #21

KWhitehead wrote:
mihalik wrote:
KWhitehead wrote:
Skirmishers are very difficult to simulate in a war game. On one hand they are very flexible and can be very effective. But on the other hand, without radios they can't be effectively controlled. From the game point of view they become overpowered because the player has practically a "god" radio system to coordinate them.


This would indicate such communication as existed would be by bugle.

https://civilwartalk.com/threads/the-ar ... ng.136888/


Bugles and drums were used but their reach was limited. Especially once the battle started. It was difficult to keep the companies in the line of battle from becoming separated much less control a skirmish line. The result was that skirmishers were used only a few hundred yards in front of the regiment where they could be easily recalled. That is difficult to build into a game. You have to either artificially lock them in place like JT games (one hex out) or implement complex rules to penalize them once they get to far away.

A good example of the problem with skirmishers is Champion Hill. In the right center the Confederates deployed a large skirmish line about a mile in front of their line. It never was attacked and spent the battle doing nothing. There was no time to recall it once the battle started. I would have to reread "Champion Hill" to get there names and numbers but if memory serves it was a rather large detachment.


I believe I read the same Champion Hill book, and all I recall was five companies from a regiment in Stephen D Lee's brigade. When Lee shifted his brigade to the left to confront the Yankee attack, those companies didn't get the word. But as I recall, not getting the word, or even ignoring the word, was a common problem for Pemberton's army in that battle.

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