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PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2022 7:36 pm 
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Gentlemen <salute>!

A question for the historians among you. I am playing Antietam Scenario No. 60, Hagerstown. UA artillery in the game with but one exception is organized in batteries (4-6 guns each). CSA artillery is organized (?) in a veritable horde, with but a couple of exceptions, of 1 and 2 gun sections. I am learning quickly how significant an advantage this is for my foe and wonder if there is any historical basis for this situation?

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2022 8:31 pm 
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Yes, although that scenario is fictional, there is a historical basis for such a thing.

For example, here (https://www.battlefields.org/sites/default/files/atoms/files/Gettysburg--July%203%201863--Picketts%20Charge%20Artillery%20Positions%20%28October%202019%29_0.pdf) is a map showing all the artillery placements for the third day at Gettysburg. The CSA has quite a few batteries with just two guns and even a one-gun battery. The USA has a predominance of four and six-gun batteries and only two two-gun batteries. To find out exactly how many guns each battery had at a particular time during the war you'd have to research them individually (time consuming but possible in many instances). During some quiet moments when I've read the notes for the various game titles I've seen that the original development teams seemed to have done quite a bit of research so I feel confident that even for many of the fictional battles there would be some correlation with actual numbers for the time in which it's set. However, some of the 'equal force' type scenarios appear to be completely made up just to provide an enjoyable wargame.

People may also note from the map by looking at distance scale that there are never mass concentrations of guns over a small area. Where there was suitable ground the batteries would be grouped together but they would never cram more than eight guns in 125 yards. It was simply too dangerous and after a few rounds were fired the smoke would be too thick to see through. A good reason to have a house rule limiting artillery stacking (https://wargame.ch/board/acwgc/viewtopic.php?f=134&t=22657). On the map there are no batteries with more than six guns (larger batteries were a rarity) and if you look at the scale it can be seen that the guns are spread over a long distance. The biggest concentration seems to be the batteries of US Thompson (5), Philips (6) and Hart (4) where their combined 15 guns are spread out over 1200 feet (400 yards) so well within a limit of 8 guns per 125 yard hex. Elsewhere most batteries are further dispersed.

I usually play with artillery limits (mostly eight, sometimes six) and those limits apply at all times. [Reason: they didn't take up any less room when on the march than when limbered and, if travelling on a road, eight guns would have stretched beyond 125 yards.] Still, there must be some sacrifice to playability so we have the same limit whether they are limbered or not. According to the Union manual at the time [p24 of this manual (https://books.google.com.au/books?id=G2cDAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false)] a battery of six 12-pounder Napoleons had a total of 175 horses [plus there are the guns, limbers, casinos, crew and the distances themselves between them]. That's a lot to fit on a road, many of which were of dubious quality so manuals are often a 'best case' scenario.
Page 183 starts a section on distances in various situations for artillery formations. In that section, page 185 shows that when batteries are set up there must be 14 yards between each piece (8 guns X 14 = 112 yards). Once you add in the width of the piece itself (say 6 feet, or two yards [I think it's a bit more, 80 inches?]) that gives you 112 + 16 (8 guns X 2 yards) = 128 yards. So, you are pushing things to the limit to get 8 guns in a 125 yard hex (and that's according to a manual) Real-life conditions which could be a lot more difficult as the terrain would be unlikely to be completely flat and there could be anything (trees, rocks, fences, buildings etc.) 'in the way' that would prevent a 'by the manual' arrangement.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2022 10:07 am 
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It is accurate to say that Confederate batteries were smaller (usually 4 guns) and consisted of guns of mixed types and calibers. Playing Confederates in these games you really need to stay out of duels with Yank artillery and focus on routing the infantry.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2022 10:35 am 
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Ed and Paul

I am with you about the different sizes of the batteries and the house rules which limit unlimbered guns in a hex to 6 or 8. My question relates to what appears to be a not uncommon aspect of the scenario design where the Reb guns appear in sections and the UA guns in batteries. In the Hagerstown scenario I am playing there are 32 Union batteries versus 115 Rebel sections and before you leap, the CSA gun total exceeds the UA's by 46 pieces. Even if the gun totals were equal the advantages of 3-1 superiority in the number of maneuver units are obvious and significant. Just happy this same thinking is not applied to cavalry units! In any case, it is something to look for when evaluating the balance of a scenario.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2022 11:57 am 
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The guns on both sides were sometimes deployed in sections of 2 guns, especially where terrain limited deployment.

Many of the games have OOB's that allow deployment of artillery as batteries or sections. Some scenarios divide all batteries into sections to level out the advantage the larger Union batteries have, many of the Getty scenarios use this method. Since the engine computes losses from firing each individual unit this reduces the effect of the larger Union batteries. The Union most times has the advantage of a larger number of guns and more rifled guns but they do not get the advantage that firing 6 guns opposed to 4 gives in figuring casualties. This was something that was added to the games and some designers elected not to make use of the option. Also some players complain about having to move all those sections so I guess that's why it is not the default practice.

In Antietam almost all the OOB's have the guns set up with the ability to do the scenario with guns in batteries or sections so you could modify the scenario if you want to take the time to do so.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2022 5:16 pm 
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If one side's artillery are in increments of 6, in effect that gives the side which is divisible by 8/4/2 a stacking advantage to the side with the guns that are mostly 2 or 4. Coincidentally that being the CSA side? Do you really need another programmed advantage?

Also to be entirely fair, I have seen it put to me about as often as not about the 'house rule' implying that it is the US side that 'overstacks' when this house rule is in place.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2022 6:17 pm 
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The programming of the basic game engine provides a distinct, and very unrealistic, advantage in artillery effect to the side that has more artillery and ammunition for it, generally the Union. This effect is worsened when it is considered that the Union generally has higher calibre pieces. When the game engine permits up to 20 guns to be lined up across a 125 yard stretch you have a completely unrealistic situation [you would only have four yards between each piece instead of the required 14 yards, that's just silly]. The only way that some realism and simulation value can be returned to the wargame is to introduce a house rule to prevent such bizarre placements. The CSA remains at a disadvantage in the artillery arm as they still have less guns, and those that they have mostly have shorter ranges. Further disadvantage accrues due to a paucity of ammunition and it is quite common for the CSA to use it up before the end of the battle, sometimes well before.

In the games I play where there is a rule preventing unrealistic artillery stacks [a lot] I have noticed no significant difference to which side may inadvertently exceed the limit (often through a failed click and drag). It usually only happens once or twice a game, sometimes not at all. If noticed it is pointed out to the opponent and it must be rectified on the next move. Additionally, there are some situations where purposeful overstacking is permitted. The most common one is where a large number of reinforcements enter the map on a road surrounded by forest and it is not possible for the artillery to both remain on the road and keep within the stacking limit so the opponent is simply advised what has occurred and the game moves on. In my experience it has always been possible to rectify such a situation on the next move.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2022 7:43 pm 
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In current rules, other than the maximum of unlimbered guns in one hex, big units and small units themselves cause some unfair, asymmetric, and unexpected advantages for both Artillery and Infantry. Big units can easily have a better opportunity fire. (e.g. compare an 8-guns stacking consisting of one 8-guns battery with an 8-guns consisting of quadruple 2-guns batteries.) But small units can easily spread the suffered damage (loss, fatigue, disruption, crew kill) so be more robust. Besides, the road column march based on the number of units instead of the actual length is also a small problem.

The size of the units' organization may be historical, but I am not sure if these advantages caused by the sizes and provided/amplified by the game rules are also historical.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2022 7:48 pm 
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Gents!

We are drifting off the point of my post which is whether the use of sections for CSA artillery and batteries for USA artillery is appropriate based on historical use of the guns by both sides. My contention is that battery travel and deployment on the battlefield was by batteries (and I recognize these may vary in size and Ken’s point that on site conditions may have caused some local tactical variations that are beyond the scope of the game). I submit that wholesale conversion of CSA batteries into sections which can maneuvered all over a large battlefield with essentially no penalty is a significant tactical advantage that has no basis in history and should not be part of stock scenarios unless so specified in the scenario description. To clarify and perhaps refocus the discussion I respond to Paul’s message in bold italic text.

_______________________________________


The programming of the basic game engine provides a distinct, and very unrealistic, advantage in artillery effect to the side that has more artillery and ammunition for it, generally the Union As it should. This effect is worsened when it is considered that the Union generally has higher calibre pieces. This, too, is as it should be. When the game engine permits up to 20 guns to be lined up across a 125 yard stretch you have a completely unrealistic situation [you would only have four yards between each piece instead of the required 14 yards, that's just silly]. Agree. The only way that some realism and simulation value can be returned to the wargame is to introduce a house rule to prevent such bizarre placements. Agree. The CSA remains at a disadvantage in the artillery arm as they still have less guns, and those that they have mostly have shorter ranges. Further disadvantage accrues due to a paucity of ammunition and it is quite common for the CSA to use it up before the end of the battle, sometimes well before. All as it should be.

In the games I play where there is a rule preventing unrealistic artillery stacks [a lot] I have noticed no significant difference to which side may inadvertently exceed the limit (often through a failed click and drag). Agree. It usually only happens once or twice a game, sometimes not at all. If noticed it is pointed out to the opponent and it must be rectified on the next move. Agree. Additionally, there are some situations where purposeful overstacking is permitted. The most common one is where a large number of reinforcements enter the map on a road surrounded by forest and it is not possible for the artillery to both remain on the road and keep within the stacking limit so the opponent is simply advised what has occurred and the game moves on. I think this can be addressed by stating in the House rule regarding artillery stacking is that it applies to unlimbered artillery. In my experience it has always been possible to rectify such a situation on the next move. With one exception this has been my experience as well.

__________________________________________

So, to recap my question, based on historical practice, is there any justification for setting up a scenario where one sides artillery in a game is in sections and the others is not?

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2022 9:22 pm 
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Looking at that scenario it seems that the CSA artillery has been arranged that way in order to accommodate the different gun types and accurately reflect that rather than grouping them together in one battery and allocating them one gun type to cover the lot.
For example, A. P Hill's Divisional Artillery:
Cmdr - R.L. Walker;
Fredericksburg Artillery - 4 X 6pdr SB, 2 X 3in Rifle;
Crenshaw Battery - (1st Rich.) 1 X 12pdr How., (2nd Rich.) 1 X Nap., (3rd Rich.) 2 X 6pdr SB;
Pee Dee S.C. Battery - (1st) 1 X 10pdr Parrott, (2nd) 1 X 3in Rifle, (3rd) 1 X 12pdr How., (4th) 1 X Nap;
Purcel Va. Battery - (1st) 2 X 10pdr Parrott, (2nd) 2 X Nap;
Branch N.C. Battery - (1st) 1 X Nap, (2nd) 2 X 6pdr SB; and
Letcher Va. Battery - (1st) 2 X Nap, (2nd) 2 X Nap.

So in that division the only battery that has the same gun type across all sections was Letcher's. Presumably the game designers kept that one in sections to align with the rest of them. The Union did not have the same sort of assortment of gun types within individual batteries so there is no need to disperse the sections to accurately reflect differing gun abilities.

Also, here's just one real-life example from the first day of Antietam (information gleaned from 'The Maps of Antietam' by Bradley Gottfried [great books, highly recommended]).
CSA Lane's Battery consisted of two 3-inch Rifles, three 10pdr Parrotts and one Napoleon. Near Turner's Gap between 0600 and 0800, Lane set up his battery astride the National Road near Mountain House. The Parrotts were set up north of National Road and Mountain House while the rest were initially positioned about 175 yards away to the south-east. Between 1800 and 1900 the Parrots were still in their original position but the other guns had moved forward to support Colquitt's Brigade and were now positioned closer to Mountain House and at least 150 yards south of the section of Parrotts.
There are quite a few other examples in that one book alone where it can be seen that two or three guns from one battery are separated by a gap of more than 125 yards [a hex for our purposes] from the rest of their battery. The book is well referenced with sources provided to support the claims made within the maps and accompanying prose.

The game will constrain the CSA player in some respects due to command and control. In the example of A. P. Hill's Divisional Artillery, their leader (Walker) only exerts a command radius equivalent to a Brigade Leader (3 hexes for that scenario). So, although the CSA player may move their artillery sections where they like, and disperse as widely as they please, they will be penalised for doing so. Any artillery further than 3 hexes from Walker will become detached and suffer morale penalties, if Walker himself is more than six hexes away from A. P. Hill then he'll be detached.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2022 9:45 pm 
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All good Paul.

So why not give the UA side the same flexibility?

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2022 9:47 pm 
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Colleagues:

What a spirited and informative dialogue! Just what these forums should be IMO.

I'm joining the discussion late, but hope to contribute nonetheless.

To Walt's restated question about battery vs section...

1) USA battery for field guns (vice heavy artillery, siege guns, etc) was a standard 6 pieces of the same type.

2) CSA battery for field guns (vice heavy artillery, siege guns, etc) was a standard 4 pieces of generally two types (eg. 2x 12 Pd smoothbore and 2x 3in Ordnance Rifle). Really odd "one off" gun types (of which the CSA had many) MIGHT have ben organized in two-gun batteries; but I'm hard pressed to think of a solid example.

3) Both USA and CSA batteries routinely fought by 2-gun section when the tactical situation and terrain dictated. However, these sections generally operated within line-of-sight or at the limit of what the battery commander deemed max radius for command and control. RECOMMENDATION: House Rule that prohibits sections from operating more than three hexes from their parent battery or from one another if all battery pieces are divided up into sections within the scenario.

4) There were NO 1-2 gun "batteries" of field guns organized in the Civil War. If through combat attrition batteries were reduced to 1-2 guns, these "strays" would be integrated into surviving batteries to bring these units up to strength.

5) Fully agree with 6-8 unlimbered gun limits for our games for all the reasons already stated.

6) Not sure I agree with a house rule setting a stacking limit for limbered pieces other than that imposed by default within the game engine. Yes, limbered batteries take up lots of road space, but there's no real harm done by ahistorical stacking while travelling down the road.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2022 10:05 pm 
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Walt Dortch wrote:
All good Paul.

So why not give the UA side the same flexibility?


I guess you'll have to speak with the game designers about that.

In other scenarios where the USA has more of a mix of gun types such a thing is reflected by splitting up batteries. In historical Chickamauga (039) there are quite a few 2-gun artillery units for the Union. They also have a good number of four-gun artillery units attached to the same battery as the two-gun units. [Sadly, the larger Union artillery units are usually those with a greater range (oh well, hopefully their commander will be tardy and provide the Confederates with the opportunity to remove them)].

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2022 10:11 pm 
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Jim Boling wrote:
Colleagues:

...

4) There were NO 1-2 gun "batteries" of field guns organized in the Civil War. If through combat attrition batteries were reduced to 1-2 guns, these "strays" would be integrated into surviving batteries to bring these units up to strength.

...


See the Gettysburg Day 3 Artillery map (https://www.battlefields.org/sites/default/files/atoms/files/Gettysburg--July%203%201863--Picketts%20Charge%20Artillery%20Positions%20%28October%202019%29_0.pdf) - many of the Confederate batteries had only two guns. Not so for the Union, only two of theirs were two-gun batteries (presumably in those instances they had lost some pieces earlier in the battle).

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2022 6:39 am 
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Didn't realise how far I'd got off track - ok, I am looking at this as a design question. Hess just published a book in October - it might be worth getting (or putting on my to get list).

The ammo thing is a red herring; arty ammo limits can be edited in a scenario.


Last edited by S Trauth on Tue Nov 29, 2022 8:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

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