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Command Structure of la Garde Impériale in BGW/PTW

by Général de Division Mark Eason
Commander, VII Corps, Armée du Rhin
Brygada Nadwilanska, l'Infanterie de la Moyenne Garde

Dresden, le 2 Floréal

Mon Brave de Brienne -

Guard Officer

La Garde explained:

The question of the command structure in La Garde with its two commanders at the Division level has been raised again. The following is an explanation of the command structure with the help of the attached file (Right-click here and select "Save target as" to download file[attached file] insert into BGW/WL, select resume saved game and select La Garde.btl).   I recommend 2D view for this exercise.  Ignore all units except the Guard infantry and artillery.

Drouot is the equivalent of a corps commander of the guard.  He has unlimited command radius so can be anywhere on the map and pass on bonuses to his subordinate commanders.  The only exception to this are the four 12lb batteries of the guard which must be within 3 hexes of Drout to receive his command bonus, (but who cares about artillery and command radius - when was the last time you saw a disordered battery?   It doesn't happen).

The structure under Drouot is as follows:

Grenadier Division

Chasseur Division

Jeune Garde Division

How to tell this from the game file:  From the Display menu select Highlight then Detached units.   Any units outside the command radius of their immediate commander will be highlighted.  With the exception of the 12lb batteries which are assigned at corps level, the other batteries of the guard are assigned to the division commanders.  This means that they must be within 3 hexes to be within the command radius of their immediate commander.  So two of the 12lb batteries are highlighted as they are more than 3 hexes from Drouot (the corps commander), and one battery in each of the divisions is highlighted.  I deployed the units so that one of the two division batteries would be within 3 hexes of each of the 'potential' division commanders.   The battery which is highlighted is outside the 3 hex command radius of its immediate commander so, for example, with the Young Garde the highlighted battery is in hex 39,49 which means that Barrois can not be the division commander.

Another way of looking at this is from the main.oob file (open in a text editor).  Scroll down to the relevant division.   Where two commanders are stated at the head of a division, the first listed is the one which has the command.

Try moving the stated divisional commanders away, advancing the game phases until the next turn then look again at the highlighted detached units.  Leaving the 'alternate' division commanders in place has no effect.   When the effective commanders (identified above) are moved away the units become detached (also indicated by the white circle behind the command value of the subordinate commanders).

Two questions probably arise from this.

Guard Standard Bearer

What happens when one of the Division commanders is lost?  Now you see why the skirmisher is there.  If Duhesme is lost, Barrois (the alternate) is 'promoted' to replace him without promoting a brigade commander and replacing him with a Col Anon.

Conversely, if Barrois is lost while Duhesme remains in place, no replacement is made at all.

If Duhesme is lost, Barrois is promoted.  If Barrois is subsequently lost then a brigade commander is promoted and Col Anon fills in at the Brigade level.

So, having the additional commander helps maintain the command structure intact for longer - not that this is necessary as the units are high quality and re-order very easily without commanders.

Second question, what to do with these spare commanders?  Two uses that spring to mind.  If a leader is required to support a melee attack, I would use one of these - especially if playing with VPs for leaders off.  They are in this respect the most expendable as their loss will not affect command structure.  Another use is for rallying routed units (not that the guard ever rout of course).  They can be dragged away from the action to rally routed units from their divisions without affecting the integrity of the command structure.

Hope this explains it.  Mess around with the attached file and it will hopefully make sense.


GdD Eason d'Isère

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