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Gary McClellan
21 Aug 06, 00:53
If you've played all four current games in the series enough, you begin to get a feel for the differences in the armies. Now, for various reasons, I've long been fascinated with Hapsburg Austria, and I really like playing their forces.

One of the distinguishing characteristics of the Austrian army in this game is that it has some huge battalions. Other than the Grenadier units, most line battalions (not Jaeger or Grenzer) tend to be at least 900 men (some up to 1100 or so). The gigantic units create some rather interesting differences with the French, whose units tend to be 1/3-1/2 the size.

There are some aspects where the game engine radically favors the bigger units. for instance, any time where the goal is to put more or less the same number of troops into a hex, the bigger battalions are better.

As I mentioned in the optional rules, single large battalions take less loss from artillery (whether you are talking line -or- column passthrough fire). However, they also have advantages in infantry fire combat.

For example, imagine that the Austrians have 1050 men in line in one hex. On the other side, the French have 1050 in line, in 3 battalions. Assuming that they haven't moved, they will only be able to fire with the effictiveness of 700 men, not 1050. How so? The only way to get all units in line to fire in one turn is to "rotate fire." You fire the top unit in the stack, and then choose one of the lower ones, move him to the top of the stack, fire him, and then choose the final unit, move him to the top of the stack. Now, that movement counts as movement in terms of halving offensive fire. So, the first unit fires at full strength (350 men). However, the other two fire at half strenght (175 men each). That doesn't even count the losses you take by rotating your troops in the ADF zone of an enemy.

It's even worse in the defensive phase, as the only unit that can fire is the top unit, so in that case, the French would have the ability to have 350 men defensive fire, not the 1050 in the hex.

However, the downside of big battalions is loss of flexibility. That one massive battalion is stuck in one (or two if you use extended formation) hex. The French can begin to stretch the line, and cover more ground. If you do use extended formation, you have alot of problems in moving, and if they ever get separated by melee, those units are very, very hard to use again.

Another advantage of using more units is when you take defensive infantry fire. Imagine you are moving to melee an enemy with a stack of 3 columns. If enemy Infantry fires at you, they'll only hit one of those units. Even if that unit gets hit with "D" status, the others are still in good status, and depending on numbers may still be able to push the assault home. On the other hand, if you are in one big unit, and it gets hit with D, then you probably need to abandon the assault.

Likewise, the smaller units may have an advantage when it comes to routing. It's not unheard of that 2 of the units will run, while 1 remains, but if the 1 big guy goes, he's gone, and you have that hole in your line to cover.

Just some things to consider.

rahamy
21 Aug 06, 09:31
Good thread Gary...makes me like my Frogs even more! :D

Sgt_Rock
23 Aug 06, 01:48
Playing with the Austrians is a challenge. The French usually outnumber them in cavalry BUT the Austrians usually have the artillery advantage (except for Wagram).

If you are playing a scenario where the Austrians have to hold ground then you are in trouble. Its harder to hold ground with the Austrians.

On the other hand if you can trade some ground for time you might pull it off. While a fall-back defense in this series is harder with the single phase system it can be pulled off provided you have terrain where you can funnel your defenders back to better ground. You also might have to sacrifice some of your guys in order to pull it off.

Your observations on firepower are correct. I enjoy firing those big battalians.

Frankly the French have become a bland army to command. So similar. Unless you fight with the Grand Army of 1812 where you have SOME diversity its the same old thing. 3 brigades in a division, lights and line, etc for cavalry.

I find the Allies a better challenge. Most folks pick the French because they cant handle the Allies or they dont like their command setup. Being a winning allied commander takes some doing. Doing the same with the French ... not as hard.

Mike Cox
23 Aug 06, 17:59
When fighting the Austrians I always get a loop of Jimmy Cliff - "the harder they come, the harder they fall one and all" in my head.

The initial contact with Austrians can be brutal, however, if you can weather the storm, when the Austrians crack, they really crack, 1000 man battalions scatter to the wind...

KG_RangerBooBoo
24 Aug 06, 23:11
Does anyone ever split those big battalions?

Sgt_Rock
27 Aug 06, 02:41
When fighting the Austrians I always get a loop of Jimmy Cliff - "the harder they come, the harder they fall one and all" in my head.

The initial contact with Austrians can be brutal, however, if you can weather the storm, when the Austrians crack, they really crack, 1000 man battalions scatter to the wind...

Yeah Mike, if you can get the militia bns. to run away and scatter the cavalry its sort of like Cannae! Wipe out the flank protection and the Austrian infantry is in the bag.

That is why trying to hold a static line in this series with equal numbers of French vs. Austrian is difficult.

Unless you go to squares you are going to have units in the middle eventually surrounded.

FM WarB
02 Sep 06, 12:17
Can anyone explain to me how 1,000 men can All fire out of a frontage of 100 meters? They cannot. I'm playtesting a Ligny?Quatre Bras scenario in which No unit is more than 600 men, with the big batalions split up. Seems more realistic.

KG_RangerBooBoo
02 Sep 06, 13:22
Well if you consider the time frame of the turn it is easy to believe. I mean how many times could a man fire a musket in 15 minutes? I guess it is just another one of those abstractions that you have to make the game work.