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Napoleonic HITS Game March 21-22

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Re: Napoleonic HITS Game March 21-22

Post  MJP on Mon Mar 23, 2015 4:08 pm

As for cavalry, my opinion has been and remains that the way to have the cavalry more realistically played is to simply have more of them on the field and have more players take on a cavalry role in the battles.    Yes, their is the problem that infantry can't form square by itself and can become prey to cavalry, but this is more a problem of the commander than it is of the system.   Keep your infantry divisions tight by moving the brigades in double line of column of divisions and close to one another, 2 brigades up front and one brigade back and anytime cavalry gets near, form those boys into square.   Having say 2 divisions of cavalry, one heavy and one light, allows for the reconnaissance and skirmishing role along with heavy battle cavalry that can stay in reserve.   If each division featured 2 brigades all led by a single general, most likley they would fight one brigade at a time and leave one in reserve.   So the initial cavalry wipes out cavalry may still happen, but wouldn't be the end of the fight with the cavalry.  Most Napoleonic battles probably featured more cavalry fighting against cavalry than it did cavalry fighting against infantry.  So to me this is ok.   The issue is that the cavalry fights the cavalry and then there is no more cavalry left.   With additional cavalry forces, i think this would be less of a problem as you'd have multiple cavalry commanders most likely on different parts of the field and with different orders and thus the cavalry would (or could) play a more integral part of the battle.
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Re: Napoleonic HITS Game March 21-22

Post  SolInvictus202 on Mon Mar 23, 2015 4:18 pm

I can understand both sides: Kevin has history on his side (and believe me the French were always feeling quite like you, Matt) whereas you have playability on your side - just talking game terms... you know my stand point on the issue: I would rather have a realistic fight (does not have to be 1:1 historical) and lose than just have 5000 guys fight 5000 guys and see who wins - because that always results in the better GAME-player win... not the better tactician or strategist... the best strategy can be defeated if some of the generals simply cannot move their troops around properly - as we have all seen...
which is the main point why I am trying to encourage Kevin to start building unbalanced scenarios - just with different mission objectives... because having to attack with exactly ZERO numerical advantage is just doomed to fail (as seen on Saturday) and it would never have happened in real life... so if there is a side that is on the defensive - it is likely to have less numbers, why else would it have been on the defensive in the first place!

but I am well aware that my interest in realism far surpasses that of others, who would rather play the game, nourish their egos and boast on how well they can handle the game-engine... another reason why I support Kevin's attempt at leaving more of the orders at the AI's disgression - it simply evens things out...


the fight last night was entertaining at points and boring at others - no doubt - the French artillery drove me mad - while I can understand that 1100 men in one bataillon deployed in a 2file line was rather powerful as well...

at the end however it was not all that clear that the British had won the fight... I had exactly 2 units that were superior - the 71st Highlanders and the 1/52nd Oxfordshire (which routed and did not return at some point, being up 500 points if I recall correctly) so another determined push would have crushed me...

EJ had lost most of his command in the Frenchies' final attack, while my 2nd Brigade was crappy Dutch militia, which only did well because they were hardly engaged...


so it may not have been the most interesting of fights towards the end, I think it was far from being so very decided....





to conclude: only playing Austrians vs Russians is just dead boring. the mod presents so many different opportunities/possibilities and I am a strong supporter of trying out every possible scenario, every possible combination of troops etc etc. one battle may be more entertaining, some may be less. if one does not have the patience to fight through one battle, in order to try out something or in order to replicate something historical - well... I'd have to say then that I am surprised one has the patience to play this sort of game at all...


Last edited by SolInvictus202 on Mon Mar 23, 2015 4:26 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Re: Napoleonic HITS Game March 21-22

Post  SolInvictus202 on Mon Mar 23, 2015 4:19 pm

as for cavalry: if you put even more on the field, infantry is gonna lose more of its role on the field. and it just turns into a slugfest for people who love cavalry and people who acccept being killed playing infantry...

cavalry was and is a reserve and the majority of ANY army ALWAYS was infantry - not cavalry, not artillery - but the poor buggers without anything but their muskets!

PS: we do not have that many players - as simple as that - I would love to see fights of 50K men against each other - then also accomodating for a cavalry reserve and a lighter cavalry force for recon - but I have never seen enough players for that - and from what I gather numbers seem to have been increasing as of late - and not the opposite!

PS: I doubt that some internet connections would survive these battles either...
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Re: Napoleonic HITS Game March 21-22

Post  MJP on Mon Mar 23, 2015 4:40 pm

I do see what you're saying about the number of people and it's unfortunate because 10-12 is ideal.  More would of course be better.  However, I don't necessarily agree with the infantry getting destroyed by cavalry.   That is a problem with the player controlling the infantry.   A well led infantry division is invulnerable against cavalry that is unsupported by friendly infantry and artillery.   It's only the combined arms that makes them effective.   Rarely does an experienced player get his infantry run over by cavalry.   It could certainly happen to any player that is spread out and hotly engaged against enemy infantry and a cavalry division suddenly charges.  But in this case, it isn't unrealistic for it to happen.  And in this case, a few battalions might be lost, but not entire brigades or divisions. 

The way to model this into the game i think is:

1. Have "heavy" cavalry be attached to the C-in-C.   It will definitely be a reserve then as everyone who plays C-in-C that I'm aware of wouldn't want to squander it early in the game, rather they would save it for later.  

2. Even though i like guns with the Cavalry, in battles with additional cavalry take away the guns.  This further reduced their effectiveness against infantry divisions and forces them into working more closely with friendly infantry.

3.  Have the less experienced players take on the cavalry so that you have more experienced players taking the infantry.  This reduces the "surgical strike" as Kevin puts it.   Sure if Kevin and Martin are always taking the cavalry and some of the less experienced players are taking large infantry divisions, it could be a disaster.  But if you reverse it, the infantry is fairly safe from cavalry onslaughts.

I do realize that we play with who and how many are there and it's limiting.   I'm sure we'd all like a massive GCM style 50,000 men on the field every game.  In that case, each side could muster some 4-5000 cavalry.   Yumm....
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Re: Napoleonic HITS Game March 21-22

Post  SolInvictus202 on Mon Mar 23, 2015 5:57 pm

Like I said in the previous post:

not all players have the same level - and just assigning them to certain commands is unfair - we are not in the military here - everyone is supposed to be able to do what he wants - if at all possible within the scenario... I have said it just yesterday: I might know that if someone takes over a certain command it will not go as well as with someone else there - but that does not mean that i will tell that person to do something else. I believe that every player should be wise enough to be able to determine what is best for him - no matter the outcome - because any and ALL games are supposed to be FUN, above all else! And so called "better" players should have the understanding to give "lesser" players the patience they require to learn - and not just call them "dumb" - we are all having a laugh at silly maneuvers and crappy execution of orders - but not all feels genuinly "funny" as of late...

ad 1) I stand by my position that I believe it is wrong to give the CinC ANY command. get a cavalry commander for the Hvy Cavalry reserve and call him "Prince Murat"; or "Fürst Liechtenstein", or "Earl of Uxbridge" - NOT the CinC - he is there to be aware of the overall position (you complained about this very fact to Ron yesterday ...)  and should not be bothered with ANY command - period. I didn't feel like CinC at all last night  - simply because I was busy with a damn whole Division! - so no - keep them out of the actual fighting!

ad 2) as for taking away the guns from cavalry - again: game play issues - nothing to do with realism - if the mod cannot compensate for cavalry to have horse batteries with them - either fix the guns or make sure they have other restrictions (like AI control) - or less cavalry overall (which seems to be the way to go atm)

ad 3) like I mentioned in the first paragraph: noone should be forced to do anything! and calling someone flat out "unexperienced" or "bad player" will not encourage them to come back more often (which apparently everybody would want) - it's just wrong and egoistic!  this is a hobby, spare time - whatever you wanna call it... insults should not be a part of this.

ad 4) GCM has nothing to do with any of this: as you know I have played GCM for two weeks: and all I encountered was chaos, players focused on their ego not attacking or running away, because they were worried about their pixel troops, no leadership, gamey fights to reach certain points with ridiculous flanking marches behind the enemy with lone brigades, armies being divided in half and still winning, because of casualty counts... please...
even worse: people knew what was happening but didn't worry about it because they knew that the game would reward them...



all of this discussion will hopefully be redundant once SOW Waterloo comes out - units should be able to form square under AI control and we should be able to field as many cavalry divisions as we would like...

Hell: all I would want to see in-game is the charge of 10,000 cavalry men at Eylau - in 3 long lines... and hopefully the engine, specifically designed for napoleonic combat will be able to handle it properly - and maybe the new engine will also support better computers and the internet connections needed fo have fights with 100,000 men on each side!
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Re: Napoleonic HITS Game March 21-22

Post  MJP on Mon Mar 23, 2015 6:20 pm

calling someone flat out "unexperienced" it's just wrong and egoistic! 


Egoist?  Simply stating a fact isn't egoist.  Facts I've heard you state as well on more than one occasion.   Would it be more politically correct to say "Experience Challenged" ?  Very Happy

I think as a C-in-C you must be willing to tailor the role of a commander to that commander's ability to carry out the task.   This is very much like being a real general where you have to put your subordinates into a position to be successful and each has different skill sets.    Giving them commands and instructions they aren't capable of carrying out simply leads to unnecessary defeat.   Who is to blame in that case, the subordinate or the commander?  I think the latter.   Doesn't mean that it won't be fun, after all everyone is still in command of their own troops and i would think that success would be more fun that complex orders and failure.   When I play C-in-C i try to give the more complex manuevers or the more independent command and latitude to the more experienced players and the more straightforward maneuvers to the less experienced players.    All commands are critical as the games are balanced and you can't afford to squander troops.   In fact, i think that this is the most important thing the C-in-C has to consider.  His plan must take into account his subordinates. 


 GCM has nothing to do with any of this


I didn't say the GCM had anything to do with this at all.  I said that we'd all like to have KS Nappy games that have the number of troops as the GCM Games (i.e. 50,000+).   Re-read what i wrote.  


But since you're on the topic, the GCM and the way it is played is far different than this.   It's much more competitive in nature and more personal as the troops you have are your troops and remain with you.   I personally enjoy both games.  I just enjoy the KS Nappy games more lately because it's a new experience for me.   But the GCM games are great and have kept a community playing daily for 3 years.  So obviously there is a lot of things folks like about it even if it does often require thick skin.

And let's hope that Waterloo does live up to expectations and resolves a lot of the problems for Napoleonic combat as well as Multi-player issues in general.
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Re: Napoleonic HITS Game March 21-22

Post  Mr. Digby on Mon Mar 23, 2015 6:23 pm

Interesting debate and some good points from all sides.

I definitely prefer a cavalry division that has attached artillery - this was basic Napoleonic organisation and was done exactly so that the cavalry had some punch if it encountered enemy art/inf.

One of the primary aims of the Peninsular campaign was to generate unbalanced battles and we've sure had a lot of those! In recent turns however players have begun to display a good deal of caution and discretion so the battle rate has dropped off from the early 'gung ho' turns. I still hope the campaign will produce some fun and unusual encounters. I am happy to continue running it indefinitely for this purpose alone.

A lot of our scenarios tend to generate fights which I'd term 'encounter battles' where the two sides are initially not in contact, make contact during the game and then a general battle ensues. Such fights generally did not happen this way in the Napoleonic period, certainly above division level, and we could perhaps attempt smaller, division-level fights where players take brigades and the strategic or tactical goals are of a lower level in line with the lower level army formation. A division might be tasked with securing a river crossing, a crossroads at a town, or a defile through a forested or hilly region, or some object along those lines rather than the more grandiose objectives our corps-level games enjoy.

Some of our 3+ hour battles really eat into my sleeping time so if we could shift partly down a gear and go for 90 or 120 minute division battles maybe on 2.5 mile maps perhaps this would give us more of the correct flavour of an encounter fight.

Once Napoleonic forces bumped into each other at the corps level, hasty battles were usually declined by both sides because each corps was too valuable to risk in the uncertain environment of an encounter and also other army corps would very often be with a half or full days march and thus both sides might take a step back and gather more forces to a battle that would become a very formal affair a day later, whilst conducting the necessary reconnaissance. This was after all one of the functions of the army corps structure; to allow an army to spread out and move on parallel roads yet be within a days march of its other corps for mutual support.

We could try mini-campaigns where initially divisions meet followed by a more formal encounter with perhaps 2 small corps a side. The one time we did do this with the French vs Austrians on the 10 mile map I thought it played out very well and was a unique experience. I appreciate though how much more work goes into such games.

As to a "most secrete and patented recipe for demolishing ye British army" I doubt one exists and I also doubt the wisdom of us searching for one by constructing scenarios skewed for that purpose. Apart from minor battles such as landings and shore raids, the British and French generally only fought in two places during the Napoleonic wars; the Peninsular and Belgium. In the first theatre the British were lucky enough to be led by a pretty cautious bloke who knew exactly what the French strengths were (cavalry and artillery) and he did his best to fight mostly defensive actions on terrain that nullified said advantage. There were a few exceptions where battles were bloody and drawn like Talavera and Fuentes but the fact stands that Wellington had to do this because he'd been entrusted with Britain's ONLY army and getting it destroyed was out of the question.

If I were to impose on our British campaign players a caveat that they must not under any circumstances allow their armies to be defeated, what kinds of battles and strategies would that generate? It would be an interesting imposition to make but might not be very entertaining.

In Belgium Wellington was conscious both (in his mind) of his less reliable Belgian-Dutch-German allied contingents and the fact he had a powerful Allied army nearby that he could rely on in a big stand-up fight. There was also the political need to protect Ghent and Brussels and remain a force in being until Schwarzenberg's Austrians could get across the Rhine, so Waterloo played out differently to any Peninsular campaign or battle and was a classic example of French tactical doctrine:

1) Pound them with "guns, lots of guns" (to quote Neo from the Matrix)
2) Massive infantry attack supported by more guns moved forward to close range and finally
3) Mass cavalry coup-de-gras

This was pretty much the timetable of most French offensive battles and the artillery prep phase isn't something we should see as a Brit-bashing device only; massed artillery fire was employed against all Napoleon's enemies. If we were to really try and replicate Napoleonic warfare almost all our games would comprise a formal lining up of the two armies followed by a 90 minutes artillery bombardment and finished with an infantry attack with cavalry being released for the final pursuit.

One thing we should bear in mind is that in the Peninsular, at least before 1812, the Anglo-Portuguese army was and should in our games, be smaller, but the Brits get to choose the ground. The French can bring as much cavalry and artillery as they like but 90% of it is left in the rear because it can't climb/shoot up the hill the English are on.

The British ventured onto the wide open plains of Leon-Castille only twice; once in the winter of 08-09 when they immediately ran away once the French moved to attack them and again in 1812 by which time Wellington finally had a decent heavy cavalry force and enough horse artillery to support it.

A battle based on an aspect of the retreat to Corunna would make a good scenario I think - give the British team a huge 0-rated body of stragglers and baggage who are simply non-combatants and must be got away, covered by a small but elite rearguard and let the French have a lot of good light cavalry and horse artillery but not so much of a punch in terms of infantry, because these are not at the head of the pursuit force. Very unbalanced but probably worth a fight based on that imbalance.

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Re: Napoleonic HITS Game March 21-22

Post  7thGalaxy on Mon Mar 23, 2015 6:44 pm

I do think that last night's battle was unbalanced in the sense that to crack that ridge the French would probably have needed at least 1.5x the infantry as the Brits. I know we had a few more (and MJP's calculator had it as a draw in the end) but for any sort of decisive attacking victory I'd have wanted at least another division.

But I guess it comes down to wanting to have an enjoyable game. A good general in an ideal campaign would pick the battles he could win, and fight them, and withdraw from any where it's in any way equal, if he had choice.

I've realised what my problem commanding the French is, it came to me this afternoon. I hear 'La Victoire es a Nous' and immediately get all gungho. Forward men! Death or Glory!
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Re: Napoleonic HITS Game March 21-22

Post  MJP on Mon Mar 23, 2015 6:48 pm

Can't really argue with a single thing you say, all is true except perhaps with the added caveat that from 1809 on, French offensive battles followed that formula.  Prior to this, the French offensive battles were more elegant based on their systemic/organizational advantages they had over their contemporaries.  The early battles are far less bloody than the later ones because of this.   Once these advantages disappeared, then the battles tended to follow the formula you've laid out.  

And because what you've said about the Peninsula is particularly true, it is for this reason (along with others, most notably personal interest) that I enjoy much more the fights between the French and Austrians/Russians/Prussians than I do the fights against the English.   Though I know it drives Anglophiles nuts, the Peninsula was a sideshow to the main Napoleonic wars.   One need only look at how little time Napoleon personally spent there to see where the main gravity of the campaigns were decided.  

The interesting thing to note about French vs. English is that i think that most everyone agrees that without Prussian involvement, the French win the battle of Waterloo and win it handily and with even numbers of men.    However, I'm not sure this would be the case if we refought the battle in the KS HITS Mod.......
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Re: Napoleonic HITS Game March 21-22

Post  SolInvictus202 on Mon Mar 23, 2015 6:51 pm

MJP said wrote:Egoist? Simply stating a fact isn't egoist. Facts I've heard you state as well on more than one occasion. Would it be more politically correct to say "Experience Challenged" ? Very Happy

I think as a C-in-C you must be willing to tailor the role of a commander to that commander's ability to carry out the task. This is very much like being a real general where you have to put your subordinates into a position to be successful and each has different skill sets. Giving them commands and instructions they aren't capable of carrying out simply leads to unnecessary defeat. Who is to blame in that case, the subordinate or the commander? I think the latter. Doesn't mean that it won't be fun, after all everyone is still in command of their own troops and i would think that success would be more fun that complex orders and failure. When I play C-in-C i try to give the more complex manuevers or the more independent command and latitude to the more experienced players and the more straightforward maneuvers to the less experienced players. All commands are critical as the games are balanced and you can't afford to squander troops. In fact, i think that this is the most important thing the C-in-C has to consider. His plan must take into account his subordinates.


I didn't call you "egoistic" - I just said that it was "egoistic" - and I stick with that... older and hopefully "wiser" players should be wise enough to not just make people feel bad when they did terrible - but to try and help them improve...

I quite agree that it is the job of the CinC to assign command, know his players and all that - in real life I do this - every time I am faced with such a situation - and the people above me in the chain of command assign me the tasks they think I can perform best... sure...

but should this also be the case in a game? not entirely sure - simply because also "less experienced" players should be given the chance to try out what they would like to play... some players state anyway that they will only do this or that - only a brigade for me or whatever... others don't - maybe in time they will Wink - hell - I keep getting a division to command, although I would rather only have a brigade... player numbers usually make me take what needs to be taken....
CinC is a different issue - but apparently I always end up doing it anyway, with my "I volunteer if noone else does"... I wonder if that was the right choice...at the same time I do not understand why people are unwilling to be CinC in the first place.

MJP said wrote:I didn't say the GCM had anything to do with this at all. I said that we'd all like to have KS Nappy games that have the number of troops as the GCM Games (i.e. 50,000+). Re-read what i wrote.


But since you're on the topic, the GCM and the way it is played is far different than this. It's much more competitive in nature and more personal as the troops you have are your troops and remain with you. I personally enjoy both games. I just enjoy the KS Nappy games more lately because it's a new experience for me. But the GCM games are great and have kept a community playing daily for 3 years. So obviously there is a lot of things folks like about it even if it does often require thick skin.

And let's hope that Waterloo does live up to expectations and resolves a lot of the problems for Napoleonic combat as well as Multi-player issues in general.


I have read what you said, just like you left the first post after your rant over British units uncommented Wink

we had a very similar discussion on the 2nd day of me playing GCM - the area I was fighting with my tiny brigade was losing and you kept saying that you were maneuvering to get into their rear... nothing could have enraged me further - you wanted to push my opinion aside, because I was a noob player - you even mentioned that I was a "2nd lieutenant" in the mod, and thus was not entitled to oppose you (basically) - we still lost...
but what was even worse: we could have won this as well- which means that GCM promotes leaving your fellow soldiers alone to die in order to gain some point in the middle of nowhere... if part of the army is sacrificed for the rgeater good - sure - but like this? no.
I am fully aware that GCM may be interesting to a lot of players: HITS takes a lot longer to develop a proper fight- people want to talk with each other, have fun, curse into the microphone and have battles that are set up in 2 mins and finished in 10-90 minutes... fewer people have the patience to play 3 hour fights and then end up not having done anything at all - because no orders came forth - or the enemy never showed up or whatever....
it's a sort of step inbetween Nappy Total war and HITS - tens of thousands play NTW, maybe 500 play GMC - I take it less than 50 play HITS - all is well - I wasn't worried about the mod as such - I am worried about the player it produces!
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Re: Napoleonic HITS Game March 21-22

Post  SolInvictus202 on Mon Mar 23, 2015 6:58 pm

7thGalaxy said wrote:I do think that last night's battle was unbalanced in the sense that to crack that ridge the French would probably have needed at least 1.5x the infantry as the Brits. I know we had a few more (and MJP's calculator had it as a draw in the end) but for any sort of decisive attacking victory I'd have wanted at least another division.

But I guess it comes down to wanting to have an enjoyable game. A good general in an ideal campaign would pick the battles he could win, and fight them, and withdraw from any where it's in any way equal, if he had choice.

I've realised what my problem commanding the French is, it came to me this afternoon. I hear 'La Victoire es a Nous' and immediately get all gungho. Forward men! Death or Glory


I think players with your attitude make battles a lot more enjoyable than someone who stays back and only attack when victory is ensured... and I am talking about FUN here - not realism... but then again I am not someone who HAS to win in order to sleep well...
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Re: Napoleonic HITS Game March 21-22

Post  MJP on Mon Mar 23, 2015 7:30 pm

we had a very similar discussion on the 2nd day of me playing GCM - the area I was fighting with my tiny brigade was losing and you kept saying that you were maneuvering to get into their rear... nothing could have enraged me further - you wanted to push my opinion aside, because I was a noob player


You must be referring to Battle 38973.   Too funny.   Suffice it to say, i don't want to  clog up the KS forum with GCM related debates, but it was your 2nd battle and that says it all to anyone who plays GCM.  And yes, i absolutely was pushing your opinion aside because you had no idea what you were talking about but you sure were talking a lot.    And what i said to you when you were talking was "who the hell are you anyway?" as I never heard the voice before.    Very Happy
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Re: Napoleonic HITS Game March 21-22

Post  Mark87 on Mon Mar 23, 2015 8:15 pm

I would a bit to this discussion.


Firstly, I have commanded a lone Russian infantry division against a French cavalry division and infantry division. I managed to extradite my division and fight on three or four defensive lines. Sure it was very difficult, but I fended off both the cavalry and infantry. It just took timing and use of terrain. I used every wall, hill, and wood as cover and had to keep a regiments alive and intact ha

Secondly, I would disagree as to the French method of attack prior 1809- It was the use of small flexible formations which frequently decided the day, as well as fire superiority at a localized critical point. Large formations and batteries increasingly came about as the quality of French NCO's and officers dropped off significantly. Most crucially in the 1807 campaign.

As for the Brits, I don't see them as being better than the French, at least pre 1809. Most of the forces available on the Peninsula were second rate. Additionally, British forces were at a severe movement disadvantage. The British mostly fired a volley at extremely close range and charged with the bayonet: I don't see the having a very advanced firepower as being anything other than a "sharpes rifles" viewpoint.
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Re: Napoleonic HITS Game March 21-22

Post  WJPalmer on Mon Mar 23, 2015 8:25 pm

There's lots of fodder for comment in Matt's posts, so I'll just address a couple of his analysis points that I find especially interesting. First, and least important, the result in yesterday's French/British affair had more than one cause or turning point. In fact, there were several. MJP is quick to point to the premature destruction of the French 5th Division as important, which is true enough, but there were other contributing factors as well e.g., the French choice to firefight with the British "Amazons" in the southeast lowlands rather than letting the guns work them over as they ran the gauntlet to their northern comrades; the loss of guns during the last Brit counter-attack down the hill, and the early engagement with the Brits on the southeast slope before the final French attack occurred a full 20+ minutes before scheduled -- 20 minutes where the French would have enjoyed almost complete gun superiority with which to soften up those lobsterbacks.

Second, the suggestion that good, experienced infantry commanders shouldn't really have difficulty countering marauding cavalry, and what we should be doing is adding more cavalry is, pardon me, crazy talk. In practice it may be just the opposite. The problem isn't so much one of experience (or lack thereof) in these situations as it is proximity. This is a hole in the game engine and not just something the poor bastages playing infantry should be expected to suck up. Experienced or not, a player can only be in one place at a time. A leader commanding a large infantry division can keep his brigades under tight control, he has an advantage. But this isn't always the case. A savvy CinC will often give his more difficult assignments, those that require covering an extended front, to more experienced players. That is where, IMO, play typically degenerates into kind of a very ahistorical and elaborate perversion of whack-a-mole, where one or two squadrons can effectively paralyze an entire division because its commander can't leave the side of his most threatened unit(s). My suggestion to close this debate is simply to be sure Matt gets more large infantry division assignments in the future.  Smile

One point we may be glossing over too is that while we're focusing on finding the OOB/Organizational sweet spot for our ad hoc scenarios, we should avoid one-size-fits-all solutions. I welcome Kevin's willingness to experiment, and I'm excited about the new cavalry adjustments. But if sometime he wants to channel Ney and simulate the big cavalry attack behind the ridge at Waterloo, that's fine too. Variety is good, so long as we don't get too caught up in the play-balance thing.
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Re: Napoleonic HITS Game March 21-22

Post  MJP on Mon Mar 23, 2015 10:50 pm

In my defense, I didn't have a choice but to fight them, they advanced on the guns so I had no choice but to commit the infantry to fight them.   Unfortunately the guns can't get away faster than the enemy can advance on them.    I did have my guns at under 300 yards range, but i had to.  They had very few if any targets at further ranges due to the woods.  I would have much preferred to keep them back at 450 yards.   Truth be told, i was expecting at some point that they would do this and knew if they did, that's when the battle would begin.   Their only alternative was to retreat to behind the crest of the hill and in that case, our guns are no longer of use and we have to go in.   Result = same without 5th division. 

As for the cavalry, perhaps you guys are right and that there just aren't enough players for more cavalry commands.   I just would like to see some battles where there isn't that big cavalry fight in the middle and then it's basically an ACW game after that.    I'd like to see heavies in reserve used to support an attack.   As the scouting light cavalry seems to invariably mix it up, seems to me the way to get this is to have another cavalry group under C-in-C control or other player control.  In these games where the cavalry spends itself early, the battles lose the Napoleonic feel.
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Re: Napoleonic HITS Game March 21-22

Post  SolInvictus202 on Tue Mar 24, 2015 4:36 pm

as for WJPalmer's post: well put.

the French vs British battle had the usual problem:

one side had to attack, one had to defend - but both sides had pretty much equal numbers - this can never work at all - if you have equal numbers you need meeting engagements - period - because if you attack you usually have a fair advantage in numbers or quality or whatever.
the one thing Kevin did however, was split the British force in two - thus giving the French the option to defeat them in detail!
Kevin had direct orders to cover EJ on his way to my position on the hill - which he did - unfortunately - with the French cavalry having a very aggressive commander - that lead to an early cavalry slaughter.. it was unavoidable - but then again this wasn't the usual fight of two armies being setup and then advance against each other!
had EJ not been able to get out with his hair intact and had Kevin been unable to destroy some units early on the British would have most definitely lost this fight in a terrible, terrible fashion!

To fix this a defending side would have to be significantly weaker than the attacking side, but Kevin said it himself: players won't be very happy to see unbalanced scenarios! - why is that? - no idea - because the scenarios will still have the option for both sides to win...

just look at Saturday's fight: the Austrians had excellent terrain and started in the SW corner of the map - having equal numbers as the French - but only one objective - cover the city... honestly? an impossible task for the French - even more so with the terrain! All they had to do was to hug the objective, pick the best terrain around and wait - take all the time in the world to position the guns, create a reserve to support the area of attack and win...
To be honest I never thought we'd get that first hill, once I spotted troops on it - so we did a lot better than expected - but still - if that was real life: give the French one or two more divisions and we are talking!
The scenario could still be winnable for both sides - with the Austrians having the option to only have to defend the objective for a certain period of time - and putting the French under more pressure.
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Re: Napoleonic HITS Game March 21-22

Post  Mr. Digby on Tue Mar 24, 2015 5:16 pm

Not related to the current debate but I would like to take issue with the opinion that the Peninsular War was "a sideshow". I am saying this even though I am British - I don't feel my national prejudices enter into this, one only has to look at the numbers:

1) The Peninsular was the longest campaign of the Napoleonic wars by a significant margin - all other campaigns were done in a year at most, and several in under a year. The Peninsular war lasted from June 1808 to the late spring of 1814 and fighting was almost continuous.

2) Napoleon was able to speedily and comprehensively trounce all other opponents - Russia, Prussia, Austria, some of them several times and enforce humiliating treaties and peace deals onto them. He never got close to defeating the Spanish and his oppression of Portugal was short-lived. The greatest military mind of the age completely underestimated the depth of feeling and commitment from an entire nation, something pretty much unheard of at that time except for the American Colonies in 1775-1783.

3) The French had committed over 350,000 troops by mid-1811. Add to this the losses suffered prior and the troops sent later after the French high-water mark. This is significantly more than in any other campaigns except for 1812 and 1813.

4) Napoleon's lack of presence in the theatre does not mean it was a sideshow at all; it merely demonstrates that it was a 'second front' and one man can't be in two places at once - it also perhaps demonstrates that he underestimated the potential of Anglo-Portuguese-Spanish capability because he chose not to oversee the war in person, however many skilled French marshals fought in Spain and it was the ruin of several of them - probably the only senior French commander to make a lasting reputation in the Peninsular was Suchet.

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Re: Napoleonic HITS Game March 21-22

Post  SolInvictus202 on Tue Mar 24, 2015 5:19 pm

I always thought one could compare the Peninsular campaign to the North Africa campaign in WW II...

Both, the French and the Germans did not want to be there in the first place, but had to for almost similar reasons, neither side fully committed to the theatres... yet for the British it was the main event.... both campaigns had the same outcome in the end... which may well have contributed to the demise of both countries!
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Re: Napoleonic HITS Game March 21-22

Post  Mr. Digby on Tue Mar 24, 2015 5:32 pm

The French definitely wanted to be in Spain and Portugal. They installed a puppet ruler just as they had done in many other European states, they wanted to close the ports to potential British trade, to enforce the sending of military forces to swell France's armies and as a source of tax revenue (both had significant and rich South American empires that Napoleon thought would be a source of gold). If you haven't already done so, have a read of the political relationship between Spain and France from the 1780s to 1808, it shows a clear and belligerent French intent with Spain as a deeply reluctant 'ally' who tried to avoid many of her commitments to their alliance with Republican and later Imperial France.

The war was really an outcome of Napoleon's arrogance and diplomatic ineptitude - he was a great soldier but a terrible politician.

The war didn't damage Britain at all; she went on in the next 75 years to reinforce her position as the dominant world power, especially as regards trade and industrialism. Only by 1900 were Germany and the USA overtaking her in key areas.

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Re: Napoleonic HITS Game March 21-22

Post  SolInvictus202 on Tue Mar 24, 2015 5:57 pm

well the Germans did know about the importance of North Africa, especially Suez as well - just figured that the Italians would be more of a fighting force than they really were, then there was timing - basically starting with the Balkan campaign - which was all not planned, since all the preparations were already under way for Barbarossa...
someone must have failed to inform the Germans that Italian tanks are the only vehicles in the world with more gears for going backward than forward!


I completely agree that the French wanted Spain, but did they want to be IN Spain? Did they want to fight over it on their own? who would have thought that making ones own brother king would aggrevate the Spanish? Smile
Did they realize that those colonies in the west would only accumulate money if the sea was actually in French hands? with Napoleon at the helm, and his stance on the navy over all? I doubt it - if they knew, they certainly didn't do a whole lot to ensure naval supremacy - especially after Trafalgar...

I am certainly not an expert on this subject, so I will most happily accept your arguments for it - it just always felt that had Napoleon regarded this theatre as the primary one, he would have stayed out of Russia and made sure that the Peninsular was French. No matter the argument he had with Russia- had he thought the British in Spain would be a real problem he would have sent 800,000 men to Spain and not to Russia... he paid for his misjudgement in full...

but then again, size and ego might have been a determining factor in his decision to attack Russia....


Last edited by SolInvictus202 on Tue Mar 24, 2015 6:01 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Napoleonic HITS Game March 21-22

Post  Martin on Tue Mar 24, 2015 6:00 pm

Back from sunny Spain for a moment.............

I’m with Matt on the cavalry front, and would like to see historical proportions of cavalry in our games.  The Peninsular may be an exception, but a typical Napoleonic army would have more squadrons than battalions.  When we first started playing Napoleonics, we held back on cavalry numbers because folks found it hard to control.  Now it seems we hold back on them because they use it too effectively!

The inability of the AI to form square is a genuine issue however, so here is a possible - somewhat radical - solution.  Remove the cavalry squadron flags.  This would discourage micro-management by cavalry commanders, and reduce the opportunity to use single squadrons to pick off stray battalions.  Note this would still allow commanders to go off scouting with a squadron, by accessing an individual unit through the OOB.  
You could of course use this method to peel off a single squadron to go hunting – that did happen so I don’t think it should be entirely eliminated.   It’s just that it would make it more cumbersome to do it, and therefore less practical, as you typically need to react very quickly.  And with more enemy cavalry around it could a dangerous thing to do.

If we try this, I would avoid giving a pure cavalry commander less than a division, for three reasons:

- there is more cavalry to be commanded.  A lot more.  But the same number of players, so each has to command more

- to further discourage micro-management

- it could make for a very short game for cavalry boys if they only have one brigade, which they would now normally use en-masse.  A historical 2 brigades plus a battery should make for an interesting command, with a bit of resilience and variety.

Here’s another suggested change.  The current scoring system is very crude at the best of times, and really quite inappropriate for Napoleonic warfare, in that it does not reflect the worth of the various arms.  It greatly flatters the cavalry commanders – and I speak as a cavalryman!  This encourages unhistorical behaviour.  I think it was Clausewitz who said that the cost & value of a battalion, a squadron and a battery were about the same.  But in the game, that is not so.  A cavalry commander who successfully attacks several battalions, but loses several of his squadrons in the process, will normally have a big plus score.  But historically this would have been a poor result.  A year or so ago, Kevin came up with an alternative scoring system, which better reflected the true cost/value of each arm.  So we could try using that.

Worth a test game chaps?

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Re: Napoleonic HITS Game March 21-22

Post  MJP on Tue Mar 24, 2015 8:29 pm

 Not related to the current debate but I would like to take issue with the opinion that the Peninsular War was "a sideshow". I am saying this even though I am British - I don't feel my national prejudices enter into this, one only has to look at the numbers:


Sideshow Definition:  a minor show or exhibition in connection with a principal one


The Peninsula War as most assuredly a sideshow.   


Further, when Napoleon himself was present on the campaign, the French destroyed or put to flight everyone they encountered.  He definitely underestimated the level of ongoing resistance and probably shouldn't be been there at all as the possible gains of success weren't worth the effort required.  But either way, Napoleon was never going to lose his Empire based solely on happenings on the Peninsula.  His Empire was directly tied however to the success or failure of the campaigns in central Europe. 


Sorry Martin, I know you UK guys take quite a bit of pride in it and after 1815, coincidentally the only other major campaign the English were involved in, it is certainly the most wargamed and possibly most studied campaign.   This fact certainly elevates it's actual importance.  


Was it a nuisance for the French?  Of course.   But it wasn't Russia in 1812, it wasn't Leipzig, and it never carried the same weight as any of the other French campaigns in 1805, 1806, 1807, etc. etc. etc.   Those campaigns were fought for the survival of the "French Revolution."  Spain simply wasn't nearly on that level.
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Re: Napoleonic HITS Game March 21-22

Post  Mr. Digby on Tue Mar 24, 2015 8:46 pm

Sideshow Definition: a minor show or exhibition in connection with a principal one

I agree that may be a dictionary definition of a sideshow, but the peninsular was not "a minor show or exhibition in connection with a principal one." By that definition every single campaign, be it 1805, 1807, or 1812 was a sideshow if we view the entire Napoleonic wars as the principal event.

The Peninsular was a long and bitter campaign that was an integral part of Napoleon's downfall, in every respect that Moscow, Leipzig and Waterloo were.

You can't view "the peninsular" and "1805" "1812" "1813" or any other campaign in isolation. They were all significant links that made up a whole chain of political and military struggle. Without the peninsular campaign Napoleon may have triumphed in Russia - we cannot surmise anything but it is a possibility - the Iberian conflict undoubtedly sapped immense strength and resources from Napoleon's efforts elsewhere and in that respect all the campaigns were inextricably linked. None were sideshows.

I can also claim that above all else, even the lost blood and lives of Germans, Russians, Dutchmen, Austrians and Hungarians, what beat Napoleon was the British Pound. All of the Coalition armies, without exception, were supported by British money.

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"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: Napoleonic HITS Game March 21-22

Post  MJP on Tue Mar 24, 2015 9:07 pm

By that definition every single campaign, be it 1805, 1807, or 1812 was a sideshow if we view the entire Napoleonic wars as the principal event.

Well, we'll have to agree to disagree.   Napoleon was never going to lose either Paris or his crown because of events in the Peninsula.  Further, major events within a larger event can't really be a sideshow as I understand it.  To have a sideshow, you'd have to have concurrent events. 

The Peninsular was a long and bitter campaign that was an integral part of Napoleon's downfall, in every respect that Moscow, Leipzig and Waterloo were.

I absolutely agree, it was a long and bitter campaign.  I absolutely disagree it played the same role as the Russian Campaign or 1813 Saxony campaign in his downfall.  In fact, if Napoleon doesn't invade Russia he probably doesn't have a downfall, but rather dies of old age on his throne.   The same simply cannot be said of the Peninsula. 

You can't view "the peninsular" and "1805" "1812" "1813" or any other campaign in isolation.  


Sure you can.  Each, except the Peninsula was decisive and the main axis of military operations.  It's only the Peninsula that can't be viewed on it's own, it has to be coupled with other events to find the same level of significance.   


Without the peninsular campaign Napoleon may have triumphed in Russia - we cannot surmise anything but it is a possibility - the Iberian conflict undoubtedly sapped immense strength and resources from Napoleon's efforts elsewhere and in that respect all the campaigns were inextricably linked. None were sideshows.

That's reaching.   He brought in 650,000 men and countless other material for the Russian campaign.  A hundred thousand or even 300,000 more weren't going to change the result as it wasn't the Russians killing the French/Allies, it was primarily disease and later the weather.   Remember, he conquered Moscow.  Having another 100,000 French there weren't going to change the result of the campaign.   One could argue that events on the Peninsular perhaps factored into his thinking of weather to retreat or winter in Moscow, but even if he winters there, what the hell was going to do, march east to the Urals?   He lost the Russian campaign the moment the Russians decided to retreat and when they decided not to surrender or make peace under any circumstances.   The disaster there has little to do with Spain and far more reaching consequences than any other campaign in his eventual defeat.    

I can also claim that above all else, even the lost blood and lives of Germans, Russians, Dutchmen, Austrians and Hungarians, what beat Napoleon was the British Pound. All of the Coalition armies, without exception, were supported by British money.


On this, we agree 100%.  I never said that the English didn't defeat Napoleon, only that the Peninsular War was a sideshow militarily.
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