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SOWWL KS----Waterloo Historical Battle---Half Scale---- 1:7 Sprite Ratio

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SOWWL KS----Waterloo Historical Battle---Half Scale---- 1:7 Sprite Ratio

Post  Mr. Doran on Thu Nov 23, 2017 12:43 am

With the release of the NSD mapping tools I am finally able to start bringing historical battles to KS at a scale where the entire battle can be played on a single map in a single session and most importantly to make them run as smoothly as possible.

The first battle I am constructing is Waterloo because a lot of the work was already done by NorbSoft with the terrain and topography maps completed the only thing needed then was to scale everything down. The current version I am working on is approximately half scale to the original map consequentially large swaths of the battlefield can be viewed at the default view limit making a battle this large more realistically playable in HITS, at small player counts, and makes it quite immersive.

-The map scale is roughly half therefore the unit scale I am using is also half.
-Target battle time for this battle and most battles made after this is 90 minutes.
Reasoning is battle is roughly 9.5 hours long, map and unit size is cut in half, and the KS according to its developers plays out at about three times the historical speed.
9.5/2/3=1.583 hours
Translates into One real time minute = 6.33 game accelerated time minutes.
If you see any obvious flaws in the math or want to suggest some thing else feel free to comment.

Screen shots battlefield so far

Every cavalry regiment was kept intact but reduced by half strength. Most infantry battalions for the Anglo Allies had to be merged and half'd in order to keep scale and proportions correct. Lots of attention was paid to preserve the unit statistics for the Anglo Allied units; only units with similar or exact stats were merged and if the uniforms did not match they were not merged. The French are easier to deal with as almost every division follows the same structure. Artillery was also reduced proportionally but not by quite as much as half; probably closer to 2/5 or 1/4.

Only thing left on the agenda before I try to arrange a test game is to reduce the range of canister, shot, and small arms to fit the new scale. The scenario runs very well but I have not tested it over multiplayer yet but I think it will hold up.

Please comment your thoughts, interest, or lack thereof.

I'll get some screen shots up of what d'Elron's attack looks like before I head off.

Gifs of d'Elron's advance

P.S. Yes I know the sunken road is not very sunken right now I will fix it later.

Special thanks to Kevin for being my only source of help at this point.

Steam contact:
Mr. Doran
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Re: SOWWL KS----Waterloo Historical Battle---Half Scale---- 1:7 Sprite Ratio

Post  Didz on Thu Nov 23, 2017 3:04 pm

Hi Mr Doran,

I thought I'd just mention that you ought to probably check the topography of the battlefield between the central crossroads of the Charleroi and Wavre roads and the allied left.  

Whilst SOWWL refers to its scenario in this area as 'The Sunken Road' my own research suggests that the road was not in fact sunken for the majority of its length.  My own research suggests that after emerging from the deep cuttings that all four roads went through to meet at the crossroads the road to Wavre followed a path along the exposed face of the ridge and as was typical of farm tracks of this period it was levelled to allow heavily laden farm carts to navigate it without risk of overturning on the slope.  

This meant that whilst the northern side of the road (towards the French) was relatively flat except for normal wear and tear, the northern side (the allied side) was banked quite steeply where the road had been cut into the slope of the ridge to keep it level (the height being dependent upon the steepness of the slope).  The hedges on the northern side lined the top of the bank, presumably to prevent soil erosion or snow drifting down the bank onto the road.  Primary accounts record that D'Erlons columns had reached this road and were in the process of climbing the bank on the far side and forcing their way through the hedge at the top when the Union Brigade attacked.  Hence, they did not see the cavalry coming due to the bank and hedge and were taken completely by surprise, as indeed were the cavalry who on approaching the hedge down the slope urged their horses to leap over it without realising that there was a significant drop to the road beyond which was also full of French infantry.  One French officer reports that he was in the process of urging his men up the bank when suddenly enemy cavalry literally lept into their midst landing amongst them and creating complete panic.

Another significant feature missing from the SOWWL map is the small hill which peaked at 150' (25' higher than the surrounding ridge) just behind the road about halfway along its journey across the ridge.  Here it seems that the road builders did create a short cutting to try and keep the road level as it cut through the rising ground of the hills northern flank.

Finally, the other feature I've read about but not been able to find on any maps (not even Siborne's) is mentioned in passing by both Vivian and Vandeleur in their dispute over who was to blame for not supporting the Union Brigade, is 'The Shambles' which according to them was an large area of cultivated ground dotted with numerous huts, fences and other obstructions that delayed the movement of their cavalry to assist Ponsonby's Brigade.  Both accused the other of dithering and taking too long to navigate this obstacle, but so far I've not found any other evidence of its existence.  

Based upon the location of Vivian and Vandeleur's cavalry at the time and the location of Jacquinots Lancers that they were trying to intercept it must have been somewhere between the small hill and the junction with the road to Smohain. Possibly some sort of overspill from Pappelotte, and perhaps an area of smallholdings used by local farm labourers (like modern day allotments) which would explain all the fences and huts mentioned.  But so, far the only evidence I've seen has been in the letters arguing about whose fault it was that it took so long to cross.

Last edited by Didz on Fri Nov 24, 2017 2:25 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: SOWWL KS----Waterloo Historical Battle---Half Scale---- 1:7 Sprite Ratio

Post  Uncle Billy on Thu Nov 23, 2017 4:17 pm

You will also want to slow the marching/running speeds appropriately, along with the all the arty and musket ranges. Secondary would be the speed bonus/mallus set in some of the formations and terrain.

I can make this march and I will make Georgia howl.
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Ferrais 1777 map

Post  petrus58 on Fri Nov 24, 2017 1:01 pm

Hi, you may already be aware of this map, which in any event predates Waterloo by some some 40 years, but just in case here is a link:


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Re: SOWWL KS----Waterloo Historical Battle---Half Scale---- 1:7 Sprite Ratio

Post  Mr. Doran on Sun Nov 26, 2017 1:29 am

You seem to be quite the scholar on Waterloo Didz so I have a question for you. Where do you think the grand battery was really placed during the initial bombardment of the Allied left. The vanilla game depicts it pretty close up to LHS but sources vary the placement. If I reduce the ranges of the artillery from their present values by half the closer position to LHS would be the only place where six pound cannon could hit the lines from.

Thank you for the map Petrus. The map may come in handy if I ever try to create a map that has Quatre Bra and Waterloo on a single map. If I can use some of the 10x10 maps I could potentially fit Wavre or Ligny with the QB and Waterloo as well.
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Re: SOWWL KS----Waterloo Historical Battle---Half Scale---- 1:7 Sprite Ratio

Post  Didz on Sun Nov 26, 2017 2:28 pm

I'm not sure I qualify as a scholar on Waterloo, but I have spent most of my adult life piecing together various aspects of the battle to try and unravel the truth from all the myth's and propaganda that have been created about it.

As far as your question regarding the grand battery is concerned I would first have to qualify my answer by saying that in my opinion there was no grand battery at Waterloo.  I think a lot of historians refer to the grand battery as a lazy way of identifying the batteries assigned to the pre-attack bombardment of the Allied positions.  

The tactical concept of the grand battery was simply that, a tactical concept not a physical thing.  The idea being that every French Corps had at it's disposal a number of heavy field batteries (8pdr and 12 pdr guns) which would when circumstances dictated be combined to provide a pre-assault bombardment of the enemy positions.  Which batteries were so deployed and how long they remained in that role was a tactical decision pf the commanders not an organisational imperative, although generally 12 pdr batteries remained in that role longer than the 8 pdrs which were frequently ordered forward to provide closer support once the assault was underway.

As far as the placement of these batteries was concerned on the French right, I'm inclined to accept the view shown on Geocart Map 71 which I bought when I visited the battlefield.  This certainly seems to show the deployment of D'Erlons Divisions more accurately than most British maps with Alix (Quiot) on the corps left, which is where I believe he was in order that his divisions light infantry regiments were readily available to provide a screen for the corps left flank and to invest La Haye Sainte.  Certainly the 13e Legere features heavily in the fighting on that flank and so it seems reasonable to assume that the division was on that flank specifically for that purpose rather than in the centre where they are often shown.

The same map shows the batteries of D'Erlons Corps ranged in an arc about 100-150 metres north of the road between La Belle Alliance and Papelote.  The ground along this road peaks at about 130 metres close to vers Genappe (La belle alliance) and then gradually falls away to around 105 metres as it approaches Chapel St.Roch (Papelotte).

That battery placement for the French was a problem is apparent from the topography and from the journals of the artillery officer responsible to choosing the positions of the guns.  For at least half the distance from the vers Genappe the line of fire towards the Allied ridge was masked by a secondary ridge (or rise) of ground which reaches 125 metres just 400-500 metres from the road.  This secondary ridge was at least 10 metres higher than the location of La Haye Sainte and effectively masked all direct fire on it , or anything between it and the Allied ridge.  

More importantly it was almost exactly at the distance that shots from the French batteries would make their 1st graze in their passage towards the allied line, and even more annoying the 2nd graze would have dropped out of sight beyond it to hit the foot of the Allied ridge meaning that French gun captains first of all had the difficult choice of trying to elevate their guns to fire over it, which would have shortened their range significantly, and secondly they couldn't actually see the fall of their shot beyond it.

Ideally the French would have liked to place their guns on this secondary ridge thus avoiding the problem, but as I mentioned earlier the officer sent to place the gun markers on that ridge found himself under rifle fire from the orchard of La Haye Sainte and abandoned the idea.  I think i'm right in saying that one gun tried to come up but that it's gun team were felled by rifle fire before they could even get into position, and the whole thing was abandoned until after the assault had started.  In fact, I'm pretty certain that it was these guns trying to finally get into position on the secondary ridge which were overrun by Union brigade during the British cavalry attack, as why else would they have found French guns still with their limber teams in close attendance so long after the start of the battle.

Further along the road between La Belle Alliance and Papelotte the secondary ridge drops away and so from about 800 metres along the gun line in front of D'Elons Corps there was a clear line of sight right across the valley to the Allied ridge.  Unfortunately, the height of the French ridge has also dropped as stated earlier and now although the French gun captains can see their targets across the valley their guns are now at least 5-10 metres lower than the targets they are firing at.  More importantly the ground in between drops away by at least 10 metres before climbing again towards the Allied position which means once again that French gun captains were left with a hobson's choice of firing a zero elevation and having their shot drop to the floor of the valley 500 metres below and then try to bounce them up the opposite slope, or to add elevation and try to lob their shot across the valley floor where it would hit the front face of the Allied ridge at a less than opportune angle and probably bury itself.  The difficulties they faced are probably best evidenced by the fact that Bylandts Brigade were able to stand their ground on the forward slope of the Allied ridge with sustainable casualties until the French assault drove them off.

So, all in all the French artillery supporting D'Erlons assault were not in an ideal situation.  The individual guns themselves would have been placed carefully in the best locations their officers could find, so some guns might have had better firing lines than others but generally speaking most of the guns on the French right were at a disadvantage at least until they were able to move forward after the initial bombardment.

By comparison the Allied guns had much better lines of fire, particularly on the extreme left where the height of the Allied ridge gave them a clear line of fire on any French columns crossing the valley below.  Their fire in the centre would have been masked by the same secondary ridge that masked the French guns but two guns from Rosses battery RHA were positioned just above La Haye Sainte where they were intended to provide close support for the defenders of the farm and protect the road from any French attack towards the crossroads.  Unfortunately, these two guns were overrun by Crabbe's Cuirassiers very early in the action which effectively meant that the battle around La Haie Sainte was remarkably without effective artillery support from either side for the entire battle.

P.S. It's almost impossible to determine what choices the French gun captains made about elevation during the opening bombardment but my personal belief is that most chose to elevate their pieces to try and skip their shot across the valley floor and as high up the opposite slope as they could. This seems to tie in with the Allied reports of shot bouncing over head height on the 2nd and 3rd graze, and that the British cavalry were able to avoid most of its effects simply by dismounting and standing beside their horses.

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Re: SOWWL KS----Waterloo Historical Battle---Half Scale---- 1:7 Sprite Ratio

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