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Firepower of skirmisher

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Post  dogtail on Thu Apr 04, 2019 12:22 pm

The Firepower of two Züge of skirmisher without cover up to 100 paces is between 7 and 50 points, 1828 gives that between 15 and 30 points.
How many many soldiers are represented firing? Two Züge (III and IV)are going forward, half will stay as a reserve(soutiens), so one zug will deploy in pairs and do the actual firing, is that right?

300 form the third rank, those will form 4 Züge, a Zug is approximately 75 soldiers incl. command, those troops would inflic up to 250 or 150 casualties if they can fire for 2 min at a short distance on troops in line.
Do I understand that correctly?

cheers

dogtail

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Post  dogtail on Thu Apr 11, 2019 11:49 am

BTW, my intent was not to indicate that the casualtie numbers are to high, I only want to know if the skirmisher are deployed in the usual way in two man teams with reserves close behind or "en grande bande".

cheers

dogtail

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Post  Martin on Fri Apr 12, 2019 12:20 pm

Hi there.

Sorry you have not yet had a response.  If no-one else gets back to you on this, I will try and do so early next week Smile

Martin (J)

Martin

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Post  Martin on Fri Apr 19, 2019 11:39 am

Hi again

Apologies again for delayed response.  It’s been a busy week.

Have now had a look at this.  I must admit I’m a bit rusty, as our group has moved away from a strict application of the original Prussian rules.  When the military used them for training purposes, it was important to keep track of casualties for example, as it was primarily a training exercise.  Also, there was no shortage of young officers who could be ordered to play........and umpire.  But we aim to play for fun, and to produce a reasonably fast game, so it’s necessary to reduce the admin.

Anyway, here are some thoughts.  Various versions of the rules have been published.  I’m working from Bill Leeson’s 1983 edition of the 1824 rules, and also from his 2000 edition of the 1828 supplement.  The later TFL versions may be more explanatory, so you might want to check them out.

According to the 1824 rules a battalion would normally deploy between 2 and 4 zugs as skirmishers.  At a distance of up to 100 yds, they would inflict, between them, 7 – 50 losses in 2 minutes.  That agrees with the figures you quoted.  The casualty-rate seems high, but I suspect that most firing was at longer ranges. At over 200 yds for example, the range is 2-16.

It may well be that, on reflection, Reisswitz and his chums decided that losses were still too high, as you quote a lower range from the 1828 supplement.  Unfortunately my copy of 1828 does not include revised figures!  However it does contain the following note, which seems to address what I think is your main question:

Note on skirmishers. In the Prussian army at this time the third rank was used for skirmishers.  When skirmish order was called the third rank would form four squads of about 25 men each behind the line – two on the left and two on the right.  At either end one of the squads would stay behind the line as reserve, the other would advance forward about 100 paces. At 100 paces half the forward squad at each end would stay in close order as supports, and the rest (about 25 men) would advance another 250 paces or so and working in pairs would spread out to cover the length of the line with about 5 to 10 paces between each pair. If the skirmish line suffered casualties they would be replenished from the supports, which in turn could be replenished from the reserves.  In the case of skirmishers ahead of the column, the reserves would stay behind the column and the supports and skirmishers would advance in front of it. For skirmishers in the intervals, again the reserves would take up position behind the column, and the skirmishers would spread out to either side of the battalion, with their supports at a small distance behind them.  If the opposition drove in a battalion’s skirmish line I presume the reserves would have to be sent out to replace them which would be bound to take a few minutes, especially if the had to advance some 350 paces forwards.

My reading of this is that only 100 men of the third line (ie a third, as a battalion was 900 men) would be deployed as skirmishers at any one time, and that this included a reserve and supports.  That seems like a pretty weak skirmish-line, but did allow for frequent rotation.  The implication of the 1824 rules is that you could always deploy more of course, at the cost of being unable to sustain that effort for as long.

Hope that helps.  If anyone else has a more informed view, I would be happy to be corrected  Wink

Martin (J)

Martin

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