If my heavy Roman Cohort wishes to enter the woods, it would spend an order to form into open order, spend an order to move through the woods at no move penalty because of open formation. Our cohort would have to spend it's last order to form back into a formed infantry unit to have the capability to attack other formed infantry units. If our cohort did not have enough orders to form up and was still in open order, and was charged by a formed enemy infantry unit, would our open order cohort be able to evade this charge. And when charged in this example, would the charging enemy infantry unit be penalized the -1 to hit versus open order infantry, thus negating his +1 charge bonus, or would the enemy charger maintain his +1 charge bonus because our open order cohort will form back up at the moment of clash melee and no longer be considered to be in open order? Am I totally off base with this interpertation?
Units like your cohort, must revert to closed order as soon as they can on exiting the wood. Some will say that this happens automatically and others will say, as you have done, that it should require a full move. So, with the unit being in Open Order, they can attempt to evade. If they decide to stand, they would reform as per the section on page 59, second paragraph of the second column.
Regarding the other questions, even though they may no longer be relevant to the example given. The -1 to hit only applies if the charging unit is in Open Order, not the target unit, so it will not negate the charge bonus if the chargers are a Formed unit.
Thanks for your response Al, I wonder how many players use the automatic forming up versus an order, it seems my interpertation of the order sequence allows for all formed units to benefit from open order abilities that heavy foot should not get, by simply allowing my cohort to revert back to it's formed status when exiting the woods, actually prevents a nasty can of worms from being opened. What do other players think about these 2 methods of dealing with woods on the battlefields?
There isn't a lot you can do about it, really. There is no real penalty for being in Open Order. The woods are impassable to close order. You could introduce a -1 combat modifier for being a formed unit caught in Open Order in such situations or perhaps class the unit as disordered if charged. If you change the rules for woods, then you can't refight some of the battles, like Teutoborgwald.