I interpret traversing fire as fire at enemy moving within 12", who move at least half way across the unikts frontage, and who end in a position that means they could not be fired at in your own turn. So basically 2 situations:
1. Against a unit that charges friends within your front arc or passing through it to make the charge. 2. Against a unit that moves through your front arc but finishes outside it.
Is that what everyone else does?
Also, one of our chaps is a bit uncertain about it, as he is concerned that traversing fire can basically give you a free shot in your own turn (if you do traversing fire, and get the command roll there is nothing to stop you turning and firing again in your own turn).
What is the rationale for traversing fire as people see it? Also, could Rick clarify when traversing fire applies and what it represents/is there to stop?
Regarding your friend's concern, I am not sure that I understand. Are you saying that your friend thinks that a unit can fire traversing fire during his own turn and then order the same unit and fire again? If so, this is incorrect. Traversing fire only occurs during your opponent's turn. The only time that a unit is likely to meet the criteria for Traversing fire in your own turn is when a unit of cavalry is charged and that unit reacts with a counter charge. An opponent's unit cannot charge during your turn. If your unit gives traversing fire during your own turn, it will count as that unit's firing for that turn.
A unit can only fire once per turn, whether that be during the normal shooting phase or during your opponent's turn as Traversing or closing fire. Further, if your unit fires Traversing fire and is then subsequently charged, it cannot give closing fire.
I would agree with your interpretation of how Traversing fire works.
You friend makes an interesting point about getting a 'double' shot. Also in looking at this we need to agree on what is meant by a 'turn'. We all remember the confusion that a lot of players had about what a 'turn' was in respect of disorder. which was later clarified in the FAQ.
When we think of a complete Turn we usually mean:
a) Red Turn. Red completes all his moving, shooting and fighting. b) Blue Turn. Blue completes all his moving, shooting and fighting.
This is explained on page 22. So the next Blue Player Turn after the above would be Turn 2 b).
The rule says "if the unit shoots as described then it has discharged its fire and won't be ready to shoot again until its own turn".
So if Red traverses Blue and is shot at in phase a) then I would say Blues own turn is phase b) and it could then (orders permitting) turn and shoot the same target again. So Blue effectively got two shots in Turn 1.
If in phase b) Blue traverses Red and is shot at then Red's next turn is Turn 2 phase a) in which as above it can shoot again. So Red shot in Turn 1 phase b) and Turn 2 phase a).
So in two consecutive phases a unit can fire twice in certain circumstances. In this respect it is similar to Closing Fire as that also allows a unit the opportunity to fire in two consecutive phases.
The alternative would be to not allow Traversing Fire at all as in Lasalle. That draws its own share of criticism. Or to have a mechanism like that in say Fire & Fury where a unit can fire in its turn at anything that passes through its firing zone at a time and place of the firers choosing. In other words you mentally record the track that the enemy unit followed in its turn and then you can fire at any part of that track in your turn even though now the toys are physically in a different place.
All these issues are an artefact of the artificiality of having an IGO UGO system and dividing the continuum of time into artificial discrete units. These are issues that all game designers face and all solutions create some degree of artificiality and abstraction. Each gamer decides for himself which abstractions are most attractive to him and selects his rule set of choice accordingly.
So your friend has raised a good point. Whether it is an issue is in the eye of the beholder.
"if you do traversing fire, and get the command roll there is nothing to stop you turning and firing again in your own turn"
What I meant was, if you give traversing fire in your opponents turn, ie when they move, you could then give a command to turn and fire again in your own turn, giving you in effect a "free" fire in your opponents turn. I think its my poor use of "turn" that is confusing you.
To clarify turns in the context of my question:
A turn is two halves, red and blue. In your own half of a turn you can make up to three moves.
So relating to traversing fire, I see it that you could in your opponents half of a turn give traversing fire, then in your next own half of a turn you could give an order to wheel to put the unit back in arc, and fire again, so firing in both halves of a turn.
I see. And you and your friend think this to be wrong? If so then you must surely think that closing fire is wrong too, because this is another reaction very similar to Traversing Fire, in fact, the only difference is that the enemy unit is not moving across your unit's front but moving into combat with it. Yet a unit that performs closing fire and then wins the combat, can then be ordered to move wherever and shoot again in a similar manner to that which your friend mentions. Indeed, even if your unit is defeated and forced to retire disordered, it can still fire during your turn. So, if you eliminate Traversing Fire, you must eliminate Closing Fire for the very same reason.
Of course, you can always look upon the fact that all units represent a large body of men, but strangely, only get three representative shots. So, being allowed to fire once out of sequence is only representative of others within the unit managing to fire as well. For example, the front rank kneeling down after firing so that the rear rank can fire when able.
Al - My friend is questioning it, I have no problem with it.
I think it is different to closing fire. Closing fire is a reaction to being charged. After many first rounds of combat the fight continues, so there is not a "double fire" going on.
With traversing fire you can, on more occassions, get a "double fire", ie, fire in your opponents half of the turn, manouvere and fire in your own half as well.
So I see them as mostly different in their effects and the situations in which they occur.
As nobody has posted to say "no we don't play it" or "we modified it so if you do traversing fire you can't then fire in your own next go", then it appears not to have produced howls of derision on tables worldwide!
You could argue that there is a triple fire with Closing Fire.
Red fires at Blue in Red's turn - first fire. Blue then charges Red. Red has closing fire - second fire. Then there is a close combat which in the rules is defined as including firing at less than 20 yards that doesn't necessarily result in hand to hand fighting - third fire. All in two back to back 'player turns'. Same time period as the two back to back player turns that happen in the Traversing scenario.
It's just a rule mechanic. The outcome is more important than the process.
I don't recall it coming up in any posts or conversations in the last two years so I think most players are pretty comfortable with it.
But as I said in the previous post well spotted by your friend
Jason, I know that a combat can go on for many rounds, but it can also only last one round, in which case the same situation arises and the victorious unit could be given an order to move and shoot in the next command phase. If you look at the third paragraph on page 52 it does say that a unit firing Traversing Fire cannot then fire Closing Fire. They use the same rules for firing out of sequence and so are similar. This is why I see them differently to you.
As I understand it, a unit is allowed to fire once in it's own shooting phase and once as a reaction either to being charged or to a unit coming close enough and moving across it's front. The only exceptions are a unit in Square formation, where a unit can fire a single shot from each facing of the square either as closing fire or as traversing fire and a unit in a building. This is to reflect the slower nature of reloading the muskets. I don't understand why it should be that way for colonials using repeating or breech loading rifles like the Martini Henry.
Perhaps your friend is looking at it in the way it is intended but thinks that loading the musket should take longer, but there are records that they were loaded far faster than we seem to imagine. Indeed, that even rifles were loaded very quickly, especially in trained hands.
Possibly the reason that it hasn't caused "howls of derision" is because of the abstract way that shooting is handled. A unit, however big, only gets 3 shots on average. Not many for a unit representing a couple of hundred muskets, which is why I gave the example of front rankers kneeling to allow the rear ranks to fire.
I'm not sure it helps to talk about a unit getting 'shots'. The rules certainly don't talk talk about a unit having 'x shots'. That kind of language then leads to the idea that 600 real men in a battalion get 600 shots and if the turn represented 20 minutes there could be thousands of shots. God forbid someone coming up with a rule mechanic that required 1000's of die rolls per shooting phase
Given the time period covered the shooters could be in any number of ranks so i am not sure whether worrying about kneeling, standing or how many ranks actually fire is helpfull.
A battalion from 1700 could fire many more 'shots' in given period of time than a battalion from 1880. So by giving an average unit from any time period 3 rolls of the dice to represent shooting is clearly an abstaction.
Of more relevance is the relative number of dice to allocate to each unit within a particular period i.e. highly rated shooters may merit 4 dice, bad shooters only 2 dice etc. The number of dice representing both the quality of the weapon, the amount and quality of ammunition, the training of the men, their motivation etc.
Its all an abstraction. I only see a problem if the outcome of the mechanic gives results that look wrong. I don't think that is the case.
As this thread has only 3 voices it looks like a topic that either no one is interested in or no one perceives there to be a problem in the first place. On that basis I think we have done the topic to death