I've been playing American Civil War every week for a few weeks and have been finding it great fun - very mobile etc. However my two experienced opponents and I have slight doubts about the horse artillery rules.
Has anyone else found that the overwhelmingly best use of horse artillery is to constantly race up to an enemy unit's flank and enfilade them at point-blank range for 6 damage dice? We have. It's like launching a missile at the enemy unit.
The enemy will probably kill them next turn. But that's ok because horse artillery are hardly survivable at any distance, even with their ability to evade like cavalry.
Does anyone agree that this is an issue? If you do, perhaps you've found a way to make them less able to act like this reliably - for example by removing their usual 'Marauders' trait? Perhaps there's something I'm missing in the movement rules that makes it harder to do it than I think (for example, if I'm mis-using the rule about only being able to move in your front or rear arc when near the enemy, or if theres' some ruling about them not rotating to face wherever they like at the end of a move)?
Maybe you achieve more than me from long/medium-range shooting with horse artillery, so don't find it a problem?
Just curious. Thanks for any views.
As a side thought, I guess I'm right in thinking that horse artillery can always count as unlimbered to get the '-1 to be hit' bonus?
There is an enemy proximity rule ( page 33 ) which only allows you to move back or forward once within 12" of the enemy.
If your oppoent has left his flank unguarded and you are able to get horse artillery around his flank, then fire away. Similarly, if his flank is unguarded get some cavalry into position to charge it and roll up the line.
If, however, you are suggesting that you have suicidal horse artillery units who unlimber presenting their flank to the enemy simply so they can fire one round of enfilade before being charged then that is wrong. The proximity rule would mean that when they come within 12" they may only go back or forward, not move around to present a flank before unlimbering.
Also, its just wrong on a moral level. Those are little tiny men you are throwing away and you ought to be ashamed...
The proximity rule would not prevent horse artillery enfilading a flank assuming they have two moves. First move takes them onto the flank of the enemy unit and now within 12". Second move they can turn 90 degrees to face that flank and fire.
The proximity rule only keeps the artillery within their own front arc on the second move. Wheeling on the flank closest to the enemy keeps all their movement within the front and rear arc as required by the Proximity Rule.
Hope that makes sense as it is not that easy to describe without a diagram
Yes that's true, but once they get within 12" they must obey the proximity rule. By this I mean that if half of their first move puts them within 12" of the enemy then the proximity rule kicks in and the artillery would have to move the rest of their move accordingly.
You have made me realise that I need to add to my previous post.
The artillery could do what I said with only one move i.e. start further away than 12", move onto the flank coming within 12" and from that point obey the Proximity Rule by staying within their front and rear quarter which a wheel does
Is that legitimate within the period being played? That's a matter for the players to decide if they want to use a period specific amendment.
Alan, I hadn't misunderstood, I agreed with you. I only added what I did to remind others that the proximity rule comes in as soon as a unit comes within 12" and not that it could complete its move and then obey the rule.
In terms of mobility I find most rules over rate horse artillery. Of course BP covers a wide period so what might be OK for 1880 may not be quite so accurate for 1756. But then everyone loves horse artillery and Tiger Tanks
In BP the flexibility of artillery in general is also exaggerated if you use the default 1 model gun = a battery, as this results in an artificially narrow frontage relative to other troop types.
If we take a French Napoleonic artillery battery as an example:
The guns would normally be placed 12m - 20m apart so giving an 8 gun battery a frontage of 84m - 140m. A French infantry battalion in line would be around 125m in frontage.
So in my games I have adopted a convention of giving a French battery a frontage of either 50% or 100% of the frontage of a Standard Infantry Unit in line. If they deploy at 100% then anyone shooting at them gets a -1 on the shooting dice to represent them being a harder target.
Of course there is also the issue of deployment depth. A battery would have 2 caissons per gun, a spare limber, a mobile forge and other paraphernalia, not to mention the 130 or so horses belonging to the mounted artillerymen. This complement of equipment was often spread over a depth of 200m i.e 80% of the frontage of two line battalions. So all in all a very big footprint!
Once they reached their deployment position a horse battery would actually take longer to get into action than a foot battery due to the fact that the horses had to be tethered in a safe place some distance from the guns themselves and then the gunners move back on foot to the guns.