One of features of BP is that there is no pettifogging fiddling with wheeling, oblique moves, withdrawing etc. likewise friendly units can Interpenetrate one another with gay abandon. I was just wondering what the feeling of the group was on how far this liberality should be taken or whether some players feel there should be at least some modest limits on what is possible. I have seen some maneouvres that I thought were taking unfair advantage of the system.
To give two extreme examples. I have regularly seen players do the following:
Lets say there is a gap between two terrain features and the width of that gap is less than half the with of a unit in line. The line is at one side of these features and desires to at the other side. The player having rolled sufficient moves on his command roll picks up the command element of his unit, measures a distance passing between said gap and puts the element down at the other side of the terrain features. The remaining elements are now moved and arrayed to either side to recreate the line. No formation changes have been used.
A unit is engaged in hand to hand combat with an enemy. The moving sides engaged unit is a line and overlaps the enemy who is a column (or in a building). The active player has a front line including the engaged unit/s that leaves no gaps to move through. The active player is desirous of moving a unit through from his second line to a position in front of the front line units. To do this the moving unit must pass through the overlaps of his already engaged unit/s (said engaged unit/s may be in the first or second round of combat). Having rolled suffient command he moves the unit through the engaged unit/s appearing in the flank or rear of the enemy.
Is this the way you play in your games? Or is this taking the liberal move system a step too far?
Whenever we play, we follow the rule that if the gap isn't wide enough then the unit must change formation in order to pass through. The alternative that we have started to try, which also works but isn't as slow, is that the unit must end its move when it emerges as if it were reforming to it's default formation. So, if three moves were rolled and the village was only 8 inches deep, the first would be spent moving through the terrain feature, the other two moves could continue as normal. The unit would not get the full 12 inches of it's first move.
With regard to the second example, in Hail Caesar, a unit cannot move through a friendly unit that is engaged in combat. So, if a unit was only partially engaged in combat like you have described or to it's flank while deployed in line, another friendly unit would have to move around it and not through it, Even partially. I wouldn't do what you described and wouldn't allow an opponent to do it either. I think that is too much liberty. I would adopt the HC rule.
I had a game once where I planned a move perfectly, I thought, only to find that when my unit of cavalry charged an enemy unit in the flank, just a corner of a figure's base (about a mm) overlapped another friendly unit. I couldn't execute that charge. My opponent wouldn't agree to it, which I agreed with because we always play to the spirit of the game. The unit hadn't quite cleared the friendly unit.
Poor Al, a good plan and a stupid rule ruins it. I think you and you game partner took it too rigorous with a simple mm. In reality many poor own footmen got run over in battle. If a few horseman would be in conflict with some obstacle they would halt, change direction and follow, but the rest of the unit would go on. Imagin Napoleon's heavies coming over the hill and some colliding with some guns or other obstacle. Would the rest stop? Taking some nice salvoes? Or go straight onto the enemy? (And run away then )
But it's difficult to trickle a formed unit through a formed other one. The static one would have to open lanes. The moving one has to change too to be able to use these. Possible with trained men and good officers and NCO`s. But slow.
And the example of the unit passing a valley? It's a question of the type. A well drilled battalion with companies does this without any problem. You would see no significant slowing down. You should measure the distance of the flank unit that has do make the widest march for the distance, not the centre CO one. But a rabble of recruits would be unable to do this.
Not entirely sure from your answer if you are saying that you do allow both of these things in your games or you don't? But is sounds more like the affirmative?
Simple question, difficult answer.
I would not let formed units pass through a formed unit.
But if just a corner collides I would ignore that "collision". In reality the few men would stop , go behind the rest and reform behind the obstacle. A unit never advanced with the full speed possible to single men. So they could retake the place behind the obstacle. Only if the target is very near to the obstacle / friendly unit would there be a problem.
There is no problem for a trained unit to go through a pass or similar and reform line without significant formation change. Again the speed "reserve" allow the flank units to do that. The line of companies was very flexible. BUT: To move in line over longer distance was unusual. Just because its difficult to dress a moving line. A column is much faster. A well trained unit can form a column of platoons very fast. Some rules are claiming formations changes to be very time consuming. An error in case of drilled men. That's the good point of BP.
Not sure why its a difficult question to answer. In the context of the two examples given you either do or don't allow it in your own games surely. Or are you saying you change your mind from game to game?
"I would not let formed units pass through a formed unit."
So thats completely the opposite of a liberal interpretation of the rule on page 33. You are not allowing any interpenetration at all. I do agree with that approach as a house rule as it encourages more historically based formations and deployment of troops.
Often in games these interpenetrations take place in very close proximity to the enemy, where any fancy manoeuvres were usually fatal in the real world. On the tabletop you have parade ground perfect evolutions that ignore the unevenness of the terrain, proximity of the enemy, stepping over dead bodies and other debris, limited visibility caused by smoke etc.
"There is no problem for a trained unit to go through a pass or similar and reform line without significant formation change. Again the speed "reserve" allow the flank units to do that. The line of companies was very flexible."
I think there are several issues. Some relating to the above comments about interpenetration that also apply here. But also that narrowing frontage to pass through a defile of any sort does take time. Any body that is forced through a narrow opening either slows down during the passage or the whole has to accelerate significantly. Think of water passing through narrowing pipe, humans passing through a turnstile, numerous cars all trying to leave a car park at the same time. Military evolutions cannot overcome these laws of physics.
Period drill books would indicate that changes in formation to pass between narrows did take time and there were detailed drills to provide for this. Most of the main period drill books are online at google books.
BP provides for a 1 move formation change between the 7 formations it recognises but these ignored for movement in the situation described - you effectively get the formation changes for free.
Anyway all the above detail is getting off topic, in that I was just trying to get a representative feel for what other players do rather than discuss whether one alternative was any more valid than the other.
Its difficult because my friends and I try to replay history. Not BP or another set of rules.
Interpenetration in formed units is impossible in reality. You can't move between two men standing 2 ft or less from each other. Marching through the overlap would just disorder both units, not getting the advancing in the flank of the enemy.
In the games with my friends there are no problems. We have one strict house rule: What is impossible in reality is impossible in game too. We play no competitions in shops with strangers and we are all not obsessed with winning. (We never use point systems for ballanced forces. We use historic settings. So often one is doomed from the start. )
In a narrow it depends of the size of the opening, a 3 company in line wide opening is no real obstacle. The drill books are more concerned with a gap of smaller size. And in these they would use a column , no line. Forming would take a short time, but the movement of the first in column dictates the speed of the rest anyway.
If the gap is wide enough the column could be a company wide. Let's assume 30 x 3 ranks = 90. Most much smaller on campaign. Behind the narrow the following companies would deploy by marching a little faster. Not use 90° turns but different diagonal marching lines. That way the line is reformed in very short time. But it needs leaders that know the job and a well trained force.