Battery or sections?

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    Considering the frontages, and the amount of artillery in the OB’s for “Fighting retreat at El Perez” compared to the forces listed, about a division for each side. The artillery compliment is consistent with the total number of sections for said divisions

    What are your thoughts?

    Dr Dave

    I’ve a sneaky suspicion that the scenario “Fighting retreat at El Perez” (when played with the Perry Twins) simply involved what was to to hand – “off the shelf” so to speak. The orbat itself reveals it as a made up type game that doesn’t follow historical orbats. There’s no unified Portuguese Brigade and all the units are a bit jumbled up. The British horse artillery compliment is excessive. I think it was just a rules testing entertainment – nothing more. Is there too much artillery in the game from a historical perspective? Yes.

    I think you have a point about frontages. A single model gun per battery is too narrow for most games. I don’t think the Perrys were using the models as sections – they were just using all their models – they are megalomaniacs! Each model was used as a battery. But if frontage is your problem then keep in mind that guns in a battery can fight wheel to wheel when necessary. Bigelow’s battery at Gettysburg ends up making a stand practically wheel to wheel. In the end I made a compromise and my guns (1 model per battery) are on a base that is just about 1/2 the frontage of a line. It looks right without having too many guns on the table. You could always have 2 models per 1 battery to make for a wider frontage, but then how do,you go wheel to wheel when the Rebs get close? It’s a tricky one…


    I understand it’s a fictitious engagement, but given that an average division of French consisted of 12 battalions and typically had a 6 gun horse battery (of 3 sections) and a battery of foot (3 gun sections and 1 howitzer section) the proportions are correct

    Also prior to the Napoleonic era, guns tended to be parceled out in sections

    Consider also that a section of cannon firing canister had the equivalent firepower of a battalion in line out to 300+ yards, 9 dice at close range while sounding excessive might (I put the emphasis on “might”) not be

    Just stirring the pot here

    Dr Dave

    I think RP devised Black Powder as a game system first, and then you (and I) try to shoehorn historical orbats and real battlefield effectiveness and events into his “game”.

    Looking at the El Perez battle I’d be more worried about the Portuguese not being in their own brigade and the mixed nature of the British cavalry brigade! But that’s me being a pedant.

    A battery of 6 guns firing canister gets 3 dice then the extras – reducing the target save and the morale penality of being under arty fire. Hence a canister firing battery does shoot better than a bttn. I’m not sure where you get a section (2 guns) has more firepower than a bttn from. Should we use more than one model on a wider base to represent a battery? Perhaps…

    invisible officer

    Firepower is hard to calculate. A 6pdr light cannister with 85 balls is not simply like 85 muskets firing at same moment. (Or 41 in heavy)

    On paper gun crews fired up to 8 times a minute, musketmen at best 5. But regulation was for 3 cannisters per minute.

    The fantasy calcultion of 2 guns firing 8 cannisters of 85 balls = 1360 balls is nice. But far from real world.

    Fast firing Line , 5 salvoes, so 1360 balls equal 272 men. (12 seconds for loading and shooting is possible, I did it with a musket for some rounds)

    A lot of the cannister rounds miss and so do a lot of musket balls. Add powder clouds, fear etc . ………. Not to Forget: Luck!.

    The amo of battery per 6pdr gun was 14 light and 14 heavy cannisters. Not much compared to the 132 balls acrried.


    Ok guys, what about howitzers?

    They were not formed in batteries, rather a section of howitzers was part of a batteries makeup

    Not until 1813 did the British begin experimenting with batteries comprised solely of howitzers, and they were the only power that did so

    Keep the pot stirring

    Dr Dave

    Ok, so what about howitzers?

    They are there in the rules. You can field them as a battery. Otherwise they scale out I guess. I’d be surprised if a player lost a game and blamed it on the lack of consideration given to howitzers? It might be a bit too “down in the weeds” for a game like BP?

    invisible officer

    Yes, the Howitzer battery was special. It had no advantage in field battle but was good to have to set a village on fire. Normally in siege.

    Prussia had howitzer batteries long before the British. So even before 1806 a 7pdr How. battery in reserve of field army.

    Scharnhorst proposed a Reform. The 1st reserve (that was with the main army) should get 1 1/2 batteries 10pder Howitzer = 12
    The 2nd reserve that followed behind the army should have the battery of 7 pdr Howitzers.

    In war of liberation 7 pdr Howitzers got used in howitzer batteries.
    The problem was that it lacked the ball. That was more accurate and effective on distances over Grape range and very very effective against deep targets like columns or squares.

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