Mixed Formations – when to use?

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  • #180574
    SteveT
    Participant

    I’m having trouble seeing where Mixed Formation is of advantage.

    So they count as skirmishers from the front (except artillery can ignore the skirmishers anyway, as can anyone else with a better target)

    They shoot with only a single dice, albeit with a wider field of view.

    So when do you use them?

    The only case I could think of might be on an approach to the enemy where you want less output and input in terms of firepower.

     

     

    #180575
    Big Al
    Participant

    Right, so, you can ignore them if you want to because of the skirmishers. That is your choice , but just remember that they are not skirmishers! The unit is a full regiment that has put a few skirmishers out to help protect itself. If it gets close enough, it can charge you and hit you with the full force of an infantry regiment, probably in Attack Column.

    So, there is one advantage for you – your opponent has mistaken your line infantry for a unit of skirmishers. Remember that when that unit of infantry charges, its skirmishers just melt back into the ranks!

    The second advantage is that when shot at, there is a -1 to hit modifier because of the skirmish screen. Yes, as you pointed out, artillery ignore the skirmish screen, which is a rule that has changed since BP1, but rightly so. A few skirmishers are not going to stop a huge ball hitting the main unit behind.

    When charged, the charging unit moves into contact with the skirmishers, who are then retired into the ranks of the unit. Then the charging unit continues its charge if it has enough movement. This is the only flaw in the Mixed Unit idea, really. The author must have written this before allowing premeasuring, because you should never have insufficient movement to contact the main body of the infantry unit, unless your chargers have a rule like Fanatics, which will force a unit to charge the nearest enemy.

     

    #180578
    Nat
    Participant

    Negative – You can declear a charge just against the skirmish screen forcing them back in to the main unit then be in line infront of the unit ready to shoot un impeeded (pg 90).

    Positive – Any shooting against the unit from the front counts against skirmishers (so always applys the -1), with only artillery ignoring that.  However they are a unit in Column or Line so cant be ignored like you can units of skirmishers – because they are still a single unit that covers the area of both the main unit and its skirmish screen.

    #180579
    Mike
    Participant

    One of the rules changes between version 1 and 2 is that skirmishers no longer get +1 to hit.  That was a good change in my opinion as units in skirmish formation were simply to deadly.  Prior to that elimination skirmishers were even more effective hitting on 3 and being hit on a 5.  To be clear, this positive shooting modifier is no longer part of the basic rules in Black Powder 2.  But some players have preserved some “shooting” modifier to separate the quality of light infantry training from line infantry including those that fire as part of a mixed formation…

    One way to do that is to assign skirmishers in a mixed formation one of two possible options… if the unit had trained light company infantry to screen the formation, the skirmishers would shoot as “sharpshooters” only when deployed as skirmishers… if deployed regular infantry was used to screen the battalion would not receive any shooting modifier.  Again this would be a House Rule… not the basic rules which Al explained above.

    #180698
    Marecki
    Participant

    Another bad feeling for me is that mixed formation is ANOTHER type of formation, not the upgrade of any other formations… For example french attack column. When you use skirmish screen in front of attack column you lose +1 morale (because it’s basically not attack column formation any more, its mixed formation).  So i 2nd edition playing very historical voliguers skirmish screen You receive ONLY -1 to hit by enemy, or some opctional sharpshooter rule (if you have AT supplement)… Its to weak for historically frequent use formation. For me this formation should has -1 to hit (for screen), sharpshooter rule, and +1 morale because 5/6 of all unit is still in attack column!!!!

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 9 months ago by Marecki.
    • This reply was modified 1 year, 9 months ago by Marecki.
    #180702
    Nat
    Participant

    @marecki – I read it differently… as the shooting rules state that it’s is an assault column or line when being shot at in the flank or rear I take it that mixed formation IS as an upgrade so should keep the +1 moral

    the only reason why I wouldn’t give the screen the sharpshooter rule is because the unit as a whole doesn’t have it

     

    edit – also as with most warlord games so long as your group agrees play it as an upgrade

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 9 months ago by Nat.
    #180706
    Big Al
    Participant

    Hi Nat,

    Yes, that’s right. When shooting it from the front, you count it as skirmishers for targeting, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you are hitting the skirmishers. You are hitting the unit, as you have said, so it gets all the benefits of the formation. That was clarified by Rick on one of the old forums.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 9 months ago by Big Al.
    #182766
    Peter
    Participant

    doesn’t the artillery ignore skirmishers only apply to skirmishers outside of 12″ otherwise all modifiers ie -1 apply?/.  p56

    #182769
    Big Al
    Participant

    Yes, Peter, that’s right, it does in BP2. But it is only artillery that ignores skirmishers at that range. Also, as we are talking about Mixed Formation, all casualties are on the unit, regardless of whether the skirmishers are hit or not.

    #186515
    Tom
    Participant

    Sorry to revisit this topic, but I’m still a little confused as to precisely how units in mixed order are targeted by artillery when they are within 12 inches.

    – My starting assumption is that a unit in mixed order is not a ‘unit of enemy skirmishers’ as referred to on p56 of the main rule book. Rather, as per page 90, it is a separate formation treated as a single body.

    – According to page 90, artillery firing from the front quarter of the unit in mixed formation ignores the skirmish screen and may target the parent unit instead. My interpretation of the rules in this section is that the artillery does not suffer a -1 modifier to hit. Is this correct?

    – As a corollary, a unit in mixed order would generally present a clear target to artillery (terrain, other units etc allowing). So if it were the closest target to the battery, it could not be ignored in favour of other targets. (This is important because a casual reading of p56,  could leave the reader with the opposite impression if they were to ‘mistakenly interpret the skirmish screen as a ‘unit of enemy skirmishers’).

    – This is distinct from a situation where a dedicated unit of skirmishers (ie not a unit in mixed formation) that happened to be within 12 inches of a battery would block LOS to another target beyond it, but could be ignored in favour of another target further away.

    Hope I have this right! Grateful for corrections or confirmation.

    #186521
    Big Al
    Participant

    Yes, you have it correct. The skirmish screen is there to screen against small arms fire and combat enemy skirmishers. It isn’t there to try and prevent artillery from shooting at them.

    #186523
    Tom
    Participant

    Thanks very much!

    #186821
    vodkafan
    Participant

    Would Light Infantry battalions use Mixed Formation as a matter of course? I know they were perfectly capable of all the normal formations, but I like the idea of them deploying a bit different to the Line battalions from the word go. I guess that would just be my choice of how I use them as a player. (I should mention I only just got the rules today and am still reading them)

    In the scenario section on Quatre Bras it seems to class them as Irregulars and allows them Sharpshooter and Skirmish attributes same as the Rifles (small unit)

     

    #186826
    Nat
    Participant

    Light Infantry… depending on the unit (and the supplement your using) can deploy in one of 4 formations, depends on how YOU as the general want to deploy them!

    Line (0 skirmishers)
    mixed (33% skirmishers)
    Light infantry mixed (50% skirmishers (rounding up IIRC)) – this is found in the clash of eagles supplement
    skirmish (100% skirmishers) – if they have the skirmisher special rule

    #186827
    vodkafan
    Participant

    Thanks Nat! The 50% option seems attractive to me.  Especially as in my Osprey books it tells me that LI were trained to fight with one half of the battalion skirmishing with the other half  manoeuvring.  That’s exactly what my unit of Perry figures looks like. It just seems wrong  (from an aesthetic point of view) to base them all up on square bases in a line.  I will look up the Clash of Eagles supplement thanks again.

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