Monday, 29 August 2016

Detatchments

During my recent researches at the National Archives I have spent a lot of time looking at the Muster Rolls and Pay Lists for various 'detachments' of the Royal Artillery during the Napoleonic Wars. This has set me thinking, and I have come to the conclusion that I might need to include rules regarding 'detachments' of various types in my Napoleonic wargame rules.


At present the majority of my Infantry and Cavalry units comprise two bases of figures. It would not be too difficult to split them into two detachments that could be used to garrison a location such as a town or small fortress or – in the case of the Cavalry – to act as scouts for an Infantry Division.

As far as Artillery are concerned I do have several spare figures that could be based on individual bases to act as the gun crews of fortress artillery, thus freeing my 'normal' Artillery units up so that they can support the field armies.


It is certainly something for me to think about ... and it would enable me to find a use for some of the odd figures that I have left over at present.

8 comments:

  1. Hello Bob,
    Interesting ideas as always...
    I have to say I'm thoroughly enjoying your various Napoleonic postings...
    Regards,
    Stuart

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    1. Stuart Asquith (Stuart),

      It is thanks to you That I have such a large collection of Napoleonic figures that I can actually consider the possibility of fielding 'detachments'!

      Incidentally I very recently watched the episode of SHARPE where the South Essex was split up into detachments for losing their a Colour, so there is a sort of precedent for doing this. Lines of Communication and depots need to be garrisoned/protected, as do fortifications, and having the ability to split units into detachments would enable me to do this during a campaign.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  2. Bob
    Another way to use up odd figures could be to create 'Battalions of Detatchments' as Wellington did in 1809.
    Regards
    Paul

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    1. Paul Lesson,

      I understand that it was quite common to cobble together bits of units to form temporary battalions or regiments should the need arise, so having rules for creating detachments - and battalions of detachments - makes sense.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  3. Hi Bob

    I use detachments a lot in my campaign, in particular as cavalry recce, infantry garrisons and Spanish guerrillas. They are usually “paper detachments” and rarely appear on the wargames table. Bear in mind that unless they appear on the table you do not have to have them in your model collection.

    For example I have had up to ten guerrilla bands in the campaign, but only sufficient model soldiers for two. But I have never had more than one appear on the table. They only do so when there is a battle including the area of the guerrilla band.

    Cavalry recce never appear on the wargames table. If they have a contact with the enemy it is resolved as a paper exercise.

    But when detachments do appear on the table they can cause a command and control problem. In my rules corps commanders issue orders to their brigades, but only when they are within 8” on the table. So a detached brigade more than 8” away is not “under command”. I get around this by allowing them to defend themselves if attacked, but not to initiate an attack. They can however fire on any enemy who come within musket range.

    Regards

    Paul

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    1. Paul Leniston (Paul),

      Thank you very much for your comments. I saw the idea of having detachments as fulfilling two functions.

      Firstly as a way of utilising some of the odds and ends of figures that I have (e,g infantry figures that are loading muskets, artillery gunners in slightly older style uniforms).

      Secondly to make any campaign slightly more realistic as commanders would have to allocate detachments to guard depots, bridges etc. and to garrison towns to protect lines of communication.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  4. Hi Bob

    If you want to use them on the table with the rest of your order of battle, perhaps you could use them as an army reserve?

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    Replies
    1. Paul Leniston (Paul),

      That is an idea that I had not considered. Thank you very much for suggesting it as it would be a very sensible way to use the figures.

      All the best,

      Bob

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