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Wednesday, 8 August 2018

An idea that just will not go away

I really like the somewhat abstract way in which my fellow blogger Thistlebarrow has approached organising his Napoleonic armies. Since retiring to Spain he has been using his numerous armies to re-fight whole campaigns, something that I would love to emulate ... but with campaigns set during the Second World War.

He recently used a photograph of his Napoleonic Austrian Army to illustrated his method of organising a tabletop army ...


... and since seeing it I have been thinking (and not for the first time) about whether a similar approach might fit my requirements.

Thistlebarrow's armies are organised as follows:
  • An Army Commander
  • 1st Corps
    • Corps Commander
    • Artillery (one base of artillery)
    • Four Brigades (each of four bases of infantry)
    • Cavalry (two bases of cavalry)
  • 2nd Corps
    • Corps Commander
    • Artillery (one base of artillery)
    • Four Brigades (each of four bases of infantry)
    • Cavalry (two bases of cavalry)
  • 3rd Corps
    • Corps Commander
    • Artillery (one base of artillery)
    • Four Brigades (each of four bases of infantry)
    • Cavalry (two bases of cavalry)
  • 4th Corps
    • Corps Commander
    • Artillery (one base of artillery)
    • Four Brigades (each of four bases of infantry)
    • Cavalry (two bases of cavalry)
Each army therefore contains:
  • Five commanders (and their staff)
  • Four units of artillery
  • Sixteen units of infantry
  • Four units of cavalry
Not counting commanders and their staff, an army therefore has 128 infantry figures, 32 cavalry figures, 16 gunners and 4 guns.

This is something that I want to do some more thinking about ... and this might involve getting some figures out of storage and putting them on the tabletop.

Please note that the photograph featured above is © Thistlebarrow.

14 comments:

  1. Hi Bob,

    That is a very tidy way of approaching things and your Del Prado armies could fit into that relatively easily methinks.

    I like the thinking about doing something similar for WW2 as well.

    Certainly much to ponder.

    All the best,

    DC

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    Replies
    1. David Crook,

      It is an idea that has been whirring around in my head for some time, and although it might not be a perfect answer, I think that it's worth looking at in more detail.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  2. Bob,
    I think the key here is organising from "top down" to set what size army you want, while at the same time organising "units" to whatever composition you are comfortable with.
    I've started to think about this for my C18th Imagination armies as they lurch towards completion.
    I started off with 12 units plus 2 guns, but have expanded each to 21 units and 4 guns. A "unit" is a Volley & Bayonet stand (actually 2x half stands) nominally a regiment. They could equally be considered brigades if you wanted a higher level game (in theory you would probably have to alter the VnB ground/timescale should you do this).
    I belatedly realised that in campaign terms, rather than try to field the actual numbers of units generated by the campaign, I could instead simply work on armies and brigades as the campaign element, meaning you would only require a fixed "army", rather than have to produce an ever increasing number of units.
    I should explain I intend to used a board game as the basis for the campaign, in this case GDW's "Soldier King" which has counters of infantry, cavalry and light cavalry.
    Unfortunately I was getting hung up on representing a counter with a unit, when in reality I needn't be so restrictive.

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    Replies
    1. Neil Patterson,

      Thanks very much for your very helpful comment. It's interesting to read how other wargamers approach creating and organising armies for their warganes

      I want to use either my HEXBLITZ or modern PORTABLE WARGAME rules, with a unit/base representing a battalion-sized unit. I already have a set of Russian and German units organised for MEGABLITZ, and these will be the basis upon which the armies I will use for my Operation Barbaross-inspired campaign.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  3. As Thistlebarrow does, the details of the units in each corps need not be the same. For example, one Austrian Corps might be the Rserve Corps with, say’ 2 Grenadier units, 2 line units, a Cuirassier, and a 12 pounder battery. Another might have 1 Grenz, 2 line, 1 landwehr or Freikorps, 1 Hussar, and a 6# battery.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gonsalvo,

      The fact that Thistlebarrow's Corps are so mixed is one of the reasons why this approach appeals to me.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  4. I think all Wargamers go through this stage. I have been trying for ages to get a satisfactory collection in order to represent a campaign. Pouring over ORBATS (and eBay) has set my temples twitching. How can I do this?

    Our recent conversation reminded me that games need to be fun and practical. I have toyed with an old idea from Terry Wise’s book (Intro to Battle Gaming) about building generic ORBATS and have the sub units represent different sized formations based on a pyramidal system. I think that my own plan might go this way. Panzer Korps and two Italian formations vs 7th Armoured and two Infantry divisions.

    My ramble is trying to say that you are probably on the right track, but like Marshall Thistlebarrow shows, any grand plan needs to reflect practicalities. I will sign off now. I have to carry on work with El Ala-mini 😊

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    Replies
    1. Stephen Briddon,

      I could spend hours reading ORBATs!

      I bought a copy of Lionel Tarr's rules from John Curry some time ago, and it included the ORBATs for his famous Eastern Front campaign. It's not quite what I want, but I enjoyed reading them.

      I've been pushing some toys around on my tabletop this evening, and things are looking interesting. I hope to write a blog entry about my 'findings' sometime soon.

      El-Ala-mini sounds interesting, and I look forward to hearing more in due course.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    2. Me too as I have no idea how that will work. I think a kind of bathtubbed Hexblitz!

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    3. Stephen Briddon,

      I am definitely very interested!

      All the best,

      Bob

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  5. I don't seem to recall the 'Thistlebarrow' tag, but I have participated in (part of) one of his campaigns (I believe my wargames buddy 'Jacko' has also played in some of them. I quite enjoyed his battle accounts, and I believe his tabletop rule sets are very simple. The campaign rules were pretty straightforward, apart from the logistic aspects, which, for some reasson I could not get my head around. A failing of mine, I suspect, as no one else seemed to have any problem there.

    From what I recall of your own organisation, Bob, I reckon you are more than half way to your aim already. Some reasonable logistics and LOC rules and there you have it.

    My own armies have a similar look to those of 'Thistlebarrow' with infantry Divisions and cavalry brigades as the basic units. But my 'units' are three times the size. My army corps are not identical some having 3 infantry Divisions, others 4.

    Examination shows that I could use my formations on a gtidded board, although I had the free board in mind when I developed my armies. For campaigns, what I'd like is something along the 'Snappy Nappy' lines used in 'Blundes on the Danube' and 'Murdock's Marauders' blog spots (They always look exciting) and Thistleblower's system.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Archduke Piccolo,

      'Thistlebarrow' is the name used by the writer of the Napoleonic Wargaming blog, with whom I am in irregular email contact. (He is a busy man at this time of year as he lives in Spain and during the summertime he and his wife seem to have a fairly constant stream of family members visiting them.)

      My Napoleonic formations will be somewhat similar to those on the Napoleonic Wargaming blog, but it is seeing if I can use the same concept for World War II that is currently exercising my mind. I've been pushing toys around on the tabletop, and I think that it will work.

      Funnily enough, one idea that I have been toying with for my PORTABLE NAPOLEONIC WARGAMES book is a set of non-gridded rules for larger units that use the PW mechanisms. This might seem a retrograde step but I think that it would appeal to some potential players.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    2. I think I knew the dude by another name, but do you think I can recall it now? Generally I have a good memory, but not where names are concerned - I can even forget the names of people well known to me. Bally embarrassing it can be, too!

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    3. Archduke Piccolo,

      His first name is Paul, but in accordance with my self-imposed policy of only referring to people by their blogger name, I call him Thistlebarrow on my blog.

      All the best,

      Bob

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