For a while now I've been considering the rights and wrongs in the way we play our War of the Spanish Succession games. This has also been picked up by a couple of the other players in how we depict the troops on the table. It also ties in with earlier posts I've made regarding the Battle of Ramillies and my desire to revamp the collection.
So where is all this going?
Firstly horse. Slightly easier to handle and not as difficult to depict on the tabletop.
All my reading of the period shows that we should not be referring to regiments, except by name, and instead looking at squadrons as the tactical unit. I cannot find any account where the horse are present and they are not determined by squadrons. At Ramillies the French army is composed almost entirely of combined squadrons of several regiments being led by a Colonel of one of those regiments. The exception is the Maison du Roi but then there were an aweful lot of them!
So my thoughts here are that we should allow units to be composed of more than one named regiment but that the combined unit be used exactly as we do now on the tabletop. I said it was easy.
The War of the Spanish Succession is part of the linear period of horse and musket warfare. Lines of infantry standing shoulder to shoulder.
The core question is what is a line?
Napoleonic players will know it as a two deep formation facing columns of infantry three and more ranks deep. However, in our period a battalion was deployed at least three ranks deep in a long line of similar battalions. It is this aspect that I have been pondering over for a while now. I'm looking to give the period a different "feel" to the Naopleonic period and I'm thinking that making the battalion frontage smaller might be the thing.
Our ground scale is 1 inch to 10 yards. To make it easier we'll also say 1 yard is 1 m. The French allowed 0.325m per man to the front and 105m total for the battalion front. So in our games a French battalion should be 10.5 inches or 236mm across the front. Scaling that to figure frontage means that if we use two ranks (34 figures for a battalion at 1:20 from a strength of 884 men including staff) each figure should be 14mm wide. This is impractical for many manufacturers whose 28mm figures are bigger and wider than this. So, let us work on a 20mm frontage per figure and this now gives us a 12 man frontage and three ranks deep.
I'm much happier with this and I think I'll be working on this basis for the future. Hopefully within the next few days I'll post some comparative shots to show the effect of this change.