Dragoon basing

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Dragoon basing

Postby CharlesXII » Thu Aug 01, 2013 7:38 am

I started a conversation on the old Koenig Krieg forum about basing for dismounted dragoons. Fighting dismounted was much more common in this period than later. At that time the thought was to mount them two to a stand on 1" by 3/4" bases, with the long edge forming the front of the unit. This was to make them something between skirmishers and regular line infantry. The Russians often used their dismounted dragoons in the battle line (Lesnaja). Will it be possible to line the dragoons up two stands deep so they can form a sort of battle line infantry?
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Re: Dragoon basing

Postby SWS_Admin » Mon Aug 05, 2013 6:44 pm

An interesting and good question Charles. Playtest is open and I am not obstinate;y holding to any particular opinion.

A few questions, The Russian dismounted Dragoons fought as infantry not dismounted cavalry as far as I am aware, correct me if I am wrong on this.

So far, it is played as follows. So long as there are no enemy units inside 8 inches a unit may dismount or remount. It takes an operation to do either.

Dismounted Dragoons act like skirmishes in Koenig Krieg but without any bonuses. So 1 per 3 men get a dice and shoot.

A unit of dismounted Dragoons will be usually at least 1 step lower than their mounted class and fire with carbines 2 inches not three, but are formed and act like any other infantry.

Basing for Dismounted Cavalry fighting as infantry is the same as any other infantry.

Basing as dismounted skirmishes, same as Koenig krieg.
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Re: Dragoon basing

Postby CharlesXII » Wed Aug 07, 2013 3:08 am

Dismounted cavalry is in effect infantry once they leave their horses. It is just what type of infantry they are. Most rules portray dismounted dragoons as a form of skirmisher. A fair evaluation for most armies although as late as Fontenoy French dragoons could form line. Russian dismounted dragoons fought in either a type of skirmish formation or in line (4 ranks deep). I guess it depended on the terrain. That is why I see a basing dilemma if you treat them as ordinary infantry. The solution put forth on the Koenig Krieg forum (basing dragoons two to a 1" by 3/4" stand with the 1" being the frontage) splits the difference and enables the player to form them one stand deep as a type of skirmisher or two stands deep as a type of line infantry. It could be argued that dragoons could not maneuver in as tight a line as regular infantry due to lack of practice. It also has the nice advantage of keeping the owning player from having to paint duplicate sets of dismounted Russian dragoons, one for a skirmish role and one for a line infantry role.

Otherwise I would agree with all of your other decisions regarding dismounted dragoons. I especially like the 8" rule.

I just want to anticipate what you intend to do so I can base my Russian dismounted dragoons accordingly.

Thanks,
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Re: Dragoon basing

Postby FredericktheGreat » Sat Aug 10, 2013 12:07 am

Hi Charles,

More than happy to open up some discussion on this. Once you start allowing mounting and dismounting troops in the game, which I have no objection to for this era things can get a bit out of proportion if not careful. What I mean is good Dragoons, i.e class 6 morale dismounting as skirmishes has no effect upon a battle in respect to formed troops fighting off Dragoons. But once they are allowed to be formed as well as dismount and remount things I have found you get some interesting results.

More than happy to chat further at this stage and very open to other ideas. However I am personally leaning towards Dragoons
1. May mount dismount, but if dismounted as skirmishes and may not form up. (Based as Koenig Krieg Skirmishes)
2. Have separate units called dismounted Dragoons when they fought as formed order in a battle as part of a Brigade. (Based as formed infantry with 4 to a base.

All said I think it is feasible to have dismounted dragoons form up using the skirmisher bases double ranked like skirmishes that are allowed to form up in Koenig Krieg. However I would like more evidence of them

1. Doing so in line, not on campaign, so much, but in the battle
2. Having a significant impact on the battle as formed troops.

If there is enough evidence for one or even both we can have them form up and suffer no penalty for being formed (i.e.melee disadvantage) or suffer a melee and maybe even movement penalty, on account of their lack of infantry training..

Love to hear back on this one :)
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Re: Dragoon basing

Postby CharlesXII » Sat Aug 10, 2013 3:39 am

Frederick,

Thanks for replying with your current thoughts on this matter. I do think that for this period you need to allow dragoons to dismount and remount during a battle. Other rule sets allow this, notably "Great Northern War" by Nick Dorrell and "Ga-Pa" by Thomas Arnfeldt. Normally I don't think you should rely on other rule sets as a guideline but both Dorrell and Arnfeldt have put a lot of research into these respected sets of rules. While dismounting dragoons was not common in this period because they were already evolving into battle cavalry the Russians and the Poles did still frequently make use of their dragoons as a sort of mobile infantry. I do know of at least one instance where the Swedes did it and certainly as late as Fontenoy the French did it. I do agree with you that for a campaign game dragoons would remain mounted so as to take advantage of the superior mobility that the horse provides.

How did dismounted dragoons fight? Normally they dismounted to take advantage of cover or favorable terrain. They were not as good as line infantry so they were reluctant to fight out in the open. That implies a skirmisher type of basing. However, the Russians at least were trained to form into a four rank line when the occasion demanded it. At Lesnaja they fought dismounted in both the woods and out in the clearing as a backup line to their infantry. That implies the ability to use both a skirmisher and a line formation.

As you pointed out there is already a method in Koenig Krieg to allow a unit in skirmish basing to form line. The light infantry formula could work well for dismounted dragoons as well. If you base the dragoons as skirmishers but permit them to double their ranks and form a sort of light infantry then you do not have to have two different kind of bases for
dismounted dragoons. Dismounted dragoons in line should be penalized as you suggest in melee and in testing for breaking of the bayonets. If you drop them a morale point for dismounting that takes care of the melee penalty. You should also drop them to a 3+ for breaking the bayonets. They did not always have bayonets and probably were not used to standing up to a cavalry charge while they were dismounted. They should fire at a 1 to 3 ratio as you suggested and should not get the movement bonus that skirmishers and light infantry get (running around in boots cannot help your mobility).

The chief advantage of settling on one basing for dismounted dragoons is they can perform two functions (skirmish and line) without having to base each function separately. Certainly I do not see many players anxious to dismount their dragoons because they are usually more valuable as battle cavalry but there are historical scenarios that will require it to be done. There are also times when getting some firepower to a particular location first can be handy.
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Re: Dragoon basing

Postby FredericktheGreat » Sat Aug 10, 2013 2:13 pm

Hi Charles,

I think we will both need to to organise our groups to do some play testing towards this. From my experience so far, Dragoons that can form up as Dismounted infantry in line are just too good and too flexible. But here goes:

DRAGOONS

All Dragoons can dismount and remount. It costs one operation to perform either action. The formation it begins its activation in determines how many operations it has for that turn, e.g. If it begins formed it has 1 operation, if it begins as dismounted skirmish infantry or as cavalry it has 2 operations.

All Dragoons which dismount lose a morale step while fighting as foot, regardless of whether they fight formed or in skirmish. All Dragoons, except Russians, that change formation into formed infantry from either cavalry or skirmish infantry counts as a complex move, (1 disorder marker). Any movement in line (except Russian Dismounted Dragoons also counts as a complex move (1 disorder marker)

Dismounted Dragoons count as average shots 1/3 figs and use carbines 2 inch fire range instead of the usual 3 inches.

All Dismounted dragoons in line count as oriental infantry if charged by cavalry. Cavalry will therefore break the bayonets of formed dismounted Dragoons on a 3+ instead of the usual 4+.

Ok I think that should just about do it for playtesting :)
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Re: Dragoon basing

Postby CharlesXII » Sun Aug 11, 2013 3:01 am

Frederick,

I like your ideas for play testing and we will try it on our end over here. You had mentioned earlier that you think mounting and dismounting should not occur within 8" of an enemy unit. How about just making it within movement range of an enemy unit? Just as easy to remember.

We still have no decision on basing. I am thinking that basing them like skirmishers and letting them double their ranks like light infantry when they form line is the best way to go. It allows them to both skirmish and form line without the owning players having to paint and base dismounted dragoons twice to accommodate both functions. Are you ok with allowing them to function like skirmishers and light infantry in line (with the disorder penalties you have imposed on all but the Russians when in line) or do you feel we need to restrict them further?
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Re: Dragoon basing

Postby FredericktheGreat » Sun Aug 11, 2013 2:34 pm

Yes, base the Dragoons like Koenig Krieg Skirmish infantry 2 to base (25mm wide by 15mm deep for 15mm scale figures). They can rank up like Koenig Krieg Light infantry by putting 1 base behind the other.

Let me know how your games go using the current playtest for Dragoons.
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