Rules of Engagement for the e-mail battle

A typical tactical situation

Tactical engagements in Bohemia are fought via e-mail, involving commanders at regimental, brigade, divisional and corps/army level.

Players are briefed secretly after every move and it is their responsibility to share the new information with other commanders on their side. The map shows a typical situation encountered on the battlefield, which may turn into opportunity if recognized correctly by the player. The area depicted is lightly wooded, limiting visibility to approximately 300 yards all around.

The two brigades in the top left corner of the woods (blue & red) are involved in a firefight at 150 yard range. The light blue infantry brigade at the bottom of the screen is not within visible range of the firefight, being approximately 650 yards away from the action. The player controlling the light blue brigade would have received the following umpire briefing at the end of the turn:

"Your brigade is in line, facing north-east, and surrounded by light woods. There are no enemy forces in sight, but you can hear the sound of intensive musketry fire coming from a position over 1/3 mile north of you."

Without knowing exactly where the enemy is or which way they are facing, the light blue brigade commander issues the following order via e-mail:

"Brigade, left wheel to 12:00 o’clock. Forward march and engage enemy at 100 yard range." The white arrow shows execution of the first part of the order, the black arrow shows the second part. It so happens, that the move order brings the light blue brigade into perfect flanking position against the enemy. Troops advancing through woods should not expect to always be this lucky. Regiments will automatically resume firing when there is a target in sight and in range.

Scale

  • 1 Turn = 1 Hour
  • 1 inch on table = 100 yards/meters in real life
  • 200 × 200m figure base = army/corps commander
  • 150 × 150m figure base = division commander
  • 300 × 150m figure base = 1 infantry regiment
  • 300 × 300m figure base = 1 cavalry brigade
  • 150 × 300m gun base = 1 artillery battalion
  • 150 × 300m figure base = 1 skirmish cavalry

Important Firing Ranges

  • 200 yards: Musketry range
  • 400 yards: Battalion gun cannister range
  • 500 yards: Field artillery cannister range
  • 600 yards: Heavy artillery cannister range
  • 800 yards: Battalion gun long range
  • 1000 yards: Field artillery long range
  • 1200 yards: Heavy artillery long range

Notice, that heavy artillery placed at 550 yards from an enemy infantry line can fire cannister at the line while only exposing itself to long range battalion gun fire. Selection of the proper relative range from an enemy unit is the key to success in tactical battle. Units which do not move during the turn, double their fire effect.

Important Movement Distances per Hour

  • 1200 yards infantry & heavy artillery march range
  • 1600 yards field artillery march range
  • 2000 yards heavy cavalry march range
  • 2400 yards medium and light cavalry march range

Notice, that units within 2000 or 2400 yards of cavalry are in the cavalry’s charge range. It is recommended that artillery be unlimbered and ready to fire whenever cavalry is that close. Formation changes cost time and reduce movement rates. As an example, artillery may limber, move only half distance, unlimber and fire in one hourly turn. It takes half of the turn to recover from disorder.

Morale Considerations

  • Army commander attached
  • Stationary on high ground
  • Defending works or trenches
  • Attacked by cavalry
  • Attacked in flank
  • Disordered

Notice, that the first three are positive and the last three are negative effects on combat morale. When morale fails, troops become disordered. Fail again and troops rout.

How to Win Battles

The secret to battlefield success is to avoid frontal attack against enemy in carefully selected defensive positions. To do so almost always results in a bloody repulse. Enemy lines should be pinned frontally and attacked in flank. The flanking force must appear suddenly and push its attack vigorously.
  • Move light cavalry into position behind the enemy, to attack his artillery units.
  • Keep your infantry brigades together, regiments touching. Practise wheeling your brigades to appreciate how much movement is expended in this maneuver.
  • Guide your march rate on the slowest element in your brigade. Infantry brigades with heavy artillery support are limited to 600 yard advances per hour if they want to unlimber the guns and fire them at regular intervals. By comparison, infantry brigades without heavy or field artillery attached may advance a full 1200 yards and still fire battalion guns.
  • Enemy cavalry is easily destroyed by combining two of your brigades against one of theirs. To avoid the same problem, stay out of enemy charge range or keep your brigades in physical contact with eachother.
  • Cavalry brigades should not attack enemy infantry regiments frontally, unless the enemy is in disorder.
  • Avoid micromanagement! Fancy maneuvers never work on the battlefield, and you should avoid them at all cost. Single regiments, operating away from their brigade are easily isolated and destroyed.

Refuse or Advance your Flanks

Refusing and advancing flanks

This combat example shows the blue brigade with "right flank refused". Refusing the flank is a standard brigade order and it is used to avoid flank attack from red cavalry in this case. You should refuse the flank whenever you advance past an enemy unit on your flank. Refusing a flank will cut movement to half normal speed, because the flank regiment needs to change its facing at the beginning and the end of the move.

The red brigade is under "advance right flank" orders, in an effort to exploits its longer front line vis-a-vis the blue brigade. If the right flank regiment had not swung in, it might not have had the angle to fire against blue at all. As it is, the red flank regiment can issue flanking fire, resulting in a negative morale modifier against blue.

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