1916
LAND WAR IN THE AGE OF MACHINES: 1914-1918



Great Britain
Tactical Notes : Equipment & Defense Notes : Troops & Units : Keys

The British Army began the war with a small but very elite force of line infantry. Unfortunately this force was largely killed off in the first months of fighting, and the following two years saw large blocks of hurriedly trained raw recruits take their place. Only as the war progressed and the benefits of light automatic weapons and armor support manifested themselves did the survivors of the mid-war slaughters begin to re-build their force. One of their greatest enemies were their own officers, some of whom were tragically conservative. Fortunately for the men, the system did allow the inspired actions of a minority of great officers to push through the changes needed for victory.

Tactical Notes:
The British Army continued to use close order infantry formations at least through the start of the Somme Offensive (when they lost 60,000 casualties on the first day) although many formations are reported to have begun using open order by 1915. Through most of the war, the British Army never quite grasped the subtleties of combined arms assault tactics. Many British officers seemed to have their own opinions of the best single weapon for trench fighting, be it the rifle, or the bayonet or some other item. In some cases, they even discouraged the use of perfectly viable weapons such as grenades because they were viewed as weapons for shirkers. This one-weapon mentality resulted in the haphazard use of many different methods in ways which did not take mutual advantage of their best features.


Equipment & Defense Notes:
The standard field gun for Commonwealth units was the Mk I 18-pdr, which is shell size 5 for game play. Below are the defense values used to establish troop defenses (if any) to be used during the setup phase of the game. These defensive levels are meant only as rough averages. Players creating their own scenarios may want to adjust them for different situations. For example, an "old" battlefield may have very heavy wire entanglements and many pillboxes. A "new" battlefield located in an area not previous fought over would have very little or no wire entanglements and no bunkers. See the Game Setup page or Advanced Game Setup for more information.
Defense Setup:
1914 | Trench ½40
1915 | Trench ½70 | Wire ½40 | Pillbox ¼
1916 | Trench ½70 | Wire ½40 | Pillbox ½ | Bunker ¼
1917 | Trench ½70 | Wire ½40 | Pillbox 1 | Bunker ¼
1918 | Trench ½100 | Wire ½70 | Pillbox 2 | Bunker 1

Troops and Units:
The orders of battle shown below offer a list of average unit values in order to give 1916 players an idea of how historical formations should be represented for game play. Real life units varied in type, strength and quality, depending on their location and readiness level. Overall, there were a huge variety of units created during the war, from forestry battalions to assault companies. This prevents us from trying to list them all, and players are encouraged to use these lists as guidelines for creating other units they would like to use on the battlefield.
Engineer Company
Units:1 | Bases:6 | Morale:Brave | Training:Average
Trench Raiders
Units:1 | Bases:3 | Morale:Steady | Training:Great | Machine Guns:2 light
Dismounted Tank Crew
Units:1 to 3 | Bases:1 | Morale:Brave | Training:Average | Other:Each base fires as a light machine gun

"Old Army" Infantry Battalion 1914
Units:8 | Bases:6 | Morale:Brave | Training:Great | Machine Guns:1 heavy
Infantry Battalion 1915
Units:6 | Bases:9 | Morale:Steady | Training:Poor | Machine Guns:2 heavy, 1 light
Infantry Battalion 1916
Units:6 | Bases:9 | Morale:Steady | Training:Average | Machine Guns:2 heavy, 4 light
Infantry Battalion 1917
Units:6 or 7 | Bases:6 | Morale:Steady | Training:Average | Machine Guns:2 heavy, 3 light | Trench Mortars:1 light
Infantry Battalion 1918
Units:6 or 7 | Bases:6 | Morale:Steady | Training:Average | Machine Guns:2 heavy, 8 light | Trench Mortars:4 light

Infantry Brigade 1914-16
Battalions:4 infantry
Infantry Brigade 1917
Battalions:4 infantry | Machine Guns:4 heavy | Trench Mortars:2 Medium
Infantry Brigade 1918
Battalions:3 infantry | Machine Guns:4 heavy | Trench Mortars:2 Medium

Infantry Division 1914
Brigades:3 infantry | Other:1 cavalry squadron (horse or cyclists), 1 engineer company
Infantry Division 1917
Brigades:3 infantry | Other:2 engineer companies
Infantry Division 1918
Brigades:3 infantry | Other:3 engineer companies




Defense Setup Key: Each line on the Defense Setup list covers the setup values for a certain year of the war. These values are approximates only, and players with special insights are encouraged to adjust these values according to their own preferences, or for specific scenario elements. Below are definitions of each basic feature type.
1916 The year of the war with applies to the following defense allotments
Trench ½70 The player receives game board trenchlines equal one-half die roll (½D6) multiplied by seventy inches. Other multiples will be forty inches and one-hundred inches. For example, the hypothetical player who rolled a 5 on this die roll would be allowed to set up a maximum of 210 inches worth of fire trenches, slit trenches and foxholes on the game board.
Wire ½40 Same die rolling method as for trenchlines, but applies to acquisition of barbed wire entanglements. Note that for ease of play, the length of each barbed wire segment should equal the width of an infantry base.
Pillbox ½ Values shown without a second number immediately following will use that final value to establish the number of those items allowed for that player. For example: The hypothetical player who rolled a 3 on this die roll would be allowed to set up two pillboxes on the game board.
Bunker ¼ Same system as for pillboxes, but applies to acquisition of bunkers instead:
A ½ die roll means that a 1 or 2 = One, 3 or 4 = Two, 5 or 6 = Three. A ¼ die roll means that a: 1 through 4 = One, and a 5 or 6 = Two.

Troop and Unit Key:
Formation Type - Year
Units:number of subunits in the formation ¹ | Bases:number of bases per subunit | Morale:approximate formation morale | Training:approximate training level of the units | Machine Guns:average number of machine guns which the formation may possess | Mortars:average number of trench mortars which the formation may possess | Towed Cannon:average number of towed cannon which the formation may possess. | Special:special weapons or conditions, such as flamethrowers, etc.

¹ — Note that higher level formations will be composed of companies, battalions or regiments instead of bases and units.
 
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