GRAND-TACTICAL NAPOLEONIC WARFARE IN
A few words on tactics and their application
to the Republique wargame rules
- Grand Tactical Support
- Proper deployment of your forces is crucial. Placing
divisions too far apart from each other is a common error which leaves your
units vulnerable. Many army corps of this period operated on surprisingly
narrow fronts, usually between 20 and 30 inches game scale. This assured that
neighboring divisions were "right there" and able to help. 18 inches may not
seem like far on the game board, but in reality, divisions would have avoided
operating 1500 yards apart from each other! Despite these constricted
deployments, you must still attempt to maintain clear "lanes" within each
division to allow for passage of cavalry and artillery.
- Tactical Support
- One of the biggest problems in many games is lack of
mutual support for attacking units. Many commanders are tempted to go on
"adventures," especially with cavalry brigades which are fleetingly presented
with tempting targets. Remember, Republique is not forgiving to poorly
supported units, and while your cavalry may pound an impressive and traumatic
hole in enemy lines, the enemy will react! And his reaction may be to surround
and crush that cavalry before it can reform and withdraw. When you use your
cavalry, support it with other cavalry and horse artillery to prevent enemy
units from cutting them off.
- Artillery is another type of support which should be
closely integrated. A common mistake is to mask artillery batteries with
assaulting troops. After all, once the assault goes in, the infantry will
decide the rest right? Maybe not! When organizing an assault, leave gaps in or
between your attacking divisions. These can then be used by artillery to keep
firing onto enemy targets right up until (and after) the assault hits, thereby
giving your infantry the best possible support.
- Develop an eye for terrain. Intervening rough ground can
interfere with mutual support of units. Rivers, forest, ravines and rough areas
can all slow down units moving to the aid of formations in distress. On the
other hand, look for enemy deployments which can be exploited. See if your
opponent has isolated units which can be destroyed piecemeal before help can
arrive. If your current deployment does not allow "interior lines" then abandon
part of it to consolidate your position.
- Keeping substantial forces in reserve allows maximum
flexibility. Reserve formations react immediately to new orders, which for some
nations is a godsend. When issuing orders, keep in mind that movement
arrowpoints also represent the orientation of a formation at their halt-point.
- If you end up with a heavily morale-hit unit at the front
of an advance, move it to the rear first - at the start of your move - before
trying to move your other units forward. This is allowed becuase you are still
moving half or more of your units forward, and it places the burden of "getting
out of the way" on the weak unit instead of forcing fresh units to lose
movement as they pass through the rattled or shaken troops to their front.
- Combined arms assaults (infantry and cavalry attacking
together with close artillery support firing onto the target) are the preferred
method of attack, although historically many countries had a very difficult
time conducting these! In Republique, there are several fundamental ways to
conduct combined arms attacks, each of which have slightly different
- Heavy attack/Moderate pursuit If you attack with a
line of infantry followed immediately by a line of cavalry, all bases will
count in the melee, but if a breakthrough is achieved, the cavalry will have to
lose movement while passing through the friendly infantry. This fight is more
damaging to the enemy (they are hit by lots of infantry and cavalry all at
once), but it also reduces breakthrough distance for the cavalry .
- Moderate attack/Aggressive pursuit If you attack
with a line of cavalry followed by a line of infantry, only half of the
infantry is available (the cavalry base depth places the infantry over 1" away
from the enemy). So there may be less chance of outnumbering the enemy, but if
victorious, the cavalry will likely have more movement to continue its charge.
- Moderate attack/Flexible pursuit If you attack
with infantry and cavalry side-by-side, then each is free (if victorious) to
pursue at their own pace. This is more easily executed by formations in column,
which can give local numerical superiority even though the narrow, deep
deployments are slightly less favorable "assault" formations. This is the most
likely to occur if players are maintaining "lanes" down which cavalry can
easily move past their friendly infantry.
- If you are forced to withdraw to another place on the
field, place some infantry in square supported by cavalry. About face the rest
of your force so it can march away at full speed while the squares and cavalry
guard the rear.