Sunday, 23 September 2007

Wargame infantry formations

Because of the 1:33 figure to man ratio most of my wargame infantry battalions of both Russian and Grande Army have 24 figures. That is when one uses the theoretical strength of the historical counterparts (paper strength). At Borodino 1812 many infantry units had lost men and were reduced in numbers. Furthermore some units did have another battalion composition but for showing how the wargame infantry battalions are build up and can be used when applying historical based combat formations the basic unit of 24 figures works well.

French infantry battalions had six companies so my wargame units have six companies of four figures each. Two of these companies are the elites; one of voltigeurs and one of grenadiers (karabiners). For wargame purposes I wanted to have an officer and a musician in the battalion. Sometimes a standardbearer is presented too. For this I used a ratio of one standard (eaglebearer) on every three battalions in a brigade. Sometimes the battalions without an eagle have a fanion or a battalion flag bearer. All these special figures I placed in the first fusilier or chasseur company for the idea of leading the battalion. An NCO is occasionally present in one of the four fusilier or chasseur companies. In the grenadier company sometimes a sapper figure appears.

Basing these troops is done as follows: All figures in the companies are placed side by side (giving four in a row). In the first three fusilier companies in a line infantry wargame battalion all the four figures are on one element, the figures are placed side to side. The fourth fusilier company has one element of two figures and two elements with one figure each. This is done to be able removing casualties during a game. The officer figure of the first company is always in one of the two middle positions of the element. The grenadier company can consist of one element with all four figures on it, or one element with three figures with one seperate element having a single figure on it, or two elements each with two figures. Voltigeur companies always have at least two elements with two figures but occasionally one or these elements is split into two seperate one with a single voltigeur figure. This is done for the purpose of skirmishing and casualty removal. In the light infantry battalions all six companies contain at most two elements with two figures. The reason for this is the fact that this enables the full battalion skirmish line with the required intervals and resembles the idea of skirmishing in pairs. The rest of the wargame unit build up is quite the same as for the line battalion.

The Russian infantry wargame battalions, that is of infantry (former musketeer), grenadier and jäger regiments, have four companies each of six figures (again this is related to their historical paper strength). All these companies are divided in two sections of three figures. The elite company has one section of grenadiers (karabiners) and one of tirailleurs. The first of the centre companies always has an officer figure and a musician present. Standard bearers are in the same company but are not placed in every wargame battalion. The Russians I gave two out of four battalions of an infantry brigade a standard bearer. One represents the coloured flag and the other the white flag. However most of my jäger battalions do not have a standard bearer. These special figures are always in the first centre company and normally are placed on the element representing the right section. Sometimes an NCO figure is present in one of the companies.

Basically all infantry sections of three figures are on the same element (again placed side by side), but the second section of the third centre company is divided in one element holding two figures and an element with one figure on it (and again this is done for removal of casualties in a wargame). The elite sections (especially the tirailleur section) are frequently done in the same way for skirmish purposes. For enabling a skirmish line with a wargame jäger battalion more sections are subdived in several elements likewise.

French line infantry battalion in closed column

Russian infantry battalion in closed column

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