Home Forums Horse and Musket Napoleonic Napoleonic Unit Frontages

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  • #47201
    General Slade
    Participant

    I’m in the middle of rebasing some of my figures and I found myself wondering whether the comparative unit frontages of my infantry, artillery and cavalry bears any relation to historical fact.  I’m mainly asking because the artillery doesn’t seem to take up very much space (in terms of frontage).

    Anyway, if a six-company French battalion representing 720 men formed in three lines has a frontage of 6″

    What should the frontage of a deployed 6 gun artillery battery be?

    What should the frontage of 120 man cavalry squadron formed in two lines be?

    I’m not looking for anything tremendously precise.  I was just wondering in general terms how much space an artillery battery or a cavalry squadron should take up compared to an infantry battalion.

     

    #47202
    Bandit
    Participant

    Arguably they each took up similar frontages. That is of course untrue. Even if you presume standard strengths – as you are – artillery would expand or contract frontage based on terrain and other battlefield conditions. Most foot batteries were eight guns instead of six, at least on paper.

    I’d say it matters less the larger ground scale you’re dealing with. When you start digging into smaller ground scales – as it appears you are – the differences actually start to matter a lot more. So I realize you are not looking for anything “tremendously precise” but when an infantry battalion takes up 6″… you will find that your chosen level of precision will have radical impacts on the tactical relationship between arms, vs if you were dealing with a higher ground scale where each occupied say, an 1″ of frontage.

    What’s the context you’re trying to address this in?

    Cheers,

    The Bandit

    #47204
    Whirlwind
    Participant

     This link gives lots of info on that type of stuff

    https://hereticalgaming.blogspot.co.uk/

    #47205
    General Slade
    Participant

    What’s the context you’re trying to address this in? Cheers, The Bandit

    Hi Bandit.

    I was thinking in terms of wargames like General de Brigade where you play at a figure ratio of 1:20.  Obviously, in real life frontages might expand and contract according to the circumstances but since my bases can’t do this I was looking for an average figure.  So, if they are all lined up on the parade ground in perfect conditions and my 720 man battalion formed 3-deep has a frontage of 6″, what would be the frontage  of a deployed 6 (or 8) gun battery or a 120 man cavalry squadron formed 2-deep?

    @Whirlwind,

    Thanks for the link.  I will check it out.

     

    #47208
    Bandit
    Participant

    Funny enough, authors and researchers seem to be the least willing to give frontage measurements for artillery. I would generally maintain that it is safe to assume a battery took up 100-125 yards of frontage when deployed. This is based on the presumption of a 12-15 yard space between guns to allow limbers to pass through and each gun then taking a couple yards itself.

    According to Nafzinger, a French infantry battalion at full strength, formed of 9 companies, took ~185 yards of frontage or formed up 6 companies, took ~160 yards.

    Nafzinger quotes the French Ordonnance proviso ire sur l’exercise et les manoeuvres de la cavalerie (title I, article XIV) that each horse takes up approximately 1 meter and a squadron of heavy cavalry or dragoons (assuming a strength of 100 troopers) would take up just shy of 40 meters or just shy of 45 yards. Therefore, Nafzinger would likely tell you a 120 man cavalry squadron will take up approximately 50 yards of frontage.

    Thus, both artillery and cavalry could be assumed to take up just a bit shy of the same frontage. If you’re assuming a French battalion is 6″, then I’d guess your artillery and cavalry units could be safely around 4″ of frontage and 3″ of frontage respectively.

    Provided you’re satisfied with these assumptions 😉

    Cheers,

    The Bandit

    #47222
    General Slade
    Participant

    Thanks Bandit,

    They sound like reasonable assumptions to me.   I was basically trying to justify to myself using wider bases for my guns so I could fit more crewmen on each base (I don’t worry about sticking to the figure ratio when it comes to artillerymen).  I may end up compromising and making them a little bit wider and a little bit deeper.

    Thanks for taking the time to work it out.

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