Home Forums General Game Design Rules for SYW Horse artillery

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  • #102551

    The recent thread on SYW rules reminded me I have a Prussian SYW Horse battery, kindly given to me by a friend, to paint.

    The gun model, 4 crew, limber & outriders will represent Fred. The Great’s only Horse battery; an innovation. It will join a sizeable Prussian army, well equipped with “standard” artillery.

    I’ll also need to add the unit’s capabilities to our home-groan rules.

    My thinking is that for disadvantages, a Horse battery should have shorter canister, short & long ranges than those stipulated for heavy & field artillery as the guns are lighter.

    The advantages should clearly be quicker movement (perhaps as fast as Cuirassiers, rather than lighter cavalry?) & ease in unlimbering. Artillery currently can’t fire in the turn they unlimber. So possibly Horse guns can?

    I’m thinking of making the gun base smaller than that stipulated for field artillery as this should have some small impact in terms of ease of limbered movement through gaps & ease of deployment.

    Given that it is a new weapons’ system, I think it should be clunkier than later, Napoleonic horse guns, so I’ll keep the overall artillery rule of losing half a move to limber/unlimber.

    Your thoughts?

     

    donald

    #102586
    Phil Dutré
    Participant

    The commonly accepted game mechanics for horse artillery are indeed better movement, but less efficiency, as compared to regular artillery.

    Although limbering/unlimbering can add flavour to your game, I eliminated limber/unlimber actions from almost all my Horse&Musket games. It’s too much hassle, and I just fold it into the movement or firing rules, such as no firing when moving, or firing at half strength when moving.

    IIRC, Black Powder allows Horse Artillery full movement + shooting. That’s a bit too generous to my taste, but it really depends on the rest of your combat resolution engine.

    Tiny Tin Men Blog: http://snv-ttm.blogspot.com/
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    #102593
    willz
    Participant

    I like “Charles Grant” horse artillery rules using “Wargame rules” and renewed in Re-fighting History volume 1, Both highly recommend books.

    Horse artillery may move up to 9 inches in one move, unlimber and fire the next.

    They may move 6 inches, unlimber and fire the same move.

    They may limber up and move 9 inches in one move.

    As horse artillery guns were smaller and lighter firing range of 40 inches divided into long 30″-40″, medium20″-30″, short 10″-20″ and canister 0″-15″.

     

    #102596

    I like “Charles Grant” horse artillery rules using “Wargame rules” and renewed in Re-fighting History volume 1, Both highly recommend books. Horse artillery may move up to 9 inches in one move, unlimber and fire the next. They may move 6 inches, unlimber and fire the same move. They may limber up and move 9 inches in one move. As horse artillery guns were smaller and lighter firing range of 40 inches divided into long 30″-40″, medium20″-30″, short 10″-20″ and canister 0″-15″.

    That’s clever & worth some thought.

    Thanks.

     

    donald

    #103124
    grizzlymc
    Participant

    Much is made in many rule sets of the Horse Artillery “Action move”, much of that, I suspect, inspired by watching the RHA doing precisely that in Hyde Park. I have rarely read of such movement, although the limber up and get the hell out of here bit seems common in rearguard actions, perhaps most famously by Ramsay’s troop at Fuentes d’onoro. Mercer may have done a bit on the retreat from Waterloo, it’s 45 years since I read his diary.

    For 7YW, can you find out about how horse artillery was actually deployed in action, preferably from first person accounts?

    #103127

    That’s the problem, Griz. I can’t find anything. I have looked. You get accounts that mention it, accounts that tell you the single battery was destroyed. And then re-built. And that Fred the G. thought is worth spending money to create (the old skinflint).

    So, ipso facto, it must have been useful. It must have done things normal artillery couldn’t. A certain facility in deployment appears plausible. It was called “flying” artillery after all. If anyone knows more, I’d be delighted to hear.

     

    donald

    #103132
    grizzlymc
    Participant

    The simple ability to plonk a gun on a hill overlooking the target of one of Seydlitz’ charges might be all you need to make it better at supporting cavalry charges rather than relatively immobile field artillery. Of course, it may have been that whilst the cavalry were dressing their ranks it rushed into cannister range, shook the target and the cavalry broke them satisfyingly. I’ve already figured that that isn’t how it worked in Napoleonic times, but I would be happy to have someone tell me otherwise.

    To give you an example, the lost of La Haye Saint permitted the froggies to pull up a horse battery which gave Wellington’s line between La Haye and Hougomont much stick. But, one can see that, in the face of allied artillery, a horse battery simply had much more chance of making it than 8 12 pdrs plodding up the road. No need for fancy fire and manoeuvre.

    To my eternal discredit, this does not stop me using the action move in our WRG games to pump close range roundshot into the flank of my enemy at the start of a firefight.

    #103181

    Yeah, I don’t want the Horse Artillery to shoot and scoot like some Ww2 SPG, but surely a lighter gun would also be a little easier to limber/unlimbers?

    Ive found in my Napoleonics gaming, HA is quite useful but the lighter guns aren’t battle winners and that they’re quite vulnerable. They get clobbered far more often than Foot batteries.

     

    donald

    #103182
    grizzlymc
    Participant

    Then you are probably using them right.

    Someone somewhere had a bunch of guys pushing a 12 pdr round in a muddy field and one could see that it wouldn’t take long to get tired. A 4 or a 6 is going to be easier.

    I honestly haven’t read many first person accounts from horse artillerymen, maybe I should go and read Mercer afgain.

    #103183

    a bunch of guys pushing a 12 pdr round in a muddy field and one could see that it wouldn’t take long to get tired. A 4 or a 6 is going to be easier. I honestly haven’t read many first person accounts from horse artillerymen, maybe I should go and read Mercer afgain.

     

    See what he has to say about ruptures & other hernias!

     

    donald

    #103227
    Roger Calderbank
    Participant

    I don’t think I can add anything specifically about SYW horse artillery. I think Mercer’s battery used 9pdrs, and French Revolutionary horse artillery used 8pdrs (and were unhappy when told to use 4pdrs), so horse batteries weren’t always lighter poundage. Perhaps the carriages were lighter, but I would doubt there was much of a difference in handling. Maybe in the SYW the horse guns were lighter than most other field guns, since there don’t seem to have been many guns in the 6 to 9pdr range.

    I’ve never really understood why a horse battery should be able to unlimber/limber significantly faster than a foot bsttery of equivalent weight. The hose artillery must have had the additional task of ensuring the crew’s horses were moved out of the way and brought back when needed. As grizzlymc said, I wonder if we are too influenced by the RHA exhibitions.

    I’ve found that wargame rules that give a benefit to horse artillery that goes beyond speed of movement once limbered are more likely to see them bouncing round the table in an unrealistic way. If the only benefit is faster/further movement per turn, then they will be less vulnerable getting to forward deployment positions (or faster getting away as per Norman Ramsey), but are just as likely as equivalent weight foot batteries to stay in position once they start to fire.

    RogerC

    #103652
    deephorse
    Participant

    “I’ve never really understood why a horse battery should be able to unlimber/limber significantly faster than a foot bsttery of equivalent weight. The hose artillery must have had the additional task of ensuring the crew’s horses were moved out of the way and brought back when needed.”

    This prompted me to take a look at my copy of “The Waterloo Companion”.  In it the author talks about the RHA keeping their limbers and individual mounts quite close to the gun line.  This was because a horse battery was not expected to remain in one position for very long.  It’s not explained whether or not this was only for the battle of Wateroo though.

    So if the limbers etc. were closer to the gun line than they would be in an equivalent gun weight foot battery then I can see them being able to limber up more quickly than a foot battery.

    Less enthusiasm, please. This is Britain.

    #103731
    grizzlymc
    Participant

    Something I have never quite got.

    Foot artillery had ammo on the gun or in the limber, but they also had a train of support vehicles (Caissons) which kept them supplied with plenty of balls.

    Did horse batteries have caissons and if so, were they prancing round the field at horse speed, or did they catch up, or even rendezvous, to resupply?

    If so, does that mean that horse batteries flitting around ought to have to flit behind the lines from time to time?

    #103746

    I went back to Kronoskaf.

    The size of the guns varies, according to the source: from 3 pounders, to 6 pounders, to 10 pounders. 6 pounders appears the most likely for much of the Flying Artillery’s existence. The guns are described as “light”; which I think means the tubes were not as robust & thus the carriages were also lighter.

    You can make what you will of this but it looks as though the guns were easier to move limbered & unlimbered.

    Certainly, the brigade was meant to work with cavalry in both advance & rearguard actions. This underlines that it was speedier than the far heavier Foot guns & *maybe* easier to deploy and limber up.

    The most concrete fact about this new weapon was Frederick, parsimonious as he was, formed it. After Kunnersdorf when it was captured, he formed a replacement horse artillery. After Maxen, ditto. It must have a clear & useful purpose for him to bother with it.

    BTW the ammunition was probably supplied by caissons identical with those of the Foot brigades. I don’t see this as a problem as the caissons need not keep up with the guns, just be within call when needed.

    For wargames’ rules, I think some sensible  bonus for alacrity in the limbering procedure appears not implausible.

     

    donald

     

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