Friday, January 24, 2014

Moving Napoleonic Artillery

I never quite understood the reason why horse artillery batteries are able to zip around the battlefield as if they were self propelled guns. All artillery batteries regardless of weight and nationality were manned to do the task that artillery batteries perform. Having all the men mounted on horses does not make it easier to put or take a gun out of action. It does allow the battery to travel at a greater rate. Below are my first ideas on moving batteries in Black Powder.

Moving Artillery
Foot gunners were expected to walk, however artillery company commanders were often mounted. All horse gunners were mounted and so the battery could move faster. Horse batteries were, paradoxically, slow to come into action, because although it could maneuver at perhaps twice the speed of a foot battery, it took longer for the gunners to dismount, park their horses, and run to their pieces.

Changing Formation
Unlimbering was easier than limbering up and usually took approximately 1 minute on the training ground.

Unlimbering an artillery unit can be done for free at the end of a move, the order to unlimber must still be part of the order. Note: Horse batteries are unreliable if part of the order is to unlimber. Limbered artillery batteries still get a free move if they fail an order test as normal; as unlimbering is free also, they can move and unlimber on a failed order if that was what was ordered.

Limbering a battery always cost one move, whether foot or horse.

Moving Unlimbered Guns
Pulling the guns forward on the battlefield during combat was done with or without horses. For longer distances it was done by horses on a prolong permitting them to maneuver as well. For a short distance it was done by men using bricoles to hand haul the guns, though it was much more difficult changing the direction the battery was facing.

Prolong: the battery may move as normal, though each move is 4”. The battery can fire if it is only ordered to makes one move, though the fire is at an additional -1 to hit. Exception: British batteries do not suffer the -1 for moving.
Note: Heavy Guns are Unreliable and Light Guns are Reliable when prolonging the battery.

Hand Haul: the unit may make one move (4”) and still fire. Light guns may move 8” when hand hauling the battery. The move may not be in a flank zone, nor may the battery change its facing by more than 45°.

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