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Feb 18 17 8:09 AM

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I would appreciate General de Brigade players imput on a subject that has been niggling me for a while,namely the ability under the rule to band together light Infantry coys into a single body,creating,as it states in the rules,a separate unit.
My own reading of the deployment and use of an Infantry units light coy was specifically a local one ie (a)to prepare the way for and protect its parent unit,not to become a part of a separate entity that cannot return to its parent unit.
I do realise that in certain circumstances whole units have been known to be used in the "skirmish" role but these are the exception to the general rule and mainly used for a specific reason rather than the norm.
The use of actual Light Infantry units is a very different matter of course,General de Brigade rules allow these units to act in a manner that reasonably fulfils their actual role on the battlefield.
My point is really to ask if the skirmish coys under GdeB are carrying out the role of Light Infantry Units and NOT their primary role stated in (a) above  ?
I look forward to your constructive comments :)
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#1 [url]

Feb 18 17 2:57 PM

This answer is purely from the point of view of the British army. Wellington issued a standing order that separated the light companies from the line battalions in each brigade and formed them into a light battalion with any rifle companies present. A British Brigade of 3 line battalions is actually a brigade of three 9 company line battalions plus one combined light battalion. When the light battalion had finished it's skirmishing role it was supposed to form up on the left of the brigade.

We were having a chat at the club the other week about how the French light companies really operated. It used to be wargamers' lore that they rejoined their parent battalions after skirmishing, but this idea has always bugged me. I know that a British memoir from Fuentes mentions the French voltigeurs "hanging about" in ravines and making use of cover separately from the formed battalions. It would be great if someone could clarify if they worked on an equivalent principle to the British one, or whether they just milled around causing bother as best they could. As wargamers I think we all sometimes have a tendency to get hung up on doctrine, when in reality this was a period when things were starting to be done "as needed" rather than strictly by the book.

To be honest the only thing that I'm unhappy about with GdeB is the inability of a British skirmish screen to reform, but this can be got around by calling it a light battalion.I'm hoping that General d'Armee will allow skirmishers to reform in the same way as they can in "Pickett's Charge".



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#3 [url]

Feb 18 17 3:50 PM

Here you go:

If you backtrack through this you will see the original order issued in Coimbra in 1809. The  same order was issued for the Waterloo campaign.


Last Edited By: 3rd95th Feb 18 17 3:54 PM. Edited 1 time.

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#4 [url]

Feb 18 17 6:31 PM


Hi Neal,
Thanks for that,very informative,you see it is true that we can learn something new every day :)
Now we need to spread the net a bit wider,what about the French/Prussians etc can anyone come up with standing orders a la Neal ??

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#5 [url]

Feb 20 17 7:00 AM


One of the reasons I started this query was that in the games I have been playing recently with GdeB our skirmish lines seem to be hanging around far far longer than I would expect,only really getting out of the way if in the way of a charge,just does not "feel" right(or look right)always had the opinion that skirmish screens would clear away very sharpish once units got within musketry ranges ie "Damn their filing,bring them anway" !!! 
My own feeling is that skirmishers cancel each other out in the main,and in doing so just get in the way of the real business of the day.
Do not get me wrong,in the right circumstances and situations Skirmishers can and do reap very real results,just not in the basic,non scenario game.
Just my own humble opinion,     ====    yeah right !!!!!  :)

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#6 [url]

Feb 25 17 7:37 PM

Skirmishers are not allowed to be within 3" (5cms) of a formed unit. So if an enemy close order battalion is advancing to within effective musket range say just under six inches, then the enemy skirmishers must 'fall back' as they would be within 3" of the enemy close order battalion and the battalion that they were screening. Ref. 11.22.

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#7 [url]

Feb 26 17 11:30 AM


Just a quick point on skirmishers.

Once your light company is deployed forward the battalion commander is still supposed to command them. But how does he do this effectively when he also has to command the main battalion that can be several hundred yards to the rear? Thus, according to Du Picq, what often happen was that "Leaders have been seen to spread an entire battalion in front of an infantry briagde (that's our skirmish screen in game terms) that the skirmishers, placed under a single command, might obey a general order better."

Therefore we have a skirmish screen operating as "one unit" in GdeB and GdA because numerous different individual light companies cannot be properly commanded, and so tended to be brought together as one unit under one command.


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#8 [url]

Mar 2 17 8:36 PM

Having read lots of books on this subject and studying orders of battle, I see that lots of nations had attached independent jagers, lights and skirmishers attached to the infantry brigades.
such as
to name but a few 
Would these guys fight independently to the brigade skirmishers raised from the line units within the brigade or would they become part of the brigade skirmish force

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