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Dismounted Dragoons as Independent Infantry Companies

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Jason
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Dismounted Dragoons as Independent Infantry Companies

Post by Jason on Mon Jul 23, 2012 1:31 pm

A random thought but has anyone tried using dragoons in a dismounted role as 'normal' infantry, as small garrisons for example?

When I previously played Denmark, a problem was I had a number of small overseas colonies and outposts. They did need garrisons, even if mostly token ones, and due to their size (and Denmark's small recruit base and difficulties in obtaining a realiable supply of extra recruits), stationing say a full infantry battalion would mean the garrison was almost as large as the outpost's population (if not larger) and was a struggle to justify.

Of course, just having a dragoon squadron there would solve the problem but I seem to recall in the rules that dragoons can act both as infantry or cavalry but are not as good as either, and there are times I think when you can want a 'proper' infantry garrison, if a small one, rather than a dragoon squadron.

The other time you could end up with wanting to have a 'dragoon squadron' as an infantry force would be if you wanted to create an elite infantry unit but didn't want it to be a full battalion (or if you have a small nation, you might not have the recruits to raise a full battalion).

Any thoughts

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Re: Dismounted Dragoons as Independent Infantry Companies

Post by J Flower on Mon Jul 23, 2012 3:10 pm

One of the problems is equipment. Cavalry boots are not good for marching around in. Plus the sword gets tangled up in there legs when they start to run. Also most of the Dragoons equipment is carried on his horse as they usually have no knapsacks or shoulder bags. Which makes them loath to leave there horses behind.

If they are armed with carbines then they have less range than a muske, if they are armed with mustets then there is the stowage problem when they are mounted.

It is probably best to use them as a cheaper battle field cavalry arm.

In theory they would seem the best of both worlds a mobile infantry arm ready to respond to battlefield situations as they arise. Practice may be a little differant.

Maybe using them as Garrisons would work so long as they are either defending stockades or on mounted patrols, but moving on foot in the open may give them some problems.

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Re: Dismounted Dragoons as Independent Infantry Companies

Post by Guest on Mon Jul 23, 2012 5:48 pm

The other problem could well be cost.

1F (700 men) costs a basic 13,000 to raise and 10,000 upkeep.

To get dragoons to do the same job would require 5 units (750 men) at a raising cost of 37,500 and 25,000 upkeep.

Far cheaper and probably better to use F as garrisons with D for mobile patrols.
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Re: Dismounted Dragoons as Independent Infantry Companies

Post by Jason on Mon Jul 23, 2012 6:06 pm

RKL-yes, I agree on the costs however, using the Denmark example, if you have a small recruit base (it was less than 4,000 a year) it may not be viable to have a full battalion in each of the colonies (esp in the case of Denmark's, in most the population was 500-1,000 people). However it was not a poor country (though not rich by any means), it could afford the relative high costs of using individual dragoon squadrons (mounted or dismounted) as garrisons in multiple locations.

Other Jason Smile I did wonder about uniforms and weapons. I guess in theory they could be rearmed and given new uniforms? But would they also need redrilling or something? The cost could be high but in the example of Denmark in G3, it could afford that extra cost to a reasonable degree.

I also do wonder about this idea as a way of raising small elite units? Historically a lot of nations did seem to only have small foot guard units
(company sized rather than elite) and if you were trying to raise a vaguely historical army in-game, it might be tempting. Again, I guess rearming and new uniforms would be required...
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Re: Dismounted Dragoons as Independent Infantry Companies

Post by Ardagor on Mon Jul 23, 2012 7:05 pm

Another option for small recruit base nations like Denmark is to raise native troops to defend colonies, perhaps with European officers.

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Re: Dismounted Dragoons as Independent Infantry Companies

Post by Guest on Mon Jul 23, 2012 7:30 pm

It could also depend on the type of fortifications present and importance of the town you are defending. The minimum effective garrison is supposed to be 5F, so if that is correct then there may be little point in keeping single dragoon squadrons as garrisons.

There are rules for converting 5D to 1F and for mounting infantry on horses to allow short term movement.

It also depends on how you use garrisons. If you have mutually-supporting colonies, then there is nothing to stop you having a main base in one which contains a large force, and only small garrisons in others. If one of the weaker colonies was attacked then move part of your larger garrison to help protect it. The same principle applied to mutually supporting dominions for France. Each colony was heavily defended, but reserves were always within a couple of months sail away just in case there was trouble. So a large force could appear out of nowhere and smash the enemy, then disperse back to its home depots.

Native recruits could work in some areas, but are they loyal? In previous positions I've had a bad experience with using native troops so my view is probably influenced by that, despite it seeming to be a good idea. What I found was that native troops could be induced to disobey orders and either turn on European troops or else go off fighting their traditional enemies irrespective of their need to stay in position.

I don't think there is an easy answer. Basically it is worth defending a town if it is economically important and if it is going to be defended then the garrison should be of a large enough size to make a difference. That was why I sold off underdeveloped colonies and concentrated on those with large populations and economically significant infrastructure. Ships can help up to a point, but historically many colonies were very poorly defended, deliberately! All it would take is a ship with marines to sail into the harbour and the governor would surrender. Of course, holding on to the colony was always a problem for the attacker.

Like you I have been surprised that so many elite units were very small. I think this is because they became elite either because they were the oldest and most senior in the army, or else won some special distinction, usually at great loss. By definition, elite units needed the pick of recruits. If you have a large pool to pick from then you would normally expect to have a decent quantity of top recruits from which to form your elite units. If you only have a small recruit base to start with then even if you raise elite units they are likely to be ineffective if done in a large quantity. Of course I have no idea what the ratio of elite:normal troops should be to stop this happening.

Oddly artillery cannot be raised as elite; militarised artillery is classed as elite, as well as having other benefits. As ships (effectively gun platforms) can be trained elite by some nations I naturally thought those nations should be able to raise elite artillery, but apparently not.
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Re: Dismounted Dragoons as Independent Infantry Companies

Post by Jason on Mon Jul 23, 2012 8:56 pm

I was imaging small colonies with no more defences than a stockade or small fort, RKL. The idea of selling off the small colonies is an interesting one, though in the case of Denmark, all the colonies were small and I have to be honest, I did like having a few colonies so wasn't happy to sell (despite offers).

That is a good point on elite artillery and I have had the same thought myself over the years. I'm afraid I've no idea idea of the ratio of elite:normal. I do tend to keep the numbers small (I often look at the national historical numbers if they exist).

Ardagor-in the Denmark case, I did try the local recruitment option but for some reason, I had great problems in attracting recruits that way either, even tried upping the recruitment bounties a couple of times to no effect.

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Re: Dismounted Dragoons as Independent Infantry Companies

Post by Guest on Mon Jul 23, 2012 9:28 pm

Jason wrote:I was imaging small colonies with no more defences than a stockade or small fort.

Fort Stockades can hold only 2,000 men, or 4 artillery so you are very restricted. I would use the following:

4FA, standardised callibre, mounted in embrasures, firing grapeshot (400 men). That amounts to a total of 32 guns, firing a hail of musket balls which is a very powerful broadside against native assault. You don't have the men to make them militarised so despite contradicting my earlier comment about always preferring militarised artillery, you don't have the luxury.

2F, armed with rifles (1400 men). This should also help your artillery to find the right range to fire from.

The 2,000 limit means you have to count the horses so 1 cavalry unit uses up 300 men. With this limit it really doesn't make sense to use cavalry at all. As you don't have the eyes of the cavalry, you could always build a moat round your stockade.

If the limit is not a factor (say for a stockade round a town or an independently standing fortress, then you could add some SC supported by horse artillery.

That might contradict previous postings, but as always there is a logic to it. And nothing against creating chains of small forts as they did in the American colonies.

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Re: Dismounted Dragoons as Independent Infantry Companies

Post by J Flower on Tue Jul 24, 2012 3:29 am

Reference Elite Artillery, it can be raised; in the fourth addition rules in the army shopping list it says "To convert any land-based unit to elite costs 10,000 regardless of unit type, taking 3 months " there is then no mention of upkeep costs so I am not sure how much it would cost to upkeep.

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Re: Dismounted Dragoons as Independent Infantry Companies

Post by Guest on Tue Jul 24, 2012 8:27 am

J Flower wrote:Reference Elite Artillery, it can be raised; in the fourth addition rules in the army shopping list it says "To convert any land-based unit to elite costs 10,000 regardless of unit type, taking 3 months " there is then no mention of upkeep costs so I am not sure how much it would cost to upkeep.

I relied on that part of the rules as well, but was informed it didn't apply to artillery.
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Re: Dismounted Dragoons as Independent Infantry Companies

Post by Jason on Tue Jul 24, 2012 10:28 am

I wonder, were there any 'elite' artillery in Glory's time? Off the top of my head, I can't think of any earlier than Napoleon's Guard Artillery
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Re: Dismounted Dragoons as Independent Infantry Companies

Post by Ardagor on Tue Jul 24, 2012 8:35 pm

I believe that artillery and logistics was rather the ugly ducklings of the armed service at this time. Artillery officers needed some sort of education, probably as an apprentice at this time lasting years. Few if any nobles would sink so low that they would get a "craftsman" education so most artillery officers would be commoners.
So status was low, perhaps that is the reason for not having elite units.

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Re: Dismounted Dragoons as Independent Infantry Companies

Post by J Flower on Wed Jul 25, 2012 3:40 am

I took over the UDP in one game for a while, there were elite artillery unit son the Orbat, although these were raised by the previous player. I have never raised them myself in Game.

As regards Elite artillery, some people would judge the Horse artillery as being of a higher quality than Foot artillery.


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Re: Dismounted Dragoons as Independent Infantry Companies

Post by Guest on Wed Jul 25, 2012 9:09 am

Ardagor wrote:I believe that artillery and logistics was rather the ugly ducklings of the armed service at this time ... so status was low, perhaps that is the reason for not having elite units.

That ties in with what I found (see comments on French uniforms thread). I think it was also cultural, seen as a kind of cowardly way to fight, hiding behind powerful guns and shooting at the enemy from safety rather than riding in on your horse and getting into the thick of combat.
J Flower wrote:As regards Elite artillery, some people would judge the Horse artillery as being of a higher quality than Foot artillery.

Perhaps perceived as such in the same way as cavalry is more prestigious than the infantry? I don't know about higher quality, but certainly smaller callibre ammunition.

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Re: Dismounted Dragoons as Independent Infantry Companies

Post by J Flower on Thu Jul 26, 2012 4:21 am

Much of the logistic side of military life was still run by civilain contracters in this period. They were looked down upon by the military.

Also recognised by almost everyone as corrupt,& inept.

Anyone raised a Royal Catering Corps yet?

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