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Army Structure

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MarkTurner26
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Army Structure

Post by MarkTurner26 on Tue Nov 27, 2012 8:47 am

Hi guys

Probably like the rest of you I have tried to structure an army that is right for me but as yet I am unable to find one I am comfortable with.

I have tried the Grandarmee system of Napoleon, thats meaning having corps with a specific number of each troop type which is actually more like a roman legion system. I am wonder how you structure armies, might help me develop some new ideas

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Re: Army Structure

Post by Guest on Tue Nov 27, 2012 9:58 am

There is no easy answer to this question, Mark. I think it depends on the position you are playing, what its natural advantages are and its starting technologies. Some countries actually lose honour if they go Western (Asante, Japan). If you can only raise TF then they will not make steady troops when fighting ordinary F in a musket duel on a battlefield. Some nations have a natural advantage of light cavalry which would need to be used differently to ordinary horse. So my first general piece of advice would be to play to the strengths of your position.

If you cant raise a certain type of unit and feel you need it, then you could try hiring them as mercenaries or by asking a friendly nation to send you a mission. The mercenary route is the quickest, but doesnt help you longer term. It also makes it more difficult to standardise drill across all your units. Missions tend to be more flexible, but it can take time for newly raised units to become proficient with new weapons or drill. Expect failures. This also applies to ships: a country with no naval tradition does not just need the technology to build ships, but also training to sail them otherwise they can simply be captured by the enemy or sink on their first trip out of port.

The 3rd piece of general advice is that however you structure things, the real test is in combat. In the past Ive had several ideas which I was convinced would give me an edge, but in combat they have failed for one reason or another. This may be a one-off or it may be a design flaw. So view the army as work in progress and dont be afraid to change things if you make a mistake. The game is flexible enough to let you do almost anything, but that doesnt mean to say that once youve done it your army is going to work as you expect.

If you would like more information on the types of units I raised for the French army, then see the French Uniforms thread. Reading about how some units performed I would certainly do some things differently (apologies to Jason and subsequent players of France in G7). One of my biggest mistakes was equipping uniforms with boots instead of shoes. The idea was sound: I thought it would be more comfortable for men on the march and more waterproof, reducing SL losses and boost their morale. However, in practice the boots supplied were difficult to fight in, so need to be replaced. I would also simplify things slightly with fewer unit types. I dont regret dividing troops into regiments with uniforms, though. That kind of thing really adds to the period detail.

To answer the specific point about Napoleon, you would need an awful lot of troops to replicate the Corps system properly and I doubt it would work in 1700. If you look at army lists from the time most regiments were single battalion strength with very little standardisation of equipment let alone drill or deployment. The mentality was very much that the colonel of each regiment determined how it fought and would view the instructions of his superiors as polite requests, particularly if the colonel concerned was of a higher social rank. The nobility would rather fight bravely in an honourable way than go sneaking around, even if it meant their troops suffered. So tactics really were rather primitive and support functions (logistics, general staff) were also way below the standard needed to get Napoleonic levels of efficiency. You could no doubt split your Grande Arme into 5 separate corps, but having done so dont be surprised if they all march off to different places and are defeated piecemeal. Co-ordinating 5 separate armies on the march to mirror what Napoleon did really isn't going to work. Even if you split an army of say 50F, 50H, 10Art (48,500 men) into 5 corps of 10F, 10H, 2FA, then each corps is not really large enough to stand on its own which defeats the objective! Of course if you have 250,000 men under arms then you won't have this problem, but you will probably be fighting an opponent (or opponents) who can match the strength of a single corps quite easily. Very few players willingly attack a superior foe.

The other big difficulty to adopting a corps system is in supplying/co-ordinating its movements. 5 formations will take up 5 lots of grain each time they receive an order. And any one of the 5 orders can go astray. When you are fighting a complicated campaign in LGDR (as I did in my conquest of England in G7) or on multiple fronts across different continents (as I did in 1704) it really is very difficult to plan and control. Be prepared for such things as late or missing orders, commanders misunderstanding even the simplest of instructions, units simply not moving where they should do, attacking towns instead of observing them the list is almost endless. This is all very 1700 and not something Napoleon tolerated! LGDR seems to work reasonably well at the strategic level, but relatively poorly at the tactical level. Unfortunately most of the changes you can make to units are more beneficial at the tactical level, so their effect is limited.

As a guide campaigning seasons tended to be short, so wars were very much stop/start affairs with limited gains and limited objectives each year. One of the problems in the War of the Spanish Succession was that even after a major battle, armies could not follow up their victory before the campaigning season ended. Sieges were far more common than battles: from 1702-1712 there were only 4 major battles in Flanders; all the other combats were sieges. OK, some of this could well have been because France fought defensively instead of offensively, but even after such victories as Ramillies and Oudenarde there was no sustained breakthrough. The French did learn how to stop Marlborough by Malplaquet and both sides were in no condition to fight on. Denain (an outright French victory) came too late to be exploited, and we simply don't have the historical evidence to speculate on how the war may have developed from that point. It just shows how different warfare of the period was from Napoleon who in the 10 year period from 1803-1813 fought several campaigns, knocking out nations in a single battle, overrunning most of Europe and forcing peace. That kind of success simply wasn't possible in 1700 and I doubt you will be able to mirror it in LGDR.

Hope all this helps.


Last edited by The Real Louis of France on Tue Nov 27, 2012 10:34 am; edited 1 time in total
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MarkTurner26
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Re: Army Structure

Post by MarkTurner26 on Tue Nov 27, 2012 10:32 am

Once RKL highly informative, in reply the napoleon thing, it was a dumbed down version, to what I conceived would give me more flexibility, but it could also cause major issues. I at the moment have never had to partake in any conflict, so I am a conflict virgin ha ha ha... I am sure I will one day

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Re: Army Structure

Post by Guest on Tue Nov 27, 2012 10:40 am

I edited my last post to add more detail for you.

Perhaps as a starting point you need to decide whether you want to fight offensively or defensively and then create an army which will allow you to do that? I originally conceived of France as having a defensive army, but events forced me to change things round dramatically. You learn so much about how the system works from having to fight a war it is difficult to be specific. I guess some things you have to learn for yourself. Smile
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Jason
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Re: Army Structure

Post by Jason on Tue Nov 27, 2012 7:22 pm

Not sure there is much to add to Louis posting Smile

I would agree though, think about the type of army you want and then work out what you want in it. I often play smaller nations and have a go at recreating their historical armies, which actually seems to work...though often I only have enough units to form a single field army so... Wink

I have tried the idea of having an artillery train and a pure cavalry corps, to allow for some vast moving forces, but never seen enough evidence that really helps
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Ardagor
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Re: Army Structure

Post by Ardagor on Tue Nov 27, 2012 7:46 pm

A small nation with a vast moving force would be interesting. Very Happy
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Jason
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Re: Army Structure

Post by Jason on Tue Nov 27, 2012 8:22 pm

I have considered that idea (with Denmark)-small number of fortified strongpoints with a large cavalry force. Plan would be for the fortified positions to tie up an invading force whilst the cavalry raids everywhere

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Re: Army Structure

Post by J Flower on Sun Dec 02, 2012 7:46 am

I beleive that Army structure is really up to the individual & the circumstance that you find yourself in.

Historically there wern't any fixed higher formations each war/expedition would be dealt with as it came along. Armies were divided up into Inspections in peace time reflecting the area or division that the inspectors had to look at, when checking the state of the troops & there equipment.

It maybe worth starting from the bottom up, with Regiments, how many SQNs/ Battalions pro Regiment, then look to band those together. Mixed arms formations were virtually unheard of.

These Regiments would then be dispersed around the country in question, large standing army formations didn't exsist, even Battalions were dispersed among the cantoments, with maybe a once or twice a year battalion parade.

Personally I have gone for the 3 Battalion Regimental system with 4 sqns to a cavalry regiment rising to 10 for light cavalry, i have tried to use Regimental names for all the units, it makes the Orders printout longer& I suspect Richard curses me everytime he changes the Ink cartridge, but it helps improve my personal enjoyment of the game ( a little selfish I know)

I then band my units into Inspections when they take to the field, depending on what I have avaliable & the task in hand dictates to a greater or lesser extent the make up of the forces. Throw in a few supporting units like Engineers & ambulances & off they go.

On hte naval sid eof matters I would be glad to hear how ohters organise there fleets what kind of mix of SOL to smaller vessals is a good one.
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MarkTurner26
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Re: Army Structure

Post by MarkTurner26 on Sun Dec 02, 2012 8:05 am

In my other game I have guard units which dont really have a constituted number, I just decide I want these troops to form this guard unit, normally all cavalry or all infantry usually with a artillery piece in there. I also suspect Richard curses the amount of potential personalities in there but its nice to see a very long list come through my email every month.
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Jason
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Re: Army Structure

Post by Jason on Sun Dec 02, 2012 4:38 pm

On fleets, it tends to vary depending on the resources of the nation I'm playing, but I try to have a main Battle Fleet (primarily SoLs but with a small cruiser element) as a strategic reserve/intervention force with smaller squadrons (either SoLs or heavy cruisers or a mix, perhaps with a couple of smaller cruisers attached) for small scale ops, like pirate hunting, and maintaining a presence in colonies, etc.

I do also try and have a cruiser fleet for larger anti-piracy missions.

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Re: Army Structure

Post by Guest on Sun Dec 02, 2012 5:41 pm

In a way, fleets are harder than armies to organise.

Historically SoL were used in giant battlefleets which could comprise over a hundred vessels supported by various auxiliaries and smaller ships. SoL only fought in large fleet actions and the real day to day work was done by frigates. Even Nelson complained he never had enough frigates.

Unfortunately by the time line of battle tactics had been formalised (roughly 1700), large fleet actions were indecisive: both sides fought defensively. Because such fleets were very expensive to maintain, France switched to commerce raiding and used its fleets strategically to support its armed forces. A victory would be when one side failed to get into line of battle and hold formation, or through ill luck lost a single ship. As wooden ships could be repaired within a month (much longer in the game), such duels went on for ages.

In the game I don't think it matters how the navy is organised as much as the army. A battlefleet needs to be at least as strong as the enemy and assembled as needed for a certain battle. For smaller ships on patrol/anti-piracy duties, the size of area being patrolled seems to determine effectiveness more than just numbers. 5 corvettes can be very effective in a busy sea route whereas 1SoL may not be very effective at all in the same situation.

I don't think you can have a hard and fast rule on any of this. Smaller nations may get away without a main battlefleet and would probably find their navy more effective if they focussed on frigates or smaller vessels.

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Re: Army Structure

Post by J Flower on Fri Dec 07, 2012 11:55 am

Thank yo u Louis, I had thought of the German wolf pact strategy with their subs in the last war, with small groups of roving Crusiers preying on Shipping, your post seems to confirm that that is a viable idea.

On Army structure, do we as players make enough use of the Lighter cavalry/infantry elements, there seem to be reports of Battles with Heavy Cavalry & Dragoons crashing about all over the place, but the light Cavalry always seems to come off second best. Maybe because they were more in there element in the Skirmish/ Scouting role which seems to take a bit of a back seat in game.

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Re: Army Structure

Post by Stuart Bailey on Fri Dec 07, 2012 10:59 pm

My view is that the optium mix of troop troop types and organization depend's a great deal on what type of campaign you intend to fight and where you intend to fight it.

If your position is a maritime country like the UDP or your campaign area is small and crowded with fortresses and you are a nice chap who does not target civilians then probably the only use you have for light cavalry is a few scouts and you probably only want say 30% of your field Army to be Cavalry.

In contrast if you are playing a Russian, Ottoman, Polish, Hungarian or Persian position you probably want closer to 50% of your field Army to be mounted with at least 50% of these lights.

One particular Sultan in G2 even used a 66% Cavalry Army against the Poles in the largest battle of the war.

A reason why Eastern powers favour Lt Cavalry is that in Western Europe scorched earth tactics, slave raiding etc are not really the "done thing" and if your French or English Troops start laying waste to Flanders or Bavaria and pinching silver crosses out of Churches before burning them down it tends to reflect badly on you.

But if you are a Cossack, Hungarian, Ottoman etc its "I love the smell of burning villages.......it smells like Victory" and of course when someone lets the Hussars or the Cossacks lose their opponents either has to pay back in kind or deploy his own Lt Horse/Dragoons to stop the raidings.

Of course this can make life a bit hard of powers like Austria & Prussia which face both East & West who have to balance things. But on the plus side they do not normally have to worry about Naval Stuff.
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Jason
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Re: Army Structure

Post by Jason on Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:10 pm

Stuart Bailey wrote: if your French or English Troops start laying waste to Flanders or Bavaria and pinching silver crosses out of Churches before burning them down it tends to reflect badly on you.

Well, there goes my battle plan Wink

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