STEEL PANTHERS ENHANCED // NORTH AFRIKA

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 Post subject: Thoughts on scale and deployments
PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 7:41 pm 
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I hesitate to bring this up, but I am concerned that the distance scale we are working with is going to be too large, i.e too much distance represented by too small a game area, to do justice to the historic battles. Bear with me as I work this out...

The current game scale is 50 meters per hex, or 55 yards. A fairly large chunk of real estate, when you go out and actually measure it off. But how many men can fit into that area, if they are deployed in the manner of mid-19th Century warfare, with ranks of men shoulder to shoulder? Probably 100 or more, right? Well, that's a company, at least. And with our formation layout and unit size, a company in SPCW is going to have from 3-5 combat "platoons" with 20-35 men each, plus a command unit, a mounts unit, an ammo bearer and ammo. That means about 7 units on average, to make one company. Well, a regiment of 3 companies means 23 units, including the regimental commander and mounts, up to 34 units if the regiment has 4 companies of 5 "platoons" each.

So what does this mean? Well, when building the Devil's Den scenario, as I deployed the various regiments in their alloted sectors, I noticed I was doing a lot of stacking of units, in order to fit a whole regiment into about 150 meters of line. Most companies took up 2 hexes each, with "two up and one back" there were about 8 hexes full of units. Now, some Civil War regiments at Gettysburg, for example, had over 400 men, a few nearly 500; broken down, that's 4 or 5 companies. All bunched together across a front of 10 or so hexes...

I suppose what I am getting at is that, this all seems like we are bunching things up, when we should be spreading things out. My Devil's Den map is actually too large in scale for the historical battle; the distance from Devil's Den to the Little Round Top crest is nearly twice the range of the sharpshooters, so there is going to be very limited sniper fire at the Union units there. In actuality, that distance should only be 500+ yards, but due to a miscalculation on my part when I did the map, the distance is more like 950 yards. The game I was using as a reference used 30 yards = 1 hex, but I must have read it as 50, because my map matches hex for hex. It also affected the artillery, especially the Confederate batteries, which were deployed on Warfield Ridge, 1000 yards from Devil's Den. Now, the cannons had to be put closer to the front line just to reach Houck's Ridge.

I can always remake the map, but it brings up the question of whether every map made for the Mod is going to have to be small, in order to meet the distances, but so crowded with units that it will difficult to prosecute the battle. Alternately, we could double all the ranges and "pretend" that each hex is 25 meters, or 27 yards, which would give us more room to deploy and fight. We can't change the internal system to use 25 meters as a scale, nor can we adjust the combat tables; thoughts?

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on scale and deployments
PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 10:39 pm 
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I don't intend this as a cop-out, but I have no concern about what the scale should be. Personally, I'm happy with what we have now. By bunching up units, you simply create assault columns which forces you to keep the regiment together as a unit. You are forced to maneuver in columns, bring up reserves in marching columns, and form battle lines. I tend to keep the regimental commander in front, and the ammo unloaded somewhere in the middle. When I extend the formation into a firing line, the ammo is unloaded in the center of the line, behind the troops, with the commander. However if the scale is altered, a formula would be nice to have before we go building more maps.


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on scale and deployments
PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 11:35 pm 
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I wonder if the Mech could be hacked and have the range readouts changed to match 25m hexes?

I'm pretty much the "peanut gallery" for this mod, because I've never been a student of the civil war, but if these battles end up with 2-3 units stacked in all the front line hexes, it's going to be a completely different experience playing them.

The biggest problem I see with this stacking is that firing on one unit affects the others in the hex, which is not correctly modelling reality.

So... I would support making the change to 25m hexes if it's possible.

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on scale and deployments
PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 5:28 am 
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I admit to having mixed feelings about this...I agree with JEB on the stacking issue, which is probably why I brought it up in the first place. I can foresee players complaining that they have a "stack" of a company and the enemy fires at it once, and half the units are pinned, without firing a shot. Also, we can't model the whole "volley fire" aspect anyhow, so stacking doesn't improve the combat strength of units.

But, I think it is also important that units are kept close together, to approximate the tactics of the day. Spreading everything out will make it look like a more modern battlefield...
Have to think some more on this. :coffee:

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on scale and deployments
PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2010 10:28 pm 
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Kevin, in reference to the LRT scenario :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:

Did you figure out anything about scale? I'm itching to make a few maps.


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on scale and deployments
PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2010 7:18 am 
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Still debating it...I was kinda waiting for some of you guys to try out the two scenarios and tell me what you think about the scale. Do things become too crowded, or is this map sized right? I might knock together a small map of the DD area with the correct distances, to show how crowded I think things are going to get...

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on scale and deployments
PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2010 8:52 pm 
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I'll be available to playtest one of the scenarios against somebody pbem style in about a week. Right now, I couldn't do it justice.

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on scale and deployments
PostPosted: Wed Oct 27, 2010 4:34 pm 
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Ok, I did some research, and there is more bad news: the "standard" Civil War regiment was 10 companies of 100 men each. :shock:
1 Regiment = 2 battalions
1 Battalion = 5 companies
1 Company = 2 platoons
1 Platoon = 2 sections
1 Section = 2 squads.

That makes 1 Regiment = 2 Battalions of 10 Companies with 20 Platoons made up of 40 Sections with 80 Squads. :huh:
Now, most actual regiments were less, on the order of 6-8 companies, and most companies were only at 50-60% strength when in the field. But, that still means more units per regiment than we have currently, something like 70 units.

So, I have a few ideas to fix this:
1. First, treat the individual combat "squad" units as platoons, with 2 per Company.
2. Eliminate the Mount unit from the Company formation: 1 Company Commander, 2 Platoon units, 1 Ammo Bearer and 1 Ammo.
2a. Mounts to be organic only for Regimental Commanders, Brigade Commanders, and the A0 "Force" Commander.
3. Adjust the Regimental formations to allow for "light", "regular" and "heavy" regiments, with different numbers of companies in them.
3a. Confederate formations (regiments, battalions and companies) tended to be bigger than Union ones; they usually had 2-4 more companies per regiment. Reflect this in the Confederate "light", "regular" and "heavy" formations.
4. Sample Union "regular" formation - 1 Regt Commander, 8 company subformations, mount unit.
5. Sample Confederate "regular" formation - 1 Regt Commander, 10 company subformations, mount unit.

Dropping the mounts for the company commanders will remove a bunch of extra units that will only clutter the map; once deployed in line, the company commanders woiuld have sent their horses to the rear, probably to the regimental camp, for safekeeping. Only the higher command officers would have had horses nearby, in the event they needed to cross from flank to flank or seek out their higher command.

With the company reduced to 2 combat units, it will probably be necessary to stack these two in the same hex to "represent" the company in line formation. But, this will make it easier to control each company, since the officer won't have to "order" 5 or 6 other units.

Now, on the scale issue: I think we should probably leave it "as is", otherwise we'll be months trying to test out the ranges and movement, and I don't want to do that.

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on scale and deployments
PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 9:27 am 
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Have made this change and posted a set of revised OOBs in the OOB Update thread; one problem was that there is a limit of 10 units/subformations for each formation, so the maximum regiment size is going to be 8 Companies with the Regt Commander and his mounts. Consequently, the "light" regiment has 4 companies, the "regular" regiment has 6 companies, and the "heavy" regiment has 8 companies. In effect, games will be somewhat reduced in unit scale from their historical sources; for example, the 15th Alabama at little Round Top went in with 11 companies, but I'll have to use 8 to depict them.

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