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Line Formation vs Skirmish Formation

 
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All Forums >> [Current Games From Matrix.] >> [Age of Muskets] >> Horse and Musket: Volume I, Frederick the Great >> Line Formation vs Skirmish Formation Page: [1]
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Line Formation vs Skirmish Formation - 6/30/2009 3:24:32 AM   
rbdinardo

 

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The manual doesn't explain the benefits of line vs skirmish formations, although the addendum does show combat modifiers that are different between the two. Can any experts or history buffs explain the real difference between these two formations in terms of game play? For example, when is it better to have line or skirmish and vice versa?

Thanks
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RE: Line Formation vs Skirmish Formation - 6/30/2009 1:46:39 PM   
Tim Coakley

 

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I can give a little info, but I am sure there are some period experts that can expand on this.

The 7YW was the time of linear warfare...infantry fought in organized and well drilled lines. The skirmishers were irregular infantry or small bands that operated on the flanks, in rough terrain, strong points, or operationally as a raiding force.

The use of skirmishers to "screen" the main line is a later development of the Napoleonic period.

Most units in the game are limited to being either a line unit or a skirmisher...they can not choose. There is the option to set the available formations in the editor.

Tim

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RE: Line Formation vs Skirmish Formation - 7/4/2009 11:58:22 PM   
rbdinardo

 

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Thanks for the info. I notice in the game a unit can pick "skirmish" formation when in a city/village hex. What are the advantages/disadvantages for both skirmish and line in such hexes?

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RE: Line Formation vs Skirmish Formation - 7/5/2009 1:31:30 PM   
Sertorius1


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rbdinardo,

To my knowledge skirmish formations didn't become popular, for lack of a better word, until Napoleon. There isn't be a skirmish option for a heavy unit, that is a unit that is either a line infantry battalion or a grenadier battalion. The exception are grenzer type units. Those units can be readily identified by the four soldier icon. Your heavy units show eight soldiers. With the exception of one scenario in Kolin, Assault on Krzeczhorz, the infantry units whether they be light infantry (grenzer) or heavy infantry (conventional line or grenadier) are battalions.

Skirmish formations are relegated to light infantry type units. If there is a heavy unit that shows it can go into skirmish formation, please let us know and where it is at. The mistake is mine and these unit are only allowed to use column, line, square and defensive formations. This is an error that is easily corrected with the editor by unchecking the skirmish option in the unit's properties tab.

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RE: Line Formation vs Skirmish Formation - 7/5/2009 8:09:51 PM   
Beezle


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quote:

To my knowledge skirmish formations didn't become popular, for lack of a better word, until Napoleon.


I don't know about "popular" but they weren't used much/trusted much before the French and American revolutions. Something disorderly/civilian/unmilitary about those people acting on their own initiative as opposed to like mindless automatons. Frederick didn't like them. The Austrians, who fought more irregular opponents (Turks and Balkans and such) used them and light cavalry more. Likely had the sorts who already were doing that sort of small scale raiding/reaving back home.

The French during the Revolution used them of necessity (conscripts who could not fight well in close order and obey commands like "Wheel right").

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RE: Line Formation vs Skirmish Formation - 7/8/2009 5:07:11 PM   
jackx

 

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In gameplay terms, beware of the skirmishers' ability to disengage and fire. While this is probably meant to allow them to fall back while keeping up a harassing fire, what it does result in is that if you're not careful, they can disengage through or around your lines to take your units in the back. And yes, the AI does this, too (or did, in previous titles - haven't played Lobositz or Manstein/Prague yet in FTG, those being the scenarios where that usually happened).




< Message edited by jackx -- 7/8/2009 7:45:45 PM >


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RE: Line Formation vs Skirmish Formation - 7/8/2009 6:50:54 PM   
MacDuff

 

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Jackx,

I've never had that happen, but than again I've never been in a situation where this would have happened. I'm going to have to check this out.

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RE: Line Formation vs Skirmish Formation - 7/8/2009 7:28:13 PM   
jackx

 

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It's just a regular disengage/withdraw into a units flank or rear, followed by a fire attack. It happens with regular units, too, however, these can only assault, not fire,and since this usually happens right after you attacked their flank/rear, assaults aren't much to fear (and not something the AI will usually risk, as morale will be low). It will shoot, however, and that flanking fire will have quite an effect on morale, even if the shooting unit has low morale and high disruption.

(Depending on how your units are set up, it is also possible to have a ZoC gap in the middle of your line - at a salient, for example, through which one could then advance by disengaging... but you pretty much have to set that up on purpose for it to happen, normally this happens only with units not in/on the end of a continuous line.)

The result is that while it is clearly preferable to flank regular units, it can often be preferable to attack frontally vs skirmishers even when you can flank, because the damage you take that way is less than what you'll take when you suddenly find them on your flank due to a disengage/withdraw.
Combine that with the fact that all it needs is one rally point to turn a routed unit of skirmishers behind your own lines into a serious annoyance, and there's room for a whole lot of gamey tactics. And while the AI generally isn't all that smart, it tends to really make the most out of such situations...

(I can easily live with irregulars not being destroyed, merely "driven off" by a determined attack, but if they rally again after that, they should do what irregulars did when they found themselves behind enemy lines - look for the camp and baggage and start some looting, not return to the fray with a vengeance, and more effective than before.)



< Message edited by jackx -- 7/8/2009 7:35:07 PM >


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RE: Line Formation vs Skirmish Formation - 7/8/2009 11:21:41 PM   
Sertorius1


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Jack,

I know what you refer to. I've seen and had that happen as well. This is normal.

< Message edited by Sertorius1 -- 7/9/2009 12:00:18 AM >

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RE: Line Formation vs Skirmish Formation - 7/11/2009 10:55:29 AM   
PrinzHenrich

 

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I will use skirmish option in situation when commander of battalion let soldiers to make longer "front" and made line of 2 men deep. 
I think it is good option in situation of small scenarios and for future wars (Independence  War as well).

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RE: Line Formation vs Skirmish Formation - 7/11/2009 12:20:58 PM   
jackx

 

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Aye, skirmish might be a nice option for, say, Lobosch hill (some Prussians could start in skirmish, and with disruption, so it'll take some time/effort to get them to assault the hill, for instance)...
but then, with its fairly abstract handling of range and frontage, I don't think the game engine is suited that well to small-scale actions, say company level or below, because these "minor details", that you can gloss over at battalion level, and with the large 15 minute timescale, then really start to matter.
(Currently, units adjacent to each other are between 0 and almost 300 yards apart, and it makes no difference whether 100 men, 800 men, or 600 men in skirmish order occupy a hex - they all deny the same area to the enemy etc... )





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RE: Line Formation vs Skirmish Formation - 7/11/2009 12:23:41 PM   
PrinzHenrich

 

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No I don't agree. It is makeable

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RE: Line Formation vs Skirmish Formation - 7/11/2009 6:16:47 PM   
Sertorius1


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Jack,

Skirmishers didn't become in use on a battalion level until Napoleon. Prior to this they were handled in independent units of battalion size. If anyone developed this idea it was George Howe, the brother of the more famous one of the American Revolutionary War. It was only later that they became a part of a heavy infanty battalion as a company.

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RE: Line Formation vs Skirmish Formation - 7/11/2009 7:23:10 PM   
jackx

 

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I think you've misunderstood what I've meant, by company-level I was referring to what the basic "unit" in the game represents, not asking for the addition of "light" companies to the regular battalions. Currently, the default unit represents a battalion (or several squadrons), and that works well with the game system. If you reduce the scale to 1 unit=1 company (or equivalent), you run into problems as you then need a level of detail that the engine isn't really set up for.
FTG, with its more powerful editor, might make it more doable, but the generic AWI company level scenario that I set up for PG didn't come out too well.
I like the HnM series, but I'd also absolutely love a good game for the various conflicts in 18th-century North America, it's one of my main areas of interest after all.


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RE: Line Formation vs Skirmish Formation - 7/11/2009 9:20:32 PM   
PrinzHenrich

 

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Make-able

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RE: Line Formation vs Skirmish Formation - 7/11/2009 10:05:50 PM   
Dave Briggs


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@Beezle,

Do my eyes deceive me or is that Crusader Rabbit and Rags the Tiger in your avatar? That really jogs some childhood memories from a long time ago.

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RE: Line Formation vs Skirmish Formation - 7/12/2009 5:04:14 AM   
Beezle


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Dave Briggs

@Beezle,

Do my eyes deceive me or is that Crusader Rabbit and Rags the Tiger in your avatar? That really jogs some childhood memories from a long time ago.


Boy are you old! Yes, that is Crusader and Rags







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RE: Line Formation vs Skirmish Formation - 7/12/2009 7:23:28 AM   
Dave Briggs


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Beezle


quote:

ORIGINAL: Dave Briggs

@Beezle,

Do my eyes deceive me or is that Crusader Rabbit and Rags the Tiger in your avatar? That really jogs some childhood memories from a long time ago.


Boy are you old! Yes, that is Crusader and Rags


Well, as a child I was very young for my age. Crusader Rabbit is just about as far back as I can remember.

Crusader and Rags were born again as Rocky and Bullwinkle. If I remember right, they had the same voices.

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RE: Line Formation vs Skirmish Formation - 7/12/2009 5:08:38 PM   
Beezle


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quote:

Crusader and Rags were born again as Rocky and Bullwinkle. If I remember right, they had the same voices.


Right. Not bad for a really old guy <G>

Crusader Rabbit was a breakthrough in Cartooning, as it were. This was the age of Disney's Cinderella and Snow White and all when a cartoon took dozens of artists a year or two to complete and was elegant and polished. Crusader Rabbit was very simply drawn. Some of the frames just have the same image of the character wobbling back and forth against the background. So they could turn out a short cartoon each week as a serial. (That same ultra-fast production is seen in South Park which is how they can produce a new show in 36 hours if a major news story breaks).



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