From: Snowflake, Arizona
My personal guiding philosophy is to visualize what is going on and then try to develop a realistic response as if I was there on the battlefield. I am primarily a Civil War gamer so I'll use Gettysburg as an example rather than a Napoleonic game which is a whole different world of combined arms tactics.
Example: Launching an attack
In game terms you might just meander along exchanging fire all along your line until either you or your opponent begins to rout.
Realistically, battles weren't fought that way (though "games" tend to be unrealistically bloody as usually played). Imagine General Lee issuing an order that "every unit that can see an enemy unit and is in even extreme range MUST fire every 20 minutes throughout the entire battle... artillery must fire constantly at anything they can see etc etc" - A lot of gamers do just that and I've played games of Gettysburg where I completely wiped out every enemy unit just to see if I could do it. Obviously, real battles were never fought that way.
Now visualize a "real" attack. You would attack on a perceived weak point on the enemy line with a preliminary artillery bombardment to disrupt as many units as possible, followed by a brigade advancing as fast as possible to close with the enemy line while taking as few casualties as possible. You might fire once as you advance if the distance is long (like 7 or 8 hexes) but you wouldn't advance one or two hexes per turn while firing... that exposes your units to heavier losses... makes it more likely that your units will become disrupted (and unable to melee) or even rout away in disorder. Your goal is to get adjacent to the enemy with undisrupted units accompanied by a commander (and hopefully, who haven't fired that turn). This maximizes your chances of success in your assault. Now that's a how a "real" attack would be unfold.
TIP: Have a second brigade in line behind the first and as the first brigade takes fire and may become disrupted, the 2nd brigade will tend to not draw fire and will then be in good shape to reinforce the first line for maximum melee strength. If you are making a divisional assault, you also have a 3rd brigade back in reserve that you can commit once the enemy line is broken.
TIP: Watch your fatigue levels and don't be afraid to pull a Division out of the battle and put them in the rear to rest and recover fatigue. It's a slow process, so you might have to wait a whole day for them to recover, but pushing units past the breaking point just because you can is just "gamey". Routed units do not recover and charge back into the assault over and over again, but that's the way these games are often played (and I've been guilty of that). Remember that Picket's division led the charge at Gettysburg because they were the only "fresh" division left to Lee. Everyone else had been beaten up over the prior two days of fighting and had high fatigue levels that made them useless for an effective attack. The famous "20th Maine" regiment fought furiously at Little Round Top for a few hours out of a three day battle and were then pulled out to rest. Buford's cavalry fought the 1st day and then were sent back to guard supply units for the remainder of the battle. Most players would just burn them away to the last man... not realistic.
Your games will be much more enjoyable (and play faster) if you maneuver for position, keep reserve units massed behind the battle line in reserve, and then launch carefully planned assaults like the above rather than just mindlessly having two battle lines shooting at each other. That gets real boring if you play that way, while if you create a strategy, carefully position your units, stage planned assaults at enemy weak points, and keep fresh units in reserve for attacks or counter-attacks the game will be much more fun (and you will really feel like you are replaying history).
Hope this helps you.
Love & Peace,
Far Dareis Mai
My old Piczo site seems to be gone, so no more Navajo Nation pics :(