A reader sent in some excellent observations and thoughts regarding the Johnny Reb 3 American Revolution variant rules. I thought I would share them, as they are of interest to gamers wishing to recreate this period.
1.) Formal artillery batteries were not really used in AWI, instead it was individual gun based tactics, and sometimes two or more might come together to form a larger firing group, but there was no such formal arrangement as in the ACW period.
2.) British Guards did not fire any more effectively than other elite troops, such as Grenadiers or Lights, or well drilled regulars in either army.
3.) The standard British infantry tactics after 1775 features open order ranks (called “order”) of about 18 inches between files. They would fight in double ranks in this formation, and could either reform to close order, if needed, or in a bayonet charge, would form a single rank just before closing. Shoulder to shoulder was usually not used, as per Sir William Howe’s orders and continued throughout the war.
4.) The standard British battalion of 8 hat companies were about 320 men, so the usual scale of JR does not work too well in my opinion. Visually, I just can’t get on board with a four stand unit of 16 men, as it just doesn’t look like a battalion. Might I suggest a scale of 10 men per figure, and that would equate to a 32 man unit, and the American battalions were often smaller than that (200 some). One to 15 might work okay too.
5.) While on scale, the usual firing ones for JR seems too close. 1, 2 and four inches is just to darned close. The difference between 1 and two inches to the eye is not much. Effective range for smooth bore muskets of this time was about 40 yards (or paces, depending on the eyewitness). Extreme range was about 120, though
fairly ineffective. Working in a 10 yard scale, that would be 4, 8, and 12. Artillery would need to be adjusted accordingly as well. [NOTE: Johnny Reb is a 1 inch to 50 yard scale]
6.) I toyed with the idea doing away with movement penalties and instead having to have units roll to beat their BMP to change. This would more severely hit militia units, or early American units, as it should.
7.) Indians held no special prowess in regards to hand to hand. Consider the troops (usually militia) that they fought. Rate Indians as average, but perhaps imposed a morale throw every move on the militia facing them. Note they ran like rabbits at the approach of Sullivan’s regulars. Sensible fellows they were.
Some good ideas!