Tuesday 1 June 2010

Minimum Force...

On the way home I was pondering the following- what is the minimum (in terms of numbers of units) size of force to give a satisfying game against an enemy? Also what would be the composition of such a force. As ever I am interested in what YOU think on this matter too...


  1. I seem to recall that 'Two of foot, one of horse and a gun' was considered sufficient for a quick pick-up game. This argued large unit sizes, of course.

    Some of the scenarios in C.S.Grant's Scenario books of the 1980s (I call them the Green and the Black Books) had interesting little scenarios.

    'Advance Column' involved a force (BLUE) of 3 units of infantry, a Heavy Cavalry unit, 2 guns (1 battery) plus a detachment of sappers having to hold up an advance column forcing a passage through a wide strip of woodland thence to capture river crossings. The column (RED) comprised 2 infantry, 1 light infantry, a heavy cavalry unit, and a battery. In addition RED had a light cavalry unit divided into patrols scouring several woodland trails.

    In the Asquith/Grant 'Scenarios for all Ages', #20, 'Taking the Initiative' builds up from subunits. The RED force, tasked with the capture or seizure of a series of river crossings, begins with a squadron of cavalry and two companies of infantry - perhaps 24 figures all up according to his 18th Century rule set. This builds up to something more substantial as the day progresses (eventually something like 4 infantry, 2 cavalry and a gun), but it is move 3 before he can expect any reinforcements at all. BLUE begins similarly deficient in numbers...

    I really, really must try these out. One day... :(

  2. I think you could go pretty small in terms of number of units (and size). I've played games with a small squad of cavalry and a few infantry on each side.

    You can always build up from there. :)

  3. No hard and fast Direktive - depends on time and space available.


  4. Hmmmm. . . Grant/Young-sized units. 3-4 infantry units per side (32-60+ figures), 2-3 cavalry regiments(30+ figures each) and a two-gun battery or two with crew (15+ figures and gun models).

    Best Regards,


  5. I've often played the Grant scenarios with units scaled down to the size of mine: 36 for 18th Century; 24 for Napoleonic or ACW.

    But really the key is tactical units, and the command level you're playing at. What do you do with one Reigiment a side, say?

    Well, Don Featherstone related a fascinating campaign set in the French-and-Indian Wars (so-called). The forces of each side were based around a single infantry battalion/regiment (of about 100 figures), with a few auxiliaries attached: a band of Indians, a company of rangers, a section of field artilley - that kind of thing.

    These forces became engaged in a very brisk and evocative campaign - not just a single battle. His description of the storming of the British fort remains with me yet. It was a classic instance of a tactical victory leading to a strategic defeat.


    The res

  6. Many rules are also quite adaptable to the scale that YOU want to play.
    For instance, I've advocated both BAR and Koenig Krieg a lot.
    Koenig Krieg seems like it was written for each side to have a couple of brigades of infantry and at least one brigade of cavalry ... but I've found that the scale is easily modified so that 24 figure battalions and a brigade and a couple of squadrons on each side gave good game (rolling initiative for individual battalions instead of whole brigades).

  7. I would think about two wings and a reserve, at whatever scale. Minimally, that would be two infantry units and one cavalry.

    But one loves to dink around with sub units. Consolidating your light and grenadier companies from the two infantry formations to create your reserve, breaking your cavalry regiment into three squads, assigning a couple of galloper guns to the infantry in addition to a field gun, well, you have enough to keep you interested, depending on the terrain.