1871 FAQs

[1871 FAQs]   [General Play]   [Charges]   [Combat Results]   [Command and Control]   [Disorganization]   [Firing]   [Melees]   [Morale]   [Moving]   [Visibility]

Q:  I have a question on firing.  It says on Page 14 “Artillery fire precedes small arms fire and results are applied immediately.”  I get that artillery fire is applied before any small arms fire takes place but what happens during an artillery exchange or a small arms duel?  I have interpreted the rule to mean “While results are applied immediately all artillery is resolved simultaneously followed by simultaneous small arms.”  If I got it wrong, in what order does the fire get resolved between artillery and then between small arms?

A:  All firing in each "class" is simultaneous, with artillery firing first and the results being applied first (reason: a few well-directed shells could have an immediate morale effect on a unit, incapacitating large numbers of soldiers and scattering the rest ...while attrition through rifle fire generally was slower and not as dramatic).  Then, after the artillery results are applied, the infantry has their turn.  Finally, charges are resolved: three distinct steps in the Fire Phase.   A battery engaging in counter-battery fire could run off the opposing battery, but not before the target battery had also fired.   Or, it could destroy or run off the intended target of a charge or rifle fire, thus depriving the infantry or cavalry of their target.

Same with a small arms duel.  Two infantry units would engage each other simultaneously, and the results would be applied immediately.  An infantry unit firing in support of a charge (by another unit) might destroy or knock back the target of the (planned) charge before the charge even engaged.   This could cause the charge to be aborted, of course ...or the charging unit could follow its target if it was still in range ...or the charging unit could simply occupy the ground where the now vanished target once stood.   Attacker's choice!

So your interpretation is mostly correct.  All artillery fires first and simultaneously with other artillery  ...the results of the artillery fire are acted upon while the infantry patiently waits their turn to fire.  Then the infantry fires simultaneously with all infantry ...and the results are acted upon.  Finally, charges surge forward against their intended targets -- which are hopefully now damaged by the preceding prep fire -- drive off or destroy them, and claim all the credit.

Q:  Units can supply prep fire in support of charging units and opportunity fire against units that are not in sight or range (including arc) at the end of movement.  I think we’ve established that artillery or infantry adjoining the target of a charge can fire at the charging troops as opportunity fire, since they will likely be out of arc at the end of their charge.  But could an infantry regiment form a line behind artillery, have the artillery provide prep fire on their intended target, then charge through it to their foe?

A:  Although this actually violates the sacred turn sequence (which mandates that movement must precede firing), we'll assume that the gunners are not taking that literally in this case.  It is allowed for on page 15, under “partial fire”: the arty uses the partial fire modifier if infantry interpenetrates the gunline while advancing.
If the “adjoining” arty or artillery is not itself the object of the charge, it can fire at the charging unit as opportunity fire, right.  That is, at partial effect.

Q:  There seems to be a little confusion about when an R order is needed in the reconstitution process.

A:  In an earlier version of the draft rules, an R chit was needed to reconstitute a lost stand …and that  unfortunately still appears on pages 9 and 29, as well as the front of the QRS.  This is incorrect.  In the final, definitive version, a commander within an inch of a reconstituting unit is, in effect, a reconstitution chit.   Ergo, a separate R chit is not needed to reconstitute – just the command stand.  This is now mentioned in the errata page as well.



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