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On Woods Fighting, Disorganization, and Disarray

In an 1870 game that featured a lot of woods, some circumstances arose that pointed to the need for additional rule tweaks, and a whole new category of disorder.

montebello-002_275X206As originally written, units proceed through woods in good order for one turn at their normal movement rate, then become "disorganized".  To withdraw from a fight in woods, the unit had to move backwards beyond the 1 inch visibility/combat zone of their opponent (requiring a MOVE order), then REFORM for a turn, then return to the fray with another MOVEMENT order.  Three turns!  Meanwhile, the unit could only fight with one stand while disorganized, and could not charge it’s opponent (no matter how insignificant) because charging while disorganized was permitted only as part of the "second impulse" of a charge turn.  This was too restrictive, and has now been officially amended.15mm Brigade Commander

There is now a lesser state of disorganization known as disarray, which is used in 1859/1864 and 1866, and can be retroactively used in 1870:

  • A disarrayed unit can be reorganized back into good order as a mere change of formation, rather than a requiring a REFORM chit (this is a change to the 1859/64 practice); once that is accomplished, it can advance in good order through woods for 5 inches before going into disarray again.
  • Units in disarray – unlike disorganized units – may charge enemy units, and do not suffer the "disorganized" modifier in melees and on the Morale Table.
  • Disarrayed units may shoot with all stands, albeit with the "disorganized" modifier on the Rifle Table.
  • J├Ągers do not become disarrayed in woods
  • Any disorganized unit that blunders into an enemy unit in woods may break contact (withdraw back 1 inch out of sight) with a REFORM order chit, and reform itself beyond harm.  A disarrayed unit may do the same thing as part of its reorganization, too.

Further ruling:  In the original charge sequence, “If the [non-melee] assault is successful, both attacker and defender are disorganized at the end”.  This was changed in the 1859/64 rules, allowing the successful attacker to become disarrayed rather than disorganized.  Even this seemed like too much detail for a grand tactical game, though, so in the definitive 1866 version, a defender who falls back after failing his “fear of charge” morale check still becomes disorganized, but the attacker stays in good order.

This leaves the victor with a deserved advantage.  He can defend his captured objective more easily, and, if he has enough movement to “second impulse” into the just-ejected defender, he’ll have an advantage against a disorganized defender in the melee that follows.  There will be an automatic melee if the defender falls back a lesser distance than the attacker can pursue.



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