Thursday, June 10, 2010


Following on from yesterdays talk about "The Grant View of the ACW", I’ve been thinking a bit about partial units and morale.

In "The War Game" Grant is looking to reflect unit morale through a triple lens of command, casualties and that war gaming favorite, "the imponderable". Simply put, each unit has a number of officers (I like to borrow a term from The Sword and the Flame and call them key figures) sharing among themselves a varying number of "Morale Points" that total up to 6. Deductions are made from this total for officer losses and a percentage of casualties (one sixth the unit strength equals -1 MP for example). To these deductions is added a throw of the dice. If the resultant figure is greater than 6, the morale test has been passed.

I'd like here to note in passing the "50%" rule whereby a unit reduced to 50% of it's starting strength must proceed to the rear (unless in the middle of a melee!) where it may reform with other fragmentary units of the same arm. Six moves are required for the unit to reorganize. Sound familiar?

Having noted yet another direct correspondence between the rules of The War Game and the Grant ACW rules, how might we try to deal with the morale of detachments to which Grant makes frequent reference in his various writings about his Civil War fights?

A regular commenter on this blog, Ion, suggests making use of a commanding officers' "command radius". This is an idea not without merit I feel, but I think it is a little alien to the style of Grant's rules. My objection is one of style rather than of substance.

My memory was tweaked by something written on morale for small units in "Wargaming in History" where very simply a detached unit would be an officer and six privates and would retire on the basis that the Officer or 50% of the privates became casualties.

Perhaps then for the Grant ACW rules one might have a detachment of infantry of an officer and 8 privates who might have to retire should either the officer or four of the privates be made casualties.

Perhaps a halt could be checked if the unit were joined by re-enforcements or a fresh officer or if the retiring sub-unit could rejoin the parent unit? Perhaps a retiring unit might re-test it's morale for a rally?

All food for thought.

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