Wednesday, June 12, 2013

How fast can you go?

During the development of the Campaign of Nations and now recently the Marienburg battle, how fast troops move per hour or day or even week has been something of a discussion point.

Table of movement rates from Napoleonic Campaigning
Bruce Quarrie asked this same question, then came up with the above table for answers.

If you are designing a battle situation in any sort of a wide area with Campaigning elements then the table may be of some use to you.

Have you ever planned out a tabletop battle using a wider Campaign element to set up the 'on table' action?

Please leave your comments and thoughts on this.


Jiminho said...

This is very interesting David and I'll have to re-read and think about the table. I'll have to read the book one day as well if I can find a copy. I wonder how Quarrie came up with some of those numbers. I can understand why Russians and Austrians might be slow, but the cavalry numbers raise some questions. The Austrian light cav. movement rates jump out to me (not that I know much about it) being so much slower than those of other nations.

I had a strong (mistaken?) impression from reading conventional sources that the Austrian light cavalry was one part of the KuK that functioned very well and that it was considered by contemporaries to operate to good effect in la petite guerre. Surely mobility would have been part and parcel of effective light cavalry operation! I'm not trying to poo-poo Quarrie's work just wondering where it all comes from. Perhaps one of this site's readers has something to add here.

Archduke Piccolo said...

I have a feeling a good deal of this is a bit arbitrary and I know Bruce Quarrie did the poor old Austrians no favours in his rule set. I strongly suspect a deal of what we are looking at is pretty arbitrary. At that, having played a game or two using this table, I wonder how many Napoleonists would want to continue to do so, especially if they have an Austrian Army? Mind you, I've never been much of a fan of 'National Characteristics'.

If I wanted to depict Austrian reliance on trains on campaign, I'd probably make their march speed the same, but every fourth day must be a halt. Some leeway might be permitted, if a battle is imminent.

It is hard to imagine, you know, that Genl Kienmayer, with 15,000 troops could have fought a successful defensive campaign in 1809 against 35,000 French, Westphalians and Saxons commanded by the likes of Genl Androche Junot, is his troops marched at less than half the rate his enemies could.

At that, the French cavalry in his theatre (Bohemia) was pretty dreadful, by all accounts, and in the one major action, Kienmayer won his victory with no cavalry present at all.

Speaking of that campaign, that was the theatre in which the Black Brunswick Corps, 2000 strong, linked up with Kienmayer's 13,000 Austrians, and fought alongside them until the armistice. Then they fought their way to the sea, an operation, methinks, to rival Xenophon's 'Retreat of the Ten Thousand.'

Rafael Pardo said...

I have used in the past (maybe 20 years ago!) the Quarry's "NAPOLEON'S CAMPAIGNS IN MINIATURE" book. Incidentally it was my second wargaming book (the first one was "NAPOLEONIC WARGAMING" by Charles Gran, that I found too simple). It was a very good book and I can remember me using Quarrie's campaigning rules with a moderate success: the required paperwork was too much for me in that pre-computer era!
However, I think that the march distances table reflects very well the overall performance of the different Napoleonic armies.
Best regards