- (‘A’) These are our principle field pieces. Against the British forces
we have range supremacy, as they have no equivalent pieces in their arsenal.
- (‘B’) Our secondary field pieces and back-bone of our artillery
- (‘D’) Horse and light pieces, best used for fire and manouver or leap-
As mentioned it is essential to understand what role you intend for your
artillery:- for me the following applications apply, not only for their
historical authenticity, but proven effectiveness on the many fields of battle I
have partaken in my years of NBG gaming.
- As the French we more often than not have the offensive role, this also
blesses us with time, especially in the greater scenario’s. Use that time to
study your opponents locations and battery positioning (usually their starting
point in most T/S made scenario’s). Think about what you wish to achieve and
how best to achieve it, the correct positioning of your field guns is the
first step to achieving your goal.
- (‘A’) These are your position batteries, your heavy cannon, once sited
they would seldom be moved again for the duration of the battle. Forget the
‘Big Kill’ your field guns should be used to bombard the enemy from a safe
distance spreading havoc and disorder through out their ranks.
- (‘B’) The bulk of your artillery, as above these batteries are best
used to disrupt he enemy lines and create voids within them, however because
of the shear number of batteries available to us, they can be used to
leap-frog each other as the main French advance thrusts forward.
- (‘D’) Your light horse artillery, used correctly these are deadly at
close range, with the added benefit to being able to move, unlimber and fire
in the same turn. Best suited to cover your flanks with light cavalry, plug
gaps within your own lines and to aide your army in pursuing a fleeing
So now we have our applications, we now need to choose our target? The most
effective way to gain results with our artillery is by hitting your targets
flank, or ‘Enfiladed’ fire. This is any point from which the target has
no LOS (line of sight) to the unit performing ranged-fire upon it.
Once you have your target, you can now start to search for the locations to
sight your batteries, as well as determine what batteries will best suit to
secure your objective. When reconnoitring the ground the following
considerations should be in your mind:-
- Were ever possible, always sight your batteries on high ground, through
this your guns will receive a +1 modifier against ranged fire for every level
they are higher than the unit firing against them. Therefore the higher you
get the better their defence.
- Unlimber behind hedgerows, or a village hex, again you receive a +1
modifier against ranged fire, this is why in BGW the British batteries
situated on the 130 elevation ridge NE of La Haye Sainte are such hard
targets. Not only are they receiving a +2 modifier for elevation advantage,
but also a +1 for being situated behind a hedgerow, giving a defence modifier
of –3 against the assailant. So unless you can catch these batteries in
Enfiladed fire, (which will still only reduce the odds to even, given you are
firing from a 120 elevation) forget wasting rounds.
- Choose locations that are a safe distance back from your own front line,
and were possible provide cover 2 or 3 hexes to their front for your infantry
to take refuge from enemy fire, whilst at the same time protecting your own
guns from cavalry threats.
- Set up a field of fire on your target. By this I mean no matter which way
your opponents units face one of your batteries catch them in Enfilade. I
should point out that this is not always easy, but pays dividends to carefully
study the ground before finalising your battery positioning. I can not point
out how important it is to take your time at the beginning, as this will save
you loosing valuable time in the heat of battle re-positioning your guns, and
also providing opportunities to your opponent whilst they are
Now we have covered the use and positioning of your artillery, lets move on
to some useful facts and tips.
- Always put a barrier between your guns and the enemy, preferably with at
least a one hex distance between your barrier and guns.
- Always strive for ‘Enfilade’ fire.
- When choosing a target, bear in mind that the weaker units in the enemies
army will be more prone to rout when fired upon. In BGW this is particularly
so with the poorly led Dutch/Belgium. A barrage on these units will soon have
them fleeing and maybe taking their colleagues with them!, especially if your
opponent has poor command radius.
- If you find a gun is unprotected and will be overrun, then ensure you
unlimber the gun, as although the cavalry will overrun you, you may have the
possibility of being able to re-secure that battery at a later date. However a
good way to counter this if attacking artillery is to have a squadron of
cavalry follow the main wave and melee the unscrewed batteries after the
charge phase, this is the best way to illiminate artillery, so be warned!
- If you have a friendly unit adjacent to a battery, then if overrun the
crew will take refuge in that unit, then once the enemy moves on the crew will
return to the battery, with no loss of skill or gun.
- Always get the majority of your field guns in to threatening positions,
this will deter your enemy from movement and counter-attack. Just because you
have then in a firing position doesn’t mean you have to fire them. On the
contrary, in BGW & PTW you will need to conserve ammo, if you find you are
running low, restrict some of your batteries to firing only in the offensive
phase as a direct hit with loss of casualties will always result in that unit
becoming disordered and possibly routed in the coming move phase. In NIR you
should have as many guns to bear as possible, as ammo availability is no
- Don’t waste rounds firing at skirmishers.
- Note: that with the 32bit version of the BG games the following
- Any unit other than a leader that takes refuge in a formed square, will
negate the charge bonus effect of that square, therefore there is no point in
covering a battery with a sq thinking you will be safe from cavalry.
- Artillery exerts a threat zone to its front and will prevent cavalry from
overrunning it, however you will probably still loose in melee, so in this
situation, either limber before the charge, and hope that you will only loose
a few tubes, or best put that barrier I place.
These rules do not apply to the 16bit engine.
Finally your horse batteries. Use these as a deterrent on your flanks, to
ward of enemy cavalry, for clearing built up areas such as villages, and to go
forward just behind the main assault. These batteries are particularly
devastating at a range of 2 hexes, as well as keeping concealed and at the last
moment move, unlimber and fire.
Golden rule: Never over expose your batteries, if threatened best to retire
and fight another day, than be captured by the enemy.