This is the third in a series of specials by one J.P. (to remain anonoymous) on tactics for the BGW novice
Chef de Bataillon Pomme de Voie, Commanding. Just listen-up!! - this is basic training. Your Marshal's Baton stays in the pack for now.
Strive to keep your troops in GOOD ORDER - not Disordered.
When marching about, you will become expert in the art of "Coup D'Oeil" or you will become dead. First you must learn how to get from bivouac to battle. Then you get to know how to estimate the strength of positions in the local terrain. As Frederick the Great said --- well young sir, you may think he is old fashioned in this year 1815, but there are harder ways of learning the lessons --- and I'm sure you will find them. To continue: "The coup d'oeil may be reduced, properly speaking, to two points; the first of which is having the ability to judge how many troops a certain terrain hex can contain. This talent can only be acquired by practice [besides, the program enforces a stacking limit]. The other, and by far the most material point, is to be able to distinguish at first sight all the advantages of which any given space of ground is capable. This art is to be acquired and even brought to perfection, though a man be not absolutely born with a military genius." He has discoursed at length on how to take up positions that may be defended, and how to avoid those which a man of reputation cannot, without great risk, maintain. But first you must learn how to move your troops.
This is the key to terrain as you are marching Infantry:
Clear & Building hexes cost 2 MP (Movement Points) whether in line or in column. If you decide to enter other terrain in line, your unit will become Disordered, and you will regret it. So let us consider only column movement for just now. Movement in line is better covered as "Marching as to War".
Village hexes cost 2 MP (per Players Guide ; Parameter Data says 4 MP). Chateau hexes cost 2 MP + 1 MP for opening the gate. Only a few have entirely open sides and almost all have at least one impassable high wall. Orchard hexes cost 3 MP. It's usually best to go around because most have a hedge or stone wall too. Forest hexes cost 4 MP. Remember that even your Skirmishers are not game keepers ; it's slow going in the woods. Lakes. Don't bother trying to drown your troops ; they won't go into the water even to run away.
These are the tricks of the terrain, otherwise known as hexsides, which disorder Infantry in Line and Cavalry:
Hedges & Streams cost + 1 MP for Infantry (+ 2 MP for all others). High Wall Gates cost + 1 MP for Infantry (+ 2 MP for others) and are found only in connection with Chateau hexes. [The large buildings in Braine L'alleud and Plancenoit are "chateaux" to the program] Stone Walls & Embankments cost + 2 MP for Infantry and really cost others. High Walls & Ponds (a body of water covering one or more hexsides but not whole hex) are impassable.
Now lads you must have a care with those embankments which appear to be connected only with roads. The pictures fool you because they really exist at the sides of the hexes and not along the road. Think of them as "brown hedges" slightly misprinted on your map.
Up and down hill. Your map may be flat but the earth is not although it has an edge off which you may fall. It costs 1 MP to go up hill but going down is free.
To conserve your movement points, take advantage of the many roads and paths. Remember only ONE unit of any kind may move using the reduced road rate. The paths are important in going through forests and orchards and across hexsides such as streams. Now it is necessary to practice -- to learn the hay foot from the straw foot. As you practice, so also will the troops and you will both get better. Then you can graduate to column movement and perhaps even onto the battlefield and into line.
The default and best formation for getting troops from point A to point B. Its easy to keep your footsloggers in good order whilst moving in column, they can use roads to the full advantage, which by the way, you cannot whilst in line..and finally, French and Prussian troops get a 25% melee strength bonus whilst attacking in column! (hurrah!) ...more on this in the up-and-coming "Marching as to war section"..COMING SOON.