Combat - SCRUD - and recovery of units

For the main, combat in the campaign is planned to be handled on the tabletop, with miniatures and a variety of rules and systems.  This is the 'point' of the campaign system being as simple as possible, so that the forces may be easily defined for a variety of tabletop or other game systems.

Combat occurs whenever two opposing forces are moved into the same hex, though there may be opportunity for 'skirmish' battles to be played out for the entertainment of the players, only the 'in contact units' in the campaign will have effect on the overall campaign.

Combat encounters when Division command is outside of command structure:

It is possible to have a Division command now (with messengers) that is outside of the Command structure and needing to make a combat decision.  Indeed it is possible for two such forces to encounter one another.

In such circumstances, the decision of fight or not will be settled using an NPC system from GURPS:

3d6 are rolled, modified by the numbers below and compared to the results (given further below):

+1 to +5 if the opposing force seems noticeably stronger than the 'isolated' force.
-1 to -5 if the opposing force seems noticeably weaker than the 'isolated' force.
-2 if the 'isolated' force are all Prussians (they want to get at the French invaders!)

0 or Less : ATTACK! no quarter

1 to 3: Attack, falling back only if there is no chance

4 to 6: Attack, unless outnumbered, then screening in fall-back holding up any advancing forces with ambushes or other delaying tactics.

7 to 9: Hold ground good - taunting.  Unless outnumbered, then fall back in good order.

10 to 12: Hold ground poor  Unless outnumbered, then fall back in disorder, (treat the force as a 'casualty' moving them to the next town space).

13 to 15: Fall back, fall back in disorder, (treat the force as a 'casualty' moving them to the next town space); if there are no cavalry in the 'isolated' force and cavalry are present in the opposing attacker force then flee (with possible casualties from pursuit).

16 to 18: Flee, the 'isolated' force will flee from the area if at all possible (treat the force as a 'casualty' moving them to the next town space).  If they have no cavalry and are opposed by cavalry they will surrender as flight will not be possible.

19 or better: Surrender, the 'isolated' force becomes prisoners ...
** special note ** if the 'isolated' force in this case is non-French nationals (Bavarian or Saxon) or Polish forces then they will have a possible chance to 'switch sides' due to having been 'hung out to dry' by the French high-command.  Likewise for Austrian forces that have become so 'isolated' whenever there are German French Allies (Bavarian or Saxon) present in the opposing force.

Other than tabletop battles:

In the event that a tabletop space cannot be found in a timely manner (this is defined as 10 days after the 'call out' with force mix is made to the 4 continents that we have players with tabletop spaces available), then the following combat resolution method is proposed:

Simple     Combat     Resolution     Using     Dice
Methodology / Explanation
1.      Throw one die for every unit present in the action.
2.      Line up one sides dice in order of highest first,
3.      Line up the other sides beside them.
4.      Compare each pair of dice. Highest v. highest, then next highest pair so on... 
5.      Same score on both dice is a STAND-OFF,
6.      Difference of 1 means Loser RECOILS.
7.      Difference of 2 means loser RETIRES.
8.      Difference of 3 means 1oser RETREATS.
9.      Difference of 4 means loser ROUTS.

Note: Any dice left over usually won't count, eg. If 8 die v. 6 then the odd 2 can be ignored as by definition they must be the lowest 2 scores and lots of reasons can be advanced to show why they would have had no influence on the battle.
This mechanism can be expanded to make it a more accurate combat resolution.
(Don’t make it too complex or you will spoil the whole concept.)

Adding Other Factors
1.    The addition of any UNIT COMBAT VALUES (such as for example, +2 for Elite; +1 for Veteran and -1 for Raw troops) will modify the dice throws.
2.    (This can be done by simply turning the die over. (eg a 3 becomes a 4)
the Cavalry.” Then throw them and turn them if appropriate.
5.    When modifying the dice It will be assumed that 6 is the MAX score and 1 the lowest. So a nominated +2 which is then thrown an a 6 stays a 6. (Tough luck). In the same way a nominated -1 which is thrown as a l stays a 1.
6.    There could also be OTHER +/- FACTORS such as TERRAIN ADVANTAGES, which side is ATTACKING / DEFENDING, MORALE and LEADERSHIP etc. But these will tend to be better reflected By the Umpire using IMP [inherent Military Probability). ie using his Umpire skills / knowledge to 'fiddle' the COMBAT RESULTS.
7.      However in a Campaign some aspects, such as FATIGUE due to FORCED NARCHES may / will have to be built in as +/- factors at the dice throwing stage.

EXAMPLE SITUATION: The ATTACKER has 8 units of Foot & 2 of Horse. (1 of the Foot units is Elite (+2); 2 are Veteran (+1); 4 are Experienced (0); 1 Foot is Raw (-1): the Horse are both experienced (0).)
THE DEFENDER has 6 units of Foot & 2 of Horse. (3 Foot are Veteran (+1), the rest are Experienced (0). The Horse are Experienced (0).)

ATTACKERS Dice Foot - 4  4  2  6  1  2  1  2 Horse –  1  4
FACTORS              +2 +1 +1  0  0  0  0 -1          0  0
Dice after adjusting  6  5  3  6  1  2  1  1          1  4

DEFENDERS Dice Foot - 5  3  1  2  1  3       Horse –  3  5
FACTORS              +1 +1 +1  0  0  0                0  0
Dice after adjusting  6  4  2  2  1  3                3  5

Dice in descending value
ATTACKER      Foot      6  6  5  3  2  1  1  1 Horse -  4  1
DEFENDER      Foot      6  4  3  2  2  1     Horse -  5  3

Difference-Defender   = -2 -2 -1  =  =                +1 +2

RESULTS ARE - Defenders Foot 3 Stand-offs; I Recoil & 2 Retire. The Defenders Horse drive off the Attacking Horse, (A further dice throw then showed that the Defenders Horse did not pursue, staying on the battlefield with it’s Foot units.

Umpire Analysis – The Defenders Foot have been beaten and have been driven from their position. The presence of their Horse allows their withdrawal from the field to be conducted in reasonable order so their casualties remain moderate.

Special thanks to Mike Irvin for the system details. 
Also this was subsequently published in "Miniature Wargames" issue no. 64, if I remember correctly, by Timothy MaCoy Price.

Post Battle retreat and recovery of losses from battle:

With the battle handled, the question will remain of what to do with/about survivors of any retreat or breakup of units.  Most often, in tabletop simulations, the after-battle effects of the disrupted units is simply ignored.  Yet it is clear that, even with 100% casualties caused by artillery fire, not everyone is dead.  Most game systems pay little or no attention to this fact, mainly because they are only focused on the needs of the tabletop simulation.  For our purposes though, this is not enough as full armies are notoriously difficult to 'destroy'.

To that end we are going to adapt this great little system put forward by Archduke Piccolo:

For campaigns I sort of divide losses into sixths. 

Two sixths are lost for the duration of the campaign - dead and permanently incapacitated. 
Two sixths return to the colours overnight, having 'straggled' for this or that reason during the course of the day. Some of these might be fairly trivial wounds that might count as a casualty but don't require the soldier to leave the ranks.

The middle sixths are the interesting ones. 

The battle winner gets half these back and loses the other half. This other half might be injured enough to keep them out of the action for some time - a month, say. The loser also finds one of the middle sixths lost for a period of time. But the other sixth is carried off by the victors as prisoners of war.

POWs have the effect of a hedge against campaign attrition, as they can be exchanged for prisoners lost. So far in my Ulrichstein campaign, the forces backing the Bishop have given up 11 figures as POW; the rebels 4.


6 killed "castings" in battle:

2 gone for good
2 come back the 'next day'

Winner gets 1 back 2-3 'days' later AND takes 1 from the looser as 'prisoners of war'
Loser gets no more back at all as those who could not fall back from the field in any way became prisoners.

The system is based on casting number of casualties lost in the tabletop battle, for our purposes whatever the 'tactical' unit is will be the 'casting' lost, though each tabletop player can report these as they see fi.,

I am anticipating keeping things simple, so for SHAKO number of battalions or squadrons will do, for Fast Play Grand Armee, I am using the brigade as the 'lost operational unit', if SCRUD is the system then the Division will become the 'operational unit'.

Campaign location of recovering units:

Such units that are 'recovering' from a battle will do so at the nearest NAMED TOWN HEX to the battlefield to the rear of the owning force.  Only a victor, who will have taken the field, will have recovering units kept at the location - if it takes place in a NAMED TOWN HEX.  Otherwise the recovering units will take shelter and 'recover' to the rear at the nearest next town.  

Recovery may take more than one day - if  the town that the recovering unit(s) are in is attacked by the enemy, without any allied covering force (such as a battle) then the recovering units are totally lost ... they have been overrun and captured/killed before they could effectively re-form into a combat force.


  1. These looks like excellent and sensible additions, David!


    1. Thanks Jim. Let me know if you run into any challenges with them, or if you have errata or suggestions.