Carnage and Glory Conversations-Topics
During the conversation a link was posted to this rather interesting video looking at British musketry during the AWI period, but with many aspects still relevant to the Napoleonic period as well.
I think C&G really models this aspect very well and I have quoted Nigel Marsh, the author of the rules, where he comments below and explains the C&G pace conversion for the ranges in yards quoted in the video. It's a short presentation, but gives a really good idea of the effectiveness, or not, of the smooth bore musket, in this case in the hands of men trained in the use of the weapon as British professional redcoats would have been, with a recreated simulation of battlefield conditions. Spare a thought for the more common conscripted soldier who barely knew which end to load the weapon that alone how to aim and fire a live round.
".......... the ranges being used in the video are in yards - so these would translate as follows when compared to paces in the system: [The British pace was actually 30". The 27" I use is an average of the numerous pace lengths used by different nationalities]
200 yards = 266 paces at 27" per pace
100 yards = 133 paces
75 yards = 100 paces, and
50 yards = 67 paces
The break point within the system for the smoothbore flintlock of this period is 75 paces - basically, you're either below or above that distance for effectiveness. The closer you are the better your results.
Anything beyond 200 paces and the system considers it beyond maximum [effective] range.
I've always argued that at certain ranges the firing unit will actually incur more damage to itself than the opponent.
You can inflict one or two casualties on the enemy at long range, and 50 plus casualties at 75 paces, but the firing unit will lose ammunition and fatigue at the same rate in both cases - so why waste ammunition and your own fatigue levels at the longer ineffective ranges [if you don't have to]."
For the novice player of C&G understanding when and when not to open fire is really important and I have seen a strong line crumple because fire was commenced too early causing ineffectual casualties to the target and unnecessary fatigue and disorder to the firer, whilst conversely, a player able to hold their nerve and one who can rely on their troops to hold theirs can deliver a devastating volley that can stop an attack in its tracks.
When you add in Napoleonic combined arms tactics of skirmish screens, close support artillery and cavalry you start to see why this period can become addictive.