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Dos de mayo, por Joaquín Sorolla

See also:
Mass Combat in Ghastly Affair Part I – Infantry Units
Mass Combat in Ghastly Affair Part II – Cavalry Units

Some Notes About 18th Century and Napoleonic Artillery Units

Eighteenth century people were obsessed with hierarchies and social status, and this obsession extended to the battlefield. Of the three types of army units (Artillery Infantry, and Cavalry) Artillery was definitely the least respected. Before Napoleon (who began his own career as an Artillery officer) demonstrated the full capacity of properly utilized Artillery to determine the outcome of battles, Infantry and Cavalry officers tended to regard Artillery as just a tool for breaking down fortifications and degrading enemy forces before the “real” and honorable fighting occurred. Because Artillery Officers needed to have actual mathematical ability to accurately calculate distances and trajectories, they tended to hail from the education-minded middle class – unlike than the Infantry and Cavalry officers of most 18th century armies, who usually had aristocratic origins, and simply purchased their commissions.

There were three types of Field Artillery pieces used in the 18th century and Napoleonic era – Cannons, Mortars, and Howitzers.

    • Cannons were guns intended primarily for firing more or less directly at the target, at angles less than 45 degrees.
    • Mortars were guns intended for firing at angles steeper than 45 degrees.
    • Howitzers were guns capable of being fired at both shallow and steep angles.

Cannons and Howitzers were mounted on wheels, and hauled into place by a team of draft horses (typically about six, but as many as twelve) with the aid of two-wheeled carts called “limbars”. Mortars did not have wheels, but were loaded onto separate carts to be transported. A typical crew for each piece was six soldiers, with several additional engineers and support troops. In addition to its artillery pieces, an Artillery Unit would have additional horses, carts, and wagons transporting ordinance, bags of gunpowder, tools, and supplies for the crew.

There were four main types of projectiles fired by Field Artillery – Cannonballs (also called “round shot”), Grapeshot (many small iron balls enclosed in a bag), Canister (many large bullets packed in a metal can, like a giant shotgun shell), and Explosive Shells (hollow, gunpowder-filled iron balls with fuses).

    • A typical battlefield Cannonball was made of cast iron. It had a range of up to 4,500 feet when fired in an arc, and 1,500 feet when fired directly. Cannonballs could be fired over the heads of friendly Units to hit distant targets. They can also be put in a furnace to produced Heated Shot.
    • Grapeshot was effective up to 2,000 feet, but must be fired directly at the target. It cannot be fired over the heads of friendly units without hitting them.
    • Canister was effective up to 1,000 feet, and is usually loaded when Artillery Units are about to be directly engaged by Infantry or Cavalry. Like Grapeshot, it could only be fired straight ahead, and could not be arced over the heads of friendly units. A Canister-like shot could be improvised by loading the cannon with things like nails, forks, knives, and broken metal plates – this was called “Scrapshot”.
    • Explosive Shells (or “Bombs”) could be fired in arcs at targets between 500 and 4,500 feet distant. In many ways, they combined the best features of Cannonballs and Grapeshot. Unfortunately, they were also dangerously unreliable. Explosive Shells are usually shot from Howitzers and Mortars.

By the late 18th century it was typical for the bag of powder that propelled a projectile to be affixed to it in a pre-made “cartridge”, making cannons much easier to operate than they had been in previous centuries.

Cannons were historically rated according to the weight of the Cannonballs they fired. The typical field Cannons of the 18th Century and Napoleonic Age were therefore referred to to as “8 Pound” or “9 Pound” guns, but both lighter and heavier ones were used. Mortars and Howitzers, on the other hand, were usually classified by their caliber – an 8 pound cannon corresponded to a 4 inch howitzer or mortar. Because it needed to be transportable, Field Artillery tended to be much smaller than the Naval Artillery mounted aboard ships.

As with Infantry units, there was always be a Drummer attached to an Artillery unit – to communicate orders, and maintain morale.

William Simpson, A Hot Night in the Batteries

ARTILLERY BATTERY

8 to 12 guns, manned by 80 to 120 soldiers, and firing as a unit.

Creature Class: Antagonist
Number Appearing: 1 – 6
Initial Impression: Approximately eight large artillery pieces, manned by about a hundred soldiers. Sixty or more horses are nearby, along with various carts. The sound of drums can be heard.
Size: Large (100’ x 100’ square)

Perversity: 13
Disposition: Aggressive
Charisma: 11 (or same as commanding Captain) Intelligence: 11 Wisdom: 9
Strength: 5,400 Dexterity: 9 Constitution: 9
Speed: 9 hauled, 3 maneuvering on the battlefield

Armor Class: None
Hit Dice: 50
Attacks: 1 (cannon barrage for 4d6+50 damage)
Special Abilities: Attack with Intelligence, Break Unit Formations, Dissolve Into Squads, Ignore Personal Armor, Multiple Targets, Point-blank Canister Shot, Target Structures
Weaknesses: Cannon Smoke, Explosive Shell Misfire, Ten Round Reload
Possible Assets (+3 Bonus): Brilliant Commander, Seasoned Troops.
Possible Afflictions (-3 Penalty): Poorly Equipped, Incompetent Commander, Sick, Malnourished.
Preternatural Powers: None (Unless a Magician or Mad Scientist is part of unit)

Level: 10

The Battery is the basic tactical unit of Field Artillery, and is commanded by a Captain. It will usually fire all of its guns in a simultaneous “barrage”.

An Artillery Battery reduced to 0 Hit Points breaks up into 2 Artillery Squads of 2 guns each. If the Battery was broken by an enemy Artillery Unit (or such things as Fireballs, Lightning Bolts, or a Dragon’s breath) the remaining guns are destroyed. If the Artillery Battery had been broken by an Infantry or Cavalry unit, then the abandoned guns (numbering from four to eight) can be captured.

Artillery Battery Special Abilities

Attack with Intelligence: Because accurately aiming Field Artillery is a matter of applied mathematics, an Artillery Units makes Attack Checks using Intelligence rather than Dexterity.

Break Unit Formations: A successful attack with Grapeshot, Canister, or Explosive Shell by an Artillery Battery forces a targeted Military Unit to immediately Check Morale. Failure means the unit immediately stops any forward movement, and devolves into a Skirmish Line (if not in that formation already).

Dissolve Into Squads: An Artillery Battery can be broken up into 4 to 6 Artillery Squads with two guns apiece. This could be done to more effectively place the guns, or for the pieces to fire in a staggered manner (rather than as a simultaneous barrage).

Heated Shot: Heated Shot consists of Cannonballs heated in a portable furnace until red hot. A successful attack does normal damage, but any inflammable structure (such as a palisade wall or sailing ship) struck is also set on fire. It takes 2 Turns (20 minutes) to prepare a barrage of Heated Shot.

Ignore Armor: An Artillery Battery can ignore any Armor Class a target enjoys due to wearing personal armor such as a breastplate or helmet – or from having tough skin or scales.

    • For example, a unit of heavy Cuirasseur cavalry in the open are AC 0 (None) when targeted by an Artillery Battery.
    • Similarly, a Dragon targeted by an Artillery Battery is AC 0 (none), rather than 10. Hence the extreme rarity of Dragons after the Middle Ages!
    • Note that an Artillery Battery can target just the defenders within (or behind) a structure using Grapeshot, Canister, or arced Cannonballs, without attempting to destroy the structure itself.

Multiple Targets: The Battery can attack multiple targets or units instead of firing one massive barrage at single enemy. The Battery makes a normal Check for each attack, but its total Damage Bonus is divided among its targets. For example:

Targets

Damage per attack

1

4d6 + 50

2

4d6 + 25

3

4d6 + 17

4

4d6 + 13

5

4d6 + 10

6

4d6 +8

Point-blank Canister Shot: If an Artillery Battery fires Canister at a target within 300 feet directly in front of it and not obscured by Cover (such trees or walls), then the Battery will automatically inflict full damage (4d6+50) without needing to make an Attack Check. Additionally, any surviving target that fails a Morale Check will flee in disorder.

Target Structures: When firing Cannonballs, Heated Shot, or Explosive Shells an Artillery Battery can inflict full hit point damage against structures of stone, wood and brick not usually affected by lead bullets or normal hand-to-hand weapons (such as sabers). If Heated Shot or Explosive Shells are used, inflammable structures are also set on fire.

If an attack against a structure succeeds, the Artillery Battery then rolls another Attack Check for each target inside (or behind) the structure. The Check is made with Penalty equal to the Cover granted by the structure. If the Check(s) succeed(s), each target suffers the same hit point damage as the structure.

Note that an Artillery Battery can use Grapeshot or Canister to target just the defenders within (or behind) a structure, without attempting to destroy the structure itself with Cannonballs, Heated Shot or Explosive Shells.

Artillery Battery Weaknesses

Cannon Smoke: After firing its first barrage, an Artillery Battery suffers a -2 Penalty on further attacks, but also enjoys a +2 on its Armor Class. This is due to a large cloud of smoke enveloping the Unit and obscuring sight. This Cannon Smoke will last until the Battery spends a full Turn not firing its guns, or moves 50’ from its current position.

Explosive Shell Misfire: For every barrage with Explosive Shells there is 1 in 20 chance of an explosive misfire, inflicting 6d6 damage on the Unit and destroying the gun.

Ten Round Reload: Field Artillery takes 10 Rounds to reload and sight, during which time the Artillery Battery has no effective attack.

13Vendémiaire

ARTILLERY SQUAD

2 guns, manned by 16 to 20 soldiers.

Creature Class: Antagonist
Number Appearing: 1 – 4
Initial Impression: A pair of large artillery pieces, manned by well over a dozen soldiers. A dozen or more horses are nearby, along with various carts. The sound of drums can be heard.
Size: Large (20’ x 20’ square)

Perversity: 13
Disposition: Aggressive
Charisma: 11 Intelligence: 11 Wisdom: 9
Strength: 1,080 Dexterity: 11 Constitution: 9
Speed: 9 hauled, 3 maneuvering on the battlefield

Armor Class: None
Hit Dice: 12
Attacks: 1 (cannon barrage for 4d6+12 damage)
Special Abilities: Attack with Intelligence, Break Unit Formations, Ignore Personal Armor, Point-blank Canister Shot, Target Structures
Weaknesses: Cannon Smoke, Explosive Shell Misfire, Ten Round Reload
Possible Assets (+3 Bonus): Brilliant Commander, Seasoned Troops.
Possible Afflictions (-3 Penalty): Poorly Equipped, Incompetent Commander, Sick, Malnourished.

Level: 10

The Squad is the smallest unit of Field Artillery, and is commanded by a Lieutenant. Both guns will usually fire in a simultaneous “barrage”.

An Artillery Squad reduced to 0 Hit Points becomes a single cannon, a crew of 6 to 8 soldiers, and a team of 4 to 6 draft horses.

Artillery Squad Special Abilities

Attack with Intelligence: Because accurately aiming Field Artillery is a matter of applied mathematics, an Artillery Units makes Attack Checks using Intelligence rather than Dexterity.

Break Unit Formations: A successful attack with Grapeshot, Canister, or Explosive Shell by an Artillery Squad forces a targeted Military Unit to immediately Check Morale. Failure means the unit immediately stops any forward movement, and devolves into a Skirmish Line (if not in that formation already).

Heated Shot: Heated Shot consists of Cannonballs heated in a portable furnace until red hot. A successful attack does normal damage, but any inflammable structure (such as a palisade wall or sailing ship) struck is also set on fire. It takes 2 Turns (20 minutes) to prepare a barrage of Heated Shot.

Ignore Armor: An Artillery Squad can ignore any Armor Class a target enjoys due to wearing personal armor such as a breastplate or helmet – or from having tough skin or scales.

    • Note that an Artillery Squad can target just the defenders within (or behind) a structure using Grapeshot, Canister, or arced Cannonballs, without attempting to destroy the structure itself.

Point-blank Canister Shot: If an Artillery Squad fires Canister at a target within 300 feet directly in front of it and not obscured by Cover (such trees or walls), then the Squad will automatically inflict full damage (4d6+50) without needing to make an Attack Check. Additionally, any surviving target that fails a Morale Check will flee in disorder.

Target Structures: When firing Cannonballs, Heated Shot, or Explosive Shells an Artillery Squad can inflict full hit point damage against structures of stone, wood and brick not usually affected by lead bullets or normal hand-to-hand weapons (such as sabers). If Heated Shot or Explosive Shells are used, inflammable structures are also set on fire.

If an attack against a structure succeeds, the Artillery Squad then rolls another Attack Check for each target inside (or behind) the structure. The Check is made with Penalty equal to the Cover granted by the structure. If the Check(s) succeed(s), each target suffers the same hit point damage as the structure.

Note that an Artillery Squad can use Grapeshot or Canister to target just the defenders within (or behind) a structure, without attempting to destroy the structure itself with Cannonballs, Heated Shot or Explosive Shells.

Artillery Squad Weaknesses

Cannon Smoke: After firing its first barrage, an Artillery Squad suffers a -2 Penalty on further attacks, but also enjoys a +2 on its Armor Class. This is due to a large cloud of smoke enveloping the Unit and obscuring sight. This Cannon Smoke will last until the Squad spends a full Turn not firing its guns, or moves 50’ from its current position.

Explosive Shell Misfire: For every barrage with Explosive Shells there is 1 in 20 chance of an explosive misfire, inflicting 6d6 damage on the Unit and destroying the gun.

Ten Round Reload: Field Artillery takes 10 Rounds to reload and sight, during which time the Artillery Squad has no effective attack.

Goya-Guerra (07)

SPECIALIZED ARTILLERY

Light Artillery: These units use 4 and 6 Pound guns that do less damage (3d6+Damage Bonus), but can be maneuvered into position more quickly (Speed 5 rather than 3 on the battlefield).

Heavy Artillery: These units use 12 pound guns that do more damage (5d6 + Damage Bonus), but are are even slower to maneuver on the battlefield (Speed 2 rather than 3 on the battlefield).

Horse Artillery: These units use more horses (twelve or more per piece) and lighter guns that are specially destined for rapid deployment. Horse Artillery inflicts 2d6+Damage Bonus on a successful Attack. It moves at Speed 9 (both while being hauled and on the battlefield). Horse Artillery is naturally much more expensive to operate than ordinary Field Artillery.

Siege Artillery: These units use massive 24 to 36 pound guns that inflict 10d6+Damage Bonus. Siege Artillery is extremely slow and unwieldy, however, moving at Speed 6 when being hauled, and Speed 1 when maneuvering on the battlefield. Such large guns are seldom encountered on 18th century and Napoleonic battlefields, by that time being used mostly on ships and for coastal defense.

Rockets: These cutting-edge weapons were adapted by the British from examples used by the forces of Tipu Sultan in India. A barrage of Rockets is similar to one of Exploding Shells – inflicting 4d6+Damage Bonus to a target, and setting fire to inflammable structures. They can also be used to Break Unit Formations. Rockets have a long range of 10,000 feet, and a barrage can be fired once every other Round. Unfortunately, they are inaccurate (-2 on Attack Checks), and there is also a 1 in 20 chance per barrage that one of the rockets will explode before liftoff, inflicting 6d6 damage to its Unit.

Molly Pitcher at the Battle of Monmouth. June 1778. Copy of engraving by J. C. Armytage after Alonzo Chappel., 1931 - 19 - NARA - 532935

TARGETING BONUSES AND PENALTIES FOR ARTILLERY UNITS

Target is moving: -2

Target is Military Unit in Line or Wedge formation: +2

Target is in Military Unit in Skirmish Line: -2

La defensa de Zaragoza, por David Wilkie

OPTIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL MODIFIERS

Environment

Speed Modifier

Artillery Attacks into area

Cavalry Attacks into area

Infantry Attacks into area

Prevented Formations and Movements

Dead Cavalry

½ Speed

No Modifier

No Modifier

No Modifier

Line, Column, Wedge. Area cannot be Charged through.
Dead Infantry

-2

No Modifier

No Modifier

No Modifier

None
Fog, Heavy

-2

-4

-4

-4

All formations except Skirmish Line.
Fog, Light

None

-2

-2

-2

None
Forest, Heavy

-4

-4

-4

-2

All formations except Skirmish line. Area cannot be Charged through.
Forest, Light

-3

-2

-2

None

Line, Wedge.
Gun Smoke

None

-2

-2

-2

None
High Ground (Attacking)

-2

No Modifier

-2

-2

None
High Ground (Defending)

+2

No Modifier

None

+2

None
High Heat

No Modifier

No Modifier

-2

-2

None
High Wind

-2

-2

-2

-2

None
Muddy Ground

-2

-2

-2

-2

None
Rain

None

-2

-2

-2

None
Rocky Ground

-2

No Modifier

-2

No Modifier

Area cannot be Charged through.
Snow, Deep

-2

No Modifier

-2

-2

Area cannot be Charged through.
Snow, Trace

No Modifier

No Modifier

No Modifier

No Modifier

None
Swamp

-4

No Modifier

-4

-4

All except Skirmish Line. Artillery cannot be placed in a Swamp, but can attack other units in Swamps.
Wreckage and Rubble

-2

-2

-2

-2

Line, Wedge. Area cannot be Charged through.

Remember, all modifiers in Ghastly Affair “stack”, so it is very possible to get into a situation where it’s nearly impossible for a military unit to fight effectively at all. For example, a company of ordinary infantry trying to attack hand-to-hand uphill, on muddy ground, in the rain, with high winds, suffers a total Penalty to their Attack Check of -8. The have to roll under a 3 to inflict any significant damage on the defending unit occupying the high ground.


HIT POINTS AND COVER OF TYPICAL STRUCTURES AND FORMATIONS

Structure Type

Cover (AC Bonus to people within or behind while still intact)

Hit Points (0 = collapse into Wreckage and Rubble)

Notes:

Brick Wall, Single Wythe 9 if taller than a person,

5 if half height.

75 per 10’ section Only damaged by Pickaxes, Grenades, and Field Artillery.
Brick Wall, Double Wythe 9 if taller than a person,

5 if half height.

150 per 10’ section Only damaged by Pickaxes, Grenades, and Field Artillery.
Brick Wall, Triple Wythe 9 if taller than a person,

5 if half height.

300 per 10’ section Only damaged by Pickaxes, Grenades, and Field Artillery.
Brick Cottage 9 150 Only damaged by Pickaxes, Grenades, and Field Artillery.
Carriage, Enclosed 6 30 Inflammable.
Carriage, Open 2 20 Inflammable.
Castle Tower (Stone) 19 800 Only damaged by Pickaxes, Grenades, and Field Artillery.
Column, Stone 19 50 Only damaged by Pickaxes, Grenades, and Field Artillery.
Door, Fortified 9 30 Inflammable. Can be damaged by Axes and Bullets.
Earthen Embankment, Sloped, 5’ thick 19 5,00 per 10’ section Only damaged by Pickaxes, Shovels, Grenades, and Field Artillery.
Earthen Embankment, Sloped, 10’ thick 19 1,000 per 10’ section Only damaged by Pickaxes, Shovels, Grenades, and Field Artillery.
Half-Timber Cottage 9 100 Inflammable. Can be damaged by Axes and Bullets.
Ship, Frigate 7 500 Inflammable. Can be damaged by Axes.
Ship, Merchant 7 300 Inflammable. Can be damaged by Axes.
Ship of the Line 7 1,500 Inflammable. Can be damaged by Axes.
Small Hillock (20’ x 10’) 19 3,000 Only damaged by Pickaxes, Shovels, Grenades, and Field Artillery.
Statue, Marble 5 15 Damaged by all metal weapons.
Stone Boulder, 3’ x 3’ x 3’ 9 500 Only damaged by Pickaxes, Grenades, and Field Artillery.
Stone Boulder, 10’ x 10’ x 10’ 9 2,000 Only damaged by Pickaxes, Grenades, and Field Artillery.
Stone Wall, 2’ Thick: 19 if taller than a person,

9 if half height.

500 per 10’ section Only damaged by Pickaxes, Grenades, and Field Artillery.
Stone Wall, 5’ Thick: 19 if taller than a person,

9 if half height.

1,000 per 10’ section Only damaged by Pickaxes, Grenades, and Field Artillery.
Stone Wall, 10’ Thick: 19 if taller than a person,

9 if half height.

2,000 per 10’ section Only damaged by Pickaxes, Grenades, and Field Artillery.
Stone Cottage 19 400 Only damaged by Pickaxes, Grenades, and Field Artillery.
Tree, Large 5 20 Inflammable.
Wagon 3 20 Can be damaged by Axes and Bullets.
Wall of Ice (Preternatural) 9 40 per square foot Damaged by all metal weapons.
Wall of Iron (Preternatural) 19 50 per square foot Only damaged by steel Pickaxes, Grenades, and Field Artillery.
Wall of Stone (Preternatural) 19 50 per square foot Only damaged by Pickaxes, Grenades, and Field Artillery.
Wall of Thorns (Preternatural) 7 5 hp per square foot Inflammable. Damaged by all metal weapons.
Wooden Palisade 9 100 per 10’ section Inflammable. Can be damaged by Axes.
Wooden Fort Tower, 20’ tall x 10’ wide 9 200 Inflammable. Can be damaged by Axes.

Structures grant full cover as long as they have half or more of their hit points. After that they grant only ½ their usual cover. Completely destroyed structures count as “Wreckage and Rubble”, and grant only a +2 to AC.