Infantry Combat

Grand Manoeuvre Napoleonic Wargames Rules

Example of an Infantry Combat.


In this game play example, six French line battalions were arrayed in line with skirmishers deployed. These advanced to engage an Austrian line of five line battalions and one grenadier battalion. The Austrian infantry were supported by two sections of light, regimental guns. The French were rated as “C” class and the all the Austrian battalions were rated as “D” class.

Turn One:

In the first turn of combat the skirmishers of the advancing French line engage the Austrian infantry for the first time at long range. First however, on the roll of a six on a six-sided die, the Austrian regimental guns try to fend off the French voltigeurs; the second battalion’s guns make the skirmishers recoil back towards their parent battalion. See photo below:


Austrian battalion guns push back French skirmishers.

The skirmishers now attempt to disorder the rest of the Austrian line of battle, but at long range the formed units do not have a die roll against the skirmishers. The grenadiers and the first and second Austrian line battalions become disordered as a result of the skirmisher die rolls. These disordered battalions are marked with a blue marker in the next photo.


The first and second Austrian line battalions become disordered.

Turn Two:

At the start of a turn, each disordered unit rolls a die to see if it rallies. In our example the Austrian’s first battalion and grenadier battalion were rallied. The French line now moves into combat range with the Austrian line of battle, but first
the French skirmishers attempt to disorder the enemy’s formed line before their own line engages. In this turn, at “normal” musketry range, the Austrian formed troops have a die roll against the French skirmishers. The result of which, this time is that only the first Austrian line battalion becomes disordered. The skirmishers are now removed to the rear of the French line, and formed unit combat now takes place.


French skirmishers move to rear of battalions allowing them to engage the Austrian line.

Formed unit combat is resolved by comparing unit’s combat points, their die rolls & any modifying factors. Two Austrian line battalions (the fourth & fifth) have guns attached & so this modifies their die rolls against the French formed units. The new effects of combat in turn two are that the third, fourth & fifth Austrian line battalions become disordered & the first battalion becomes “shaken”, having previously been disordered by skirmishers. The shaken unit has the white marker in the photo.


The situation worsens & the Austrian’s line becomes increasingly disordered.

Turn Three:

In a good turn phase of rallying, the third, fourth and fifth battalions are rallied, but the first battalion is still disordered and shaken – a unit’s shaken condition remains even if it regains its order.


The Austrian’s first line battalion fails to rally its disorder.

In combat the third, fourth and fifth battalions are disordered once again, the first battalion becomes dispirited (one morale stage worse than before, it is indicated with the yellow marker) and the second battalion becomes shaken.

With a third of it battalions in poor morale, the Austrian brigade will be forced to test its command’s reaction.

Turn Four:

With 33% of its units in poor morale, the turn starts with a brigade command reaction test for the Austrians; this is based upon the average of the unit die rolls in the command. In our game the command reaction test was failed and the Austrian infantry routed for one turn.


The Austrian line fails its morale test and is now shown in the process of routing one move at the start of turn four

A Pursuit:

Being in good order but having been engaged and halted for some time, the French commander requires a general’s initiative to follow their enemy in an ordered pursuit. If he passes this die roll, his line can advance with his skirmishers deployed again within close combat range of the routing Austrian troops and a pursuit combat will take place in the same turn. In this example, I deliberately chose a scenario which would be decisive within a short period of time and game play, I therefore rated one side one class better than the other, but gamers of course are free to rate troops in their games as they think appropriate.


Photographed at Bideford and District Wargames Club.
Terrain pieces by Phil Martin.
The Italian buildings made by Shawn Kelly
Photos by Malcolm Williams and myself.

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