|Desert Warriors spy on a Red coat patrol investigating a report of a massive Dandelion encroachment.|
Meanwhile, I have had moments to pick up reading Camps, Quarters and Casual Places, a series of essays by 1870's war correspondent Archibald Forbes (free eBook from Amazon but well worth $20 or more) . Most of the essays are interesting rather than directly useful to the wargamer, Christmas in an English Dragoon barrack, behind the lines during the Franco Prussian War, fishing in Scotland, a walk through Lucknow 20 years after, Bismarck, etc but one struck me today as worth the rest at this particular moment, an essay comparing warfare in the musket age vs the rifle age and a forecast of what it would be like as armies adopted magazine rifles, MGs and rapid fire artillery.
Suffice it to say that in the late 1870's he forecasts the tactics of 2nd Boer War and early WW1 very closely as well as predicting the strategic stalemate of the trench warfare 40 years in advance. But then he was a civilian, an observer and historian of wars and armies, not a soldier.
More than that, his much deeper and personal study of experience of current wars vs earlier ones confirm my much more casual conclusion that battles during the breech loading rifle age when weapons were more deadly, were less decisive, more drawn out and with fewer casualties (ironically given the amount of lead flying about and occasional high local casualties when someone tried to ignore current realities). He backs this up with comparisons of similar events from sieges and battles as well as statistics but my point is I've been floundering over wargaming the period because of the same things that he describes.
The uniforms may be those of HG Wells and it may sound ideal but to be realistic a tactical game of the era will often include long stretches where lines of infantry lie down or entrench and shoot at each other, periodically interrupted as attempts to rush the defenders are shot apart. Hence the attraction of small wars, especially against "savage" enemies or battles as soldiers and correspondents told them or of listening to Lawford and Young and using rules for an earlier era regardless of how the soldiers are dressed.