Grand Army – II. Composition of Units


INFANTRY: Each, battalion (CW regiment) is represented by three stands of figures. These stands are arranged in different ways to represent different formations, as shown in the formations chart.

NAPOLEONIC: Only British and British-trained units (such as the King’s German Legion) may use the Extended Line formation.

Only light infantry (including Rifles, Jagers, etc.) can use the Skirmish Line formation.

CIVIL WAR: All units can use any of these formations.


MOUNTED: Each squadron is represented by three stands. In the Napoleonic period only light cavalry can form Skirmish Line. In the ACW all can.

DISMOUNTED: Most ACW Union cavalry, some Confederate cavalry, and most Napoleonic dragoons were equipped and trained to fight dismounted.
Each such squadron, in addition to its mounted stands, is represented by three stands of dismounted figures having the same number of figures as its mounted counterpart, and is 1/4″ in width for each figure.
Only one version of a given squadron can be in play at any given time. Changing from mounted to dismounted status, or vice versa, is a change of formation.
In all other respects dismounted cavalry are treated as light infantry except that, in the absence of historical documentation to the contrary, dismounted Civil War cavalry are assumed to be armed with carbines, instead of muskets or rifles.

ARTILLERY: Each miniature cannon represents a “section” of two guns, plus their caissons. These sections are treated as separate units and may be massed together or separated completely, at will. Each section consists, however, of three stands: one for the cannon, one for the crew, one for the horses. Artillery crews consist of two dismounted figures. Napoleonic foot artillery horse stands should have two un-mounted horses. Napoleonic horse artillery and all Civil War artillery, horse stands consist of one mounted figure and one un-mounted horse. Prolong ‘guns have no horses, and are 2-stand units (for purposes of morale and all else) from the start.

STANDS can be made of stiff cardboard, metal, plastic or wood. Mount figures to each stand in a single rank using glue or modeler’s putty.

GROUND SCALE: Even with figures as small as 15mm or 9mm scale it is necessary that each figure represent more than one soldier (otherwise a British infantry battalion in line formation would be over 6 feet long!). All miniatures rules have found it necessary to do this and to shorten ranges and movement rates, etc. The ratio of space on the playing table to the actual distances being represented is called the Ground Scale. In these rules the ground scale is 1 inch equals 100 feet, and one turn represents about 2 minutes. Unlike many rules, GRAND ARMY keeps the size of units in scale with the ground scale. So if a unit historically would have occupied a line 375 feet long the miniature unit should be 3 3/4″ long.

INFANTRY: The number of men represented by each figure is predicated on the ground scale. The, issue is also complicated by the fact that a single rank of figures is representing more than one rank of men. Civil War infantry fought in two ranks (giving 1 foot of front per man) and so each figure represents 25 men. Napoleonic infantry usually fought in 3 ranks (giving 8″ of front per man) and so each figure represents about 40 men. British units were the exception since they used a 2-rank line during the Napoleonic period. To keep strengths even, the British use the same 40-1 ratio but spread the figures out more.

CAVALRY: Because cavalry lines had fewer ranks (Napoleonic 2, Civil War 1) than the infantry, and to keep the stands from looking deserted, each cavalry figure, represents only half as many men as in the infantry (20 Napoleonic, 12 ACW).

STAND SIZES: Infantry stands should be Jo” from front to back and J.t” in width for each figure — except all British. Infantry stands should be 3/8″ wide per figure. Cavalry stands should be 5/8″ deep and 5/16″ wide per figure for Napoleonic cavalry or 3/8″ wide for Civil War cavalry. Artillery frontage was usually about 15 yards per gun, so a 2-gun.section taking up a 30-yards front would be about 7/8″ wide. However, since the guns could have been placed somewhat closer without impairing efficiency too much, it is best to make artillery stands only about 5/8″ to 3/4″ wide, depending on the size of the miniature cannon — with horse and crew stands the same width, of course, and depth the minimum necessary to accommodate the figures.

NUMBERS of men per stand are indicated for the Napoleonic period on the Unit Characteristics charts. These are based on tables of organization, as modified by typical field strengths when units were newly recruited, for the period 1808-1813. It is impossible to organize Civil War formations on a Unit Characteristics chart of the same type as used for Napoleonics. Neither side kept units up to anywhere near paper strength (which was 1000 men per regiment). If you are basing your forces on an actual order of battle for some particular battle and can establish actual strength figures, apply these to the above-stated ratios of figures to men. In the absence of such data use the ACH Strengths Chart.

UNIT CHARACTERISTICS for the Napoleonic period are all given on the Unit Characteristics Charts. For the Civil War, all infantry is light infantry, all artillery is horse artillery (and what was called horse artillery in the Civil War equals flying artillery), just about all Union cavalry are dragoons (heavy cavalry for movement purposes) as are Forrest’s and Morgan’s Confederates. Stuart’s and Wheeler’s troopers would qualify as light cavalry, as would Sheridan’s Union cavalry of 1864. Players will have to determine for themselves what units to rate as “green” and which as “elite” or “crack”, as such things were primarily a question of experience and esprit de corps. Some obvious elite or crack units would be the Union Iron Brigade, the Confederate Stonewall Brigade and Hood’s Texas Brigade. Fire Value for most stands should be equal to the number of figures on the stand. For green units make it 1/3 less than the number of figures. For units known to be good shots, such as the 13th Pa. Reserve (Bucktails), add 1/3, and for really good marksmen, such as the 1st and 2nd U.S. Sharpshooters, add 2/3. Melee value should be 3 for green units, 4 for veteran units and 5 for crack. Fire values of Civil War cavalry stands should equal one half the numbers of figures on the stand.