Grand Army – IV. Firing


ARTILLERY may fire at any unobstructed target (except those “Engaged” in melee) within an arc of 180 degrees to their front.


DIRECT FIRE (DF): Use a yard stick or specially prepared “artillery stick” to indicate the line of fire. Place one end at the muzzle of the firing gun and lay the stick along the desired line of fire. Every unit (friend or enemy) along that line, between the muzzle and the effective range of that type of gun (see Artillery Fire Chart). is a target. On the “Effect of Fire” chart combine all fire against a given target counting each firing gun (regardless of caliber) as “2” for each stand of the target unit its line of fire passes through. Compare this total to the number of figures in the target unit to obtain the odds ratio. Roll a 12-sided die, add or subtract all applicable Modifiers, and consult the “Effect of Fire” chart. Firing gun and targets must be on the same level of ground.

RICOCHET FIRE (RF) (Smoothbores Only): Same as Direct Fire except: The firing player chooses any point along the line of fire (short of the gun’s effective range) to be the Point Of Ricochet (POR). Any units passed through prior to the P.O.R. are treated exactly as under Direct Fire. Units passed through after the P.O.R. are treated the same except that a 6-sided die is rolled for each stand of each unit passed through and the number rolled is used in each case, instead of the “2” used in Direct Fire. The shot will proceed from the P.O.R. a distance equal to 2/3 the distance from the gun muzzle to the P.O.R. i.e. if the P.O.R. is 12″ from the gun the shot will go 8″ beyond the P. O. R. — except that it will be stopped by any stream, plowed field, stone wall, woods, hill or other solid obstacle or soft ground.

HIGH TRAJECTORY FIRE (HTF): Find the range from gun to target and consult the HTF section for the gun on the Artillery Chart. Under each range the number given indicates the minimum number need to obtain a hit on the target. Roll one 12sided die. If a hit is obtained it is combined with any Direct Fire or Ricochet Fire hits to improve the odds, counting as “2”. NOTE: with H.T.F., only one unit can be hit per firing gun, and then only if a number is rolled sufficient to match the appropriate column on the HTF chart. If the target is missed the shot is presumed to have fallen where it would do no harm to other units. Naturally, hits cannot be obtained on units beyond the firing gun’s maximum range. MODIFIERS: Target is in attack column 01′ square formation = +1; Target is a building = +2 per story; Firing uphill (target on higher level.)= -1.

FIRING UP OR DOWN HILL: If the target is on a different level than the firin9 gun it cannot be effected by DF or RF, only by Cannister (see below) or HTF (which is why the close ranges are provided for HTF for guns).
SHELL: In the Napoleonic period only howitzers can fire exploding shells. In the ACW, shell can be fired by howitzers, the 12# Napoleon (a gun-howitzer) and all rifled guns. Shell can only be fired via HTF. The procedure is the same as for firing solid shot via HTF except: ACW cannon capable of firing both shot and shell have separate lines on the Artillery Fire Chart for the two types (be sure to use the correct one); If a hit is obtained the effect is, of course, different. The value of a shell hit depends on the caliber of the shell. The Artillery Fire Chart shows the shell-hit value for each type of cannon capable of firing shell. Shell hits are combined with any shot hits on the same target to improve the odds.

SHRAPNEL: In the Napoleonic period only British howitzers could fire shrapnel (a hollow shell filled with musket balls and a small bursting charge and a time fuse. Ideally it should be burst a few hundred yards in front of the target, to allow time for the musket balls to spread. The effect is that of long range cannister). In the ACW it could be fired by all cannon capable of firing shell, except the Whitworth rifles. In these rules shrapnel works the same as shell but has its own ranges on the Artillery Fire Chart. It is less accurate than shell, but more effective when it does hit.

CANNISTER: All cannon — except the ACW Whitworth rifle — can fire cannister (a tin can filled with several small iron or lead balls, converting the cannon into a huge shotgun). A gun firing cannister can hit any one unobstructed target within its cannister range — the effect depending on whether its Close Range, Medium Range or Long “Range. Cannister fire is combined with musket fire on the Effect of Fire Chart.

RIFLED GUNS: The rifled guns used in the Civil War often fired shell with contact fuses instead of timed fuses. This was possible because they fired oblong-shaped projectiles, like modern artillery, instead of the old, spherical kind. For this reason there are no minimum shell ranges for rifles. Shrapnel, however, still needed a timed fuse to explode it ahead of the target, and timed fuses could not be set for too close a range without endangering the crew. Rifled guns may not use Ricochet Fire.

COUNTER-BATTERY: ‘when artillery fires at artillery (with other than cannister) determine whether the target is hit in the usual way, depending on the type of fire (OF, HTF etc.). If the target is hit proceed to the Effect of Fire Chart as usual except do not subtract 4 from the die roll for unlimbered artillery — that is only done when artillery is fired on by cannister and/or small arms.

Cannon without crews may be manned by infantry or dismounted cavalry (1 stand may be exchanged for an artillery crew stand for this purpose), but they may only use direct fire or cannister, nothing else.
When an artillery unit is hit, first roll a 6-sided die and consult the Artillery Loss Chart to see which stand was hit. Each stand counts as “2” for determining odds. If the hit is on a stand that has already been hit it is a miss.

INFANTRY may fire at any unobstructed target (except those “Engaged” in melee) within an arc of 900 to their front — that is: 45 to either side of a line perpendicular to the front of the firing stand.
Combine the fire value (see Unit Capabilities Charts) of all stands that are firing at a given target (different stands of a firing unit can fire at different targets), Stands firing at close range are doubled; those firing at long range are halved; and those firing at extreme range (rifles only) are divided by 4. These ranges vary according to the type of weapons used, as shown below:

SMOOTHBORE MUSKETS (all Napoleonic infantry and dragoons – except British Rifle battalions) ranges are:
Close Range. 0″ – 2″
Medium Range. 2″ – 4″
Long Range. 4″ – 6″

BRITISH RIFLES (and ACW units armed with the “Mississippi” 1841 rifles or other pre-Minie rifles) ranges are:
Close Range. 0″ – 2 1/2″
Medium Range. 2 1/2″ – 5″
Long Range. 5″ – 7 1/2″
Extreme Range. 7 1/2″ – 9″

SMOOTHBORE CARBINES (Napoleonic light cavalry) ranges are:
Close Range. 0″ -IV’
Medium Range. 1_”-3″
Long Range. 3″ -4′-2″

MINIE-STYLE RIFLES & RIFLED MUSKETS, including breechloaders and repeaters, (most ACW infantry) ranges are:
Close Range. 0″-3″
Medium Range. 3″-6″
Long Range. 6″-9″
Extreme Range. 9″-12″

RIFLED CARBINES (most ACW Union cavalry and some Confederate cavalry) ranges are:
Close Range. 0″-2″
Medium Range. 2″-4″
Long Range. 4″-6″
Extreme Range. 6″-8″

BUCK AND BALL: Civil War units armed with smoothbore muskets (and some were, especially during the first two years, on both sides) usually included 3 buckshot in each cartridge, as well as one musket ball. Therefore when such stands fire at Close Range instead of doubling the fire value triple it.

BREECHLOADERS: For ACW units armed with breechloaders (most Union cavalry had breech loading rifled carbines; the 1st and 2nd U.S. Sharpshooters and the 13th Pa. Res., “Bucktails”, had breech loading minie style rifles) figure as for muzzle-loaders and then triple the result.

REPEATERS: For ACW units armed with repeaters (some Union cavalry in the last 2 years of the War had repeating rifles and some had repeating rifled carbines) figure as for muzzle-loaders and quadruple the result.

UPHILL: For stands firing uphill figure as usual and then divide by 2

ENFILADE: For stands whose fire enfilades the target (line of fire passes through more than one stand of the target unit) figure as usual and then multiply by 2.

Once the total adjusted fire value of all units firing at a given target has been computed, compare it to the number of figures on the target stand to obtain an odds ratio as given on the Effect of Fire Chart. (Round off in favor of the target unit.) For instance: three stands of French Line infantry (fire value of 6 each) firing at a range of 3″ (Medium) at a 3-stand battalion of Russian Musketeers (9 figures) would be odds of 2-1.
Roll a 12-sided die and add or subtract any applicable modifiers. Cross-index the die roll (as adjusted) with the odds column on the Effect of Fire Chart.

A unit already affected by artillery fire from Step 1, if affected again in Step 2. Suffers the next worse effect. E.g. A unit already “Stopped”, if “Stopped” again becomes “Shaken”.

CAVALRY: Light cavalry may fire while mounted, using the same procedure as infantry. For ranges see “INFANTRY”, above.

Dragoons may only fire while dismounted, and the same procedure is used. For Ranges, see above.
Heavy cavalry have no fire capability.

Cavalry fire should be combined with any infantry and/or cannister fire directed at the same target.