Wednesday, 2 January 2008

How do you solve a problem like militia?

I've been thinking ahead to the time when my campaign gets under way. Militia will feature in the natural order of things when countries invade or are invaded. In some of the minor neutral states and cities they may be all the armed force available. In any case the militia of the militant nations will form garrisons, or local area defense. So, how do other gamers treat ImagiNation militia? Do they feature in physical form on your table, and if so, how do you deploy them? Are they skirmishers, using local knowledge to harass the emeny invaders, or do they form up in ranks? Do you favor some kind of uniformity, or is a battlefield a "come as you are" affair for them? Enquiring minds would like to know!


MiniWargamer said...

This sounds a lot like the Sound of Music. I can hear a bunch of nuns singing "How do you solve a problem like militiaaaa?"

I have done this a couple of ways in the past. Smaller numbers of figures per battalion, lower morale grade, reduced firing abilities.

abdul666 said...

I'd be tempted to follow C. Grant treatment: basically, 'raw regulars'.
He also had them in 'half battalions', to have their morale even more brittle. Under rules such as WRG 1685-1835, you can further treat them 'as if' armed with matchlocks instead of firelocks, to reflect their reducing shooting skills.

Now, a few, specially in overwooded / montainous areas, can be irregular light infantry. Skirmishers, probably better shots than your average militiaman, but specially reluctant toward h-t-h contact: Pandours / Croats like, basically, but less inclined to loot -and perhaps more prone to desertion, evenif temporaray (both because they are on home territory!).

As for the dress... even if totally irrealistic, I *like* uniforms... simple, sober, may be rextricted to an uniform coat and a lace tricorn (or some form of uniform cap), but an uniform nonetheless...


tidders said...

For Wittenberg I'm going to have garrison troops, also militia too. The militia will be in a simple uniform, and classified such that they will be more susceptible to morale failures and have reduced fire power.

-- Allan

Fitz-Badger said...

I will have militia in my armies (at least for the League), using American Revolution minis from Foundry. I plan to paint them in uniform, although there will certainly be some variation in shades of colors, equipment, etc.
In gaming I think having them somewhat variable is the way I want to go. They may surprise occasionally and act very heroically (other times, not so much). Not unlike American militia in the Revolution. I think the quality of their leaders should be a big factor in that.

A J Matthews said...

Thanks for the feedback, gentlemen. The consensus seems to be:-

Small units, with at least some effort made toward a uniform - although a lot of variations are probable. Good in their home terrain but reluctant to melee. Low, even brittle morale, but under the right leader they can fight well.

abdul666 said...

A possible way to translate visually that militiamen are 'not real military types' could be, instead of / in addition to suble variations of hue, to use minis from different ranges / manufacturers. The idea being that the Central Authority issued general indications concerning the uniform, but each local group (parish / corporation) bought its own set of cloth and had it taylored according to its taste.

I doubt mid-18th European militias could be as efficient as some AWI types. As for the posible 'light foot' minority type, they would certainly be more similar to hill bandits (levy irregulars) than to rangers!


MurdocK said...

In a campaign situation I should think that the size and quality of the Regular formations will dictate the size and nature of the Irregulars, Militia or Insurrectio formations.

What you will be needing to decide is what has the area seen for 'fighting' in this 'civil defence' mode?

Will it be a harried and very irregular force put together from men that hardly ever touch firearms? Then Irregulars with massed formations and really terrible firing and/or morale factors will be the nature of the troops.

Are there regular call-ups to duty or are there on-going security issues that every man living in the region faces? If so then Militia will be your forces, they may only drill 2 times a year outside of war call-up but they have picked up a firearm and are familiar with its use, there may even be skirmishing experts among their ranks, such as the French in the Canada campaigns of 1758/59.

Do the locals face constant and ongoing threats to life and liberty? Such as the Austrians in the Transylvanian regions? Then Insurrectio type forces are likely to exist, they will have great skirmishing skills, be able to form large battalions on short notice and every man will be very skilled. Thier uniform and dicipline may be terrible but their weight of fire and willingness to fight (on their own land at least) will be of the highest level, possibly higher even than regular troops.

In any case such forces would be reluctant to take actions outside their own parish/district/province or city-state town. While the Militia or Insurrectio forces could go farther from these homes (to form a line of defence) they would definately perform less effectively on the attack.

Irregulars cannot be counted on for anything more than the day's actions in defence of their own homes.