Friday, 14 May 2010

Cossacks in Lasalle: An optional rule

CossacksIrregular units (Cossacks, Kalmuks or Bashkirs) in Lasalle can not initiate combats against regular foes.
The reason behind, according to Sam Mustafa, is that these units were not used in formal battles, but only in pursuits, ambushes and the like. Their only utility is to add points in the 'Pursuit and Victory' step during the Army Morale Check and Victory (p. 67 of the rule-set) along other 'Pursuit' cavalry units like hussars, chasseurs, chevaux-legers and similar.
During game play, the only use I found for the Cossacks is to use they to avoid the fall back of enemy units, placing them in the rear of the defending enemy. However, I think that these cavalrymen do not remained iddle during the battle, but were seeing always to make opportunist attacks against un-warned and surprised enemy units, such as march formation columns or convoys.

Cossacks preventing the fall back of enemy cavalryMy proposal (posted to the Lasalle Forum) is the following:
1) Irregular cavalry units may charge enemy units standing in 'march column' formation.
2) Irregular cavalry units must to pass a 'Discipline' test to initiate the charge.
3) If routed in 'decisive combat' the irregular cavalry unit is immediately broken.

In Lasalle, the units in march column formation can not fire (although they can try to change formation) and halve their combat dice so they are potential targets for opportunist attacks. However, these attacks were not automatic -a discipline test is required- and were usually unsuccesful -the irregular unit risks its dispersion- but succeeded in occasions.

I think that in this way the opportunist and volatile behavior of these units is well simulated. At a minimum they'll have a chance to see action!


  1. Sounds logical and sensible Rafa - provided the distinction is made between irregular cossacks and the more 'regular' variety. There were a number who performed both roles (the Lifeguard Cossacks and regiments like the St Petersburg, Bug or Orenberg cossacks)

    The thing to remember is that they were incredibly tough. Although seemingly broken in combat, they would reform in an instant and be on the attack again if they had the numbers and opportunity (the prospect of loot was the big motivator!)

    Ambushing is rather difficult to create on the tabletop. When having cossacks in a game, I've left them off the board but diced to see if some units can get from one place to another without being attacked by them. Roll 1 - 3 and they don't make it!


  2. Hi Doc
    Yes, there was Coassacks and Cossacks, and the Lifeguard, to name one unit, was almost a regular unit.
    I use similar devices to the yours to simulate surprise in ambushes. Another posibility is to use Programmed Scenarios, as the depicted in the 'Programmed Wargaming Scenarios' book of C.S. Grant

  3. Interesting ideas Rafa, I will think about it for my next game where there are some cossacks.