The following rules are a variant for The Sword and The Flame colonial game dealing with the U.S. Plains Wars. Much of the rules are "chrome" reflecting the unique nature of the frontier army. TSATF rules apply except where modified below and players may wish to apply "house rules" where assumptions on TSATF standard rules vary.
NOTES: June 2000 - This was placed on the “Colonial Wars List” on the web by Ken Hafer of New Orleans LA in late 1999 because of the interest in the American Indian Wars expressed on the list. When it was removed from that list, Ken asked me to put in on the Jackson Gamers’ web site, and I was happy to do. Any changes from the original in style are mine alone. Any errors in content are probably mine also. I can take no credit for the original work and unfortunately I can answer no questions about the rules or their interpretation. This is designed to be used with the earlier editions of TSATF but will probably work with the 20th Anniversary edition with few or no changes.
Jay Stribling (Webmaster for Jackson Gamers’ web site).
The Regular Army emerged from the Civil War set by Congress at 45 regiments of Infantry, 10 Cavalry regiments and 5 regiments of artillery, with a total strength 54,000. Later reductions in 1884 and 1910 reduced the number of infantry regiments to 25 and set a ceiling of 30,000 men.
Infantry regiments were organized in 10 companies and rated a colonel, lt. colonel, and major. Cavalry regiments comprised 12 companies deployed as 3 four company battalions each under a major. These regiments were distributed among the various military divisions and departments, manning scattered services of one and two company posts that guarded the frontier.
Company strength was set by the president to vary between 50-100 men. In 1866 authorized strength was 64, but in practice attrition, high desertion rates, and detachments kept company strength ridiculously low. Field strengths rarely exceeded 50 and many companies could muster only 20-30 men.
The rank and file reflected most levels of American society and contained a high proportion of Irish and German immigrants. They were volunteer recruits enlisted for 3-5 years.
The private soldier was poorly paid at $16 a month (reduced to $13 in 1871) and received little or no formal training They were "neither good horsemen nor good riflemen". Frontier living conditions were often substandard and the Army suffered a high turnover with desertion rates usually exceeding 20-30%.
If the rank and file were not the best, their officers generally proved a credible and competent lot. The postwar "Benzine board" had weeded out most of the incompetents. Many officers were well-trained West Point graduates, others were experienced Civil War veterans - many having held high rank and not a few of them had been promoted from the ranks.
Extra regimental appointments tended to spread them thin, taking away perhaps a third of a regiment's officers, leaving often only one officer per company. Unfortunately few of them had much Indian fighting experience, though a number of famous names would emerge: Lt. Col. George Custer, Col. Nelson Miles, Col. Ronald MacKenzie, and Gen. George Cook.
The basic army uniform was the familiar light blue trousers and dark blue blouse with kepi or wide-brim hat. Under frontier conditions though, officers and men usually adopted non-regulation items such as buckskin jackets and straw hats, etc.
For most of this period, the standard weapon was the single shot .45 caliber model 1873 Springfield breech loading rifle (for infantry) and carbine (for cavalry). The single shot Sharps carbine and Spencer repeating rifle also saw service during the Indian Wars. The Cavalry also was issued the popular .45 Colt six-shot revolver and the seldom-used army issue cavalry saber.
Although the artillery units saw little service on the frontier, Gatling guns and field pieces did accompany many field columns. The Army utilized the 12-pdr. Mountain howitzer, but the most practical artillery piece was the popular light-weight rapid-fire Hotchkiss 2-pdr. Mountain gun, ideal for frontier conditions. These weapons as a rule were manned by infantry or cavalry detachments rather than trained artillerymen.
As a whole, during the Indian War period, the U.S. regular army was poorly suited to fight an Indian style war. Nevertheless, the underpaid, under strength frontier army doggedly contested the western plains and mountains with the redmen and emerged victorious.
ORGANIZING ARMY UNITS
In TTATF, the company, just as on the frontier, will be the basic unit for the army. The various unit types are organized as described below.
The cavalry was the premier arm on the frontier. The cavalry company (or Troop after 1883) will consist of 15-20 figures. Our TTATF companies will be commanded by a lieutenant (captain is always away on special detached duty) and include a company 1st sergeant, a trumpeter, and 12-17 troopers. All figures are mounted.
Two cavalry companies with the addition of a mounted officer figure (a major) constitutes a cavalry battalion (squadron after 1889) Two such battalions plus a mounted Lt. Colonel and sergeant-major will represent a full cavalry regiment.
Infantry will be organized into companies of 12 -20 figures which includes an officer figure (captain or lt.), a company 1st sergeant, and 10-12 privates.
Three or more infantry companies with the addition of a mounted officer figure (the colonel) and a sergeant-major figure will constitute an infantry regiment. Alternately as was typical on the frontier an ad hoc infantry battalion may be formed. Such a battalion consists of two or more infantry companies with an additional office (a major) commanding.
The army relied heavily on these experienced frontiersmen and Indian fighters who also served as interpreters and couriers. Among the best known were: Jim Bridger, "Buffalo Bill" Cody, “Wild Bill “Hickok, Frank Grouard, Al Siebert, and Bill Cornstoch.
The army also raised special scout companies of local frontiersmen who were better shots, and more adept at Indian fighting than regular units. They were also better armed. Maj. George Forsyth's company of repeater armed scouts held off attacks by several hundred Indians at Beecher Island.
In TTATF, individual scout figures or parties may be attached to individual companies or battalions. Regiments or field columns may have one or more scout companies attached along with an additional figure representing the "chief of scouts." Scout companies should be mounted.
Throughout the Indian Wars, Indian scouts provided the army with essential and invaluable service in tracking down hostile Indian bands. Whether serving against traditional enemy tribes or their own tribesmen, they generally served well and with one notable exception (the 1881 Cibicu mutiny) faithfully, often displaying fanatical loyalty and devotion to their leaders.
Indian scouts served together in small parties usually led by and army officer and white scouts as did Custer's Crow and Arikara scouts, or in a relatively independent capacity as allies like Gen. Cook's Shoshone scouts. Most reliable were the various Indian scout companies enlisted by the army. Among them: Maj. Frank North's battalion of Pawnee scouts, Lt. Edward Casey's well-disciplined Cheyenne scout company, and the famous Apache scouts who were instrumental in ending the Apache wars.
In TTATF, Indian scouts can operate in an independent fashion as "friendlies" that are organized like Indian war parties, utilizing the Indian charts (use Sioux tables for all plains Indians). Players can also raise Indian Scout companies and battalions organized as below and using the Indian scout tables.
Artillery on the plains was seldom used as the Indians rarely presented a suitable target. However, when it was employed, it often had a decisive effect as at Apache Pass or the First Battle of the Adobe Walls.
The basic artillery unit in the game will be a gun section consisting of one field piece or Gatling gun with a crew of four figures including a section leader (a sergeant). When more than one gun section is present, one of the section leaders will be a lieutenant.
A battalion or regiment may have one gun section attached while a field column can have up to two gun sections involved, although the appearance of artillery in scenarios should be infrequent.
Whenever infantry and cavalry battalions or regiments are combined as a force, players may create a field column by adding a mounted officer (a colonel) to represent the column commander and another mounted figure to represent the chief of scouts. Large field columns combining two or more regiments may be commanded by a mounted figure representing the department commander (a Brig. Gen.). Field columns may be supported by one or more artillery or Gatling gun sections and a company or battalion of scouts.
As Custer did before the Washita, players may also create an ad-hoc sharpshooter company. Allow one such company per scenario whenever an entire regiment or field column is presented. They are created as follows:
Assume all units are at established strength (20 figures), and subtract the number of figures rolled on 1d6 to represent figures unavailable for duty or lost to desertion. Modify the attrition roll as follows:
In TTATF, a war correspondent figure may accompany a field column (with the department commander's permission, of course). During play, war correspondent figures should avoid combat (he's too busy taking notes), though they will defend themselves in close combat and may fire defensively if charged. The correspondent can effect the game as follows:
The formation rules in TSATF apply in TTATF, however the unique style of Indian warfare warrants the following modifications and explanations:
Due partly to its small numbers and the skirmish nature of Indian fighting, the army commonly fought in open order formations. The Indian style of warfare did not usually require (and sometime did not enable) the use of close order formations. Partly to encourage the historical use of skirmish formations, the benefits of close order formations in TTATF are minimal (see table below).
Due to the general reluctance of the Indians to charge home, the army did not have to resort to the traditional square formation (though at the Battle of Killdeer Mtn. In 1864, the army attacked a Sioux village in a brigade hollow square). If attacked in the open by large numbers of Indians, dismounted units usually adopted an all around defensive "circle" formation. In game terms, this formation will substitute for the square.
Civilians can also be organized in military fashion representing irregular units of citizen volunteers, and local militia or ranger units that sometimes operated independently or with the army. Such units may be organized as per regular army units (see above). The quality of these units varied from abysmal like the farcical "Tombstone Toughs" to the reliable Bitterroot civilian volunteers that fought the Nez Perce alongside the army. Such units in the game if comprised of experienced and seasoned frontiersmen, like the buffalo hunters, may be upgraded to regular or scout status.
In contrast when the army launched a surprise attack on a sleeping village, the Indians suffered heavily as at the Washita, and if led into ambush (as was Capt. Fetterman's command) entire army units could be annihilated. At the Little Big Horn the 7th Cavalry lost about half its strength, mostly killed. The variable melee rules below are intended to reflect the extremes quoted above.
NORMAL CLOSE COMBAT
In TTATF close combat is resolved in the same manner as TSATF except that a d10 is used. This allows finer modifiers. Losing figure on a d10:
At the end of the Civil War, while many of the Western Indian tribes had already been subdued or reached an accommodation with the whites, there still remained perhaps 100,00 Indians in a handful of tribes that still had the strength and will to resist the westward expansion. These included the Sioux, Cheyenne, Arapaho, Kiowa, and Comanche of the plains; the Nez Perce, Utes, Bannacks, and Paiutes of the mountains and Northwest, and the Apache tribes of the southwest. Despite the cultural diversity, linguistic differences, and traditional enmities that often separated these tribes, they did share common traits, especially in their method and concept of war.
Primarily the Indian warrior fought for battle honors, plunder, and revenge; or to protect the tribe and family against the raids of enemy tribes. Offensively Indian warfare consisted of scalp raids (for vengeance) or horse stealing raids during which warriors would strive for distinction and glory. Participation in such raids was voluntary and raids could be initiated by a war chief or influential warrior able to gather a war party. The size of a war party would thus vary, depending on its nature and a leader's prestige, from 5 to 10 warriors, to several score. The formation and departure of a war party was usually accompanied with ceremonial dances of rituals.
Once in battle warriors typically fought as individuals seeking and taking opportunities for glory and counting coup (striking an enemy). War chiefs or leaders did not "command" in a formal sense and could lead only through influence, reputation, and example. Thus group discipline and teamwork was usually absent. This was the typical mode of warfare among the Indians.
The traditional weapons of most Indians were the bow, lance, and the war club, which were compatible with their mounted style of warfare. The whites introduce metal weapons (e.g. the tomahawk) and firearms, but the bow remained the principle missile weapon until the post Civil War period when the Indians began acquiring more modern breechloading and repeating rifles which were suitable for mounted combat.
The arrival of the white man presented the Indians with better weapons and greater opportunities to raid and plunder. However the Indian's limited concept of war, and the lack of unity among the tribes, placed them at a severe disadvantage when face with an enemy that practiced a more total and deliberate form of warfare.
As a rule the Indians would only accept battle on their own terms, except when forced to defend villages and families. The army eventually developed methods of forcing the Indians to battle. It became common practice to use Indian scouts and allies to locate "hostile" villages. The use of converging columns was designed to round up hostile bands to prevent their escape or scattering. Winter campaigning was adopted to catch the Indians off guard when they were less mobile and their ponies were weak from lack of forage.
The army also promoted the expansion of the railroads which advanced the frontier, facilitated logistics, and hastened the destruction of the buffalo herds which provided the Indians with their chief sustenance. Army posts eventually ringed the traditional Indian hunting grounds and provided advanced bases for field columns to strike at hostile gatherings. These measures and the increasing dependence of the Indians on the white man's tools and rations eventually led to the submission of the hostile tribes.
The tribes included in the TTATF are considered representative of the various Indian types that fought the white man in the post Civil War period. Interested players can add other tribes by adapting or combining the characteristics of tribes shown in these rules.
ORGANIZING INDIAN UNITS
War Bands & War Parties - The basic unit is TTATF for all tribes will be the war band or war party, varying from 12-25 figures in size including one leader figure (a war chief). The unit size should vary by tribe. Larger tribes such as the Sioux and the Comanche should have larger war bands (20-25) while smaller tribes like the Apache and the Nez Perce should have smaller war parties (12-20). All figures should be mounted.
Tribal Group of Warrior Society - A group of three war bands and the addition of another mounted leader (Tribal Chief) will constitute a tribal group or an entire plains Indian warrior society.
Hostile Gathering - A combination of two or more tribal groups and/or warrior societies will constitute a hostile gathering. If the hostile gathering consists of one tribe, another leader figure representing the head chief may be added.
INDIAN VILLAGES, SQUAWS, AND PONY HERDS
The army's campaign objectives often involved locating and destroying "hostile' Indian villages. Many of the Indian War battles were fought in the vicinity of an Indian village. Invariably this meant the presence of Indian noncombatants (squaws and children), and Indian pony herds. The following guidelines may be used by players who wish to include villages, squaws and herds in their scenarios.
|Number of figures||2||3||4||5||6+|
|Die roll required||1||1-2||1-3||1-4||1-5|
INDIAN CHARGE INITIATION
The individualistic nature of Indian warfare and their traditional desire to avoid unnecessary casualties generally meant that the Indians did not launch coordinated mass charges to contact. Instead they preferred to make bluff charges, harass, hit and run, skirmish, or as was common, "circle". The following rules make it difficult for Indians units in TTATF to make coordinated charges and to close into contact.
Before any Indian unit designated to move may initiate a charge against an enemy unit it must pass a special pre-charge morale check as follows:
FIREARM AVAILABILITY - By Period & Event
Pre 1866 0 - 10% Civil War, Sioux Uprising
1866-69 10% - 25% Red Cloud's War, Southern Plains War
I869-74 25% - 50% Grant Peace Policy
1874-77 33% - 66% Sioux Wars, Nez Perce Wars
1877-90 50% - Apache Wars, Ute War, Ghost Dance
Friendly tribes, those with extensive white contact, and treaty and reservation bands (Nez Perce) would fall in the upper range for firearm availability. Hostile, isolated, and remote tribes would be in the lower range.
GIVING CHASE Indians seldom closed into melee when faced by steady troops, such as Gen, Cook's infantry at the battle of the Rosebud. However they were quick to take advantage of any apparent sign of weakness, and eagerly followed up a retreat, often with devastating results, as at the Battle of the Little Big Horn during Maj. Reno's precipitous retreat. To reflect this, allow the following modification to the Indian "Close into Combat" chart. When a mounted Indian unit on the "Close into Combat" chart to either initiate a charge, and/or to close into combat, subtract 1 from the die if:
The tribes of the western plains depended on the horse and the buffalo as the basis of their tough nomadic lifestyle. This society produced skilled warriors who were super horseman, and gloried in their style of warfare. In TTATF the plains Indians are represented by the Sioux, Comanche, the Cheyenne, and the Cheyenne Dog Soldiers.
The Sioux were the largest and most powerful of the plains Indians comprising a widespread nation of several tribe occupying the northern plains. In TTATF they are considered the archetypal plains tribe. The Comanche were the masters of the southern plains. Col. Jesse H. Levenworth called them "The most warlike people we have on the continent," noting "there are no better horsemen in the world". They proved to be exceptional raiders and excellent in evasion and mounted tactics.
The Cheyenne ranged over the central plains and were superior warriors, emphasizing individual bravery and coup counting. This was reflected by their numerous warrior societies.
The Cheyenne Dog Soldiers were the most militant and elite of the Cheyenne soldier societies. Highly selective and independent, the Dog Soldiers evolved into their own separate band containing the most skilled and courageous warriors. As such in TTATF they are treated separately.
The elite of the Comanche warriors were also known as Dog Soldiers, thus Dog Soldier charts may also be used to represent any particular elite band of warrior society. The following rules apply to plains Indians and their style of warfare.
PLAINS INDIAN HORSEMANSHIP AND EVASION
The plains Indians depended on their horses, with each warrior usually having several mounts available for hunting and warfare. Naturally they were superb horsemen, superior to the cavalry in this respect. The Comanche especially were noted for their horsemanship and were masters of mounted evasion. To allow for superior Indian horsemanship in TTATF, use the optional "Cavalry Phased Movement" rules in TSATF supplement for Plains Indians only, with the following modifications:
In TTATF coup counting figures are considered dare devils who demonstrate their bravery by attempting to close with the enemy while others don't (i.e. the opposite of stragglers in the rules). Individual figures in TTATF can count coup using the following rules and sequence:
The Nez Perce were a mountain/plateau tribe occupying the area around the headwaters of the Snake and Salomon rivers where Oregon, Idaho and Washington converge. Before their 1877 war with the army they were known for their friendliness toward the whites, their high quality bows, and their excellent horse breeding skills. In 1877 after some provocation , the "non-treaty" Nez Perce bands led by Chief Josef, Looking Glass, Too-hool-hool-zote, White Bird, Five Wounds, Rainbow, Hah-te-le-kin, and Ollokote went to war.
During their extended pursuit by the army they demonstrated excellent defensive fighting skills, a high degree of discipline and steadiness unusual among Indians, coupled with superior marksmanship. Many of these traits are built into the combat and morale charts, but the following rules apply:
NEZ PERCE SHARPSHOOTING
In battle against the army, the Nez Perce demonstrated their marksmanship by deliberately picking off army leaders and officers who were usually conspicuous. At the Battle of Bear Paw Mountain, the army suffered unusually high officer casualties due to Nez Perce sharpshooting.
During this period the Apache numbered perhaps 8,000 individuals distributed among several tribal groups, sub-tribes, and clans, such as the Chiricahua, Mescalero, and Tonto Apache. The Apache ranged throughout parts of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and Mexico, striking from mountain hideaways on both sides of the border, led by cheiftans like Mangus Coloradus, Cochise, Vitorio, Chato and Geronimo.
During their long intermittent wars with the army the Apache proved to be masterful guerilla warriors, gaining a reputation for cruelty, great endurance, stealth ,evasion, and concealment. Unlike their plains cousins they were not great horsemen, choosing to fight on foot from ambush, using their ponies for rapid escape and when they gave out, as food. The following rules reflect Apache traits and warfare.
APACHE CONCEALMENT (OPTIONAL)
Apache were masters of concealment. The normal spotting rules should be modified to reflect their unique abilities.
|if Fail - Unit is Shaken|
and moves 4D6 to rear
|SPOTTING CHART||Roll 1D6|
|SPOTTING UNIT||CONCEALED UNITS|
|Apache Scouts||6"||6"||6" *|
|ARMY - CLOSE INTO COMBAT||Roll 1D6|
|INDIANS - CLOSE INTO COMBAT||Roll 1D6|
|COUP COUNTING CHART|
|SIOUX||CHEYENNE||DOG SOLDIER||COMANCHE||NEZ PERCE|
|1D6 - 3||1D6 - 2||1D6 - 1||1D6 - 2||1DG - 4|
Check CRITICAL MORALE if the unit has been reduced to less than 50%strength or is SHAKEN and takes hits from fire. Check by roll 2D6. If the dice sum is greater than the numbers listed, the unit routs 4D6 to the rear.
Check PINNED MORALE if a charging unit failed to close. Check each morale phase as long as the unit is pinned. Check by rolling 2 D6. If the dice sum is greater than the numbers listed, the unit remains pinned.
*Reduce number by 2 if wounded abandoned to the mercy of the indians.
Increase the PINNED MORALE number by 1 if the pinned unit was not fired on during that turn.
|CLOSE COMBAT CHART||Roll D10|
NORMAL CLOSE COMBAT: |
- on a roll of 1: losing figure killed
- on a roll of 2-3: losing figure is wounded.
- on a roll of 4-10: losing figure runs to the rear.
DESPERATION CLOSE COMBAT: |
- on a roll of 1-3: losing figure is killed.
- on a roll of 4-6: losing figure is wounded.
- on a roll of 7-10: losing figure runs to tear.
|TYPE||FORMATION||CROSS COUNTRY||ON ROAD||TO CHARGE||CHARGE ROAD||ROUGH|
|CLOSE ORDER||2/4||-||3/5||-||MINUS HIGH|
|OPEN ORDER||3/4||-||4/5||-||MINUS HIGH|
|CLOSE ORDER||2/4||-||3/5||-||MINUS LOW|
|OPEN ORDER||3/4||-||4/5||-||MINUS LOW|
|CLOSE ORDER||2/4||-||3/5||-||NO PENALTY|
|OPEN ORDER||3/4||-||4/5||-||NO PENALTY|
|ARTILLERY||MOVE & FIRE||2||2||-||-||MINUS HIGH|
|MOVE ONLY||3||4||-||-||MINUS HIGH|
|DOG SOLDIERS||3/4||-||4/5||-||NO PENALTY|
|NEZ PERCE||3/4||-||4/5||-||NO PENALTY|
|TYPE||RANGE||CLASS I||CLASS II||CLASS III||CLASS IV|
|Army Scout Rifles||24”||1-7||1-5||1-4||1-3|
|Army Scout Carbines||20”||1-7||1-5||1-4||1-3|
|Indian Scout Rifles||24”||1-5||1-4||1-3||1-2|
|Indian Scout Carbines||20”||1-5||1-4||1-3||1-2|
|Nex Perce Rifles||24”||1-5||1-4||1-3||1-2|
|Nex Perce Bows||16”||1-5||1-4||1-3||1-2|
|Artillery: Short range||24”||1-7||1-5||1-4||1-3|
|Artillery: Long range||48”||1-6||1-4||1-3||1-2|
|Gatling: Short range||18”||1-7||1-6||1-5||1-4|
|Gatling: Long range||36”||1-6||1-5||1-4||1-3|
* Lances may be thrown only when closing contact, or being closed with.
**Pistols -Officers may fire at individual targets. 2 shots per turn.
Wounded figures are -2 and prone.
A Cavalry company consists of a 1st Sergeant, a trumpeter and 12 - 17 troopers, commanded by a Lieutenant.
A Cavalry Battalion consists of 2 or 3 Cavalry companies commanded by a Major.
A Cavalry Regiment consists of 2 cavalry battalions commanded by an Lt. Colonel with his orderly and aide-de-camp.
An Infantry company consists of a 1st Sergeant and 10-18 privates, commanded by a Lieutenant.
An Infantry Battalion consists of 2 or 3 Infantry companies commanded by a Major.
An Infantry Regiment consists of 2 to 10 companies, and a Sergeant Major. They are commanded by a Lt. Colonel with his orderly and aide-de-camp. It may be divided into battalions as above. If not, there would be a "spare" major with the force as second-in-command.
A Scout company consists of a Sergeant and 10-18 scouts, commanded by an officer or Chief of Scouts.
An Indian scout company consists of an Indian Sergeant and 10-18 scouts, commanded by an officer (Lieuteant or Captain).
An Indian Scout Battalion consists of 2 Indian Scout companies commanded by a Major.
An Artillery Section consists of one Field gun (or sometimes a Gatling Machine gun) and 3 crewmen commanded by a Sergeant or Lieutenant.
An Artillery Battery consists of three Artillery sections commanded by a Lieutenant.
A typical small field column would be commanded by a Colonel. It would consist of 1 or 2 Infantry Battalions, and 1 or 2 Cavalry Battalions, and a 1 or more Gun Sections, and a Scout company.
A typical large field column would be commanded by a Brigadier General. It would consist of an Infantry regiment, a Cavalry regiment, several Gun sections and one or two Scout companies commanded by a Chief of Scouts.
An Indian war band will consist of 11-24 Warriors led by a War Chief
A Tribal group will consist of 3 War Parties led by a Tribal Chief. NOTE: If village is present, add Squaws and a Village Herd.
A Hostile Gathering will consist of 3 Tribal Groups led by a Head Chief.
A Mixed Hostile Gathering will consist of 3 Tribal Groups from all different tribes possibly led by a Head Chief.
This would consist of six (more or less) War Bands plus a Villiage or Camp, 2 Herds, and 2 groups of Squaws. This assemblage would probably be led by a Head Chief.
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