Fields of Fire

What makes up the Field of Fire range in musket warfare? The 1/3 foot move in Pub Battles is perfect and based on a ton of good data and research.  It is interesting to note where it comes from. Veteran officers of the era put together the data for Kriegsspiel which is as follows:  

Skirmish lines posted 100-300 paces out to the front.

Musket range:  100-400 paces.

So firing range measured from the front of a block, extends out 200-700 paces. 

You also need to take into account that the enemy block has a skirmish line out to their front, with a musket range projecting out from there.  So double those totals.  That gives us an engagement range of approximately 1,000 paces.  Yep, that’s about a half a mile.  That distance can be closed on foot in 10 minutes.    

This is also backed up by the battle maps of the era.  Where did they draw their battle lines and deploy?  Most are about 1,000 paces away.  It was standard practice of the day and no coincidence. 

There is another very good reason for this distance.  Canister range just so happens to be 800-1,000 paces.  All infantry units in Pub Battles at this scale are assumed to be carrying a complement of artillery with them.  So there ya go. 

The rules of Kriegsspiel state this but it is also common sense:  no unit is going to stand around under canister and skirmish fire for an hour and a half.  It just didn’t happen. 

This is also why the FoF doesn’t vary for the American Civil War.  It is mostly driven by canister and skirmishers, which was about the same.  At this scale any difference is negligible. 

I don’t have any good evidence for this but I also suspect that command reaction time played a role in this distance.  From 1,000 paces, the enemy can close with you in 10 minutes.  That’s just about enough time to shout out a couple of quick orders to rush up reserves or something.  Any closer and there would be no time for anything!  It would be like trying to box while standing 4 inches away from your opponent.   You need a little breathing room in a fight.