Sunday 24 February 2013

O.S. Artillery Device.

Been thinking about Don Featherstone's Horse & Musket rules and whilst dipping into his 'Advanced Wargames' came across the above device for adjudicating artillery casualties.
I've always liked wargaming devices - blast circles and the like which are to me the very essence of Old School gaming . The above is my Mark III S.C.A.D. ( Shell Casualties Adjudication Device ), a veil is best drawn over the Mark I and II ( my wife commented on my language not being very appropriate for a Sunday morning ! ), however on my third try I got it right !. Cut from thick plastic and mounted on cocktail sticks - high enough to fit over cavalry as well.
I would like to say that the blast circles are to a scale based on some 19th century gunnery book - but the happened to be the size of a jam jar lid I drew around (about 3"). How it works - the S.C.A.D. is placed over the target and a dice is thrown - at long range 18"- 36", the shell lands on the appropriated circle. At ranges 9"- 18", the on the inner 4 circles as per the dice thrown ( small numbers in brackets). Under 9" the shell lands on the inner 2 circles, dice 123 left circle, 456 right circle . Any figures under the circle are casualties and saving throws are taken . For a better explanation and more ideas  I suggest Featherstone's 'Advanced War Games' . I am going to play another O.S. ACW game to try this device out and will report back with how it performs.
I managed to scan the photo from Don Featherstone's 'Advanced War Games'  (not very well !) which illustrates how he used the blast circles - the arrow on '1' being I take it the direction of fire - hence on a roll of '2' on the dice figures under the circle 2 are casualties . I do take on board what people are commenting that shots under and over would be more common and after experiments I may end up doing it this way .


  1. Shouldn't this be oriented 90 degrees one way or the other? Over/under seems a more likely deviation than left/right; firing axis should run through 2,3,4,5.

    1. I see what you mean , will check in the book again

    2. I don't know what the book will say, but i do seem to recall reading somewhere that even smoothbore guns were more apt to err in distance rather than laterally. Which suggests that the 'long axis' of the spider should be along the line of fire.

      One infers from the book cover that the incoming is intended to be from the unit's front, but it could conceivably be from a flank. It is not implausible to suppose Mr Featherstone wanted to show the effect of enfilade fire, which itself indicates long axis = line of fire.