Wars of Napoleon Tactical Manual




The tactical battle module for Wars of Napoleon is meant for use within the Wars of Napoleon strategic game. Though it can be used as a stand alone module to play random scenarios, it is intended to resolve tactically battles in which the relative strength ratios of the armies is in the range of 1:3 to 3:1. More lopsided battles are resolved at the strategic level game.

The winner of the battle will take possession of the contested city on the strategic level map. The loser must retreat.

The battle is randomly set up based on the relative strengths of the armies at the strategic level and their morale, experience, and leadership.

If the strategic battle site is not fortified, the objective will be near the defending army, but not necessarily possessed by it. If it is fortified or double fortified, the objective will be possessed by the defending army, and the terrain will be more difficult.

IF EITHER ARMY IS OUT OF SUPPLY, ITS TACTICAL STRENGTH WILL BE ONLY 50% OF THE NOMINAL STRENGTH. Thus, a 100,000 man army out of supply will have only 50,000 strength points in the tactical combat. (This could be a reason for a strategic retreat).

How to Win

To “win” the battle, you must either:
(a) be holding the objective on the LAST turn of the battle, or
(b) cause the esprit de corps of the enemy army to fall so low that the entire enemy army routs and leaves the field of battle

Quitting the Game (Strategic Retreat)

By pressing F9 and confirming, you can cause your army to strategically retreat – thereby losing the objective and taking a 20% additional loss. You might wish to do this to avoid even greater losses on the battlefield.

The Objective

The objective is a battlefield location. It is “controlled” by the army that last had a unit on that location. It is not necessary to keep a unit on the objective to maintain control of it (though a unit left on the objective can defend it against an enemy assault).

Esprit de Corps

Each army has a “spirit” that reflects its overall morale – the esprit de corps, which you can monitor using the ‘G’ game score hot key. When critical events occur, the esprit de corps can rise or fall. If it gets too low, the entire army will break and run and the battle is over.

The esprit de corps for an army rises when it takes the objective, eliminates an enemy unit, or pursues a retreating unit.

The esprit de corps for an army falls when one of its units is routed or eliminated. Having General units eliminated is particularly damaging to spirit.

Battle Screen

The battle screen is divided into 4 zones as shown:

2 – Armies
1- Battle Map
3 – Active
Data 4 – Message Window

Battle Map & Terrain

The battle map is based on a hexagonal layout, 27 hexes wide by 20 hexes high, with terrain features shown by EGA graphic icons. More complete information is provided on-line via the F1 help key.

The map is randomly generated for each battle.

clear or opennormal
swamp/small streamvery slow
river/lake/waterextremely slow
mountainvery slow

‘Terrain’ Command

You can view the terrain without the army units at any time by pressing “T” (for Terrain). This temporarily toggles the unit icons off, then replaces all visible units after you have viewed the terrain.

Armies Summary Data

The number of turns remaining in the battle is shown in the top section of this zone. A summary is given of the total losses incurred by each army and the number of turns each side has controlled the objective. The side you are playing is indicated by a ‘’ character. The side currently controlling the objective is indicated by a ‘’ character.

Active Unit Data

A summary is given for the current player-controlled unit, showing unit number, unit name, unit type, current strength, terrain, leadership, and morale. In addition, the time the unit will next be available for movement is shown. If the unit is under ‘orders’, the message “ORDERS” will appear next to the unit number.

Message Window

The message window provides comments on battle maneuvers and
outcomes as they occur. It also shows when the enemy (computer) is taking its turn.


Unit Types

There are 4 basic unit types, Infantry, Artillery, Cavalry, and Generals. In addition, Infantry units may form hollow Squares for defensive purposes. They are shown on the display by distinctive “standard” military icons, in red for Allied units and blue for French units. (Press ‘F1’ to get a full display of icons, terrain features and effects, and hot key commands).

Melee Type Movement Combat Special Abilities
——- ——- ——– ————————-

MeleeTypeMovementCombat Special Features
InfantryAvgAvgMay ‘charge’ on open ground if morale is
sufficiently high. Vulnerable to enemy cavalry attacks and likely to rout if overrun by cavalry
HollowNoneDefensiveGood vs. cavalry attacks, squares are poor vs. infantry attacks.
CavalryFastGoodExcellent attack on open terrain, especially vs. infantry.
ArtillerySlowPoorMay fire on units from a distance
GeneralAvgPoorIncreased combat effect on adjacent friendly units; can cancel orders of other units; can inspire units into action; can inspire routed units to regroup



Routed Units

Units that suffer large melee losses may ROUT. The unit icon will change to that of a shattered unit and the unit will immediately begin to flee from the combat area toward the edge of the map. Once routed, units are very vulnerable to further attack, and will take huge losses. If a routed unit is able to withdraw without being attacked, it will attempt
to regroup on each turn it gets. If it moves to the edge of the map, it will stop and continue to try to regroup.

Nearby General units may be able to iNspire routed units before they move to the edge of the map.

Even when routed units are able to regroup, their fighting ability will be greatly reduced.

Each time a unit routs, the overall esprit de corps for the unit’s entire army is reduced.

Hollow Squares

Infantry that is attacked by cavalry on open terrain is likely to take large losses and even rout. However, if the infantry can form into hollow squares, it is much more able to fend off the cavalry attacks. While in hollow squares, the infantry unit cannot move.

Cavalry vs. Cavalry

When cavalry units that meet on open terrain, there is a tremendous test of nerves as the horses, men, sabers, and pikes all converge. The losing unit is very likely to rout. Even the victorious unit may rout.

Morale and Leadership

Units which have poor leadership lower will have difficulty in movement and combat. Likewise, units with low morale will not be very effective, and should be rested if possible. Units with low morale cannot ‘charge’ and may not have enough discipline to form hollow squares.


A General unit greatly improves the fighting abilities of adjacent units, both attack and defense. In addition, Generals have a powerful ability to iNspire units into action or to X cancel orders. However, you must be careful in actually engaging General unit itself, since it is usually weak and not very effective in melee.

[X]cancel Orders

Sometimes in the thick of battle you will have units engaged in combat (and not moving) or with movement orders which you need to redirect. To cancel existing orders for all friendly units, type ‘X’ when a General unit has its turn. As described earlier, this is not 100% effective (some units will ignore it) and may cause morale and leadership to suffer in units that do comply.

Friendly units that are “under orders” are indicated on the map as units WITHOUT a contrasting color border. For instance, French units normally have a light blue border, but French units currently under orders do not have the border.

When a General cancels orders, units that obey will flash briefly after the order is issued. Then a message indicates how many units obeyed out of the total currently ‘under orders’. This allows you to see whether you need to issue additional commands to cancel orders.

i[N]spire Units

General units may issue an iNspire command to rally another unit or to cause a routed unit to regroup and halt its flight from the battle.. The hot key for this command is ‘N’ (for iNspire). Using this command, a General unit may activate another unit nearby if the target unit is close
enough and if the General has sufficient leadership.

The “iNspired” unit normally will activate and be ready to move within the next turn



All your friendly units are visible, but enemy units are not always visible. Enemy units do not become visible until they come near enough to one of your units. If your unit occupies a mountain or hill it has increased ability to see enemy units; while occupying a forest or swamp, it has decreased ability to see enemy units. If the enemy is in a forest, he is much more difficult to see, and your unit must be closer. Enemies that move into forests may disappear from view.


When one of your units is ready to move, it will be highlighted and a short tone will sound. At that point, you have several command options as described below.

Controlling Diagonal Moves

Diagonal movement is supported in this module, using the numeric key pad, with NUMLOCK turned OFF, as shown below:

| 7 | 8 | 9 |
Move UP & LEFT —–> | | <—– Move UP & RIGHT
| Home | | PgUp |
| 4 | 5 | 6 |
Move LEFT ——-> | | <—– Move RIGHT
| 1 | 2 | 3 |
Move DOWN & LEFT —> | | <—– Move DOWN & RIGHT
| End | | PgDn |

Note that this scheme is required because the map is hex-based. The game will respond to the Up or Down moves (either on the numeric keypad, or the “inverted T” arrows), but since there are no directly up or down moves on the map, it must convert them to a diagonal move, which is done on a 50%-50% random basis, either left or right.

Single Hex Movement

You may move the unit to an adjacent unoccupied hex by using the appropriate arrow key (numeric key pad). Since the unit may not move directly up or down on the hexagonal map, the ‘up’ or ‘down’ keys are reinterpreted as diagonal ‘up’ or ‘down’ moves. You cannot control whether these reinterpreted diagonal moves are right or left (done randomly), so you should generally avoid using the ‘up’ and ‘down’ keys for single hex movement.

If you attempt to move into a prohibited hex (occupied or water), a tone will sound. There is no movement penalty.

After the unit moves, it may reveal enemy units that were previously hidden.

Any units that were entrenched at the beginning of the scenario (using the scenario editor) may be reluctant to move from the safety of their trenches. Occasionally such units will not respond to move orders (a message to that effect is displayed). Units that are low on morale or that
are poorly led are more likely to do this.

Move-to-Location Orders

Single hex movement may be tedious. You may wish to give your units orders to move to a particular location instead. To do this, press ‘M’ when the unit is highlighted and a cursor will appear on top of the unit. Move this cursor with the arrow keys to the desired destination, and press ‘Enter’. When the “move to” order is issued, the destination is will be indicated by a small white circle and a line will connect the unit with its intended target. On its next turn, your unit will then begin to move to the selected destination, following the most direct path. (It will not necessarily follow the same path you used in moving the cursor to the destination). If it is blocked by a friendly unit or by prohibited terrain (water or edge of map screen), or if the unit is attacked in any way, the movement order will be cancelled, and the unit will wait for new instructions.

Artillery units must be LIMBERED to move. Orders can be issued to unlimbered artillery, but the orders are ignored, and the unit will not move. Emplaced artillery can not receive move-to-location orders.

For destinations that are far away, moving the cursor may be speeded by holding down ‘Shift’ before pressing the desired arrow key. The cursor will then move to the indicated map edge. Pressing the ‘5’ key at the center of the key pad will center the cursor on the screen.

Once a unit has reached its assigned destination, it will flash and a tone will sound, along with a message that it has arrived at its destination. At that point its orders are cancelled, and it will await further instructions.

While units are ‘under orders’ to move you will not normally be able to access them, even if you change your mind about what they should do. The only way you can overcome this is having one of your General units cancel the unit orders using the ‘X’ command. (See ‘hot keys’ section). This is not 100% effective (due to communication breakdowns and stubborn subordinate officers). Even if the orders are actually cancelled, morale and leadership may be reduced in units affected due to the conflicts between unit commanders and General unit. Thus, the ‘cancel orders’ option should be used only as needed to free units that have become locked in combat.

Since the General units are your only means to cancel orders, you should usually not give them movement orders. That way, you will be able to access them more frequently.

Though your units will normally wait for your commands, on occasion they will decide to move on their own initiative (generally in an attempt to engage an enemy unit which they have sighted). Such units issue their own orders to move to the chosen destination.

Infantry Charge

Infantry units ONLY may double their speed for short distances on OPEN TERRAIN OR ROADS only with a ‘C’ (CHARGE) command. Units in ‘charge’ mode will be shown with a distinctive icon. While in ‘charge’ mode they will move twice as fast as normal infantry.

If charging units become involved in combat, or are attacked by artillery, or move into any other than open or roads terrain, they will switch out of ‘charge’ mode. In addition, each time a unit in ‘charge’ mode is moved, there is a chance that the unit will simply become too tired to continue the charge. Units that are moved until they are too
tired will be delayed in their action for a time while they rest.

The ‘charge’ option affects both movement and combat (increases ‘shock’ effect of attacks). Units with too low morale will not be able to charge at all until their morale improves.

Note that switching to ‘charge’ mode requires one turn. Then the unit may be moved a single hex or given orders.


You may not wish to move a unit on its turn. By pressing the space bar you can skip the unit and allow it to rest for a few turns. If the unit’s morale is low, it will improve slightly after resting.


To avoid having to repeatedly issue a ‘Rest’ order, an option is provided whereby units may ‘Wait’. Press ‘W’ when the unit has its turn. The unit icon will change to a solid colored block. The unit will become inactive, automatically resting to regain morale. The unit will reactivate if attacked (either melee or cannonade). Waiting units suffer no penalty if attacked.

In addition, you may activate the WAITing unit at any time another friendly unit has a turn. Press ‘I’ for the intelligence cursor and pass it over the inactive unit you wish to wake. The icon will change to the normal icon. Now press ‘esc’ and the first unit can take whatever action you wish.


Normally, units cannot move onto other friendly units (stack). However, units can now be stacked under certain conditions:

(a) TOTAL unit strength resulting from stacking must be stack limit or less (stack limit default is 500)
(b) If dissimilar units are stacked, an INFANTRY unit will result, unless one of the units is a GENERAL, in which case a GENERAL will result

The leadership value for the stacked unit will usually be the higher of the two units that are being combined. An exception is if one of the units is a General and the other is not; in that case, the resulting leadership value is always that of the General unit.

Morale will generally INCREASE slightly if LIKE units are stacked. It will generally DECREASE slightly if UNLIKE units are stacked.

Stacking results in a time delay for the unit to get reorganized. The reorganization delay is reduced if leadership is high.


Normal (Melee) Combat

Units can attack enemy units in an adjacent hex. To do so, attempt to move the selected unit on top of the enemy. A menu will appear in the ‘Armies Summary Data’ zone of the screen showing the attack options. Four different intensities of attack are permitted:


Note the ‘All-Out Assault’ is just that, and that it should be used relatively sparingly, since it will result in heavy casualties for BOTH sides. If you do not wish to attack at all, you may cancel the attack by pressing the ‘escape’ key; however, that will forfeit the unit’s turn for the current
round (the price paid for indecision).

Normally your units will wait for you to issue an attack order. However, they may occasionally attack on their own initiative. When this happens, you will receive a message in the ‘Message Window’ zone, and the attack intensity menu will appear for you to select the intensity, as described above. Pressing ‘Esc’ will abort the attack for now, but the unit will miss its turn.

When units become engaged in combat, they are somewhat ‘locked in place’, and their ability to respond to orders is reduced. They also are more likely to act on their own initiative, to renew the combat without any orders to do so.


Artillery units may bombard visible enemy units some distance away, rather than melee adjacent units (which they do very poorly anyway). To fire the cannons, press ‘F’ (for ‘FIRE’) when the artillery unit is given its turn to move. (If LIMBER option is ON, you will be prompted to unlimber first)

When you fire artillery, a cursor will appear. Also, the range of the cannon and the current distance to target is displayed in the ‘Message Window’. If the cursor is moved out of range of the cannon, the distance will be highlighted (to remind you it is out of range). You may move the cursor using the key pad (as described earlier for unit movement) to the selected target, then press ‘Enter’. Both the firing cannon battery and the defending unit are highlighted until the results are displayed in the ‘Message Window’ and in the ‘Armies Summary’.

When firing artillery, the valid enemy targets only will be visible during the firing phase. Valid targets must be in range. Additionally,if the line of sight option is ON, they must also be in line of sight. ALL visible enemy units will reappear after firing.

Range of the artillery depends on the same factors as visibility (elevation and cover).

Enemy artillery will concentrate more fire on units that threaten the artillery unit (especially those immediately adjacent). Damage from canister fire at close range is often devastating. This makes artillery units tough to overrun if they have a chance to fire.

There is a (low) probability of artillery exploding and killing members of the firing battery.

Line of Sight

Line of sight restricts artillery units to fire only at enemy units not blocked by obstructing terrain features. Line of sight is considered by tracing an approximate straight line path from the firing unit to the enemy (while keeping to the map hexes). Line of sight is traced until an
obstruction is encountered. If there are no obstructions, the line of sight is reported as clear. Otherwise, the artillery unit cannot see the enemy and is prohibited from firing at that target.

Trees, villages, hills and mountains are considered obstructions. Army units are NOT considered as obstructions.

A firing unit on a hill may see over ONE obstructed hex with a forest or village (but not any additional obstructed hexes). A firing unit on a hill cannot see over a hill or mountain.

A firing unit on a mountain may see over TWO obstructed forest or village hexes. A firing unit on a mountain can see over ONE hill, but never over another mountain.

‘View’ Command to Check Line of Sight

Any unit may check for visible enemy units within line of sight from the location of the checking unit by typing ‘V’ (for ‘VIEW’). This helps you scout where to set up your artillery. Visible terrain hexes are shown in reverse color, as are visible friendly units. Enemy units visible to the
checking unit are shown in normal colors. Enemy units that are not visible to the checking unit are not displayed until you press a key.

Limbering Artillery

A ‘limber’ feature is provided to add realism by requiring all land-based artillery units (Artillery-Rifled, Napoleon, and Horse Artillery) to limber before being moved and to unlimber before being fired. The ‘L’ hot key will toggle land-based artillery units between limbered and unlimbered
states. A LIMBERED unit is represented on the map by an open circle (think of it as a “wheel”) and its unit description has an ‘L’ in front of the name (e.g. LArtillery). Changing between limbered/unlimbered requires additional time. In addition, units with low morale will be even slower to limber or unlimber.

Limbered artillery is extremely vulnerable to attack, either melee or artillery fire. Limbered artillery is very ineffective in melee attack.

Unlimbered artillery unit types cannot retreat until they are limbered. This means unlimbered artillery units simply have to take the punishment while they are under attack.


Attacks by cannons are a special type of combat. The outcome depends on the strength of the attacking unit, the strength of the defending unit, the terrain, and luck. Given the more uncertain nature of this form of combat, the outcomes are more variable. However, in the long run cannonades will cause considerable damage. Cannonades against units immediately next to the artillery unit will cause twice the normal damage, as the defenders receive fire at pointblank range.

Cavalry Charge

When cavalry in a CLEAR or ROAD hex attacks an enemy also in a CLEAR of ROAD hex, the cavalry may ‘charge’ (receive an attack bonus). The charge option is automatically put into effect and a special message will announce it. Note that bridge hexes do not allow charges due to the constricted space.

Resolving Combat

In resolving the combat, the attacker goes first, then the defender. While the attacker is attacking, the defender’s terrain is used in determining defender casualties. When the defender returns fire, the attacker’s terrain is used in determining extent of attacker casualties.

Attacking is risky business, since the attacker must expose himself, while the defender can take advantage of whatever cover is available. Thus, attackers will generally take proportionally more casualties. The results will be displayed as the battle progresses in the ‘Armies Summary’
area and in the ‘Message Window’. Morale of both armies under fire will decrease.

Combat Results

The primary factors affecting combat results are shown below:

FactorRelative Effect
Unit StrengthMajor
Unit LeadershipModerate (major if very high or low)
Unit MoraleModerate (major if very low)
Unit ExperienceModerate (major if very high or low)
TerrainModerate (major for some [see note] conditions, such as cavalry in swamps)
Unit TypeModerate (major if Artillery or General units directly involved in combat
Adjacent Friendly GeneralModerate
LUCKSlight – Moderate
Adjacent Friendly UnitSlight

NOTE: The terrain occupied by BOTH combatants is considered in adjusting combat outcome. A unit is at a disadvantage in swamps, but is at an advantage in forest or hill hexes. A unit is at a considerable advantage on mountains or in fort hexes. Cavalry and Artillery units (all types) are particularly disadvantaged in swamps, and somewhat
disadvantaged in forests. Entrenchment (if any) is also considered. Entrenched units gain a bonus in addition to any terrain effect.


If a unit takes particularly heavy casualties, and leadership and morale are sufficiently low, it will decide to retreat. When this happens, the unit attempts to move to one of the 3 hexes furthest from the attacker. The selected hex must be an unoccupied hex. When a unit attempts to pull
back, a message will appear and the unit will appear in purple. When an army retreats, its morale suffers, and it takes a few additional casualties as wounded men are captured.

Since pulling back means exposure to enemy fire, units will take additional casualties when they decide to retreat. Units that are cut off and unable to retreat will take heavy additional losses in the confusion, and are very likely to rout. Botched retreats will also reduce effectiveness of unit leadership.

Sometimes the enemy unit will have to retreat as well, if it has taken heavy losses. In some instances, one unit in combat will have to retreat while the victor has not taken much damage. The victorious unit may advance to pursue the fleeing unit. Morale increases for the pursuing unit; leadership may also improve, as the commander hones his skills.

The human attacker is given the option to pursue if the computer must retreat.

Eliminated Units

Occasionally units will be eliminated from the battle. This is announced in the message window and an “death’s head” icon will appear in the hex the eliminated unit occupied. When this happens, esprit de corps values will shift.

If one side is completely annihilated by having ALL of its units eliminated, the battle will end.

Capturing Artillery

In the case of eliminated artillery, some portion of the eliminated unit may be captured by the attacker. This will occur if the artillery unit is large enough and there is an unused unit for the new artillery unit that will be formed. To capture the artillery, the attacker must pursue into the hex where the eliminated unit had been. The option to capture occurs only when the artillery unit is eliminated. If not captured, the eliminated unit is permanently removed from the remainder of the battle.


Hot Keys

In addition to the movement and combat commands, there are several commands available during the battle. Some of these are accessed through the menus described later. Most can be reached using ‘hot keys’ as described below.

(space bar)Rest the unit – skip a turn
GGame Score
OOrder of Battle Summary
QToggle Between SOUND and QUIET
IIntelligence on visible units | and Activate WAITed units
MMove to destination – give more orders
TTerrain – temporarily remove all unit icons
VView line of sight (All Units)
WWait (All Units)
NiNspire Unit (General units only)
XCancel Orders (General units only)
CCharge (Infantry units only)
SForm / Unform Hollow Square (Infantry Only)
FFire (Artillery, Napoleon, Horse Artillery Only)
(F1)On Line Help
(F3)Screen Redraw


This option causes cursor to appear on your highlighted unit. The cursor may be moved to get strength and terrain information on any unit that is currently visible. Press ‘esc’ when done. Placing the cursor over a friendly unit will display that unit’s current status in the ‘active unit data’ window.

If the friendly unit under the cursor is WAITed, it will activate on its next time of action. (Note that this may not be immediately).

Intelligence is useful to identify units that are weak or are bogged down by terrain or combat and not likely to move very soon. When doing an intelligence scan of friendly units that are ‘under orders’ to go to a specific location, that location is shown on the map and with a line connected to the unit.

Use of the Intelligence command does not cost a turn. This gives the human player more information in selecting units to attack.


This option is described in elsewhere. The Wait option allows units to repeatedly rest.

(special options)

This option will appear only if a General, Artillery, or Infantry type unit is waiting for orders. It will give these options:

Cancel Orders (General)
Fire (Artillery)
Charge (Infantry)
Square (Infantry)

Note that all of these may be directly accessed using the appropriate ‘hot key’

Order of Battle (‘O’)

This option gives a detailed listing of all your units and their status, as well as listings of known (visible) enemy units. While the information for your own units is accurate, it is only approximately correct for enemy units. Units in trouble will be shown in red.

Game Score (‘G’)

This option gives the current game score, showing who is currently winning, as well as the esprit de corps scores for both sides. Scoring depends on relative casualties, number of units eliminated, and number of turns of control of the objective.

F3-Screen Redraw

This option redraws the screen.