Can someone let me know if I'm talking complete garbage here?
At work today I've been thinking about artillery. Specifically artillery in the middle of the 18th century, firing roundshot - after all, I want to keep this fairly straightforward for now.
Guns in this era - field artillery in the 8-12pr range - was immobile. Once put in place the limber teams who were mostly civillian contractors would wisely move to the rear. Field artillery being what it was in this era being beastly heavy was almost impossible to move by hand and so tended to stay where it was put.
Take it as read that I do not include battalion guns or the infant horse artillery.
An iron ball fired at the enemy. Surely each shot would kill or disable only a few enemy troops at a time. This especially would be the case if you were firing at a battalion advancing against you. Histoies mentioning "entire files" of men being carried away at a time were talking of between two and four men becoming casualties at a time depending on nation or period of time. A battalion facing a battery of six guns would suffer in the order of 12-24 casualties per salvo in the instance that every shot struck home. There is plenty of evidence available that not every shot would.
For this reason, I do not think that a gun should cause anything more than about two casualties to my 40-man units should it be firing through the unit. Should a gun be lucky enough to catch my unit in enfilade by firing along it, perhaps it might knock over as many as 10 figures per gun firing before the press of bodies halts the ball.
I'm not sure I agree with bounce sticks. I agree that a shot bounced along as it went - indeed, it was the gunners aim to skim the ball along to make sure it didn't bound off above the heads of the targets. I think though, that the ball would be lethal or incapacitating for most of it's flight, not merely incapacitating for that part of it's flight in which it "bounced".I think I might advocate a shot-rod, aligned with the gunbarrel, lethal to all it underlay until it had perhaps intersected 10 (random number) figures at which point it would cease to be incapacitating. The length of the shot-rod would be equivalent to the effective or as it were, maximum range of the piece. Every figure would take an automatic hit, but save rolls might be allowed. The shot-rod would have a minimum range below which no hits would be scored and we would employ some other device attempting to simulate the effect of grape or cannister.
Anyway, let me know what you think.