I have quickly finished my 15 figure unit of 'Berdans Sharpshooters'. I painted these as a change from painting blue and grey, but also to add some variation into my planned games. Johnny Reb II are regimental level rules of course and as such feature a lot of detail at this level. Breechloaders are given the following advantages in the rules:
- When firing prone, they fire at full effect (not quarter effect as for muzzle loaders)
- They always receive an 'up 1 row shift' on the small arms firing chart to reflect increased rate of fire.
- Their 'cover save roll' for fences and low walls is increased by 1 (to reflect the fact that they did not have to stand to reload).
- When in skirmish order or 'extended line' the save throw is also increased by 1.
In addition units that are designated 'sharpshooters' also get advantages even if not armed with breechloaders. (A number of Confederate units were also designated 'sharpshooters' although armed with the standard rifle-musket):
- When skirmishing their fire multiplier is x1 not x 1/2.
- Units fired on by sharpshooters have their final save roll number reduced by 1.
Having been lucky enough to handle and fire a repro Sharps breechloader I know that its possible to stay much lower when loading compared with my trusty old .58 Enfield. To load the Enfield when kneeling required sliding the butt way behind you in order to reach the muzzle, then dragging it forward again to fit the cap etc. Although my Enfield was sold on a few years ago and I no longer hold the required shotgun certificate, the handling and firing of black powder weapons gives a useful insight into understanding wargame rules mechanisms I feel.
Pictures show the completed sharpshooters and an 1859 model Sharps rifle. I am now working on a 25 figure Confederate regiment, 5 bases of 5 figures.