DBA supports the conception of the army general fighting in or near the front ranks with their retinues, and this is certainly historical from the Greek citizen phalanx to Alexander and his Companions up to Henry V at Agincourt. But there are also notable historical examples where generals commanded from a distance, taking advantage of available or man-made high ground to survey the battle and using messengers, flags or other signalling systems to deliver orders. You've also got instances of aging or infirm leaders who retired to the rear after marshalling their men, like the Irish King Brian Boru at Clontarf, where he surveyed the battle from a tent surrounded by his followers, while his sons fought the battle.
Perhaps the best example is that provided by the Sassanian Empire. It was Sassanid practice to place their generals on a large man-made dias built in the rear of the army, where command and control was exerted through a flag signalling system and messengers. The intent was not only to provide the general with greater tactical control over the Sassanid movements but also to keep the general out of harms way if possible.
For historically appropriate armies, players may elect to use the Command Post variant rule. In order to use the rule, the player must provide an appropriately designed Command Post element base for that purpose (bases should be 40mm square and depict the general with 2-3 appropriate retinue figures including guards, messengers, servants, etc.).
The Command Post is placed during that army's deployment phase. It must be placed in good going or on a steep hill. It may not be deployed in the camp or BUA, or as part of (or in front of) the main line of battle.
The Command Post constitutes the CnC for the game and exercises command and control for a basic range of 1500 paces (2000 paces in Big Battle DBA) in all directions. (or 750/1000 paces for troops who start either beyond the crest of a Hill, beyond a BUA or camp, or in or beyond a WOod, Oasis or Dunes.
The Command Post may not move (although a General may abandon his Command Post if players are also using the Mobile Generals variant rule). If engaged in close combat or distance shooting, the Command Post fights as Auxilia (and receives the +1 bonus for having a General). It is destroyed if recoiled.
A Command Post may not be garrisoned (like a camp or BUA), but a wise General may choose to post a reserve near the Command Post to bolster its defense. Loss of a Command Post counts as 2 elements lost toward victory conditions and also places the army (including any subordinate Big Battle DBA commands) out of command and control. Loss of a Command Post in Big Battle DBA serves to demoralize the CnC's command.
Note: This variant was inspired by Phil Halewood's proposed "accomodation" for remote or semi-remote (detached) Sasanian generals, which appears in the Nov. 2001 (#219) issue of Slingshot. The major difference between this rule and Halewood's proposal is that his provides that "loss of the general carries all the usual disbenefits and a unit of Knights (preferably) or cavalry must be withdrawn form the line to accomodate the dias if the game can continue." My variant does not withdraw the additional element from the battle line, but offsets this "13th element" by counting the fallen Command Post as two elements lost toward victory conditions (the same as a camp). My variant also increases the basic command/control range from 1200 to 1500 paces, which reflects the theoretically improved control possible where the general has an improved vantage point and messenger/signalling system.
Last Updated: 24 August 2005
Questions, comments, suggestions welcome.