OK now for the can of worms that is classifying Militia units for the war of 1812. Once again I will use Black Powder as my starting point.
The big problem is that this is a wide catch-all phrase that covers units ranging from well-to-do new Englanders playing toy soldiers in fancy uniforms to farmers and shop keepers defending their homes to Kentucky backwoodsmen with rifles! Variability also appears in results - as in some cases militia units fought very well and at others they melted away at the sight of the enemy.
I'm going to make things a little easier for myself to sticking to the campaign area that I am most interested in - the US/Canadian border along the Niagara, Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence. Patriotism aside, this area saw 3 years of back and forth actions with lots of opportunities for "Table Top Teaser" actions as well as pitched battles. The Western, Chesapeake and Louisiana fronts are all interesting but of more limited scope.
A few generalizations.
- In general, the Canadian militia was more reliable than the US militia.
- Units who stayed in arms for entire campaigning seasons did better than part-timers who showed up when required.
- Militia units did better on defence than on the attack.
- Militia units often performed better when they were defending their own areas. I'm not sure how to apply this one to the Canadian Volunteers in the US armies. One could argue that having a bounty for treason on one's head would be a powerful incentive to fight to the end or alternately run away!
Rather than attempt to classify each type of militia unit separately, I am going to list potential BP "special rules" that can be applied to militia units. Note that I am planning to treat the best Canadian militia units (the Incorporated and Select Militias and permanent light infantry units) as regulars.
- Unreliable (no move on an Equal Command Roll). This is pretty much a given for most militia units. It simulates both unfamiliarity in drill and manoeuvre and also the animosity on the US side between militia and regular officers.
- Freshly Raised (random effectiveness on first shot or melee). This seems tailor made for the part timers. Regular officers never quite knew the metal of their militiamen until the point of contact.
- Untested (random stamina). More variability, which represents that generals could never be sure how many militiamen answered the call, or their willingness to stay in the fight once they got there.
- First Fire and Form Square- nope and nope.
- Rifles: some US militia companies carried rifles, notably New Yorkers playing dress up and Kentucky back woodsmen. Some Canadian militia units also had rifle companies but these were much less prominent.
- Sharp Shooters (reroll one miss) it seems apropos to give a very select few of the Davey Crocket's of the backwoods this bonus.
- Skirmishers militia seems to either fought in line (badly) or in skirmish (with mixed results but generally much better). I would suggest that once a militia unit goes into skirmish order, it should not be able to form up again. They can arrive on table in column or line and go into skirmish, the the reverse shouldn't be available. Mixed Formation also seems too complex for militia, it's an all in skirmish or none thing.
- Marauders would only apply to very high quality back woodsmen (Kentucky vets of Indian campaigns).
Next time round - Cavalry and Native troops.