• Dropping prone from standing or rising to standing from a prone position costs one die of movement.
  • Units may not move while prone
  • A prone unit counts its level of cover as one category better than normal.
  • Units that are prone do not block line of sight, nor do they offer screening cover to troops behind them.
  • Any unit targeted by fire passing over a prone unit shares hits with that prone unit regardless of the distance between them.
  • Prone units require an extra action to reload.
  • Prone units which are engaged in fisticuffs always count as receiving a charge unloaded
  • Dropping prone breaks a Formation
It should be understood that while going prone under fire happened, it was often not the most desirable course of action from a command and control standpoint. Once troops had gone prone, they were often hesitant to return to a standing position. This is reflected in the point about going prone breaking a Formation, as once a Formation is broken it requires each group to be activated individually. For large bodies of troops (say 3 or 4 Groups) under less competent leadership, reforming your unit into a standing position may take either multiple turns or the expenditure of Command Cards to boost the leader’s ability to coordinate the maneuver. It’s also worth pointing out that breaking a Formation incurs a test on the “Bad Things Happen” table, leading to a potential for a loss of Force Morale; if you’re going prone in the face of enemy fire, no one is under any illusions that you’re “winning,” and your Force Morale may reflect that.
Finally, reloading a muzzle-loading musket while prone is no mean feat. The extra reloading action – combined with the fact that the leader may not have the Command Initiatives to activate all of the Groups that used to comprise his now broken Formation will result in an immediate slackening of fire from a prone unit. This too mirrors the period accounts of the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of prone units.
Going prone in combat during this era was often necessitated by needing to maintain a position while under fire (especially artillery fire), usually while other parts of the unit (be it company, regiment, or brigade depending on the scale of the battle) were moving into position or forming up. It might keep you from getting badly mauled in the open, but it’s no one’s idea of the perfect solution, and this house rule reflects that.
Sharp Practice by TooFatLardies is easily Muggins’ favorite way to game the ACW and we hope with some of these suggestions you too can get going with large skirmishes. We still have plenty of content lined up for our ACW coverage on – thanks for reading and please be sure to leave any comments below or email us at