Clarification Document 2008

In 2008 members of the Johnny Reb gaming community collaborated to add clarity to certain aspects in the play of Johnny Reb III. The below is the result of that collaboration.


Compiled By the JRIII Clarification Team
Publisher: Doug Kline
Project Manager: Dean West
Diagrams and Associated Text: Scot Gore
Special thanks: PJ. O’Neill
Team Members: Curt Daniels, Norris Darrall, Jim Flyer, Jerry Frazee, Scot Gore, Jim Korten, Chris Maes, Jerry Merrell, Paul Douglas Stevenson, Michael Wedding


The Charge Sequence is a self-contained “mini-turn” and its resolution is the most complex aspect of JRIII. If more than one charge is made during a turn, the charge closest to the enemy to be attacked is resolved first, then the next closest, and so on until all charges are resolved. Each separate charge must be resolved prior to proceeding to the resolution of the next charge. A “coordinated charge” is made by a "Point Unit” and its "Supporting Units." An “uncoordinated charge” is made by a single unit.

The adverse effect a charge can have on the enemy's plans and dispositions cannot be overemphasized. Charges are resolved prior to any other phase resolutions in the "Turn Sequence", except "Routs and Rallies", "Resolve First Fires", and "Move Disengaging Units." Therefore a charge may not only break an enemy line, it could compel the enemy to alter his movements, affect defending units not directly charged, and in general throw all an opponents intended combinations into confusion. Charges are the best way to gain the initiative in JRIII, and to impose your will upon the enemy.

Units ordered to Charge do not check morale for "seeing the rout" of friendly units until after their specific charge has been completed, and only then if the routed unit is within six inches (6"). Once the individual charge has been completed the units involved return to non-charge status.

Charging units do not receive the beneficial DRMs for Cover.

Additional information regarding cavalry charges appears on pages 56 thru 58.



1. During the Reveal Orders Phase players announce all Charges they have ordered and designate the target of each charge. Point Units and Support units must be marked Charge. Charges MUST be directed in a straight line at either the closest visible enemy unit in the Primary Zone, or at a more threatening unit outside the Primary Zone. For charge purposes, there is no “Secondary Zone.” The Primary Zone extends in a straight line directly out 12 inches from the flanks of the charging unit. “More threatening unit” outside the Primary Zone is defined as a visible unit closer to the attacking unit than the one in the Primary Zone.


In the unlikely situation where a potential target unit inside the Primary Zone is the same distance from the target as one outside the zone, the charge must be made against the target in the Primary Zone.


A charge target, only if no enemy is threatening, could also be a clearly defined geographic objective such as a fence line or hilltop. However, it is not guaranteed that a charging unit would stop at the objective: who knows, the colonel might screw-up and the regiment keep charging right past the objective. For this reason, a unit ordered to charge a geographic point must still roll for Charge Bonus Movement. In order to actually halt at the terrain objective, the unit must pass a Tactical Competence Roll when it arrives there. If a brigadier or other superior officer is present, it helps by reducing the unit’s BMP by minus one.

In order to charge a geographic feature, or continue to charge at a geographic feature, there must be no visible enemy units (from the unit’s point of view) in advance of that objective, and, as the charge goes forward, any enemy unit that comes into the charging unit’s Primary Zone becomes the new target of the charge, instead of the geographic feature.

A charge must be plotted in a straight line pointing directly at the charge target. The charging unit may not deviate from this line of attack during the total charge movement, except as explained below. The charge may advance along an oblique line plotted from the front of the charging unit, but if the oblique is in excess of 45 degrees, the unit goes into disorder. Disordered charges to flank or rear are possible.

A charge cannot be made against a target that is outside the theoretical maximum charge movement (Normal Movement added to a potential maximum bonus dice-roll of all sixes).

2. In order to support a Point Unit in a charge, a unit must be:

A. Within six inches of the charging Point Unit
B. Be further distant from an enemy than the Point Unit
C. Have no “uncharged” enemy unit in its Primary Zone.

There is one exception to Rule C. If a line drawn from the center of a Target Unit passes through a Point Unit, and then intersects any stand of a unit wishing to support the Point Unit, then that unit can support the Point Unit even if there is a different enemy unit in its own Primary Zone.

Each Supporting Unit reduces the DICE DOWN FOR IMPACT Morale of the Point Unit by one Morale Point (-1). The defending player can decide not to apply this support benefit of units within 2” to reduce the Target Unit morale point at Impact.

EXAMPLE OF BENEFIT: A Point Unit and two Supporting Units charge. The BASIC MORALE POINT of the Point Unit is THREE (BMP 3). If a DICE DOWN FOR IMPACT occurs, the BMP of the Point Unit will be reduced by one (1) because it is charging, and by two (2) more because it is supported by two units. Hence, its IMPACT MORALE POINT will be reduced to zero. However, stands of casualties, certain formations, and Disorder of the Point Unit, if applicable, will also affect its morale.

NOTE: Morale Checks triggered by casualties inflicted on the Point Unit are not modified for the number of Supporting Units involved. Using the above example, the morale of the Point Unit taking a First Casualty Morale Check is two 2), because its Basic Morale Point is modified for "Unit Charging" only Modified BMP 3-1=MMP 2).

IDENTIFYING SUPPORTING UNITS: The Point Unit and Close Support Units must be in Good Morale in order to charge. Close Support Units must be within six inches (6") of the Point Unit in order to take part in a Coordinated Charge. Disordered units can provide close support, but Shaken and skirmishing units cannot.

On defense, to qualify as being in Close Support, a unit must be within 2” of the Target Unit selected by the attacker. Only non-skirmishing units in Good Morale can provide close support to a Target Unit. Shaken units within 2” of a Target Unit are handled the same as Close Support Units (which includes rolling to determine the distance where they fire at the attacking unit). The only difference is that Shaken units do not add the close support morale benefit of -1 to the Target Unit’s Impact Dice-Down.

If a unit in skirmish order is the closest unit in the path of a charge, it becomes the Target Unit. It can fire at the charge after determining range with 1D6. If the charging unit continues on, it contacts the skirmishing unit. The skirmishing unit adds +6 to its Impact Dice-down roll. Units other than skirmishers within 2” can provide Close Support and must be so designated before the charge begins. These supporting units will suffer the same fate as the skirmishing unit. Uniquely, regardless of morale state, skirmishers are considered to be in skirmish order until the end of a rout or disengage movement. Further, when a skirmishing unit fall back after being defeated in an Impact, it does not become disordered until the end of its fall back movement; it does not disorder units to the rear that it fall back through.



During the Reveal Orders Phase all charges are announced and targets identified. Players then move through the First Fire, Routs and Rallies, and Disengage phases, to the Resolve Charges Phase. Once a charge is ordered, it cannot be cancelled.

At the beginning of the Resolve Charges Phase, Point Units, and other units executing uncoordinated charges, dice for "Charge Bonus Movement," Total Charge Movement is determined at the beginning of each individual charge.

Charge Bonus Movement is added to Normal Movement in order to determine Total Charge Movement. At some point during total charge movement, the unit(s) goes into disorder. Both these distances (total charge movement and distance when unit goes into disorder) are calculated and marked before a charging unit moves, as explained on page 46.

Supporting Units have the same Total Charge Movement as the Point Unit, regardless of their formation or the terrain they are in. The distance at which the Point Unit and its Supporting Units become disordered is then calculated. Supporting Units become disordered when they arrive on a line extending on either side of the exact geographical point where the Point Unit went into disorder, unless, of course, they went into disorder before they
reach this line (Green units). If Supporting Units are specifically fired-on by any unit, possible disorder and enfilade fire is taken into account.

When an individual “charge sequence” is completed, all charging units involved immediately become disordered. They do not wait until the end of the Turn Sequence to become disordered.

Movement from one terrain type to another: When moving into Broken or Woods terrain from Open, halve remaining movement. When moving into Rough or Heavy Woods from Broken, halve remaining movement. If moving into Rough or Heavy Woods from Open, quarter remaining movement. The inverse is used when moving from any close country back into Open, or Rough into Broken. Some players chose to “prorate” movement, which is an acceptable alternative. There is little practical difference between the two techniques.

Players can agree to employ the following OPTIONAL RULES at their discretion. If any of these options are adopted, they gain the dignity of official procedure:

After orders are revealed during the Reveal Orders Phase, players commanding charging units must announce an intention to forego dicing for Charge Bonus Movement later on, during the Resolve Charge Phase. If no charge bonus movement is taken, the charging unit must move its entire Normal Movement and becomes disordered at the end of the charge resolution.


During the Reveal Orders Phase it may become apparent that a designated Charge Target has been marked Disengage and has departed. Or, it is possible that during the Routs and Rallies Phase a designated Target Unit has routed because it failed a “see the rout” morale check. When either situation arises, the Charging Unit may select a new “most threatening unit” in its Primary Zone, or one closer that is outside the Primary Zone. The charging player also has the option to order his unit to pursue the original charge target.

Charges can be directed at a “reasonably suspected enemy position.” (JR, Page 40, 5.1.1.)

4. Now the defender announces countercharges by the Target Unit or by Close Support Units on Hold or Move, and makes appropriate Tactical Competence Rolls to determine whether units can countercharge, and in what formation. (See 5. Below)

If there are no countercharges, charged units on Form now must follow the Charged While Forming procedure before defensive fire is resolved.

Now determine the range at which the Target Unit fires at the charging Point Unit by rolling 1D6. This die-roll determines the distance at which the fire is delivered (elites and veterans use half inches, greens full inches).

Simultaneously, units in Close Support (within 2") of the Target Unit also determine their defensive fire at charging units by following the procedure described in the paragraph above.

Remember that units cannot change formation if the charge begins within 4 inches.

Notice that a Target Unit or its Close Support Units marked Move can, voluntarily, attempt to change formation, but it takes a TCR, and failure results in the unit becoming disordered and continues the charge resolution in disorder and suffers all the firing and impact penalties of disorder (+4).

5. Other Defending Units are those not a Target Unit or in Close Support, but are in the general vicinity of the charge and on occasion might become entangled in the charge resolution. In the Resolve Charges chapter in the rulebook, in most cases when the term “defender” is used, it refers to a Target Unit or a unit in Close Support, not to these Other Defending Units.

Units on Hold are the only Other Defending Units that can voluntarily become involved in defending against a charging unit. Other Defending Units on Hold can fire at a charging unit that enters its Primary or Secondary Fire Zone. Other Defending Units on Hold can also countercharge a charging unit that comes within 6 inches. Defending units on FM, Move or CH are considered to be about there own business during a charge sequence and hence do not have the ability to respond to a charge, unless somehow they become a Target Unit.

6. If the Point Unit is halted by fire – either by the Target Unit or from another source (Supporting Units and Other Defending Units on Hold, including artillery) – the supporting units may stack up behind, or possibly along the same line as the Point Unit, but never in front of it. OR they may attempt to press on in a series of separate, disordered, and uncoordinated charges. If they attempt to do the latter – each regiment must first pass an individual morale check (they are entitled to charge élan – and then they may continue).

If an “Other Defending Unit” on Hold countercharges a charging unit, the charging unit immediately reacts to the countercharging unit and the countercharge becomes the new “target” of the charge. If this causes the charging unit to change direction by more than 45 degrees it becomes disordered. This rule applies to countercharged Support Units as well as to the Point Unit.

If a Coordinated Charge, now move the Point Unit into contact with the Target Unit and DICE-DOWN FOR IMPACT. It is assumed Supporting Units are moving the same distance, but are behind the Point Unit somewhat. If an Uncoordinated Charge, move charging unit to contact and Dice-Down for Impact. 33486
7. If defending infantry, cavalry or artillery wins the dice-down:

– If the Attacker is infantry, the Point Unit and supporting units fall back 1D6 (pips expressed as inches), in disorder, directly away from point of impact. Then both sides fire a simultaneous volley, modified for formation, morale, terrain, and previous fires. If the attacker is cavalry, it falls back 2D6, and then opposing units still in range fire a simultaneous volley, modified as above, but cavalry does not receive the beneficial "Charging" fire DRM during this volley.

– If Attacker wins the dice-down:

If the Target Unit is infantry or a gun crew, defender falls straight back 2D6s (pips expressed as inches), and is in disorder. Cavalry falls back double the number of inches rolled, but see terrain details below.

This dice-roll also determines the extent of the defeat sustained by Target Unit, as follows:

  • If roll is 2 through 4, the Charged Unit falls back in same morale state as it had prior to Impact.
  • If the roll is 5 through 8, Charged Unit's previous morale state is reduced (either from Good to Shaken, or from Shaken to Routed).
  • If roll is 9 through 11, Charged Unit is Routed
  • If 12, Charged Unit disintegrates and is removed from table in disgrace. Its Flag is captured.

TERRAIN EFFECT: If defeated infantry or gun crews are falling-fall back through Open or Broken ground, count the pips as inches; if cavalry, fall back double the pip count in inches. If infantry or crews are falling back through Woods or Rough ground, count pips as half-inches: if cavalry count as full inches.

If the Target Unit is defeated, units in Close Support of that Target Unit are also defeated (including Shaken units) and fall back in disorder 2D6s. Each Close Support Unit rolls separately. As with the Target Unit, consult table above to determine morale effect. See example in upper right on Page 43.

NOTE: Cavalry options when falling back in defeat from an Impact can be affected by special rules in the Cavalry Rules Section (Pages 54-58), and though cavalry uses most of the procedures detailed above, they can be subject to unique rules.

If Impact Dice-Down is a tie: Target Unit and Point Unit are in contact and will melee.

8. Now move all non-Shaken attacking units forward the full extent of their movement, or until they contact the Target Unit, or a Close Supporting Unit. Then resolve those melees. Supporting Units reinforcing the Point Unit or Charged Unit in a melee count half their figures in the first round, but all of them in the following rounds.

OPTIONAL RULE: If at the end of a charge resolution there is a defending Close Supporting Unit in Good Morale that was not contacted by a charging unit, and therefore is not in melee, it can join another melee taking place within 2”, but cannot join any melee if it has participated in a simultaneous volley exchange at the end of a charge. Other Supporting Units can never enter a melee in this circumstance.



1. Disengaging units are not treated the same as routed units. They are not panicked nor totally out of control. When a unit disengages it must move to the rear, away from enemy units, but has the leeway to avoid running through formed units. The path of retreat must be within the Primary or Secondary zone, oriented to the rear instead of to the front. If there are gaps at least one stand wide separating units in its rear, a disengaging unit can flow through those gaps. However, if there is a solid wall of troops blocking its way, than indeed a Disengaging unit will run through a friendly unit, forcing it to pass a Tactical Competence Roll or become disordered.

Disengaging units must move their entire Disengage Bonus Movement.

Though special penalties apply in melee during the balance of the turn, at the end of the bonus movement movement, a disengaging unit becomes a disordered unit facing to the rear,

2. Skirmishers marked Disengage do not disrupt units they run through. Uniquely, a skirmishing unit is considered to be in skirmish order until the end of its disengage or rout bonus movement, at which point they become a disordered unit. If disengaging, former skirmishers now in disorder are involved in melee, please refer to pages 6, 7, 34 and 50 in the rulebook for a review of all factors that affect them in melee situations.


There are two types of Conditional Hold: “voluntary” and “forced.” Page 38 of the rulebook addresses situations where a player wishes to change an order to Conditional Hold voluntarily during the Reveal Orders Phase. However, bullets 4 and 5 on Page 38 apply to “forced” Conditional Hold situation, and, therefore, have caused some ambiguity. Notice that a Target Unit (or Supporting Unit) marked Move can voluntarily attempt to Form.

Forced Conditional Hold situations are explained in detail on Page 44. Forced CH situations arise during charge resolution.



1. Moving from one terrain type to another is handled the same whether a unit is charging or not. If units move from Broken-ground or Woods to Open-ground, double remaining movement. When moving from Rough to Broken or Woods, double movement. When moving from Rough to Open-ground, triple remaining movement.

2. Whether moving or charging, units crossing a fence line lose 1” of their movement.


1. The sight of the officer being HIT is enough to cause a morale check on any unit within six-inches that can see the event – a visibility roll may be required here.

2. Skirmishers provide a Zone of Protection, just as do other non-routed friendlies.

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