Having looked some more into this, I'm not actually sure that Infantry unit strength has much overall affect on balance of scenarios.
So the effect of the Russian Line being 4 and going to 5 strength by Mother Russia being significantly different on scenario balance from 3 going to 4 seems to be not likely.
However, the issue for me is that the Russian Line Infantry seems to not behave historically.
Russian infantry seemed to be;
resilient and durable
pro-bayonet attacks www.napolun.com/mirror/napoleonistyka.at...Russian_infantry.htm
all the things that Austrian infantry seem to be (without the battalion mass) , but tougher and quicker.
Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever.
so after some more experimentation I've come to a few conclusions;
1. Infantry unit strength has little or no overall affect on balance of scenarios.
2. a negative Mother Russia roll (i.e. where all Russian LN start at 4 and an INF die result depletes a LN unit to 3) is pretty close to the same as a normal Mother Russia roll in most instances.
French and British observer accounts of Russian infantry performance stress
- stoic durability under fire
- poor marksmanship
- eagerness to use bayonet
- ability to march distances at speed
- tactically used columns over lines
Yes Russian fire was considered poor. Not just because of markmanship, but also because of a lot of poor craftsmanship in the making of Russian muskets coupled with irregular boring from factory to factory.
There was also something akin to battalion mass using their column formation.
So, coupled with the 'ignore 1 flag', a battalion mass would be useful in keeping cards. That then might be worth the avoidance of 5 block units. I personally have no data of what the keeping of cards works out as a numerical measurement in result stats, but I could see in scenarios I have already played where that would have been a great help.
Also, Russian infantry formations were not numerically the size of Austrian, whether talking of battalion, brigade or even corps sized. That in itself would steer me away from 5 block Russian infantry, let alone their ignoring of a banner to boot. You'd never shift them