Friday, April 05, 2013

Ocana 1809: 6mm Napoleonjic

Mike's Spanish v. Jim's French

Following our Talavera of 2 weeks ago, our 6mm Napoleonic version of Hail Caesar has been further refined & another Peninsular battle set up.   The battle data comes from Gates "The Spanish Ulcer" with extra terrain info from Google Earth.  35,00 French v. 60,000 Spanish.  The Spanish have twice as many infantry as the French, but the cavalry & artillery are about equal in numbers.  The Spanish have Command Rating of 7 to the French 9 as well as having lower combat and morale.  The changes to the rules have been to further simplify them to make the combat even easier.
We used close to the historical deployment.  The French are on the left.  Both sides have most of their cavalry on the far left.
Soult's plan produced a crushing victory, so the French player stuck to it.  The infantry advanced to pin down the enemy while the cavalry charged forward on the far left.
The French might have stuck to the script, but the Spanish did not.  Their cavalry put a surprisingly stiff fight and their right centre infantry charged forward to try and exploit some disruption in the French line caused by inconsistent Command dice.  The counterattack was beaten off, but not without significant loss and the Spanish had a second line to fill the gap.  On the right, the grand battery in front of Ocana was causing havoc.
The Spanish have had enough of the grand battery & retreated into Ocana.  The battery has limbered up and is moving left following the infantry division on its left.  The Spanish are also trying to move reserves to the other end of the battlefield, but poor command makes it a slow business.  The Spanish cavalry is finally losing the fight on the far flank.
Another Spanish counterattack right of centre broke one of the French divisions and got 2 more to half strength. But the French cavalry finally prevailed over their opposite number, and moved right while the grand battery was moving up on the other flank.  The Spanish tried to retire out of the noose to a new line on the river but weakened though the French foot was, the combined attack of infantry, cavalry & artillery was too much for the Spanish.  Their centre broke and with it the army.

The Spanish lost, but Mike could claim some measure of victory as it was far from the one sided rout of the real thing.  There were a few details requiring some fine tuning, but all in all, the rules worked very well - to have got all that done in little more than 2 hours is proof of that.  The theory behind using Hail Caesar as base for the rules even though they need major changes in detail is that players familiar with Hail Caesar, Pike & Shoote or Black Powder can play it pretty well straight up as long as there's an umpire to handle the details.  This was Mike's first Napoleonic battle ever and he had no difficulty in make good fist of it.    

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