Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Napoleonics in Spain: 28mm

We are planning a Napoleonic campaign to start in a month or so & tonight we did a training battle to get back up to speed with our Napoleonic rules and to get a feel for just how bad the rules make the Spanish.

Mike's French corps was based on Sebastiani's IV Corps with 2 infantry divisions, one French & one mostly Germans, each 2 brigades of 4 units & a cavalry division of two 3 unit brigades, one hussar & 1 chasseur, plus 4 batteries. 

Steve's Spanish army was based on Venagas' Army of the Centre with 4 infantry divisions, each with  6 units, a light cavalry division of 4 units & a heavy cavalry division of 4 units, & 4 batteries.  We had to substitute Austrians for the Spanish army, but who knows or cares what the Spanish looked like anyway?

The H-T-H ratings of the infantry were 4 for the French & 3 for the Germans & Spanish. The shooting ratings were 4 for the French & Allies, 3 for the Spanish.  The Spanish heavy cavalry & the French hussars had H-T-H 5, the chasseurs 4 & the Spanish light horse 3.  The command ratings were 9 for French brigades, 8 for German brigades & Sebastiani & 7 for the Spanish brigades & Venagas.  The Spanish infantry were also poorly trained.  For all the Spanish troops Break if Shaken results were Break if Spanish. So the Spanish units were severely handicapped, but they had 36 units to 26.
Sebastiani is on the left with the German infantry on the far flank with the chasseurs & the French infantry with the hussars on his right.  Venagas put all his cavalry on his left.
Sebastiani started with an attack on his left.  The Spanish formed a line on the ridge to meet it & advanced their cavalry on their own left. 
Madame Mitzi has suddenly taken an interest in wargames lately and favoured us with a visit and demands for back rubs.
Sebasitiani's columns on the left were disrupted by Spanish fire & the attack came to a halt short of the ridge line.  His French division appeared daunted by the sheer number of Spanish to their front and only advanced slowly. The Spanish cavalry has charged the hussars accross the creek and has been beaten back.
On the far flank the German infantry has managed to sort itself into a ragged firing line & a fierce exchange of musketry is going on.  The chasseurs have moved to support their right flank.  On the near flank the Spanish cavalry has fallen back.
The French hussars have now advanced over the creek.  The Spanish light cavalry has advanced to meet them while the heavy cavalry has attacked the flank of the French infantry advance in the centre.  They caught an infantry unit in line & broke it, but the second line drove them back.
 On the near flank both side's cavalry have fallen back.  In the centre the action amounts to no more than an ineffectual cannonade.  On the far flank the chasseurs have charged down some of the infantry and over-run a battery.
Both sides are content to let the action on the French right peter out and concentrate on the far flank where both's infantry are teetering on the edge.  But the German infantry have survived almost all their break tests while the Spanish have been slowly melting away.  The chasseurs were decisive in the final breaking of both Spanish infantry brigades on the flank.

We declared nightfall at that point with the Spanish losing 2 divisions out of 6 & the French no brigades out of 6.  Technically a draw, but in a campaign situation the Spanish would, given their losses, almost certainly withdraw overnight rather than risk complete rout next day.   My analysis is that Sebastiani erred in his initial deployment in that he should have put his best troops in the open ground on his left to make the attack.  They had a good chance of breaking the Spanish right quickly & then rolling up the Spanish line, while the Germans would have easily have pinned down the Spanish left.  As it was, after initial setbacks the Grman infantry were fortunate to hang on until the cavalry could turn the tide.

The Spanish rules seemed to have the right effect.  The Spanish looked scary with so many troops & sheer numbers give them lots of dice to throw at the enemy, but large divisions & poor command makes decisive maneouvre difficult for them & the Break if Spanish rule gives them an unpredictable vulnerability that feels right.    



Phil said...

Nice looking game, with an impressive mass of cavalry!

Anonymous said...

Love the "Break if Spanish" rule - spot on!

Have to get the peninsular redcoats and Portuguese of mine out to show them how it's done :)