Thursday, 21 June 2018

Wargaming in Spain

Most ex pats living in Spain have a completely different routine in the summer and winter months.   This is because the hot summer days make it quite difficult to do anything physical outdoors.   Here in the Costa Blanca normal summer temperatures are 30c-35c, and the humidity is also quite high.

A Spanish winter is similar to spring or autumn in the UK.   Although it can get quite cold, most days are sunny.   It does rain, but usually no more than one or two days a week.   There is a popular expression that Spain is a cold country, with a warm sun.   This means that it is quite possible to live outdoors for most of the winter months.

My wife and I share two time consuming hobbies.   First, of course, is wargaming.   Second is hill walking.   During the winter months, from October to May, we run two mountain walking groups for our local U3A.   This involves planning and leading two five hour walks each week.   I also record all of these walks on a blog.    So three to four days a week is devoted to planning, walking and preparing the blog.   In addition we usually wargame three to four afternoons a week.

The two hobbies complement each other.   One is physical and the other mostly mental.   I spend a lot of time on the computer either running the solo 1813 campaign, writing the walk blogs or planning walks.   But the two days walking get us out in the beautiful countryside and keep us reasonably fit.

We do our last walk at the end of May, and we then switch over to our summer routine.

This year we visited the grandchildren in the UK at the start of June.   This explains why there was no blog entry last week.  I try to post an entry on this blog at least once a week, but find it difficult when we are on holiday.

We have just returned from a dry but quite cold Northumberland and must adapt to 30c overnight.  

Our summer routine includes an early morning two mile walk each day.   We did our first this morning.   We start just before the sun rises, which is 0630 at this time of year.   But it will get later and later as the summer rolls on.   This exercise, combined with a daily swim, is the sum of our exercise during the summer.   It is just sufficient to keep us from getting too restive.

The campaign and wargame blogs continue during the summer, which takes up parts of each day.  But I really need a project to replace the hill walking.   In previous years this has been model house building, rewriting wargame or campaign rules and map making for the campaign.   We also spend more time at the wargames table.  

It is in the summer that I regret I no longer have a lead mountain to paint.   For 40 odd years I painted model soldiers daily.   But as part of our retirement plan I decided to replace painting with actual wargaming.   This has worked well, and we certainly spend more time on the table than we ever did when working.

The campaign works well, indeed too well.   It would be a good project to start a new campaign each summer.   But my 1813 campaign is so well developed that it would be hard to replace it.   Each campaign phase lasts about six weeks, and then I start a brand new phase.   Different location, different armies and different objectives.   But because the campaign is designed for our armies and playing area, most games have a similar feel to them.

For a few years my summer project has been updating and revising maps.   The campaign covers all of Germany, Spain and Portugal.  But could easily be extended to include Italy and even United Kingdom.   I need three large maps.   One for all of Europe, one for Germany and one for Portugal/Spain.   I then need five more detailed maps, one for each campaign area.  And finally a wargame map for each phase of the campaign.   Over the years I have updated them four or five times.  

This year my project is to create a new set of maps, which will be wargame rather than actual.   The map of Europe will show major cities, national borders and each square will be a campaign phase and will have the town names.    The map of Germany and Spain will show major terrain, such as rivers and mountains.  It will also have the same grid, but will show the city or town and whether it is walled or not.   There will be two maps of each of the five campaign areas.   Both will have the same detail and grid, plus major and secondary roads.   It will also show large wooded areas.  A second map of each area will show minor towns as well.   This will be used to create the wargame maps required for each campaign phase.

I expect to finish the map project before we reach the start of the walking season at the start of October.

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Fighting in a Built Up Area (BUA)

Table at start of Game

At the end of the wargame both corps appeared to be broken
The French had lost 3700 casualties and three brigades in rout
The British had lost 4300 casualties and the whole corps in rout

Casualties by brigade are shown below

1st British Corps – General Stewart (Average)
1 infantry brigade     4000 men      B class          1200 casualties          rout
2 infantry brigade     4000 men      B class          1200 casualties          rout
3 infantry brigade     4000 men      C class         1200 casualties          rout
4 infantry brigade     4000 men      C class         400 casualties          rout
1 cavalry brigade     1000 men      B class          100 casualties          rout
1 corps artillery        1000 men      B class          200 casualties           rout

8th French Corps – General Taupin (Poor)
29 infantry brigade   4000 men      B class          2000 casualties          rout
30 infantry brigade   4000 men      B class          800 casualties          rout
31 infantry brigade   4000 men      C class         800 casualties          rout
32 infantry brigade   4000 men      C class        
8 cavalry brigade     1000 men      B class          100 casualties
8 corps artillery        1000 men      B class         

However in campaign terms these casualties are not as bad as they seem

The French will halt next day
Overnight they will rally their routed brigades
Because they do not move they will be able to regroup their casualties
This means that most infantry casualties will be transferred to one brigade
Usually the one with the most casualties, in this case 29 infantry brigade
Each day that the corps does not move they will receive battle replacements
At the rate of 10% of one brigade for each day
10% of one brigade is 100 cavalry or gunners or 400 infantry

The British will retreat next day
At nightfall they will have the same casualties and routed brigades
If they are allowed to halt the following day they will rally and reorganise
They will then receive battle replacements at the same rate as the French
If the French pursue they will have to continue their retreat
Casualties and routed brigades will remain until they are allowed to rest

However no brigade which has suffered casualties will ever be full strength again
They will always have 10% casualties.
This will reduce their morale and combat effectiveness for the remainder of the campaign.

Link to Wargame Rules

Link to Campaign Rules

Friday, 1 June 2018

Fighting in a Built Up Area (BUA)

Move 12

British move first
Gunners and Portuguese infantry are the only formations not in rout
However both are shaken and cannot accept new orders until rallied

Infantry test morale for shaken
1D6 need 8, roll 4, fail and rout

Gunners test morale for shaken
1D6 need 8, roll 2, fail and rout

The whole British corps is now in rout

French move second
Lancers are disordered and out of command range
They return to corps commander and will rally at end of this move
Until then they are unable to pursue routed British

Artillery fire on 4 Portuguese brigade
2D6 need 9, roll 10, hit and another 10% casualties
Portuguese already in rout and do not need to take morale

30 infantry complete occupation of farm

29, 31 and 32 infantry continue to rout


The game has ended in a comprehensive French victory.
Infantry, supported by cavalry and artillery, hold the farm

The entire British corps is in rout

French have lost 3700 casualties
British have lost 4300 casualties

In the next blog I will show casualties by brigade and explain the effect on the campaign.

Link to Wargame Rules