Thursday, 9 February 2012

The battle of Miravat

The battle of Miravat - start of game

This is the second of our three current campaign battles.

The background is a Spanish corps has surrounded a French brigade at Miravat. When they hear that a French corps is approaching they leave one of their brigades to contain the garrison, and deploy the rest of the corps in a wide valley which commands the approach to Miravat.

The wargame is interesting for two reasons.

First the Spanish have opted to fight a French corps of similar strength. In our rules the Spanish have a slight disadvantage in terms of quality of troops and commanders. But in addition they have weaker firepower and skirmish ability. At the briefing stage of the campaign I advised Spanish commanders not to accept battle unless they had a distinct advantage. Despite this the Spanish commander passed on the opportunity to raise the siege and retire, and opted to fight.

The second interesting aspect is that the battle starts at midday. Each campaign move is four hours, and three moves make a full campaign day. At the end of each move the players are advised of any enemy sighted, and they have the option to retreat if they wish.

So each campaign day is 12 hours, and each wargame designed to last 12 moves. Because this battle started at 1200 hours, the wargame only has 8 moves to nightfall. This is sufficient time for the attacker to march across the table and reach the defender. But it is not really sufficient time to fight the resulting battle.

The result is that the French commander has had to “go for it”. No time for clever manoeuvre. Probably only one chance to hit and beat the Spanish. I believe that this happened quite often in Spain, so I am not unhappy to try it out in the campaign.

But it will be interesting to see whether my rules result in a good wargame and historical battle. As always, much will depend on the luck of the dice.

If you would like to follow the battle report you will find it at


Steven said...

One thing you can say about the Spanish - they always surprise.

thistlebarrow said...

Hi Steven

I have always felt that the Spanish are the most difficult of the napoleonic armies to wargame.

I have always felt that it is unfair to ask any player to fight a game where they are almost certain to lose.

On the other hand it is difficult to give the Spanish historical characteristics, but still give them a change to win.

And, of course, a good or poor dice throw will upset the balance of any rules.

So I am quite pleased with the outcome of the first two Spanish v French battles.

The Spanish did win the first battle. Mind with oddds of two to one they should have done so. And the French were able to withdraw in reasonably good order. Better still the French are badly damaged, and it will be interesting to see what the French player will do in the campaign to recover.

In the second battle they lost, as they should have done. But again they are still capable to making a come back in the campaign.