Sunday, 3 February 2013

A Very Spanish Victory

Spanish rout the Italians

We are now back into the 1813 PBEM campaign, and have just finished the first wargame since our Christmas break.

This phase of the fictional campaign is set in northern Spain, and deals with Wellington’s attempt to take Burgos.  The French have fought, and lost, all four battles so far.   I was hoping for a French victory this time, but it was not to be.

There are three corps per side, each of two divisions.   Each allied corps has one Anglo-Portuguese division and one Spanish one.   Each French corps has one French division and one Italian, Westphalian or Polish division. 

Each French or British division consists of three good and one poor infantry brigade.   Each Italian, Westphalian or Polish division has two good and two poor infantry brigades.   Each Spanish division has one good and three poor infantry brigades.   In addition there is a wide range of skirmish, firing and melee ability between the different nationalities.   Finally the French and British have Average commanders, the others mostly Poor commanders.

Our wargame rules rely heavily on command and control and dice, and this results in very unpredictable wargames.   The odds are against the Spanish, but only slightly.

Our latest wargame had the French corps in a good defensive position at Pancorbo, defending the main road from Burgos to Bayonne.   The British division arrived at the start of move one, but the Spanish did not arrive until the start of move five.   The British took a battering from the French artillery whilst they waited for the Spanish to arrive.   It looked like I would get my wish for a French victory.

Then it all went “pear shaped”.   The Spanish have a very brittle morale, but for this to be tested they have to receive casualties.   They only had one casualty throughout the whole game, and then they rolled a high morale dice.

The French were attacking the Italian division, who could do no right.   Their cavalry lost a melee with poor quality Spanish lancers.   Their artillery failed to hit the Spanish infantry columns, even at canister range.   Their skirmisher and volley fire failed to stop the Spanish charging home.  The result was an Italian rout.

It was one of those games where there was a high proportion of low dice, except on the one occasion when the Spanish had to test their morale.   In a non campaign game I would probably have rolled again when the French gunners rolled a total of three with two D6 at the critical moment.  But this would not be acceptable in a PBEM campaign where we are fighting the battle on behalf of the two campaign players.

The end result was a marginal allied victory.  The British division lost heavily, as did the Italian  division.   The Spanish and French divisions suffered little.  The French had to retreat, leaving the allies with a minor victory.

If you would like to read the battle report you will find it here:


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