Sunday, 12 January 2014

New Campaign Supply Rules

The battle of Figueras

We are now firmly back in wargame mode.

During the week we finished a large Spanish v French wargame.   It was one of three campaign games waiting to be fought.

It was an encounter battle with four of the five corps from each side taking part.   Both commanders had issued orders to attack Figueras (centre right in photo), and both armies arrived piece meal.

The Spanish held their own until during the first six moves, whilst the French arrived and deployed.  But once the French attacked it was all over.  You can read the full battle report on the PBEM campaign diary blog

The result was as expected.   The Spanish fought reasonably well.  It turned out to be an enjoyable wargame.   But it did make me ponder what the Spanish could do now.   Although they had not lost major casualties, they could not hope to fight the fully concentrated French army. 

The French had achieved the campaign objective within three days.   There was nothing to stop them concentrating their whole army at Figueras and waiting for the Spanish to attack.
If the Spanish could not hope to win an encounter battle, they certainly could not hope to win when attacking equal numbers of French in defence.

It made me realise that there is a serious flaw in the campaign rules.  

Supply is pretty simple in my campaign.   Each side has a main supply depot.   They can establish as many forward supply depots as they require.   Each must have a garrison of one infantry brigade.   Each can supply all five corps.   Each corps must be within 15 miles (three map squares).

The major problem for French commanders in the Peninsula was to keep their armies concentrated.   I recall reading “small armies are defeated, large armies starve”.   This did not apply in my campaign.

I can achieve this quite easily with a simple change in the supply rules.   Each forward depot will only be able to supply one or two corps.   There are five corps in an army, so they will have to disperse to three towns (a distance of 65 miles/13 squares).  

They can carry five days supplies, and they can concentrate as long as they have supplies.  This will allow them to concentrate for about three days.   They will then have to move within 15 miles of their respective supply depot to resupply.  During this period they will be open to attack by a concentrated Spanish army.

This solution has the advantage of being easy to understand and for me to manage as umpire.   It will also make the task of each army commander a little more challenging than it is now.  

Whether it will work or not – only time will tell

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