The Battle of Olot
I have always found wargaming a Spanish army to be a real challenge.
It’s not too bad if they have a limited objective, and it is a one off game. They usually end up running away, which is fine from an historical point of view. And indeed if they were to defeat a similar sized French army it would seem odd.
But as part of a campaign it becomes an even greater challenge and particularly a PBEM like ours where one player only has a Spanish army to campaign with. I am very aware that a series of defeats is likely to result in a sharp loss of interest in the campaign.
So I have tried various ways to enhance the ability of the Spanish army. They have two guerrilla bands to cause disruption of the French lines of communication and provide intelligence.
I have also increased the size of the Spanish army from four corps to five, and the addition is a British corps. So they outnumber the French. I had hoped that this would move the balance to their favour.
However a Spanish army has to consist of mainly low quality troops, and poor commanders. A numerical advantage in infantry and artillery does help, but only if the luck is on the side of the Spanish. Once one brigade fails their morale and runs, nearby brigades are likely to join the rout if they are poor quality.
I had great hopes for our latest Spanish v French battle. At Olot three French corps attack three Spanish, but the latter have a fourth corps within four hours/game moves. So they only had to hold for four game moves.
The Spanish had a good defensive position, with lots of hills to hide behind and keep them safe from French artillery. The French attacked, took the right hand hill with ease, and routed the Spanish defenders into the reinforcements arriving behind them. The game ended in seven of the twelve moves.
So back to the drawing board!