Sunday, 5 February 2017

Back to Spain

Spanish Field Army

Our current campaign phase is coming to an end, and I have started work on the next phase, which will be set in Spain.

Each phase is a mini campaign set within the larger 1813 campaign.   There are five campaign areas, each with a different allied and French army.   The current one is set in southern Germany and pits a Bavarian and Baden Army against an Austrian Army.

The next phase will be set in southern Spain and will feature a Spanish Army v a mixed French, Polish and Italian Army.   Given that it is set in 1813 it is reasonable that there is not a lot of difference in the ability of the two armies.   The French Armies in Spain had lost many of their best soldiers to rebuild the veterans lost in Russia the previous year.  

This will be the fourth phase set in Southern Spain.   The Spanish have won two of the previous phases, leading me to ponder whether I have the balance between them and the French correct.

The Spanish infantry are mostly of poor quality, the same as the conscript brigades in the French and Polish corps, and also most of the brigades in the Italian corps.  The Spanish cavalry are also poor, and the French cavalry average.   The gunners on both sides are average.

The campaign is designed to provide interesting wargames to play, rather than to recreate the historical 1813 campaign.  This campaign was chosen because there was much less difference in fighting ability between the French and their enemies.   So it suits me very well that the Spanish are not predisposed to lose every battle.

However I do want to give a phase set in Spain a Spanish feel to it.   To do so I have made the Spanish field army smaller than the French.   But they also have a militia brigade in each town, a total of nine.   This is a lot of infantry, as each corps has only four brigades.   When a town is captured by the French the militia brigade becomes a guerrilla band.   They are poor quality and usually lose against even a poor French brigade.  But they do causes disruption of supplies and have to be countered by detaching brigades from the French field army.

As always a lot will depend on the luck of the dice.  Because the two sides are of similar effectiveness a wargame is usually decided by good, or bad, dice.   However over a campaign of 6 to 8 battles this should even out.

The main advantage of the Spanish in the campaign, as in the historical campaign, is the effect of the guerrilla.   As the French advance they have to detach more and more infantry to guard their lines of communication and supply.  

The task now is to fine tune the difference in fighting ability.   Each infantry brigade is graded on firing, skirmish and morale.  I want the French to have a slight edge, but not too powerful.   That is really difficult to achieve when each combat is adjusted by a dice throw.


Phil said...

Cool, nice looking army!

Robert (Bob) Cordery said...

Looking very interesting!

I have yet to add any Spanish troops to my Napoleonic collection, but hope to do so one day.

All the best,


thistlebarrow said...

Hi Bob

Thanks for your comment.

I would be interested to see how you handle the problem. Most wargamers seem to make the Spanish so weak that they have very little change of winning a game. This approach is based on the historical fact that the Spanish lost almost all of the formal battles they took part in. However this must make it a pretty dismal prospect for any wargamer unfortunate enough to have to field a Spanish army. I am sure that one or two games might be made interesting by giving them a very limited objective within the game. But I cannot imagine any wargamer wanting to command a Spanish army in a series of wargames. And of course this is the prospect we are faced with in this type of campaign.



thistlebarrow said...

Hi Phil

Sorry, I have just seen your comment

The Spanish do look very attractive, shame they do not often live up to their looks!