Sunday, 5 February 2023

Merida Campaign – Battle of Manchita


Start of game

15th French army have orders to take the walled town of Manchita

43rd French corps will arrive at the start of move 1

44th Westphalian corps will arrive at the start of move 5

45th Italian corps will arrive at the start of move 5

 

3rd Spanish army have orders to hold Manchita

7th Spanish corps are in and around the walled town of Manchita

8th Spanish corps will arrive at the start of move 1

9th Spanish corps will arrive at the start of move 5

 

French army are full strength, but have two infantry brigades detached

Spanish army are full strength, but only 7th corps have cavalry brigade

 

15th French Army – 10 infantry brigades, 3 cavalry brigade, 3 corps artillery

3rd Spanish Army – 12 infantry brigades, 1 cavalry brigade, 3 corps artillery

Battle of Santa Manchita – Move 12

The battle was won by 43rd French corps

But they could not have done so without the support of 45th Italian corps

7th Spanish corps held the French at bay until the Italians arrived

Their cavalry and artillery forced 7th corps to withdraw

The French then took the town.

The French lost 3 infantry and 4 cavalry casualties (1600 men)

The Spanish lost 9 infantry, 1 artillery and 1 cavalry casualties (3800 men)

 

Comments

The battle started badly for the French, when their cavalry lost the first melee

The town walls prevented the French gunners from being very effective

The infantry could only attack the front of the town

 

The arrival of 45th Italian corps on move 5 proved decisive

Their cavalry forced the Spanish outside the walls to form square

As their artillery opened fire the squares have to withdraw slowly

This allowed the French infantry to attack three sides of the town at once

The Spanish garrison lost 60% and routed, each French brigade lost 10%

 

45th Italian corps had open ground between the pass and the farm

So they arrived quickly, and were soon in action in support of the centre

 

44th Westphalian corps had to cross the hill on the right

This delay prevented the infantry from taking any part in the battle

Their artillery did open fire, but proved ineffective

 

8th Spanish corps arrived at the start of move one, and has no terrain obstacle

If they were allowed to advance they would prevent French infantry attacking the town

To delay them the Westphalian cavalry had to advance and suffered 10% casualties   

 

For most of the battle it seemed likely the Spanish would hold the town

They has two of their best infantry brigades in garrison

The town walls would give them added protection against artillery and infantry.

 

By move 10 their infantry support outside the town had been forced to withdraw

French infantry could advance to attack three sides of the town

The garrison suffered their first artillery casualties just as the French infantry attacked

The garrison was routed with 60% casualties, but the support brigade passed their morale

 

On move 12 one of the attacking French brigades entered the town

They pushed the broken garrison into the support brigade, who then lost their morale

 

It is interesting that 9th Spanish corps held against a deployed Italian corps

But 8th Spanish corps broke when attacked by Westphalian cavalry and artillery

One Spanish brigade was shaken when hit by artillery fire

Well placed Westphalian cavalry charged and broke the square

The routed infantry, pursued by the cavalry, broke the nearby artillery

As the gunners routed two nearby Spanish infantry brigades had to test their morale

Both failed, both routed.

 

The French have won a second battle with most of their army arriving too late to take part.  

Sunday, 29 January 2023

Merida Campaign Day 2


10 June 1813 – Southern Spain – Day 2


French attack the walled town of Manchita

 

In the north 1st Spanish army retreat to Adjucen having lost the battle of Santa Amalia

13th French army have occupied the town and are regrouping after the battle

Spanish guerrilla brigades have been active and have taken the town of Bargas.

 

In the centre 14th French army have closed up to the border in order to attack San Pedro

2nd Spanish army are taking up defensive positions just west of the border.

 

In the south 15th French army have attacked the walled town of Manchita

All movement in the mountains is in column of march

Both armies are dispersed and will reach the battlefield throughout the day

 

Comments

The French occupation of Santa Amalia has extended their lines of supply from Bargas to Tomjos

It has also left them open to attack by the Spanish guerrilla.

 

2nd militia brigade has attacked the convoy carrying two days supplies from Bargas to Tomjos. 

The skirmish is decided by rolling 1D6, which rolled a 3.  

This result caused the Spanish to withdraw without any casualties and the convoy to deliver their supplies to Tomjos.

 

1st militia brigade attacked the town of Bargas, and were more successful.  

They rolled a 6, resulting in the capture of the town and the garrison withdrawing having suffered 10% casualties.  

It also meant the loss of the two days supplies held there.  

Worse still it will disrupt the supply line from Toledo.   

13th French army will have to take urgent action to reopen their lines of supply

 

In the south the French have attacked Manchita

Both armies are widely dispersed and in difficult terrain

This will cause delay is some corps reaching the scene of the fighting

It will also mean that those corps will arrive on the table in column of march

 

It is only the second day of the campaign and already the French are suffering supply problems

Sunday, 22 January 2023

Merida Campaign – Battle of Santa Amalia


Start of game

French launch a surprise attack on Santa Amalia

The battle was fought by 1st Spanish and 37th French corp

Both armies are full strength at the start of the game

 

1st Spanish corps is in and around the town

2nd Spanish corps will arrive at the start of move 1

3rd Spanish corps will arrive at the start of move 5

 

37th French corps enters table at start of move 1

38th and 39th corps both arrive at the start of move 5

 

13th French Army – 10 infantry brigades, 3 cavalry brigade, 3 corps artillery

1st Spanish Army – 11 infantry brigades, 2 cavalry brigade, 3 corps artillery

Battle of Santa Amalia – Move 12

The battle was fought by 1st Spanish and 37th French corps

The remainder of both armies arrived too late to play much part in the fighting

The French waited until all of their army had arrived before they attacked the town

However the loss of the town caused the Spanish to lose heart and they retreated

The French lost 3 infantry and 1 cavalry casualties (1300 men)

The Spanish lost 5 infantry, 2 artillery and 1 cavalry casualties (2300 men) and six brigades in rout

 

Comments

The first battle of the campaign was fought by the best corps of each army

1st Spanish corps has four infantry, one cavalry and one artillery brigade

37th French corps is the only Young Guard corps in southern Spain

 

This was an experiment to see if an encounter battle would work on the wargames table. 

The Spanish had one corps on the table at the start of the game

One Spanish corps would arrive, in column of march, at the start of move one

One Spanish corps would arrive, along the same road, at the start of move five

One French corps would arrive, fully deployed, at the start of move one

Two French corps would arrive, deployed in column of attack, at the start of move five

 

It looked good at the planning stage, but did not work on the table.

The Spanish were able to deploy, but at the rear of the town rather than in front

The French reinforcements arrived too late to take any real part in the battle.

 

It soon became obvious to the French that they could not wait for their whole army

If they did so they would run out of time, and would not be able to take the town

The Young Guard artillery were able to deploy within short range of the town

They inflicted 20% casualties on the garrison, and their infantry took the town with ease

The guard cavalry routed the Spanish artillery, but were in turn driven off by Spanish dragoons

 

The loss of the town had an immediate effect on the Spanish army

The town was held by two brigades from 1st Spanish corps

The forward brigade took the artillery casualties

They were then routed by an infantry attack

The second brigade in the garrison joined the rout

 

The French cavalry now routed the nearby Spanish artillery

The gunners routed into their supporting infantry square

The rest of 1st Spanish corps now joined the rout

 

2nd and 3rd Spanish corps played little part in the battle

Just as they reached their deployment areas the town fell

They came under threat from the two French corps cavalry and artillery

As they received their first casualties both Spanish corps retreated.

 

A pretty convincing, though not unexpected, victory for the French

If they could not win with the best of their three armies they would be in trouble.

 

Not so good for the Spanish.  

They lost the first battle with the best of their three armies

And indeed they lost the battle with the best corps in their entire army

Sunday, 15 January 2023

Merida Campaign Day 1

 

9 June 1813 – Southern Spain – Day 1

The Spanish army deployed west of the Merida-Toledo district border.

Three corps occupy the border towns of Santa Amalia, San Pedro and Manchita.  

However they are not close enough to prevent the French crossing the border.

The remaining three corps are further west in Adjucen, Merida and Calamonte.

 

The French army are closer to the border, and all nine corps are deployed to attack

 

The campaign opens in the north where 13th French army attack Santa Amalia

 

Comments

The Spanish army are deployed in a defensive position.  

Their have three corps observing the border

But the remaining six corps are in reserve

This deployment makes it much easier to supply all nine corps

But there will be a delay of 4 and 8 hours for  the reserve corps to reach the front

 

The French army have concentrated in preparation for an advance into Merida region  

The three forward corps are in contact with the Spanish

The remaining six corps are out of sight, but can reach the border within 4 hours.

This deployment makes resupply more difficult.

 

The French have occupied all of the towns in Toledo region.

The Spanish garrisons of those towns have formed guerrilla brigades

Each of these brigades must operate within one square of their original town

For example 1 militia brigade was the garrison of Bargas

They must remain within one square of that town.

 

Each French corps can carry a maximum of four days supplies

Each Spanish corps, and militia brigade, can carry only three days

This gives the French a considerable movement advantage

It also allows them to go one day more without resupply

 

The entire French army have a minimum of 51 days supply

This is 36 with the corps and a reserve of 15 in the supply depots

This reserve is to allow time for supplies to be moved to each corps

 

The entire Spanish army has a minimum reserve of 38 days

This is 27 with the corps and a reserve of 11 days supply

 

Each town gathers one days supply each day

Any surplus required to make the daily minimum is received by the main supply base

This is Toledo for the French and Merida for the Spanish

Sunday, 8 January 2023

Happy New Year


We have just returned from the UK, having spent Christmas and New Year with our son and his family.

This was our first visit to the UK since December 2019, due of course to Covid

It was also the first time since then that I have been separated not only from my computer, but also our wargame

This will explain why I have not posted on the blog for three weeks


It is not a bad thing to have a complete break from our normal weekly routine

This includes, of course, not only the 1813 campaign but also the wargames table.

However I found that I really missed the weekly routine, though not so much the Wargaming and campaign

In fact it was a relief not to have to meet the weekly deadline to post on this blog and the 1813 campaign blog.

 

For the past 16 years our weekly routine has been dominated by Wargaming and our hill walking group

Jan and I have been walking in this part of Spain since we moved here in 2006

Having gained a comprehensive knowledge of the local walks we formed a walking group through the local U3A

Membership is mostly British ex pats, but also Dutch, Belgian and German.

Strangely no Spanish members.    This is not intentional on our part, but none have applied to join.

 

Over the years Jan and I have developed a pretty strict weekly routine

Monday we lead the hill walking group

Tuesday we visit the local town (Jalon) for the twice weekly shop

Wednesday I post the weekly walking blog and also the U3A and Jalon Facebook

Thursday I plan the next Monday walk and send an email to all members

Friday we visit the larger coastal town (Calpe) for our second weekly shop

Saturday I collate replies and prepare a map of the Monday walk

Sunday I rest!

 

The wargame fits in between the daily routine

Most afternoons we spend an hour or two Wargaming

When a game is completed I then spend the best part of one day updating the campaign

The next day I set up the next game

 

The above had resulted in a busy, but not hectic, weekly routine which suits us both very well

It is a good mixture of physical and mental activity

 

A year ago I started a new project, which has been very time consuming

I start the walking blog in 2009, and I take about 20 photos on each walk for the weekly blog

A couple of years ago a friend suggested that I make YouTube videos of them

At first it was intended to be an annual review, with about two photos from each walk

But gradually it extended and I am now making 6 to 10 videos of each month

At present I am up to 2018 and have done 131 visdeos.

I really enjoy making the videos, which are then available to friends and family to watch

Jan and I also watch one most days.

However this resulted in even less time for our Wargaming activities

 

Three months ago Jan went to see our doctor about increasing back pain

X-rays confirmed a couple of herniated discs

It is not life threatening, but it is very painful

The doctor confirmed she must take it easy until she can see a specialist

This meant she could no longer do our weekly hill walking, at least until her specialist appointment

This was a serious problem, because the walking group are our main social group

 

I didn’t want to stop the hill walking group, but I decided to start a second group

This would meet on a Thursday, and do easier three hour low level walks on good tracks

It has been very popular, and now has a membership of 20

For Jan it offers both regular exercise and a new set of walking friends

However it does double the amount of time I spend on administration.

 

The main casualty has been the 1813 campaign and this blog

We do try to fit in as much Wargaming as before, but it is very difficult

I find that we have to make a real effort to Wargaming each afternoon

And I never seem to have time to update the campaign.

 

I have always maintained that we find the time to do the things we really want to do

It is, of course, always a matter of priorities

And at present Wargaming has slipped from equal first priority to poor fourth priority

 

There is no chance that I will abandon my Wargaming entirely

But it may take a few months before I can find sufficient time to do it properly

At my present rate I should complete the backlog of the walking videos in about March

I will still have to produce two or three videos each month, but that will only take as many days

I should then have sufficient capacity to give the Wargaming the time it requires and deserves.

 

This problem is, of course, entirely self created

But I do enjoy all four projects and I am reluctant to give any of them up

And I am confident that I will be able to solve it by better time management

 

I plan to keep both this blog and the campaign blog going

I hope to post here each week, and at least once a week on the 1813 campaign blog.

You will be the first to know if I fail to do so

 

Happy New Year one and all

 

 

Sunday, 18 December 2022

Merida Campaign Phase

Map of Spain

This map shows the location of the four army groups in Spain.  

Each square is a military district.  

Nine squares is a military region.  

The stars show the location of previous campaigns fought in Spain. 

The colour of the star indicates which side won.  


The white star shows the location of Merida

This map shows the current location of the four armies.
The colour of stars indicated which army has won the previous campaign phases.    

Map of South Spain

This map shows the location of the French and Spanish army.  

Each square is a military district.  

Nine squares is a military region.  

The stars show the location of previous campaigns fought in Spain. 

The colour of the star indicates which side won

 

There are three regions in Southern Spain

Lisbon Region (on the left) is held by the Portuguese army

Valencia Region (on the right) is the held by irregular Spanish forces        

Seville Region is the disputed area in the middle

 

This map shows the current location of the French and Spanish armies

Seville Region

This map shows the location of the French and Spanish army. 

Each square is a military district.  

Nine squares is a military region.  

The stars show the location of previous campaigns fought in Spain. 

The colour of the star indicates which side won

 

This map is used for strategic (planning) movement.

 

Merida/Toledo District

This map shows the campaign area

It covers the area between Merida and Toledo

The district border is in the middle of the map

 

It shows the location of each French and Spanish corps.

It also shows depots and detached brigades

Each square is a 2x2 foot scenic square.  

Nine squares is a wargames table.  

Nine squares is also a military district.   

 

This map is used for tactical (daily) movement

 

The Spanish objective is to hold the city of Merida

The French objective is to defeat the Spanish army

Comments

This is the 84th campaign phase since the 1813 campaign started in April 2009

It is the 12th campaign phase since the campaign was last revised in June 2020

The last revision resulted in new maps showing military regions and districts


This is also the second campaign phase since the introduction of nine corps per side instead of six

The increased armies has required considerable change to the administration of the campaign

It is still being play tested, but after one campaign phase had greatly improved the wargames resulting from the campaign

 

The major change is supply and depots.

There are twelve towns on the campaign map, the same number of corps in the previous order of battle

Until now one town supplied one days supplies for each corps

Now that there are nine corps per side the depot has to supply the extra three days per side

This has required new supply rules to avoid the administration becoming too complicated

 

In the previous campaign, set in northern Germany, this worked well

However in Spain there is the additional complication of guerrilla groups.

Their function is to attack French garrisons and convoys

The garrisons remain the same, but the number of convoys has increased

Consequently the rules for the guerrilla has had to be rewritten.

 

The main change is that each guerrilla band will be able to attack one day in three

The other two they will be moving back to their village, resupplying and regrouping

 

I want the guerrilla to have an influence on the campaign, but not to dominate it

The rules have been simplified to allow for more guerrilla attacks than previously

Each time a depot is attacked the French will be unable to gather one days supplies

An attack on a convoy will only affect the French if the guerrilla are able to capture it

All casualties, both French and Spanish, will automatically be replaced by the respective field armies

This means both guerrilla bands and French garrison will always be full strength

But for each casualty one brigade in the respective field army will lose 10% casualties

 

As always, these new rules will be revised at the end of the campaign phase.


Sunday, 11 December 2022

End of Goslar Campaign


Goslar Campaign Area

There were six battles fought, the Prussians won four and the French just two.

 

The campaign objective, the city of Goslar, was held by the French throughout the campaign.  

But by the end of the campaign Blucher has taken Osterode and routed Third French Army and outnumbered the French three to two.

Brunswick Region

There have been three campaigns in the Brunswick Region since the Sixth Campaign began

in September 2020.  

The French won two and the Prussians just one.

Of the 17 battles fought the French won ten and the Prussians seven

Europe

Since the 1813 campaign began in April 2009 there have been 16 campaign phases fought in Northern Europe between Napoleon and Blucher.  

The French won eight and the Prussians also eight.

 

Comments

At first sight this campaign, which began two years ago, was unusual in that Napoleon was beaten by Blucher.

In this current campaign the French beat the Prussians two campaigns to one

They also won ten battles and the Prussians only seven


However throughout the whole 1813 campaign, which began 13 years ago, both sides won 8 phases.

 

The French have the Imperial Garde corps, which has better quality troops than any of the Prussians corps

However when both armies are compared the number of elite brigades is similar.

 

One of my objectives in planning the 1813 campaign was that both sides should be equal

The campaign is designed to provide interesting battles to wargame.

So it was important that formations like the Imperial Garde should not win every battle

It would be possible, but a lot of work, to determine how many of their battles they did in fact win

But the fact that the French and Prussians each won eight phases seems to indicate that  I was reasonably successful.