Sunday, 5 December 2021

Cuidad Real Campaign - Day 6


26 April 1813 – Southern Spain – Day 6

The French cavalry are securing the supply routes from Tomelloso, Balzote and Alcaraz to the front line.  But guerrilla activity continues against the rear depots of La Roda, Albacete and Pozo.   At La Roda they rout the garrison and capture the town together with one day’s supplies.

Marshal Soult is aware that he must bring this campaign to a quick result, or risk losing his complicated lines of supply.   However all three of his armies are over extended, in need of supply and have lost most of their cavalry to patrol the lines of supply.  The longer the French delay, the stronger the Spanish become.

The least affected of his three armies is 13th in the north at Consuegra.   The infantry and artillery are relatively intact, but his best cavalry brigade is detached to secure his lines of supply.   His second brigade has 20% casualties.   Despite this he is ordered to attack Malagon.

2nd Spanish army is tasked with the defence of Malagon.   They occupy a strong position just east of the town.   They also outnumber the French in infantry and even cavalry, and have a similar number of guns.

Battle of Malagon end of move 6

26th Polish corps is in position to attack, but 25th French corps is further west to remain closer to the rear depots and help secure supply convoys.   They will not arrive until midday.

3rd Spanish corps deploy close to the exits from the hills, to engage the French as they move into the plain.    This unexpected deployment forces the Poles to halt and deploy immediately they spot the Spanish.   The Polish cavalry brigade is detached to patrol the supply lines, so they have no answer to the full strength Spanish dragoon brigade.

The Poles use the woods for cover to deploy.  They send their artillery forward to force the guerrilla band out of the walled farm, and they then engage the Spanish cavalry.   The cavalry withdraw, but not before they receive 10% casualties.   The guerrilla also retreat, but receive 20% casualties from the French gunners.

There is no room for the Spanish to attack, so they just fire on the French gunners.   This continues until 25th French corps start to arrive.  

With the arrival of 25th corps, General Morillo can see that his plan to engage the head of the French column has failed.  He immediately orders both of his corps to fall back to Malagon.

Comments

I was not expecting Jan to use this unusual Spanish tactic of moving forward to attack the head of the French column.    This forced the Polish corps to deploy right on the edge of the table.   Here they were protected by a large woods, but were close to a guerrilla occupied walled farm.   Any advance would expose them to fire from the farm, a much larger corps to their front, and a second Spanish corps within supporting distance.

The Polish artillery unlimbered on the table edge, within short range of the farm.   Their first rounds caused the guerrilla band 10% casualties.  They immediately started to withdraw, but lost another 10% before they could do so.

For four moves, which is four hours campaign time, the Poles hid behind the woods.   The Spanish artillery could not fire through the woods, but they could fire on the Polish gunners.   If the Polish infantry entered the woods the Spanish gunners would be within close range and even the cover of the trees would not protect the Polish infantry.

On move five the French corps started to arrive.   Jan immediately started to withdraw both of her corps towards the town.  However before the Spanish cavalry could retreat the Polish gunners caused them 10% casualties.

Although there were six moves left before nightfall, it was too late for the French to catch the retreating Spanish and attack them.   They would run the risk of casualties from the redeployed Spanish artillery, and would then have to retreat during darkness to recreate the required 24” gap required for a new battle next morning.

So the French contented themselves of moving forward to the edge of the right hand table squares, whilst the Spanish retreated to the left hand table squares.  This would leave the centre 24” squares between the two armies.

A second day of battle would be required to decide the fate of Malagon.   During darkness both armies could redeploy as they wished, providing that they did not enter the centre 24” no man’s land.

Despite their casualties the Spanish would still outnumber the French.   Even with 10% casualties their cavalry brigade would still be stronger than the French brigade with 20% casualties.

However the die was now cast.   A French retreat was out of the question.  Whatever the outcome a second battle would be fought at Malagon.

Despite the apparent lack of activity this was a surprisingly interesting game for me as Polish commander.   My main aim was to damage the Spanish cavalry, as they would dominate the second day otherwise.   It was pure luck that I managed to do so on the last move of the game.

I suspect that I will lose the second battle of Malagon, but I am really looking forward to gaming it.

Sunday, 28 November 2021

Cuidad Real Campaign - Day 5


25 April 1813 – Southern Spain – Day 5

Spanish guerrilla activity has caused a collapse in the French supply system.   Marshal Suchet orders 13th and 15th armies to detach one of their cavalry brigades to secure their lines of supply.   14th army, in the centre, will send both of their cavalry brigades to secure the main supply road from Albacete.

Despite the loss of half of their cavalry, 15th French army are ordered to attack Almagro.

Battle of Almagro end of move 6

3rd Spanish army occupy a strong position in front of Almagro.   They also outnumber the French in infantry brigades.   To mount an attack the French must first move through the mountains.

30th Westphalian corps are ordered to pin 6th Spanish corps, but not to attack.   29th French corps, less their artillery, are ordered to attack 5th Spanish corps. A strong reserve of both artillery batteries and two infantry brigades, are deployed in the centre, to support either wing.

Unable to attack both Spanish corps, the French concentrate on 5th corps.  Supported by the reserve, 19th corps soon rout the Spanish left wing.

But it takes all morning, and there is not enough time left to redeploy and attack the town.   However the French have forced one Spanish corps to retreat, and are now clear of the mountains.

Comments

Despite their continued success the French are finding it difficult to inflict a decisive defeat on the Spanish.   The loss of so much of their cavalry to secure their lines of supply has put the French field army at a disadvantage.

The Spanish have more infantry and the same quantity of artillery.  The only French advantage is in cavalry.   To avoid unacceptable casualties the French must pin one of the Spanish flanks and attack the other with all of their artillery. 

The redeployed cavalry have at least secured the lines of supply.   There has been no guerrilla activity all day, and supplies are being moved forward to support the main field army.

Sunday, 21 November 2021

Cuidad Real Campaign - Day 4

 

24 April 1813 – Southern Spain – Day 4

Guerrilla attack Tomelloso and Pozo.  

They also ambush and capture a convoy of three days supplies

 

13th French army occupy Consuegra

2nd Spanish army retreat to Malagon

 

14th French army attack Cuidad Real

1st Spanish army defend Cuidad Real

 

15th French army redeploy to attack Almagro

3rd Spanish army regroup at Almagro

 

Battle of Cuidad Real end of move 10

To reach the city the French must move through the pass (far right)

It will take at least 8 of the 12 moves to do so.

 

The Spanish deploy their artillery to cover the exit from the pass.  Any attempt to do so must result in heavy French casualties.

27th French corps leads the French column.  They turn right and climb the hill into the northern valley.   They then move towards the city.   The Spanish reserve of one cavalry and two infantry brigades occupy the hill.

Meanwhile the French reserve of both artillery batteries and two infantry brigades move through the pass.   The leading battery deploys at the mouth of the pass, the second battery deploys on top of the southern hill. 

28th Italian corps turn left and cross the hills into the southern valley.  However this takes them the rest of the day.

As soon as the French clear the pass the Spanish commander orders 1st and 2nd corps to withdraw to the city and the woods.   His reserve continue to hold the hill facing the river to cover this withdrawal.

There is only one combat in the whole day.   2nd Spanish lancers charge the leading French battery as they deploy at the exit from the pass.   The gunners fire at close range (two “sixes”) and rout the Spanish cavalry.

The Spanish claim a victory because they hold the city at nightfall.

Comments

This was an unusual wargame.  

The Spanish outnumbered the French in infantry.  They also occupied an excellent defensive position in front of the city.   They deployed well forward, so that their artillery could cover the western exit from the pass.

Any attempt by the French to march through the pass would result in heavy casualties.  The head of the column would come under fire from both Spanish batteries.

It was decided to move the leading French corps over the hills on the north of the pass, and the second French corps the hills on the south.  A reserve of both French batteries would move through the pass, supported by two infantry brigades.   The leading battery would open fire as soon as they reached the exit.  The second battery would deploy on the southern hill.  They would engage the enemy whilst the two corps advanced either side of the pass.

The Spanish cavalry charged the leading French battery as they deployed at the mouth of the pass.  Had they charged home the French gunners would have routed back into the pass, disrupting the long column behind them.     This would have given the Spanish a real victory.

However the Spanish cavalry were routed, due to an exception dice throw.   2D6 were thrown to decide how effective the French artillery were.   Both came up six!

Despite this set back the French are doing extremely well in the set piece battles.  However their rear areas are under constant attack by the Spanish guerrillas.   And the loss of a convoy with sufficient supplies for three corps is a major loss.

Sunday, 14 November 2021

Cuidad Real Campaign - Day 3

23 April 1813 – Southern Spain – Day 3

Spanish guerrilla continue to attack the French rear area, but are not having much success.   La Roda and Pozo come under attack again, but by different bands.   One is routed at La Roda with 30% casualties, the other is a draw and both sides lose 10% casualties.

13th French army attack 2nd Spanish army at Consuegra

Battle of Consuegra end of move 10

The Spanish occupy a walled town in the hilly region north of the river Guadiana.   The town is held by two infantry brigades, with the rest of the army deployed in and behind the nearby hills.

Taking such a position is a difficult task for 13th French army.   Once more the artillery of both corps, plus two elite infantry brigades, are concentrated under the command of the army commander.

Each corps pins one flank, whilst the reserve moves into close artillery range of the town.   The aim is to reduce the garrison, and then attack with both infantry brigades.  Unfortunately the artillery fail to do much damage, and the garrison still hold at nightfall.

However they only do so by withdrawing their army behind the cover of the town.  The Spanish commander is aware that he could not fight a second day in such circumstances.  He orders his army to retreat under cover of darkness.

Comments

A third victory for the French, even though the Spanish still held the town at nightfall.  However it was a very costly one, particularly for the French cavalry.   The French have now achieved their initial objectives, but have failed to destroy the Spanish army.  And the French lines of communication are now under constant attack from guerrilla bands.

In all three battles the Spanish have managed to hold their town, usually by withdrawing their flanks as the French advance.   In the last two battles the very hilly terrain greatly favoured these Spanish tactics.   The French have had to use their cavalry against the Spanish gunners, and this has proved very costly.

The Spanish are now concentrated around the towns of Malagon, Cuidad Real and Almagro.   In this position they are easily supplied from the main depot at Cuidad Real.  

The French must now regroup and garrison the captured towns of Consuegra, Damiel and Valdepnas.   Before they can advance further west they must build up these new depots, resupply their corps and replace their battle casualties.   Meanwhile their rear area of La Roda, Albacete and Pozo are open to constant attack from the many guerrilla bands.

The longer the French delay the more their lines of supply come under attack, with the very real risk that they may have to send back infantry from the field army to support the depot garrisons.   Each day that they delay they must bring forward sufficient supplies to feed the six corps of the field army.  

The French commander is well aware that if he is to win this campaign he must find a balance between building up his weakened army, and risk running out of supplies.  

Sunday, 7 November 2021

Finding a new owner for Large Napoleonic Collection


I am making progress in my latest project of finding a new home for my 18mm AB Napoleonic collection.   I am still at the planning and research part of the project, and in particular photographing the collection.

I have long recorded my 1813 campaign by photographing all of the many wargames.   I also have a weekly blog of our hill walking activities, and these have many photographs of each walk.   But I am no great photographer by any means, nor do I possess a camera of sufficient quality to photograph large quantities of 18mm figures.

I think the photographs I have taken give a reasonably good illustration of how the figures look on the wargames table.   But I am very aware that they do not give a good impression of the standard of painting.

When anyone mentions selling wargame figures the response is always based on “the standard of painting”.   How can I determine whether my standard is good, bad or reasonable?   The phase “a good wargame standard” is often used.  But my good wargame standard may be far below the prospective buyer.

So this week I have been trying to take clearer close up photographs.   On this blog you will see my initial results.  I hope that you will agree that they do at least show the detail?   I am a little concerned that they may show too much detail.    Given the size of these figures you, or at least I, could never see  them in such detail with the naked eye.   And that is how they will always be viewed.   Mostly they will be seen on the wargames table, which my earlier photographs do quite well.   Or you may pick them up and look closely.  But I doubt you will see much more details that in my earlier photographs of groups of 4-8 figures.

I have used a dice to reinforce the size of the figures, and to remind everyone that you will never actually see them this close unless you use a magnifying glass.   I just hope that showing so much detail does not detract from the actual impact of them with the naked eye.

I must now turn my attention to price, packing and postage.

Once more I am very grateful for all of the advice and encouragement I have received.   In particular to Lee Gramson, who has given me lots of good advice.   Many of you will know Lee from his blog “A figures painting therapy project”.   He is a prolific and gifted painter of many different scales.   I have followed his blog for quite a few years, and am fascinated by the wide range of projects he takes on.   Until recently most of them had the objective of wargaming, but once completed he seemed to lose interest and move on to the next project.   I was particularly interested to see that he seemed to be able to find buyers for the painted figures for the abandoned project.    He has also painted figures commercially for a few customers, and has now expanded to commercial painting full time – at least at present.

Lee was one of the first to write and offer assistance in the project, an offer I was quick to take up.   He suggested an asking price of twice the current cost of a casting.   At present AB are £0.80 for foot, £1.55 for mounted and £3.80 for a gun model.  It is a long time since I bought any wargame figures, and I was quite surprised they are so expensive.   But I would be very pleased to get £1.50 for foot, £3.00 for mounted and £7.00 for a gun model.   Slightly less than double the casting price, but more than I anticipated when I started the project.

Not sure how I will tackle packing.   My initial thoughts are to use plastic storage boxes which you can buy in all of the Chinese shops here in Spain for a couple of euros.   I will have to see what packing material is available, but I would probably prefer bubble wrap if I can find it.   In the past I have always removed figures from the stands, which helps to avoid damage and results in tight packing.  I am not sure that prospective buyers would be happy with this suggestion, and may well prefer them with the bases.

Finally I will have to find out the cost of postage from Spain.   I would hope to be able to offer them throughout Europe, and perhaps USA and Australia.   But that will depend on the cost of postage.

So plenty more research to do next week.   Hopefully within a couple of weeks I will have solved all of these problems and be able to offer them for sale.

Any thoughts or suggestions very welcome as always.

Saturday, 30 October 2021

Index of AB figures

Each set of figures has its own blog and its own label.

To find a particular set click on the label on the right

To enlarge a photo click on it

 

Label 80 – Whole Collection

Label 81 – Austrian

Label 82 – British and Portuguese

Label 83 – Prussian

Label 84 – Russian

Label 85 – Spanish

Label 86 – French Guard

Label 87 – French Cavalry and Artillery

Label 88 – French Infantry

Label 89 – French Allies – Bavarian

Label 90 – French Allies – Westphalian, Polish, Italian, Baden

Label 91 – French Vehicles and all nations Guns

Label 92 – French and Allied Skirmishers


Nation               Generals       Cavalry        Infantry       Gunners           Mounted          Foot   


Austria                    7                   16                 128               16                     23                 144

British                     7                   16                 124               16                     23                 140

Prussia                   7                   16                 128               16                     23                 144

Russia                    7                   16                 128               16                     23                 144

Spanish                  6                     8                 128               16                     14                 144

French guard         12                   16                 128                 8                     28                 136

French cavalry         4                   48                                                          52

French artillery                                                                      24                                           24

French infantry        7                                      128                                      7                 128

French allies            4                                      128                                      4                 128

Bavarian                  5                    8                   96                 8                     13                 104   

French skirmishers                                             56                                                           56

Allied skirmishers                                                28                                                           28

Total                      66                 144               1200             120                     210               1320  

 

                                                                                                                                     

 

16 guns

1 ambulance

1 pontoon

1 caisson

1 baggage    

Napoleonic AB figures for sale – Skirmishers

Austrian


Bavarian


British


French light infantry


French light infantry


French line infantry


French line infantry


French line infantry


French line infantry

Russian


Prussian


Organisation

These were spare figures which were used to provide “blinds” in our campaign games.   “Blinds” are used for hidden movement at the start of each game.   One blind represents one corps, plus one or two where there are no corps.   When the two armies come within sight of each other the “blinds” are removed and replaced with figures

Figures by type

austrian         4

british            8

prussian        8

russian          8

bavarian        8

french light   16

french line     32

Total figures

infantry         84