Monday, 6 July 2009

Blog Review 13

Magdeburg Campaign
Finished playing the Battle of Magdeburg during the week and it then proved to be the last battle of the campaign. It was one of those games which seemed to go on forever. In fact we started it in mid June, and we have been in UK for 10 days, so we actually played it for about two weeks. I was using this game to experiment with the best way to write battle reports, so we only played one move a day and then I photographed the table and wrote up each move. In fact it was one of our better wargames, because it was not decided until very near the end.

I had a very clever strategy which involved me loading my right flank at the expense of everywhere else. Just as I was about to smash Jans left flank with my cavalry division, supported by a full corps, she charged my leading cavalry brigade with her solitary one. I threw two dice, 1 and 3, and lost the melee. Not only lost, but routed. The supporting cavalry brigade and horse artillery had to test morale and also failed, and also routed! The infantry made their morale, but dared not advance without cavalry support. My very clever plan had just fallen apart. Then, out of the centre where they had been hidden behind Magdeburg, appeared Jans cavalry division. My whole army ground to a halt, and formed square.
You can read all about it at

In addition to the battle report, I have also tidied up the whole campaign blog. This battle proved to be the end of the campaign, and a very satisfactory one. After great initial success the Prussians were driven back over the river Elbe. But they kept hold of Magdeburg, so there is good scope for a follow up campaign in northern Germany. Either a Prussian advance to Hanover, or a French drive across the Elbe towards Berlin.

Walking Napoleonic Battlefields
The coach trip has left Albuera and started the long drive north to Cuidad Rodrigo. On the way we stop at the subject of this weeks blog – the roman bridge at Alcantara. Not one of the most famous locations during the Peninsular War, but an important one in 1809 (when Wellington destroyed it) and 1812 (when he repaired it). It was vital to the French during this period as it was the only crossing of the river Tagus in western Spain, and its loss would involve a very lengthy detour. Read all about it here

But I am looking forward to next weeks offering, which will be Cuidad Rodrigo itself. This was one of my favorite locations of the Spanish battlefields, both during our 1991 Holts Tour and also later on our own.

1813 Campaign
I feel that there is a good chance of this blog being overlooked entirely due to my creating a new blog for each phase of the campaign. This means that there is not much work done on this blog, and when there is it is to an existing blog, such as the Campaign Diary, and is not obvious to a casual visitor. This is a shame, as this blog contains the nuts and bolts of the whole campaign and is, to my mind, the most interesting part of the whole thing. Furthermore it is constantly updated with what is happening on the mini blog (for example Magdeburg Campaign).

To make it a little easier for new visitors to find their way around this blog I have added a new Summary of 1813 Campaign. This is the first page anyone will see, and I hope will tempt them to try the links to find out more about how the campaign was created or look at the photographs of the campaign armies or how the map movement works.

If you are interested you can find it at
Wargames in Spain
This blog is not about wargames set in Spain, it is a history of the wargames Jan and I have played since we came to Spain in 2006. The latest offering has the unusual title Battle of Gotha. It was part of an earlier 1813 campaign, very similar to the present one. This game involved a French and Russian battle not too far from Halle in Germany. I like these battle reports because they are simple and easy to understand. They consist of four photographs. The first is the table before the game starts, it was used to send to any competing player so he could plan his game before he arrived. The next three are usually taken from one side of the table showing left, centre and right. You can see what I mean at
What’s Happening Next Week
The major job is to set up the next mini campaign of the 1813 Campaign. It is set in eastern Spain and involves Spanish v French. It’s a Baylen type campaign, where the Spanish have lured the French up into the mountains and then attempt to destroy the garrison of Tarragona before the French can get their act together and relieve them. The campaign is easy, the difficulty will be getting the rules right so that the Spanish have a chance to win. We have played a number of similar games recently and they usually work quite well. Games usually involve the Spanish having 2 to 1, and all is well unless the French roll bad dice. Or they allow the Spanish a lot of hidden deployment, and the French have to get through without deploying for a full battle. Both interesting games if you can get the rules right, and throw the right dice. It will be interesting to see how it works out.

I will be starting the new blog early in the week, and will put the campaign background, campaign diary, campaign movement and orders of battle on as I type them up. I also hope to start the first wargame from the campaign during the week.

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