Sunday 27 July 2014

Drawn Campaign Battles

Table at end of game

The battle of Salvatiere was an evenly balanced wargame, with three corps per side.  

The French had a slight advantage in infantry, but they were attacking and would need it.   They started with two corps on the table, and a third would arrive at the start of move three (of twelve)

The British started with just one corps on the table.   A second would arrive at the start of move three, and a third start of move eight.   So they would be outnumbered for two thirds of the game.  And when the third corps did arrive they would only have four moves to achieve anything.

The table layout prompted the French to attack in the north, where they outnumbered the British two to one.   Their third corps held their southern flank.  It was no surprise that the battle went well for the French, until the third British corps arrived.   The British reinforcements arrived on the southern flank, and immediately attacked.

By nightfall the French held the northern battlefield and........
.........the British held the southern battlefield

The problem is that this was a campaign battle, the second of four on this particular campaign day.   It’s vital to follow the correct chorological sequence for the campaign.  There are six different operational theatres, and the campaign diary charts the progress of each on a daily basis.

So it was not possible to fight a second day of Savaltiere, or at least not at once.    The table would have to be cleared in order to fight the third of the four battles that day.  

Strangely this has never happened in the campaign before.   It has always been possible to identify a clear winner, who would hold the battlefield.   The loser would retreat the next day, thus recreating the one map square necessary for the campaign.   This ensures that there is 24” between the two armies when a battle is declared and transferred to the wargames table.
I could have asked the two commanders to decide whether they wanted to fight a second day.   But it would have meant setting up the table again, and it would have been impossible to recreate the exact locations at the end of the first day.

In addition the British had five brigades in rout, and the French four brigades.   Both had also suffered heavy casualties, and their formed brigades would have been very brittle during a second day of battle.  

So I called it a draw, and declared that both armies would have to retreat the next day.

No complaint from the two campaign commanders, but I feel a little guilty to have enforced such a decision.   I know it’s only a game, but it is one which I take very seriously.    And I have a nagging doubt that I should have allowed them to decide whether to fight a second day.   It would have been a very short, and a very bloody, battle.  But at least it would have been their decision.


Sunday 20 July 2014

New Campaign Strategic Map

Strategic Campaign Map for 28 March 1814

This is the new campaign map showing France and part of Spain.   It covers the whole area of the PBEM 1814 campaign.   The oblongs in white are the six campaign areas, with the armies shown as coloured squares.

The top oblong shows the area covered by the Roermond campaign phase.   This is the area where the Prussian army has invaded France and First French army are trying to stop them.
The star indicated that a battle has taken place.    Each square is 15 miles square, or one days march

For some time I have been trying to find a way to give the twelve army commanders an overview of the whole campaign.    This is not vital in order to take part in the campaign, and some may not be at all interested.   However I wanted those who are interested to be able to see how their campaign area fits into the whole and what is currently happening in other parts of the campaign area.

Each campaign day I post a campaign summary.  This consists of the master tactical map for each of the six campaign areas.   It shows the location of each of the corps, plus depots and any combats.   It is normally posted too late to give away any secrets.

Tactical Map of Roermond area for 28 March 1814

The Tactical Map is three by three squares on the Strategic Map.   Each square is 5 miles square, so there are three squares on this map for each square on the larger Strategic Map.   This map shows the location of all corps at midnight on 28 March 1814.   Again the star indicated that a battle has taken placed.   Each square on this map is identical to a 2 foot square scenic square on the wargames table.

The campaign diary was published on the campaign diary blog on 11 June 2014.   By that date all campaign orders had been received for 30 March 1814, and the umpire report issued.   So it is unlikely that any information could be gained from the map which was not out of date.

I have added the Strategic Map to all of the 27 previous campaign diary entries, so it is now possible to follow the history of the whole campaign, as well as the individual campaign areas.