Sunday 19 December 2021

Sale of AB Napoleonic Army


It is about six weeks since I last mentioned trying to find a new home for my unused AB Napoleonic Army.   Despite the lack of comment on the blog, there has been a lot going on in the background.

I always expected that the sale would be complicated and time consuming, and I have not been proved wrong.  It is largely for this reason that I have put off the project for many years.

You may recall that the whole army consists of 1320 foot and 210 mounted figures.   There are also 16 guns, an ambulance set, a pontoon set, a caisson and a baggage vehicle.  .   The whole is organised for use with my 1813 campaign.   There nine army groups, plus an assortment of skirmish stands.  

The first step was to ask for advice about how best to approach the sale of these figures.  I asked for suggestions both on here and on TMP forum.   I received a lot of useful advice, but I was then left with three decisions.

First whether to try to sell the whole collection together, or to break it down into smaller groups.

Second how to price the figures

Third how to pack and post the figures

I decided that before I offered any figures for sale, I would have to answer all three questions.   But not necessarily in the sequence shown above.

I think the most important one is the second, how to price the figures.   After some consideration, and many suggestions, I think double the purchase price of a new unpainted figures is reasonable.   One correspondent who sells large numbers of figures suggested that they might be worth more, but that they should find a buyer quickly at that price.   At present a foot figure is £0.80, a mounted figure £1.55 and a gun £3.80.   I have not been able to find out how much the different vehicles currently cost.   The whole collection would come to about £3000 plus post and package.

Packing the whole collection would be a huge task, and I have no idea how to even start on it.   I would probably have to pack them in national groups, which would mean ten boxes.    Would it then be better to send ten separate boxes through the post, or pack them all in a much larger box.

 I doubt very much that I would ever find a single buyer for such a large and expensive collection.

So I decided that I would offer them in national armies.   These would be Austrian, British, Prussian, Russian, and Spanish for the Allies.   Plus French Guard, French line, French allied and Bavarian.  The skirmishers would be rebased and included with the main armies.   There are not sufficient guns for gun crews, so some sets would include guns, others not.

Each set would have about 150 foot and 16 cavalry.   This size would be reasonably easy to pack, and the average cost would be about £300.   Leaving aside whether I can find buyers for all ten sets, at least the prospect seems more achievable than a single buyer for the whole lot.

This would mean that I would have to rebase the skirmishers and include them with the national army. 

I will then have to take photographs of the new groups.   And in doing so I want to try to get better quality close ups of the figures.   My camera is a basic point and shoot model, and not really suitable for close up of so many figures.   I will have to see what I can do about that.

Then I will have to find out about postage.   I would like to get options for sending each package to UK, EU, America and Australia.   If possible I would like a basic post and a fully insured option.   The latter would be my preference, but at lot will depend on the cost of each option.   Before I can do any of this I will have to pack one box to determine the size and the weight.

Sunday 12 December 2021

Cuidad Real Campaign - Day 7

27 April 1813 – Southern Spain – Day 7

13th French army attack 2nd Spanish army at Malagon for second day

French have one day’s supply, by nightfall they will have run out

10 guerrilla attack and destroy routing 13 French brigade

7 guerrilla retreat when 26 French cavalry retake La Roda


14th French army prepare to attack Cuidad Real

27 and 28 cavalry brigades ordered to return to corps


15th French army reorganise

12 guerrilla attack Pozo, routed with 20% casualties

Battle of Malagon end of move 8

Day two started with both armies redeployed, but carrying all battle casualties from day one.


The French were weak in cavalry, with only one brigade present and with 20% casualties.  

They were also outnumbered in infantry.

Their only advantage was artillery.   Both sides had two batteries, but the Spanish gunners were all C class.

The French concentrated their artillery, cavalry brigade and one elite infantry brigade under the command of the CinC

This left the two corps with only three infantry brigades each, and consequently outnumbered by either Spanish corps

The main attack was on the French left, supported by the reserve.

The artillery was less than effective, and played little part in the battle.

The Spanish fought much better than might be expected.

Their left moved forward and engaged the Polish corps, who were using the woods for cover

This battle went on for most of the day, and ended in a draw


Despite a determined attack, the French made little progress on their left

They forced the Spanish to withdraw, but failed to destroy them

They managed to take the southern half of the town, but the Spanish held the northern half


At nightfall both sides had suffered similar casualties.

But the Spanish still held half of the town

And the French had failed to either take the town or destroy the Spanish army


The battle was declared a Spanish victory


Outnumbered in infantry and cavalry, the French commander had few options.

He opted to create a very strong reserve of artillery supported by infantry and the weak cavalry

The Polish corps was ordered to hold the woods on the right, and pin the Spanish corps opposite

The French corps would attack on the left, supported by the reserve.


The success of the attack would largely depend on the French artillery.

They would need to weaken the Spanish infantry, who would then be attacked by the French infantry

Unfortunately they failed to do so.  In fact they only achieved two hits throughout the entire battle.


The Spanish once more fought much harder than expected.

The garrison of the southern half of the town were militia, and started the battle with 20% casualties

Yet they held the town until move eleven of twelve.


On the opposite flank they attacked the much weaker Polish corps

The Poles were using the woods as cover from the Spanish cavalry and artillery

So the Spanish infantry had to attack a strong defensive position

They used their superiority in infantry brigades to bring at least two Spanish against each Polish brigade

This worked well, and at the end of the battle two of the three Polish infantry brigades were in rout

However the third brigade continued to hold one of the four sections of the woods.


I was the French commander once more.   As always timing was critical in this game.

There are twelve moves before nightfall, and both armies were fully deployed and in close contact.

In just two moves the French artillery were within range of the Spanish infantry

Normally four moves would be sufficient to inflict casualties on the Spanish infantry

The French infantry would then have six moves to close to contact and crush the Spanish.


However the artillery failure to inflict any casualties at all made an infantry attack risky

So the artillery were allowed an extra two moves to fire on the Spanish

The result was only two hits, and both Spanish brigades passed their morale tests

The delay also meant that the French would be limited to one attack only before nightfall


The battle on this flank was decided by a single infantry combat

One French brigade in column moved into contact with one Spanish brigade in line

Normally the French should have won, but not this time

The Spanish brigade was the best of a bad bunch, with B class infantry

The French brigade was the worse of their corps, with C class infantry

The Spanish infantry won – the French brigade routed.


Strange that no matter how carefully you plan the attack, it often goes wrong at the critical time

In this case great care was taken to put the best French brigades at the head of the attack column.

However the elite brigade suffered two hits, reducing them to the weakest brigade

The next best brigade was in the wrong place at the critical time

The attack fell on the weakest brigade, who had been sent to outflank the Spanish


Despite losing the game, I found this a very interesting and enjoyable experience.

In the heat of the moment I had forgotten that I was using my weakest brigade, until it was too late

But it would not have made any difference, it was attack with them or not attack at all

And as it happened on move 12, time had simply run out.


There are two more battles to decide the outcome of this campaign.

But this defeat is not a good omen for the French.

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.


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.