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


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


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.



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.

Sunday 4 December 2022

Goslar Campaign Day 7

7 June 1813 – Northern Germany – Day 7


French retreat and abandon Goslar and Liebenburg

In the north French abandon Liebenburg

In the centre French abandon Goslar

In the south Prussians occupy Osterode

Prussians win Goslar campaign




Before the battle of Osterode things were looking bleak for Napoleon.

However he still held the three western towns of Leibenburg, Goslar and Osterode.

Both armies were weary after six days of hard fighting

However the French had taken the brunt of the damage.


Murat’s report made it clear that he had suffered a dramatic defeat at Osterode

Half of Third Army was in rout, the remainder in retreat.


Napoleon issued orders for First Army to hold Goslar and Second Army Liebenburg

Murat was to rally west of Osterode and prepare to counter attack


However on the morning of 7 June he received reports that the entire Prussian army was advancing

Blucher ignored his low supplies and heavy battle casualties

He could clearly see that one more push would force Napoleon to retreat

At first light he led his entire army west towards Goslar


Even Napoleon now had to admit defeat

His army was outnumbered three to two

His right flank had routed

If he tried to fight again he would almost certainly lose the entire French Army of the North

He ordered a general retreat and abandoned Goslar and Liebenburg


The Prussians had won the Goslar campaign.


Sunday 27 November 2022

Goslar Campaign Day 6


6 June 1813 – Northern Germany – Day 6

Prussians attack Osterode

In the north both armies rest and reorganise

In the centre French retreat to Goslar

In the south Prussians attack Osterode

Battle of Osterode – Move 10

The battle opened with the French deployed just in front of Osterode

As the Prussians entered the table the French occupied the woods on either flank

However they held their centre back

This proved a mistake, because the Prussians could outflank the woods


The Prussians lost the first cavalry melee on their right

This forced them to hold back their attack on the woods

Only when the French started to retreat did 1st corps advance


On the opposite flank they had more success

Here the cavalry melee was a draw, and both brigades withdrew

The Prussian infantry and artillery pressed home their attack on the woods

Fighting continued until nightfall, but the French suffered more casualties


The Main attack was in the centre.  

Kleist took the grenadier brigade from each corps to form the main attack

Supported by 2nd corps he managed to break the French centre

This forces both flanks to withdraw and gave him a convincing victory



In this campaign it would appear that the French can do no right

Despite having the Imperial Garde and Napoleon in command


This game was decided within two moves

The French had woods on both flanks, with open ground in the centre

They could deploy behind the woods, half way in or hold the whole woods

They decided on the latter, but left their centre where it started the game


The woods are a strong point, but they are difficult to defend

Prussian artillery could approach within short range of the woods

They could then blast the forward infantry brigade in the woods


To counter this the French cavalry had to be brought forward

This would deter the Prussian gunners from getting too near the woods

But it would then present the Prussian gunners with the cavalry for a target


As always the initiative is with the attacker

He can take advantage of any deployment error

The commander can also take brigades from the three corps

This strong reserve can then be directed at the weak part of the defence.


During this campaign I have usually been the attacker

This is because Jan prefers to react

I have found that the opening moves are where the attacker is most vulnerable

He must advance into artillery range of the defender, and in doing so accept first fire

If he loses either cavalry or artillery, it becomes almost impossible to attack.


He has two or three moves to fire on the enemy

If he takes longer he will arrive too late to take the objective

If his guns do not cause damage to the defenders he must risk his cavalry

Unless he can weaken the enemy guns he will probably take heavy infantry casualties

This will usually result in an early cavalry melee


Cavalry melee will usually result in both sides taking casualties

This will weaken both brigades, who then usually retreat behind the infantry

If the defender wins the cavalry melee it will be very difficult for the attacking infantry to advance.


The advantage of my new three corps per side is that each corps has its own cavalry

It is most unlikely that one side will win all three cavalry melee

The attacker will usually win at least one melee

He can then use his reserve to support the winning side


This makes for an interesting wargame

The attacker must hold his reserve in the centre

From here he can support whichever wing wins the cavalry melee


His greatest problem is to force a break through early enough to reach the objective

This has proved the most difficult thing to achieve in this campaign

It has often resulted in the defender holding the objective at nightfall

However to do so he has lost more casualties than the attacker

But by holding the objective he has won the game.


This should result in a second day of battle

But that is usually a very boring wargame

The stronger attacker can redeploy overnight

Within three or four moves he will have broken the weaker defender

I usually avoid this outcome by having the weaker defender retreat overnight.

Sunday 20 November 2022

Goslar Campaign Day 5

5 June 1813 – Northern Germany – Day 5

French attack Harzburg

In the north surprise French attack on Harzburg

In the centre French prepare Liebenburg for a siege

In the south both armies regroup and resupply

Second battle of Harzburg Move 12

The French plan was to pin the Prussian left

The main attack would be in the centre against Harzburg

The Guard would crush the Prussian right and support the centre

The Prussians put up a fierce resistance and held their centre and left

Their right was broken, but delayed the Guard until it was too late to take the town

At nightfall they still held Harzburg and won the battle



The situation is becoming desperate for the French

The Prussian army has crossed into Goslar district and is poised to take Goslar itself.

Fortunately the city is defended by 1st French army, including the 1st Guard corps.


Napoleon orders 1st army to attack 2nd Prussian army at Harzburg

The aim is to break the Prussian centre, or at least disrupt their plans to attack Goslar.


The attack quickly becomes bogged down.

On the right 3rd corps are quickly repulsed and only just hold the flank

The main attack in the centre is a dismal failure, including the reserve commanded by Napoleon

But on the left the Imperial Garde brush aside 4th Prussian corps and attack the city

Unfortunately the run out of time and the Prussians still hole Harzburg at nightfall.


I commanded the French, and it was a real pleasure to see the Imperial Garde on the table

The dice rolled well for them, and allowed them to crush the Prussians as you would expect them to do

However it was only fair that they failed to take Harzburg

For Jan, who commanded the Prussians, defeated two thirds of the French army

And without doubt deserved to win the game.


I am really pleased with the type of game provided by the larger armies

In effect there are three games being fought at the same time

And it is most unlikely that one side will win all three

Often the game is won by the side who win the centre of the three battles

They can then move to support whichever flank is having the most success

However, as in this case, it is often too late to take the objective within the 12 moves allowed.

Sunday 13 November 2022

Weekly Deadlines



When we retired to Spain in 2006 Jan and I had two hobbies which we wanted to pursue

One was, of course, Wargaming

The second was hill walking


We are fortunate to have a permanent wargames room to pursue the first

And our 1813 campaign was developed to provide an endless supply of wargames


We are also fortunate to live is a very beautiful part of Spain, well known as an impressive area for hill walking

This is the main reason we choose the Jalon valley, half an hour drive inland, and a world apart, from busy Benidorm


Within a year of moving to Spain we had established a weekly routine, which we have followed ever since

One day a week we walk, currently we lead a U3A walking group

Most days we spend an hour at the wargames table


We also record both interests in a series of blogs

The wargames blog was started as record of my various projects

A second blog was soon added to record the progress of my 1813 campaign

The third blog was to keep family and friends in the UK up to date with our new life in Spain.


The weekly routine worked well until recently.

I could complete one wargame a week, have an enjoyable walk and update the three blogs


Jan has long suffered from problems with her neck, and recently this has got worse

The doctor has advised that she should avoid the jarring effect of hill walks over difficult terrain

This has become a very important part of our social life here, and to give it up would be a real loss

So we decided to create a second U3A walking group, this time gentle morning walks around the valley

This has been a great success, and we have made many new friends

When we meet each Thursday I am reminded of an expression we had in the army for those reporting sick.

They were called the “sick, lame and lazy”.

Our new group are not in any way lazy, or even sick, but many are lame

Hill Walking

Organising two weekly walking groups, and recording them on our blog, has greatly increased my workload

I find it harder and harder to find time to keep the campaign administration up to date and fight a wargame each week

Finding time for the wargame is no problem, but after each battle it takes the best part of a day to update the campaign

Instead of being one day, and one battle, ahead of the weekly blog dateline I am now struggling to complete the current one in time


I have always considered that Wargaming is a hobby, and as such should be enjoyable and not a chore

But now I realise how much I actually enjoy the discipline of the weekly routine

The blogs greatly add to my enjoyment of both Wargaming and hill walking

I also find that I have a very rewarding “following”.

More so perhaps on the walking blog and Facebook.


But it does mean that I will have to abandon the current objective of posting one campaign day and battle each week on this blog

I am sure that most of you will not actually notice the change

But just in case any of you do notice, I wanted you to know why.


I am very aware of  how lucky we are to be able to pursue such a pleasant lifestyle

And I am not in any way complaining about “my lot”

But it is interesting how we make our own life difficult by these self imposed deadlines

Understandable when it is necessary to earn a living

But quite silly when we are retired and can prioritise as we wish

Sunday 6 November 2022

Goslar Campaign Day 4

4 June 1813 – Northern Germany – Day 4

Prussians attack Liebenburg

In the north Prussians attack Liebenburg

In the centre both armies resupply and reorganise

In the south Prussians enter Lauterberg, French retreat to Osterod

The battle of Lauterberg – end of move 12

The Prussians were unlucky to have lost this battle

They took the woods on the left and routed 6th French corps

The CinC reinforced 8th corps for the main attack in the centre

They took heavy casualties on the right, but managed to support the attack in the centre

But they lost the critical infantry melee in the centre and failed to take the town

The French lost 9 infantry, 4 cavalry and 2 artillery casualties (4200 men)

The Prussians lost 10 infantry and 7 cavalry casualties (4100 men)

The French has 8 brigades in rout, the Prussians 7 brigades.

The Prussians failed to take the town and lost the battle



The very busy, and complicated, photo of the end of the game tells the story

Blue stars are French brigades in rout

Grey stars are Prussians brigades in rout

White stars are the critical infantry melee


The Prussians broke and routed 6th French corps on the left

They then swung right through the woods towards the centre


They lost the battle on the right, but managed to advance when the French redeployed


The Prussian attack in the centre was well supported by cavalry and artillery

They routed the French cavalry, but caused too few casualties to the infantry in the centre

Despite this the Prussian infantry attack outnumbered the French infantry defending

However the dice were against them


It was a very complicated and very tense wargame

Everything went well for the Prussians and it seemed like their attack in the centre would succeed

The final melee was three Prussian against two French infantry brigades

The French were in line and the Prussians in column

The Prussians had the edge, but not the luck of the dice.


Both armies suffered heavy casualties

Both would need to regroup and redeploy before they could commence fighting

This would allow the French to concentrate in and around Leibenburg.


We enjoyed this game so much that we played it twice

The first time the Prussians won, the second they lost

A final dice throw decided which game would be recorded for the campaign.



Sunday 30 October 2022

Wargaming Napoleon and his Guard


I suspect that most Napoleonic wargamers have a Napoleon figure and at least one French guard unit, probably grenadiers, in their collection.

In early 1970 I had been wargaming for about a year, using Airfix plastic figures.   I borrowed a copy of “Charge, or how to play Wargames” from my local library.  This was a hardback book with glossy pages and lots of black and white photographs.   At the end was a list of model soldier manufacturers and the cost of their figures.   The cheapest metal figure was made by Hinton Hunt.   A week later Jan and I visited his shop in Camden Passage in London.   I remember wooden trays with compartments filled with shiny model soldiers.   Amongst my very first purchase was a figure of Napoleon and a handful of French guard grenadiers.   I knew nothing of figure scales or orders of battle so I just picked a couple of each of the figures which appealed to me most.   In addition to the grenadiers I brought home a selection of Polish lancers,  British Scots Greys and RHA gunners.

They took pride of place amongst my large collection of Airfix French infantry, British Highlanders and French Artillery.  Many hours were spent playing the battle of Blasthof Heath from “Charge” to try and master the rules.

In those early days of wargaming no one even noticed if a unit of French guard grenadiers fought regularly alongside a couple of line units.   It was only when I, and apparently the rest of the British wargaming community, became aware of orders of battle for real battles which confirmed that the French Imperial Guard were actually a reserve formation which rarely, if ever, took part in actual fighting.

I have never been one for historical orders of battle, but over the years my collection of model soldiers was expanded to include a more balanced ratio of guard to line troops.   For many years the Imperial Guard gathered dust on their shelf in the wargames room.

In 2009 I decided to reorganise my whole concept of Wargaming.   I would start a fictional campaign based on the 1813 campaign.  The armies would cover all of the major, and many of the minor, players in that campaign.   The aim was to use all of my figures in a sequence of campaigns based in Germany and Spain.

Because this was a solo project I did not have to convince anyone else or defend my fictional orders of battle.   I ended up with eight French corps of 32 infantry, 4 cavalry, 4 gunners and 1 gun.   There was one old guard and one young guard corps.

I was determined that the French old guard would be elite, but not super human, troops.   One of the 4 infantry brigades would be A class, the other three B class.  This compared with a Prussian corps where the grenadier brigade would also be A, two musketeer brigades would be B and the landwehr brigade would be C. The old guard would have an edge, but only a very small one.

It has never worried me in the heat of a wargame that the old guard grenadiers might be defeated by a Prussian landwehr brigade.   If the French player rolled a 2, and the Prussian one a 6, the grenadiers would lose.

However when I type up the battle report I often wonder how this might be received by the general wargaming community if they read it on the Campaign Diary Blog. 

Sunday 23 October 2022

Goslar Campaign Day 3

3 June 1813 – Northern Germany – Day 3

Prussians attack Lauterberg

In the north both armies regroup and resupply

In the centre French retreat to Goslar, Prussians occupy Hartzburg

In the south Prussians attack Lauterberg


The battle of Lauterberg – end of move 12

All three Prussian corps attack

On the right the French counter attack and drive them back into the woods

In the centre 2nd corps take the left half of the town

The reserve of 2 infantry, 2 artillery and 1 cavalry brigade, fail to take the right half

On the left 3rd corps break and rout 9th Polish corps.

At nightfall the French hold half of the town and claim a victory

However they have lost more casualties and will have to retreat during the night



The larger armies result in a more complex wargame

Each of the three corps on either side fight an independent battle

Both commanders create a reserve to tip the balance.


1st Prussian corps lost the battle on the right

2nd Prussian corps took half of the town in the centre, but were unable to take all of it

3rd Prussian corps won the battle on the left

The French won because they held half of the town at nightfall


Except on their left, the French fought a defensive battle

The Prussian reserve artillery had to support their losing left flank

This prevented them from supporting the main attack on the town

When the Prussian right was stabilised, the artillery were in the wrong place.


The French withdrew their artillery on the right of the town

But they were still able to prevent the Prussians attacking the right of the town

This allowed them to hold half of the town until nightfall


The Prussians won the battle on the left

The whole Polish corps was broken and routed

But 3rd corps were too far away to support the attack on the town


An interesting and quite complicated battle

It highlighted many of the problems raised by the larger three corps per side armies


The attacker has to spread his army across the whole table

He must then create a reserve to reinforce whichever of his three corps have the most success

However it can be quite late in the 12 hour/move day when it becomes which corps that is

And almost certainly some of his army will be in the wrong place at the end of the game


This feels like a realistic result.  

Once a corps has been committed to attack, it could not be suddenly redeployed to meet an unexpected setback

This happens a lot in wargames, but almost never in real life

It makes the creation of a reserve essential, as it was again in real life

And if the reserve could also only be committed once

If, as in this case, it was used to restore a setback on the right it could not also be used in the centre


After three battles the new larger three corps armies are providing different and interesting tactical problems

This was the intention, so well pleased with the results so far.

Sunday 16 October 2022

Goslar Campaign Day 2


2 June 1813 – Northern Germany – Day 2

Prussians attack Harzburg

In the north French retreat and Prussians occupy Vienenburg

In the centre Prussians attack Harzburg

In the south French advance towards border

The battle of Harzburg – end of move 12

Prussians ignore the flanks and attack the town

French fight a defensive battle to take advantage of their strong position

This allows the Prussian artillery to deploy at close range and batter the town defenders

Just before nightfall the infantry attack and rout the garrison.


The French really should have won this battle.

Napoleon commanded the 1st French army, and it included the 1st Old Guard corps.

Jan was so confident of success that she decided on a defensive battle

Napoleon commanded a small reserve of one infantry and one cavalry brigade

The town was strongly held, and the flanks would deploy level with the town

The Prussians would be bombarded as they advanced

It was not anticipated that the French would need to counter attack


As Prussian commander I created a strong reserve of 2 artillery and two elite infantry brigades

This was placed to the left of the main road in the centre, and would be the main attack force

On the right 4th corps would take a defensive position and pin the French left

In the centre the weakened 5th corps would support the attack on the town

On the left 6th corps would take the farm and pin the French right


All went well until the end of move 10.


On both flanks fighting was restricted to cavalry engagements and artillery fire


By move 6 the Prussian reserve artillery was firing on the garrison at short range

The French artillery on the flanks quickly concentrated on the Prussian gunners

But most of this artillery fire was very ineffective.


During move 11 both French garrisons received 10% casualties, but passed their morale test

On move 12 they again received 10% casualties, both failed their morale test and were shaken

The waiting Prussian infantry stormed the town during the last move of the game

The shaken garrison both routed, and took the supporting brigades behind the town with them


The French decision to fight a defensive battle was a sound one, and it should have worked

The town was held by two elite infantry brigades, one in each half of the town

They were supported by two conscript brigades behind the town

The flanks were strongly held, and suffered little during the battle


The flaw was relying on conscript brigades in support to counter attack if necessary

This was a risk which had to be taken, because better reserve would have weakened the flanks

It was just bad luck that at the critical moment the dice throw caused the conscripts to rout