Start of game
French launch a surprise attack on Santa Amalia
The battle was fought by 1st Spanish and 37th French corp
Both armies are full strength at the start of the game
1st Spanish corps is in and around the town
2nd Spanish corps will arrive at the start of move 1
3rd Spanish corps will arrive at the start of move 5
37th French corps enters table at start of move 1
38th and 39th corps both arrive at the start of move 5
13th French Army – 10 infantry brigades, 3 cavalry brigade, 3 corps artillery
1st Spanish Army – 11 infantry brigades, 2 cavalry brigade, 3 corps artillery
Battle of Santa Amalia – Move 12
The battle was fought by 1st Spanish and 37th French corps
The remainder of both armies arrived too late to play much part in the fighting
The French waited until all of their army had arrived before they attacked the town
However the loss of the town caused the Spanish to lose heart and they retreated
The French lost 3 infantry and 1 cavalry casualties (1300 men)
The Spanish lost 5 infantry, 2 artillery and 1 cavalry casualties (2300 men) and six brigades in rout
The first battle of the campaign was fought by the best corps of each army
1st Spanish corps has four infantry, one cavalry and one artillery brigade
37th French corps is the only Young Guard corps in southern Spain
This was an experiment to see if an encounter battle would work on the wargames table.
The Spanish had one corps on the table at the start of the game
One Spanish corps would arrive, in column of march, at the start of move one
One Spanish corps would arrive, along the same road, at the start of move five
One French corps would arrive, fully deployed, at the start of move one
Two French corps would arrive, deployed in column of attack, at the start of move five
It looked good at the planning stage, but did not work on the table.
The Spanish were able to deploy, but at the rear of the town rather than in front
The French reinforcements arrived too late to take any real part in the battle.
It soon became obvious to the French that they could not wait for their whole army
If they did so they would run out of time, and would not be able to take the town
The Young Guard artillery were able to deploy within short range of the town
They inflicted 20% casualties on the garrison, and their infantry took the town with ease
The guard cavalry routed the Spanish artillery, but were in turn driven off by Spanish dragoons
The loss of the town had an immediate effect on the Spanish army
The town was held by two brigades from 1st Spanish corps
The forward brigade took the artillery casualties
They were then routed by an infantry attack
The second brigade in the garrison joined the rout
The French cavalry now routed the nearby Spanish artillery
The gunners routed into their supporting infantry square
The rest of 1st Spanish corps now joined the rout
2nd and 3rd Spanish corps played little part in the battle
Just as they reached their deployment areas the town fell
They came under threat from the two French corps cavalry and artillery
As they received their first casualties both Spanish corps retreated.
A pretty convincing, though not unexpected, victory for the French
If they could not win with the best of their three armies they would be in trouble.
Not so good for the Spanish.
They lost the first battle with the best of their three armies
And indeed they lost the battle with the best corps in their entire army
Although you might not be very happy with the way it played out on the tabletop, it was interesting to see your rules being used for an encounter battle. It’s not too surprising that the Young Guard prevailed, but I would have hoped that the Spanish might have performed somewhat better.
Now they are rather on the back foot, will the Spanish go onto the defensive or will they risk attacking the French whilst the latter are celebrating their victory?
All the best,
The Spanish are strong in infantry (including guerrilla brigades) but weak in cavalry. Five of the nine corps have no cavalry at all. So it is very difficult for them to go on the offensive. In this opening game they did have cavalry, so this was their best opportunity to fight a set battle.
When there are three corps per side the French will always have an advantage in cavalry, so the Spanish will have to fight a defensive battle.
The guerrilla brigades give them the opportunity to attack. It is not easy for them to capture a French held town, but if they do they disrupt the supply chain. To reopen it as quickly as possible the French will have to send a cavalry brigade. This will take at least three days, a long time in these short campaign phases.
The objective is to force both armies to adopt historical strategy, and if they fail to do so the result can be decisive.