Sunday 26 March 2023

Merida Campaign – Battle of Merida


Start of game

Merida is the main Spanish depot and the campaign objective

It is held and defended by 3rd Spanish army

14th French army have orders to take and hold Merida 


Both armies have suffered only light casualties in the campaign so far

Both commanders are well aware of the importance of Merida and the outcome of the battle


14th French Army – 10 infantry brigades, 3 cavalry brigade, 3 corps artillery

3rd Spanish Army – 12 infantry brigades, 1 cavalry brigade, 3 corps artillery

Battle of Merida – Move 12

On the left most of 5th Spanish corps are in rout

Only one infantry brigade is left to hold the hill

However they have completely routed 42nd Polish corps


In the centre 40th French corps has fought to take the city

They have occupied the southern half.

But the Spanish still hold the northern half


On the right 4th Spanish corps have four of their six brigades in rout

However they have routed all six Baden corps

Not only do they hold the flank, but they are sending reinforcements to the city


The French have lost 13 infantry and 5 cavalry casualties (5700 men)

The Spanish have lost 17 infantry, 2 cavalry and 5 artillery casualties (7500 men)


The French have 8 brigades in rout

The Spanish have 10 brigades in rout


Against all the odds, the Spanish have won a convincing and decisive victory



This was easily the hardest fought wargame of the campaign

Indeed the “nearest run thing” for many a campaign.


Both players were determined to win, knowing that the winner would also win the campaign

Neither side had many campaign casualties, so morale was strong for both armies

In the first photo the Spanish deployment looks very similar to the previous five battles


The French tactics were very similar to earlier games.

The CinC took command of two of the three corps artillery

He also took two elite infantry brigades

The battle plan was to hold the flanks with 41st and 42nd corps

And take the city with 40th French corps plus extra artillery


The fighting was really fierce and undecided until the very end

The French made steady progress, but suffered heavy casualties

The Spanish also lost heavy casualties


The Spanish held both flanks, but that was more luck than skill


On the left the last Spanish infantry brigade held the hill in line

Their artillery routed, but then rallied and were about to reoccupy their guns

The two remaining French infantry brigades had to attack in column before they could do so

The Spanish brigade just happened to be the best one in 5th corps

The two French brigades just happened to be the two worse Polish brigades

The Poles lost and ran away.


On the right the Baden cavalry routed with just 10% casualties (one hit)

This allowed 4th Spanish corps artillery to redeploy and fire on the Baden infantry

The attack on the bridge ended in disaster with all six Baden brigades in rout


But it was in the centre where the Spanish really won the battle

6th Spanish corps held the southern half of the city, but did not garrison the northern half

The French grand battery deployed at short range, with the two infantry brigades in support

However as soon as they opened fire the Spanish garrison withdrew to the northern half of Merida

The French artillery had failed to cause any casualties to the garrison]

And were now unable to fire on the northern half of the city

There were five French brigades ready to assault the town

But on one could attack through each town section

Because the Spanish still held the flanks they could not easily attack the east and west sides of Merida.

The French artillery finally redeployed against the northern half of the city

They opened fire again on move 12 (the last one of the game)

One hit and caused the garrison to take morale

They passed their test, held the city and won the campaign


One of our most enjoyable wargames for a long time

And a great way to decide a very enjoyable campaign phase.

Saturday 25 March 2023

Merida Campaign Day 6

14 June 1813 – Southern Spain – Day 6


Siege of Adjucen day 2

14th French army attack Merida


In the north 38th and 39th French corps retreat to Santa Amalia to resupply

1st guerrilla attack Bargas, garrison rout with 20%, supplies lost

2nd guerrilla attack convoy to Tomjos, lose 10% and rout, supplies delivered


In the centre 14th French army attack Merida

3rd guerrilla attack Toledo, fail and retreat with casualties

4th guerrilla attack convoy near Albareal, lose 10% and rout, supplies delivered


In the south 15th French army rally, regroup and resupply after battle of Calamonte

3rd Spanish army regroup in and around Calamonte

6th guerrilla attack Guadamur, fail and rout with 10% casualties






This is crunch day for the French.


All nine corps are running short of supplies, many with just one day left.

If they run out of supplies they will start to lose attrition casualties at the rate of one per corps per day


In addition both the French and Spanish troops are tired and in desperate need of rest and reinforcements

By nightfall they will have fought six major battles in six days.  


The battle of Merida is their last chance to crush the Spanish army and take the campaign objective

The loss of Merida and its supply depot will force the Spanish army to retreat west.

However if they hold Merida their lines of supply are secured

It will be the French who are forced to retreat.


The daily guerrilla activity is also having a serious effect on French morale

Once more they have captured Bargas and its supplies

The garrison have now lost 20% casualties, and been forced to rout twice

Even when the French reoccupy the town, as they must, they will have to detach another brigade from their field force


Both sides are aware of the importance of Merida

Both will fight hard to occupy the town and thus win the campaign.


Sunday 19 March 2023

Merida Campaign – Battle of Calamonte


Start of game

15th French army have orders to attack Calamonte

Three infantry brigades are detached

They have casualties to six brigades

The whole army arrives at the start of move 1


3rd Spanish army have orders to defend Calamonte

The whole army is present, with two infantry brigades in the town

They have casualties to five brigades

The whole army is deployed on the table at the start of the game


15th French Army – 9 infantry brigades, 3 cavalry brigade, 3 corps artillery

3rd Spanish Army – 12 infantry brigades, 1 cavalry brigade, 3 corps artillery


End of move 12

On the left the Italian corps is broken and retreat

9th Spanish corps also suffer heavy casualties

But two brigades move to support the town


The CinC leads the main attack in the centre

They force 7th Spanish corps to retreat

But arrive at the town too late to take it


On the right the Westphalian corps rout 8th Spanish corps

But it takes too long and they do not reach the town before nightfall


At nightfall the Spanish hold the town and have concentrated their whole army there


The French have lost 5 infantry and 5 cavalry casualties (2500 men)

The Spanish have lost 9 infantry, 3 cavalry and 2 artillery casualties (4100 men)

The Spanish have 8 brigades in rout, the French have 5 brigades.



This was the hardest fought battle of the campaign so far

The Spanish fought hard, and only retreated when forced to do so


The Italians attacked the farm on the left

They suffered heavy casualties and retreated in rout

Only the corps artillery survived

As soon as they retreated the two remaining Spanish brigades joined the garrison


In the centre the Spanish beat off the cavalry attack on their guns

The infantry then withdrew slowly to the town

The French were in position to attack by the end of move 9

But their artillery failed to shake the garrison

Spanish reinforcements from the flanks soon outnumbered the attackers


On the right the Westphalians had more success

Their cavalry also suffered heavy casualties (30%)

This allowed the infantry and artillery to delay the Westphalian attack

At nightfall they were still fighting


Once more the French have failed to achieve a convincing victory

The Spanish have suffered more casualties

However the French have lost all three cavalry brigades

This has allowed all three Spanish corps to concentrate in and around the town

At the best, the French can claim a draw.


It may well be that this is how the Spanish will win the campaign, now and in future

The campaign objective is for the French to take the main Spanish city

If allowed to fight more battles of attrition they would probably win

However the campaign rules require the French to occupy the objective

If they have not done so within six days they must retreat

Sunday 12 March 2023

Merida Campaign Day 5

13 June 1813 – Southern Spain – Day 5

Siege of Adjucen day 1

15th French army attack Calamonte


In the north 37th French corps start siege of Adjucen

1 and 3 Spanish corps retreat off map and leave campaign

Lines of supply restored by recapture of Bargas


In the centre 2nd Spanish army rally and regroup after the battle of San Pedro.

14th French Army move into position to attack Merida


In the south 15th French army attack Calamonte





The French have occupied Bargas and opened the northern lines of supply once more.   However it will take many days for 13th French army to be fully supplied, because supplies have to be moved from the main supply depot in Toledo.


The French lay siege to Adjucen, but they have no siege artillery and must wait for the garrison to surrender.   However the garrison is strong and has 6 days supplies.   It may be a long wait for the French.


Both French and Spanish prepare for the critical battle of Merida


Meanwhile Marshal Augereau attacks Calamonte with 15th French army.


After five days of nonstop marching and fighting the French army is feeling the strain.   They have won the first four battles, but have failed to occupy Adjucen.   Their supply system has been disorganised by the fall of Bargas, and will take many days to get sufficient supplies to the front line.   In fact time is running out for the French.   They must complete the destruction of the Spanish army and take the city of Merida.   However they must do so in the next two or three days.   If not they will have to retreat to Toledo and regroup.

Sunday 5 March 2023

Merida Campaign – Battle of Adjucen

Start of game


13th French army have orders to attack Adjucen

Three infantry and one cavalry brigades are detached

They have casualties to three brigades


1st Spanish army have orders to defend Adjucen

One infantry brigade is garrison of Adjucen

Remainder of army are all present

They have casualties to four brigades 


13th French Army – 9 infantry brigades, 2 cavalry brigade, 3 corps artillery

1st Spanish Army – 12 infantry brigades, 2 cavalry brigade, 3 corps artillery

Battle of Adjucen – Move 8

The French concentrate on the Spanish centre, which they break

They also win the battle for the right flank

However on the left flank the Spanish hold firm


With the loss of their centre the Spanish commander orders a retreat to the town

There is not enough time for the French to reach and attack the town

Nor can the French catch up with the retreating Spanish army


The French lost 1 infantry casualty (400 men)

The Spanish lost 1 cavalry casualty (100 men)


By the end of move 8 the Spanish had lost two of their three corps artillery

They had also lost one of their two cavalry brigades

They decided to retreat before the French could reach them

This saved them heavy casualties, but it also robbed the French of a decisive victory


When the Spanish centre broke the French were too far from the town to take it

The Spanish corps on either flank were still strong, and could not be ignored

On the left the French managed to break the defenders

But on the right they were outnumbered and unable to attack

The French centre would have to swing to the right

This would take too much time with only 4 moves to go


In a real battle the French would have had time to redeploy

The two corps on the flanks would have had to either retreat or face defeat

However with an artificial 12 moves this does not work in a wargame


To overcome this problem I have strict campaign rules

If one side retreats on the table he must break contact in the campaign

This means that he must retreat to establish one map square between him and the enemy

In this particular game the French would occupy Adjucen by nightfall

The Spanish would have to retreat to the next town (three map squares to the west)


However Adjucen is the one of the three most westerly towns on the campaign map

If they retreat off the map the French will have won the campaign

This seems a little unfair, given that they have not suffered any casualties


As a compromise I will allow one Spanish corps to occupy the walled town of Adjucen

The other two corps must retreat off the map and will take no further part in the campaign

The French can lay siege to the town.


I don’t have siege rules, because each phase is too short for one

I would normally only allow it when a walled town is involved

The garrison would hold for as long as they have supplies


This compromise will prevent 13th French army marching south

Were they to do so the remaining two Spanish armies would be crushed.


The fate of the campaign will be decided by the battles for Merida and Calamonte