Sunday 26 May 2024

Santander Campaign – Day Two

Campaign Map

French attack Ramales
French occupy Villacayo
10 French army – hold Sarautz
11 French army – attack Ramales
12 French army – occupy Villacayo

British move up to border
British retreat to Soncillo
1 British army – move up to border
2 British army – defend Ramales
3 British army – retreat to Soncillo

18 brigade – attack convoy outside Beasain
20 brigade – capture convoy outside Tolosa
21 brigade – move closer to border.

Battle of Ramales - Move 2

This was an encounter battle, once again on the border between Santander and Dan Sebastian districts.

4th British corps start the battle deployed either side of the main road to Ramales. 3rd British and 8th Spanish corps are just behind the town.

The French enter the table at the start of move 1.

The game objectives are the hill on the left, the woods in the centre and the farm on the right. At the end of move 2 the Spanish are climbing the hill, and 3rd British entering the farm. The French have entered the table and are advancing towards the allied army.

On the left the Italian corps quickly takes the hill, and the Spanish retreat in some confusion. The Spanish do rally, but are never able to launch a counter attack.

In the centre the British corps includes the light division, who occupy the woods. They are a very difficult objective for the Westhalian corps. The Spanish commander takes command of the Italian artillery and cavalry to support the attack in the centre. After a hard battle the woods is still disputed at nightfall.

On the right 31st French corps is a young guard formation, and should be able to take the farm. However at nightfall fighting still continues and the farm is firmly held by the British corps.

At nightfall the French have taken the hill, but the other two objectives are still contested. The British can claim victory because they still hold two of the three game objectives.

The French have lost 3 infantry, 6 cavalry and 1 artillery casualties (1900 men)
The British have lost 11 infantry and 3 cavalry casualties (4700 men)

As the French advance their lines of supply become more vulnerable to the Spanish guerrillas. There are two attacks, one convoy is captured the other drive off the guerrillas. The loss of 3 days supplies will take a few days to affect the corps concerned, but affect them it will.

This wargame was interesting. The combat ability of the six corps involved was very different.

On the left the Italian corps was only very slightly better than the Spanish corps holding the hill. But they could choose their point of attack, and ensure that their best brigades led the attack. Just one routed Spanish brigade led to the breakup of the whole corps.

In the centre the Westphalian corps slightly better than the Italians, but only just. They had to attack the famous light division, who held the woods. Despite having the support of the Italian cavalry and artillery they were hard pressed. They could not afford to attack the rifle brigade holding the woods. So they concentrated their artillery on the gap between the woods and the hill. This was held by the lighter British 6pdr guns, who still managed to hold their position until just before the end of the game. At nightfall only two of the four British brigades remained, but the rifles still held the woods.

On the right the French young guard corps should have taken the farm without any difficulty. However they lost two cavalry melee, resulting in the rout of their cavalry. This made it very difficult for the infantry to attack the farm, which was held by the elite Guards brigade. At nightfall the farm was still held by the British.

A great wargame, full of interesting decisions about which brigade to lead the attack, and when to order the attack. Not at all helped by the roll of (it felt like) a LOT of ones or two.


  1. Thistlebarrow,

    As you say yourself, this was a very interesting battle report. The disparate nature of the forces involved must have ensured that whatever happened, the results were likely to be unpredictable.

    All the best,


    1. Hi Bob

      We are very pleased with the new rules, and have enjoyed each game since we introduced them. I am fortunate that they only have to be acceptable to Jan and I, because I am sure that many wargamers would not find them either acceptable or fair. With one, or usually two, bad dice a carefully laid plan can be thrown into confusion.

      However they suit us well. I have been pleasantly surprised to find that over half a dozen games the times when a poor combat dice are followed by an equally poor morale throw have been fairly evenly divided between Jan and I. I wish I had kept a record because it is easy to get a lopsided impression from memory alone. For example you always remember when you are the one who rolls two zero's, but perhaps not always when it happens to your opponent.

      best regards



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