A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that


Thursday, 23 February 2012

Solo Campaign - Week 5 & part of Week 6


Two weeks' manoeuvring and I have two battles to fight - one big'un, one tiddler. I'll insert the batreps when I've fought them. This post has now been edited to include a photo of the map - the map shows the position around 27th of the month - before resolution of combats.

Week 05

Housekeeping
The 3D3 activation throws give Allies 4, French 3(!), so Allies have initiative. From this week, modification to rules requires a specific Order for scouting of adjacent Areas to take place, apart from Spanish irregulars, who will always scout without orders.

Moves

Allies (4 allowed)
1 – A (Wellington) at Salamanca divides to split off new Group E (Cotton – with Sixth Division and Le Marchant’s and Otway’s (Ptgse) cavalry bdes)
2 – A (Wellington) marches 1 step from Salamanca to Zamora...
3 – ...and forced-marches from Zamora to Leon, which requires a test:
2D3 = 6 +3 (Wellington’s rating) -1 (forced march) -1 (winter conditions) = 7     which is OK – great marching!
4 – Sp B (Espana) marches from Zamora to Salamanca, to reinforce E
 [Intelligence step –
  • Nothing – no scouting orders]
French (3 allowed)
1 – N (Marmont) holds position at Valladolid – order to hold position allows tired troops in Foy’s Divn to recover
2 – N (Marmont) sends scouting patrols from Valladolid into Leon
3 – S (Joseph/Jourdan) at Madrid scout area of Avila
 [Intelligence step -
  • Br A (Wellington) and Fr N (Marmont) both have cavalry – thus Marmont receives Fragmentary Report – he is aware that there are now enemy forces at Leon, but has few details
  • Fr S (Joseph/Jourdan) at Madrid has no cavalry – Sp D at Avila has irregular infantry and some cavalry, so French have No Information about forces in Avila, other than the fact that Spanish mounted guerrilleros have been seen there]
Supplies
No supply problems, all LoC open and defended.

Contacts
None.

Random Events
None.

Narrative
Detaching Cotton with a division of infantry and two cavalry brigades to cover the Duero crossings, and reinforcing them with Espana’s Spanish force, Wellington force-marches the remainder of his army through Zamora to Leon, threatening Marmont’s right flank and (by a potential move through Sahagun) his rear and his line of supply through Burgos.

Joseph is concerned that sending so many troops to reinforce Marmont at Valladolid has left the Madrid area vulnerable to attacks by the irregular troops of the Junta de Castilla, who have forces at both Avila and Ocana. He is short of cavalry, and spies sent into Avila have not reported back – perhaps they are roasting over a fire somewhere. The separate irregular Spanish forces may not join together, but will share intelligence, and all Spanish irregulars always have good information about neigbouring areas.

Foy’s infantry (with Marmont at Valladolid) have recovered from their fast tour of Central Spain.

You want the artillery up where?

Week 06

Random Events
French again get interference from Paris – once again an instruction that the army needs to be more aggressive, this applying to the most obvious critical area (“dice if in doubt which one” – can’t believe the Emperor really said stuff like that?). Marmont’s situation in Valladolid is pretty much self-evidently the hot spot. Since he is not sure what force is in Leon, he would prefer not to attack at present, but needs a test to ignore the instruction. The test requires him to add his rating (3) to 2D3. A total of 7 or better and he can choose to ignore the instruction – 6 or less and he has to comply.

In fact he throws 3, so the total of 6 means he has to attack if he can.   

Housekeeping
The 3D3 activation throws give Allies 5, French 7, so French have initiative and choose to move first.

Moves

French (7 allowed)
1 – N (Marmont) splits off new Group H (Clauzel – with his own division, Picquet’s dragoon bde and the reserve arty) – this group is to hold the bridges on the Duero at Toro (Valladolid)
2 – N (Marmont) takes the rest of his army from Valladolid to attack the allied force in Leon. [Intelligence step -
  • Marmont is aware that there is a major Allied force at Leon, but underestimates strength]
Allies (5 allowed)
1 – A (Wellington) at Leon also underestimates opposing force, so opts to stand firm – specific Order allows selection of ground
2 – Sp D (mixed irregular force under Don Alfonso Maceta – “El Achaparrado) moves from Avila into Madrid Area to attack French Group S
[Intelligence step –
  • Nothing new – no scouting orders]
Supplies
No supply problems, all LoC open and defended.

Contacts
Two.

(1) French Group N (Marmont), with a total of 28240 men, marches along the only good road from Valladolid to Leon, passing through Benavente. On the night of Thursday 27th February the French army camps around Benavente, while Wellington, with 23300 men, is camped in the area around Villamandos, with his advanced outposts at Villaquejida. Shortly after daybeak, the Allied army takes a defensive position in an area of rolling hills to the south-east of the little village of Villaquejida. Their left flank is on thick woods on the bank of the River Esla, which is not fordable. The so-called Battle of Benavente takes place on Friday 28th, the weather is cold but dry and there is a slight mist, which disappears as the sun comes up.

(2) Spanish Group D (Maceta) have established themselves in the mountains near Guadarrama, where they are causing havoc for French communications and supply trains. Marshal Jourdan sends the Badener, General Von Neuenstein, up into the mountains to deal with this problem. Neuenstein’s brigade is all German – the 2nd Nassau, Regt de Frankfort and the 4th Baden – a total of 5 battalions plus a small unit of the converged voltigeur companies. He also has a battery of French horse artillery from the Madrid reserve – all told, some 4300 men with 6 guns. Maceta has around 4700 – including a few cavalry – plus a volunteer company of foot artillery. The Spanish troops are well suited to the rocky terrain, but they include a number of units of infantry supplied by the local partidas who have little experience of formal combat.

The troops meet in very hilly ground near San Rafael around midday on Thursday 27th. There is some snow, but not enough to hinder movement.



Narrative
Reports for the actions at Benavente and San Rafael will appear as soon as they have been fought. The Benavente combat appears to be too large for normal CCN rules, so will use the Grand Tactical variant.

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