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

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Solo Campaign - Week 11

The campaign has slipped a couple of weeks, but is still rolling along. Week 11 gets us up to 5th April 1812, which means that Winter is officially over (hurrah!). I have pasted in the Narrative section for this week, from which you will see that the Earl of Wellington is in trouble back home, and there are two combats between the French and the Spanish partidas to settle before I can finally update the map and the tables.

I wants one. I use Henri Lachouque's lovely 'Napoleon's War in Spain' for this campaign a lot anyway, because it gives useful reproductions of contemporary French maps, but I find the artwork inspirational, and I usually get distracted when I read it! Mention of a blockhouse in the narrative reminds me that I have wanted one for a while - either to build or commission one in 15mm. This illustration shows the sort of thing - this particular one was near Tolosa, but the design was used a lot by the French in Spain to guard their communications. This would be a fine addition to my PW scenery, methinks. I must try to remember to do something about it...   

Narrative - Week 11

Maj Gen Robert Ballard Long has been appointed to command the heavy cavalry brigade of the late Maj Gen JG Le Marchant, and will arrive in late April. In the meantime, the brigade, which is much reduced in numbers, is temporarily commanded by Major Clowes. There is talk of an extra regiment being sent to join Long, and – at his request – a surprise return to the older, non-French, uniforms with bicorne hats. It is not known when this may happen. General Long’s reputation as a leader of cavalry suggests that he is a better administrator than a battlefield commander.

Cotton’s defeated force, lucky with the weather [and the dice], managed to retreat to Orense in splendid order after being beaten at Penausende, suffering no further loss on the march. His army is still Tired, but may now rest and receive overdue reinforcements and replacements. This retreat could easily have been a disaster, which would have made Wellington’s personal situation very difficult.

As it is, there has been the predicted uproar in the British Parliament about the lack of success of the army. [1D6 < 3 in any week from next week will trigger a vote in the House – algorithm for the vote is silly, but an amusing parody of democracy – a total of 5D6 are available, divided according to current mood – at present this is 3:2 against Wellington, but may swing from week to week with further news – at the start of the campaign, for example, it was 4:1 in his favour. 3:2 means that, if a vote were called for, the totals of 3D6 and 2D6 would be compared – if the 3D6 were greater, Wellington would be replaced. A tie produces no change]. Wellington needs a victory, and soon. Sir J Bulstrode Fartingale, member for St Pancras, almost caused a riot by suggesting that the British Army’s continued presence in the Peninsula is entirely dependant on the current success of the Spanish forces.

Karl von Alten, with the Light Division, has crossed the border into Spain at Cuidad Rodrigo. Patrols from his cavalry (1st Hussars KGL) report that there are no French troops at Salamanca.

Marmont, with the main French army at Leon, has detached Treillard’s cavalry (seconded from the Armee du Centre) and ordered them to return to Madrid, since there is a marked lack of French horses anywhere south of Burgos. Treillard had reached Segovia without incident by the end of the week.

Don Antonio Ximenez, “El Gigante”, something of a hothead [and also said by some to be an overscale Hinchliffe figure], has returned to the offensive against Maucune, and advanced back into the Toledo area. Maucune (also a hothead, in any case) has continued his march in pursuit of Ximenez, and his army is surprised to be attacked in woods near Olias, on the Aranjuez road, by an enemy they believed was retreating. Ambush of Olias takes place on Tues 31st March.

In Navarre, guerrilla attacks on a French blockhouse have obliged Chef de Bataillon Armande-Louis Fantaise (of the 118e Ligne, who is astonished to find he has command of the garrison at Jaca) to march his 4 battalions and part of the garrison artillery out to deal with the problem. On Sat 4th April they meet up with the forces of the Junta de Navarra – reportedly 2500 men [though the dice may increase this figure], commanded by the mysterious Hermanos Gomez y Gomez near Ancenigo, in the valley of the Rio Gallegos [because of the small size, this combat might be resolved off-table, which would be a shame, since one of the units, the 4e Vistule, have never been in action before!]. There are many popular tales of Gomez y Gomez, including the legend that they were originally a firm of builders in Zaragoza.

The fever epidemic among the French (Confederation) troops in Burgos continues, but is less serious than had been feared. This week, only the Franzburg Jaeger battalion reported new cases sick (200 men). The epidemic will continue, and the troops there remain Demoralised.

Oh yes - General Foy is recovered from his wound and should return to duty next week. It was nothing...

The updated map and tables will appear once the combats at Olias and Ancenigo have been decided.


  1. Great news about General Foy, I thought we'd seen the last of him!!

    1. Mon cher monsieur Roussel

      I thank you for your support - I shall always wear it.

      By 1812 I had received many wounds, and at Waterloo I received my 15th. Madame la Comtesse often joked to me that when I retired from the military I could get a job as a pasta drainer. Bayonet wounds are among the ones I usually forget during after-dinner conversation. Cannonballs I remember.

      Bonne chance - je vous emprie d'accepter, monsieur, mes meilleures felicitations - MSF