|Initial set-up - Dalhousie's 7th Divn on this side, his Portuguese on his left...|
Been a bit busy, not to mention preoccupied, for a week or so, but today I have the table and some soldiers out, and am going to have a wargame this afternoon.
Standard-size Commands & Colors: Napoleonics battle (i.e. without the table extension), but a comparitive rarity for me will be the visit of a guest general, which I am looking forward to. This leads to the following thoughts:
(1) This chap has not played C&CN before, so I had better get my head straight enough to explain the game sensibly and clearly, without getting sidetracked into too much detail or too many pointless stories. Right.
(2) It also means that I had better brush up on those nippy bits in the rules that seem to fade when I take my eye off them – “Combined Arms” combats; whether units can retreat through woods or fordable rivers (yes); the correct rules for attacked Leaders to escape through an enemy unit. Must also remember to drop any house tweaks that I am testing at present. Mustn’t come across as a charlatan or an idiot.
(3) And it means I shall have to avoid putting my visitor off the game; I do not necessarily wish him to adopt C&CN as his rules of choice for life (don’t be silly), but I would be sad if my enthusiasm proved to be a turn-off (which, whisper it, is not unknown).
(4) It also means that the game had better have some reasonable degree of balance. In a solo game, this matters very little, but it is more necessary with a visitor, since he might be demotivated if the outcome were a foregone conclusion. Worse still, rules newbie or not, he might thrash me (which, also, is not unknown).
(5) Which directed my attention back to GMT’s published scenarios, and the user-generated scenarios on the internet site. I didn’t find anything that quite fitted the bill – the scenarios are all good enough games, but I’ve played most of them before, I have a slight personal bias against some of them in that they bear little resemblance to the historical battle which they are claimed to represent, and it seems uncomfortable, to me, to set out to play a defined portion of a larger battle (the adventures of the French left flank at Salamanca, for example, which I am sure is an excellent game, but feels rather like eating only the potato chips from the salad). Yes, I realise this is stupid of me.
(6) So I eventually came up with something of about the right size and layout, and fiddled around with the OOB until the sides looked reasonable. Two French divisions under my old chum Loison, with cavalry support and a couple of batteries, will attempt to secure an important river crossing on a supply route, and drive away the Anglo-Portuguese Seventh Division (under the Earl of Dalhousie, who in reality was probably not contemporary with Loison in this theatre, but who cares), which also has some horse and a few guns.
I think it looks OK. The armies were selected, to some extent, by considering which units haven’t had a run out recently - hence the presence of the 4eme Vistule, the Garde de Paris and the splendid Chasseurs des Montagnes in Loison's bit of VI Corps. Also, since his own is not available, Dalhousie has borrowed the Portuguese brigade from the 6th Division. It's all right - it's a game.
Action at Iravez, October 1811
Anglo-Portuguese 7th Divn (Maj.Gen Earl of Dalhousie)
1st Brigade (Lt.Col Colin Halkett)
1st & 2nd Lt Bns, KGL & Brunswick-Oels Jaegers
2nd Brigade (Maj.Gen JHC Von Bernewitz)
51st Foot, 68th Foot & Chasseurs Britanniques
3rd Brigade (Br.Gen Rezende}
8th (2 Bns) & 12th (2) Portuguese Line & 9th Cacadores
Cavalry Brigade (Br.Gen Madden)
1st & 11th Portuguese Cavalry & 5th Drgn.Gds (attached)
McDonald’s Troop, RHA
Arriaga’s Battery, Portuguese Art.
Total: 5 infantry, 6 light infantry, 3 cavalry, 2 artillery
French Force (Gen de Divn Loison)
6e Leger (3 Bns) & 69e Ligne (2)
39e (2) & 76e (2) Ligne
Art à Pied
28e Leger, Garde de Paris & Chasseurs des Montagnes
17e Leger, Grenadiers Provisoirs & 4e Vistule
Art à Pied
4e & 20e Dragons, 15e Chasseurs à Cheval
Total: 9 infantry, 6 light infantry, 3 cavalry, 2 artillery
C&CN: Possession of villages at both ends of the bridge gains 1 VP.
River is fordable throughout, but artillery and wagons must cross at the bridge – French mission is to secure the crossing for supply trains, and drive Allied troops back.
Each side has 6 cards; 9 VPs wins the day. Dice for choice of first move.