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


Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Something for the Weekend - The Battle of Not-Quite-Uclés, 13 Jan 1809 - set-up

On Saturday I have guest generals coming to play at Chateau Foy, so this is a special occasion, especially after the recent panic involving the cancellation of the Siege of Newcastle.

Work on the set-up is proceeding...
Our scenario for the day will be something rather similar to the Battle of Uclés - not too similar, naturally. A Spanish army under Mariscal de Campo Venegas, comprising 23 battalions, 5 regiments of light cavalry and two foot batteries will defend the formidable ridge which the town and monastery of Uclés bisect; the opposition is a French force commanded by Marshal Victor, who will have available 21 battalions, 5 regiments of dragoons and 1 of chasseurs à cheval, 2 foot batteries and one horse battery. I shall use the largest of my available table configurations - any larger and we need to find a bigger venue.

The Spanish Army is assembling on the Plastic Canteen Trays of Mars, as you see...



...while, in the interests of security, the French are marshalling in another room,
on the official ironing board (has it been pressed into service?) - formidable, n'est-ce pas?



I expect we shall have rather a lot of fun, but if anyone out there fancies a bet on the result, I would suggest a sporting 10 pence on a resounding French win. Some of the French are to arrive a little late, subject to the whim of the dice, as a consequence of (allegedly) taking the wrong road, but I fear this will not affect the result.

14 comments:

  1. Fantastic collection, Tony!
    If I was a betting man, my wager would be on the French too.

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    1. This is most of my 1809 Spaniards, but (I am slightly embarrassed to admit) it is quite a small part of my French army - I have to live in hope that one day I have a very big room, an enormous table and lots of friends so that we can get all the Frogs out at once.

      We have some cheats coming in the rules to give the Spaniards a bit of a chance on Saturday...

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  2. "Pressed into service" - my word, sir, you are clever. Very witty.
    It looks like a splendid game, and inspires me to want to pay top dollars for a wargaming holiday at Chateau Foy, though after my aborted attempt to get to Casa Kinch last weekend, I am somewhat jaded on air travel.
    Your fans want pictures and a stirring AAR!

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    1. You're right - sometimes I am so brilliant I even disgust myself. Get yourself rested and cash in those Trump shares (quickly), and you will be most welcome - whenever you're ready.

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  3. What splendid looking troops (the Spanish I mean!), should be good...

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    1. A magnificent army - the soldiers are drafted against their will, courtesy of the local community's requirement to meet a quota, the officers are mostly the idiot sons of the nobility (which is not unique to the Spanish), the training is usually a bit skimpy, since they don't expect the unit to be around for very long, and the officers mostly don't know the drills. If it wasn't for the fact that they hate the French (as anti-Catholic) just a little more than they hate their own rulers, we couldn't get them to fight at all. In the wargame, they are at a disadvantage (because of lack of training and therefore skill in manoeuvring) if they have to fight while on the move - they are best to stay put and shoot attackers as they approach. They are also better if they have many times as many troops as the enemy - and best of all is if the enemy does not turn up.

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    2. I think you have said more in this post than many learned historians have written on the Spanish army in weighty tomes.

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  4. Hurrah! It's always a pleasure to see your superb collection en masse, Foy. Humbling, too.

    I remember that ironing board! You need a wider and more stable platform. I was terrified of accidentally bumping into it.

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    1. Hi WM - yes, the ironing board has been the subject of a report by our H&S people. In theory it only gets requisitioned (apart from for ironing, of course :D ) when the proper folding table from the Garden Room (that's in the Library Wing, next to the Taxidermy Studio) is called upon to support one end of the extended battlefield.

      Thus, as you remind me, the occasions when the most troops are kicking about are exactly the times when we are most at risk of an accident. And, of course, I wear wrinkly shirts when there's a war on.

      I should obtain a better, more easily stored support for the end of the battlefield. So little time, so much crap furniture...

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  5. On the subject of needing more space for bigger wargames, Martin S emailed to say that there is never enough space - if I had more space I would still want more. Maybe he is right - well, of course he is right; he suggests that I should borrow large spaces from someone else when they are needed. This is possible, but it requires the soldiers to travel, which is a horrifying idea.

    I could make better use of the space we do have - we could sell the Edward Heath Memorial Collection of Shrunken Heads, or get rid of the racehorses; we could (and often do) cut down on our collection of cardboard boxes, which is once again beginning to attract its own climate. All these things are possible, but daunting, and, as Martin points out, unlikely to meet all future needs.

    It is tricky - one tries to cope.

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    1. On wargaming table space, I have a 12' x 6' game table permanently set up in the game room. I have never wished for a larger table than that. Any larger and my friends may think me a bit ostentatious...

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    2. I am limited by room space - biggest arrangement I can manage is 10ft4in by 5ft - I have given serious thought to painting up extra table sections to allow me 16ft x 5ft, but I'd have to set that out somewhere else - 16 x 5 would allow the full double-width "Epic" style C&C using my 7in hexes. On the other hand, if I was going to paint up extra sections, for a table I have nowhere to set up, I may as well do 16ft x something a bit deeper. If one is going to go daft, then completely crazy is not unreasonable.

      I would love to be in a position to have an ostentatious table (!) - in fact my mother's house (which we sold in January...) had a room which would have allowed 16 x 6 without difficulty, but - of course - I only daydreamed about that - never tried it.

      Oh well - I have a neighbour who owns a decent commercial style marquee, and it would be possible to borrow/hire it and set up a special event in the garden - we have a decent sized paved terrace. That's a nice idea, but then I start to think about freak storms, and water-leaks and insects, and dropping trays of soldiers on the stone steps, and my blood runs cold.

      12 x 6 is good though - I like that.

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  6. What a fab looking collection!

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    1. Thanks Ray. They really should get out to play more often - me too, I guess...

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