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


Thursday, 28 September 2017

Talavera - (1) - The Set-Up

All ready for Saturday - Leval with the French left flank - Confederation troops
(Nassauers, Hessians, Frankfurters) with Milhaud's dragoons lurking in the
background (mostly off the table to start). Some minor tweaking of the
initial positions will, of course, be possible
I've now placed the troops on the table for Saturday, as per my slightly shrunk version of the scenario map. Because the scenario was written for an 11-hex-deep table, and I have only a 9-hex available, some units will start the battle on the border area - this is not part of the table itself, but units on the border may be ordered onto the table - prior to that they cannot do anything (since they are not really there). [Stryker and Goya are due to arrive around 11am on Saturday, so I'm trying to get everything ready for a brisk start.]

Wellesley was, in theory, the overall commander, but his relationship with the Spanish general, Cuesta, was not very reassuring. In his concern over the Spaniards' lack of facility in taking any kind of attacking role, Wellesley decided that they should take a defensive position, in front of the town of Talavera, and a redoubt was constructed to strengthen the position.

As the scenario notes (below) will explain, we have adopted an experimental rule for Saturday, to simulate this disconnected command for the Allies. The game, in a manner which will be familiar to veterans of Waddington's Campaign, has three players; we have, if you like, plumped for an IGO-UGO-HEGO system! It could end in tears of course, but it's certainly something different.

General view from behind Allied left flank. If you spot any fellows in 1812 hats in this
1809 battle, please award yourself a medal, but don't point it out - we know all about that.
From behind Allied right
Allied left, from an aeroplane behind their position. The main hill on this side of
the river is the Cerro de Medelllin, which is the site of MacKenzie's defence -
Wellesley with the red edging to his base. Spanish detachment in the farm on the left.
The Allied right, again from behind their position. To the right of the river, this
is the area to be defended by Cuesta's troops.
MacKenzie in position. 
Merlin with a mix-and-match command on the French right - King Joseph's
Guards, Vistula Lancers - all sorts.
What a Whopper! - enormous battalion of the Coldstream Foot Guards
Green cubes identify light troops - here's a detachment of 5/60th Rifles
Allied guns in the redoubt - the Allies cannot use the C&C Grand Battery rule, since
they are separate armies.
 
Cuesta, in charge of the defence of Talavera town - he intends to show that
long-nosed English Lord a thing or two. (I'm to be Cuesta on Saturday - an
obvious choice, I'm sure you will agree)


Battle of Talavera - scenario notes heavily adapted from C&CN EPIC game

Preamble: Very roughly, the battlefield on the tabletop is about 3.5 miles wide, the armies are limited to the troops who were actually engaged - the number of distinct units is less than half of the historical OOBs, but our model units are very much overstrength on a figure scale basis - overall, the scenario works out at about half-scale.

(1) Rules and Game Format: C&CN, with Expansion #5-style Tactician Cards included - table size is 17 hexes by 9. To increase effective depth of the field, some units will start the game placed on the table border, behind the baseline. Units so placed cannot fight or offer support until they are moved onto the table - once they have marched onto the table, no units may use the border area.

(2) French army is
(a) Leval on the left - German troops - 2 bns Nassau, 2 bns Hesse Darmstadt, 1 bn Frankfort, 2 bns of converged voltigeurs (3 bases each) from that German division + 1 foot battery - total is 5LN 2LT 1FA 1LDR
(b) Behind Leval and along baseline to river - Milhaud with 5 regts Dragoons and 1 Horse battery - total is 5HC 1HA 1LDR
(c) On right flank, beyond stream, Merlin with Kings Guard Grenadiers (count as LN) and Guard Voltigeurs (count as LT) with 2 regts of Chass a Chev and Vistula Lancers - total is 1LN 1LT 1LNCR 2LC 1LDR
(d) In centre, Villatte, Sebastiani and Lapisse have the 4th Vistula plus 8 French line bns + 3 French light bns + 3 foot batteries - total is 9LN 3LT 3FA 3LDR
(e) Thus grand total for French army is
            15LN 6LT 5HC 2LC 1LNCR 4FA 1HA 6LDR
(f) All French units are of 4 blocks, except artillery units and converged LT units in the German Divn, which are each 3. The Germans and King's Guard count as French.
(g) Also - add Marshal Victor as CinC (ignore King Joseph?)

(3) Spanish Army is
(a) Bassecourt on left, with 2LN (of which 1 is in farm) 1LT 1LDR
(b) De Portago and Manglano on right have 5LN 2LT 3LC 2FA 2LDR
(c) Thus grand total for the Spanish army is
            7LN 3LT 3LC 2FA 3LDR
(d) Spanish units are all 4 blocks, except artillery and cavalry which are all 3.
(e) Also - add Cuesta as overall Spanish commander

(4) British Army is
(a) Left - Fane with 1 regt of Lt Dgns and 1st Huss KGL, plus 1 of Dragoons and 1 of Dgn Gds - total of 2LC 1HC 1GHC 1LDR
(b) on Cerro de Medellin and to the right of that, Mackenzie and Henry Campbell with 5th Bn KGL, 83rd Ft, 94th Ft, 24th Ft, 45th Ft (=5LN) + Coldstream Gds + a 4-block unit of converged lights + a 3-block unit of 5/60th + 2 Foot batteries - total is 1GG 5LN 1LT 1RL 2FA 2LDR
(c) Grand total for British is
            5LN 1LT 1RL 1GG 2LC 1HC 1GHC 2FA 3LDR
(d) British rifle unit, artillery and cavalry all 3 blocks, Foot Guards 5 blocks, all other infantry 4 blocks.
(e) Also - add Wellesley as CinC

Special "Talavera" Scenario rules
* Initial set-up uses the table border as an extra baseline - units placed there may only be ordered to join the battle, they can't fight and they can't offer support and they can't be attacked (they are not there!) - thereafter, the border hexes cannot be used in the game.
* Key issue for the Allied side is that Cuesta unable to co-operate fully with British army (though Wellesley is officially the CinC of the combined forces). Thus the game is tweaked for 3 armies - British and Spanish take separate turns - turn cycle is French (who start), then British, then Spanish.
* A Spanish general may enter a hex occupied by a British unit, but may not be attached to it, and may not provide support to British units - vice versa applies for British generals with Spanish units. Will be at risk if unit suffers loss; must leave as soon as possible.
* Spanish and British units may provide support for each other, though joint attacks are impossible.
* Objective bonus VPs: French get 1VP at start of move for each hex of Talavera occupied; French get 1VP at start of move for each hex of the Cerro de Medellin they occupy.
* Stream has no effect on combat - troops must stop when they enter it, but may move off normally next turn.

15 VP to win.

Turns and Card Play:
* French start; they get 7 Command Cards and 4 Tactician Cards; they can play 1 or 2 Command Cards in each turn; if they play 2 cards, at least 1 of these must be a Section Card (i.e. referring to a flank, or the centre) - if they have no Section cards, they may only play 1 Command Card. Cards are additive, but no unit may receive two simultaneous orders as a result. 
* British follow the French turn; they start with 5 Command Cards and 3 Tactician Cards. They may play only 1 Command Card in their turn.
* Spanish follow the British turn; they start with 4 Command Cards and 2 Tactician Cards. Like the British, they may play only 1 Command Card in their turn.
* Any commander (including the French) may, instead of taking his turn, replace 1 Command Card (unseen by other players) from his hand with a fresh one (again, unseen) from the Deck, but this REPLACES his turn (the "Scrabble Rule").
* Separation of Allied armies - The idea is that Wellesley and Cuesta have an advantage in that they can share their cards, but a disadvantage in that their tactical actions cannot be fully co-ordinated - in particular, a joint attack by British and Spanish troops becomes a tricky thing to arrange.
* Each general commands his own troops, but the card play is collaborative - at the end of each Spanish turn (after new cards have been taken to replace played cards), Allied generals may confer, and may transfer cards between their hands for the next cycle of turns. Only restriction is that neither army may finish up with less than 2 Command Cards (or they can't form a square). Tactician Cards can be divided up in any way Wellesley & Cuesta wish, but once the division is made each army is stuck with the cards they have until the end of the next Spanish turn.
* Cards when played only apply to each general's own army - reference on cards to "Command", as in "number of Command Cards in the hand" means "in the hand you currently hold" at any moment - not pooled, not original allocation (if different).
* The Command Card decks should be shuffled and re-initialised when so instructed by a played card, or when the cards run out, or when all generals agree it would improve the game.



QRS for Talavera - C&CN

Troop Types
Type
Move
Range
Fire
Moving fire
Melee
Notes
FRENCH






Infantry
1
2
bks
½ bks(rd up)
bks(+1 vs Inf)

Light Inf
1 / 2nb
2
bks+1
½ bks(up)+1
bks

Lt Cav
3
-
-
-
bks

Lancers
3
-
-
-
bks (reroll flag rolls)

Hvy Cav
2
-
-
-
bks+1

BRITISH






Infantry
1
2
bks+1
½ bks(rd up)
bks

Light Inf
1 / 2nb
2
bks+1
½ bks(rd up)+1
bks

Rifles
1 / 2nb
3
bks
½ bks(rd up)
bks (no sabres)

Ft Guards
1
2
bks+1
½ bks(rd up)+1
bks+1
Ignore 2 flags
Lt Cav
3
-
-
-
bks

Hvy Cav
2
-
-
-
bks+1

Gd Hvy Cav
2
-
-
-
bks+1
Ignore 2 flags
SPANISH






Infantry
1
2
bks
½ bks(dn)-1
bks (-1 if moving)
2 hx/flag
Light Inf
1 / 2nb
2
bks
½ bks(dn)
bks (-1 if moving)
2 hx/flag
Gds/Gren
1
2
bks
½ bks(dn)
bks+1
2 hx/flag; Ign 1 fl
Lt Cav
3
-
-
-
bks
2 hx/flag

Artillery (All Nations)
Type
Move
Melee
Standing Fire
Moving Fire



2hx
3hx
4hx
5hx
2hx
3hx
4hx
Foot
1nb
4
3
2
1
1
-
-
-
Ft(1 bk)
1nb
3
2
1
1
-
-
-
-
Horse
1 / 2nb
3
2
1
1
-
2
1
-
Hrse(1bk)
1nb / 2nb
2
1
1
-
-
-
-
-

Choose to ignore 1 flag for each of: Leader present; 2 adjacent friends; terrain effect.
Every hex of retreat which cannot be completed – lose 1 block.
Spanish artillery suffer double retreats - ALL Spanish units do.

Terrain effects
Type

Movt
Inf
Cav
Art
Block LoS
Comment
Woods/Fields
into
Stop
-1
-2
-1
woods only

out of
-
0
-2
-1

Only Lt Inf may enter & battle
Hill
up
-
-1
-1
0
Yes

down
-
0
-1
0


hill-to-hill
-
0/-1
0
0

-1 for ranged
Buildings
in
Stop
-2
-3
-1
Yes

out
-
0
-3
-1

May not enter & battle
Earthworks
in
Stop
-1
-2
-1
No

out
Stop
0
-2
0

Inf & Art ignore 1 flag
Stream or Fordable River
in
Stop
-1/0
-1/0
-1/0
No
-1 for melee
out
-
-1
-1
-1

-1 for all
River/Marsh

n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
No
Prohibited
Bridge






Cancels river

Special Rule for Talavera - the stream requires units to stop as they enter, but has no other effect.