Saturday, 7 March 2015

Casa de Salinas - Talavera, Game Two

Last night we played the second test game of Casa de Salinas, with Tom taking the French and Mike the British. With Mike being new to C&G we took time to share insights on how the game models the action, and as is always the way, after a few moves we were soon into the flow of the game.

The scenario set up with all forces on "blinds" for hidden deployment
Play tests are really important when you are trying to model an historical action and rarely do you feel it is right the first time you play. I certainly felt that this was the case in the first run through we played last month.

Laplanne's brigade advance on the British position
In our action in this game, Tom moved the weight of the French assault towards the left of the road and used minimal forces to pin Donkin's brigade whilst bringing his full effort against the Casa and Mackenzie's brigade.

Laplanne's voltigeur battalion comb the woods ahead in open order
Keen to try different tactics, especially with the very strong voltiguer battalions of both French brigades, these French light troops moved in in force against the British line. In an attempt to force the weaker British light bobs out of the fight, the voltigeurs formed line from open order and advanced on the British battalions.

skirmishers forward
The effect was to force the British lights back only to bump the 2/24th and 2/31st battalions who mustered over half their men in their first volleys. The effect on the voltigeurs caused rapid disorder and whilst halted and trying to reform, Tom pushed through their ranks with his formed battalions behind, eager to keep the pressure on the British line.

First contact! Mackenzies light battalion challenge Laplanne's voltigeurs
The British fire was the more telling and when the veteran 1/45th added their volleys to the battle the French battalions started to waver. In desperation, as much as anything, the French line charged the 2/24th and although winning the combat only managed to force the "Warwickshire's" to retire 150 paces facing their enemy with casualties on both in the low twenties. A similar charge against the 2/31st produced a similar result.

The voltigeurs form line to force the issue with the light bobs
The 1/45th were steady as a rock and facing off against their French opposite battalion, the 1/45eme Ligne quickly sent them packing with two well directed volleys.

The army moral levels were starting to separate quite noticeably as the first French brigade reached a cautionary status and Tom sensing the wheels were starting to come off his assault, threw caution to the wind and brought forward his final line of steady battalions to try and force the issue. With all hands to the pumps, even the horse guns were manhandled to within 75 paces of the 2/31st to fire off a round of canister.

Solignac's voltigeurs form line and "bump" the 2/24th
Meanwhile Mike remained cool and held his line by attaching Mackenzie, to steady the 2/31st and Wellesley to the 2/24th who gave three cheers at his arrival and reformed their ranks to face the final attack. As they did, they took heart to see the leading squadrons of Anson's 1st KGL Hussars arrive on their right flank in the open ground beyond the tree line.

With all French effort direct towards breaking Mackenzie's line around the Casa, Mike took the opportunity to break contact with Donkin's brigade, sending the 1/88th and 2/87th off in company column whilst covering their withdrawal with the brigade light battalion and the 60th Rifles forming a solid screen of open order light bobs.

Volley fire breaks out and the game is afoot
The final exchanges between the two forces were from tired, and in the French case, dispirited units, causing minimal casualties, but enough to tip both French brigades into serious morale failure, and forcing the action to a close, with the British happy to break contact and retire towards Talavera.

As the 16e Legere move through the voltigeurs driving in the light bobs, they are met by the 2/31st
The casualty record for both forces tells the tale of the action described with four French battalions dispersed and broken and even the French horse gunners having 24 less troopers after firing off their canister and getting a telling volley back from the 2/31st, if a somewhat tired one.

The 1/45th bring their volleys into the fight as the 2/24th are forced back
 Army Sir Arthur Wellesley
[ 501] Lieutenant General Sir Arthur Wellesley - Active A [1500 paces]

Brigade George Anson - Defend
[ 506] Brigadier General George Anson - Active B- [400 paces]
[ 509] 23rd Light Dragoons A 0/ 229 C [sk] Formed Good Fresh
[ 510] 23rd Light Dragoons B 0/ 224 C [sk] Formed Good Fresh
[ 511] 1st Light Dragoons KGL A 0/ 220 C+ [sk] Formed Good Fresh
[ 512] 1st Light Dragoons KGL B 0/ 228 C+ [sk] Formed Good Fresh

Division Alexander Randoll Mackenzie - Defend
[ 515] Major General Alexander Randoll Mackenzie - Active C [800 paces]
[ 533] 2/24th Foot 78/ 630 C [sk] Formed Good Tired
[R] [ 534] 2/31st Foot 102/ 558 C [sk] Disorder Average Tired
[ 535] 1/45th Foot 51/ 629 C+ [sk] Formed Average Exhausted
[ 536] Mackenzie's Bde. Light Bn. 35/ 193 C [sk] Disorder Average Fresh

Brigade Rufane Donkin - Defend
[ 516] Colonel Rufane Donkin - Active B- [350 paces]
[ 537] 2/87th Foot 0/ 539 C [sk] Formed Good Fresh
[ 538] 1/88th Foot 0/ 539 C+ [sk] Formed Good Fresh
[ 539] 5/60th Rifles 0/ 220 B- [sk] Formed Ex'lent Fresh
[ 540] Donkin's Bde. Light Bn. 0/ 175 C+ [sk] Formed Good Fresh

266/ 3483 Bayonets
0/ 901 Sabres
266/ 4384 Total of all arms
10 Standards present

The volley fire starts to tell
 Division Pierre- Bellon Lapisse - Attack
[ 108] General de Division Pierre- Bellon Lapisse - Active C- [725 paces]
[ 102] 2/6me Artillerie a Cheval 24/ 132 [ 6] B- Formed Good Fresh

Brigade Jean Bartholomew R Laplanne - Attack [No Advance]
[ 109] General de Brigade Jean Bartholomew R Laplanne - Active C [350 paces]
[D] [ 111] 1/16me Regiment de Legere 246/ 343 C [sk] D'persed Broken Exhausted
[D] [ 112] 2/16me Regiment de Legere 238/ 360 C [sk] D'persed Broken Tiring
[ 113] 3/16me Regiment de Legere 11/ 459 C- [sk] Formed Good Fresh
[D] [ 114] 1/45me Regiment de Ligne 171/ 284 C [sk] D'persed Broken Tired
[ 115] 2/45me Regiment de Ligne 0/ 482 C [sk] Formed Good Fresh
[ 116] 3/45me Regiment de Ligne 0/ 459 C- [sk] Formed Average Tiring
[R] [ 117] Laplanne's Voltigeur Bn. 77/ 492 C [sk] Shaken Broken Acceptable

Brigade Jean Baptiste Solignac - Attack [No Advance]
[ 110] General de Brigade Jean Baptiste Solignac - Active C- [350 paces]
[D] [ 104] 1/8me Regiment de Ligne 140/ 356 C [sk] D'persed Broken Tired
[ 105] 2/8me Regiment de Ligne 17/ 454 C [sk] Formed Poor Tiring
[ 106] 3/8me Regiment de Ligne 0/ 460 C- [sk] Formed Average Tiring
[ 107] 1/54me Regiment de Ligne 0/ 474 C [sk] Formed Good Fresh
[ 108] 2/54me Regiment de Ligne 24/ 462 C [sk] Formed Good Fresh
[Y] [ 109] 3/54me Regiment de Ligne 189/ 300 C- [sk] Rout Broken Exhausted
[ 110] Solignac's Voltigeur Bn. 120/ 461 C [sk] Formed Average Fresh

1233/ 5846 Bayonets
24/ 132 Artillerists
0/ 6 Cannon
1257/ 5978 Total of all arms
4 Standards present

High Tide - French units have broken to the rear, but Mackenzie's men are feeling the strain

Major victory for the British Army
As of Game Turn: 10

The British Army has suffered losses of:
[ 5%] 266 men of all arms

[ 5%] 266 dead and wounded
[ 7%] 266 bayonets
[ 0%] 0 sabres
Honours: [ 533] 2/24th Foot

The French Army has suffered losses of:
[ 40%] 2900 men of all arms

[ 13%] 986 dead and wounded
[ 22%] 1643 missing
[ 3%] 271 prisoners
[ 40%] 2876 bayonets
[ 15%] 24 artillerists
Honours: [ 105] 2/8me Regiment de Ligne

The game was great fun and at the turning point quite tense, as Mike described it, as the British line seemed to waver slightly under the weight of the French attack. The fatigue caused to the French having to traverse the woods and the volley fire from the British on the first exchanges is still not right when looking at the original battle, and our third play through will look to remedy that before we move on to the Night Attack scenario.

Thanks to Mike, in his first game of C&G and a welcome return to Napoleonics, and Tom, a veteran C&G player, for a very entertaining evening.


  1. Nice write up. How do you plan to adjust the fatigue for the French and lessen the British volley, or am I jumping the gun and need to wait for game 3? :) We use C&G as our principle rule set and will be doing our first run of your scenario soon so I am just curious.

    Thanks. Adam

    1. Hi Adam, thank you. I am aiming to create a scenario that reflects the surprise that the French caused to the British rearguard, and give a high probability that the British will be contacted and broken or pushed back in the first contact.

      We had two battalions pushed back in this combat, but the French were unable to follow up and capitalize on their success. The casualties inflicted by the British fire was not right based on the accounts, so I need to tweak the random response. I think I need to wait to do game 3 before I comment further as I have ideas but I need to see if they work. Hoping to get the next game in this week.

  2. Another day for another great report, beautiful pictures (the last one is my favorite, stunning vue!) and armies...

    1. Hey Phil, glad you're enjoying the journey. You can't beat lines of troops close up, swapping volley fire for drama.
      Thanks for your comment