Sunday, 1 May 2016

Talavera, Attack on the Pajar Vergara (game two) - Legionary 2016

Brigadier General Alexander Campbell
AKA Steve
General de Division Baron Jean-Francios Leval
AKA Will

Following our first play of this scenario back in December 2015 and Will's unfortunate defeat at the hands of the Spanish Provincial de Badajoz Militia when French victory was snatched away in the last move of the game, the rematch was on at Legionary 2016 in Exeter yesterday - "and this time it was personal!"

We arrived at the show at 9am to get things set up in time for doors opening at 10 am and as this was as much a display game to advertise the joys of playing 18mm Napoleonics using Carnage & Glory II rules together with illustrating the games we play at The Devon Wargames Group, we had plenty of materials on the table to let visitors know what we were doing.

So after a warming cup of tea we got started on the game soon after 10am for what turned out to be a really great day, with lots of friends and visitors stopping to chat while we played and a really good game that developed into a climax as the afternoon drew to a close.

We were very well catered for by the organising team at the show and were able to get the electrics sorted to run the lap top and screen in no time and the following few pictures show the table set up ready to play, with the opposing armies in all their glory.

The "Nerve Centre" all set up with a small screen to display the game on screen for visitors
This scenario is well balanced with two very evenly matched forces that can fight it out "toe to toe" until one or another combat can tip the balance one way or the other.

The French commander has the option of requesting King Joseph to release the Polish brigade in nominal support of his division, but held resolutely in reserve during the historical engagement.

We played it that if the French take the Polish battalions, which are very strong capable troops, the we gave the Allies an automatic shift in the final victory outcome in their favour; thus a marginal French victory would revert to a drawn game.

The two battle lines in position with the Anglo-Spanish line bottom right
With the two opposing lines set up, General Leval's troops plunged into the myriad lines of olive trees preceded by their voltigeur screen as they headed off towards the allied line at 14.00 on July 28th 1809.

General Portago's division in support of the Pajar redoubt
The French plan was simple, the German troops would aggressively advance their light troops forward to engage the allied guns and any forward infantry looking to cause disruption and fatigue as the German, Dutch and Polish infantry columns made their way up in support.

General Campbell's division drawn up besides Portago's Spanish
The German guns would have two batteries head towards the British troops supported by Dutch infantry while the main attack would go in against the Pajar redoubt and the Spanish troops looking to break the Spanish before the British could intervene.

Spanish 12lbrs and British 3lbr guns set up on the Pajar
The skirmish battle against the allied guns began at 14.15 (game time) as the French light troops doubled through the olive trees to emerge into the open ground and commence a close fire fight with the allied gunners.

General Laval's "German Division" enter the olive groves in preparation for their attack - Dutch infantry supported by Dutch and Hesse artillery
The Spanish twelve pounders gained some respite when their initial blast of canister dropped twenty of the German voltigeurs causing them to fall back in disarray, but General Campbell was keen to preserve his gunners energies for engaging the German columns rather than be distracted into wasteful fatigue fighting off these annoying voltiguers.

Nassau and Hesse Darmstadt troops in company columns
With only the Spanish Antequeran Light Infantry able to offer any offensive skirmishing capability, the allied gunners were left to fend for themselves as the allied infantry held the rearward defensive posture.

The Spanish militia in close support of the artillery
As the skirmish battle developed around the Pajar, the German infantry columns and artillery batteries began to emerge from the tree line and the artillery duel intensified as both sides began a softening up process sending multiple rounds of round shot barrelling into the opposing lines causing surprising casualties as the shots found additional rearward targets.

The first shots of the battle as the French skirmish line engages the Pajar redoubt
With a pause in the advance to allow their infantry to shake off fatigue from their advance through the trees, the German columns advanced on the Spanish positions with the two Baden battalions launching column charges against the British guns, quickly followed by Nassau and Hesse battalions against their Spanish comrades.

Canister flies as the gunners fight to keep the French light battalions at bay
The gunners clearly fatigued by their previous exertions had little appetite for a melee against massed infantry and made a hasty retreat abandoning their guns with many men surrendering to the German troops.

The battle "hots up" as the Baden guns come into action in support of their skirmishers
The Spanish position was under growing pressure and to their credit were giving ground grudgingly and refusing to break.

The French skirmish lines keep the Allies pinned as the German columns start to deploy from the olive groves
Meanwhile the Polish battalions put in charges against the Antequeran Light infantry and the Guadix Militia who both fired off ragged volleys before withdrawing.

With the pressure building on the Pajar, Campbell moves the British lines forward to take up the fight
The Polish brigade deploys on to the road in support of the German troops
General Campbell knew he needed to get his redcoats into the fight but each time he moved his lines forward they were subjected to galling skirmish attacks and multiple rounds of  four and six pounder round shot ploughing through their ranks.

The massed Dutch and Hesse guns play on the British lines as the Dutch infantry columns move up
The Antequeran Cazadores move up to stop the Hesse Erbprinz Regiment from flanking the allied guns
With the Pajar redoubt cleared of allied gunners and securely under French control the French had paid back their debt for the inclusion of the Polish battalions in their attack by securing their principle objective.

Suddenly the German and Polish columns are into the Spanish position, but the Spanish troops refuse to break under the assault
However the Spanish division refused to acknowledge their position by breaking and completing the French victory with an allied army moral failure.

With the redoubt cleared and the Spanish under attack, the British struggle to come to their aid
The British right flank is turned as the Hesse and Polish battalions drive forward into the Spanish lines
Girding their loins for one final push designed to break Spanish resistance and thus make any further attempts by their British allies to intervene pointless, the massed columns of the Hesse and Polish battalions surged forward.

Soon only the Antequeran Light Infantry and the El Rey cavalry look able to offer firm Spanish resistance
Again the German-Polish battalions charged in to be met by resolute but ragged Spanish musketry and only to see the Spanish troops withdraw but not break.

This time though, rather like the referee seeing one boxer caught on the ropes offering little in the way of resistance, the fight was stopped in the eighth round, with the Allied army morale dropping to 74% and imminent collapse.

The Dutch infantry supported by their guns pin Campbell's British as the Allied force morale collapses in turn eight -
game over
With the Pajar under French control and collapse of resistance by the allied troops the game ended in French victory and honours even in the two games played; with the allied order of battle below clearly illustrating the battering they had taken by the numerous units in red, with faltering or broken morale and the French contrasting with just one unit affected.

Talavera - Pajar Vergara
Major victory for the French Army as of Game Turn: 8

The Allied Army has suffered losses of:
[10%]     761 men of all arms incl.
[4%]       334 prisoners of all arms
[7%]       468 bayonets
[0%]           0 sabres
[100%]   293 artillerists
12 cannon[s] lost
Honours: [602] 2nd Cazadores de Antequera

The French Army has suffered losses of:
[3%]       211 men of all arms incl.
[0%]         11 prisoners of all arms
[3%]       199 bayonets
[2%]         12 artillerists
Honours: [162] II.von Harrant Nr.4 (Baden)

Victory Condition Modifiers:
The French deployed the Poles - Shift in victory in favour of the Allies
The French captured the Pajar Vergar redoubt - Shift in victory in favour of the French

Talavera - Pajar Vergara
As of Game Turn: 8
Division Alexander Campbell - Defend
[ 517] Brigadier General Alexander Campbell - Active C [875 paces]
[D] [ 548] Lawson's Brigade                             145/ 0 C Poor Tired
[D] [ 621] 1st Battery                                        142/ 6 D+ Broken Exhausted

Brigade William Myers - Defend
[ 518] Lieutenant Colonel William Myers - Active C [450 paces]
[ 541] 2/7th Foot                                                   0/ 388 C- [sk] Good Fresh
[ 542] 2/53rd Foot                                               47/ 436 C- [sk] Good Fresh
[ 543] A. Campbell's Bde. Light Bn.                  14/ 147 C [sk] Average Fresh

Brigade James Kemmis - Defend
[ 519] Colonel James Kemmis - Active C [450 paces]
[W] [ 544] 1/40th Foot                                        38/ 632 C+ [sk] Good Fresh
[ 545] 97th Foot                                                     7/ 445 C+ [sk] Good Fresh
[ 546] 2nd Battalion of Detachments                    0/ 562 C- [sk] Good Fresh
[D] [ 547] Kemmis' Bde. Light Bn.                     62/ 182 C+ [sk] Broken Tiring

Division Marques de Portago - Defend
[ 528] Major General Marques de Portago - Active C [725 paces]
[ 553] El Rey A                                                     0/ 229 D Good Fresh
[ 554] El Rey B                                                     0/ 231 D Good Fresh
[ 600] 1st Bn. Badajoz Regiment                          0/ 571 D- Average Fresh
[R] [ 601] 2nd Bn. Badajoz Regiment                30/ 527 D- Broken Tiring
[R] [ 602] 2nd Cazadores de Antequera             14/ 543 D- [sk] Broken Tired
[ 603] Imperial de Toledo                                     0/ 792 D- Average Fresh
[R] [ 604] Provincial de Badajoz Militia            43/ 534 D Broken Acceptable
[R] [ 605] Provincial de Guadix Militia             31/ 531 D Broken Tiring

286/ 6290 Bayonets
0/ 460 Sabres
287/ 6 Artillerists

573/ 6756 Total of all arms
13 Standards present

[D] Denotes dispersed    
[Y] Denotes In rout    
[R] Denotes halted in disorder, in retirement or retreat    
[W] Denotes no advance unless accompanied by officer

Talavera - Pajar Vergara  as of Game Turn: 8
Division Baron Jean-Francois Leval - Attack
[ 118] General de Division Baron Jean-Francois Leval - Active B- [875 paces]

Brigade Heinrich Freiherr von Porbeck - Attack
[ 119] Oberst Heinrich Freiherr von Porbeck - Active B [450 paces]
[ 160] III Fuss Batterien Steinmetz                           10/ 180 [ 8] C Good Tiring
[ 161] I.von Harrant Nr.4 (Baden)                              4/ 372 C- [sk] Good Acceptable
[ 162] II.von Harrant Nr.4 (Baden)                           10/ 357 C- [sk] Ex'lent Tiring
[ 163] I.Nassau IR Nr.2                                               3/ 357 C- [sk] Good Fresh
[ 164] II.Nassau IR Nr.2                                             5/ 381 C- [sk] Good Tiring
[ 165] Porbeck's Voltigeur Bn.                                 36/ 281 C- [sk] Average Acceptable

Brigade David-Hendrik Chasse - Attack
[ 120] Generalmajor David-Hendrik Chasse - Active C [350 paces]
[ 166] 3m3 Artillerie a Cheval Trip                           1/ 146 [ 6] C Average Exhausted
[W] [ 167] I/2me Regiment Linie                              0/ 393 C- [sk] Good Tiring
[ 168] 2/4me Regiment Linie                                     0/ 378 C- [sk] Good Fresh
[ 169] Chasse's Voltigeur Bn.                                   14/ 140 C- [sk] Average Acceptable

Brigade Balthazard-Grandjean - Attack
[ 121] General de Brigade Balthazard-Grandjean - Active B [450 paces]
[ 170] III. Fuss. Batterien Venator                             1/ 95 [ 4] C Good Tired
[ 171] 1/Gross und Erbprinz Nr 4                           25/ 373 C- [sk] Good Fresh
[ 172] 2/Gross und Erbprinz Nr 4                           11/ 360 C- [sk] Good Acceptable
[ 173] Rheinbund Bttn von Frankfort                       0/ 391 C- [sk] Good Fresh
[ 174] Grandjean's Voltigeur Bn.                            50/ 175 C- [sk] Average Fresh

Brigade Feliks Potocki - Attack
[ 122] Oberst Feliks Potocki - Active C [350 paces]
[ 175] I. IR Nr 4 (Polish)                                         32/ 729 C [sk] Good Fresh
[ 176] II. IR Nr 4 (Polish)                                         0/ 782 C Good Fresh
[ 177] Potocki's Voltigeur Bn.                                   9/ 251 C [sk] Good Acceptable

199/ 5720 Bayonets
12/ 421 Artillerists
0/ 18 Cannon

211/ 6141 Total of all arms
11 Standards present

[D] Denotes dispersed    
[Y] Denotes In rout    
[R] Denotes halted in disorder, in retirement or retreat    
[W] Denotes no advance unless accompanied by officer

Thus ended our game and day out at Legionary. We had great fun playing and plenty of time to talk to people who joined us at the table.

Thanks to Steve, Will, Nathan and Matt for a very fun day and to all the other friends from the Devon Wargames Group who stopped by for a natter during the day.

Usually at a show I would take time to wonder round and take pictures of the games that caught my eye on the day and I have to say that Legionary did a good show yesterday with some really nice looking games on show and plenty of visitors wondering around the trade stands.

With my own game to oversee I didn't get the time to do my usual tour around, although I did see a very nice 28mm early war WWII game recreating a German landing at a local seaside resort which looked great fun, a very nice Korean war air game with jets and B29 bombers and a 20mm War in Borneo game with a splendid RAF transport plane overflying the battle scene.

One table I did get chance to check out was right next door to our own and the Sharp Practice game was drawing a lot of attention following Richard Clark's publication of the second edition of the rules. I got my copy this week and enjoyed very much seeing Richard's AWI collection in action, grabbing a few pictures on the day.

We also had the pleasure of Richard's company at a post show curry later in Exeter with some very enjoyable banter that put a great cap on a very fun day.

Thanks all to everyone involved, a day to savour in the memory.


  1. Nice AAR JJ. I am glad the club got the chance to advertise iteself at the South West's premier wargames show.

    A good day was had by all and my only regret was that I didn't get to play in the Lardies game, which looked great fun.

    I can confirm that Chas arrived safely home on the "Last Train to Umberleigh".


  2. Good to see another batrep from your stable, great looking game. You'll notice I have got something of the Peninsular bug too, so another project brews; I hold you personally responsible Sir. Best wishes, Jeremy

  3. Great report JJ and another fine looking battlefield adorned with wonderful troops. Waiting for my copy of SP2 to arrive as well.

  4. Great job and awesome pictures...bloody and intense battle!

  5. I think I will have to call for a 'best of 3'! I'm sure I'm being too nice by playing the British 'historically' and not moving them across in support! :)

  6. Thanks for your comments chaps, it was really nice getting the toys out for a run and all involved had a really good day.

    Steve, I feel your pain, I think you are right. The Allies have to look for every opportunity to get at the Germans, particularly with the British as the German units are not built to take too much punishment, and the guns need to be protected from any charges as their loss and their crews severely tipped the casualty count in favour of the French.

    Seeing as Will deployed the Poles I reckon you would have been well within your rights to have taken it to them with the Brits.