Monday, 23 November 2015

Talavera Dawn Attack - Game Three

Talavera Dawn Attack Game One
Talavera Dawn Attack Game Two

Yesterday was a day of firsts and what turned out to be a great day's wargaming. In fact one I would describe as one of the most enjoyable games I have ever played. The company and banter was first class, the game played in a great spirit that pushed the scenario to its limits, and a game that seemed to model the events of over two hundred years ago very well.

It was a first in terms of the most figures from the new Napoleonic collection in action on the table in one game, with practically half of the two opposing armies going at it and a true test of C&G's ability to manage this size of game and indeed the potential to run the full thing next year.

We knew we would need a full day of gaming to see what this scenario could offer and we may need to take even longer for the full afternoon battle, so this would be an important test.

Map to illustrate the set up for the Dawn Attack scenario
As discussed in the preamble to game two, the challenge in designing a scenario about the dawn attack at Talavera is recreating the drivers and constraints that affected the opposing commanders involved, tailoring the victory conditions to match what in some cases may well be an asymmetrical battle whilst also allowing for the potential that the plan originally envisioned by Marshal Victor actually came together producing a much more evenly matched clash of arms.

It is probably worth saying that we are not looking to design a nicely balanced game. The reality is that real battles don't tend to be like that and so we have to make our victory conditions measure how well our table top commanders have performed against their historical predecessors and try as much as possible to present some of the key issues that they had to deal with.

So some gamers might not choose to attack the British line with less than half of the French infantry on the table, but in reality that is what happened and we have tested that scenario in the previous two games. This game was set up to test the alternative scenario that sees General Villatte wholly committed to supporting General Ruffin and thus having the British line facing the force of two of the three infantry divisions in Marshal Victor's I Corp, plus the massed light cavalry and artillery of the French army as a whole.

In the final draft of this scenario the French attack plan will be selected randomly and only known to the French commander/s and then only when a decision is required from General Villatte and his command.  Thus General Ruffin should be leading the attack on the British line not sure with what French total force will be involved and with the British totally unaware of French force commitment. In our test game, the British were aware that they would be facing a full out attack and that must be born in mind as that uncertainty about what the French are up to is another important aspect that will keep this scenario fresh and interesting, particularly if played in a linked up manner as part of a mini-campaign.

To test a game like this you need to employ the services of the 'A' Team and it was nice to see that the players presented themselves in full dress uniform for the forthcoming clash of titans.

Both sets of players are now veterans using C&G seeing service in the Vimeiro and Oporto Campaigns and that experience was clear to see in the way the two armies were wielded yesterday.

So, introducing our commanders who were carefully picked for the attributes they would bring to their respective roles, we had Marshal Victor played by Chas, better known to his friends as "Mad Dog". A very seasoned, aggressive commander, perfect for the role and ably supported by an equally aggressive General of Division Ruffin, played by Will who popped back from University to take part in this final scenario play test.

The French Command Team

Frrench Commander Claude Victor-Perrin, Duc de Belluno, Marshal of France, a.k.a. Chas
One of the new generation of French Marshals and one keen to make his mark in Spain, and perhaps establish a kingdom of his own, Marshal Victor had trounced all the Spanish armies that had dared to oppose his march into the peninsula and with his Grande Armee veterans in I Corps, the premier corps of the French army he will soon make short work of that General Wellesley and his "Rost Beefs".

General de Division Francois Amable Ruffin, a.k.a. Will
General Francois Ruffin, a soldiers soldier, having seen service at Austerlitz, Heilsberg and Friedland where he gained his promotion to General of Division and a title of Count of the Empire, he has, since marching into Spain with I Corps, seen action at Somosierra, Ucles and Medellin and knows that his veteran battalions will give a good account of themselves when the need arises. No wonder then that he and his division are the spearhead of I Corps.

The British Command Team

The British army fielded a no less experienced command team very aware of the strength and solidity of the army they commanded and confident in their ability to see off, yet again, the French coming on in the old familiar way. Vince took the role of Sir Arthur Wellesley ,"Old Hooky", bringing his phlegmatic, cool under pressure, skill set.

He was likewise ably supported by a general always able to get the best from his men, and a commander who can always be expected to produce the unexpected, General Rowland Hill, played by Steve M.

British Commander Lieutenant General Sir Arthur Wellesley, better known in social circles as Vince
Sir Arthur Wellesley, the youngest Lieutenant General in the British army and the "Wunderkind" of his generation. Aloof and with friends in high places, he is the very model of a Tory Peer. Preferring to keep his distance from the lower ranks, the soldiers have come to respect his abilities on the field of battle and the French commanders who have faced him are learning a new respect for the so called "Sepoy General".

Major General Rowland (Daddy) Hill, loved by the men, a.k.a Steve M.
Major General Rowland Hill, perhaps the best of Sir Arthur's field commanders and in time will establish his clear credentials as really the only British general in the Peninsular War who could be trusted with an independent command. No better man then to have in command of the division tasked with holding the key to Talavera, the Cerro de Medellin.

The Dawn Attack - Talavera 0500
If you have followed the progress of this scenario in the preceding games, you will be familiar with the set up of the two armies glowering at each other across the valley of the Portina stream and the picture below of the French army from the British lines illustrates the set up at 0500 with the firing of the French signal gun that announced the commencement of a forty-five minute bombardment by the massed French artillery.

05.00 and a single signal gun announces the start of the French attack
However as the French fire whistled in among the British gun line on the forward slopes of the Cerro de Medellin the weather for that July early summer morning decided to take a hand with a mist that descended into the valley reducing visibility to just four-hundred paces within fifteen minutes, silencing the French guns.

New orders were quickly dispatched to French commanders and within half an hour the rapid beat of the "Pas de Charge" or "Old Trousers" in British circles, could be heard echoing across the valley from French lines, announcing the advance of the French infantry columns.

The French guns seek out likely targets as their smoke and a quickly descending mist blots out the British line
With some of General Ruffin's columns doubling along the northern valley, the two French infantry divisions, totalling twenty-one columns of troops approached the lower slopes of the Cerro de Medellin en mass, providing deployment room from the following French light cavalry and horse artillery.

The French columns close on the British line shielded by the poor visibility due to the morning mist
The first the British defenders along the front line knew of the impending attack was the increased volume of French drumming as the columns drew ever nearer, to be preceded by a screen of voltigeurs emerging from the mist to be met in some cases by a similar screen of British "Light Bobs".

This attack was different in its scale, to others experienced so far, as the volume of French skirmishers made it difficult for their British opposite numbers to keep all of them away from the British line beyond. The poor visibility allowed the French to infiltrate the lines and in turn prevented the British screen to take full advantage of the range of their rifle companies to play similarly of the advancing French columns.

With the threat of Will's advance in the northern valley developing, British heavy cavalry move off in their direction over the Cerro, centre top left.
As the French troops closed on the British line the visibility became worse still dropping to two-hundred paces and the ability for the opposing units to identify their enemy and engage them only increased (C&G randomly tests each request for a unit to fire on another even if theoretically in visibility range. Thus one unit might catch a glimpse of its target in the murk and open fire, whilst its neighbour similarly placed will fail to do so - very frustrating but very realistic).

If you want to see the effects of poor visibility on a Napoleonic battlefield, check out the pictures from this year's Waterloo re-enactment with the audience struggling to see anything through all that black powder smoke. That was on a clear sunny day, so you can imagine the issues early morning mist would add.

The arrival of so many French troops in front of the British line at one time was awe inspiring and appeared unstoppable.
The 27e Legere and 63e Ligne of General Cassagne's brigade cross the Portina. The 94e Ligne and 95e Ligne of General Puthod's brigade are echeloned back to their left. 
First contact as the voltigeur screen of Cassagne's brigade emerges from the mist
As the French columns closed up behind their voltigeur screen, the British line stepped forward to narrow the range, forcing both sets of skirmishers to fall back behind their supports. The formed units on both sides had been subjected to some of the skirmishing and it was unclear what effect it may have had, but knowing how formidable British volley fire can be the French had presented multiple targets in an attempt to dissipate their fire over them and to multiply their own limited return fire from the heads of their columns.

Both sides braced themselves as the British command issued their fire orders and awaited the results. The fire when it came was strong but not devastating. The French commanders look stunned for a moment, but quickly recovered from their surprise and equally quickly issued orders to charge in.

The next half an hour of battle saw a "Montgomery" style crumbling attack as the weight of numbers and continual charges pushed the British line back beyond their supports, leaving several of their battalions shaken and badly disorganised. The French onslaught caught two of the three British artillery batteries unlimbered and now without support and they were quickly overcome.

Many French battalions had suffered in the fight and the skirmish battle and it became unclear which side had the advantage, although the French were still, in the main, advancing and able to issue charge orders if with a declining number of units.

The first exchanges of canister and skirmish fire as the two sides clash
Both sides now looked to their reserve infantry formations and cavalry brigades to provide respite or indeed turn the battle in their favour.

The British had a problem on the Cerro de Medellin as the rapid advance and attack of both French divisions had prevented them from completing a double line of battalions out to their extreme left flank. Their only remedy had been to order General Fane's heavy cavalry to move in that direction to try and impede General Ruffin's advance.

With the range closing between columns and lines, the skirmish screens fall back
However the French too had a problem in that their success in driving back the front-line British battalions on the the British right had worn down the French infantry with no units in reserve and now they were coming up against fresher British infantry from the second line of brigades.

Fire! The British line steps forward and unleashes its first volley
The major element of uncertainty was the visibility that had persisted at two-hundred paces for over an hour and had forced the fighting to become a close up infantry battle with little support from either the artillery or the cavalry.

The yellow marker is a small counter indicating a charge carry through position for the French infantry as the intensity of close up battle takes effect
The crumbling nature of the French attack continued, but as it did both sides commands began to show the distress this was causing with more and more units displaying red and white reaction markers and eventually the first yellow "rout" markers appeared in French ranks. Was this indicating a turn in the tide of battle?

Amid the smoke of battle and the shrieks and cries from the dying and wounded, General de Brigade Meunier leads from the front

The pressure builds along the front as the both sides commit more troops to the fight 
As if to reinforce the concern in French ranks of a possible British resurgence, the battle was rent by two devastating British volleys in quick succession, one from the 2/66th Berkshire Regiment and the other from the 1st KGL Line Regiment. Both volleys were followed up by the traditional cheer and a bayonet charge that sent their French opposite numbers reeling back into the valley.

The sprinkling of casualties and a flowering of red markers (indicating units on halt or retire reactions) along the front indicate which way the tide of battle is turning
The two remarkable British counter-attacks seemed to herald the collapse of the forward momentum of General Villatte's division and sensing their distress the British light cavalry moved forward through the olive trees to get into a position to add further to their difficulties.

To counter the serious threat the British light dragoons posed, the French brought up General Merlin's light cavalry and two squadrons of the 14th Light Dragoons were met in the charge by two squadrons of the Vistula Lancers, with the lancers getting the best of it losing eight of their number but inflicting eleven casualties on the 14th Light Dragoons and pushing them back.

The British were reaping their fair share of coloured markers as the British heavy cavalry draw near forcing French troops into square
In a similar vain and eager to keep the pressure on the British atop the Cerro the French brought forward General Beaumont's Hussars and Chasseurs who being sufficiently close to the action were on scene when the 1st Battalion of Detachments broke back and seeing the closeness of the French cavalry threw down their arms and surrendered en mass, thus depleting the British defence still further.

Sir Arthur Wellesley right and General Hill left busy stabilising the defence of the Cerro de Medellin
Trying to emulate the French cavalry success General Fane's heavy brigade of cavalry advanced to the forward northern slope of the Cerro, only to be met by fire from two squares of the 9e Legere forcing them into a discreet retirement out of range, not before loosing ten of their troopers to the firing.

Marshal Victor amid the ranks of the 24e Ligne encourages his men forward, for France and the Emperor
With the light fading fast outside and with both armies struggling to hold their ground in different areas of the battlefield, both commands made their final push to gain a clear ascendancy. This push saw the 66th Foot and 1st KGL yet again set too with the French infantry, causing more breaks to the rear and sealing General Villatte's division into an order to pull back and regroup.

As the mist finally clears it reveals General Villatte's division in retreat and disarray among the British on the Cerro de Medellin
With two squares of the 9e Legere to their front, Fane's heavy cavalry grudgingly give ground as they come under increasing French fire.
 Likewise, General Ruffin refused to be cowed by British heavy cavalry and his infantry now supported by Beaumont's light cavalry and horse guns forced their way on to the summit of the Cerro, with Hill's battered remaining battalions, glowering at him from the southern side.

Game end and General Villatte's Division have been repulsed
And that was where we called it a day. We had played from 9.45am through to 6.45 pm with a half hour for lunch. Glancing at the table I was very unsure about the end result as we consulted C&G for its adjudication. I decided to call it as a minor French victory given that the French had gained contested possession of the Cerro de Medellin and looked very unlikely to be repulsed, but that the the other larger French division was in headlong retreat back over the other side of the valley.

Game end and the British are struggling to maintain a hold on the Cerro de Medellin
C&G called the game a minor British victory based on the state of the game when we stopped on turn ten or 07:30 game time. This calculation is based on casualty and morale states alone, but does not include the control of ground and more importantly key objectives.

When the other factors were put into C&G the result reversed to, as I had correctly assessed, a Minor French Victory, which would sit well in a linked game scenario for the French and clearly illustrated that the scenario has plenty to offer both camps based on the previous games.

The game from a viewers perspective was a feast for the eye and roller-coaster in terms of the swings in fortune throughout, causing all of us to be unsure of who had it in the bag. The French attack took full advantage of the visibility, which finally lifted to a clear day with a light rain on turn ten, by using it to get their skirmish line into the face of the British defence. This approach clearly unsettled the forward British battalions causing them to under perform at the crunch moment. When this was coupled with the multiple targets presented that split their poorer firing "the writing was on the wall" and the French attack was in the ascendancy.

This worked really well for Ruffin's division up against a single line of defenders who couldn't get a respite from the continual French attacks, but to the south, Villatte's division hit a slight wall when it came up against Donkin's and Tilson's brigades in behind the two KGL brigades who together effectively snuffed out their attacks and indeed were counter-attacking towards the end, hoping to put the light cavalry in to "seal the deal".

A fantastic day that will live long in the memory and thank you to Will, Chas, Vince and Steve for making it one to remember and to Nigel Marsh the designer of C&GII for a great set of rules that enables a large game like this to flow seamlessly.

What follows is the Game summary together with the "butcher's bill" for both sides which has some new improvements in the information provided to gamers and I have included a little explanatory example below so you can see what they all refer to. The honours ratings (number in brackets) now show, which is a very useful system to show which units over performed in the game above what would have been expected.

Talavera Dawn Attack, As of Game Turn: 10

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

Example Leader/Unit Stats.
ID Number: General Officer: Condition of Officer: Quality: Command Range
501] Lieutenant General Sir Arthur Wellesley - Active A [1500 paces]
ID : Unit Title: Losses/Strength: Unit Quality: Formation Status: (Honour Rating) Morale/Fatigue
[502] 3rd Dragoon Guards B 5/ 268 C+ Formed ( 1) Good Acceptable

British Army -Talavera Dawn Attack, As of Game Turn: 10

Army Sir Arthur Wellesley
[501] Lieutenant General Sir Arthur Wellesley - Active A [1500 paces]
[D] [550] Eliott's Brigade 151/ 0 C D'persed Broken Tiring
[D] [551] Rettberg's Brigade 144/ 0 C D'persed Poor Acceptable
[552] Heyse's Brigade 17/ 132 [ 6] C Formed ( 3) Average Acceptable

Division William Payne - Defend
[503] Lieutenant General William Payne - Active C+ [725 paces]
Brigade Henry Fane - Defend
[504] Brigadier General Henry Fane - Active B- [400 paces]
[501] 3rd Dragoon Guards A 0/ 255 C+ Formed Good Fresh
[502] 3rd Dragoon Guards B 5/ 268 C+ Formed ( 1) Good Acceptable
[503] 4th Dragoons A 5/ 274 C Formed ( 1) Good Fresh
[504] 4th Dragoons B 0/ 271 C Formed Good Fresh
Brigade Stapleton Cotton - Defend
[505] Brigadier General Stapleton Cotton - Active B+ [500 paces]
[505] 14th Light Dragoons A 11/ 229 C [sk] Formed ( 5) Average Tiring
[506] 14th Light Dragoons B 0/ 229 C [sk] Formed Good Fresh
[507] 16th Light Dragoons A 0/ 253 C [sk] Formed Good Fresh
[508] 16th Light Dragoons B 0/ 271 C [sk] Formed Good Fresh
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 John Coape Sherbrooke - Defend
[507] Lieutenant General John Coape Sherbrooke - Active B- [800 paces]
Brigade Ernest Baron Langwerth - Defend
[510] Brigadier General Ernest Baron Langwerth - Active B- [350 paces]
[519] 1st KGL Line Battalion 16/ 528 C- [sk] Formed ( 5) Good Acceptable
[W] [520] 2nd KGL Line Battalion 5/ 605 C- [sk] Formed ( 7) Average Tired
[R] [521] Langwerth's Bde. Light Bn. 33/ 201 C [sk] Shaken Broken Tired
Brigade Sigismund Baron Low - Defend [No Advance]
[511] Brigadier General Sigismund Baron Low - Active C+ [450 paces]
[R] [522] 5th KGL Line Battalion 97/ 452 C- [sk] Shaken Broken Exhausted
[523] 7th KGL Line Battalion 75/ 426 C- [sk] Formed ( 4) Average Acceptable
[524] Low's Bde. Light Bn. 4/ 113 C [sk] Disorder Average Fresh

Division Rowland Hill - Defend
[512] Major General Rowland Hill - Active B- [950 paces]
Brigade Christopher Tilson - Defend
[513] Brigadier General Christopher Tilson - Active C+ [350 paces]
[R] [525] 1/3rd Foot 47/ 624 C+ [sk] Shaken Poor Acceptable
[526] 2/48th Foot 9/ 501 C- [sk] Formed ( 3) Good Fresh
[527] 2/66th Foot 4/ 469 C- [sk] Formed ( 5) Good Tiring
[R] [528] Tilson's Bde. Light Bn. 11/ 226 C [sk] Disorder Average Acceptable
Brigade Richard Stewart - Defend [Retire]
[514] Brigadier General Richard Stewart - Active B [450 paces]
[529] 29th Foot 119/ 419 C+ [sk] Disorder Good Tired
[R] [530] 1/48th Foot 26/ 700 C- [sk] Shaken Poor Exhausted
[D] [531] 1st Battalion of Detachments 246/ 302 C- [sk] D'persed Broken Exhausted
[532] Stuart's Bde. Light Bn. 5/ 197 C [sk] Formed ( 4) Average Fresh
Brigade Rufane Donkin - Defend
[516] Colonel Rufane Donkin - Active B- [350 paces]
[537] 2/87th Foot 0/ 539 C- [sk] Formed Average Fresh
[538] 1/88th Foot 0/ 539 C- [sk] Formed Good Fresh
[539] 5/60th Rifles 5/ 215 B- [sk] Formed ( 5) Good Fresh
[540] Donkin's Bde. Light Bn. 4/ 171 C [sk] Formed ( 4) Good Fresh

706/ 7227 Bayonets
21/ 2951 Sabres
312/ 132 Artillerists
12/ 6 Cannon
1039/ 10310 Total of all arms
22 Standards present

British Stand Out Performers - 2/66th Berkshire Regiment of Foot
The two battalions that "stopped the rot" for the British deserve special mention. The 2/66th Berkshire and 1st KGL Regiments of Foot showed their comrades how it should be done.

British Stand Out Performers - 1st King's German Legion Line Infantry Regiment

French Army - Talavera Dawn Attack, As of Game Turn: 10

Corps Claude-Victor Perrin
[104] Marechal d'Empire Claude-Victor Perrin - Active B- [1300 paces]
[101] 6/8me Artillerie a Pied 0/ 193 [ 8] C Formed ( 1) Good Fresh
[102] 2/6me Artillerie a Cheval 3/ 153 [ 6] B- Formed ( 1) Good Fresh
[103] 1/8me Artillerie a Pied 0/ 195 [ 8] C Formed ( 1) Good Fresh

Division Francois Amable Ruffin - Attack
[105] General de Division Francois Amable Ruffin - Active D+ [650 paces]
[190] 4/8me Artillerie a Pied 0/ 209 [ 8] C+ Formed Good Fresh
Brigade Claude-Marie Meunier - Attack
[106] General de Brigade Claude-Marie Meunier - Active B- [400 paces]
[191] 1/9me Regiment de Legere 0/ 467 C [sk] Formed ( 3) Good Acceptable
[192] 2/9me Regiment de Legere 29/ 468 C [sk] Formed ( 3) Good Fresh
[193] 3/9me Regiment de Legere 3/ 488 C- [sk] Formed ( 7) Good Acceptable
[194] 1/24me Regiment de Ligne 59/ 413 C [sk] Formed ( 8) Good Tiring
[195] 2/24me Regiment de Ligne 86/ 385 C [sk] Formed ( 2) Average Fresh
[196] 3/24me Regiment de Ligne 14/ 483 C- [sk] Formed Good Fresh
[197] 9me Regt. Voltigeur Bn. 9/ 299 C [sk] Formed ( 2) Good Acceptable
[198] 24me Regt. Voltigeur Bn. 43/ 265 C [sk] Formed ( 4) Average Tiring
Brigade Pierre Barrois - Attack [Retire]
[107] General de Brigade Pierre Barrois - Severely wounded B [450 paces]
[R] [ 199] 1/96me Regiment de Ligne. 94/ 419 C [sk] Shaken Broken Exhausted
[R] [ 200] 2/96me Regiment de Ligne. 87/ 420 C [sk] Shaken Broken Tired
[201] 3/96me Regiment de Ligne. 0/ 476 C- [sk] Formed ( 2) Average Fresh
[202] 96me Regt. Voltiguer Bn. 4/ 284 C [sk] Formed ( 4) Average Fresh

Division Eugene Villatte - Attack
[111] General de Division Eugene Villatte - Active B [875 paces]
[120] 2/8me Artillerie a Pied 0/ 198 [ 8] C+ Formed Good Fresh
Brigade Baron Louis-Victorin Cassagne - Attack [Retire]
[112] General de Brigade Baron Louis-Victorin Cassagne - Active C+ [400 paces]
[121] 1/27me Regiment de Legere 41/ 383 C [sk] Formed ( 2) Average Fresh
[R] [122] 2/27me Regiment de Legere 74/ 335 C [sk] Shaken Broken Tired
[Y] [123] 3/27me Regiment de Legere 151/ 277 C- [sk] Rout Broken Tired
[R] [124] 1/63me Regiment de Ligne 37/ 395 C [sk] Disorder Poor Tiring
[125] 2/63me Regiment de Ligne 5/ 406 C [sk] Formed ( 6) Good Acceptable
[R] [126] 3/63me Regiment de Ligne 34/ 388 C- [sk] Shaken Broken Tired
[127] 27me Regt. Voltigeur Bn. 3/ 258 C [sk] Formed ( 3) Average Acceptable
[128] 63me Regt. Voltigeur Bn. 5/ 256 C [sk] Formed ( 5) Poor Tired
Brigade Jacques Puthod - Attack [No Advance]
[113] General de Brigade Jacques Puthod - Active C [350 paces]
[129] 1/94me Regiment de Ligne 15/ 399 C [sk] Formed (11) Ex'lent Tiring
[R] [130] 2/94me Regiment de Ligne 130/ 304 C [sk] Shaken Broken Fresh
[131] 3/94me Regiment de Ligne 0/ 441 C- [sk] Formed Good Fresh
[Y] [132] 1/95me Regiment de Ligne 159/ 288 C [sk] Rout Broken Exhausted
[R] [133] 2/95me Regiment de Ligne 61/ 386 C [sk] Shaken Broken Acceptable
[R] [134] 3/95me Regiment de Ligne 154/ 265 C- [sk] Shaken Broken Tired
[135] 94me Regt. Voltigeur Bn. 2/ 249 C [sk] Formed ( 1) Average Fresh
[136] 95me Regt. Voltigeur Bn. 16/ 234 C [sk] Formed Good Fresh
Brigade Louis Carriere, Baron Beaumont - Attack
[114] General de Brigade Louis Carriere, Baron Beaumont - Active C+ [400 paces]
[137] 1/3me Artillerie a Cheval 0/ 144 [ 6] B- Formed Ex'lent Fresh
[138] 2me Regiment de Hussards A 0/ 228 C [sk] Formed Good Fresh
[139] 2me Regiment de Hussards B 0/ 243 C Formed Good Fresh
[140] 5me Regt. Chasseur a Cheval A 0/ 259 C Formed Good Fresh
[141] 5me Regt. Chasseur a Cheval B 0/ 255 C [sk] Formed Good Fresh

Division Antoine Christophe Merlin - Attack
[123] General de Brigade Antoine Christophe Merlin - Active C- [725 paces]
Brigade Jean Baptiste Alexandre Strolz - Attack
[124] Colonel Jean Baptiste Alexandre Strolz - Active D+ [300 paces]
[178] 10me Regt. Chasseur a Cheval 0/ 327 C [sk] Formed Good Fresh
[179] 26me Regt. Chasseur a Cheval 0/ 216 C [sk] Formed Good Fresh
Division Francois-Leon Ormancey - Attack
[125] Colonel Francois-Leon Ormancey - Active C- [650 paces]
[180] 1st Vistula Legion Lancers A 8/ 216 C [sk] Formed ( 5) Good Tiring
[181] 1st Vistula Legion Lancers B 0/ 206 C [sk] Formed Good Fresh
[182] Westplalian Light Horse 0/ 210 C [sk] Formed Good Fresh

1315/ 10131 Bayonets
8/ 2160 Sabres
3/ 1092 Artillerists
0/ 44 Cannon
1326/ 13383 Total of all arms
7 Standards present

French Stand Out Performers - Vistula Lancer Regiment
Although a small action, the charge by the Vistula Lancers snuffed out a potential counter-attack by British light cavalry on a General Villatte's badly disordered division in full retreat across the Portina. Had the British cavalry got among the French infantry the whole French attack could have quickly collapsed.

Like General Ruffin's continual attacks on the Cerro de Medellin forced back General Hill's troops successfully unhinging the British defence.

French Stand Out Performers - General Francois Ruffin's Division

Talavera Dawn Attack - Final Result

Minor victory for the French Army
As of Game Turn: 10

The British Army has suffered losses of:
[11%] 1341 men of all arms
incl.[ 6%] 687 prisoners of all arms
[12%] 1008 bayonets
[0%] 21 sabres
[70%] 312 artillerists
12 cannon[s] lost
Honours: [520] 2nd KGL Line Battalion

The French Army has suffered losses of:
[12%] 1891 men of all arms
incl.[1%] 195 prisoners of all arms
[16%] 1880 bayonets
[0%] 8 sabres
[0%] 3 artillerists
Honours: [129] 1/94me Regiment de Ligne
Losses include 1 General[s]:
[107] Pierre Barrois - Severely wounded

That's all the testing done for the Dawn Attack and I now know what the final scenario should look like. It's now on to an additional scenario I want to create for C&G which focusses on the German Division's attack on the Pajar de Vergara, which I will play through as I complete the forces for the full afternoon attack.


  1. Bravo! Excellent AAR and photos of your fabulous troops. I wonder what might have happened if the French had shook a few battalions out into line rather than relying on assault columns?

    1. Thank you, glad you enjoyed the post.

      From experience the French struggle to out shoot the British in a line on line engagement, due to various factors including, third ranks, often smaller battalions, better British fire discipline, aiming and all that stuff. We have played with l'ordre mix, most notably in our Corunna game and frankly I can see why even Boney didn't bother with it. As at Maida in 1806 the British will quite happily meet French lines and shoot them up.

      The best tactic from a French perspective is to do what their book of tactics tells them to and try to overwhelm the skirmish screen on a part of the British line and get at their infantry before the columns arrive. If you can get some artillery and a bit of light cavalry up as well you can really upset things as Will demonstrated.

      Talavera is interesting because it is not ground where Wellesley would have typically chosen to defend upon, ie most of his line is not tucked away out of sight on a reverse slope, so there is more opportunity for the French to apply their standard MO than would normally be the case, ie loads of artillery fire and skirmish attacks to soften up the line pre the columns moving in and is a stern test for the British commander. Even Wellesley ended up losing 5,000 men he could ill afford to on this ground and he still managed to pull of a win, so the wargamer has to go some to match that performance.

      The full game will hopefully produce a similar test of technique.

  2. Great looking battle JJ, finally reaping the reward's for the hours of painting. Three of our club members did the full afternoon battle in 15mm using the Age of Eagles ruleset round one member's house. The summary and pics for that are on the club facebook page (New Buckenham Historical Wargamers)

    1. Hi Tony, thanks mate. Yeah the collection is getting to the point where some other big games start to figure in the calculation, with only having to add the odd few extra units that tell you that this a particular campaign. I think I saw your posting about the Talavera game when the chaps did it and looked a very nice game. It certainly is an interesting battle to play.

    2. That was probably our 28mm game using Black Powder, the 15mm game was only last week.

  3. What can be said besides "Spectacular!" Truly outstanding sight and BatRep.
    This is a replay I will return to read again. Very well done!

    1. Hi Jon, that's very kind. I'm glad you enjoyed the read. Thank you

  4. What can I say ? We wuz robbed !

    Seriously though, it was a good game played in the right spirit. The angle of our line in square 13 of the map was always going to be the point of maximum effort and so it proved. The visibility really caused us some problems. We were not able to bring our firepower to bear untill the French were within 200 yards and so there was much more hand to hand fighting than I would have wished. That said, the French pressed their advantage aggressively and the fighting was fierce.

    Also that collar was really starting to chafe by days end !

    "Old Nosey" Vince

    1. Cheers Vince.
      I think your assessment is pretty spot on and the visibility badly restricted your opportunity to soften up those French columns on the way in that made it harder and more costly to stop them grinding forward. An attritional battle is the last thing the British wanted to get into, and at the end of our game it is worth remembering that there was no effective British reserve, whilst Victor still had another division of twelve fresh battalions just across the valley.

      I have to say I think you should wear red more often, it matches your eyes!

  5. Many thanks Jonathan for taking so much trouble to produce a fine battle report and the photos bring it all to life . A really good read with fantastic attention to detail .
    Regards Gavin .

    1. Thanks Gavin, I'm glad you enjoyed the read as I really want to entertain with these game reports and try and give a clear idea of what the heck was going on. It's said a picture is worth a thousand words, so God bless digital photography!

  6. Wow! A superbly planned and presented game thoughtfully written up - Outstanding in all respects!

    1. Hey thanks Sparker, much appreciated, glad you enjoyed the read.

  7. Absolutely awesome! That's how a wargame should look!

    1. Hi Rodger, thank you. Yeah I know what you mean. It's what I think of when I hear the phrase "old school". Wait till we get the whole thing up and running. I'm not sure if the table legs will be able to take the weight!

  8. A wonderfully balanced account that includes plenty of exciting detail without losing the pace of events. What all wargames and wargames should aspire too!

    1. Hi Rupert, thank you. This game produced great drama with swings of fortune throughout, and the amusement, particularly for me, was to see the players struggling to deal with and manage the events as they popped up. When you get a game like that it makes it a lot of fun to write up. I'm glad you enjoyed the read.

  9. Very very impressive report! Love the team presentation, the splendid armies...A fabulous AAR!

    1. Thanks Phil, much appreciated, It was a good warm up for the full game.

  10. Absolutely brilliant Jonathan what a cracking battle!

    1. Thanks Paul. It really was and the swings of fortune made it quite difficult to call throughout the day, that made it totally enthralling to see who could finally get a hold on it.

  11. Wow, excellent job. It's been especially fun having followed along as you've worked your way up to this point and therefore I can really appreciate the amount of work you've put into this whole project. Always an inspiration.

    1. Cheers Adam, well there is still a few more battalions and cavalry regiments to go to get the full line up ready, but as a warm up game for the big one this was a good test and the system stood up to the test perfectly.

  12. That is just gorgeous. I really enjoy your battle reports!

    1. Hi Leon, thank you and really pleased you enjoyed the read.


    1. Thank you. We all enjoyed the day very much and the game was hard to call right to the end which always make things more interesting.