Saturday 22 October 2016

Over the Hills - Napoleonic Rules Play-test

Friday night after a busy week at work and another busy one to follow next week, with the weekend to look forward to; so how better to spend the evening than with Tom, Will and Steve M play-testing the latest set of Napoleonic rules to hit the streets.

I first mentioned getting a copy of these rules when I attended Colours last month and my glee at finding them waiting for me when I got back from the show.

I have been looking for a set of Napoleonic rules that would allow me to use my collection of figures with my friends who prefer a dice based set of rules to mine, Tom and Will's preference "Carnage & Glory II" on the computer.

The best aspect of C&G is the ability to have the effects of fatigue gradually erode the fighting capability of your army without having any annoying paperwork or mental strain at all. Thus commanders are able to just concentrate on managing the battle they are aiming to fight with the computer doing all the donkey work - love it.

So if I were going to spend time doing some of that donkey work to have the pleasure of rolling dice then I wanted a set of rules that could capture that fatigue aspect of G&G as closely as possible.

View from the British lines in last night's play-test of Over the Hills
So you can imagine how my curiosity was peaked when I read the first reviews and discussions about this new set of rules from Adrian McWalter and Quinton Dalton and published by Caliver Books. The aspect that captured my attention was the games and units featured looked similar to mine, with individual, battalions, regiments and batteries represented on the table. However the hook for me was the mention of fatigue scores and fatigue hits to determine wear and tear on armies and units.

The Contents pages made finding relevant sections through our game pretty straight forward
So I splashed out on the shiny new hard back rule book copiously accompanied with full colour diagrams and lovely artwork from Bob Marrion and got busy understanding how these rules worked and the design concepts that lay behind them.

Caliver Books - Over the Hills

Last night was our first go with the rules to see how they play and to give you my first impressions.

So to test out the rules I put together a classic little ridge-line scenario on the Talavera table with a British brigade of three line battalions supported by a battery of 6lbr foot guns and a light cavalry brigade of British and a Portuguese light dragoons.

Across the valley eager to push the British "Rostbeefs" off their pinnacle was a French infantry brigade of six battalions of line infantry, supported by a battery of 8lbr foot guns and a light cavalry brigade of two regiments of chasseurs a cheval.

Each force was commanded by a divisional general.

We decided to play the game very much as we would a C&G scenario and then be able to compare and contrast how the rules model the game we would have expected to play.

Fatigue Hit mini dice start to appear as the first shots are exchanged
So lets first consider the basic principles of the rules
The rules are written principally with 28mm scale figures in mind but with simple adaptions advised for the smaller scale gamer, namely to use centimeters or, as we chose, to halve the distances which are in inches. I immediately produced my own quick reference sheet with those changes and have a mind to move to paces so I can use my C&G range sticks in future.

The turn has a clear sequence of play with a simple die roll off at the start to decide which player starts with the initiative, with the higher roller deciding to either move first as Player A or second as Player B. Thus the player with the initiative (Player A) moves first but the defender (Player B) shoots first. The defending player then moves and then the player with the initiative shoots last. Thus the decision to close with the bayonet takes preparation as the defender shoots first and British infantry have a better potential than most at causing damaging hits on the way in.

Troop types are what you would expect, infantry, cavalry and artillery, categorised according to their training and experience as Guard, Line, Light and Skirmishers and are also classed on their 'elan' or willingness to fight and take casualties characterised in a numerical rating known as their Fatigue Score.

A typical line battalion of infantry 600 men strong (six bases) would rate a Fatigue Score (FS) of 7. This number can be adjusted up or down according to various factors at the start and during the game. Thus for example an over-strength battalion would increase the FS by one for every 100 men over 600 or vice versa for understrength units.

During the game the FS is adjusted by circumstances and damage collectively known as Fatigue Hits (FH) so crossing a small stream in our game caused units a one FH that reduced the units starting FS. Likewise hits from shooting similarly reduces unit FS ratings.

The importance of the FS rating is that this is the base number plus or minus situational factors that the player rolls against with a D10 when firing or rallying needing to score equal to or below to get a positive result.

Hits (FH) reduce the FS thus producing the fatigue effects of wear and tear throughout the game and they can be rallied off as commanders attempt to keep their units in the fight, however the total number of FH accrued throughout the game by a given side is compared against the total value of the Fatigue Score for a given force. When more than half that total has been reached the force is considered shattered despite the condition of its units at that time and either loses the battle or, if part of a larger force, becomes under compulsory withdrawal.

Example, a brigade of three battalions at FS 7 has a brigade FS value of 21 points thus when the total number of FH accrued throughout the game reaches 11 points the brigade is shattered and under withdrawal orders - simple.

The typical historical stuff that fills modern rule sets today. Good background for the new student to the period
The command structure is what you would expect, with commanders in our game having a command radius of six, twelve and twenty four inches as brigade, divisional or army CO's respectively and these could easily be adjusted to reflect superior commanders. Commanders and units need to be in range of their superior to be under command with units out of command unable to move in that phase of play.

In addition commanders have a Control Factor (CF) number of between 1 and 5 indicating the number of units that a CO can influence at any given time such as during the rally phase, thus limiting what they can do at any time. The CF is also used to rally off FH on a unit, allowing the commander to allocate a number of D10 to the unit to roll to rally off the fatigue.

Finally, commanders can also have an Inspiration Factor ranging from -1 to +2 which can be added to a unit's FS rating during a rally test either having a positive or negative effect depending how inspirational or not they are.

Tom pushes the French cavalry forward as the infantry close in on the British ridge
All infantry have a skirmish class of A (highest) to D (lowest) and reflected in our game with the number of skirmish bases out front of the unit with equal quality cancelling each other out but with superiority adding to the units firing effect against a poorer defender.

This is the basic game system for skirmishing, which was the least satisfying aspect for me and I would incorporate the advanced rule suggestions by looking to put my skirmish elements into combined light battalions and allow them to skirmish for their respective brigades which I think better models how these units actually fought.

I have to say that I found the rules well written easily understood with the minimum of words used to set out each rule in an easy to follow order that mirrored the phases of play 
Movement is broken down into segments of, for our game, three inches (infantry - foot artillery) or six inches (cavalry - horse artillery) based on the formation the unit is in including any deductions for formation changes, producing the number of move segments a unit can use in that turn.

Thus an infantry battalion in line can potentially move two segments forward or six inches but with the last segment of move putting a fatigue hit on the battalion. Conversely it could move just one segment of three inches without fatigue, or move one segment and change formation to attack column.

Infantry in assault column have three segments of movement with the third segment incurring a fatigue hit.

The stream provided us an opportunity to inflict fatigue on movement and consider the difficulties of rallying it off whilst under fire. Off course having French infantry in assault column helps!
When it comes to shooting, fire effect is calculated by using the FS of the unit at the time of firing with addition or deduction of a list of modifiers again using a single D10 to determine success or failure with a lower score on the dice causing more fatigue hits to the target, usually to a maximum of three hits.

The FS can be further modified by the number of stands able to have line of sight to the target and thus able to fire and is calculated on 25 per cent increments of the FS.

Close combat is similarly calculated with the additional effects of what the target unit of an enemy move to contact chooses to do in response. The combats are resolved over a maximum of three rounds until one or both parties retreat or one side is broken.

The British under pressure with their cavalry brigade shattered and their line unhinged whilst facing off French columns to their front. Steve's die rolling didn't help.

So on to our game and first impressions.

For our little play-test Tom and Will took the larger force the French and were offered the initiative by Steve who took command of the British.

I should say the players were encouraged to throw caution to the wind and put the units into the fray so we could assess how the rules would model given situations rather than play this as a typical scenario; although a loose objective was for the British to repulse French attempts to gain the summit of the British ridge position.

Good use of pictures throughout the rules helped illustrate the various formations the armies can use
So based on my preamble we can forgive Steve for putting one of his infantry battalions forward on the front slope with his guns to test the effects of French artillery playing on his line whist his guns played on the French columns.

In addition both sides were quite aggressive bringing forward their light cavalry and getting into combat within a couple of moves.

We soon had fatigue hits caused across the opposing lines and general officers using their dice to get rid of them plus the odd unit halting for a phase and using their own Officers and NCO's to rally off the fatigue as an alternative.

The book is full of easy to follow diagrams and tables with explanatory text to accompany. I have read poorly laid out rules and these are not in that category.
It is hard to say definitively how successful or unsuccessful the respective sides were in our game as Tom and Will were rolling spectacular dice all evening and poor old Steve was just having one of those nights.

In one fire-fight with a British infantry battalion only needing to avoid rolling 0 on a D10 to inflict casualties on two French columns closing to combat, I don't need to tell you what Steve decided to roll.

We decided to play the Divisional and Brigade fatigue rules to determine game result and Steve threw in the towel with is cavalry brigade shattered and his division within two FH of losing and the French on a cushion of seven FH at the same stage.

Several pages at the back provide the unit stats for the nations of the period which seem to me to pretty well cover just about any period or force most people would want to do.
Our first impression is that these are a well crafted set of Napoleonic rules that really model well the fatigue of battle in a seamless easy way that doesn't involve copious book keeping. We recorded FH by simply placing micro die behind the respective units. In addition the accumulating FH effects on the army and its component parts really add to the game and in a large battle really encourage the smart commander to hang on to that battle changing reserve formation, fatigue free, ready to finish off the worn out enemy force hanging on to the ropes.

In addition all the aspects a Napoleonic gamer would look for are built into these rules. These are not a Black Powder fits all sizes rule set and really strive to capture the feel of the defined period of the Revolutionary/Napoleonic era with a basic game set of rules and plenty of add-ons in the advanced rule section.

The aspects alongside the fatigue that really ticked the box for me was the play sequence that kept both sides in the action of the game throughout. This is not your typical IGOUGO rule set and would, I think, be great in a large scale game in keeping all the players involved throughout.

The fact that combat, shooting and rallying are resolved with the use of a single D10 is also very appealing. I get that some of us like the old Gilder style games of picking up handfuls of D6 and scrutinising the roll result for fives and sixes but that is all very time consuming in the big Napoleonic game and this single die mechanic is very useful. I also like D10 as I find percentages of chance effects really easy to work with in my minds eye and very simple to adapt according to my taste.

Our battle test reaches its climax with British morale teetering on the brink
The rule book currently comes with suggested unit statistics for the War of 1812 and the following;
Austria Hungary, Baden, Bavaria, Berg, Confederation of the Rhine, Brunswick, Denmark & Norway, France, Great Britain, Hanover, Hesse-Darmstadt, Italy, Nassau, Ottomans, Portugal, Prussia, Russia, Saxony, Spain, Sweden, Warsaw, Westphalia and Wurttemburg.

There is also talk of scenario books to follow with more specific force and unit stats. Personally I am happy to produce my own as these rules make such design very straight forward. We were playing with "vanilla" French and British forces last night, but were soon discussing enhancements to reflect different troop types.

My re-write of the Quick Reference Sheet with half distances
for 15/18mm and the addition of the terrain effects table - see the link
below if you want a PDF copy.

Over the Hills Quick Reference Sheet 15/18mm

As you might have guessed, I really like these rules based on the first game and I know there is more to them than we found last night. I always judge a good sign is when play flows along easily and players start to become unconsciously competent with only the occasional glance at the quick reference sheet.

Steve M is off to get a copy from Caliver Books and I am thinking of some games to take to club in the near future.

Don't get me wrong, Tom Will and myself are confirmed C&G players and for granularity and meatiness in a Napoleonic battle they are our rules of choice, but we would be thinking of this set if the computer broke down.

Definitely worth checking out.

Lots more stuff to come with some Dark Ages eye candy from Steve M Studios and some Spanish Dragoons ready for Talavera.

Wednesday 19 October 2016

Wellington's Mongrel Regiment - Alistair Nichols

Wellington's Mongrel Regiment, A History of the Chasseurs Britanniques Regiment  1801-1814

I decided to read 'A History of the Chasseurs Britanniques Regiment' (CB) as I was acutely aware that as a student of the Peninsular War and Wellington's army in particular, this originally French emigre regiment had passed my scrutiny and I only had a basic knowledge centered on all the established clichés from Oman and others about its high rates of desertion.

On reading Alistair Nichols history of the regiment I soon discovered the large gap in my knowledge together with a certain confirmation of the previous impression which reinforced my thinking that the CB were a rather enigmatic regiment, very difficult to pin down in character.

By that I mean that the regiment displayed great acts of stoicism and bravery during its service in British arms but this contrasted hugely with its inability to maintain its numbers causing it to be withdrawn from picket duties because of desertion to the enemy, causing much aggravation with its brigade comrades forced to take on their duties as extra work.

The enigmatic nature of this regiment even extended to its role, with the name and role planning suggesting a light infantry battalion to be a cornerstone battalion in Wellington's second Light Division which became the 7th Division. The 7th Division, known as the 'Mongrels' to the rest of Wellington's army due to its composition of many foreign elements (The CB, Brunswick Oels and two battalions of KGL Light Infantry) never lived up to the reputation of their predecessors and for all intents and purposes developed into another Line Division.

This confusion in roles is emphasised by the CB themselves adopting many dress items of the Light Infantry as illustrated in the officer above with shoulder wings, green plum and bugle shako badge, but with the battalion companies dressed as a line battalion with a grenadier company, fusilier companies with standard shako plate and white and red and white shako tufts. The officer seen below in a Line Officers bicorne illustrates this point.

There are other peculiarities in uniform, covered in the book such as the black and/or white cross-belts and also the look of the unit in the Revolutionary period. There is a very good section covering the national demographics of the regiment which changed from its mainly French Royalist cadre to include other significant national groupings encountered in Spain.

The book left me with an impression of the frustration Wellington must have felt about the battalion when he expressed his exasperation at there desertion rates, particularly with crossing over to the enemy; which due to the risk of giving the French, free easy intelligence on Allied forces and intentions, carried a capital penalty for those members returned into British captivity, certainly in the early-mid part of the Peninsular War.

This issue contrasted with the battalion that performed stoically on the slopes of the Pyrenees as Wellington's forces faced a surprise French offensive lead by Marshal Soult which required individual battalions to fight their own combats and stands very often with little support from divisional or army assets.

For the wargamer looking to rate such a unit, it left me thinking that you couldn't really know which CB battalion would turn up on any given day or how many of them. However, as Nichols points out, they were reliable enough for Wellington to keep them in his service and several British battalions soon found themselves relegated to garrison duties in Lisbon, Gibraltar or Cadiz if they didn't perform so this speaks favourably of the CB overall.

Nichols does a good job of looking at the problems faced by the CB of keeping men from different nationalities focused on the reasons they joined the ranks in the first place, particularly in a British army that enforced a draconian level of discipline foreign to many of the men. Overall I think I agree with his conclusion that the Officers of the CB did a pretty good job and that Wellington could often be the harshest of critics.

The caption states boldly that the CB was a light infantry regiment, but as Spock once said to Captain Kirk " not as we know it Jim". The account suggests that the CB fought and were accoutered in the main as a British Line battalion.
The 248 page book consists of the following sections:

List of Maps - ( 1.Southern Italy & Sicily, 2. Egypt 1807, 3. Portugal and Western Spain, 4. The Western Pyrenees.)
List of Graphs - (1. Sickness rates in the brigade, March 1811 to June 1814, 2. Nationalities of the men, 3. Men under arms in the brigade, March 1811 to June 1814).

I The Prince of Conde's Army
II Unusual Redcoats
III Sicily and Egypt, again
IV The Defence of Sicily
V Under Wellington's Command
VI Success and Failure
VII From Portugal to the Pyrenees
VIII Returning Home

A Officers, Chasseurs Britanniques Regiment, 1801-1814
B Some of the other ranks, Chasseurs Britanniques Regiment, 1801-1814
C Establishment of the Chasseurs Britanniques Regiment, 1804, 1808, 1811
D Inspection Return, 25th December 1812
E Uniforms of the Chasseurs Britanniques Regiment
F Events at Rosetta, 31st March 1807

Select Bibliography

In addition there are eight pages of photographs of portraits of key notables, battle sites and documents pertinent to the text.

I enjoyed  reading this book particularly for the coverage of the early history of the CB and the fighting in Egypt and Southern Italy. The Peninsular War coverage less so as I thought there was too much coverage of the brigade activities rather than the CB regiment itself, but that is probably down to a lack of information.

I know I mention this again and again just like many other readers, but please, please, pretty please can we have more maps to illustrate where the action is taking place and where units were operating in any given action. I am sorry but the maps in this book were in the main "pants" (a British expression meaning not at all good).

The one that stands out for me was the map on page 140 of the Western Pyrenees which had a multitude of tiny black triangles, some filled in to indicate where peaks were that funnelled the fighting into the many valleys or on the ridges. I'm sorry Pen and Sword, I love the service you offer of bringing great military books to the interested reader but you should know that maps like this are not good enough.

The many battles mentioned in the text warrant a map if only to show where the CB regiment was when the fighting mentioned in the text happened.

One other useful addition would have been some illustrations of the uniforms worn throughout the period covered. I have included some here in my post as I feel a picture is worth a thousand words. Oh and if you were hoping this book would shed some light on the look of the Regimental Colours, I'm afraid that information seems still lost to history.

A useful tome to have on the shelf when it comes to the time when I start work on this famous and interesting regiment and a good book to add to my knowledge.

Sunday 16 October 2016

Brodir of Man and the Scots

As you will know from my previous post on Penda and the Saxon Theigns there is a gathering of forces in the west in readiness for the great Dark Ages clash outside of Exeter at the December meeting of the Devon Wargames Group.

The game is set to be a straight up shield wall melee using Dux Britaniarum and for some us this means getting hold of some figures to contribute to the end of year club game in which all members are invited to join in.

Mr Steve has decided to come at this game from a Gaelic angle and so I thought you might like to see these Scots Theigns and Brodir of Man from the Saga range of figures from Gripping Beast that I have just finished for him.

Gripping Beast figures are a lot of fun to paint with loads of character and detail just crying out for a bit of brush work.

The shield decals from LBM just finish off the look. I have links to these manufacturers in the side bar and to these specific figures at the bottom of the post.

I didn't know much about Brodir until Steve game me the figure. I have attached a link just in case you were as ignorant as me.

I checked out the Gripping Beast interpretation of this figure and knowing imitation is the sincerest form of flattery grabbed the look of the tunic with the interlace pattern on the hem and sleeves which looked perfect.

I think Brodir should look ideal setting about the enemy shield wall in full battle cry.

Next up I have a book review and then on to the Spanish Pavia Dragoons

Brodir and Ospak of Man
Gripping Beast Brodir Of Man
Gripping Beast SS02 Scots Thegns Hearthguards

Friday 14 October 2016

Battle of Hastings - 950th Anniversary

Today is the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings, which I suspect many forums and blogs associated with our hobby will be covering to some degree or other.

There are few battles throughout history, I think, that have had the effect to change the world with effects that last today and likely beyond. Perhaps Hastings could be considered as one of those world changing battles.

How you may ask could a battle fought 950 years ago, seven miles north west of Hastings with no more than about 13,000 men on the field of battle have had such world changing effects.

The answer lies in the effect it had on the British Isles and a major consequence that followed, with an effect that spread throughout the world carried in the wake of British influence that would develop hugely in the following nine and a half centuries.

Sadly to my way of thinking and as I have commented previously, British History is not taught the way it was when I were a lad. We have developed a modular teaching of history that fails to deliver an historical narrative about how we arrived with the nation states we have in these islands, the unwritten constitution built around the mother of parliaments, the rule of law, a constitutional monarchy and with English as the dominant language.

If these chaps had won at Hastings these words would have looked a lot different!
Thus when it comes to grappling with major constitutional issues such as Scottish Independence and British exit from the European Union it makes it hard to make an informed decision about where you want to go if you don't have a clue where you've come from and how we arrived in the current situation in the first place.

The Battle of Hastings is one of those cornerstone events in British History that changed Britain fundamentally, with one dominant culture, the Anglo Saxons, replaced by another, the invading Normans; and with the language at court being changed to French it forced the native population to develop a mix of Anglo Saxon and Norman French into what we know as modern English.

Thus for example the names for prepared foods adopted many words into English from the Norman French, words such as pork, mutton and beef.

This major change developed into the beautiful language of Shakespeare and the language that encompassed the globe, the language of the air and sea, the language of commerce.

If you speak English as a first language then you are evidence of the lasting effects of the Norman victory today nine hundred and fifty years ago.

If it had not been for William's victory on the 14th October 1066 I would probably have been writing this post in some form of Anglo Germanic Dutch. A thought to conjure with this December when we get the Dark Age collection out on the table at the Devon Wargames Group.

Happy Hastings Day to English speakers around the world.

Tuesday 11 October 2016

Spanish 2nd Cavalry Division at Talavera - Alcantara Cavalry Regiment

2nd Spanish Cavalry Division - Lieutenant General Duque de Albuquerque
Infante Cavalry Regiment
Alcantara Cavalry Regiment
Pavia Cavalry Regiment
Almanza Cavalry Regiment
1st & 2nd Hussars of Estremadura

The other heavy cavalry regiment in the 2nd Cavalry Division was the Alcantara Regiment.

For details on the organisation of the Spanish heavy cavalry regiments follow the link to the Infante Cavalry Regiment above.

The first reference I have for the Alcantara Regiment is for May 1808 when the unit was part of Spanish occupation forces in Portugal providing two squadrons.

Spanish Army of Andalusia 20th May l808
In Portugal:
l/Murcia Infantry Regiment (23/78l)
2/Murcia Infantry Regiment (22/700)
Grenadiers Provinciales de Vieja Castilla (l)(26/680)
2nd Grenadiers Provinciales de Vieja Castilla (l)(26/680)
Grenadiers Provinciales de Neuva Castilla (2)(54/l,360)
Voluntarios de Valencia (l/2)(20/600)
Voluntarios de Tarragona (l/2)(20/600)
Reyna Cavalry Regiment (2)(l7/340)(300 horses)
Alcantara Cavalry Regiment (2 sqn)(l7/340)(300 horses)
Santiago Cavalry Regiment (2)(l6/340)(? horses)
Montesa Cavalry Regiment (l)(l)(9/l70)
Horse Artillery (7/l28)
Sappers (l/47)

Source - Clerc, Capitulation de Baylen, Causes et Consequences, Paris, l903

In June 1808 following the Spanish insurrection, Oman lists in detail the forces on hand with a list of the available cavalry regiments and their strengths:

Cavalry (---H) - number of horses
lst Rey Heavy Cavalry Regiment (5)(38/634)(467H)
2nd Reina Heavy Cavalry Regiment (5)(4l/668)(202H)
3rd Principe Heavy Cavalry Regiment (5)(42/573)(434H)
4th Infante Heavy Cavalry Regiment (5)(42/6l5)(494H)
5th Borbon Heavy Cavalry Regiment (5)(42/6l6)(450H)
6th Farnesio Heavy Cavalry Regiment (5)(39/5l7)(359H)
7th Alcantara Heavy Cavalry Regiment (5)(42/589)(490H)
8th Espana Heavy Cavalry Regiment (5)(39/553)(358H)
9th Algarve Heavy Cavalry Regiment (5)(42/572)(455H)
l0th Calatrava Heavy Cavalry Regiment (5)(44/679)(369H)
llth Santiago Heavy Cavalry Regiment (5)(44/549)(370H)
l2th Montesa Heavy Cavalry Regiment (5)(40/667)(259H)
lst Rey Cazadore Regiment (5)(40/577)(l85H)
2nd Reina Cazadore Regiment (5)(42/58l)(42lH)
3rd Almanza Cazadore Regiment (5)(38/598)(479H)
4th Pavia Cazadore Regiment (5)(42/663)(507H)
5th Villaviciosa Cazadore Regiment (5)(35/628)(448H)
6th Sagunto Cazadore Regiment (5)(39/499)(l89H)
lst Numancia Hussar Regiment (5)(4l/630)(327H)
2nd Lusitania Hussar Regiment (5)(42/554)(409H)
3rd Olivenza Hussar Regiment (5)(37/558)(468H)
4th Voluntarios de Espana Hussar Regiment (5)(34/548)(460H)
5th Maria Luisa Hussar Regiment (5)(40/680)(394H)
6th Espanoles Hussar Regiment (5)(38/692)532H)

By the October of 1808 and the languid pursuit of French forces to the River Ebro the Alcantara are listed as part of the Army of Castile which formed part of Castanos' Army of the Centre joining forces at the end of that month.

Army of Castile - Source Oman
Division: General Pignatelli (Cartaojal after 30/10/08) 
Cantabria Infantry Regiment (2)
Leon Militia Infantry Regiment (l)
Grenadiers del General (l)(new levee)
Cazadores de Cuenca (l) (new levee)
lst, 2nd & 3rd Volunteers of Leon (3)(new levee)
lst, 2nd & 3rd Tercoios of Castile (3)(new levee)
Tiradores de Castilla (l)(new levee)
Volunteers of Benavente (l)(new levee)
Volunteers of Zamora (l)(new levee)
Volunteers of Ledesma (l)(new levee)
Cavalry (3,292 on 29 October)
Farnesio Cavalry Regiment
Montesa Cavalry Regiment
Reina Cavalry Regiment
Borbon Cavalry Regiment
Olivenza Cavalry Regiment
Espana Cavalry Regiment
Calatrava Cavalry Regiment
Santiago Cavalry Regiment
Sagunto Cavalry Regiment
Principe Cavalry Regiment
Pavia Cavalry Regiment
Alcantara Cavalry Regiment

Following the French offensive in November a much reduced regiment, barely amounting to one squadron are shown as part of the forces defending the approaches to Madrid in the Somosierra Pass.

Spanish Forces Defending Somosierra - Source Oman
Army of the Reserve
November l808
lst Voluntarios de Madrid (l,500)
2nd Voluntarios de Madrid (l,500)
Guardias Walonas (500)
Jaen Infantry Regiment (2)l,300)
l/,3/Corona Infantry Regiment (2)(l,039)
Cordoba Infantry Regiment (l,300)
Badajoz Infantry Regiment (566)
l/,3/Irlanda Infantry Regiment (2)(l,l86)
Reyna Infantry Regiment (2)(927)
Provincial de Toledo (500)
Provincial de Alcazar (400)
3/Voluntarios de Sebilla (400)
Principe Cavalry Regiment (2)(200)
Alcantara Cavalry Regiment (l00)
Montesa Cavalry Regiment (l00)
Voluntarios de Madrid Cavalry Regiment (2)(200)
Artillery (22 guns, 200 gunners)

In January of 1809 the regiment is shown as part of the Army of the Centre now following the dismissal of General Castanos under the command of the Duke of Infantado and based around Cuenca threatening the eastern approaches to Madrid

Spanish Army of the Centre, llth January l809
Cavalry: (l,8l4)
Reyna Cavalry Regiment (276)
Principe Cavalry Regiment (l4l)
Borbon Cavalry Regiment (ll9)
Espana Cavalry Regiment (342)
Santiago Cavalry Regiment (74)
Tejas Cavalry Regiment (l3l)
Pavia Cavalry Regiment (428)
Lusitania Cavalry Regiment (l58)
Dragones de Castilla (l25)
Farnesio Cavalry Regiment
Montesa Cavalry Regiment
Calatrava Cavalry Regiment
Sagunto Cavalry Regiment
Alcantara Cavalry Regiment

Map to illustrate the movements of the Alacantara Regiment
Following the defeat of the Vanguard Division of the Army of the Centre in January 1809 at the Battle of Ucles, commanded by General Venegas, Infantado was relieved of command and General Venegas assumed command of the newly formed Army of La Mancha that continued to be a threat to the southern approaches to Madrid going into the summer of 1809 leading up to the Talavera campaign.

At some stage the Alcantara Regiment was transferred to the Army of Estremadura under General Cuesta where it was part of the 2nd Cavalry Division in the July.

Venegas's Army of La Mancha (or Army of the Centre) l6th June l809
3rd Division: Mariscal de camp D.Pedro Grimarest
2/de Jaen Infantry Regiment (985)
Ecija Infantry Regiment (902)
2/Cordoba Infantry Regiment (849)
Bailen Infantry Regiment (l,l2l)
l/Reales Guardias Infantry Regiment (663)
Alpujarras Infantry Regiment (579)
Velez Malaga Infantry Regiment (445)
Farnesio Cavalry Regiment (404)
Santiago Cavalry Regiment (295)
Alcantara Cavalry Regiment (343)
Principe Cavalry Regiment (324)
3 8pdr, 2 4pdrs & 2 7pdr howitzers

My Alcantara Regiment are composed of figures from AB supplied by Fighting 15s and are the third regiment completed as part of 2nd Cavalry Division.

Next time we will look at the first of the two dragoon regiments, namely the Pavia Regiment, but before that we will have some more 28mm Dark Ages.

References consulted:
Napoleonic Armies - Ray Johnson
The Armies of Spain and Portugal - Nafziger
History of the Peninsular War - Sir Charles Oman
The Spanish Army of the Napoleonic Wars(2) Chartand & Younghusband (Osprey Men at Arms)

Monday 10 October 2016

Augustus to Aurelian - Second Play-Test, Addendum

As a follow up to the play-test of Augustus to Aurelian, Mr Steve and myself ran this weekend at the DWG, I thought you might be amused to see the lengths we here on JJ's Wargames will go to to add just those extra touches of detail that just make the games we play and report on that bit more special.

Mr Steve went the extra mile to get these 15mm legionary command stands ready for the game and dug out his "fly's eyelash" detailing brush to add the Latin script to his standards. Frankly I am amazed considering his age and declining eyesight that he managed this degree of detail, but here on JJ's we like to encourage having fun with the brush and the extra touches that bring a period to life.

So the first standard is carried by Legio I "JJ Bellum Ludos"

Ably supported by Legio II "MR Stephanus"

I'll leave it to you Latin scholars to decipher, but I am reliably informed that these are two of the earliest Legions to appear on the Republican order of battle.

The new standards obviously had a positive effect on the Romans, if the way they ripped on in amongst the Germans is anything to go by. Nice one Steve.

Sunday 9 October 2016

Augustus to Aurelian - Second Play-Test

It's October and I haven't posted this month! Sorry about that but life has taken over with trips abroad and extra time needed with the day job.

So just to let you know that wargaming is still front and centre I am highlighting a post I have done on the Devon Wargames Group blog page covering a game we played yesterday which was the second play test of 'Augustus to Aurelian' the ancients rule set by Phil Hendry.

With the Dacian Wars collection moving nearer to the front of the queue I was keen to have another go with the rules and using a scenario put together by Phil Hendry, but with a few home brewed changes. As you will see, we had a very good game at the club.

I really like these rules and with some changes made in basing my units started with the last unit of auxiliaries featured I am really looking forward to getting stuck into this project.

So if you would like to know more about yesterdays game and my thoughts, just follow the link to the DWG bog page.

Next up, back to the Spanish cavalry with the Alcantara Regiment.