|Attack of the El Rey Cavalry at the Pajar de Vergara - Talavera, 28th July 1809|
I have always intended to play the collection at club and other outside venues and, to that end, ordered up a new 6 x 4 foot Terrain Mat to play smaller games away from home. The 9 x 5 foot mat is a bit big for deploying out for short games and I didn't want to keep on using the Games Workshop cloth which, though serviceable, doesn't show the figures off at their best.
|The map of the Pajar table, one foot squares|
My turn to preference when wanting to play a serious Napoleonic game would be Carnage & Glory II but I am keen to develop my scenarios around paper based rules to allow them easy conversion for those who simply want to roll dice. So with this quest in mind I decided to play test a recent set of free home developed rules that appeared on TMP this week and have provided links below to that particular post together with the authors site discussing the rules and providing a link to download them.
The principle appeal to try them was the familiar command pips, the use of units that match my own preference and a construction that lent themselves to changes of my own, such as British infantry countercharges following a successful volley fire, that is modelled so well in C&G and as it proved can be incorporated with these.
The game thus was very much a play test in all senses of the word and I would like to thank Steve L, Steve M., Ian and Tom for playing the game in that spirit as we sought to find out what we could do with the scenario and these rules.
I have shown below the orders of battle, game, terrain and victory parameters for the scenario. The unit stats are in small text indicate the effectiveness of these troops and I will attempt to summarise their key indicators. For a more in depth appreciation I suggest getting the rules and having a read through.
Thus a commander showing (Competent 8, +1, Command Radius 8”) means a standard general officer who if attached to the unit would allow them to make successful morale/leadership test on 2d6, rolling 8 or less and he can, if with 4 inches, by using a command pip, add one to a similar test by the unit itself. The command radius indicates how close his units must be to activate on a command pip with additional pips required for every 8 inches or part over that range.
Similarly for units (4 stands, Line 8) indicates a battalion with four stands (16 infantry/12 cavalry figures) who are "Line" troops so will morale test when receiving 10% casualties in a turn (Spanish were "Raw" so tested every time they got hit) requiring eight or less on 2d6 to successfully pass morale/leadership tests.
Division Alexander Campbell – Defend
Brigadier General Alexander Campbell (Competent 8, +1, Command Radius 8”)
Pajar de Vergara Redoubt Gun Battery
Lawson's Brigade Entrenched 3pdr [Light] 2 stands (Line 8)
**1st Spanish Battery Entrenched 12pdr [Hvy.] 1 stand (Raw 7)
Brigade William Myers - Defend
Lieutenant Colonel William Myers (Competent 8, +1, Command Radius 8”)
2/7th Foot 388 4 stands (Line 8)
2/53rd Foot 483 4 stands (Line 8)
A. Campbell's Bde. Light Bn. 161 [2SB:1R] 2 Musk, 1 Rifle Sk Stands (Line 8)
Brigade James Kemmis - Defend
Colonel James Kemmis (Competent 8, +1, Command Radius 8”)
1/40th Foot 670 6 stands (Veteran 9, Drilled)
97th Foot 452 4 Stands (Veteran 9, Drilled)
2nd Battalion of Detachments 562 6 stands (Line 7)
Kemmis' Bde. Light Bn. 244 4 Musk Sk Stands (Veteran 9)
Division Marques de Portago - Defend
Major General Marques de Portago (Uninspiring 7, +1@1”, Command Radius 7” -1PIP)
El Rey Cavalry Regiment 460 4 Stands (Raw 7, -2 Recovery)
1st Bn. Badajoz Regiment 571 6 stands (Militia 6, Raw)
2nd Bn. Badajoz Regiment 557 6 stands (Militia 6, Raw)
2nd Cazadores de Antequera 557 6 stands (Militia 6, Raw), 2 Musk Sk Stands
*Imperial de Toledo 792 6 stands (Militia 6, Raw)
*Provincial de Badajoz Militia 577 6 stands (Militia 6, Raw)
*Provincial de Guadix Militia 562 6 stands (Militia 6, Raw)
7329 Total of all arms
13 Standards present
|The German brigades of Chasse and Grandjean debouch from the olive grows in front of Campbell's division nearest to camera.|
General de Division Baron Jean-Francois Leval (Competent 8, +1, Command Radius 8”)
Brigade Heinrich Freiherr von Porbeck - Attack
Oberst Heinrich Freiherr von Porbeck (Competent 8, +1, Command Radius 8”)
III Fuss Batterien Steinmetz 4pdr [Light] 2 stands (Line 7)
I.von Harrant Nr.4 (Baden) 376 4 stands (Line 7)
II.von Harrant Nr.4 (Baden) 367 4 stands (Line 7)
I.Nassau IR Nr.2 360 4 stands (Line 7)
II.Nassau IR Nr.2 386 4 stands (Line 7)
Porbeck's Voltigeur Bn 317 5 Musk Sk Stands (Line 7)
Brigade David-Hendrik Chasse - Attack
Generalmajor David-Hendrik Chasse (Competent 8, +1, Command Radius 8”)
3m3 Artillerie a Cheval Trip 4pdr [Light] 2 stands (Line 7)
I/2me Regiment Linie 393 4 stands (Line 7)
2/4me Regiment Linie 378 4 stands (Line 7)
Chasse's Voltigeur Bn 154 3 Musk Sk Stands (Line 7)
Brigade Balthazard-Grandjean - Attack
General de Brigade Balthazard-Grandjean (Competent 8, +1, Command Radius 8”)
III. Fuss. Batterien Venator 4pdr [Light] 2 stands (Line 7)
1/Gross und Erbprinz Nr 4 398 4 stands (Line 7)
2/Gross und Erbprinz Nr 4 371 4 stands (Line 7)
Rheinbund Bttn von Frankfort 391 4 stands (Line 7)
Grandjean's Voltigeur Bn. 225 4 Musk Sk Stands (Line 7)
Brigade Feliks Potocki - Hold
Oberst Feliks Potocki (Competent 8, +1, Command Radius 8”)
I. IR Nr 4 (Polish) 761 6 stands (Line 8, Drilled)
II. IR Nr 4 (Polish) 782 6 stands (Line 8, Drilled)
Potocki's Voltigeur Bn. 260 4 Musk Sk Stands (Line 8)
6352 Total of all arms
11 Standards present
|Spanish General Portago moves his infantry up to support the Pajar redoubt as the Baden/Nassau brigade advance|
Mission: Allies Defend, French Take, and hold the Pajar de Vergara redoubt at the end of the game.
- A player is deemed to be in control if he has an unbroken unit within 4” and there are no enemy unbroken units within 6” of the Pajar.
- *Spanish General Portago will only commit the Badajoz Regiment (two battalions) and the Antequera Light Infantry, the remaining battalions are held in reserve.
- **Only four Spanish 12lbrs are placed in the Pajar redoubt with the other two placed further along the Spanish line off table.
* I informed the French players that they could deploy Potocki's Polish battalions that historically were held in reserve. If they chose to do so then Portago could deploy his other three battalions on table as a counter measure.
In the end the French chose to play it historically.
|The Anglo/Spanish guns open fire sending roundshot into the German/Dutch ranks|
- The Allied player may not deploy his troops initially further forward than the line indicated on the map for British and Spanish troops
- The olive groves are classed as light woods. Artillery may only pass through the gaps in the trees or use the tracks.
- The Portina stream holds no terrain significance.
- The Pajar redoubt is classed as heavy cover (it was incomplete and hurriedly constructed but protected the gunners).
|The view from the Pajar as the allied guns open fire|
Broken brigade 5 VP
Shaken Unit 1VP
Shattered Unit 2VP
Pajar Vergara Redoubt 5VP
|The Baden and Nassau battalions close in on a shaky Spanish line|
Their arrival in open ground was greeted with the first whistling rounds of 12lbr and 3lbr round shot and the light British pieces drew first blood as the Frankfurt battalion was hit.
|Both sides deploy their reserves with the El Rey cavalry, bottom right, opposed by Baden artillery, top right|
|The brigades of Myers and Kemmis deployed one behind the other with a solid skirmish screen out front|
|The view from the German lines as the Frankfurt and Hesse Infantry approach the British line trying to make out they are Spanish and lost "Ola, los Espagnol!" The British look confused|
|The Baden/Nassau troops behind a very strong skirmish screen press the redoubt and the Spanish line|
|Command pips become important as formations change close to the enemy|
|First blood, with the red die showing a hit on the Frankfurt battalion|
With the British flank looking more secure, General Campbell detached his strongest veteran battalion, the 40th (Somerset) Foot, who had seen all this before at Vimeiro and Rolica, to stabilise his allies line.
|The allied guns "pour it on" as the feeble Spanish skirmish line is overwhelmed. The Baden guns at top open fire|
|The El Rey cavalry seriously disordered by the Baden artillery fire|
|The skirmish battle preceding the Baden/Nassau attack|
|With the the German right coming under telling fire from the British guns, Campbell detaches the 40th foot, top right to support the hard pressed Spanish|
|The red dice and trail of casualties indicate that the ruse was not working as British skirmishers go to work on the German lines|
|The Spanish line desperately holds against the Baden attack as the British 40th foot come up in support|
In the combat with the 53rd Foot the outcome was similar in that the other Hesse battalion was stopped with telling fire, but the British battalion refused to charge preparing to deliver another volley, only to see the Hesse battalion break in the next phase as they attempted to rally off their disorder.
|The Hesse guns lend their fire in support of their hard pressed infantry as Chasse's Dutch infantry move up|
However the Baden troops exultations were soon replaced with foreboding as the 40th Foot stepped into the breach and shot down any thoughts of following up their success.
|The German right flank can make no impression on the British line|
Certainly any further action was close to offering up more with the weaker German units getting closer to a similar state due to the attrition they had already suffered.
|With the arrival of the 40th Foot the Spanish disordered mass gets a much needed respite.|
If you want to play this sort of battalion/regiment level game and have fun then you might want to have a look at them, but do take the time to read them thoroughly before playing. Personally, I will always prefer C&G and will be running this scenario using them.
The one key difference I notice between paper rules and the computer, is my head is not buzzing at the end of a computer driven game and I spend more time in the game rather than thinking through the rules leaving me feeling a lot fresher as I head to the pub. There is of course the element of unfamiliarity with this set that adds to that sense but we tend to play rule sets on and off at the club and so quick up take is important and these rules are certainly better than others I have come across in that regard.