This is the same battle of Bailen, refought with the players switching sides. I won't go through all the planning detail but just give the highlights. The French elected to drive through the centre with the largest infantry formations, taking advantage of the semi-broken terrain that unformed cavalry. The wings would be cavalry heavy and be the flank guards. The Spanish plan was one of defence along the main line with the exception of the largest infantry division that would attack in the centre. They would exploit the same ground as the French were advancing over for the same reason; protection from cavalry. The Spanish also kept a division in reserve.
The French left advancing. It comprised of 4 btns of infantry, 2 of them light infantry and supporting cavalry. The Spanish were holding the ridge line with a refused flank; taking advantage of the ridge protection.
This is the Spanish left. The cavalry would engage the French cavalry to try and drive the flank protection away. The French infantry can be seen advancing in the centre.
The Spanish division advance against the French. There is likely to be battle in the semi broken ground with little or no cavalry interference.
The combat on the Spanish left with the cavalry is decisive. The French cut a swathe through the Spanish cavalry. The idea of driving back the French flank guard on this side has gone for the duration. The French centre would be able to advance with no worries on their right flank.
The Spanish advance in the centre stopped as soon as it started. One turn and a battalion took a few casualties and then decided to retreat. Being positioned as a lead battalion, it really stopped this advance in its tracks. The issue for the Spanish would be how to recover and not have this whole division rendered hors de combat.
On the French left, the advance against the ridge involves taking a key wood which is being contested by light infantry from both sides. Ownership of the wood gives control of the whole of the ridge by looking down its length. It is a natural anchor point.
The French left centre, supported by cavalry, now has the ridge line open to them. The Spanish infantry, lacking cavalry in this sector at this time, would not be able to hold and would soon yield the ridge.
The same position but seen from the French side.
The French right centre is now advancing to the ridge line as well. Despite spirited Spanish resistance, the French infantry were able to keep some Spanish infantry retreating and stop any co-ordinated Spanish counter in this sector.
Viewed from the French left, the whole Spanish line has retired from the ridge to attempt the formation of a fresh defensive position. French artillery, now deployed on the ridge, is able to give effective fire support. Spanish artillery has been driven away with some significant losses.
This was the last turn. The Spanish centre was in flight and running headlong into Bailen but had just successfully changed orders to retire which would probably allow it to defend the centre and rear of Bailen itself. We called it at this point. A French victory was declared. The games were great, not least in that everyone thought that the Spanish behaved as players perceived they should. Moments of brilliance mingled with unfathomable hesitation and disruption. This was achieved by the simple manipulation of morale classes, random General ability for each and every morale test and the use of the roster sheet top reflect the brittleness.
Well, here we are. Graham and myself were Spanish in the first game and French is this one. Bob & Herbert were here for both games on the opposite side. We all declared it a great success.
Next stop is Austerlitz, the northern sector. Some new ideas to try with national characteristics being applied to the order change system. So keep an eye out for that battle!!