Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Game 62 : Albuera 1811

This offering is the first game using British troops in the Peninsular. British troops should be arriving here during the year, so this is the testing to see what may happen and what rule limitations might be exposed.
The British are different because they will be deployed, on the bases, as 2 rank lines. The obvious ramification is that British Btns will tend to be deployed over a greater width than the main French combatants in 3 rank lines.
This has to be play tested to see if any issues would arise.
To recap, a standard British Btn will be 120 men in 10 companies. Guard units will be larger and KGL units will be smaller (simply as I've elected to do the 1815 structure).

To play Albuera, The British have kindly dressed up as Hungarians. The Hungarian 180 men Btns, in 3 ranks, mimic the width exactly.

There were some other rules we added, again for the first time. Both sides would be allowed to deploy the integral skirmish companies from the Line Btns. This was the first time we tried this and the rules used were consistent with those used for Light Infantry Btns.

We also dropped the organisational level so that commands were Brigades. The stats used for Brigadiers was fixed. The Command rating was that of their Divisional commander, the Morale rating was Inept and the Melee rating was Timid.

The British had some specialist detached companies, 3 from the 60th Rifles. These were "extra" skirmishers that operated with the nearest close order British Btn. We had rules that defined when they could be lost outright so that some care was needed when operating them.

The only other special rules were to do with morale. French Btns in Line had a -2 morale modifier, to persuade them that column was best and British had a -2 if in column, to persuade them that Line was best.

The battle itself was Albuera. I'll leave people to read up on the battle. The Allies are defending a ridgeline with Albuera to its front. Overall infantry numbers are comparable, the Allies having 2 Divs of British, 1 of Portuguese and 4 Spanish. The Spanish Div under Zayas fought very well against expectation. The French have more guns, but neither side has copious amounts, but the French do have better quality cavalry overall. The British Heavies are dynamic and good, but the Spanish are questionable!!

For the game we used variable morale. This always works well. The table used is below. Troops first test for actual class when they take their first morale test. Prior to this, they are played with the relevant stats under "5" on the table.
 
d10 Roll
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
BRITISH
Line Infantry
Seas
Seas
Seas
Seas
Seas
Vet
Vet
Vet
Vet
Vet
Light Infantry
Seas
Seas
Seas
Seas
Vet
Vet
Vet
Vet
Vet
Vet
Fusilier Infantry
Seas
Seas
Vet
Vet
Vet
Vet
Vet
Vet
Vet
Vet
KGL Rifle
Seas
Vet
Vet
Vet
Vet
Vet
Vet
Vet
Vet
Vet
Foot Artillery
Seas
Seas
Seas
Seas
Seas
Vet
Vet
Vet
Vet
Vet
KGL Foot Art
Seas
Seas
Seas
Seas
Seas
Vet
Vet
Vet
Vet
Vet
RHA
Seas
Seas
Vet
Vet
Vet
Vet
Vet
Vet
Vet
Vet
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Guard Dragoons
Vet
Vet
Elite
Elite
Elite
Elite
Guard
Guard
Guard
Guard
Heavy Dragoons
Seas
Seas
Seas
Seas
Seas
Seas
Seas
Vet
Vet
Vet
Lt Dragoons
Seas
Seas
Seas
Seas
Seas
Vet
Vet
Vet
Vet
Vet
KGL Lt Dragoons
Seas
Seas
Seas
Vet
Vet
Vet
Vet
Vet
Vet
Vet
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
PORTUGUESE
Line Infantry
2nd
2nd
2nd
2nd
2nd
1st
1st
1st
1st
Seas
Cacadores
2nd
2nd
1st
1st
1st
1st
1st
Seas
Seas
Seas
LLL
2nd
2nd
2nd
2nd
2nd
2nd
1st
1st
1st
1st
Artillery
2nd
2nd
2nd
2nd
1st
1st
1st
1st
1st
Seas
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Light Dragoons
2nd
2nd
2nd
2nd
1st
1st
1st
1st
1st
Seas
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SPANISH
Line & Light Inf
Mil
Mil
Mil
Mil
Mil
2nd
2nd
2nd
1st
1st
Line Inf (Zayas)
2nd
1st
1st
1st
1st
1st
Seas
Seas
Seas
Vet
Artillery
2nd
2nd
2nd
2nd
1st
1st
1st
1st
1st
Seas
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Cavalry
Mil
Mil
Mil
2nd
2nd
2nd
1st
1st
1st
Seas
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
FRENCH
Line Infantry
2nd
2nd
1st
1st
1st
1st
Seas
Seas
Seas
Vet
Light Infantry
2nd
1st
1st
1st
Seas
Seas
Seas
Seas
Vet
Vet
Grenadiers
Seas
Seas
Seas
Seas
Seas
Vet
Vet
Vet
Vet
Vet
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Foot Artillery
2nd
1st
1st
1st
Seas
Seas
Seas
Seas
Vet
Vet
Horse Artillery
1st
Seas
Seas
Seas
Seas
Vet
Vet
Vet
Vet
Vet
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Chasseurs
2nd
1st
1st
1st
1st
Seas
Seas
Seas
Seas
Vet
Spanish Chasseurs
2nd
2nd
2nd
2nd
2nd
1st
1st
1st
1st
1st
Hussars
1st
Seas
Seas
Seas
Seas
Seas
Seas
Vet
Vet
Vet
Heavy Dragoons
1st
Seas
Seas
Seas
Seas
Seas
Seas
Seas
Vet
Vet
Vistula Lancers
1st
Seas
Seas
Seas
Seas
Seas
Vet
Vet
Vet
Vet

Just managed to squeeze the table in!!  Now to some action.


This is from the Allied centre right. Albuera is off picture to the left. The French advance through the light woods. The Spanish are Zayas Division. Just as they did historically, they would hold their positions all day and even attempt a counter-attack.


British troops in 4 deep lines. They are covered, to their front by KGL Light infantry in full open order (more difficult so see until the correct troops arrive, but you get the idea).


The French attack Albuera, leading with their converged Grenadier Btns. They swiftly eject the Spanish defenders.


The Spanish attempt to retake Albuera but the first effort is beaten back


This pic shows a Brit Btn in Line. There is no doubt, that if the ground can be selected, the firepower is very effective.


The Brits now turn their attention to Albuera to assist the Spanish. There were hiccups with the odd unexpected retreat that then rallied, but Albuera was eventually destined to be taken back by the Allies


There was one major cavalry clash in the centre where the British Guards dismissed 2 regts of French Heavy Dragoons. Elsewhere, the French cavalry tended to put any Spanish to the sword. The French Vistula Lancers emulated their historic success by riding over several Portuguese Btns.

 
The Allied left was the domain of the Portuguese. This Div was mauled, badly and driven back across a the battlefield until it withdrew and was replaced by a fresh reinforcing British Div. At this point the game was called. 
The casualty table is listed below. Remember, anything approaching 30% in combat unworthy.
French Formations
Losses %
Spanish Formations
Losses%
Infantry
Cavalry
Artillery
Infantry
Cavalry
Artillery
Soult
-
-
14
Beresford
-
-
16
Godinot (1st Brig)
10
-
-
Stewart (1st Brig)
17
-
50
Godinot (2nd Brig)
13
-
-
Stewart (2nd Brig)
7
-
-
Girard (1st Brig)
5
-
-
Stewart (3rd Brig)
6
-
-
Girard (2nd Brig)
6
-
-
Stewart (KGL Lt Brig)
35
-
-
Merle (1st Brig)
59
-
-
Cole (1st Brig)
0
-
0
Merle (2nd Brig)
28
-
-
Cole (2nd Brig)
0
-
-
Gazan (1st Brig)
37
-
-
Cole (3rd Brig)
1
-
-
Gazan (2nd Brig)
35
-
-
Hamilton (1st Brig)
65
-
31
Grenadiers
38
-
-
Hamilton (2nd Brig)
45
-
-
Latour (1st Brig)
-
-
8
Hamilton (3rd Brig)
19
-
-
Latour (2nd Brig)
-
-
0
Port Cav Brig
-
20
-
Latour (3rd Brig)
-
-
35
Lumley (1st Brig)
-
10
-
Latour (4th Brig)
-
-
11
Lumley (2nd Brig)
-
0
-
 
 
 
 
Blake
-
-
0
 
 
 
 
Lardizabal
14
-
-
 
 
 
 
Zayas
9
-
-
 
 
 
 
Ballasteros
18
-
-
 
 
 
 
Loy
-
22
-
 
 
 
 
Espana
18
-
0
 
 
 
 
Villemur
-
90
-
What did we learn? Did the British introduce any rule mechanic problems?Were there any issues?
I don't know if I was surprised, but there were no issues that arose. It worked as expected and the result we got seemed very sensible to all the players. We introduced quite a few things and we found that it all ran smoothly.
I have 2 more playtests planned, with some different players, to see if we can "break" the system. The variety of players always helps, especially if you play the same scenario, as different things happen, different tactics are invariably used and so the testing is more thorough.
 
Lastly, the rogue's gallery and then its another playtest!
 
 
John, Graham & myself, in that order.
 
 


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