Thursday, 21 October 2010

Another Salamanca: The Spanish Ulcer Continued

Another Salamanca Battle Report:

News has filtered through to the French Command in Madrid that the Spanish Ulcer is continuing to be a painful sore to the Emperor who is currently nursing his piles somewhere in Russia.

A strong French army was beaten, nay routed by a stronger Anglo-Portuguese-Spanish force under the command of a certain Arthur Wellesley near the Spanish city of Salamanca (note: NOT the historical scenario but a campaign generated one).

Pictorial evidence may be forthcoming, but despite it taking an epic six club nights to resolve (using "Age of Eagles" with the armies too far apart and too many small units made it an exercise of rolling of the Reserve and Tactical tables). Incredible as it may seem, I forgot to take a camera on each occasion.

The French it has to be said were unenthusiastic and listless in regarding fighting the battle and were hoping to gain a campaign consolation "sneak-away" but Wellesley it must be said had other ideas. Bringing the goods home on the penultimate round before blessed night, Wellesley saw to it that the French army morale was broken and at that point it became less fraternity more every man for himself.

Wellesley held back the Spanish on his left and the British/Portuguese forces in the centre sending the bulk of his elite fighting forces round to his right which smashed the French left. The British/Portuguese centre had a few hairy moments (and two British units even routed past Wellesley himself on his charger) but the almost wavering centre was rallied by the sight of hairy highlanders legs emerging from woods, driving all French before them. The Devil's Handmaidens were on good form. 

Seeing all was lost the French Commanders discreetly left the field each blaming the other in true egalitarian committee style management.

(Campaign note: Wellesley pursued the remnants of this army to destruction in the following campaign turn to make it a rather comprehensive Anglo-Portuguese-Spanish victory)  


Of note in the game was the infamous "Wing of British Horse" with the galloping eight battery (three deadly actions starting from the limbered state: move, unlimber and fire combination at canister range). This Horse Artillery STUG formation slew remorselessly as it progressed across the board, claiming French unit after French unit that could not get out of its way because of poor manoeuvring. (OK it killed my French units)

Lessons learned:
  • Use historical topography rather than a randomly generated battlefield. 
  • Start the armies closer to gether.
  • An average size of six elements is too small a unit for "Age of Eagles", one hit renders the unit a liability (and most of the units in the game were size six).    
Hopefully I can source some photographs of the battle at a later date and retrofit them in.


VolleyFireWargames said...

Not sure that rapid deployment by British Horse Artillery - especially in Spain is even historical - especially given the "terrible" terrain. Also the only time I have ever even heard of an ARTILLERY CHARGE was by French artillery.

Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

It is a case of the campaign generated army list driting off from the historical period and a bit of a "spot" by the British player of an advantage.

Side-effect of many players but no difinite umpire per se, more by committee and believe me the effects of this were discussed in detail.

The ruling being that the "surge" of mobile artillery could not concentrate fire on the same target.