This is a fictional action set in Spain in 1812. What follows are a note on the troop ratings, historical background, a map, the player briefings, orders of battle, and deployment limits.
My original idea was to refight Salamanca but as we had missed the 200th anniversary I came up with this hypothetical scenario set near Salamanca in November 1812. It is a what might have been battle. It assumes that the combined French armies facing Wellington army decided to adopt the aggressive plan of Marshal Jourdan rather than the historic distant flanking movement of Marshal Soult which forced Wellington to retreat to Cuidad Rodrigo without accepting battle. My main source for this was volume 4 of Napier's History of the War in the Peninsula.
The Order of Battle is based on the troops we had available to give the correct balance of forces required.
As for previous games I gave the French infantry the Reliable in Attack Column useful rule and gave the British infantry the First Fire useful rule. I made the Spanish infantry Unreliable and Poor Shots with a -1 factor on their shooting. To simplify this very big game we used very vanilla troops ratings. The British and French both had a number of veteran battalions who had an increased stamina of 4. I used event cards to give some of the effects of higher quality troops e.g. rolling of disorder, rerolling break tests, rallying of hits etc In addition I had event cards for bad or good powder which affected a units firing for one turn, others to allow cavalry to charge squares using all their charge bonuses and some which effected the arrival of reinforcements. These event cards were distributed by the CinCs to the active commanders to use as required.
All the units are BP standard sized units except for the allied skirmisher detachments which are small units. The House Rules used in the game are given later. All the commanders are rated 8 except for Wellington who is rated 9.
Following the victory at Salamanca on 22 July 1812 Wellington went on to liberate Madrid and then leaving Hill with half of the allied army to hold Madrid and Toledo turned his attention to the siege of Burgos.
Lacking sufficient heavy artillery and the skilful defence of the castle by Dubreton this proved beyond the powers of his army. Threatened by a reorganised and reinforced Army of Portugal under Souham Wellington raised the siege of Burgos on 21 October. He quietly slipped away, undetected by the French until late on 22 October. The drawn Battle of Venta del Pozo was fought on the 23rd. Between 25 and 29 October, Souham and Wellington fought a series of actions along the Pisuerga and Carrión Rivers at Palencia, Villamuriel de Cerrato, and Tordesillas which are collectively called the Battle of Tordesillas. When the French seized the bridge over the Duero River at Tordesillas on the 29th, Wellington was compelled to order a further retreat.
On 29 October, Hill received Wellington's positive order to abandon Madrid in the face of the advance of the combined forces of Soult and King Joseph from Valencia and march to join him. After a clash with Soult's advance guard at Perales de Tajuña on the 30th, Hill broke contact and withdrew in the direction of Alba de Tormes. Joseph re-entered his capital on 2 November. Anxious to destroy the British, Joseph and Soult rushed after them without bothering to leave a large garrison in Madrid.
The Allied retreats continued until Wellington and Hill joined forces on 8 November near Alba de Tormes south east of Salamanca. By 11 November, the combined French armies with at least 10,000 more troops including a very numerous cavalry arm faced faced Wellington's 68,000 man Allied army near the old Salamanca battlefield.
The Anglo/Portuguese/Spanish army is deployed in a line with the right at Alba de Tormes on the river Tormes, the centre on the low ridge at Calvariza Ariba with the left separated by the Tormes from the centre at San Christoval. Note that Alba de Tormes itself is of the table to the south. The combined French armies are deployed on the east bank of the Tormes and to the east of San Cristoval north of the line of the Tormes. The River Tormes runs north behind the east edge of the table before veering west across the table towards Salamanca which is of table to the west. The Tormes is fordable at many points above Salamanca towards Alba especially on its northern run between Huerta and Villa Gonzalo.
The River Tormes were it dissects the table is only crossable at the ford south of Cristoval. However event cards allow other fords to become usable when the river run low. The hills are good going, block line of sight and allow overhead fire by artillery. The woods can be crossed by formed troops at half speed. The villages are each represented by a single Black Powder built up area, while any other buildings scattered about like windmills and watermills that appear are just for scenic effect.
King Joseph called the French commanders to a council of war on the 11th and his first action at the council was to dismiss Souham from command of the Army of Portugal. He blamed Souham for lack of vigour in pursuing Wellington from Burgos. Joseph replaced him with more aggressive D’Erlon.
Most of the commanders present were eager to do battle with the British having assembled over 80,000 troops, the largest force seen in Spain. Such a considerable force could not stand idling as the countryside was exhausted it either had to seek battle quickly or disperse to seek supplies.
The chief military adviser to King Joseph, the old battler Marshal Jourdan, proposed to assemble the bulk of the army in the night, pass the river at daybreak by the fords and drive on Calvariza de Ariba bringing on the decisive battle which was sought. At the same time some of the Army of Portugal now under the command of D’Erlon, would attack the allied troops north of Tormes near San Cristoval, threatening the bridges over the Tormes and thus holding reinforcements away from the centre.
Marshal Soult proposed a more fabian approach of crossing the Tormes further south beyond Alba and threatening Wellington’s line of communication to Cuidad Rodrigo.
King Joseph and the council of war accepted Jourdan’s bolder approach ,as only this would force Wellington to fight, and thus enable them to restore the honour of French arms by avenging Salamanca. King Joseph ordered that the plan should be put into effect that night.
FRENCH ORDER OF BATTLE BRIGADES
1ST FRENCH 4 BTN, FT GUN
2ND FRENCH 4 BTN, FT GUN
3RD FRENCH 4 BTN, FT GUN
4th FRENCH 4 BTN, FT GUN
SWISS 4 BTN, FT GUN
FOREIGN 4 BTN, FT GUN
CHASSEURS 4 BTN, FT GUN
1ST BAVARIAN 4 BTN, FT GUN
2ND BAVARIAN 4 BTN, FT GUN
3RD BAVARIAN 4 BTN, FT GUN
1st POLISH 4 BTN, FT GUN
2ND POLISH 4 BTN, FT GUN
1ST GERMAN 4 BTN, FT GUN
2ND GERMAN 4 BTN, FT GUN
1ST MIXED 5 BTN, FT GUN
2ND MIXED 4 BTN, FT GUN
VISTULA 4 BTN, FT GUN
1ST DRAGOONS 2 DRAGOON REGTS, HS GUN
2ND DRAGOONS 2 DRAGOON REGTS, HS GUN
3RD DRAGOONS 2 DRAGOON REGTS, HS GUN
1ST CUIRASSIER 2 CUIRASSIER REGTS, HS GUN
1ST LIGHT 1 HUSSAR REGT, 1 CHaCH REGT, HS GUN
2ND LIGHT 2 HUSSAR REGTS, 1 CHaCH REGT, HS GUN
3RD LIGHT 2 CHaCH REGTS, HS GUN
3RD LIGHT 2 HUSSAR REGTS, HS GUN
BAV LIGHT 2 CHaCH REGTS, HS GUN
LANCERS 2 LANCER REGTS, HS GUN
17 INF BRIGS 69 BTNS
10 CAV BRIGS 8 HVY/MED REGTS, 13 LT REGTS
28 GUNS 18 FOOT, 10 HORSE
Troops to be set-up in in 4 6ft quarters.
Frontline 20 brigades - between 3 to 6 brigades in each quarter. Due to limits at the fords only 2 brigades in each of the first 3 quarters are on table at the start of the game. 3 brigades are on table in the quarter facing Cristoval. From turn 1 each quarter can attempt to order one of its off table brigades to come onto the table.
Distant reserve to be deployed to the quarters as required by CinC during the game. CinC should decide which quarters they are initially deployed behind. They can change this deployment during the game but with a time delay.
Following the failure at Burgos Wellington desires a battle near Salamanca on either side of the Tormes and has disposed his forces to cover both fronts. His hope is to prevent a passage of the river until the rains render it unfordable and thus force the French to retire from a want of provisions.
However if a battle is brought on he is confident in his troops. He has a large force of 68,000 troops of whom 4/5th are British or Portuguese including a force of 4,000 good British cavalry and the army in total has 70 guns. He has won on this ground before and is certain he can do so again. Defeat will merely drive him back to Portugal along his supply lines - victory will surely deliver him Madrid for a second and final time.
BRITISH/ALLIED ORDER OF BATTLE BRIGADES
1ST BRITISH 3 BTN, SK DET, FT GUN
2ND BRITISH 3 BTN, SK DET, FT GUN
3RD BRITISH 3 BTN, SK DET, FT GUN
4TH BRITISH 3 BTN, SK DET, FT GUN
5TH BRITISH 4 BTN, SK DET, FT GUN
6TH BRITISH 4 BTN, SK DET, FT GUN
7TH BRITISH 4 BTN, SK DET, FT GUN
8TH BRITISH 3 BTN, SK DET, FT GUN
9TH BRITISH 3 BTN, SK DET, FT GUN
10TH BRITISH 4 BTN, SK DET
1ST PORTUGUESE 4 BTN, SK DET, FT GUN
2ND PORTUGUESE 4 BTN, SK DET, FT GUN
1ST SPANISH 3 BTN, SK DET, FT GUN
2ND SPANISH 3 BTN, SK DET, FT GUN
3RD SPANISH 3 BTN, FT GUN
1ST HOUSEHOLD HOUSHOLD REGT, 2 DRAGOON REGTS, HS GUN
1ST DRAGOONS 2 DRAGOON REGTS, HS GUN
2ND DRAGOONS 2 DRAGOON REGTS, HS GUN
1ST LIGHT LT DRAGOON REGT, HUSSAR REGT, HS GUN
2ND LIGHT 2 LT DRAGOON REGTS, HS GUN
SPANISH 2 LT CAV REGTS, HS GUN
PORT/SPAN 2 LT CAV REGTS, HS GUN
15 INF BRIGADES 10 BR, 2, PORT, 3 SP - 56 BTN PLUS SK DET
7 CAVALRY BRIGADES 7 HVY REGTS, 8 LT REGTS
14 FT GUNS
6 HS GUNS
BRITISH ALLIED DEPLOYMENT
FRONT LINE - 14 brigades - 12 deployed on table with 3 per quarter plus 2 immediately behind table which can attempt to be ordered on from turn 2.
LOCAL RESERVE - 6 brigades deployed behind the table. 2 behind each flank quarter and 1 behind each of the centre quarters. Can be ordered one at a time per quarter but only once released by the CinC. There are more on the flanks as there are troops deployed north and south of the table.
DISTANT RESERVE - 2 brigades to be deployed to quarters as required by CinC during the game. CinC should decide which quarters they are initially deployed behind. They can change this deployment during the game but with a time delay.