Monday, March 28, 2011

Battle of Vitoria - Move 9

Table at the start of move 9

Morillo is taking punishment from the French guns on Puebla Heights

d’Erlon has changed his orders to Halt, as he will not have time to attack the Spanish before nightfall, and does not want to take casualties advancing against them.

Picton is reorganizing his infantry on Arinez Hill

Alten is also regrouping his infantry now that the French cavalry have withdrawn.

Gazan has reorganized his infantry and artillery to hold Arinez village

Graham is waiting for further orders just west of Gamara

Reille has completed his deployment at Gamara.

The Spanish square has finally broken and routed. Wellington has joined Morillo and ordered him to withdraw out of range of the French artillery on the hill.

D’Erlon has abandoned his advance and is content to hold the hill.

Picton has regrouped his infantry on the hill, but dare not advance against the village without cavalry support. His heavy cavalry have just lost their morale and routed.

Gazan has a garrison in Arinez village and artillery in canister range of the hill.

Alten is ready to advance on Gamara from Arinez hill, but is unable to do so due to the French cavalry.

Graham is unable to advance due to the concentration of French cavalry and artillery around Gamara

Summary

Wellington started the battle with more infantry than the French, but less artillery and cavalry.

The French had more artillery than the allied army, and their guns were 12 and 9 pounders against the allied 6 pounders. They also had more cavalry.

Wellington had more infantry, but he quickly lost all of his cavalry.

In the early stages the allied army was able to cross the river and take Arinez hill.

But outgunned, and without cavalry support, they did not dare approach the French positions.

The battle was a French victory, as Wellington could not advance and could not remain where he was. At daybreak he would have to retreat.

British casualties were 6 infantry, 6 cavalry and 1 gunner

French casualties were 12 infantry, 0 cavalry and 1 gunner

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Battle of Vitoria - Move 8

Table at the start of move 8

Morillo is taking punishment from the French guns on Puebla Heights

He is moving his artillery to the right flank where they are out of range of the enemy guns, but can fire on the approaching infantry.

d’Erlon is moving his infantry into contact, support by his artillery on the hill.

Picton is trying to organise his infantry on Arinez hill, and move his artillery closer. He has given up on his routed heavy cavalry.

Alten’s artillery, and half of his infantry, are pinned by the French cuirassiers.

Gazan is taking advantage of this respite to organise the defence of Arinez village.

Graham is waiting for further orders just west of Gamara

Reille has completed his deployment at Gamara.

Morillo is still holding, and his shaken square still in place, despite heavy enemy fire

His own artillery are in place on the right flank.

Wellington has just arrived to give him orders to withdraw out of artillery range.

D’Erlon has changed his orders from Engage to Halt, until he can move his artillery to cover his infantry advance against Morillo.

Picton’s routed cavalry have passed their morale test and are now shaken

His artillery are now in place to the right of Arinez hill

His Portuguese infantry have formed square to protect the gunners

Gazan is trying to organise his remaining infantry to hold Arinez village

King Joseph has taken command of the cuirassiers and is moving them back to support Arinez village

Alten’s gunners have returned to their guns and are limbered and ready to advance.

Portuguese infantry have formed square to protect the gunners in case the cavalry return.

The remainder of Alten’s infantry are advancing over Arinez hill towards Gamara.

Graham has moved his artillery to fire on the enemy infantry in front of Gamara

Reille is on hold orders, and unable to advance towards Graham without a change of orders.

Game Notes

I was quite surprised when Jan ordered one of her many guns to fire on distant cavalry, particularly as they were her own! Fortunately the gunners missed.

We only play one move a day, so it’s easy to forget what is happening all over the table. It’s been a long time since we used our 18mm figures, and she was on the far side of the table. But even so………….

Friday, March 25, 2011

Battle of Vitoria - Move 7

Table at the start of move 7

Morillo now has Hold orders and must hold his position facing the Puebla Heights

d’Erlon has his artillery in place to fire on the Spanish.

His infantry are moving forward to close with the Spanish infantry

Picton’s infantry have taken Arinez hill.

Alten’s infantry have also reached the top of the hill

Gazan has abandoned his broken infantry and artillery on the hill, to organise the defence of Arinez village.

Graham is waiting for further orders just west of Gamara

Reille is deploying the French reserve at Gamara.

Morillo is suffering from the enemy artillery on Puebla Heights.

The infantry square holding his left flank is shaken by artillery fire

He is moving his artillery out of range of the enemy guns and to protect his right flank

D’Erlon’s infantry are forming to the right of Puebla Heights, supported by their artillery on the front edge of the hill

Picton’s cavalry have broken and are in rout.

He has ordered his artillery to limber and move closer to Arinez hill.

He is waiting for further orders now that he has taken the hill

Gazan is trying to organise his remaining infantry to hold Arinez village

Alten ordered his infantry to clear the French off Arinez hill

He is now waiting for new orders from Wellington

Gazan ordered his cuirassiers to charge Alten’s hussars

The hussars failed to counter charge, have been overrun and are in rout

Two of Alten’s brigades have formed square under threat from the cuirassiers

His gunners have run to the nearest square to avoid the cuirassiers.

This reverse has thrown Alten’s attack into complete disorder

Graham has received orders to advance and engage Gamara

He has sent his artillery forwarded and protected them with a Portuguese infantry square

Reille holds a very strong position at Gamara, but is concerned about his right flank after the fall of Areniz h

Game Notes

When the cuirassiers declare a charge, the hussars had to test morale to counter charge. The rolled 1 on a D6, failed to counter charge and received the cuirassiers at the halt. They already had one casualty, so it is not surprising that they broke and ran.

They were protecting the flank of Alten’s column and they routed into the artillery who were directly behind them. They in turn had to test morale, failed and were shaken.

Because the hussars had routed, the cuirassiers had to test to see if they would pursue. They passed and did not have to do so. Had they failed they would have rolled another dice to see whether they would pursue the hussars or charge the nearest enemy.

This single charge has thrown Alten’s command into disorder.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Battle of Vitoria - Move 6

Table at the start of move 6

Morillo has completed his deployment facing the Puebla Heights

d’Erlon is now under orders to engage the Spanish.

His artillery are deployed on the ridge and his infantry moving towards Morillo

Picton’s infantry have climbed Arinez hill, but his cavalry are now out of command range and within range of the guns on Puebla Heights

Alten’s infantry are about to climb the west slope of the hill in support of Picton

Gazan has withdrawn his shaken gunners behind his infantry, who are now formed in column of attack to meet Picton’s infantry

Graham has taken up position just east of the river facing Gamara

Reille’s reinforcements are starting to arrive at Gamara.

Morillo has managed to form his infantry in a line facing Puebla Heights

D’Erlon orders his artillery to fire on the British cavalry, who are protecting the Spanish left flank. Both batteries fire, both miss.

Wellington takes command on the British cavalry and orders them to retreat out of artillery range of the Puebla Heights. In doing so, be moves them into range of the battery in Areniz village. They fire on the cavalry, inflicting casualties and causing them to become Shaken.

Behind them Picton’s infantry have charged the French infantry on the hill, forcing them to rout.

Gazan’s entire command on Arinez hill are now in rout, but he still holds Arinez village.

Alten’s light infantry climb Arinez hill from the west and open fire on the broken French infantry. The whole rout, taking the shaken gunners with them. The gunners behind the hill in Arinez have also been shaken by the rout.

Gazan has lost Arinez hill, and the village is in danger of being overrun.

Graham has deployed his infantry to face Gamara, and now awaits his fate

Reille extends his position at Gamara, and deploys his second battery to cover his left flank facing Areniz hill.

All of the French infantry and gunners on Arinez hill are broken and in rout.

In the village the second battery are also shaken, due to the rout

Gazan will have a short respite as Picton and Alten must disengage their infantry before they can continue the advance.

Game Notes

When a brigade loses its morale and routs, any supporting brigade (within 8”) must also test their morale. This only applies in the first round of rout, in subsequent rounds the rout avoids friendly troops, and they ignore it.

Most at risk are supporting troops behind a routed unit. When a brigade fails its morale and routs, it moves 6” directly away from the cause of the rout. If this move takes it into supports directly behind, they are disordered and find it difficult to make their morale. In these circumstances it is not unusual for one rout to have a “knock on” effect.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Battle of Vitoria - Move 5

Table at the start of move 5

On the right Morillo has received orders to hold his present position, and is trying to organise his Spanish brigades with only a Poor commander’s CP.

On Puebla Heights d’Erlon is slowly moving his guns into position to fire on the Spanish

To his left Picton is preparing to assault Areniz hill. His cavalry and artillery are both out of command range between him and Morillo.

Centre left Alten is also finding command and control difficult. As his leading infantry engage the hill, he does not have sufficient CP to control them, bring up his reserves and still control his cavalry and artillery. He decided to concentrate on the hill.

Gazan has realised that he cannot command both Areniz village and hill. Worst still his position on the hill is now looking desperate

Top left Graham has been ordered to Hold his position, and prevent any French moving to reinforce the centre.

Reille’s has taken the bait and is moving the whole of the French reserve to hold Gamara

Morillo does not have sufficient CP to deploy his Spanish infantry. The artillery have already suffered casualties, which make them ineffective at long range.

D’Erlon now has both of his guns deployed on the edge of Puebla Heights, within range of both the British cavalry and the Spanish infantry and artillery

Picton has moved his leading infantry up onto the crest of Arinez hill. He is now under orders to attack and must use all of his limited CP to do so. This means leaving his reserve infantry, artillery and cavalry without orders.

Gazan’s artillery has withdrawn shaken, and his infantry are trying to deploy to face both Picton (from the bottom) and Alten (from the left)

Alten has managed to close up his infantry and is now within command range of them, his artillery and his cavalry. But he does not have sufficient CP to control more than his leading infantry. Being in line they move slowly, but will deliver a punch when they finally come within rifle range of the enemy.

Gazan has withdrawn his shaken artillery out of danger, but must now deploy his two infantry brigades to face both Picton (right) and Alten (bottom)

Graham has been ordered to hold his position, and in doing so to pin the French reserve.

Reille is moving the entire French reserve to hold Gamara. Once in position, Graham will be outnumbered in artillery and cavalry and will be hard pressed to hold his own.

Game Notes

Each commander rolls one average dice to determine the number of command points (CP) he will have to issue orders. To the dice total he adds one if a Poor commander, two if an Average one and three if Gifted.

As the two armies come within musket range it requires more CP to order them to move and fire. This means that even a Gifted commander will not have sufficient CP to do everything he wants to. A Poor commander will have even less. And if they also roll a low average dice they may find that they have difficult decisions to make.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Battle of Vitoria - Move 4

Table at the start of move 4

On the right Morillo is has reached Picton’s cavalry and artillery

On Puebla Heights d’Erlon is moving his artillery to face Morillo

To his left Picton has reached the base of Areniz hill. His cavalry are to the right of the road to protect his flank, and Morillo’s move. His infantry are now hidden from the French guns in the village by the hill.

Centre left Alten has deployed his leading infantry into line.

Gazan has turned his infantry and artillery on Areniz hill to face Alten.

Top left Graham’s is deploying his infantry ready to advance on Gamara

Reille’s has withdrawn his flank force to Gamara

The Spanish column has reached Picton’s cavalry. His artillery have unlimbered to fire on the hill, but with only enemy guns for a target are unlikely to do much damage

D’Erlon has unlimbered one gun to fire on the Spanish, and his second is approaching the edge of Puebla Heights.

Picton has formed his infantry in column of attack to attack Arinez hill. He has been joined by Wellington, who has just changed his orders from move to attack.

Gazan has moved his artillery to fire on Alten, who is approaching from the left

Alten’s artillery has kept the French infantry from the forward slope of Arinez hill. His leading infantry have approached the hill, and forced the enemy guns to retire with casualties and shaken.

The French infantry and artillery on the hill are in a shambles, and should break with one more determined push.

Graham has lost his cavalry, and posted his artillery to protect his left flank. His leading infantry have formed column of attack, and the remainder have crossed the river in column of march.

Reille is moving the French reserve in Vitoria to join his flank guard at Gamara. This should hold Graham, but will not be available to hold the threatened centre at Arinez.

Game Notes

The allied infantry have advanced in column of march to cross the river and approach the enemy as quickly as possible. However they can not fight in this formation, and must change into slower moving lines or column of attack to do so.

All columns started the battle on Move orders, and Wellington is now changing them to Engage or even Attack to close with the enemy. To do so he has to join the commander and use his CP to change their orders.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Battle of Vitoria - Move 3

Table at the start of move 3

On the right Morillo is moving closer to Picton.

On Puebla Heights d’Erlon is moving to his right to counter this move

To his left Picton is approaching Areniz hill. His cavalry are to the right of the road to protect his flank, and Morillo’s move. His infantry are moving in column of march, and the guns have limbered and are moving up in support.

Centre left Alten has sent his cavalry and artillery to the left to cover the infantry

Gazan has sent more infantry to hold the hill

Top left Graham’s cavalry and artillery have crossed the river Zadorra and deployed to cover the infantry as they cross.

Reille’s has withdrawn his flank force to Gamara

The Spanish column is moving to the right of Puebla heights, and are now out of range of the French artillery on the hill. On the left Picton’s cavalry cover their dangerous flank march.

D’Erlon is moving his artillery and infantry to his left, but movement is reduced on the hill. His guns will have to deploy on the edge to fire on the Spanish infantry.

Picton’s column is about to attack Arinez hill. His artillery is moving into position to support the cavalry

In moving to counter Alten crossing the river, Gazan has left his left flank on the hill unprotected. The artillery in Arinez is too far away to protect this flank. Any movement on Arinez hill is reduced by half.

Alten has deployed his leading infantry into line and is about to send them against Arinez hill. The cavalry protect his left flank, and the artillery is well positioned to engage any infantry who attempt to line the crest of the hill.

Gazan has artillery in place to fire on the enemy infantry, but his infantry are well behind the ridge.

Graham’s cavalry have suffered heavy casualties, have broken and are in rout. They have done their job, and the leading infantry and artillery are in position to attack Gamara. The remainder of his infantry are still crossing the river.

The French flank guard at Gamara have withdrawn closer to the village. Reille is moving the French reserve in Vitoria to support his flank guard at Gamara.

Game Notes

With two casualties, and already shaken, Graham’s cavalry were never likely to make their morale. He moved them out of range of the French gunners, but did not send any infantry to support the cavalry. This made a rout more likely, but no it would not affect the remainder of the column who were now all out of supporting range and would not have to test their morale for the cavalry rout.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Battle of Vitoria - Move 2

Table at the start of move 2

On the right Morillo is moving his column closer to Picton to pin d’Erlon on Puebla heights

To his left Picton is advancing on Arinez, with his cavalry and artillery protecting both his right flank and Morillo’s move towards him

Centre left Alten is crossing the river Zadorra and approaching Arinez hill

Gazan has sent more infantry to hold the hill

Top left Graham’s cavalry have crossed the river Zadorra and deployed to cover the rest of the column as it crosses the bridge. The French artillery have caused casualties, but the cavalry are still formed.

Reille’s flank force at Gamara is holding their own, but urgently need reinforcements. He is unable to use the French reserve until Joseph agrees. Joseph is currently on the hill at Areniz observing the main allied attack

The Spanish column is moving to the right of Puebla heights, and are unaware of the French cavalry just behind the heights. Their artillery have received casualties, but are now out of artillery range

D’Erlon is moving his reserve onto the heights. A second battery, supported by infantry, is moving to the left to counter the Spanish flank march.

Picton’s column is nearing Arinez hill. He has ordered his artillery to limber and advance with the infantry. His cavalry have advanced to cover the march Wellington has joined Picton as this is now the main attack.

Gazan has moved his reserve artillery to fire on Picton. The second battery, and much of the infantry, are on the hill redeploying to counter Alten’s

Alten has sent his hussar brigade and artillery to the left to cover the rest of his column as they cross the Zadorra river

King Joseph has ordered the infantry and artillery on the hill to redeploy to meet this new threat.

Graham has moved his cavalry to the left to avoid the French artillery, but they receive further casualties just as they are moving out of range, and are now shaken. He has almost completed the crossing of the river Zadorra.

The French flank guard at Gamara have withdrawn closer to the village. The main French reserves are still in Vitoria waiting for orders from King Joseph.

The French flank guard at Gamara fire on the British cavalry and inflict casualties

Game Notes

At this early stage only the artillery are in range. The British are advancing, and unable to use their guns. The French must take full advantage of this opportunity to weaken the allied columns before they can attack.

So far the French guns have only fired three times, and have inflicted casualties each time. They are aided by their heavier guns, 9 and 12 pounder, which have a longer range than the allied 6 pounders.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Battle of Vitoria - Move 1

Table at the start of move 1

There are five Anglo-Spanish columns poised to attack Vitoria

Bottom right Morillo in front of Puebla heights

Bottom left Picton in front of Arinez

Left Alten to left of Arinez

Top left Graham to left of Vitoria

Bottom d’Erlon on and behind Puebla heights

Centre Gazan holds Arinez hill and village

Top Reille holds Vitoria and Gamara

Wellington has joined Morillo, and ordered him to move to the left of Puebla heights rather than risk a direct attack

d’Erlon has moved his cavalry towards the centre and in moving his infantry onto the heights.

Picton has deployed his cavalry and artillery to the right to cover his infantry columns as they move towards Arinez.

Gazan is faced with a two pronged attack on Arinez, Picton from the south and Alten from the west.

Alten moves across the Zadorra river

French artillery on the hill is facing south towards Picton

Graham moves his column across the river Zadorra towards Gamara

The French flank guard at Gamara fire on the British cavalry and inflict casaulties

The French reserve between Vitoria and Gamara are commanded by Reille

Game Notes

The French artillery at Gamara were lucky to hit the British cavalry as they crossed the river. A hit requires at least 8 with 2xD6. In our rules every hit has an effect on fighting ability and morale.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Battle of Vitoria - Set Up

Historical background

In June 1813 Wellington fought King Joseph in the final battle fought in Spain. It was one of Wellington’s most famous victories, and drove the French out of Spain.

Vitoria 20 June 1813

Historical Orbat

Wellington British - 79000 infantry, 8300 cavalry, 90 guns

Joseph French - 66000 infantry, 11300 cavalry, 153 guns

Wargame Orbat

Wellington British - 128 infantry, 8 cavalry, 4 guns

Marmont French - 96 infantry, 12 cavalry, 6 guns

British commanders

Morillo – Peubla Heights - 32 infantry, 0 cavalry, 1 gun

Picton – Arinez - 32 infantry, 4 cavalry, 1 gun

Alten – Arinez - 32 infantry, 4 cavalry, 1 gun

Graham – Vitoria - 32 infantry, 4 cavalry, 1 gun

French commanders

Gazan – Arinez - 32 infantry, 4 cavalry, 2 guns

D’Erlon – Puebla Heights - 32 infantry, 4 cavalry, 2 guns

Reille – Vitoria - 32 infantry, 4 cavalry, 2 guns


Table at start of battle

Puebla heights is bottom right, occupied by d’Erlon.

Morillo is approaching with his Spanish corps

Arinez village and hill is in the centre

Both are occupied by Gazan

Picton is approaching from the south

Alten is on the left of the river

Vitoria is top right and Gamara on the left, both occupied by Reille

Graham is approaching on the left of the river

Game Notes

This is the first time in this series of battles that I have used 18mm figures. I have all the armies in both 18mm and 28mm, but lately I have preferred to use the larger figures. This is partly because I just like the feel of the larger models, but also because they photograph better.

But in this battle I needed greater space between the columns to make it more difficult for the French to cover all possible approach routes. It is a battle which the French should win, so Wellington needs all the help he can get.

Rules

This battle is based on Vitoria, it is not meant to be a refight of it.

We use our own rules to fight all of these battles.

Link to wargame rules

http://napoleonicwargamerules.blogspot.com/

The only special rule is that we do not use the “Poor Card” for this game. There is only one Poor commander (Morillo) and if we used the card then almost certainly he would have to miss his turn every move.