Category Archives: Playtesting

adjustment to damage mechanic

Some play testers had reported that going into column to attack enemy positions was at times too difficult and that attacking columns would rarely reach enemy positions. Therefore, I’m going to try a new damage mechanic for formations in the game.

Columns

When an attacker shoots at an enemy column, instead of causing double damage as had previously been the case, the attacker will instead be able to re-roll unsuccessful “Fire!” rolls.

For example, in the image below a British brigade with its three battalions arranged in column formation is attacking a French position held by a Brigade with three battalions in line formation.

British Brigade in column attacks a French Brigade in Line.

The French roll their combat dice for their “Steady” roll as normal, needing 5+ to succeed.

After rolling twelve dice for their “Steady” roll, they roll four successes, three sixes and a five.

“Steady” Roll

The French player now rolls these four successes as their “Fire!” roll, however, as the unit they’re aiming at is in column formation, they are able to re-roll any failures.

The British brigade is at long range, therefore the French player will need sixes to hit.

“Fire!” Roll

The French player rolls four dice and doesn’t succeed in rolling a single 6, however as mentioned before they are able to re-roll unsuccessful rolls as the target is in column formation. Re-rolling all four dice sees the French player make a hit. The British therefore suffer 1 damage to their morale on the Brigade and roll a D6, on a roll of 5+ they lose a combat dice for that Brigade. They must also now make a morale test.

Squares

For attacking units in Squares the rules are similar to those above, apart from the attacker is able to re-roll both “Steady” rolls AND “Fire!” rolls.

Hopefully this means that Brigades don’t suffer quite such catastrophic damage as they were previously.

Please let me know what you think to these rules in the comments below.

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Battle of Elchingen 1805 Scenario

I’ve recently finished the first scenario for Tabletop Simulator which can be used by playtesters.

The Battle of Elchingen was chosen as the battle itself takes place between two fairly small and evenly matched forces of French and Austrians. The battle itself took place three days after the Battle of Haslach-Jungingen where the Austrians were badly mauled by the French. So, although in this scenario the Austrian’s have many more units than the French, a lot of these consist of only 2-3 combat dice each while the French units are roughly double this value.

Austrian forces holding the ridge between Ober-Elchingen and Unter-Elchingen

The battle starts at 8am where the French have to repair a Bridge over the river Danube in order to attack the Austrian forces and then head towards Ulm to block Mack’s retreat and keep him boxed in so that the Austrian’s are forced to surrender.

The Austrians hold the high ground between Ober-Elchingen and Unter-Elchingen while a small force is posted on the northern bank of the river to delay the French crossing.

The Bridge over the River Danube

In this scenario, the French player must first rebuild the bridge (done by rolling construction points each turn), then push forward and assault the ridge. Victory points are awarded for holding the river crossing, Ober-Elchingen and Unter-Elchingen.

Historically Marshal Ney was victorious in this battle by mid-afternoon, and for his performance Napoleon gave him the title of 1st Duke of Elchingen.

BEAT YOUR HISTORIC COUNTERPART

One of the purposes of building this rule set was to enable myself and other like-minded individuals the opportunity to compare their performance to that of the General commanding at the time. Therefore, if you achieve the below conditions you can safely say that you outperformed your historical counterpart.

In this scenario each hit counts as roughly 20 men killed or wounded.

The French
To beat Marshal Ney the bridge must be repaired by 10am and your forces must suffer less than 43 hits. You must also have captured all three objectives by turn 42.

The Austrians
To beat Feldmarschall-leutnant Riesche you must hold Unter-Elchingen and Ober-Elchingen until at least turn 42. You must also suffer less than 300 hits on your forces.

VICTORY

At the end of each turn players count up the number of objectives where only units of their forces are within 10cm of that objective, if any enemy units are also within 10cm then neither side scores the VP.

At the end of the game the player with the most VP wins a Tactical victory. The player with the most hits caused wins a Strategic victory. If a player is lucky enough to have both then they are considered to have won a major victory.

SINGLE-PLAYER
Plans are being drawn to also turn this into a single player game where the player can choose which force they would like to control. The other force will be controlled by the A.I. (by which we mean a pre-determined move or actions depending upon your own movements and actions). This however is a little way off yet.

To try this out download it from the Steam Workshop today.

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Clausewitz Rules v0.3.2

Following the updates posted yesterday and the skirmish rules posted earlier in the week, I’ve released the latest version of the rules both on this website and on the Tabletop Simulator mod.

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Rulebook Adjustments

So following on from some further testing carried out by members of the Discord server this week, they made some excellent points in regards to some of the rules I’m going to mention below.

FIRING
It’s become more clear with testing that its not entirely clear which units can fire when performing a firing action. Therefore I’ve changed the Fire! action to read as:

Fire! (Cost: 1 Action Point) Offensive or Defensive The Brigade can fire all its available combat dice assigned to the units at the front of the Brigade. Each unit can fire at any units directly to their front.

ENFILADING FIRE
This is for units which are firing on the flank of battalions that are formed in line. I’ve added the following paragraph in the firing section:

Enfilading Fire
Units which fire on the flank of a unit in line formation are performing what is called enfilading fire, when this occurs the target unit receives double damage.

FLANK AND REAR ATTACKS IN MELEE
I’ve added the following section to the rulebook under melee:

Flank and Rear Attacks
Units which are attacking the enemy in the flank receive a +1 modifier to their combat dice roll, while units attacking an enemy in its rear benefits from a +2 modifier.

MINIMUM FLEEING DISTANCES
It became apparent through testing that units could take advantage of units that were fleeing but unable to move due to having no actions left and so being able to constantly cause damage to them. Therefore I’m replacing the following wording:

If the unit fails by a value of more than 2 then the unit will flee the remaining number of actions at 3cm per action and end its turn facing directly away from the enemy

With:

If the unit fails by a value of more than 2 then the unit will flee 3cm away from the enemy plus its remaining number of actions at 3cm per action and end its turn facing directly away from the enemy

FORMATIONS
I’d forgotten to clarify in previous versions how many combat dice can be used by each unit depending upon their formation. Therefore I’ve added a Benefits and Cons section to each in the rule book:

Line
Benefits: Can use all combat dice when firing. Does not suffer extra damage from artillery attacks.
Cons: Cannot use the quick march action. Can be vulnerable to cavalry attacks.

Column
Benefits: Can use the quick march action and the Brigade benefits from +1 to their morale rolls for each unit inside the Brigade in this formation. Cavalry effects are reduced.
Cons: Can only use a quarter of their combat dice (rounded up).

Square
Benefits: Cannot be charged by Cavalry and the Brigade benefits from +1 to their morale rolls for each unit inside the Brigade in this formation.  
Cons: Can only use a quarter of their combat dice (rounded up). Cannot move.

CHANGE BRIGADE FORMATION
I’ve changed this slightly so that Brigades can only be a max of three units wide.

OTHER NOTES

A speed play option has also been suggested, this is being considered further.

All of the above changes will be reflected in version 0.3.2 which will be released on the website and on the steam mod on Sunday (possibly along with the Russian army).

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Clausewitz Wargame v0.3.1

This is just a quick post to give you all the latest rules update which includes the small changes made this week around Generals, as well as the inclusion of the Fog of War rules under advanced rules.

These changes are already reflected in the Tabletop Simulator mod which has already been updated.

As always, please feel free to contact me on clausewitz.tabletop@gmail.com if you have any suggestions for changes to these.

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Clausewitz Available on Steam Workshop for Tabletop Simulator

Okay, this is a pretty big deal for me. I’ve spent the last week and a half putting the finishing touches to the Clausewitz Mod for Tabletop Simulator!

This is available to download now from the Steam Workshop.

The mod includes all of the British and French units, and future updates will include other armies and terrain.

Now you too can playtest Clausewitz without the need for miniatures or even a tabletop!

Please try it today and pass any feedback you have to clausewitz.tabletop@gmail.com

Screenshots below:

Vimeiro Battlefield
The French Grande Armee
The British Army
The French attack a British position

Grand Scale Battles
It even includes a copy of the latest draft rules!

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Clausewitz Wargames Intro

As the YouTube channel is going to become busier over the next few months with playtest etc I thought it was time to have a professional looking intro to the videos.

If my IT skills are proficient enough this should also start appearing past videos as of next week.

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Clausewitz Rules v0.3

Following on the fantastic feedback I’ve received from Reddit, Discord, WhatsApp, Playtests and emails I’m proud to say this is the latest version of Clausewitz now with some of the first diagrams included. There’s a lot of work to be done but I’m hoping to update these rules every other week at the least.

If you have any further suggestions to rule wording, grammar corrections or anything in reference to the rules or their format please let me know by contacting me at clausewitz.tabletop@gmail.com or joining our Discord or WhatsApp chats and letting me know directly.

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Feedback on v0.2 of the Rules

Many thanks to those who have contacted over email, Discord, WhatsApp and Reddit to give their feedback on the latest rules. I was really pleased to have my rules read by so man people, so thank you!

I’ve written the comments that were given to me below along with my responses for each.


Diagrams would be helpful
Yes, I completely agree. However I want the diagrams to look professional so there will take me some time to introduce. That being said, the latest version will have the first few diagrams included.

There are 30 turns to a game of Clausewitz, this represents 5 hours of battle. Players may wish to add more turns if they’re refiguring a historic engagement, refighting was meant I suppose?
Yes, this has now been corrected on version 0.3

A glossary with technical definitions technical terms/language, with little interchangeability would be helpful.
I hadn’t thought of this, but I will include this on future versions.

Quick Reference Sheet table with most commonly used distance ranges etc all collated on a single page.
Agreed, although not included yet, I’m hoping version 4 will have this included. That said, I have now included a table under the movement section for all units and terrain types they may enter.

We used the drawn chips from the bag to “mark” activated units as they came out, made tracking easier.
This is exactly as I imagined the phase to work, similar to Bolt Action.

Resolving CC is not clear in the current rules
I’ve hopefully included a more detailed melee process under the melee section of the rules.

Entering the Zone of Control (ZoC) of multiple units, a “hold” test for each could get quite involved with mounting rolls per single turn.
I’ve written a sentence stating that only one morale test or hold test needs to be taken regardless of how many enemy units are inside the ZoC. And the same for holding fire.

The same for morale rolls, having multiple units all have to roll morale on every action of one of them meant a lot of rolls, almost guaranteeing one or all failing at some point. Morale becomes problematic when a lot of enemies and friendlies are in close quarters, sheer weight of dice means even well-supported units will eventually fail even with good morale and no damage.
As above

Columns being un-chargeable by Cavalry, there is no reason the be in square as it stands, confers no additional benefit above the column
Agreed! I’ve changed this so that Cavalry can now charge column formations, but the cavalry unit must make a morale test before doing so. On top of this, the Cavalry special rule is reduced by one for units in Column i.e., Cavalry (-2) becomes Cavalry (-1).

The difference between morale damage and damage is often not clear
I’ve retitled the section as receiving damage and morale damage. This may help, it may not. If not I’ll think about rewording this section.

Morale for single element brigades (lone battalion, lone artillery, single squadron) meant that operating while within ZoC is basically impossible. (single artillery unit will almost always retreat before getting to unload at effective range, single squadron of cavalry took three turns before making it into combat.) The game is supposed to be brigades, but the demo game was easier with smaller elements first (in addition, double battalion brigades were common, so the morale problems will probably affect those similarly and they will be soon more often than the single element brigades as they still fit in the intention of the rules).
Agreed! I think the only way around this is by giving each Brigade the same starting morale which can be affected by elite units. For example, all units begin with morale 5+ but adding an Imperial Guard unit may make this 3+

For the hold action, a command test is needed while a morale test is needed for all others. is this a mistake, or do you need to pass both? note the glossary and clear technical terms recommendation below
This should be morale test and not command test. I have now changed this thanks!

Any counter battery fire?
From what I understand this didn’t happen too often, that being said there’s nothing to stop players targeting enemy batteries with their own.

What is the penalty for being caught in skirmish order?
I’ve removed Skirmish formations and included skirmish dice for each Brigade. A unit may grant the Brigade skirmish dice which that Brigade can fire at the weapons full range as though it were at effective range.

Attempting a charge, set distance to charge for inf/cav, simply walking into melee (forming square too easy if cavalry have to walk into combat)
I’ve re-included the charge action for cavalry and its affects in the special rules section. I’ll consider some more on the charge ranges of Infantry.

Wheeling while within ZoC, for elite units with a test?
Wheeling is removed and has been replaced by the action About Face! for a cost of 1 action.

Canister?
This is fairly complicated for what should be a simple subject. For example how to differentiate between Canister and Grape shot? I’m not dismissing this, I just want to replicate it in an easy to do but accurate fashion.

The way the strength etc is written, stats start at 0 and increase as brigade is “built”. does this hold true for morale, as in 8+ on 2d6, with 1st unit meaning 7+, 2 meaning 6+, etc until a maximum of 3+.
This is how I initially imagine it, but given the comments above on Morale, I’m going to change this to a set 5+ with only elite units adding to this.

Command test on every turn? 8+ means half of army wont move without intervention? we played without, as CP expenditure mechanics to improve command test not yet clear. in rules it says 8+ on D6… would mean without direct intervention a unit would never act.
Apologies this should read as 2D6. The thought behind this was that you would have to decide which units you would really want to act while risking the lower roll on the others. Towards the end of the game I was concerned that all units would be activated and would therefore slow the game down. However, I am happy to revisit this.

Does morale penalties from cav etc stack? if so, a stack of much beyond 2 or 3 would typically be enough to force even an infantry unit that started with a 3+ to fail at least once before 5 actions are done, making an well ordered undamaged unit rather easily breakable at the mere sight of 2 or 3 squadrons of heavy cav.
No, Cavalry penalties do not stack, the player must used the most influencing modifier on their morale test i.e., Cavalry (-2) trumps Cavalry (-1). I’ve written this down clearer in the special rules section.

Line of Sight?
I’ve cleared this up in the Firing section of the rules hopefully.

Is melee an action, i.e. do you fight until resolved if both sides stand, or do you spend actions like firing?
Melee is not an action and occurs immediately once base-to-base contact has been made.

Counter charge as a reaction?
This would be easy to implement, I imagine it would be one action cost which then advances your Brigade a march move with the enemy testing against their morale once the move has been completed.

Taking damage when breaking within firing/melee range missing.
Now included

Shooting/melee from flanks or the rear effects
I need to address this in the next update

Artillery limber/unlimber/ effect of artillery on the movement of a brigade, mixed brigade movement missing.
Now Included in the Brigades section

Recover morale action missing?
Now included

General rallying troops?
Now included

Troops surrounded?
I will write this up in the section under movement.

Shouldn’t the different terrain types be placed up in the Terrain section rather than after Firing? And perhaps the Advanced Rules should be placed between firing and the unit types so that all the basics aren’t interrupted by them and to provide a good stopping place in the rules before the unit types.
This has been changed as suggested, thank you!

It says to see the section on ‘Other Miniature Scales’. But there isn’t one
Like a fool I forgot to include this, this has now been corrected.

Any listing of what die face represents what formation is missing from this version of the document
I’ve added this in to version 3. Thank you.

Page 3 & 4 has formations but Skirmish is not listed but on page 7 it’s listed under change formation. Is it no longer a formation and just a function of per 1000 men as an automatic action? Each formation has advantages and dis advantages, what are the skirmishers disadvantage? Does it weaken the rest of the formation because those men are missing or do they fire twice if you fire skirmish and fire? Does it no longer act as a screen from enemy units?
I’ve removed skirmish formations and as you’ve correctly assumed built them into the Brigade mechanics itself. I forgot to update the first few pages.

Skirmishing troops give the advantage of being able to use their skirmish dice at full range as though they were at effective. (Hitting on 4’s instead of 6’s). You’re right though, the rules should really suggest removing one combat dice to use a skirmish dice. This I hadn’t though of so thank you!

As I said, I was unsure of the skirmish mechanic and felt that it may slow the system down to much.

Nothing specifies dice type to use, as far as I can see I can use a D20 and pass 75% of my rolls.
Again I’m a fool and forgot to specify, this is now included at the beginning.

There are no step-by-step instructions.
I’ve tried to include these under “The Turn” section, however I’m willing to admit this may need a lot more work.

How many units should I have? Is there a standardised way of tracking their stats and sharing information with my opponent?
Game size can vary depending on what type of battle you’re trying to fight, i.e. historic or matched play. If playing matched play I would assume that each player would be commanding a Corp each of roughly 4-5 Divisions with 2-5 Brigade a Division. The opponent should be able to see the number of firing dice each unit possess as well as the morale of that unit, these can be easily represented by using dice markers on each base. But I do hope to include some simple fog of war mechanics at some stage.

How close do I place my units together?
There must be no less than 1cm between each Brigade while units inside a Brigade must be in base-to-base contact with each other.

How do I track which ADC goes to which unit?
ADC’s are represented by figures on small round bases with an objective marker numbered between 1 and 6. Once activated these ADC’s stay with their activated unit.

Three die rolls needed to determine combat, Morale, Steady, Fire! is a little too much?
This could be something that could be condensed down to perhaps two die rolls, but would require a lot more play testing.

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Battle of Roliça: A most important affair

https://www.britishbattles.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Batalha_da_Roli%C3%A7a.jpg

Background:

The Battle of Roliça took place on the 17th of August 1808. It was the first battle between British and French forces of the Peninsular War. British Lieutenant General Sir Arthur Wellesley (later the Duke of Wellington) commanding a Anglo-Portuguese force met French General of Division Francois Delaborde near the village of Roliça. Anglo-Portuguese forces numbered approximately 15 000 men, including 18 guns. French forces numbered approximately 4 400 men, including 5 guns. (Jac Weller, Wellington in the Peninsula).

Historically Wellesley dispatched a flanking force on the left led by Ferguson and on the right by Trant to attempt encirclement and capture of the French force, while he himself led the bulk of the army in a slow display of force in the center. Delaborde was not distracted by the display, and withdrew behind a cloud of skirmishers to a strong 2nd position. Wellesley repeated the gambit, two wide pincers with a show of force in the center. Before the plan could reach fruition, the 29th advanced alone, resulting in confusion, befuddlement, and the majority of the British casualties of the day. In response, Wellesley ordered a general attack. Delaborde held off the British with a series of counterattacks, before starting a withdrawal. Skillful utilization of his superior cavalry ensured the French could withdraw under cover of their sabres. The British pursuit ended in the capture of 3 guns, but was eventually called off.

French casualties amounted to 600 men killed , wounded or captured, along with 3 guns lost. British casualties amounted to about 500 men killed , wounded or captured.

I started drafting a scenario for the Battle of Roliça for two reasons. First, being in that state of limbo between successive orders of my wee men, I had limited bases to work with in a test game. Second, the first British Battle of the Peninsular War under Wellesley felt oddly appropriate as an entrance to a new ruleset.

Since I am the world’s laziest painter, my British and French are as of today still a ways from completion, hence the empty bases with paper unit names. I solemnly promise to refight this battle with a painted and pretty army to redress the balance in the future.

This battle was fought with v0.2 of the rules.
My sources for this scenario drew heavily from Sir Charles Oman’s History of the Peninsular War and Jac Weller’s Wellington in the Peninsula. OOB, unit strengths, dispositions etc has been drawn from consulting these sources, with some modifications made in the name of a spirited game. Further modifications will need to be made when the ruleset grows.

This battle is fundamentally unfair. I attempted to address some of the potentially most frustrating elements in giving the French player the opportunity to win in a historical context, rather than demanding 4 000 men crush 15 000 British and Portuguese regulars. In addition, there are some good faith requirements form both sides. We played with the British and French deployments mirroring their historical counterparts, and with the British player following Wellesley’s initial battleplan. We also started with all French forces activated, and gave the French player leeway in deciding his brigade structure.

Below the battle report I am including the Scenario document I drew up, that has been edited to reflect some changes I felt necessary after playing through it. I will note here that most prominently, French Cavalry strengths have been bumped a little higher than their numbers would suggest, based on contemporary observers noting that Delaborde’s chief advantage and indeed greatest security to ensure his withdrawal in good order, was his mure numerous veteran cavalry. His infantry were all between, as the ruleset stood, strength 4 and 5, but I have assigned them strength 5 as the French troops had veterans in their ranks. Secondly, the value players want to assign to objectives certainly needs tweaking. I have attempted to give both players approximately equal points that are theoretically scoreable. In practice, casualties are almost guaranteed to be higher than historically. Though Delaborde managed to withdraw in good order (at the cost of 3 guns), there is an argument to be made that that he incurred a needless risk by standing at Roliça. But stand he did, and this reflects in the scoring I used, a player making the “better” choice and running his men for the hills and the safety of the route past Zambugeira, will lose. I intend to revisit objectives and scoring in the future to create a sandbox environment, and to tweak balance. In addition I’d like to add some scenario specific rules. Any comments or ideas in this regard will be most welcome.

It became clear in this battle that reactions are very strong. Misjudging how close you can bring cavalry can and will have the opposing infantry formed and ready in squares, and will have artillery blast infantry to mewling heaps of gore. Managing morale is incredibly important, and at this stage with frequent morale tests to be able to act, single battalions are vastly outperformed by brigades. Casualties were frequent and high, combat tended to be very bloody. Artillery were the big killers on both sides. There is a lot of tracking happening, but using a mix of pen and paper for brigades not currently in action and dice for units in the thick of the action worked fairly easily and well. Beer and impromptu history lessons certainly extend playtime significantly, but once all parties had the rules more or less in hand the game moved along more speedily than anticipated.

Battlefield:
Roliça on the flank of the small central hill, Columbeira at the mouth of the horseshoe hills, Zambugeira in the valley between the exit (French line of retreat) hills

Battle

Morning Deployment:

In a move of unparalleled tactical genius, the British deployment is made in range of the French guns. At this stage, the French guns are activated but the British are still awaiting orders. The Light Brigade will bleed.

8am:
While the British wait for orders to be dispatched (Awareness points raised) to begin maneuver the French steadily inflict casualties on the Light Brigade. British Guns fire at the Line Regiments on the French 1st position, starting to drive the French to the reverse slope

8:30am:
Trant’s command on the right flank starts to move up to attempt an encirclement of the French 1st position. A squadron of French Cavalry moves to cut them off. The Squadron fails a critical charge, and subsequently get counter charged by the 50 Portuguese horse. In a feat of unbelievable heroism, the 50 Portuguese horse covers themselves in glory by utterly destroying both themselves and the 3rd Chasseurs à Cheval Squadron.

9am:
The British Left wing starts moving to turn the French position’s flank.The French commander is not having any of it, and decides to abandon the hilltop. His infantry falls back to take position on the village of Roliça and Columbeira (instead of the historical hill and flanks of the valley 2nd position). The British Light Brigade take the Hilltop 1st objective at 9:20

10 pm:
An uneasy stand-off ensues, with artillery venturing forward intermittently to punish cheeky infantry placement, while the British bring all their forces to activation and re-task their troops on pushing the French out of the two villages. Trant’s lone Portuguese Brigade start their walk around the world, moving to cut the French retreat near Zambugeira.

11pm:
The British Left wing has been looking tasty to the French Commander all game, and he finally decides to chomp down. The two remaining Chasseurs à Cheval squadrons attempts to charge the isolated Fergusons brigade and it’s 6 guns. The French cavalry overruns the flank, breaks Ferguson’s Brigade but with their horses blown they are smashed and routed by the British guns attached to the left flank. Wellesley personally rallies Ferguson’s broken brigade.

11:30:

French hold Roliça and Columbeira, drawing up a defensive line across the mouth of the hills. Trant is now deep on the right. British guns start a close range bombardment of the troops garrisoned in Roliça, who attempt to charge the guns in response. Their commanders haranguing falls on deaf ears, with the troops obstinately refusing to move.

12 pm:
Massed British guns force the French brigade garrisoned in Roliça out, inflicting heavy casualties. Wellesley initiates a general advance on the French line. French artillery reacts and inflicts devastating casualties to Crauford’s attacking brigade when it attempts to dislodge them from the Columbeira.

1pm:

2nd and 4th French Light advances and attempts to rout the vulnerable Light brigade, but fails to execute their maneuver in the face of the enemy. The massed British artillery finally push the French battalions out of Columbeira and into the waiting guns of Trant’s long walk to freedom, whose brigade now sits astride their line of retreat. Two French battalions surrender immediately. At 1:10pm the light brigade storm Columbeira and capture the French guns.

Trant holds the French line of retreat, their guns are captured and with half their forces dead or surrendered, Delaborde surrenders.

British casualties: 200 men of the 60th rifles, 50 men of the Portuguese cavalry detachment, 300 men of Craufords brigade, 350 men of Fergusons brigade, one battalion fled.
French casualties: 90 men of the Chasseurs à Cheval, dead or wounded, the rest fled. 70th line battalions (1st and 2nd) took 400 casualties, the rest captured by Trant. 4th Swiss 200 casualties, the rest fled. 2nd Light and 4th Light surrendered in entirety. 5 guns captured. General Delaborde captured. Complete British tactical and strategic victory, but at heavy cost.

Scenario:

Field of Battle:
Total Maneuver Area approx. 6km x 6km:
4’x4’ playing area.

Primary Terrain Features:
Horseshoe hills: 1’wide, 2’deep
Rolica village in between the wings of the hills
Hills well wooded

British set out from Obidas at dawn (06:24) on the 17th August 1808. Approximately 6km’s to the french first positions. Marching in column at British quick step, covering the ground in minimum 73 minutes. Anticipated British arrival therefore at 07:33. 30 minutes to account for delays, dispatching of orders. Battle commences at deployment zones at 08:00. Sundown at 20:28. Approx 75 turns until darkness falls.

Order of Battle:

French: General of Division Henri François Delaborde
70éme Régiment d’Infanterie de Ligne (2 Battalions)
4éme Régiment Suisse d’Infanterie (1 Battalion)
2éme Régiment Légère (1 Battalion)
4éme Régiment Légère (1 Battalion)
26éme Bataillon de Chasseurs (3 squadrons)
5 guns

British: Lieutenant General Sir Arthur Wellesley
Left:
Ferguson’s Brigade: 36th, 40th, 71st
Bowes Brigade: 6th, 32nd
6 guns
Centre:
Fane’s (Light) Brigade: 60th, 95th (4 companies) (on the left)
Nightingale’s Brigade: 29th, 82nd (in the centre)
Hill’s Brigade: 5th , 9th, 38th (on the right)
Caitlin Craufurd’s Brigade: 45th, 50th, 91st (in reserve)
6th Cacadores (in reserve) approx 750 men
6th & 12th Portuguese Cavalry (200 men)
20th Light Dragoons detachment (200 men)
12 guns
Right:
Trant:
12th, 21st & 24th Infantry Regiments (approx 850 men)
11th Cavalry Regiment (50 men)

*numbers approximated based on A History of the Peninsular War Volume 1 – Charles Oman & Wellington in the Peninsula – Jac Weller

Order of Battle: (Strength)

French:Delaborde
70th 1st battalion (5)
70th 2nd battalion (5)
2nd Light (5)
4th Light (5)
4th Swiss (5)
26th Chasseurs 1st squadron (3)
26th Chasseurs 2nd squadron (3)
26th Chasseurs 3rd squadron (3)
Artillery contigent (5)

British: Lieutenant General Sir Arthur Wellesley
Left:
Ferguson’s Brigade: 36th (5), 40th (5), 71st (5)
Bowes Brigade: 6th (5), 32nd (5)
6 guns (6)
Centre:
Fane’s (Light) Brigade: 60th (5), 95th (2)
Nightingale’s Brigade: 29th (5), 82nd (5)
Hill’s Brigade: 5th (5), 9th (5), 38th (5)
Caitlin Craufurd’s Brigade: 45th (5), 50th (5), 91st (5)
6th Cacadores (3)
6th & 12th Portuguese Cavalry (2)
20th Light Dragoons detachment (2)
12 guns (12)
Right:
Trant:
12th, 21st & 24th Infantry Regiments (5)
11th Cavalry Regiment (1)

Objectives:

British Strategic Objectives:
Take the field
Drive the enemy to Zambugeira
Attempt encirclement and capture of the French Forces

British Primary Objectives:
Capture French First position before 11am (2)
Capture French Second position before 4am (2)

British Secondary Objectives:
Capture French Guns (1)
Destroy/capture French Regiments (1 each)

French Strategic Objectives:
Delay the British Advance
Evade encirclement and capture and escape to Zambugeira
Inflict significant casualties

French Primary Objectives:
Hold First position until 11am (2)
Hold Second position until 4am (2)

French Secondary Objectives:
50 casualties inflicted more than historical (1 each)
50 casualties taken less than historical (1 each)
Artillery escaped (1)

Final thoughts

This battle was heaps of fun to play, even though the odds were rather one-sided. I felt that Delaborde’s skillful handling of the withdrawal is significantly easier to appreciate than to pull off, and that the French position is actually very precarious if their resources are not very carefully husbanded. Lastly, I realised that one always scoffs at the adage, “human waves don’t work on machinegun nests”, thinking surely I could never be that stupid. And one keeps scoffing right up until you charge a brigade headfirst into a storm of cannon. In the immortal words of Boney, “To cannon, all men are equal”.