Sunday, July 12, 2009

Talavera Game

I played in a Volley & Bayonet, Road to Glory game on Friday night at our wargames club. It was an excellent game. I commanded the British forces under Wellesley. The game played pretty close to what I understand to be the historical flow of the battle. The French massed the majority of their forces against the British flank and used their cavalry and a small infantry force to screen the Spanish. Actually, this game very closely mirrored the historical battle with my British force holding along the stream which cut directly across the battlefield. The Spanish even sent the same amount of assistance in the form of one of their infantry divisions and some cavalry assets to reinforce our British forces as the French attack developed. The French attack was ferocious with great use of their artillery to try and blast their way across the water obstacle. Although they did get across the stream, I squeezed out a couple of local counter-attacks which restored most of the line. I have to admit, I didn't expect any of my counter-attacks to be successful given the huge numbers of French attacking me.

Although we didn't get to finish all of the turns because of time considerations, it was generally agreed that the French couldn't get to the objective roads behind the Spanish/British lines by the end of the game turns allowed in the scenario.

It was a very enjoyable game and my thanks go out to Charlie for putting on a great scenario. I look forward to playing it again sometime, perhaps as the French. I learned that you have to defend along a stream or river if you have one on your front. The imposition of disorders for the attackers is critical in being able to defend with even a numerically inferior force. The other thing is that you cannot mass forces in the attack. If your lead units are disordered or rout and they hit your follow-on forces then your entire attack will end up getting very messed up. You have to set up an attack in echelon and leave some distance between units in case you run into problems with the initial wave. Sort of just like they did it in Napoleon's time!