Thursday, 10 August 2017
Battle of Talavera 1809
I spent the weekend building a new game mat and hills for my hex based games and now it's time to try it out! I looked through my scenarios for Commit the Garde. I went with Talavera. This battle saw Wellington and his Spanish allies facing off against Marshall Jourdan and Napoleon's brother, Joseph, who was recently made king of Spain. As was typical of many Peninsular battles, there was very little artillery, the British have powerful infantry, tempered by their weak allies, the Spanish. The Allied army had taken up strong defensive positions on the outskirts of Talavera and the French are going to try and dislodge them.
Deployment - French on the left
French Centre looking at British held hill
The bulk of the French are deployed against the British
The CtG scenario allowed a free set up of troops. I used the Napoleon's Battles Scenario to find a more historical set up and went with that. The French are deployed mostly facing the British. They have a significant reserve and could send troops against the Spanish defenses.
I am planning to play this game solo. I recently read "The Solo Wargaming Guide" by William Silvester. He suggested contemplating options for each side and assigning them a probability, then rolling to see which plan they go with.
The French options are as I see them:
1) Attack the Spanish defenses and pin the British - This is assigned low probability because of the high cost of attacking defenses and the Spanish are worth only half victory points.
2) Attack to the left of the Spanish defenses and attack the Spanish while pinning the British - This is a weak point in the line but would be easily reinforced from each side. It would allow the French to bypass the Spanish defenses and defeat them in detail. This I assign a moderate probability.
3) Attack to the left of the Spanish defenses and attack the British while pinning the Spanish - Again, this is a good place to breach the line. The British are the primary target of the campaign and this would force them to redeploy a little. I assign this a moderate to high probability
4) Attack the British centre and demonstrate against the Spanish - This is playing into the defenders hand as the British are powerful and set up in defense. I rate this a low/moderate probability.
5) Attack the British right and roll up the flank - This bypasses the bulk of the British defenses and would allow the French to cross the stream before attacking the British held hill. The Spanish could easily abandon their defenses and reinforce the British. I assign this a moderate/high probability.
6) All out assault along the line and exploit where the cracks appear - A general purpose strategy but not good for concentrating forces in the attack and plays into the hands of the defender. I assign this a low probability.
The Allies choices are more limited. They have to set up first and start the game holding all the victory objectives. As a result they are waiting for the French to make a move and will react accordingly. There may be times in mid game where I will roll a dice to randomize a command decision.