Saturday, March 28, 2015

Battle of Salamanca - Black Powder AAR

Battle of Salamanca – July 22nd, 1812

Roy Scaife, John Lantz and I got together today to play test our Napoleonic scenario for Black Powder that we plan to run at KublaCon this coming May (memorial day weekend here in the US).  Roy did a great job of putting together the scenario - working partly from the historical battle and the scenario that is covered in the Albion Triumphant: Volume 1 expansion for Black Powder.


After the capture of Badajoz and Ciudad Rodrigo, the Duke of Wellington advanced into Spain. Marshal Marmont’s French Forces were waiting for him. Marmont was able to threaten the British supply lines and force Wellington to fallback. On July 22nd, Marmont encountered a British force in plain view on a ridge and clouds of dust moving away to the south. Thinking he had caught Wellington’s rearguard, Marmont extended his army to flank the defenders. Unfortunately for Marmont, what he thought was the rearguard was Wellington’s left flank, and the clouds were from the baggage train Wellington had sent towards Ciudad Rodrigo. Wellington immediately ordered his army to attack.


This scenario covers the center of the Battle of Salamanca. The French left is certainly lost to Marmont’s fatal mistake. With Thomieres’ and Curto’s Divisions unsupported they are relatively easy for Packenham’s infantry and Cotton’s cavalry to overwhelm. On the French right Foy and Ferrey attempt to support the center, but they are checked by the 1st and Light Divisions of the British. A victory in the center for either side will divide the enemy’s army and deal a decisive blow to the enemy.

The overall battlefield and focus area of our battle.

As you can see from the map above, we are focusing in on a specific part of the overall battlefield.  This translates into the table layout below.

Victory Conditions & Points

The game lasts 6 turns or until, at the end of a turn, one or both of the armies become broken (1/2 or more brigades are broken).  Victory points are allocated as follows:

  • Lesser Arapiles hill - French controlled = 6VP, British controlled = 3VP
  • Greater Arapiles hill - French controlled = 3VP, British controlled = 6VP
  • For each full size Infantry or Cavalry unit destroyed or shaken (at game end) = 2VP
  • For each Artillery unit or small/tiny sized unit destroyed or shaken (at game end) = 1VP
  • For each enemy general (brigade or C-in-C) removed from play = 1VP
  • If your opponents army is broken = 6VP
  • For each of your opponents broken brigades = 2VP
At games end, count up your victory points.  Determine the difference in victory points.  For the player with more victory points, consult the following results:
  • +0-5VP = Draw
  • +6-10VP = Minor Victory
  • +11 or more = Major Victory

British Order of Battle

  • Wellington – SR 9

1st Brigade – Clinton – SR-7: 
  • 79th Line - Cameron Highlanders
  • 92nd Line - Gordon Highlanders
  • 2nd Line - King’s German Legion 
  • 85th Light - Bucks Volunteers 
  • 60th Rifle Company 
  • 1st Royal Foot Artillery

2nd Brigade – Cole – SR-7:
  • 3rd Foot Guards - Scot's
  • 2nd Foot Guards - Coldstream
  • 52nd Light - Oxfordshire 
  • 1st Line - King’s German Legion
  • 95th Rifle Company
  • 3rd Portuguese Foot Artillery

3rd Brigade - Leith – SR-7:
  • 42nd Line - Royal Highlanders
  • 5th Line - King’s German Legion 
  • 29th Line - Worcestershire 
  • 35th Line - Sussex 
  • 95th Rifle Company
  • 2nd Royal Foot Artillery

4th Brigade - Hope – SR-7:
  • 51st Light - King’s Own/Yorkshire 
  • 2nd Light - King’s German Legion 
  • 9th Portuguese Cacadores Light Regiment

5th Brigade – Cotton – SR-8:
  • 1st Hussars (Light) Cavalry- King’s German Legion
  • 10th Hussars (Light) Cavalry - Prince of Wales Own 
  • 3rd KGL Horse Artillery

French Order of Battle

French C-in-C:
  • Marmont – SR 8

1st Brigade – Sarrut – SR-7:
  • 2nd Line Infantry 
  • 4th Line Infantry
  • 27th Line Infantry
  • 36th Light Infantry
  • Foot Artillery Battery

2nd Brigade – Bonnet – SR-7: 
  • 118th Line Infantry 
  • 119th Line Infantry
  • 122nd Line Infantry
  • 130th Light Infantry
  • Foot Artillery Battery

3rd Brigade - Brennier – SR-7:
  • 65th Line Infantry
  • 22nd Line Infantry
  • 50th Line Infantry
  • 17th Light Infantry
  • Foot Artillery Battery

4th Brigade - Maucune – SR-7:
  • 15th Line Infantry
  • 25th Light Infantry
  • Foot Artillery Battery
  • Foot Artillery Battery

5th Brigade – Boyer – SR-8:
  • 6th Dragoon Cavalry
  • 11th Dragoon Cavalry 
  • Horse Artillery

Pictures & Our AAR

Our game lasted 5 turns.  By the end of turn 5 both armies had broken, with 4 of 5 French brigades broken and 3 of 5 British brigades broken.  Two British generals died when the units they where leading in melee were destroyed.  The French suffered heavy casualties - and it wasn't looking good for them until they managed a great round of shooting in turn five that saw many British units move to "shaken" (with counts against brigade and army morale).  The British cavalry was destroyed by turn two but the French could never capitalize on the opportunity due to poor command rolls.  Two of the British brigades (in the center) failed brigade orders in the first couple of turns which delayed getting them engaged and allowed the French to move forward early to engage the left and right British flanks.  The official VP results are after the pictures below.

So who won?  The end of turn 5 VPs worked out as follows:


  • +3VP (holding lesser Arapiles)
  • Destroyed/shaken French units:
    • 6 x Infantry = 12VP
    • 2 x Cavalry = 4VP
    • 1 x Artillery = 1VP
  • +6VP (French army broken)
  • +8VP (4 x broken French brigades)

  • +3VP (holding greater Arapiles)
  • Destroyed/shaken units:
    • 8 x Infantry = 16VP
    • 2 x Cavalry = 4VP
    • 2 x Rifle Companies = 2VP
  • +2VP (British generals killed)
  • +6VP (British army broken)
  • +6VP (3 x broken British brigades)

That leaves the difference in VPs at +5 in favour of the French which is a DRAW (one more VP and they would have pulled out a minor victory!).

Overall it was a great game --- we are adjusting two things:
  1. The woods between the two central British brigades will be reduced to a single tree -- the larger tree clump really limited the British ability to deploy their brigades.
  2. Replace one of the French Dragoon units with a French light cavalry unit (either Hussars or Chesseur a Cheval).
I also finished my army quick references for the Albion Triumphant Volume 1 French and British lists this morning ...

Well --- that's it for today --- I hope you enjoyed the report!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Building & Painting Seminary College - Part 1


When Sally 4th released their 28mm laser cut MDF Seminary College model kit for Gettysburg I couldn't resist but pick it up.  Now I'm a big fan of pre-painted MDF kits and have shyed away from "raw" MDF kits as they require *a lot* of work to make look good - but I was willing to suck it up on this one.  I have put together several scenarios for engagements around Gettysburg using my growing ACW collection - one of those being the first day with Buford holding off advances then getting reinforced - so this model will provide an awesome backdrop for that action.

You can check out the kit on the Sally 4th site here.  Here is a picture from the Sally 4th site --- I'm not hot on that red they used for the bricks ...

The instructions want you start with the walls and paint/finish each wall before assembly.  I started by laying out all the exterior walls (forgot to take a picture ... but essentially like below --- but I had already started painting them).

The instructions say you should spray paint each part.  I don't recommend doing that.  I used spray paint for the window trim parts - but hand painted the primary wall colours.  I used the excellent brick colour paint from 4Ground as I think it is the best looking brick colour I've seen.  I used Foundry Slate Grey (32A) for the bottom trim.

To paint the brick I used a large detail brush --- I blotted a drop of paint in the brick squares then used a drybrush technique with the same brush - doing 6-8 bricks at a time.  It will ruin the brush by the end of it ... but the effect works.  It is important to note that getting paint in the cracks is ok ... you can easily work it out with the brush or run an exacto knife through it to clear it out.  The details that have been cut by the laser natural reject paint which is a big help.

I used blue painters tape - sticky side up - to hold the window trim parts in place while I spray painted them white.  The windows are three parts themselves - a front (sprayed white) frame, a back (unpainted) frame and then a clear plastic "window" sandwiched in between.

The one exception to spraying the trim parts white was the main door, I hand painted this part because I didn't want to loose the laser cut details in the part.  The door is four parts ... and front and back frame with a MDF "door back" and surrounding clear plastic "window" sandwiched in between.

Below you can see one of the complete wall sections.

I started dry fitting the walls together as I finished them - but I will not be gluing them until all walls are complete and I'm also ready to fit the roof in as there is a lot of wiggle room in the process and I don't want to glue it into place without being able to square up the walls to the roof which sits down into the top.

At this point I'm exactly half way through painting the walls - which has taken me about a work week (5 days) worth of about an hour a night to get through.  You can also see that I've cut an MDF base to mount the whole model to.  Note a bad start to this project.  4Ground just released white picket fencing that I plan to use around the base (see below).

I'll also be using 4Ground roofing tiles in place of the stripes provided by Sally 4th as the colour and quality is much better with the 4Ground products.  My next post on this project will be the conclusion of the whole thing ... which may take a couple of weeks as I've taken a break to build out some Perry Miniatures Desert Rats to send off to Artmaster Studio.

My garage - aka "The Feisty Wench" is where I do all my gaming, building and painting.  I celebrated Saint Patrick's Day so had cleaned everything up ... here is a little treat for those of you who have read this far ...

First up ... all clean up and ready for action!

A great friend of mine Jon Tait and his awesome band, The Forlorn Hope (please "like" them on Facebook if you can), came over to provide some entertainment and take advantage of my perpetual "open bar" ... here is a short video clip of the music and start to the good times ...

So, just getting my painting table and wargame table back up and running.  I have a Black Powder Napoleonic game planned for Saturday so expect a battle report to follow on the weekend.