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14. Battle of Aranjuez - 25th September 1808

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Re: 14. Battle of Aranjuez - 25th September 1808

Post  WJPalmer on Sun Nov 16, 2014 1:01 pm

Congratulations to Digby and all players, French and Spanish, for an incredible battle played out on the rolling hills south of Madrid. There were too many amazing scenes presented in the course of the afternoon to recount them all, but the one that took the cake for me occurred while accompanying LaPeña's (Mike Morsey) 4th Division, coming over the crest of the hill in the closing stages of the fight for VP1. Across the way to the south, probably not more than 300 meters away was (by now, the remnants) of Kevin's 1st Division pressing north through the battle smoke. The gallant French, obviously on their last legs, were in between, still game, still fighting for every inch. Directly in front of me, was a battery of French guns delivering rounds of canister every few seconds. They were so close I could almost have reached out and given them a pat on their backsides. Then, looking to the left I saw Pepe's 2nd Division coming in hard from the east, right on time. In all seriousness, in all the SoW I've played, I can't recall a closing act that presented a visual this intense. Again, thanks to all. It made for quite the afternoon.
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Re: 14. Battle of Aranjuez - 25th September 1808

Post  Mr. Digby on Sun Nov 16, 2014 1:31 pm

I have a fraps recording. Its very quiet early on as Broussart's chasseur brigade did a lot of standing around and 'pinning' and slow falling back but I managed to be in the whirlwind centre of the climactic last stand. It was indeed both glorious and terrible, like some of those great Napoleonic battle paintings that you think could never have really been that grand.

I'll process the files and upload it asap.

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"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: 14. Battle of Aranjuez - 25th September 1808

Post  Guest on Sun Nov 16, 2014 1:48 pm

Yesterdays games was intense from the start. Castanos (Palmer) and Lepena (I) were in our starting positions there was Knight with his ARTY and CAV. I thought to myself OH BOY this is not going to go as plan. A REG, that I had moved was attacked and surrendered to Knights CAV on just about contact. This is going to suck I thought. I was able to deploy one REG as assigned buy Palmer and they got through to there assigned area.

Then Knights CAV and my INF squared danced for a bit to the tune of his guns shooting at me from a hill top. I was in quite an unfavorable position and attempted to take cover. Then Knight and his troops left about as quick as they came.

I then had to reorganize, after being molested by those frogs on horses. Palmer sent me a dispatch to get on of my brigades out of the stream line and reformed. The were down below me and I could see what had happened, when I arrived to overlook them they were in the most unorganized situation I have ever seen. (Damn tracking)

Got my troops ready to move out when ordered, we were on the hill top that Knight first occupied. We held for quite along time. I was able to get Lepena into a position where I could see some of the battle through his telescope.

I could see the Spanish Army moving down a hillside towards the VP's. A wondering French unit was moving around the hills to my front as if the were shell shocked.

Palmer arrived to my position and gave the order to move out. As soon as I got on the road I could see French guns looking over our planned route. I lead the way, then I saw some FR INF in the same area of the FR ARTY. I was concerned that we might be in for a losing fight. Within minutes of the sighting of the FR troops they started to moved W SW away. I had no idea what to expect nor did I know that they were being pursued by the Spanish Army.

Palmer sent me a dispatch saying it looked the FR were withdrawing lets cut them off. I ordered my troops and ARTY forward to the Crest of the hill. (Palmer's description above says it all) It was quite a shock to see and then to see Pepe's men put the final push from the east, closing the door and the French Army was running away. I never saw my ARTY again and have no idea what happened to them.

I look back on my post to Gen Castanos congratulating him for his fine battle plan. I quote "Please except my congratulations for your wonderfully mastered plan to quash and molest the FROGS!!! We will put them into a pot of boiling water and watch them lay in it slowly dying without realizing we are boiling them with our superior and overwhelming forces."

I could say I am a Napoleonic prophet but I will say I should have played the lottery yesterday and not wrote that post. bounce

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Re: 14. Battle of Aranjuez - 25th September 1808

Post  Uncle Billy on Sun Nov 16, 2014 3:50 pm

Hats off to the French players.  They had to contend with not only being greatly outnumbered but also having their forces spread out over a quarter of the map.  It really was an impossible position.  Had they started the game more concentrated, I'm sure it would have been much closer.

Five minutes into the march, Brett, my cavalry commander, reports that there is enemy artillery and infantry in our front.  That was completely unexpected.  I had anticipated seeing perhaps a cavalry squadron or two, but not infantry.  It made me wonder how many troops the French really had, that they could afford to throw out their infantry that far from the objectives.  It forced me to stop the march and begin to bring up the brigades and artillery for deployment into battle line.  The commander of one of my brigades, McLeod, who was in his first KS HITS game, handled the maneuvering of his unit extremely well and quickly concentrated with the rest of the division.

Having a dedicated cavalry commander makes a real difference.  He kept me informed on exactly what the enemy was up to.  When the French infantry turned away and marched off to the SW, our cavalry was able to screen our advance and keep me informed of exactly what the enemy was doing.  That allowed me to concentrate on getting the division to its planned destination, which was to be the narrow ridge between the two objectives.

I didn't know that the French were scrambling to get to Scarnafigi ahead of me.  I thought I would find a well defended hillside.  I was quite surprised to see only a few battalions.  Perhaps our other two division were already engaging the French and all their men were fighting to the north.  After all, it had taken us an hour to get to our destination and the other divisions had much shorter distances to travel.

As McLeod's brigade was forming up as our right flank I was deciding how to move forward. I wanted to overwhelm the enemy quickly.  Suddenly a French battery comes over the hill and begins to deploy.  A note to the French; bringing up the guns is a poor show of hospitality.  The French cavalry also put in an appearance at this time, but after one of their squadrons was rudely shown off, the rest retired.

Since the canister was beginning to fly, McLeod and another brigade were ordered to charge the enemy line.  This had the intended effect as the French line easily ruptured and that annoying battery of guns was captured.  However another enemy brigade appeared and just as quickly repaired the line and recaptured the guns.

I sent a third brigade forward and was having some success when a third French brigade formed on the hillside overlooking the battle along with more artillery.   That was 1.5 brigades too many for my division to take on.  I sent word to Brett, whose cavalry was protecting our left flank to move off and do some mischief in the French rear.  I was hoping this would distract that third enemy brigade.  It didn't.

At this point I thought a battle in the north must have resulted in a defeat for our two other divisions and the Frenchmen that kept showing up were from that fight, sent to deal with one last threat.

By this time, my division was shattered.  I had sent several guns I had captured again from the enemy far to the rear and was beginning to plan on disengaging as best I could when I noticed off on my right, Pepe's troops began coming up the hill to relieve me.  A few minutes after that I saw the flags of Morsey's division topping the hill to the north.  Almost instantly the French developed a case of get-out fever and began to bolt to the west with the 2nd and 4th divisions in very hot pursuit.

Although the ultimate fight was very one sided, the French can be proud of the defense they made against my attack given the hand they were dealt.

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Re: 14. Battle of Aranjuez - 25th September 1808

Post  WJPalmer on Sun Nov 16, 2014 5:13 pm

Another element that's easy to forget with yesterday's outcome is Dupont's audacious move breaking out of Toledo to cut off the Army of Andalucia. History either grandly rewards or horribly punishes these things, and while it didn't smile on the French this time, it very easily could have. Even a modest French force pressing from the north across the Tagus would've cooked our goose to cinders. Well done, Mark.

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Re: 14. Battle of Aranjuez - 25th September 1808

Post  Martin on Sun Nov 16, 2014 6:31 pm

Well done to the my brave French for another fine display of gallantry.  It appears that we certainly won on style, even if the result went against us.  

I suspect that even now those d*mnable rebels are coming to their senses.

My only regret is that I was unable to witness this in person.  Sadly my vice-regal responsibilities meant that I really could not miss the Guadalajara Municipal Cucumber Festival.  

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Re: 14. Battle of Aranjuez - 25th September 1808

Post  Iberalc on Sun Nov 16, 2014 9:51 pm

Yes Martin, I am learning, every battle brings a couple of good lessons. I really I love you HITS.
I am also very happy to enjoy games in such a nice atmosphere, and with people so educated in history and strategic matters.

When I read the posts about a battle or in our AACs (After Action Chats) something comes often to my mind, it reminds me of books I have read about battles, where the accounts from different people change according to where they were in relation to an incident or event, coupled with their preception of the general situation of the engagement. Cool
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Re: 14. Battle of Aranjuez - 25th September 1808

Post  WJPalmer on Mon Nov 17, 2014 3:32 pm

Von Moltke must have had KS HITS in mind when he penned his "No plan survives contact with the enemy" adage, and it was no different on Saturday. Each of the three Spanish division commanders ran into unexpected disruptions within minutes of the start. Fortunately, all were able to overcome initial surprises and even setbacks -- a very good thing given the extensive spread of our deployments. Early on, seemingly from a distant planet, I received a surprising courier from MTG to the effect that they had encountered cavalry AND infantry way out east! How could that be? What sort of wild shenanigans (or worse, bountiful resources) did Dupont have up his sleeve? My first thought was the same as Kevin's: that our intel of French strength could be completely wrong and they were out there to put us down as they would a rabid dog -- with a much larger force than we'd anticipated. If that's how it was, there wouldn't be much left to do other than take as many Frenchmen down with us as possible, and write the Army of Andalucia off to history. But Kevin, with Brett and Robert's critical help, was able to overcome the initial surprise and push on. To the credit of our leaders, the initial far-east enemy deployment set us back, but did not ultimately disrupt, the operational plan we were using.

With Kevin's 1st Division apparently stalled for the moment, I briefly considered changing things up and immediately send Mike Morsey's 4th Division directly down the San Marcello/Mosetta road to take advantage of a heavy French eastern deployment. Two things kept me from ordering this, however: If the French really did have much more than we'd planned for, such a move would likely be little more than a suicide mission; and 4th Division had no cavalry whatsoever with which to scout and protect itself from the enemy cavalry we already knew were in the area. (French cavalry under Knight had already made a splash in the hill in front of the 4th by destroying its smallest battalion, before itself getting a bloody nose by Morsey's timely change to square). But what lay beyond the hill was a complete mystery at the time.

So, after finishing a preliminary task of sending one of the 4th's small battalions off to occupy what would (hopefully) turn out to be the future French avenue of retreat, I asked Mike to hold tight, and hurried to the east to see how our two largest divisions were faring. Arriving at Pepe's 2nd Division position (where Digby placed the map's far-right Fr cav marker), things seemed very business-like and under control. Grog's cavalry was operating in a valley between French infantry and cavalry deployed on a fairly menacing slope to the west. Pepe was in the right spot, according to our plan, but the French were not cooperating (isn't that just like them?). On the ride over I had already decided we would attempt to exercise the second option of our plan i.e., to use 2nd Division to support the 1st Division's drive directly to the objectives. (The first option was to have the 2nd and 4th drive directly down the main Marcello/Mosetta road, if the French neglected to adequately cover the corridor with guns). Pepe's current position was by pre-arrangement. From this spot  we would analyze the French deployment and a decision made about how to proceed. Needless to say, the French staring across from us made the choice obvious, not to mention that at that point I had no idea what was happening with Kevin's 1st Division, but figured his all-important drive to the objectives would benefit from a 2nd Division drive along its right flank. So, the 2nd was ordered to ignore the French on the hillside and drive through the low gap to the south and on to Scarnafigi.

Finally riding over to 1st Division, I was greatly relieved to see Kevin's force confidently on the move toward the VP prizes and only scattered French cavalry, infantry, and guns on the heights above to the west. Of course, at that point no one knew what lay before us at the victory locations. Kevin, per usual, had things under control, with Robert and Brett also operating smoothly. After a brief exchange of messages, I decided our resources were in motion in the proper directions. There wasn't a lot more that could be done here by me at the moment, so I retraced my steps all the way to Morsey's 4th Division. There I found that Mike had the 4th occupying the heights that had caused us some amount of discomfort at the outset. His division was formed up and ready to go. The order was given to move south down the road to the objectives as planned, brushing away any resistance.

Riding south with the 4th along the main Marcello/Mosetto corridor presented some very interesting scenes. Broken French units were streaming in all directions. But three surprises convinced me early on that all must be going reasonably well: French infantry in good order passing from the eastern heights in front of us, but without intent to stop and fight; a limbered French battery sitting atop the heights to our east and front, in perfect position to rain destruction on our moving columns remained limbered for the entire length of the approach (these guns were ultimately captured by one of our battalions); and Calpurnius' cavalry operating to our southwest and to the west of the French!

There was not long to wait to have all these suppositions confirmed. The 4th was ordered to pitch into the rear of the French over the crest to our front, the 2nd Division was already moving in aggressively from the east and to relieve the hard-fighting 1st Division, and it was soon over.

I was most definitely impressed by the performance of all our Spanish leaders. The view and experience each had of the battle was certainly much different. Each was engaged in different degrees and at different times. All made important contributions to the ultimate victory. But the one thing they each had in common was the demonstrated ability to overcome and adapt to difficult, unexpected circumstances somewhere in the course of the fight. Nicely done, gentlemen!


The Spanish Battle Plan
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MacLeod's Brigade, 1st Divsion

Post  Robert M on Mon Nov 17, 2014 5:57 pm

My first "in saddle" battle was memorable. Starting off to the Southwest found my brigade skirting the wood line, and to my amazement French Infantry were seen on the road to my south. At the same moment, Kevin sent me a message that infantry and cavalry had been seen by our Cavalry, and DO NOT ENGAGE. I yanked my troops off to the W/SW, and was able to link up with the rest of the Division in short order, while noting that the French were all withdrawing to the south.

On our long march to the south, as per plan, I was able to recon and confirmed what our diligent cav were reporting, the French artillery and infantry, while present in our front to the south were withdrawing steadily towards the heights to the SE.

During my recon, I was also able to confirm our brave comrades to the west moving southwards, and reported same to my commander.

When we rounded the trees to our west, and could see the terrible looking ridge in that direction, we could see artillery, infantry, and cavalry on its slopes... some climbing to the summit, some seemingly deployed, but no apparent threat, other than the foreboding nature of the ridge itself. I was relieved when we kept moving south, rather than turning directly west.... to directly attack up those slopes in the face of direct fire was NOT what I was looking for....

When we moved to the south and were able to mount at least some of the topography, we then were able to face somewhat north to see a line of French coissants facing us... as well as awful looking BIG guns...

The miserable grape and canister started flying, and the order to charge was received.... here my inexperience as a HITS commander started to take a toll.... my men attacked in a less than ideal order, and two regiments decided that they were really meant to be in reserve after all.... My poor boys were gallant, and bravely attacked up the slopes and took it to the French shooting down upon them.... gave what they had.... riding among them giving support where I could, the confusion of the battle left me unsure of where some of my Regiments had found themselves fighting.

One by one they found there way to areas further to the rear.... some by my order.... some by their own intelligence.... all but two were ultimately routed, and suffered in casualties, but not in honor. I then personally took charge of my two Regiments, "in reserve", and convinced them to follow me forward to do their bit in whatever the wargods would find at the end of this bloody day. They formed up and now showed that they were worth their weight in coissants. They took a great toll on the French troops, and took part in the taking and retaking and taking and retaking of the big guns, and constantly moved forwards up the slopes .... THEN.... THEN.... what was that behind and to the right of those beignets ? IT WAS WHITE.... it was spicy spanish coming to white out the blue cheese !!!!

What a sight.... the french, to their credit, did not break....(at first).... we pressed on.... they fought... we could see our other divisions now clearly pressing in from the north, and east... all was not lost.... my men had not given their blood for naught.... we would carry the day....

My remaining two regiments, now had high morale, and when into melee ... not once... not twice... but thrice..... winning time and again.... the poor french.... nothing like a good tart at the end of a terrible battle....

I must say... the sight of the frenchies going mass into the woods to the west was satisfying. French frying.... poor sods....

Thanks all..... for an experience worth experiencing.
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Re: 14. Battle of Aranjuez - 25th September 1808

Post  Mr. Digby on Mon Nov 17, 2014 7:46 pm

Pleased to hear you enjoyed it Robert. It always helps when a new players first taste of a HITS game finds him on the winning side!

BTW, I got your PM - I assume from this post that you have now got your account working okay?

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"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: 14. Battle of Aranjuez - 25th September 1808

Post  Uncle Billy on Mon Nov 17, 2014 9:37 pm

Being in a state of near blindness is the hardest part of being CinC in this game. This must have been a tough battle for both CinCs. With all the forces spread over such a large area it would be nearly impossible to get a good impression of the situation without seeing things first hand. That would take some time given the distances involved. In the meantime a lot could be happening on the opposite end of the field. Fortunately for the Spanish side, Ron kept a cool head despite the initial surprises and directed his divisions to continue concentrating much as the original plan called for.

After reading all the AARs it is apparent that the cavalry on both sides did exemplary work. They all operated in their traditional role of screening, delaying and scouting. Having dedicated players take these units really ups the quality of the game.

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Re: 14. Battle of Aranjuez - 25th September 1808

Post  Mr. Digby on Mon Nov 17, 2014 10:00 pm

I was discussing this with Ron in an e-mail exchange. I'm not sure its a good thing to have independent players command the Spanish cavalry brigades because they then become too flexible and too efficient. I think in future it would be more in keeping with their historical performance and abilities to keep them under the division commanders authority and if there's extra players, these take infantry brigades.

Having French cav brigades played by players and the Spanish not seems to me to be a good representation of the historical performances of the two nations.

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"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: 14. Battle of Aranjuez - 25th September 1808

Post  Uncle Billy on Tue Nov 18, 2014 12:31 am

I'm not sure its a good thing to have independent players command the Spanish cavalry brigades because they then become too flexible and too efficient. I think in future it would be more in keeping with their historical performance and abilities to keep them under the division commanders authority and if there's extra players, these take infantry brigades.
I disagree. They are already handicapped with inferior ratings. As you well know they are too difficult to manage in any realistic fashion by a player that has to fight his infantry and artillery at the same time. That idea is fine when playing against the AI, but not other players.

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Re: 14. Battle of Aranjuez - 25th September 1808

Post  kg little mac on Tue Nov 18, 2014 4:58 pm

"As you well know they are too difficult to manage in any realistic fashion by a player that has to fight his infantry and artillery at the same time."

As if we manage cavalry in a "realistic fashion" now?

I mean. . . most of the time, cavalry commanders spend their time looking for regiments not in square and too far from their commander to form squares before the cavalry engages them.

I find this aspect of our games very gamey. It's another of the drawbacks of playing by couriers. If regiments would form squares on their own (as they surely would), this wouldn't be a problem.
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Re: 14. Battle of Aranjuez - 25th September 1808

Post  WJPalmer on Tue Nov 18, 2014 5:32 pm

We have to be very careful with how we handle cavalry in these battles or one side or the other will find itself with either a huge advantage or at an enormous disadvantage. Mark's correct that the favorite sport of cavalry commanders seems to be preying upon wayward line infantry. This, in itself, is not ahistorical: The cavalry of the period was quite fond of slicing and dicing foot soldiers caught in the wrong formation. (That's why it is so satisfying in our games to watch a thundering squadron arrive at their intended victim a moment after the courier carrying a square formation change order arrives.) The problem in our game is that, unfortunately, the switch to a particular (square) formation can't apparently be modded as an automatic for AI-controlled line battalions when face-to-face with a charging squadron. This seems odd to me because standard SoW ACW has no problem automatically switching AI units from column to line when close to an enemy.

My biggest concern is that newer players, suddenly thrust into command of a large division in low-turnout battles, now must manage all of that cavalry interaction stuff in addition to their already large burden of controlling multitudes of infantry and guns by courier. This can be very discouraging and could easily convince a new player that KS HITS is unplayable. Personally, I still have the most fun when commanding a brigade in this format. Division leadership is stressful, almost overwhelming, even for many experienced players under the best of circumstances. We should always be mindful of what we ask players to do.
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Re: 14. Battle of Aranjuez - 25th September 1808

Post  Mr. Digby on Tue Nov 18, 2014 6:15 pm

As you well know they are too difficult to manage in any realistic fashion by a player that has to fight his infantry and artillery at the same time.
That's precisely why I suggested it. The Spanish consistently mishandled their cavalry.

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"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: 14. Battle of Aranjuez - 25th September 1808

Post  Uncle Billy on Tue Nov 18, 2014 6:29 pm

The issue of riding down units in line is a legitimate concern since the AI is clueless about squares. However, the issue can be greatly minimized if both sides have cavalry commanders. One of the important roles for cavalry was to counter that of the enemy's. If only one side only has cavalry commanders, that is a significant disadvantage for the other since a division commander cannot effectively utilize his cavalry when he is also fighting the infantry. Both sides should have the ability to micro-manage their cavalry or no side should. Frankly, I think the games are much more interesting with human cavalry commanders.

The problem of the cavalry searching out easy battalions to attack could also be lessened if division commanders would issue orders that the cavalry is not to attack the infantry until ordered to. Historically, cavalry attacked late in the battle when it was judged that the opposing infantry was worn down and would not be able to stand up to the shock. In our games the cavalry would play a major role at the beginning by scouting and screening, in the middle by keeping the enemy cavalry under observation and at bay and near the end in breaking the line. That would up the quality of our battles substantially.

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Re: 14. Battle of Aranjuez - 25th September 1808

Post  Uncle Billy on Tue Nov 18, 2014 6:32 pm

Digby wrote:That's precisely why I suggested it. The Spanish consistently mishandled their cavalry
Trying to repeat history is of very little interest to me. I already know how it turned out. I am much more interested in taking the raw materials and do better.

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Re: 14. Battle of Aranjuez - 25th September 1808

Post  Mr. Digby on Tue Nov 18, 2014 8:44 pm

Kevin, you're the one who strives for historical accuracy as much as any of us and the KS mod as it currently stands is a masterpiece of hard work and long hours taking the SoW engine and tweaking it to make the best representation we can of Napoleonic warfare. We're all agreed there's limitations to what we can do and problems with what we currently have but our striving to replicate Napoleonic warfare in an entertaining digital form is nothing to do with repeating history at all and all to do with taking what there is (the raw material), historically, and playing it as closely as we can.

I am still surprised at the reaction my historically accurate suggestion of 'not fighting in woods' received when we all know that is how it was. Of course you can cite examples to claim that close order infantry did fight in woods but then we get bogged down in the minutiae of what kind of wood was it, how dense was the undergrowth, did the line infantry use their prescribed open order, or did they skirmish, was their commander exceptional? Etc, etc. The issue is that essentially, in normal conditions, fighting in broken terrain and wooded areas was the usual province of specialist light infantry and almost always in skirmish formation.

Now, one of the things SoW does not replicate well is different command structures and different army doctrines. All the game's stats and ability scores really focus at regiment level, not at brigade level and certainly not at division level or higher which is really where Napolenic warfare (as distinct from Frederican warfare) really changed how armies manoeuvred and fought. Without any adjustments an 1806 Prussian army would be as flexible and capable in Sow (given equally skilled players) as an 1806 French army using these rules.

Clearly that's not right.

If we were to try and refight the 1806 campaign or a battle from that campaign we would need to somehow replicate the inefficient and slow Prussian command system and the rigid tactical doctrines of her troops.

This is what I am suggesting with separate Spanish cavalry brigade command. Their cavalry was not well-organised or led; it frequently formed brigades attached to infantry divisions. The French had cavalry divisions and cavalry corps (and more experienced cavalry officers) and their mounted arm was much more effective as a consequence.

Like the stats that describe how effectively each sprite can shoot, change formation, conduct melee, not get so tired and such, the organisation and doctrine of our digital armies is just as much a part of the 'raw materials'.

When the Spanish learn to form cavalry divisions (its not far off) I think then would be the right time to allow dedicated cavalry players. As I said, we have limited tools at our disposal in SoW to replicate how the 'raw materials' functioned and not allowing the Spanish to have player-commanded cavalry brigades is one of the neatest and simplest means we have to easily replicate the cumbersome performance of their cavalry. There is nothing stopping a Spanish division player from placing himself at the head of his cavalry brigade and going off to recon or lead a charge while leaving his infantry brigade commanders to work as AI.

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"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: 14. Battle of Aranjuez - 25th September 1808

Post  Uncle Billy on Tue Nov 18, 2014 11:22 pm

My complaint concerning the woods issue was that the Spanish could not enter the woods at all while the French were free to fight and move inside them where they were immune from harm. Only when I complained about the obvious unfairness of this did you reluctantly alter the rule somewhat.

When the Spanish managed to avoid destruction at Sesena by logically withdrawing, you punished them by writing a new rule and took away their wagons.

Now that the Spanish actually used their cavalry in such a way that the division commanders were better able to maneuver their men, you want to ensure that they no longer can do that.

You simply want to recreate the results of the Peninsula War by emasculating the Spanish side so that no other battle outcome is probable. That is unacceptable. Stop making ad hoc rules.

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Re: 14. Battle of Aranjuez - 25th September 1808

Post  kg little mac on Wed Nov 19, 2014 2:22 am

I'm trying to re-create history.

Unfortunately, Ron didn't cooperate. I was hoping to surrender my whole army to him.

Dupont.




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Re: 14. Battle of Aranjuez - 25th September 1808

Post  Grog on Wed Nov 19, 2014 12:12 pm

I agree in principal with the measures Martin has proposed to portray the limitations of the early Spanish armies but in terms of gameplay, I would prefer to overlook some of these barriers to historical accuracy.

Having recently read two books on the Battle of Quatre Bras and the accounts of the confusing fighting for the control of Bossu Wood, I would agree that, certainly in the case of denser forestry, it is much the remit of open order fighting. Although close order formations would enter, they would quickly lose cohesion and at contact with the enemy, there would be a confused combat where individuals or small groups of men would fight it out in a too and fro type skirmish with hand to hand melees occurring with two determined antagonists.
Only a very slowly moving and well drilled unit would keep a modicum of formation but, even then, would often lose direction.

Its a difficult one but I would be in favour of allowing close order troops (of any nation) to move through woods but make the movement penalty Much more severe (to account for stopping to redress and reorientate) so that only troops in skirmish order make sufficient progress because of their increased movement rate.
I'd like us to avoid the possible scenario of armies with very little light troops not being able to respond to an enemy using woods to manoeuvre formed troops through, without the ability to engage them. I believe that even the most Frederican armies would make some effort to secure a Vital wood, despite the difficulties it would endure.
Added to this, any formed troops passing through woods would need some considerable time to form up, once passed through. Something the current game engine does not replicate, to my knowledge.

I agree with Martin that keeping the Spanish cav brigades under control of the divisional commander would help portray the inept command of their cavalry. I'm all for historical accuracy, as you know Smile but I'm loving the games where we have the scouting role of cavalry represented and to remove that completely from any army might be a step too far IMHO. For the enjoyment of the game and to make a divisional commanders job less 'stressful', I would rather compensate in another way, perhaps by reducing unit stats further or even assigning the cavalry to a less experienced player.

Having said all this, I'm in full support of the Umpire in suggesting and implementing any rules which are clearly aimed at adding flavour and historical realism to the campaign. "I'll try anything once except paedophilia and Morris Dancing" Very Happy

Interesting discussion, Gentlemen

Mike










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Re: 14. Battle of Aranjuez - 25th September 1808

Post  Calpurnius on Wed Nov 19, 2014 10:19 pm

Could you not just surround Forests with un fordable river so no one can enter or just make all woods Heavy Woods that give a penalty to fatigue?
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Re: 14. Battle of Aranjuez - 25th September 1808

Post  Mr. Digby on Wed Nov 19, 2014 10:32 pm

Mark - ha! Thanks. You made me chuckle.

My complaint concerning the woods issue was that the Spanish could not enter the woods at all while the French were free to fight and move inside them where they were immune from harm.
Did this turn out to be a problem? No. Did it actually bring in a new feature of the game with formed bodies of infantry avoiding woods? Yes. Was this a good thing? A fresh tactical challenge? Yes. I do consider things before implementing changes.

Only when I complained about the obvious unfairness of this did you reluctantly alter the rule somewhat.
Your complaint didn't sway my judgement at all. Other people were adding to the discussion as well and I was checking through my library at the time, reading up on accounts. My change wasn't 'reluctant' it was because I decided after weighing the arguments that limiting it was a better representation of Napoleonic combat. Don't suggest that I back-track on issues this important grudgingly. I do not, so stop it.

It was the fact you complained in the first place which I have issue with. You need to moderate your tone and make your points in a more constructive and less aggressive manner. You accused me of rigging games and essentially being a liar. I've obliquely asked you to stop doing that. I really now think an apology is in order from you Kevin.

When the Spanish managed to avoid destruction at Sesena by logically withdrawing, you punished them by writing a new rule and took away their wagons.
I didn't punish them and I didn't make a new rule. They lost a battle - read the rules on the consequences of that.

I brought in a new set of rules (effective on the strategic map and after MP games) for armies passing across rivers and retreating over them because another player raised the point due to frustrations he was experiencing. Any army caught with its back to an unfordable river was historically in a very bad position. I'm not just talking Napoleonic armies here, but throughout history.

If anything this rule should have been in place to begin with but although I'm pretty bright I can't think of everything. The fact I added it when it became an issue for somebody else (who has equal rights to you to raise questions of how the rules should work better) was co-incidental to the Sesena event.

Did the Sesena result adversely affect the campaign? No. Has Castanos' army suffered due to this rule? Doesn't look like it to me. Have the French suffered a meaningful inconvenience since I introduced this rule? Why, yes, they have. Only you don't know about it. Be careful what you complain about.

Why complain when there's actually nothing to complain about? Had the Spanish suffered some catastrophe right after a rule change I might understand your feelings but when there hasn't been any actual penalty of any consequence you are bleating over nothing which looks like sour grapes of some kind. Like not getting your way hurts your ego or something. Whatever it is, it doesn't look pleasant. You might want to stop acting this way.

Now that the Spanish actually used their cavalry in such a way that the division commanders were better able to maneuver their men, you want to ensure that they no longer can do that.
We have had player commanded Spanish cavalry brigades from the start of the campaign. It was done at Atalayuclas if you recall and to extremely good effect at Adajo. I knew then (18 months ago) that something wasn't right and I've been chewing it over since then (excepting our long break of course). I kept my own counsel and considered various things, with this latest comment as my most current thinking.

I am not suggesting Spanish players don't directly command their own brigades. They may still do so but the division commander would do it.

You simply want to recreate the results of the Peninsula War by emasculating the Spanish side so that no other battle outcome is probable.
Kevin, I have had enough of your bitter and stubborn attitude. You refuse to see others viewpoints as being as valid as your own. You need to be more conciliatory and accepting of a contrary position or I will have to just remove you from the campaign. I have told you numerous times this is not the case and recent games prove it. If your self-delusions were true Calahorra and Aranjuez would never have turned out the way they did, nor would Ordal Cross, Barcelona and San Milan.

Oh, and are the Spanish doing well in the campaign? Looks like it to me. Where is this emasculated Spanish side you speak of? I can't seem to find it. If your complaints were supported by facts, any facts we'd have a forum for discussion but they aren't.

Stop making ad hoc rules.
None of my rules are ad-hoc. All of them are considered properly and over time,

Also, do feel free to read the printed rules where I say in several places that they are not finished and are a work in progress.

Finally. As game umpire I reserve the right to bring in new campaign rules as I see fit. Of course I wouldn't introduce them if they were detrimental to the result, unfair or otherwise not a positive change. I'm happy to discuss, always, but I do reserve that final right, as do all game umpires.

Kevin, arguing with the umpire is rule 1 of how not to participate in a wargame campaign. Stop it or leave. I've been running wargames campaigns for more than thirty years and what annoys me most is argumentative players. Its not worth my time arguing with you over this. I've done it before and have several well faded tee-shirts. I won't discuss this any more in public. Talk to me in private if you are not satisfied with this post.


Last edited by Mr. Digby on Wed Nov 19, 2014 10:49 pm; edited 1 time in total

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"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: 14. Battle of Aranjuez - 25th September 1808

Post  Mr. Digby on Wed Nov 19, 2014 10:39 pm

Now, on with some productive posting.

Brett - we could do that but it would require a fair bit of work. I also don't want to make woods impenetrable since skirmish infantry and the better trained French and British infantry should be able to go in.

Grog - I think the game is too simplistic on this issue. I think there is one overall speed penalty for each terrain type that's applied to every troop type regardless. Kevin is the guru on this so I'll let him give the definitive answer but I think that woods might (for example) reduce all unit speeds by 33%, thus a unit in a line is slowed by the same proportion as a squadron of light cavalry or a skirmishing voltigeur battalion.

Recent experiences Martin and I had in a Prussian-French game appears to confirm that cavalry cannot charge at all in woods and since artillery's not much use in them there's already very good reasons not to send those troop types in. I guess I could take the position that if a player really wants to send a battery or a squadron through a wood he can, but it'll be risky if its caught by infantry.

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"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: 14. Battle of Aranjuez - 25th September 1808

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