With the French army project finished, and the completion of the Anglo-Portuguese army within spitting distance, my thoughts are turning to what I should do next. My choice is to do a full Spanish army, or a large Spanish contingent to fight along side Anglo-Portuguese, or to switch tack entirely and plumb for the Sudan to add a colonial period to my gaming choices.
I'd really like to go for the Sudan but, I know that if I do I may never return to do the Spanish any kind of justice. I will have become side tracked.
Consequently, I've decided to bite the bullet and go for a full Spanish army. By that I mean collecting thirty or so units plus artillery, command, etc. That will be enough to fight a good sized battle, and there will be enough variation to do a wargame campaign. It will not be quite as large as the other two armies but it will be large enough to do a job. This will be a big commitment for me, in time and cash.
What follows is my thought process on what my army will look like. Many of you will probably know a lot more about Spanish armies than I do, so if I'm wrong on any point please feel free to chip in and correct me. Also, if you know of any good online resources that might fill gaps in my knowledge, please point me to them.
Unlike the French and Anglo-Portuguese, collecting a Spanish army poses lots of problems. This is especially the case regarding infantry units.
My first problem is the limited amount of books I own on Spanish armies.
The second is the thoroughly disorganised state of the supply of uniforms in the period 1809 - 1812. It seems that, unless you want to do 1808 - 1809, or post the supply of a new national uniform by the British from 1812, uniform information on specific Spanish units is often very hard to pin down. More anon...
The third problem is one of dating the army. Generally speaking, units in a French or Anglo-Portuguse army can fight right through the war. With the Spanish, this is not the case. One look at the uniform a Spanish soldier is wearing will generally put him into one of three roughly dated periods: 1808 - 1809, 1810 - 1812, and post 1812. As far as a generic wargame army is concerned, I suppose this is only a problem of aesthetics but, if you go too eclectic date wise, the army will require some imagination to believe when fighting in any of the historical sub-periods.
When it comes to the evolution of Spanish uniforms in the Napoleonic Wars, and how it will effect the building of a wargame army, I think of the history like this:
Although, in the first year of the war, Spanish patriotism and daring do had a certain charm, Spanish armies dated this early usually left a lot to be desired. This is especially true when they were called upon to fight in the open field - and, let's face it, on a wargame table that is what they will most often need to do.