I've set this solo game up to test out my classic Piquet style rules (though they get less 'classic' by the day) for largish Peninsular battles.
Above, a picture of the table-top (12 x 6) and the initial disposition of troops. Unfortunately my camera doesn't pick up 'depth' as well as the naked eye, so I have roughly drawn some contour lines around the high ground so that it is much easier for you to see: The first contour is drawn around the base of the hill; the second contour shows the upper shape of the hill; hills are 2" high overall.
This battle is (fictionally) set in the hills at the western end of the Pyrenees Mountains. A few days ago I spent an hour driving 'virtually' around these 'hills' using google earth street view. It's somewhere I've never been and it wasn't what I expected, being a lot less rugged and far greener than I had imagined. Indeed, a lot of it reminded me very much of the Yorkshire Dales, or the central belt of Scotland. I can see it being a favoured local for my Peninsular scenarios.
The British are attacking the villages of Huerta de Pablo, currently occupied by French 1st Div. (6,000 strong), and San Pablo because of their command of several strategically vital road junctions. The attack has been planned in haste and the consequent confusion means that the British divisional columns, each advancing on a different road, will arrive somewhat piecemeal. The plan has been further frustrated by the British cavalry arriving too early and far too 'loudly', and patrolling French hussars which spotted the two British columns approaching from the south. Consequently, the French are already on the move to counter the British threat and French reinforcements are speeding their way to the battle area from the north and northeast. Indeed, the French cavalry of 5th Div. (1,500 strong overall, including hussars) has already arrived.
Units each represent about a 1000 infantry or 500 cavalry. The standard command (battle group) is the division - typically, for infantry, 4000 - 8000 men.
- The British army comprises 18,000 infantry, 1000 cavalry and three batteries of guns in four 'divisions'. It comprises some of the best troops in the Peninsular.
- The French army comprises 21,000 infantry, 1,500 cavalry and four batteries of guns in five 'divisions'. It comprises a 'mixed bag' of troops ranging from veterans to newly raised conscripts with little battle experience.
The arrival of British 1st Division, 8000 strong and comprising Guards, Highlanders and KGL, is imminent - it is 'activated', just off table, and can begin to move on table as soon as a move card allows. It is in column on the western road (marked A).
The two other, more typical, British divisions (each 5000 strong), and three French divisions (4000, 5000 and 6000 strong respectively) get the chance to arrive as follows:
- I have blind placed two playing cards (British), or three playing cards (French) at each appropriate entry point (marked B-E on the photo above). One card at each of the British entry points is a dud. At the French entry points, one has one dud and one has two duds. The other cards at each entry point relate to a particular division.
- Each side has two Stratagem cards in its sequence deck. When one is turned the side can turn one of the playing cards at one of its entry points. If the card is a dud, it indicates extra delay. If the card turned relates to a division, that division becomes active and may begin to march on table on the side's next move card. All arriving divisions are assumed to be marching in column along the road - as this is a solo game, I don't need to worry about the other side 'access point blocking'.
To win, the British must seize and hold Huerta San Pablo and San Pablo. To count as holding, no enemy can be present in any of the town sections. Holding one will be a draw.
I have to say, I'm actually rather pleased with the look of this terrain. It's even allowed me to get my pine trees and tents out, and that newly made granary looks quite good too.
In fact, there are four newish buildings on the table - the granary in Huerta de Pablo, the L shaped single storey cottage in San Pablo (with the broken wall), a two one storey 'tithe cottage complex', barely visible, just behind that, and High Hill farm. I've been a little short of one storey rural buildings for the Peninsular but, I'm slowly putting that right.
Grandest of the new terrain additions is something I knocked up last year but never used. It's the walled orchard in Huerta San Pablo (2nd photo). This was made with Snap Dragon Studio wall sections (including a large T junction) that I've had kicking about in my bits box for over twenty years: I picked them up out of an 'odds and sods' box at a show but Snap Dragon went defunct before I could buy the corner pieces to make them into anything. On a whim, I decided to use them to make a high walled orchard, using Milliput to manufacture the corner pieces and fill some holes after using a hammer as a 'wall cutting' tool - considering I cut the walls to length with a hammer, not too shabby a job, I think.
So that's it. Next up, when I have time to play and type, I'll start doing the battle report: This may come as a series rather than one extended post. This is because I find myself playing solo games in fits and starts - a hour here, an hour there - and this might be an easier way to report the goings on.