Saturday, December 29, 2018

95th Rifles (and magnetic skirmisher basing)

The entire unit, with bases of four at the back and individually based units in the foreground. Figures are 1/72 Italeri, a beautifully sculpted set. I read some criticism that they would not often have fought with the sword bayonets or forage caps, but I like the look of both. I originally cut off the sword bayonets in the individual figures but have left them on for the four mans stands.
I decided to add the 95th Rifles as my next addition to my growing British Peninsular War army. The British 95th Rifles don't need much introduction as they are a well known unit and much loved by wargamers. Up until now I hadn't really required them as the rule set I play is a brigade level game and the Rifles were generally parcelled out amongst the various brigades as extra skirmish troops, a company or two at a time. But I am moving towards gaming at a battalion level, especially for some of the smaller-sized Peninsular engagements and needed these in the mix as they fought throughout the Peninsular War in wellington's army.
My original intention was to base some on individual stands to act as skirmishers when required and others in group stands when I needed them in a more formal arrangement (march columns and line formations - rare for the Rifles but I believe they did fight in line on occasion). But I soon realized that this seemed an inordinate amount of figure painting as I needed to have duplicates for each unit, especially as I would need some skirmish units for all of my regiments in the future.
So I came up with the following basing scheme, probably not original to me but one that I think works very well. It allows for paired skirmish stands (which will work) and uses flexible magnet sheets purchased at a dollar store.
The only trick was pairing the magnets before I cut the top and bottom bases, as different magnets would sometimes offset the paired bases slightly through repulsion. As a result, I needed to number the base and its corresponding figures - not a big deal. I was happy with the result and am now in the process of converting the light company stands in all my existing regiments to this basing.
I thought other gamers might appreciate the idea.

Magnet basing. Two smaller stands paired with the larger four man stand. They needed to be paired before cutting and numbered as some magnets repulsed slightly, creating an offset.

Paired stands in skirmish formation. I think this still gives a good effect!

The command stand (a paired magnet stand, as all the four man stands are for my Rifles, allowing them to skirmish 100% - pretty seamless!) I love the front figure at right with his cradled rifle.


Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Portuguese Ox Carts

I was reading Oman's book on Wellington's army the other day, and he was going on at length about the ox carts hired by the British to move their supplies through Portugal and Spain. I have always loved these rustic vehicles - until recently they were still in use in the Azores (a place I visit often as it is where my partner is from). I remember distinctly the day I was sketching an ox cart in the small village of Sete Cidades when the woman of the house saw us, and, aghast that it had been left carelessly in the front yard, had her no-good son go out and put it way in the shed!
My ox cart sketch in Sete Cidades from 1990 - fortunately I had captured enough to finish it up before it was carted away!

I was telling a friend with an interest in wood-working (as well as Napoleonic history) about these carts and their solid wooden wheels, and he was a bit incredulous that iron age wheel technology was still being used in Napoleonic times, never mind today. I'm not sure why spoked wheels weren't traditionally used on these carts and can only think that, outside of the possible absence of wheel wrights, durability trumped lightness and speed on the rough paths that passed as roads in so much of the Iberian Peninsula.
On my most recent trip to the Azores I spotted one of these carts in the town square of Maia and photographed it. Mostly these carts are no longer in use, only coming out dolled up with decorations and brightly painted for festas and special events. But it was this cart that served as my guide for this model.

Ox cart in town square, Maia, Azores

Although typically they are now painted, I wasn't certain what the situation was in the early 1800's. I found a few contemporary paintings that seemed to show them unpainted or with only the wheels painted, and decided to go with the latter. (Searches for ox carts came up with litttle but a search using the Portuguese carroça de boi came up with lots, including this excellent article. )

During the Peninsula War the British army didn't have its own transport arm but rather depended upon local resources. This often meant employing the services of the Portuguese ox carts and their drivers, which were in abundance and well-suited to negotiate the Iberian landscape. Oman writes at length about this in his book, but this one description stuck with me and is probably worth repeating here:

Such stores as did move upon wheels, and not upon mule-back, were carried on Portuguese ox-waggons, to which Wellington was compelled to have recourse for want of better vehicles. These were very primitive structures—the sides of wicker work, the wheels made of solid circles of wood bounded with iron, turning axle and all, which made their grinding noise almost intolerable. The excruciating thrills caused to the ear by a train of such carts are mentioned with disgust by nearly every Peninsular diarist, on his first introduction to life at the front. The only advantages of ox-waggons were that they were light, easy to repair, and specially built for the bad roads of the country: moreover, every peasant knew how to drive them, or to mend them at a pinch. Their weak points were that they were intolerably slow—two miles an hour was a full allowance—and that they were too small to carry much. However, they had to serve for want of better vehicles—and the army could not have lived without their service. An immense amount of them were employed, some on regular and long terms of hire, as part of the permanent transport of the army, others in a more temporary way, by requisition from the district. These last were always difficult to manage; professional muleteers would not object to travel, but impressed peasants loathed quitting their own district, fearing that they might be taken far afield—perhaps into Spain—before they were released. They were always trying to abscond with their precious bullocks, abandoning the comparatively worthless cart and its stores. A picture of the sort may be taken from Hennegan’s lively narrative of a march in 1809, when he had to take an unwilling train of “embargoed” waggoners across the mountains of Northern Beira.

An illustration of the Portuguese ox cart from the time of the Peninsula War. The dog in this picture inspired the one in my build.

“Leaning on their oxen at nightfall, they contemplated in mute dismay on one side the gigantic hill which they had just descended, on the other the roaring torrent of the Douro, which in its impetuous course seemed to threaten with destruction the temerity that would brave its power. The Santa Marias of some were answered by the more emphatic carajos! of others, but even these died away before the necessities of the moment, and unyoking the oxen, to afford them the shelter of trees, the drivers spread their large cloaks in the empty sheds, and soon in sleep seemed to forget their disappointment. The poor men, taken from their homes for our service, risked in the loss of their oxen the only means of support for themselves and families.
“The following morning, however, presented a curious scene. There stood the wains, securely packed, but looking as if the earth had brought them forth, for no vestige remained of the means by which they had been brought to this lonely spot. The rumour of the proximity of the French had determined these Portuguese on sacrificing the wains, if only they could ensure the preservation of themselves and oxen. What was now to be done?”
Another contemporary illustration. Some carts had solid wooden wheels, others with some of the wood removed.

As a matter of fact, the non-plussed guardian of the deserted convoy had to remain motionless for many days, risking the possible arrival of the French, till at last he procured boats on the Douro, and shipped his charge down to Oporto. Hennegan’s peasants got away with their bullocks—he and his escort were evidently sleepy and unsuspecting: but often a good watch was kept on the teams, and sentries placed over them. In such cases, if the weather was bad, or the French too near, the drivers would often sacrifice even their loved beasts, and simply abscond themselves, abandoning their means of livelihood.
From Wellington's Army, by Charles Oman

If you are interested in more information on the logistics faced by Wellington in supplying his army, here are a couple of excellent online references:

The Duke of Wellington and the Supply System during the Peninsula War, by Troy T. Kirby

Wellington's Army, by Charles Oman

The Build

The build was surprisingly easy to do, done over a few sessions. Here is a step by step.
For the wheels I started with washers glued to a piece of styrene. The oxen began life as cows from the Pegasus farm animal set, with a bit of radical surgery, and shifting up of the heads of two that were in a grazing position. None had horns, so wire armatures were added.

I cut out the wheels and washers and then interior shapes similar to the wheels of the ox cart in the photo at top - the centre of the washer provided a nice guide! The bodies of the carts and tongues were cut from balsa wood and assembled.

The two oxen with altered heads were patched up and the horns shaped with two part modelling putty.

The yokes were roughly shaped with putty around wire armatures, with wires popped in to provide holes for the sticks that would be added later.

For stowage I had some barrels and boxes from my Italeri French supply wagon kit. These were supplemented with some sacks I fashioned from Fimo. On the cart I added some thick modelling compound on the wheel rims and wire sticks to give texture.

Here are the drivers, created, as with my previous Spanish ox drawn limbers, from HaT guerrilla figures. The one on the right has had his gun removed, a blanket added and one arm repositioned with a new sculpted hand so that he could carry a staff. The small dog is from the Pegasus set.
In the background can be seen the finished carts and two oxen with yoke, all waiting to be painted.

 And here are a few more photos of the finished models:


Ox carts unlimbered. I modelled the yoke so the carts could be slipped out, allowing me to use the ox teams in the future to pull some more Spanish gun limbers.

Monday, October 22, 2018

28th and 29th Regiments of the Line

There is a great story behind these figures, one that underscores the particular generosity of spirit that I think defines this crazy hobby. A few years ago I started to paint and post my adventures around creating armies for and gaming the battles of the Peninsular War. On a few occasions I bemoaned the fact that I could no longer get my hands on the HaT Peninsular British set, and even went so far as to a fairly extensive conversion of Italeri figures, which you can see here.
But Mark Flack on the TMP forum had seen me mention this lack and took it on himself to contact me and make me an offer I couldn't refuse - a couple of sets of these figures that he had purchased and realized he would never paint. He went to a great deal of trouble to get my address and mail them to me - from Britain to Canada! - and I know did the same for another collector who lives even further away (although, as it turns out, with a better postal system).
The outcome was the arrival in my post box of two complete sets of Peninsular British and even a couple of sprues of command stands thrown in for good measure.

I have finally completed my first two regiments of these figures and the detailing and poses have not disappointed. I have made a few very minor conversions of some of the flank company figures to centre companies, but outside of that, I have only needed to create a couple of standard bearers, as I was short these. I read the good news that HaT will be re-releasing the British command set soon and hope that is the case as I continue with the painting!
So thank you, Mark, for these figures and I hope I have done them credit!

In expanding my British Peninsular army I have decided to try and get three token regiments for each of the British divisions painted (in the rule set I play, a British brigade is represented by about six stands of figures). For the 2nd Division I already had the 3rd Buffs and decided on the 28th North Gloucestershire and 29th Worcestershire regiments to flesh out this division.

28th North Gloucestershire Regiment of Foot

The 28th was originally raised as Sir John Gibson's Regiment of Foot in 1694, being redesignated the 28th Regiment of Foot in 1751 during the War of the Austrian Succession. It fought at the Battle of Louisburg in 1758, and on the Plains of Abraham at Quebec in 1759, the second obviously being a seminal event for a Canadian such as myself!

Because I generally am painting six stand regiments (24 figures) I dedicate two figures right and left to represent the flank companies. I decided to add one of the excellent HaT buglers to the 28th's light infantry figures on this stand.

During the Napoleonic wars they were part of the British expeditionary force sent to Egypt in 1801. It saw action in Denmark in 1807 and was part of Moore's force in Portugal in 1808-09, fighting at the Battle of Corunna.

28th Command stand. As I mentioned, I was short of command stand figures so the ensign on the left began life as the Saxon ensign below before it fell under the knife. Much too much work! I will have to wait for the re-release of the British Command set before I go much further.

28th Command stand from rear.

A detachment stayed behind and was engaged at Talavera while the rest of the regiment was involved in the Walcheren campaign. The regiment returned to the Peninsula in January, 1810 and fought at the battle of Barrosa, an honour which they wore on their shako cap badge at Waterloo. They stayed with Wellington's army throughout the Spanish campaign, seeing action at Arroyo dos Molinos, Vittoria, the Battle of the Pyrennes and on into France.

29th Worcestershire Regiment of Foot

And now to the 29th. Also raised in 1694 by Colonel Thomas Farrington it was amalgamated with the 36th (Herfordshire) Regiment to become the first battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment in 1782. It too was in British North America, clearing the land in 1749 for the new town of Halifax. They also had the unfortunate distinction of drawing first blood in the American Revolution, participating in the Boston massacre of 1770.

This Command stand was a bit easier, with only slight alterations to change the marching command figure (right ensign) into an ensign.

The 29th began the Napoleonic wars serving as marines for the Royal Navy and later joined Wellesley's army in Portugal and Spain in 1808, participating in the Battles of Roliça, Vimeiro and Talavera. They also saw action at the battle of Albuera, making them present at most of the significant British battles in the Peninsula in the early years. After Albuera, due to heavy losses, they were sent back to England for more recruitment.

Centre company stand front.

Centre company stand rear.

In 1814 they were shipped to Nova Scotia, returning for the Hundred Days campaign but arriving after the Battle of Waterloo.
An interesting bit of regimental history I read while researching this regiment was that ten black youths were given to the regiment and having been subsequently released from their slavery joined the regiment as drummers. The tradition of black drummers continued until 1843, inspiring me to go back and repaint my drummer on the 29th command stand.

Learning that the 29th had a tradition of black drummers I of course had to revisit this stand!

The Battle of Barrosa, March 5th, 1811

Last Tuesday I had the pleasure of hosting at my home Brian North, another enthusiast for the Peninsular Wars (and more specifically the Spanish) to playtest a scenario based on the Battle of Barrosa, fought on March 5, 1811 in the south of Spain. Again, it is one of those strange things that happen in this age of forums and connectivity, but Brian had first seen my battle report for Valls on TMP  (which can be seen here) and was intrigued as he was currently playing out the same battle with his own rules and figures.
The interesting part of all this is that Brian is British, currently living in Zurich and I live in central Canada. As fate would have it, however, Brian’s life is such that it brings him to Toronto fairly often and he is crazy enough to got to the trouble of catching a bus out to nowhere, where I live, so we can play toy soldiers.
This was his second journey out to my home, and on this occasion I had this Barrosa scenario to try out. Brian had already helped me with some of the orbats, mainly the composition of Zayas’ force that sallied out from the Isla de León so it seemed to make sense that he would be the one to playtest it.

The full scenario can be found here. It has been tweaked since we played this game, and at the end of this report I will include a bit about my solo replay with the tweaked version, which had a completely different result! This scenario can be played two ways, historically or a “what if” version of the battle where there is a chance that La Peña may actually do something rather than sit tight and wait for the British to fail. As it turned out, it was even a greater “what if” because Graham does not only fail, but under my hand he does it spectacularly and quickly, and on the fly we had to decide what La Peña’s options should be when the French suddenly arrive on his eastern flank (as they did in this game). We decided that, being La Peña, he would most likely withdraw to the safety of the Isla de León and let the remnants of Graham’s force fend for themselves, with a slim chance that he would go on the offensive. We rolled for it, and the battle became an exercise in strategic withdrawal for the Spanish, which was fascinating in and of itself.

The scenario

The game was played out on a 7.5’ X 4.5’ table, using 1/72 scale figures and Age of Eagles II rules. The scenario and background material can be found posted here. This scenario represents the battle after the point when Vilatte and the lead Spanish forces clashed south of Almansa Creek. Vilatte, concerned about Zayas' force (which had crossed the boat bridge from the Isle of León and appeared on his flank) retreated with some difficulty over the Almansa Creek, taking up a new blocking position on the Cádiz road and La Peña, upon hearing of Victor's approach from the north, has positioned his forces to defend the bridgehead. The Spanish baggage train along with Béguines' brigade, are at the point of moving up to join La Peña's main force, while a Spanish/British rearguard force (Cruez Murgeon  brigade) under the command of Graham occupies the Cerro de Puerco but is in the process of withdrawing (against the protestations of Browne, the commander of the British battalion included in this force). A KGL/Spanish cavalry force, under Whittingham, also covers the withdrawal. 
The British division under Graham is in the process of responding to La Peña's command to join him in the area south of the Almansa Creek, much against Graham's better judgement, by marching along a path through the pine forest north of the coastal road. They (like Peña) have also just received word from Spanish guerrillas that a large force of French have emerged from the north, threatening the rear.

The scenario map. Area A is Vilatte, Area C La Peña. W and Z are Cruz Murgeon's brigade and Whittingham's cavalry. E and F are Wheatley and Dilkes under Graham and X is Béguines. The French under Victor entered from the top of the map north of the Cerro de Puerco.

Table top

From Cerro de Puerco

From Isla de León

1. Zayas’ brigade marches over Almansa Creek

As Zayas relaunches his boat bridge and marches over Almansa Creek to threaten Vilatte’s rear, Vilatte withdraws north of the creek, blocking the road to Cadiz

2. Over the Almansa

Another view of the boat bridge built specially for this scenario!

3. Initial deployment

The battle begins with Vilatte north of the Almansa (upper left), La Peña’s forces facing off against them and Zayas (below creek centre left) forming up, having crossed the boat bridge (not yet built so not in this picture).
Béguines’ militia can be seen approaching La Peña in the lower right along the coastal road, with baggage train while above him Graham’s British can be glimpsed moving through the pine woods to join up with La Peña.

4. Béguines' brigade

Béguines' militia brigade, baggage train in tow, makes its slow way along the coastal road towards La Peña’s lines, oblivious of the French descending to his rear.

5. La Peña confronts Vilatte

La Peña arrays his troops in front of Vilatte, who has retreated to the north side of the creek. He places Lardizabal on the left and Anglona on the right, and out of skirmish range they exchange cannon fire. The Spanish at this point easily outnumber the French more than three to one but La Peña waits for Graham to join him before he initiates the attack.

6. Zayas forms up on near bank

Zayas’ Irlanda Regiment and Royal Spanish Guard form ranks behind.

7. Meanwhile in the woods…

Graham moves his two British brigades through the pine forest along a track in order to join up with La Peña, as commanded. Suddenly Spanish guerrillas appear to warn him that the French approach in numbers from the north. On his own initiative Graham decides to about face and move to block the French.

8. Cruz Murgeon's brigade and Whittingham's cavalry south of the Cerro de Puerco

The Spanish brigade under Cruz Murgeon (under Graham’s command with Browne’s composite flank battalion attached) lurk out of sight of the advancing French on the south side of the Cerro de Puerco, wavering as to whether to hold the position or retreat. Whittingham’s cavalry are in the process of pulling back on the coastal road.

9. Whittingham's cavalry

Whttingham’s cavalry (a KGL/Spanish mix under command of La Peña) limber up their half battery and prepare to withdraw.

10. Dilkes’ Guards spotted by French

Dilkes’ brigade (upper left) march out of the woods with the intention of forming up on the west side of the Cerro de Puerco. But he is spotted by Laval’s advancing columns, who immediately unlimber their cannon and commence to fire.

11. Meunier attacks

Laval sends his élite brigade under Meunier in to attack before Dilkes can shake out of march column (failed maneuver roll!) Caught completely flat-footed, the Guards are sent back reeling with casualties.

12. Cruz Murgeon moves into line next to Dilkes

Cruz Murgeon wheels on the Cerro de Puerco to form up next to Dilkes while Whittingham brings his cavalry in on the flank.

13. Overview

In this overview Dilkes and Cruz Murgeon form up bottom right on the west slope of the Cerro de Puerco while Meunier’s and Laplane’s brigades march up the north slope of the hill to engage. Meanwhile, centre left in the woods, Wheatley’s brigade has failed to beat the French to the woods edge and, on making contact, choose to withdraw in an attempt to link up with Dilkes. The two batteries of British cannon have yet to appear on the table (hidden movement) but have actually been placed in line with Wheatley’s brigade.
Barrois’ brigade,  under direct command of Ruffin can be spotted top right on the edge of the woods, preparing to enter in pursuit of Wheatley.

14. Wheatley driven back, one battery lost, second damaged

Ruffin’s division (top right) and Meunier’s élite (centre) charge Wheatley deep in the forest. Meunier takes a pounding from the British artillery but the attack is successful, sending Wheatley’s brigade reeling back (centre left). The British batteries limber up to join the retreat, but the rough forest terrain slows their retreat, leaving them behind and vulnerable to a second French attack. This attack does occur and one battery is lost while the second rejoins Wheatley’s lines badly damaged.

15. Cavalry action

Meanwhile Dermoncort’s cavalry has worked its way around the Cerro de Puerco, clashing in charge and countercharge with Whittingham’s brigade.

16. Battling it out on the Cerro de Puerco

Laplane’s brigade scales the east slope of the Cerro de Puerco, bringing up both batteries of French artillery, to engage Dilkes and Cruz Murgeon. They succeed in driving the Allies off the feature.

17. Wheatley driven back to la Peña's lines 

Wheatley continues to be driven back by Ruffin’s assault, emerging in disorder from the pine woods next to Béguines, who is still moving slowly towards the Spanish lines. La Peña, seeing Wheatley in full retreat and Dilkes and Cruz Murgeon driven off the Cerro, now has to decide whether to come to the rescue of the British or prepare to withdraw to the safety of the Isla de León. (As this was a playtest and this “what if” had not been foreseen, Brian and I decided to put it to a roll of the die, but, being La Peña, heavily weighted to him withdrawing without giving battle!)

18. Dilke and Cruz Murgeon routed

Things continue to go badly for Graham as Dilkes and Cruz Murgeon are both routed by Laplane! Whealtey’s battered brigade also joins the stream of British routing back through the Spanish lines. As the remnants of Graham’s force come streaming back towards his lines La Peña, confirmed in his expectations that the British would lose this fight, prepares to withdraw his forces.

19. Zayas moves forward to block French approach

Now it is a matter of performing a withdrawal in the face of the enemy. Fortunately for the Spanish French artillery is well back and their numbers not enough to take on the entire Spanish force with confidence. Behind La Peña’s lines Zayas, in reserve, marches forward to block the coastal road while La Peña’s small cavalry force is sent back across the boat bridge.

20. Overview

Top left the Spanish scramble to get Béguines brigade off to safety, as Zayas moves up along the coast to link up with Lardizabal and Anglona who are in the process of shifting their lines left in front of Vilatte. Laplane is already well along the coastal road, threatening the rear of Béguines column while Laplane marches down through the forest to link up. Meunier’s brigade, badly battered in its encounter with Wheatley, has retired from the field.

21. Spanish tighten bridgehead

The Spanish manage to move back Béguines and seal off the peninsula just in time. La Peña reorganizes his troops, placing Lardizabal opposite Vilatte, Anglona astride the coastal road while moving Zayas up to replace Anglona.

22. Béguines retreats to the Isla de León

Behind this screen Béguines and the baggage train retreat over the boat bridge.

23. Remnants of Whittingham's cavalry routs back towards the Spanish lines

Cut off from the rest of the army and pounded by artillery, Whittingham’s shattered brigade routs back to the Spanish lines.

24. Virué's brigade pulled out of the line

Anglona’s second brigade is pulled from the line and Zayas takes over his position as Ruffin and Laval’s remaining brigade close in.

25. From the French lines

26. Virués marches across the boat bridge to the Isla

With Anglona at its head Virués marches across the boat bridge to the Isla while Zayas pulls back to the Torre Bermeja amd Lardizibal moves by the flank west down the Almansa.

27. Dermancourt's brigade arrives on Ruffin's seaward flank

With Whittingham dealt with Laval’s cavalry arrives, and the French wait for their artillery to moved up into line.

28. Zayas and Lardizabal pull back adjacent to the Torre Bermeja

With the sun getting low the Spanish tighten their ranks further, with Lardizabal preparing to exit. But La Peña moves Lardizabal too soon, exposing Zayas’ flank to Vilatte’s cannon as well as the artillery newly arrived along the coastal road.

29. French assault on rear guard

With Zayas disordered by artillery fire into his flank the French surge in on the rear guard. Vilatte pours over the creek, firing into Zayas’ flank while Barrois’ and Laplane’s brigades slam into them from the front.

30. Breakthrough charges

Zayas’ breaks and routs over the boat bridge while Barrois’ and Laplane’s momentum carry them into the flank of the Spanish lines. A battery is captured and Lardizabal is sent reeling back to the banks of the Almansa’s mouth.

31. Lardizabal forced back to bridge

Forced back to the bridge Lardizabal manages to form up in the face of the advancing French. Béguines half battery, still on the near shore and unable to escape unlimbers to put some ineffective fire in the French flank.

32. Lardizabal marches across to the Isla de León

Game ends as Lardizabal retreats under cover of a rearguard to join the rest of the battered Allies on the Isla de León.

The game was a whole lot of fun. Although it didn’t play out historically by any stretch of the imagination it did lead one to think what would have happened if Graham’s gamble hadn’t paid off. Knowing La Peña, a withdrawal to the Isla de León was probably the most likely scenario, bringing the Allies long and circuitous march to engage Victor and lift the siege of Cadiz all for nought. As it was, historically little was accomplished even with Graham’s victory because la Peña refused to follow it up and capitalize on it. The withdrawal of the Spanish was a fun exercise at the end of the game, and we introduced a mechanic that would reward the Spanish for doing this successfully. As it was, Graham’s force was so seriously trounced that any points the Spanish scored paled in the face of the massive French victory. But as so many of us who wargame, we don’t really play to win or lose but rather see how things unfold.

The Refight

With what Brian and I learned from this first go around, we introduced mechanics in the game to try and mirror more accurately the opening stages of the battle. The French entry point was moved further to the east, Cruz Murgeon and Whittingham’s brigades were restricted in activity for the first two turns and the Spanish under La Peña were deployed as they were historically after Vilatte had withdrawn and Zayas had advanced from the Isla de León. Rules were also written to formalize, in the “what if” scenario, what would happen in the event that the British were defeated and the fight brought to La Peña. Interestingly enough in this replay with the new rules it played out much closer to the historical record and the French were so badly beaten by Graham that the need to activate the Spanish didn’t arise. But it still felt like it could have gone either way, which is good.

1. New deployment

Changes now have the Spanish in a defensive ring around the peninsula and Béguines moved further away from La Peña.

2. Whitttingham and Cruz Murgeon south of the Cerro de Puerco

Both are now delayed to act for the first two turns. Whittingham is set up in a defensive position with artillery unlimbered and the correct number of stands this time.

3. Spanish under La Peña

Spanish, as noted, are placed in a defensive perimeter as they were historically with Zayas opposite Vilatte, Lardizibal to his right and Anglona anchored on the coast.

4. Graham in the woods

Graham’s forces are positioned as before, but now with the time to reach the woods’ edge if his initiative rolls are good enough.

5. French enter

French enter further to the east in column and with the requirement that their first move is directly towards the coast. This puts them to the northeast of the Cerro de Puerco, as they were historically.

6. Graham moves to block French

On the replay Dilkes marches out of the woods unobserved by the French and Wheatley is able to successfully march through the woods and form up on its edge with artillery in line. Dilkes changes from march to supported line and they form line of battle along the edge of the woods.

7. Overview

In this overview you can see at the top Dilkes on the left (British right) and Wheatley next to him. Having spotted the British forces Laplane (far right) goes into supported line and unlimbers and attaches his artillery while Meunier, to Laplane’s left and still in brigade masse, moves towards the Cerro de Puerco’s ridge. Here the hill is lower and easily traversed whereas further to the south (left) it becomes higher and more difficult (scenario changes were made regarding this feature). Ruffin (lower left) prepares to scale it with his artillery following.

8. Cruz Murgeon occupies ruins of chapel

The Spanish suddenly appear at the top of the hill, occupying the area around the ruined chapel. In the background (top) Dilkes sorties from the safety of the woods, also seizing the ridge and firing an ineffective volley into the approaching French.

9. Béguines arrives behind safety of Spanish lines

Meanwhile, back at the Almansa creek, Béguines reaches the safety of La Peña’s lines, which part to let him pass. La Peña continues to sit tight and let Graham battle it out. 

10.Ruffin (Barrois' brigade) charges Spanish

Ruffin's forces charge up the Cerro de Puerco, trying to sweep the Spanish from the ridge.

11. Ruffin driven back

Cruz Murgeon repels Ruffin’s first attempt to carry the Cerro, sending him reeling back to the foot of the hill.

12. Wheatley charges French flank

As the French form up to assault the British line, in a surprise move Wheatley charges from the cover of the woods to attack the the now unattached French cannon. The cannon limbers up in a panic and flees but now Laplane finds the British ranged out in line on his flank.

13. Wheatley lets a volley fly in enfilade

Wheatley’s brigade steps forward and unlooses a deadly volley into the French flank, dropping them in droves.

14. Meunier's brigade moves to the flank to cover Laplane

Laplane’s diminished ranks manage to turn and face Wheatley as Meunier’s brigade moves over to protect his flank against Dilkes. At upper right Dilkes can be seen, retreated to the safety of the woods but within charge range of the French left.

14. Ruffin again charges Cerro de Puerco

Meanwhile, on the French far left Ruffin again charges Cruz Murgeon at the peak of the Cerro de Puerco, this time softening them first with cannon fire. This time he succeeds in driving him off the hill with Spanish losses.

15. Ruffin carries the Cerro

16. Cruz Murgeon and Whittingham rout

Badly mauled Cruz Murgeon’s brigade routs, along with Whittingham who has been soundly beaten by the French cavalry. But all the successes on this flank are not enough to turn the tide… 

17. Dilkes fires devastating volley into French flank

For a second time the British, this time Dilkes, maneuvers on to the French flank and let loose a deadly volley into the flank of Meunier.

18. Dilkes' charge destroys Meunier's and Laplane's brigades

Dilkes’ subsequent charge routs Meunier’s brigade and the breakthrough charge routs Laplane. With only Ruffin’s troops left on this part of the battlefield Victor admits defeat and withdraws from the field, with the British having achieved a massive victory.