Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bitter victory

Piera, 30th August 1713

As reported some days ago, a couple of gamers of Lleida city have volunteered for proxy gaming battles of our campaign. They agreed to be given a first chance by playing a small cavalry battle of this turn in the right wing of Spanish Army Group Centre. It was quite a difficult scenario to play, due to the small and rather unusual OOB of both forces: on the Spanish side, one single Line Cavalry regiment had to face a similar Catalan unit supported by a Dragoons regiment, lead by a most experienced Catalan Cavalry General. In spite of such difficulties, these guys gladly assumed the challenge; so that they can now offer to us the results of their very first "real" experience in this campaign.

Their battle has been fought using Close Fire & European Order (CF&EO), scaling up the units involved so that each regiment was splitted into 3 squadrons of 3 stands each. This way, regimental commanders could be scaled up too, in order to perform as if CF&EO Brigadiers.

Starting setup had to consist in that the Spanish unit was about to be encircled around a masia known as Can Coltell, close to Piera town -so that their target was breaking the encirclement by leaving the table through the road in the Catalan deployment area. Of course, Catalan target was preventing the Spaniards to do this. With the aim to re-balance a little bit their fairly unbalanced OOBs, one of the Spanish squadrons was allowed to perform as if Dragoons they were. This is the gamers report on their battle:

The Spanish commander chose to hid their dismounted squadron in the small woods close to the farm, while their other two units started a diverging manoeuvre with the aim to induce confusion on the Catalan side about the location and instant of their breakout attempt. At an agreed moment, both units would converge against the Catalan center and force their way towards the road.

General Nebot's plan was to deploy Brichfeus Dragoons along the hills at their left, while his own Line Cavalry regiment advanced by the right with the aim to cut off the most likely Spanish break-off area.

The Spanish plan didn't develop that bad at first, but their "bull horns" manoeuvre proved too complicate, so that their left "horn" was soon intercepted by two Brichfeus' Dragoon squadrons. The Catalans were completely unaware of the Spaniards hidden in the woods, whose first musketry volley caught them by surprise. As a result of the intense fire suffered, Colonel Brichfeus himself fell mortally wounded.

Far from aborting the Catalan attack, this sad event encouraged his second in command to push their enemies into a furious charge that broke through their lines. With two Catalan squadrons at their rear and another three at their front, the Spaniards made a last attempt to reach in masse to the road, but their way was intercepted by the third Dragoon squadron. Almost completely sorrounded, the Spanish Horse tried a last stand, with the expectably disastrous result of 2/3 of their force being destroyed after a massive Catalan charge.

We're still to be acknowledged whether the surviving Spanish squadron along with their Colonel and standards were offered any honourable terms, or if they were just summoned to a plain surrender instead. Ironically, the Catalan side suffered a neglectable (*) amount of casualties by comparison to the Spanish one, except for the death of Colonel Brichfeus. As he was also the owner of the Dragoon regiment of his name, this leaves that unit in a quite hard financial situation -unless someone else offers himself to pay for them, this regiment ought to be disbanded in the short time.

The gamers have offered to us these two Photobucket slideshows:
From the Catalan side
From the Spanish view

(*) "Neglectable"? ...This sounds awfully cruel and warlike! ...No casualty in a war is ever neglectable, to my humble opinion. I'm glad our casualties are just miniatures who are simply drawn from the table or a statystics sheet -but who nevertheless keep being safe and eager to "fight" in the next tabletop battle...


Andreu said...

I need to say something:
First, I'm apologise to Lluis and the other readers of these blog 'cause I don't have ready the figures of my army. Hope that the next game I'll be ready.
Second, thanks to Lluis and Jordi for our place on these project.
Thirth about the game, Oscar and me don't talk about the fate of the survival troops. These troops did their objectives, scaping for Camí de Capellades. The other two squadrons destroyed in the game( I still imagine) have been killed without piety by the furios soldiers of Brichfeus squadron.
The fate of the spanish general and the last squadron is out of our consideration.Lluis and Jordi need to decide about them.
Fourth and finally also thanks to my wife who is traslating my words.
Best regards.

Soldadets said...

Andreu & Oscar:

No need to apologize, it will be time enough for your to build your armies, given the slow path our campaign is forced to run; for each turn is due to represent 1 campaign week, but we're currently lasting between 2-3 "actual" weeks to solve each one! -there are a number of parallel storylines inside each turn, and we're just a small handful of storyboard writers!

About your concern about Spanish survivors and casualties: when a unit is disbanded/destroyed in a tabletop game, it does not mean all soldiers in that unit are dead. Most linkely, the unit looses cohesion beyond any recovery level, men's confidence on their leaders vanishes, they panick and drop off their weapons -and flee in all directions for their lives.

Of course, if a unit reaches such dramatic stage, it is probably due to having suffered too much in the battle for their morale to resist. But have for sure that most of them are not dead -not yet at the very instant of fleeing, at least.

Soldadets said...

However, there is factor to be taken into account -and this is the rage of Brichfeus' troopers after the death of their Colonel. Historical accounts have ackowledged us that Colonel Brichfeus was a quite charysmatic man (an almost messianic man), so that his loss might cause a bloody vengeance thirst among his men.

So, let's suppose that after some percentage of casualties (10%?), the men of those destroyed squadrons start fleeing in all directions, and that at a first moment Brichfeus' dragoons begin chasing them as rabbits.

But a second factor to be taken into account are the strict orders of our Imagi-Nated Catalonia HQ not to give Spaniars prisoners any payback for their practice of executing Catalan prisoners. The Catalan force is being lead by one of the highest rank Catalan Generals, so that he'll be able to impose some order without too much difficulties -after a while.

Thus we might expect, let's say a 30% total casualties, until General Nebot drastically stops reprisals on Spanish prisoners.

In the end, we might conclude that some 100 men are unfairly killed, but another 200 save their lives and are taken prisoners -along with their horses!!! :)

Jeroen72 said...

Maybe their black guidons will reflect their newly found "no mercy" attitude ;)

Jordi said...

On the flag is written:
"We will live free or we will die". And the flag is sacred.