Saturday, April 9, 2016

Vimeiro - Take One - The Game

The game commences with the 7:30 turn and ends with the 12:00 turn - ten turns in total.  This timeframe was taken direct from the original Blue Book scenario.  Please see previous post for deployment and other aspects of the set up.

As it was a solo game and all the figures were mine with enough variety I was able to go without labels.  

End of the 7:30 turn and the French have arrived.  Brenner's out flanking force can be seen in the top right.  Maybe I had given them too much of a head start?

The Allied 7:30 turn and Wellesley reacts by moving troops from the western ridge. My first challenge was that the troops had to cross impassable terrain.  I ruled this was okay if they were in manoeuvre (column) and following a road.

By the end of the 8:00 turn the French have lead units within striking distance of the British deployed before Vimeiro village and Brenier has made good progress and is approaching Ventosa farm.  However Wellesley's reserve has reached his flank.  Both of this forces are out of command (basically only a 30% chance of  getting a half move).

Solignac's Brigade attacks Fane's brigade while the rest of Loison's division exchanges long range fire with Anstruher's.  The French are disordered by the long range fire and their attack meets with disaster suffering four losses and routing.

The British rifles (Fane) had considered pulling back to take benefit from their longer range, but failed their command roll (and as it was did take casualties from French fire).  Both British brigades are benefiting from being deployed even though the rough terrain doesn't provide cover..

The outflanking moves.  Wellesley has another two brigades almost in position to block the French.

9:00 and Loison is busy rallying his division after its repulse.

Brenier deploys (using my rule variation for march columns being in command in the turn they come out of march column).  The British and Portuguese also deploy.  
A good view of the total battle can be seen in this picture.

9:30 Kellerman attacks.  The British rout before it comes to close combat.  The French luck finally comes good and this counts with four units firing on the British.

By the end of the 9:30 turn the French are in a good position against the village of Vimeiro, seen here occupied by Acland's brigade.  The Rifles have rallied (love that rule in the new edition of the rules for self rallying, however I play it without penalty).

However Brenier's attack has become disjointed.  His cavalry can't engage because of the rough terrain and he's facing enemy on two sides.

10:00 and Loison and Kellerman both launch attacks.  Loison routs Anstruther but is disordered as he follows up into rough terrain.  Kellerman forces Ferguson to retire.

Brenier's lead unit comes under heavy fire.

Top down view of Loison's and Kellerman's attacks.  They were lucky, but only needed moderate luck as both of the British units were disordered.

The view from the French side at the end of 10:00.  Brenier's lead unit has routed.  This is somewhat of a blessing as this allowed it to rejoin the main body of French.

The end of the 10:00 turn from the British side.

10:30 and the French have pulled back to reposition for their next attack at Vimeiro village.  Brenier has also started to pullback.  The British maintain a steady long range fire which continues to inflict casualties.

11:00 and Kellerman launches an attack on the village.  The Grenadiers suffer losses on the way in and in the first round of combat, but in the second round they succeed in disordering Acland so that his brigade is forced to withdraw and suffers more losses causing it to disperse.  Things get worse for Wellesley as Fane's brigade is also dispersed (from long range fire).

Hill and Anstruther counterattack driving Kellerman from the village.  Hill was repulsed, but Anstruther was able to occupy the village (as Kellerman had to withdraw because he was disordered do to previously occupying the village after combat).

End of the 11:00 turn.  The forces are starting to thin down.  Wellesley might have sent too many troops after Brenier as he now finds his front around Vimeiro is weak compared to what the French can now muster against it.  .  

11:30 and Charlot's brigade of Loison's Division attacks Hill who is forced to withdraw taking heavy casualties (which reminds me why I previously didn't like the withdraw rule, however I find it works well now that I understand it).

The end of the 11:30 turn.  The British still hold Vimeiro.  It is turning into a very hot day.  Do the French have the ability to make a final attack?


The end of the 12:00 turn and end of the game.  Casualties have been very heavy with a number of units dispersing due to long range fire alone (maybe the French did have their artillery with them after all)

Junot makes his way to the tavern in Vimeiro for a well deserved drink.  Wellesley has his work cut out for him to retreat to Porto Novo to hand over his command to Burrard and board ship back to Ireland or India never to return to the Peninsula which, with Burrard's subsequent surrender to Junot leads to a whole different outcome to the Peninsula War.

I was amazed at the outcome as I thought the French  were doomed.  This was a very exciting game with plenty of see-saw action.  Cavalry and artillery is best left out and the whole of the terrain could just about be considered rough.  Command control of any flank marches is critical, in fact, I would say, if a flank march or reaction to one will put troops out of command, don't    You can get away with it with corps, but divisions or smaller sized forces are a challenge although possibly cavalry can get away with it,.


  1. Interesting approach to use the Vimeiro boardgame map for miniatures. Did you blow it up or is it the same size as the original game map?

    A victory for the French? I have gamed Vimeiro on more than a handful of occasions and have yet to witness a French success.

    Good job!

    1. I'm not sure what size the original map is. I took it from Vassal using two screen shots which I then combined into one picture using Excel which I think I then took another screen shot of to get a single JPG. I then edited it using Paint. I didn't do the printing, but it did involve a plotter and I think some form of enlargement to get the scale right. I had told then the expected printed size based on the hexes being 2 inches across.

      I was surprised by the French victory as it was not what I expected. The British took extra losses when withdrawing from close combat and this all added up. As it was solo I might have been playing better as the French. Also I did send too many troops off to face Brenier's outflanking manoeuvre.

    2. Just an update, I think your observation about French success will be born out by the changes to stream/gully between Vimeiro and Toldeo and by reducing the French to their Oman numbers, not the figures I used which reflect the start of the campaign. I just need to get my act together and play the scenario again (and complete writing up the scenario instructions).

      Thanks again for your input.

  2. The map looks amazing, so much more defined than standard scenery. Do you design the maps yourself or is it a boardgame map blown up? If the latter I might be able to help making some custom ones for you. From the photo's it looks like a map printed on felt rather than paper.

    Very Interesting

  3. The map is from a boardgame. I was very happy how it turned out.

    I have boardgames of Leipzig and Austerlitz that could lend themselves as maps for battles, but need a bit of thought first.

    The printing has been done on paper, but plotter paper so does feel and act a bit different. I'm looking forward to using it for an air game.

  4. This looks great! It is a concept I have been thinking about off and on for a while. For my own Napoleonics project I was thinking in terms of somewhere between the presentation you have shown here and the more 'standard' type of war games terrain.

    1. Thanks. The intention is to add some terrain pieces. I'm yet to make/obtain some suitable buildings and I was planning on putting down some small rocks and rubberised horse hair (or whatever it is) to denote impassable terrain.