Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Vimeiro 1808 - Osprey Publishing

I've always had a fascination with this battle since I read an AAR in a local wargaming magazine when I was growing up in Adelaide.  I wonder if I still have it?

While preparing for Austerlitz and a few other Napoleonic projects the need for a "quick" game popped up and I thought of Vimeiro.  I have a Napoleon's Battles scenario for it and a number of books on the Peninsula War so I started to do some research.  Almost the very next day I was in Tactics and saw this Osprey book.

While an enjoyable read I found it a bit light on for my purposes, but then I think I'm being unrealistic in my expectations.  The book covers the first occupation of Portugal by the French and therefore is more than just the Battle of Vimeiro.

The Battle of Rolica is covered which is a tad small for my purposes, but operationally significant.  The kind of thing that might occur (and be dealt with) if I was using something like the Scharnhorst mini campaign system to set up the battle.

Illustrations, photos, painting reproductions along with the maps all provide value and inspiration. It is also amusing to note that Vimeiro was the first battle fought by the British with their hair cut short and in its natural colour.

As a set piece battle Vimeiro requires attention to terrain as well as the ability to move troops about.  This has got me again thinking of Scharnhorst or a variation on such a pregame map based system.

As a campaign it has some interesting aspects.  The French are totally cut-off.  There are a number of fortresses besieged by the Portuguese who have to rely on starving the French out.  British reinforcements arrive piecemeal. The British (specifically Wellesley) is hampered by inferior superior commanders and if the campaign goes on too long the French could find themselves facing Burrard 3"P(4)+0 or Dalrymple 3"P(4)-1 - generals don't come much worse than them.


  1. Vimeiro is one of my favorites! I have probably gamed this one battle more than any other. I often use either Vimeiro or Maida as a test for new rules. Vimeiro works well as a solo refight too.

    1. I'm probably months away from crystallising my ideas on how to do it, but they are forming. First step is to get a decent map of the area.

    2. Napoleonic Series has a topo map from an old book. I have long forgotten the source but it reminds me of the topo maps in Maude.

    3. Thanks. That's a beautiful map. I must study it. Boardgames can sometimes provide useful maps. I have GMT's Wellington, but its map of Sapin is a bit too high level, although still of value. A game I'm yet to play, but bought on impulse as it looked as if it might support a Peninsula campaign miniatures game.

    4. Boardgames are an excellent source for maps. MMPs Talavera and Vimeiro has an easily accessible map via VASSAL.

    5. I've just loaded Vimeiro into Vassal - stunning (and very, very useful) map. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.