Author Archive

Spanish Campaign Army – Introduction

Posted on December 9th, 2017 under . Posted by

Campaign map of EuropeMy 1813 campaign has five allied armies, one of which is Spanish.   They have proved the most difficult to fit into my campaign, and have changed the most due to play experience.   I thought it might be interes…

Our Spanish Adventure – Part Six

Posted on December 2nd, 2017 under . Posted by

When we moved to Spain in 2006 I knew that most of our leisure time would be taken up with hill walking and wargaming.  I did not realise that I would find a third interest which would take up just as much time as the other two.
I cannot remember even reading a blog before I retired, let alone writing one.  Nor can I remember when I did discover them, but I know it was after we moved to Spain.   I suspect that I found them through TMP.
I have always been one of those strange people who keep a daily diary.   I also used to make an album of holiday photographs.   So it is not surprising that blogging appealed to me.
I believe Napoleonic Wargaming was the first blog I wrote.  The first entry was May 2009 and the aim was to write one entry a week about all aspects of my wargaming activities.   I have kept to that objective, and have posted at least one a week since then.  I kept an index of each subject by using the Labels function.   I always wanted them to be a source of reference, and have continued to do so with all of my blogs.
About the same time I started Jan and Paul in Spain.  This was to be a record of our life in Spain and our regular hill walking.  It was intended for friends and family in the UK, but quickly became popular with nor only our walking group and also walkers throughout the world.   I have one blog for each year and usually post twice a week during the walking season.   Pretty well every walk we have done in Spain since 2006 is recorded in words and photos.   Each blog has an index and it is quite frightening to compare the same walk over the years, and to see how everyone has aged.
The third major blog was my 1813 Campaign Diary.   Started in April 2009 it is a series of blogs covering the countless phases of the campaign.  It would be difficult to count the number of posts over the many blogs, but on average I have posted about 3-4 time a week.
The fourth major blog was Walking Napoleonic Battlefields, also started in 2009.   Over a period of years Jan and I had spent summer holidays walking most of the major Napoleonic battlefields.   I had compiled an album of each holiday and I used these to write a blog about each holiday.   Again they are indexed so that I can find each individual battlefield visit.   I wrote the last entry in 2011, but still get 10-20 visits each week.
These are the major blogs, but I have also written a number of minor ones
Wargames in Spain was a collection of the early wargames we played when we first moved here.   It was also started in May 2009, but covered wargames played over the previous three years.   It lasted less than a year and was replaced by my 1813 campaign blog.
Wellington’s Battles recorded my wargames of his battles.   Started in November 2009 and the last entry May 2012, there were only 14 battles fought.  I used maps and OOB researched for our battlefield visits to plan each wargame.
And finally Napoleonic Wargame Rules and Campaign Rules.   Both started in May 2009 so that anyone could follow my campaign diary blog.   They both received some interest, but really came into their own when I converted my solo campaign to PBEM in September 2009.   The Wargame Rules still receive 10-20 visits each week.
I am really surprised how involved I have become in writing the various blogs.   I am a creature of habit, and always have been.  I have always enjoyed writing my diaries, so I am a natural for writing blogs.  I have always done them for my own enjoyment, but have been greatly encouraged by the comments I receive, and by noting the number of visitors weekly and monthly.   As I write, this blog has had 191950 individual visitors over the years, and has 104 followers.   I would like to thank you all for following my journey and assure you that knowing someone out there reads what I write has been a great encouragement to continue to do so.
And that is enough of my Spanish Adventure, at least for the present.  Next week I will look for something more current to post about.

Our Spanish Adventure – Part Five

Posted on November 26th, 2017 under . Posted by

Our first wargame in Spain

We both worked full time until we moved to Spain.  In fact I finished work on the Thursday and caught the boat to Spain on the Friday.   So not only did we have to adjust to retirement, but also to leaving behind our social life.   Whilst working we found that one evening a week devoted to wargaming was sufficient, though I did paint most days for an hour or so.
I found the most striking adjustment was having every day completely free of commitments, and being able to fill them up with whatever you felt like doing.   For a couple of weeks I felt quite guilty for “having” to do anything.
We quickly joined the Costa Blanca Mountain Walkers, which accounted for one day.   What I used to call “personal administration” when I was in the army took another two days.  That left us four days free.
Our new kitten helps me rebase figures
In those early days I still hoped that we might be able to either join, or form, a wargames club.  That would allow us to wargame and make new friends at the same time.  Unfortunately that did not develop.   So we started by allowing one full day for wargaming.   This worked quite well for a couple of months.   But we found that we did not want to spend a whole day wargaming, and gradually changed to an hour or two most days.   We found this suited us much better and continued to do so.
Having so much time to game we found it increasingly difficult to come up with new ideas.   One early solution was to refight historical battles.   In 2009 we started with Wellington’s battles in the Peninsula, and wargamed each of his battles, concluding with Waterloo.   I started a blog to record these games, as I hoped they might prove useful to other wargamers.   
When we finished Waterloo I tried to do something similar with Napoleon’s battles.  But they were much larger and required too many figures for my wargames table.   I did experiment with his Italian campaign, but it never developed.
In April 2009 I also started my 1813 campaign.   This was designed to provide an endless supply of interesting battles to wargame.  It proved much more successful than the refight of historical battles.   We are currently gaming the 269th battle in that campaign.
I have written quite a lot about that campaign on this blog, and I will not repeat it again.  However if you would like to know more just select Label 04 on the right and look through the posts.
I always knew that wargaming and hill walking would play an important part in our retirement.  But I had not anticipated how important blogging would become.   To conclude this series about our life in Spain I will outline my introduction to blogging next week.
 

Our Spanish Adventure – Part Four

Posted on November 19th, 2017 under . Posted by

Salisbury Journal 1984
We arrived in Spain on 18 March 2006.   We had travelled by boat from Portsmouth to Bilbao.  This meant we spent St Patricks Night with a mass of Irishmen wearing green top hats and knocking back gallons of Guinness.   As I was born in Dublin myself this was a very appropriate way to start our new life.
On arrival we had three priorities.   One sort out the house.   Two arrange to join a walking group.  Three sort out our wargames room.   Number two proved the easiest to solve.  This area is very popular for walking, and there are many small groups.   The most popular is called Costa Blanca Mountain Walkers.   It is very similar to the Ramblers Association in the UK, but is free to join.  They walk twice a week and offer two or three walks each time.  So they cover all abilities.   We joined in the first month and soon after moved to a smaller private walking group.  We have walked with them every week since.
First walk with Costa Blanca Mountain Walkers
Sorting the house would take a year or so.   The unpacking was completed in days, but with a new house there are a lot of small, and not so small, jobs required to make it a home.
The wargaming packing boxes were stacked in our brand new wargames room and we set about planning just what sort of wargames set up we wanted.
The first decision was what sort of wargames table and shelfing for the model soldiers and buildings.   We knew the size, but were not sure what sort of playing area we wanted.   Our table in Salisbury was inspired by our visits to Peter Guilder’s Wargames Holiday Centre.   He used 3×3 foot scenic squares to create his terrain.   We had much less space, and settled for 2×2 foot squares.  That size has served us very well for 20 odd years.
First Wargame in Spain
We considered getting a mat cover and using flexible road and river terrain.   But eventually I decided it would be too much trouble setting up each wargames table, and we would need a lot of terrain sections to be able to create the wide range of games I anticipated playing.   So we decided on 2×2 foot squares.  But these would not be covered in pollyfiller as our previous ones.   They had required constant repair as the paint chipped off.   The squares would be painted, but only hill sections would be built up.   The end result was more basic, but I liked it much better.
We had brought three armies with us.  6mm Heroics and Ross, 18mm AB and 28mm Elite figures.   As the roads would be painted on the squares we settled for a compromise between 18mm and 28mm.   Our broad plan was to fight small battles with 28mm, medium with 18mm and very large with 6mm.   All three armies had the same order of battle, so this would not be a problem.  
I was aware from research before the move that there were no formal wargames clubs or groups in our immediate area.    There was a Spanish group in Alicante, but that was too far to travel regularly, and there would be the language problem.
When we moved to Salisbury and formed our first group we did so by asking the local newspaper to publish an article.  They were happy to do so, and we had a good response which got us started.   There are two English language newspapers here, and we approached them to do the same.  One sent a reporter to take photos and did a full page write up.   The response was promising, but none of the ten who contacted us had any experience of wargaming.   None had sufficient interest to commit to a weekly wargame either.   Two of them had a casual interest, and we arranged a couple of games.   But it did not achieve what we wanted to do.   We wanted to be able to wargame on a daily basis, and could not do so if we had to set up a different wargame once a week.  So we decided that the answer was to restrict it to just the two of us.   This would allow us to have a game set up permanently on the wargames table, and we could play an hour or two whenever we wanted.  For the first time we would wargame daily, rather than weekly.
Next week I will explain how we adjusted to daily wargaming

Our Spanish Adventure – Part Three

Posted on November 12th, 2017 under . Posted by


Salisbury Wargames Room
Wargaming played a major part in our decision to move to Spain.   It had been a major part of our life for the previous 40 odd years, and it would certainly continue to do so in retirement.
When we house hunting in Salisbury we wanted to ensure that we had a suitable area for a wargames table.   We were fortunate to find a nice house with a very large outbuilding.   I think it was built as a garage, but it was solid and free standing.
It was our first permanent wargames table and we wanted to make it as big as possible.  We managed 12×6 foot.   We used it for 20 odd years and it was home to our weekly wargames for most of that time.  We provided all of the models and scenery and I organised all of the games.   Membership varied from four to twelve, and the large table allowed for quite complicated games.
When we started planning for moving to Spain we had to make some major decisions on the type of wargaming we would want to cater for.   We hoped that we might be able to form a similar club, but realised that it might not be possible given the much smaller population.   We never even considered a mixed Spanish and English speaking group.   We had tried it in Germany many years earlier and it just did not work.   We have no great language skills and could only master pretty basic Germany.   Ok for shopping and casual conversation, but not sufficient for complicated communication.   We expected that it would be similar in Spain.


House in Parcent
In 2004 the demand for new houses in southern Spain, at least the type ex pats wanted to buy, was at its height.  There were relatively few ready to move into, most had to be bought “off plan”.   This meant that the house would not be started until the builder had a deposit, and consequently it would not be ready to move into for at least six months.  Often longer if the site needed preparation, roads built, electric and water installed etc.   It could, and often did, take more than a year.  On the other hand because no work had been done, it was possible to discuss exactly what you wanted with the builder.  
Our house in Spain was “off plan”, and we were able to extend the plan to include a large under build.  This would add an extension to the master bedroom and, more importantly, a large utility room which would become our wargames room.

Our New Wargames Room
Once we had agreed the extension, and knew the maximum size of table, we could plan the size and scope of our wargaming.   We had already decided that if there were only two of us wargaming a 12×6 foot table would be too large.   So we were happy to settle for a 6×6 foot table in our new home.    This would be comfortable for two players and could cope with four at a pinch.
We had collected model soldiers to make full use of our larger wargames table.   And I had extended the original 25/28mm figures to include similar armies of 15/18mm and also 6mm.   However we agreed that they would have to be reduced by about 50%.  During the 12 month wait for our house to be built we sold off half of the collection on EBay.
I had also made a decision that I would no longer paint any figures.  This may seem strange, given that I had painted most days during the previous 40 years.   But I was finding it more difficult to paint, especially the smaller figures.   And I wanted to concentrate on wargaming rather than painting.
Even with the collection reduced by 50%, packing for the move would be a major operation.   We collected a large collection of ice cream boxes, the plastic type.   All of the figures were removed from their bases and packed carefully.   The ice cream boxes were then packed in large boxes provided by the removal company.   I got rid of most of our scenery, but that still left a lot of buildings in all three scales.  These required different size boxes, and they were collected throughout the year.   I was surprised, and not a little relieved, that they all arrived in Spain without a single breakage.
It was hard to get rid of the wargames table.   It had provided all of my wargames for almost thirty years.   It was hand built and the table consisted of 30 wooden squares each 2×2 foot.   I tried to sell it, but without success.  I then tried to find a good home if I gave it away for free.   Again no success.   Finally my son dismantled it and took it to Newcastle, where the wood was used to convert his outbuilding into a home cinema.   I was sad to see it go, but pleased that it would continue to provide pleasure for years to come.
Next week I will tell you about arriving in Spain and trying to establish our new wargame system.

Our Spanish Adventure

Posted on November 5th, 2017 under . Posted by

Parcent from our terrace
We did not know Spain very well.   We had spent four walking holidays exploring Wellington’s Spanish and Portuguese battlefields in the 1990s.   More recently we had enjoyed a walking holiday in the Canaries.   Despite this we had decided to consider moving there on retirement.
In the 1970s we had spent five years living in Germany, so we had some experience of life outside the UK.  That was when I was serving in the army, and we lived in a military community.   We did have a few local friends, but most of our social life was on garrison.   It did give us an insight of how difficult it might be living in a completely foreign community.
In 2004 there was a lot of interest in living and working in Spain.   It seemed a lot of Europeans, many of them British, were moving there to work or retire.   There were programmes on TV about the experience and regular exhibitions at local hotels sponsored by estate agents.   We attended a few, and accepted an offer of a free four day “inspection visit”.   We used the visit to get a feel for house prices and what was available in our price range.  The estate agent was disappointed that we did not put down a deposit.
When we returned to UK we started our research.   We had no clear idea what part of Spain we wanted to live in, and would have to narrow down the choices.   We were very aware that living in a foreign country is a lot different from a short holiday in one.
We wanted to move for a better retirement experience, which meant the weather and the relaxed and friendly life style.   However we also wanted a comfortable life with all the advantages of living in the UK, including access to an English speaking community.   We also wanted to be able to enjoy our two hobbies, wargaming and hill walking.
It did not take long to realise that the most suitable area for us would be the Costa Blanca.    The weather was less extreme than further south in Andalusia.   It had a large ex pat population and the local community catered for it.   On our inspection visit we obtained a copy of the local English language newspaper, which included a large pull out section about clubs and activities aimed at ex pats.   There would be a large number of English speaking people where we might find fellow wargamers.   There were also a large number of walking groups which would make exploring the surrounding hills much easier.
Most ex pats live on the coast, between Benidorm and Denia.   The holiday resorts are really a sort of “Blackpool in the Sun”.   That was not what we wanted at all.   So we expanded our search inland.   

Parcent in February (almond blossom time)
Our research had revealed that there was a very popular walking area called the Jalon Valley.  It is half an hour from the coastal towns of Denia and Calpe, and another 15 minutes from the holiday mecca of Benidorm.   We contacted a local estate agent and arranged to spend a week looking at suitable houses.
One of the first villages we visited was Parcent.   It is situated in the middle of the valley and surrounded by mountains.   Our first impression was “Scotland with sunshine”.   It has a population of about 1000, of which about 100 are ex pat.   A mixed collection of British, German and Dutch.   For such a small village there are five bars and a mini supermarket.   We had found our new home.
Next week I will tell you about moving my large collection of model soldiers and settling them in their new home.

Our Spanish Adventure

Posted on November 5th, 2017 under . Posted by

Parcent from our terrace
We did not know Spain very well.   We had spent four walking holidays exploring Wellington’s Spanish and Portuguese battlefields in the 1990s.   More recently we had enjoyed a walking holiday in the Canaries.   Despite this we had decided to consider moving there on retirement.
In the 1970s we had spent five years living in Germany, so we had some experience of life outside the UK.  That was when I was serving in the army, and we lived in a military community.   We did have a few local friends, but most of our social life was on garrison.   It did give us an insight of how difficult it might be living in a completely foreign community.
In 2004 there was a lot of interest in living and working in Spain.   It seemed a lot of Europeans, many of them British, were moving there to work or retire.   There were programmes on TV about the experience and regular exhibitions at local hotels sponsored by estate agents.   We attended a few, and accepted an offer of a free four day “inspection visit”.   We used the visit to get a feel for house prices and what was available in our price range.  The estate agent was disappointed that we did not put down a deposit.
When we returned to UK we started our research.   We had no clear idea what part of Spain we wanted to live in, and would have to narrow down the choices.   We were very aware that living in a foreign country is a lot different from a short holiday in one.
We wanted to move for a better retirement experience, which meant the weather and the relaxed and friendly life style.   However we also wanted a comfortable life with all the advantages of living in the UK, including access to an English speaking community.   We also wanted to be able to enjoy our two hobbies, wargaming and hill walking.
It did not take long to realise that the most suitable area for us would be the Costa Blanca.    The weather was less extreme than further south in Andalusia.   It had a large ex pat population and the local community catered for it.   On our inspection visit we obtained a copy of the local English language newspaper, which included a large pull out section about clubs and activities aimed at ex pats.   There would be a large number of English speaking people where we might find fellow wargamers.   There were also a large number of walking groups which would make exploring the surrounding hills much easier.
Most ex pats live on the coast, between Benidorm and Denia.   The holiday resorts are really a sort of “Blackpool in the Sun”.   That was not what we wanted at all.   So we expanded our search inland.   

Parcent in February (almond blossom time)
Our research had revealed that there was a very popular walking area called the Jalon Valley.  It is half an hour from the coastal towns of Denia and Calpe, and another 15 minutes from the holiday mecca of Benidorm.   We contacted a local estate agent and arranged to spend a week looking at suitable houses.
One of the first villages we visited was Parcent.   It is situated in the middle of the valley and surrounded by mountains.   Our first impression was “Scotland with sunshine”.   It has a population of about 1000, of which about 100 are ex pat.   A mixed collection of British, German and Dutch.   For such a small village there are five bars and a mini supermarket.   We had found our new home.
Next week I will tell you about moving my large collection of model soldiers and settling them in their new home.

Our Spanish Adventure

Posted on October 29th, 2017 under . Posted by


Last week there was a comment on TMP in response to a review I did of my 1813 campaign.   It implied how lucky I was to have retired to Spain with a wife who enjoyed wargaming.  It made me realise how lucky I have been, and prompted me to write a series of blogs about why we made the move.
Why Spain?
Why now?
2004 was a critical year for my wife and I.
First I reached my 60th birthday
Second I was diagnosed with prostate cancer
Third I was made redundant
Fourth we decided to move to Spain
Reaching sixty is an important milestone.   You realise that big changes are about to take place.  You will soon finish full time work.   You will have to take steps to ensure that the best years of your life are not already behind you.
Being diagnosed with cancer is frightening.   You suddenly realise that you might not be here next year.   It is not something you can ignore, you have to come to terms with it.
In normal circumstances being made redundant is also frightening and life changing.   But in these circumstances it was just another challenge.
Moving to Spain would give me hope and a project to work on.
In 2004 everyone seemed to be moving to Spain.  The papers and TV were full of stories of people packing their boxes and making a new life for themselves in Spain.   Like most things in the papers and on TV, there is a lot more to it than is at first obvious.
In the 1990s Jan and I had done a series of walking battlefield holidays.  Four of them in Portugal and Spain.   You don’t see a lot of the usual tourist spots on these type of holidays, but you do meet a lot of locals and get a real feel for the country.
In 2003 we had our first “proper” holiday in Spain.   We spent two weeks on a winter walking holiday in the Canaries.   It made us appreciate how pleasant the winter months can be, and to dread spending our retirement in the UK.
Our previous long term planning for retirement underwent a major review.   We booked up one of the many free house viewing holidays then available and explored the possibility of moving to Spain.   That first venture was a real education, and we discovered more about what to avoid than to see anything we were tempted to accept.
By the end of 2004 I had completed my treatment and we had decided to seriously consider moving to Spain.
Next week I will explain some of the detailed planning prior to the move.

Our Spanish Adventure

Posted on October 29th, 2017 under . Posted by


Last week there was a comment on TMP in response to a review I did of my 1813 campaign.   It implied how lucky I was to have retired to Spain with a wife who enjoyed wargaming.  It made me realise how lucky I have been, and prompted me to write a series of blogs about why we made the move.
Why Spain?
Why now?
2004 was a critical year for my wife and I.
First I reached my 60th birthday
Second I was diagnosed with prostate cancer
Third I was made redundant
Fourth we decided to move to Spain
Reaching sixty is an important milestone.   You realise that big changes are about to take place.  You will soon finish full time work.   You will have to take steps to ensure that the best years of your life are not already behind you.
Being diagnosed with cancer is frightening.   You suddenly realise that you might not be here next year.   It is not something you can ignore, you have to come to terms with it.
In normal circumstances being made redundant is also frightening and life changing.   But in these circumstances it was just another challenge.
Moving to Spain would give me hope and a project to work on.
In 2004 everyone seemed to be moving to Spain.  The papers and TV were full of stories of people packing their boxes and making a new life for themselves in Spain.   Like most things in the papers and on TV, there is a lot more to it than is at first obvious.
In the 1990s Jan and I had done a series of walking battlefield holidays.  Four of them in Portugal and Spain.   You don’t see a lot of the usual tourist spots on these type of holidays, but you do meet a lot of locals and get a real feel for the country.
In 2003 we had our first “proper” holiday in Spain.   We spent two weeks on a winter walking holiday in the Canaries.   It made us appreciate how pleasant the winter months can be, and to dread spending our retirement in the UK.
Our previous long term planning for retirement underwent a major review.   We booked up one of the many free house viewing holidays then available and explored the possibility of moving to Spain.   That first venture was a real education, and we discovered more about what to avoid than to see anything we were tempted to accept.
By the end of 2004 I had completed my treatment and we had decided to seriously consider moving to Spain.
Next week I will explain some of the detailed planning prior to the move.

Musket and Artillery Firepower

Posted on October 22nd, 2017 under . Posted by

Casualties and morale are the determining factor in our (house) wargame rules.   It is quite difficult to inflict artillery, skirmish or musket casualties, but once received they have a decisive effect.   Melee always results in ca…

Musket and Artillery Firepower

Posted on October 22nd, 2017 under . Posted by

Casualties and morale are the determining factor in our (house) wargame rules.   It is quite difficult to inflict artillery, skirmish or musket casualties, but once received they have a decisive effect.   Melee always results in ca…

Start of Linares Campaign

Posted on October 15th, 2017 under . Posted by

Linares Campaign MapI am trying out a new type of map for this campaign.  I will use this new style to plot campaign movement and also for the campaign diary blog.  But there is also an old style map with square numbers to transfer the battl…

Start of Linares Campaign

Posted on October 15th, 2017 under . Posted by

Linares Campaign MapI am trying out a new type of map for this campaign.  I will use this new style to plot campaign movement and also for the campaign diary blog.  But there is also an old style map with square numbers to transfer the battl…

1813 Campaign Review

Posted on October 8th, 2017 under . Posted by

I have started work on the next phase of the campaign, which will be set in Southern Spain.   In preparation I have been updating the maps, and making some new ones.   It seemed a good time to review the campaign to date.The campai…

1813 Campaign Review

Posted on October 8th, 2017 under . Posted by

I have started work on the next phase of the campaign, which will be set in Southern Spain.   In preparation I have been updating the maps, and making some new ones.   It seemed a good time to review the campaign to date.The campai…

1813 Erfurt Campaign

Posted on October 1st, 2017 under . Posted by


Erfurt Strategic Map
This was a very enjoyable campaign which lasted for three months and provided us with five battles to wargame.   Often our campaigns provide one or two corps battles, but this was had more large battles.   Particularly the last one, which had four corps on each side.   Our wargames table is 6×6 foot and we use 28mm figures.   Three corps fit comfortably on the table, but four per side make for interesting manoeuvre problems.   The tables tend to be quite crowded with scenery which channels movement and makes it difficult to feed in reinforcements.  The battle of Rudolstadt had both a French and a Russian corps arriving at the start of move one.  It worked well for the Russians, who were in defence.  The reinforcements arrived in the right place, and at the right time, to stiffen the wavering Russian right flank.
However the French reinforcements arrived at the far side of the table.   As they made their approach march the rest of the French army moved forward to attack the Russians.   By the time the Westphalian corps arrived and deployed it was too late to commit them to the attack.  The scenery would delay their approach to the enemy resulting in heavy casualties.  And even if they won nightfall would prevent them exploiting their success.
Although I was the French commander it was an interesting challenge.   The Russians held the town at the end of the battle, and claimed a victory.   But they had two of their four corps in rout.   And the presence of the uncommitted Westphalian corps convinced them that they needed to retreat under cover of darkness.
It is very rewarding when the campaign results in complicated wargames like this.   In a one off game I would have sent the Westphalians in to attack, as I would have nothing to lose.  But if I had done so in this campaign game, and if the attack failed with heavy casualties, the Russians would have offered a second day of battle.
We have also been experimenting with the wargame rules during this campaign.
For some time we have been trying to prevent the artillery from firing every move, even if there was little chance of hitting anything.   We restricted the number times each gun could fire, but that proved difficult to keep track of.   We have now started to use smoke each time they fire.   If they don’t fire next move the smoke is removed at the end of the artillery firing phase.   If they do fire there is a minus one on their dice throw for effect.   Mostly the gunners have continued to fire anyway, but it reduces their effect slightly.
We have also introduced this for infantry and skirmish fire.   I have often read how effective a first volley was and this has a similar effect.   It helps the attacker, who previously suffered from constant artillery, skirmish and musket fire as they approached.   Now the defender is more likely to avoid long range fire to make the short range fire more effective.
You will find the campaign diary blog here
http://1813pbemcampaigndiary.blogspot.com.es/

1813 Erfurt Campaign

Posted on October 1st, 2017 under . Posted by


Erfurt Strategic Map
This was a very enjoyable campaign which lasted for three months and provided us with five battles to wargame.   Often our campaigns provide one or two corps battles, but this was had more large battles.   Particularly the last one, which had four corps on each side.   Our wargames table is 6×6 foot and we use 28mm figures.   Three corps fit comfortably on the table, but four per side make for interesting manoeuvre problems.   The tables tend to be quite crowded with scenery which channels movement and makes it difficult to feed in reinforcements.  The battle of Rudolstadt had both a French and a Russian corps arriving at the start of move one.  It worked well for the Russians, who were in defence.  The reinforcements arrived in the right place, and at the right time, to stiffen the wavering Russian right flank.
However the French reinforcements arrived at the far side of the table.   As they made their approach march the rest of the French army moved forward to attack the Russians.   By the time the Westphalian corps arrived and deployed it was too late to commit them to the attack.  The scenery would delay their approach to the enemy resulting in heavy casualties.  And even if they won nightfall would prevent them exploiting their success.
Although I was the French commander it was an interesting challenge.   The Russians held the town at the end of the battle, and claimed a victory.   But they had two of their four corps in rout.   And the presence of the uncommitted Westphalian corps convinced them that they needed to retreat under cover of darkness.
It is very rewarding when the campaign results in complicated wargames like this.   In a one off game I would have sent the Westphalians in to attack, as I would have nothing to lose.  But if I had done so in this campaign game, and if the attack failed with heavy casualties, the Russians would have offered a second day of battle.
We have also been experimenting with the wargame rules during this campaign.
For some time we have been trying to prevent the artillery from firing every move, even if there was little chance of hitting anything.   We restricted the number times each gun could fire, but that proved difficult to keep track of.   We have now started to use smoke each time they fire.   If they don’t fire next move the smoke is removed at the end of the artillery firing phase.   If they do fire there is a minus one on their dice throw for effect.   Mostly the gunners have continued to fire anyway, but it reduces their effect slightly.
We have also introduced this for infantry and skirmish fire.   I have often read how effective a first volley was and this has a similar effect.   It helps the attacker, who previously suffered from constant artillery, skirmish and musket fire as they approached.   Now the defender is more likely to avoid long range fire to make the short range fire more effective.
You will find the campaign diary blog here
http://1813pbemcampaigndiary.blogspot.com.es/

Campaign Maps – France and Italy

Posted on September 17th, 2017 under . Posted by


Previous map of Europe
My 1813 campaign is situated in Germany and Spain.  I created this outline map of Europe which included major cities.   It covers Berlin and Vienna on the right, and extends to Portugal and Gibraltar on the left.   I used this on the campaign blog to show where the five campaign areas are (three in Germany and two in Spain).  Each city is named, but the scale is too large to read them on the blog.

New map of Europe
The new map covers an even larger area, as it extends to Warsaw in the east.   But because it is not to scale it does not have to be so large.   Each hex is a campaign phase area.   All capital cities are shown and major national borders.   Each hex has the name of the city it contains, which will also be the name of the campaign phase.   On the computer the detail is quite clear, and even on the campaign blog it is possible to see the major cities.   It is quite easy to see that there are ten hex from Paris to Berlin.   

New map of France
The next step was to create a national map of Germany and Spain, which I have shown on the previous blogs.    When I had done so I had duplicated the maps which I used for the past ten years for my 1813 campaign.
However I wanted to expand the campaign options to include France.   This would give me the option to include France if I wished to do so.  It also made it easy for me to determine where the eastern edge of the map of Germany went.   To make this easier I extended the map of France to include the border hex on the German side.

New map of Italy
I don’t have any plans to extend the 1813 campaign, or even a possible 1814 campaign, to include Italy.   But I thought it best to create a national map of Italy in case I should ever want to change the entire campaign in the future.  It’s to do them all at the same time when the principles are fresh in my mind.
So now I have a comprehensive and interlocking series of maps to include all of Europe, with a clear set of campaign phases.   I have also created more detailed campaign maps of the five geographical areas included in the current campaign.   And if I wanted to extend it to include France and/or Italy it would be easy to do so for them.

Campaign Maps – France and Italy

Posted on September 17th, 2017 under . Posted by


Previous map of Europe
My 1813 campaign is situated in Germany and Spain.  I created this outline map of Europe which included major cities.   It covers Berlin and Vienna on the right, and extends to Portugal and Gibraltar on the left.   I used this on the campaign blog to show where the five campaign areas are (three in Germany and two in Spain).  Each city is named, but the scale is too large to read them on the blog.

New map of Europe
The new map covers an even larger area, as it extends to Warsaw in the east.   But because it is not to scale it does not have to be so large.   Each hex is a campaign phase area.   All capital cities are shown and major national borders.   Each hex has the name of the city it contains, which will also be the name of the campaign phase.   On the computer the detail is quite clear, and even on the campaign blog it is possible to see the major cities.   It is quite easy to see that there are ten hex from Paris to Berlin.   

New map of France
The next step was to create a national map of Germany and Spain, which I have shown on the previous blogs.    When I had done so I had duplicated the maps which I used for the past ten years for my 1813 campaign.
However I wanted to expand the campaign options to include France.   This would give me the option to include France if I wished to do so.  It also made it easy for me to determine where the eastern edge of the map of Germany went.   To make this easier I extended the map of France to include the border hex on the German side.

New map of Italy
I don’t have any plans to extend the 1813 campaign, or even a possible 1814 campaign, to include Italy.   But I thought it best to create a national map of Italy in case I should ever want to change the entire campaign in the future.  It’s to do them all at the same time when the principles are fresh in my mind.
So now I have a comprehensive and interlocking series of maps to include all of Europe, with a clear set of campaign phases.   I have also created more detailed campaign maps of the five geographical areas included in the current campaign.   And if I wanted to extend it to include France and/or Italy it would be easy to do so for them.