Author Archive

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.

Campaign Maps – Spanish Regions

Posted on September 9th, 2017 under . Posted by

Spanish Campaign AreasThere are two campaign areas in Spain, both outlined in white on this map.  The northern is the campaign area for British v Fourth French Army.   The British base is at Oporto and the French at Bayonne.  …

Campaign Maps – Spanish Regions

Posted on September 9th, 2017 under . Posted by

Spanish Campaign AreasThere are two campaign areas in Spain, both outlined in white on this map.  The northern is the campaign area for British v Fourth French Army.   The British base is at Oporto and the French at Bayonne.  …

Campaign Maps – Spain

Posted on September 2nd, 2017 under . Posted by

Previous campaign map of SpainThis is the previous campaign map of Spain.   It covers an area from the French border to the coast of Portugal.   Both national and regional borders are shown.   It includes all major terrai…

Campaign Maps – Spain

Posted on September 2nd, 2017 under . Posted by

Previous campaign map of SpainThis is the previous campaign map of Spain.   It covers an area from the French border to the coast of Portugal.   Both national and regional borders are shown.   It includes all major terrai…

Campaign Maps – German Regions

Posted on August 27th, 2017 under . Posted by

All GermanyThe three campaign regions of Germany are indicated by the white lines.   Each hex is a campaign area.   There are 22 in north Germany, 15 in central Germany and 23 in south Germany.   Each hex has the name of …

Campaign Maps – German Regions

Posted on August 27th, 2017 under . Posted by

All GermanyThe three campaign regions of Germany are indicated by the white lines.   Each hex is a campaign area.   There are 22 in north Germany, 15 in central Germany and 23 in south Germany.   Each hex has the name of …

Campaign Maps – Germany

Posted on August 20th, 2017 under . Posted by

First Map of Germany
My first attempt was to make as detailed and accurate a map as possible.   It covered an area from the north coast to Vienna, and from Warsaw to the river Rhine.   The grid was 15 miles square, which is one days march in the campaign or the size of a wargames table.   The white lines show the three campaign areas.
This map worked well on the computer, because I can zoom in and read all the detail.   I could also just copy sections for the area and even wargame maps.   But it does not work very well on the blog.   The map looks very “busy” and is difficult to “read”.   The blog is my diary of the campaign, and includes information about each phase plus battle reports.  So it is quite important that the maps also work on the blog.
The location of cities and towns is correct, as is the distance between them.  The location of rivers is also correct.   But the rest of the terrain is fictional.
AA Road Atlas
All of this information was taken from the road atlas.   This has the advantage that I can also use modern maps such as Google Maps and Google Earth.  But the road system is completely wrong for 1813. As is the size and importance of some towns and cities.   I found it very difficult to reconcile modern maps with historical ones.  I also found it very difficult to plot major terrain features.
New Map of Germany
The new map has a hex grid, rather than squares.   It is the same scale as the map of Europe, which is 60 miles per hex, or four times each square on the previous map.   Each hex is a campaign area, again the same as the new Europe map.  It has the same major borders shown.   Each city or town has a symbol showing either a city (with a church) or a town.   It also shows whether they are walled or not.
I used the previous map of Germany to plot the cities and towns shown on this map.   
I then put in a new road system of major roads (red) between cities and minor roads (yellow) between towns.  I kept the original more detailed borders and towns adjacent to a border were walled, others were not. I made a few exceptions when a walled town (such as Ratisbon or Dresden) had played an important part in an historical battle.  This information is not shown on this map, but it helps to explain why some towns are walled and some not.  Only major borders are shown on this map, but minor ones were used to determine which towns would be walled and which open.   I decided against any terrain features on this map in order to keep it simple. 
I like the simplistic look of this new map.   It is only used for planning, and for illustration on the blog.   Even on the blog it is easy to see where campaign objectives are, and to calculate how many phases you would have to fight to take a major objective.  For example three campaigns to take Munich from Vienna.   It is also useful to see which direction each army can move at the end of the current campaign phase.  For example from Erfurt the winner could move to Magdeburg, Halle or Zwickau.   None of this is obvious from the previous map of Germany.
The white lines show the army borders between north, central and southern Germany.   Next week I will deal with the regional maps.

Campaign Maps – Germany

Posted on August 20th, 2017 under . Posted by

First Map of Germany
My first attempt was to make as detailed and accurate a map as possible.   It covered an area from the north coast to Vienna, and from Warsaw to the river Rhine.   The grid was 15 miles square, which is one days march in the campaign or the size of a wargames table.   The white lines show the three campaign areas.
This map worked well on the computer, because I can zoom in and read all the detail.   I could also just copy sections for the area and even wargame maps.   But it does not work very well on the blog.   The map looks very “busy” and is difficult to “read”.   The blog is my diary of the campaign, and includes information about each phase plus battle reports.  So it is quite important that the maps also work on the blog.
The location of cities and towns is correct, as is the distance between them.  The location of rivers is also correct.   But the rest of the terrain is fictional.
AA Road Atlas
All of this information was taken from the road atlas.   This has the advantage that I can also use modern maps such as Google Maps and Google Earth.  But the road system is completely wrong for 1813. As is the size and importance of some towns and cities.   I found it very difficult to reconcile modern maps with historical ones.  I also found it very difficult to plot major terrain features.
New Map of Germany
The new map has a hex grid, rather than squares.   It is the same scale as the map of Europe, which is 60 miles per hex, or four times each square on the previous map.   Each hex is a campaign area, again the same as the new Europe map.  It has the same major borders shown.   Each city or town has a symbol showing either a city (with a church) or a town.   It also shows whether they are walled or not.
I used the previous map of Germany to plot the cities and towns shown on this map.   
I then put in a new road system of major roads (red) between cities and minor roads (yellow) between towns.  I kept the original more detailed borders and towns adjacent to a border were walled, others were not. I made a few exceptions when a walled town (such as Ratisbon or Dresden) had played an important part in an historical battle.  This information is not shown on this map, but it helps to explain why some towns are walled and some not.  Only major borders are shown on this map, but minor ones were used to determine which towns would be walled and which open.   I decided against any terrain features on this map in order to keep it simple. 
I like the simplistic look of this new map.   It is only used for planning, and for illustration on the blog.   Even on the blog it is easy to see where campaign objectives are, and to calculate how many phases you would have to fight to take a major objective.  For example three campaigns to take Munich from Vienna.   It is also useful to see which direction each army can move at the end of the current campaign phase.  For example from Erfurt the winner could move to Magdeburg, Halle or Zwickau.   None of this is obvious from the previous map of Germany.
The white lines show the army borders between north, central and southern Germany.   Next week I will deal with the regional maps.

Campaign Maps – Europe

Posted on August 12th, 2017 under . Posted by

First Map of EuropeIt gets pretty hot in the summer months here in the Valencian province of Spain.   Each year we have a project to keep us occupied during the hottest part of the day.   For many years it was making model building…

Campaign Maps – Europe

Posted on August 12th, 2017 under . Posted by

First Map of EuropeIt gets pretty hot in the summer months here in the Valencian province of Spain.   Each year we have a project to keep us occupied during the hottest part of the day.   For many years it was making model building…

How The Campaign Works

Posted on August 6th, 2017 under . Posted by


The campaign is organised in five geographical areas, three in Germany and two in Spain.   Each area has one French and one allied army.   The sequence is normally north Germany, north Spain, central Germany, southern Spain, and southern Germany.
This is a fictional campaign, although the background is historical.  
When the campaign was PBEM there were ten players, one commanding each French or allied army.   All five areas were gamed at the same time, though each was kept separate for the other four.
When it started as a solo campaign, and now that it has reverted to a solo campaign, only one geographical campaign area is gamed at a time.  This is because I find it too complicated and confusing the play the role of ten army commanders at the same time.
Each campaign phase lasts six to ten campaign days, and normally provides four to six battles to wargame.   They are designed to provide a short campaign similar to the Waterloo campaign.  It is fought over a similar area and the objective is a city just as Brussels was in the Waterloo campaign.  The campaign ends when one side takes their objective, and demonstrates that they can hold it.  This usually means that they have defeated the other side.
The campaign then moves on to the next phase.  Both armies start the campaign at full strength and with four days supplies.  They are usually deployed in such a way that both have an equal chance of gaining the campaign objective.
This sequence allows each of the ten armies to be used in rotation.   It also avoids having to continue with a campaign when one side has clearly lost or both are so disorganised that they require long periods to recover.
This completes my explanation of the Comprehensive Wargaming System.   There is nothing new in what I have done, I have simply tried to do it in a more organised way.   I would describe it as “Joined Up Wargaming”.
I hope that you have found it useful, or at least interesting.  If anyone would like any help to adopt this system to their own wargaming I would be very happy to help if I can.

How The Campaign Works

Posted on August 6th, 2017 under . Posted by


The campaign is organised in five geographical areas, three in Germany and two in Spain.   Each area has one French and one allied army.   The sequence is normally north Germany, north Spain, central Germany, southern Spain, and southern Germany.
This is a fictional campaign, although the background is historical.  
When the campaign was PBEM there were ten players, one commanding each French or allied army.   All five areas were gamed at the same time, though each was kept separate for the other four.
When it started as a solo campaign, and now that it has reverted to a solo campaign, only one geographical campaign area is gamed at a time.  This is because I find it too complicated and confusing the play the role of ten army commanders at the same time.
Each campaign phase lasts six to ten campaign days, and normally provides four to six battles to wargame.   They are designed to provide a short campaign similar to the Waterloo campaign.  It is fought over a similar area and the objective is a city just as Brussels was in the Waterloo campaign.  The campaign ends when one side takes their objective, and demonstrates that they can hold it.  This usually means that they have defeated the other side.
The campaign then moves on to the next phase.  Both armies start the campaign at full strength and with four days supplies.  They are usually deployed in such a way that both have an equal chance of gaining the campaign objective.
This sequence allows each of the ten armies to be used in rotation.   It also avoids having to continue with a campaign when one side has clearly lost or both are so disorganised that they require long periods to recover.
This completes my explanation of the Comprehensive Wargaming System.   There is nothing new in what I have done, I have simply tried to do it in a more organised way.   I would describe it as “Joined Up Wargaming”.
I hope that you have found it useful, or at least interesting.  If anyone would like any help to adopt this system to their own wargaming I would be very happy to help if I can.

Transfer from campaign to table

Posted on July 30th, 2017 under . Posted by

Tactical map showing battle of Cuidad Real                 I have only taken part in two online campaigns as a player, and in both the campaign ended when the first batt…

Transfer from campaign to table

Posted on July 30th, 2017 under . Posted by

Tactical map showing battle of Cuidad Real                 I have only taken part in two online campaigns as a player, and in both the campaign ended when the first batt…

Campaign Supply System

Posted on July 23rd, 2017 under . Posted by


Note that the winning French need five depots and the losing Prussians only two.   The red road is the main supply route for both armies.
You cannot really have a campaign without a campaign supply system.  However most of us are more interested in playing with our model soldiers on the table than spending hours working on complicated supply and movement rules. 
I wanted supply to play a major role in the campaign, particularly when it was a PBEM campaign.   But I also wanted the administration of each daily move to be simple and fast.   Having considered the problem I decided that I wanted the supply system to effect the campaign in four ways.
First each corps would only be able to carry limited supplies, and I settled on four days.
Second to resupply they would have to be within one day’s march of a supply depot, and to establish a depot they would have to detach one full strength infantry brigade.
Third each depot would collect one day’s supplies from the surrounding area, providing that they were not under attack.
Fourth if they ran out of supplies they would suffer attrition casualties and would not be able to initiate a battle.
The result of these four simple rules is that the winning army would have to detach brigades to garrison his depot supply chain as he advanced.  This would reduce his battle effectiveness just as heavier casualties would affect his opponent.
With a maximum of four days supplies he would have to plan carefully to advance to contact and fight a battle before he ran out of supply.   Normally at the end of a battle he would be out of supply, and might well be unable to resupply because he was more than one days march from his nearest depot.
However if he captured a town which was an enemy depot with supplies, he would immediately increase his own supplies.  This gave an added bonus to wining such a battle.
As the campaign progressed I amended the original supply rules to allow movement of supplies between depots.   CinC (not corps commander) were allowed to move up to four days supplies each day.
Each army would always have 20 days’ supply.   If there were not sufficient between what was carried by each corps and held in each depot, the balance would be delivered to the main supply depot each day.  The main supply depot is always a town on their edge of the campaign map.   So as they advance it gets further behind them.
That concludes the campaign rules.  Next time I will explain transfer from the campaign to the table and back again.
You will find my campaign rules here
http://napoleoniccampaignrules.blogspot.com/

Campaign Supply System

Posted on July 23rd, 2017 under . Posted by


Note that the winning French need five depots and the losing Prussians only two.   The red road is the main supply route for both armies.
You cannot really have a campaign without a campaign supply system.  However most of us are more interested in playing with our model soldiers on the table than spending hours working on complicated supply and movement rules. 
I wanted supply to play a major role in the campaign, particularly when it was a PBEM campaign.   But I also wanted the administration of each daily move to be simple and fast.   Having considered the problem I decided that I wanted the supply system to effect the campaign in four ways.
First each corps would only be able to carry limited supplies, and I settled on four days.
Second to resupply they would have to be within one day’s march of a supply depot, and to establish a depot they would have to detach one full strength infantry brigade.
Third each depot would collect one day’s supplies from the surrounding area, providing that they were not under attack.
Fourth if they ran out of supplies they would suffer attrition casualties and would not be able to initiate a battle.
The result of these four simple rules is that the winning army would have to detach brigades to garrison his depot supply chain as he advanced.  This would reduce his battle effectiveness just as heavier casualties would affect his opponent.
With a maximum of four days supplies he would have to plan carefully to advance to contact and fight a battle before he ran out of supply.   Normally at the end of a battle he would be out of supply, and might well be unable to resupply because he was more than one days march from his nearest depot.
However if he captured a town which was an enemy depot with supplies, he would immediately increase his own supplies.  This gave an added bonus to wining such a battle.
As the campaign progressed I amended the original supply rules to allow movement of supplies between depots.   CinC (not corps commander) were allowed to move up to four days supplies each day.
Each army would always have 20 days’ supply.   If there were not sufficient between what was carried by each corps and held in each depot, the balance would be delivered to the main supply depot each day.  The main supply depot is always a town on their edge of the campaign map.   So as they advance it gets further behind them.
That concludes the campaign rules.  Next time I will explain transfer from the campaign to the table and back again.
You will find my campaign rules here
http://napoleoniccampaignrules.blogspot.com/