Last 15 posts from napoleonic wargaming

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/

Campaign Casualties

Posted on July 15th, 2017 under . Posted by


In my early experience of campaigns I found that the winner of the first battle often won the campaign.   When the wargame casualties were transferred to the campaign it often left the loser with an impossible task.   In the next battle the loser would start with more casualties and would be most likely to lose the subsequent wargame.  Few campaigns can last for long when this happens.  In an historical campaign this may not matter too much.   It can be claimed with some justice that most campaigns are decided by a major battle anyway.
But if the objective of the campaign is to provide a series of interesting wargames this type of result is not good.  The first battle provides a good wargame.  But all subsequent battles leave the loser with the prospect of ever more uneven battles to game.
Setting up each campaign takes considerable effort, and I wanted them to last a reasonable period and to provide a series of interesting wargames.   The secret lies in battle casualties and how they are replaced.
I wanted each battle to have an effect on the subsequent battles.   And I wanted the winner to gain some reward from winning.  But I also wanted the loser to be able to recover sufficiently in order to fight the remaining wargames with some chance of winning.
The wargame rules are designed to produce relatively small numbers of casualties.   Each game “hit” results in 10% casualties to the brigade concerned.  For infantry this is 400 men, for cavalry and gunners 100 men.   But more important each “hit” reduces the effectiveness of the brigade by minus 1 on each combat and morale dice throw.
At the end of the wargame the casualties are transferred to the campaign in terms of “men” rather than “hits”.   It is usual that the loser of the battle will have to retreat directly away from the winner.   So I had to devise a method which would prevent the winner from immediate pursuit and the subsequent “steam roller” effect.
Supply, or rather lack of it, is the main way of doing this.  I will explain that in the next blog.   In general terms a corps which is out of supply will suffer attrition casualties and cannot initiate an attack. This will usually prevent an immediate pursuit.
Having broken contact both sides will wish to regroup and replace battle casualties as quickly as possible.   To do so they must be in supply, they must be stationary and they must not be under attack.
During the first move that they meet these conditions they can regroup.  This means that all infantry casualties, less 10% for each brigade, can be transferred to one brigade.  In effect one brigade replaces all battle casualties less the 10%.   The result is usually that one of the four infantry brigades become non-operational.   This cannot be done for gunners or cavalry, because there is only one cavalry brigade and one corps artillery.
In addition to regrouping each corps received 10% of one brigade as reinforcements.   It is normal for the first reinforcements to be either gunners or cavalry.   When both are up to strength, less 10% for each, the infantry receive reinforcements.   However every brigade which receives wargame casualties will keep at least 10% for the remainder of the campaign.
This has the effect of reducing the effectiveness of such a brigade for the duration of the campaign.   If your elite infantry brigade receives casualties in the first battle, they will become an average brigade for the remainder of the campaign phase.  The same will apply to cavalry and gunners.
As a consequence each corps starts the campaign as fully operational.   But as they receive casualties they become weaker and more brittle.   This is particularly important from a morale point of view.  Because if one brigade lose their morale and rout, all friendly brigades within supporting distance (4” on the table) also have to test their morale.  And if they have casualties from earlier battles they are much more likely to join the rout.
Next time I will explain campaign supply
  
 You will find my campaign rules here
http://napoleoniccampaignrules.blogspot.com/

Campaign Casualties

Posted on July 15th, 2017 under . Posted by


In my early experience of campaigns I found that the winner of the first battle often won the campaign.   When the wargame casualties were transferred to the campaign it often left the loser with an impossible task.   In the next battle the loser would start with more casualties and would be most likely to lose the subsequent wargame.  Few campaigns can last for long when this happens.  In an historical campaign this may not matter too much.   It can be claimed with some justice that most campaigns are decided by a major battle anyway.
But if the objective of the campaign is to provide a series of interesting wargames this type of result is not good.  The first battle provides a good wargame.  But all subsequent battles leave the loser with the prospect of ever more uneven battles to game.
Setting up each campaign takes considerable effort, and I wanted them to last a reasonable period and to provide a series of interesting wargames.   The secret lies in battle casualties and how they are replaced.
I wanted each battle to have an effect on the subsequent battles.   And I wanted the winner to gain some reward from winning.  But I also wanted the loser to be able to recover sufficiently in order to fight the remaining wargames with some chance of winning.
The wargame rules are designed to produce relatively small numbers of casualties.   Each game “hit” results in 10% casualties to the brigade concerned.  For infantry this is 400 men, for cavalry and gunners 100 men.   But more important each “hit” reduces the effectiveness of the brigade by minus 1 on each combat and morale dice throw.
At the end of the wargame the casualties are transferred to the campaign in terms of “men” rather than “hits”.   It is usual that the loser of the battle will have to retreat directly away from the winner.   So I had to devise a method which would prevent the winner from immediate pursuit and the subsequent “steam roller” effect.
Supply, or rather lack of it, is the main way of doing this.  I will explain that in the next blog.   In general terms a corps which is out of supply will suffer attrition casualties and cannot initiate an attack. This will usually prevent an immediate pursuit.
Having broken contact both sides will wish to regroup and replace battle casualties as quickly as possible.   To do so they must be in supply, they must be stationary and they must not be under attack.
During the first move that they meet these conditions they can regroup.  This means that all infantry casualties, less 10% for each brigade, can be transferred to one brigade.  In effect one brigade replaces all battle casualties less the 10%.   The result is usually that one of the four infantry brigades become non-operational.   This cannot be done for gunners or cavalry, because there is only one cavalry brigade and one corps artillery.
In addition to regrouping each corps received 10% of one brigade as reinforcements.   It is normal for the first reinforcements to be either gunners or cavalry.   When both are up to strength, less 10% for each, the infantry receive reinforcements.   However every brigade which receives wargame casualties will keep at least 10% for the remainder of the campaign.
This has the effect of reducing the effectiveness of such a brigade for the duration of the campaign.   If your elite infantry brigade receives casualties in the first battle, they will become an average brigade for the remainder of the campaign phase.  The same will apply to cavalry and gunners.
As a consequence each corps starts the campaign as fully operational.   But as they receive casualties they become weaker and more brittle.   This is particularly important from a morale point of view.  Because if one brigade lose their morale and rout, all friendly brigades within supporting distance (4” on the table) also have to test their morale.  And if they have casualties from earlier battles they are much more likely to join the rout.
Next time I will explain campaign supply
  
 You will find my campaign rules here
http://napoleoniccampaignrules.blogspot.com/

Campaign Phases

Posted on July 8th, 2017 under . Posted by

Map of Europe showing previous campaign phases
To avoid the tedium of a long running campaign I have broken my 1813 campaign into what I call “phases”.    Each phase is a mini campaign of about the area and time scale of the Waterloo campaign.
Each phase will feature a different French and allied army to ensure that I use them all in rotation.   A phase will usually provide 4-6 battles to wargame, and will last about 10 campaign days.   Most of them took about three months to complete.  
The current phase is set in North Germany and is the First French Army attempt to take the town of Wolfsburg, and the Prussian attempt to stop them doing so.   This is sixth phase set in this area.   At the start of the phase I post an introduction, which includes a brief history of the previous campaign phases.   At the end I will post a summary.   The campaign diary blog has reference to each of the five areas, so it is possible to follow each campaign phase and refer back to earlier phases.
The next campaign phase will be in Central Germany and will feature the Second French Army and the Russian Army and the aim will be to take and hold Erfurt.   This will be the fifth campaign phase in this area.   At the start of the phase both armies will be at full strength and fully supplied.   Casualties from the previous phase are not carried forward.
The use of this type of mini campaign has meant that the overall 1813 campaign has run for almost ten years.   It has grown and evolved during that time, but still retains the original five campaign areas and the ten original orders of battle for the French and Allied armies.   But the campaign rules and the maps have changed considerably.   This has provided me with a fresh campaign and two new armies every three months or so.  The framework of each phase is the same, and saves me a lot of administrative work.  But the objective and the armies change with each phase.  And if we encounter a problem with the campaign rules they can easily be changed at end of the phase.
Next time I will explain battle casualties and campaign reinforcements
You will find my campaign rules here
http://napoleoniccampaignrules.blogspot.com/

Campaign Phases

Posted on July 8th, 2017 under . Posted by

Map of Europe showing previous campaign phases
To avoid the tedium of a long running campaign I have broken my 1813 campaign into what I call “phases”.    Each phase is a mini campaign of about the area and time scale of the Waterloo campaign.
Each phase will feature a different French and allied army to ensure that I use them all in rotation.   A phase will usually provide 4-6 battles to wargame, and will last about 10 campaign days.   Most of them took about three months to complete.  
The current phase is set in North Germany and is the First French Army attempt to take the town of Wolfsburg, and the Prussian attempt to stop them doing so.   This is sixth phase set in this area.   At the start of the phase I post an introduction, which includes a brief history of the previous campaign phases.   At the end I will post a summary.   The campaign diary blog has reference to each of the five areas, so it is possible to follow each campaign phase and refer back to earlier phases.
The next campaign phase will be in Central Germany and will feature the Second French Army and the Russian Army and the aim will be to take and hold Erfurt.   This will be the fifth campaign phase in this area.   At the start of the phase both armies will be at full strength and fully supplied.   Casualties from the previous phase are not carried forward.
The use of this type of mini campaign has meant that the overall 1813 campaign has run for almost ten years.   It has grown and evolved during that time, but still retains the original five campaign areas and the ten original orders of battle for the French and Allied armies.   But the campaign rules and the maps have changed considerably.   This has provided me with a fresh campaign and two new armies every three months or so.  The framework of each phase is the same, and saves me a lot of administrative work.  But the objective and the armies change with each phase.  And if we encounter a problem with the campaign rules they can easily be changed at end of the phase.
Next time I will explain battle casualties and campaign reinforcements
You will find my campaign rules here
http://napoleoniccampaignrules.blogspot.com/

Campaign Rules

Posted on July 1st, 2017 under . Posted by


So far as I know there are no popular campaign rules available commercially.  This may well be because every player has different ideas about how a campaign should be fought, even more than every wargamer has strong ideas about how battles should be fought.  
The campaign is vital to my concept of Comprehensive Wargame System.   Each of you will have a different idea of what you want to achieve.   Whether it is a series of skirmish games or an attempt to model a major campaign you will need some rules to control the campaign.
The purpose of my campaign is to provide interesting wargames.   It has been designed to produce a series of phases, which are mini campaigns.   Each will last about three months and will provide 4-6 battles to wargame.  
I will explain what I cover in my campaign rules.   This is not a template for everyone to use, because some aspects will be more important than others.   You may want a lot more detail in your supply system or prefer to wargame a siege of a walled town.
Like the wargame rules, the campaign rules are designed to provide the type of campaign that I want to play.   They are a little more user friendly than the wargame rules, because they include how the campaign works and the army organisation.
The remainder of the 12 rules deal with different aspects of the campaign, such as movement, supplies and combat.   There ae also specialist rules for milita and guerrillas, garrisons and siege of walled towns.
Great care has been taken to keep these rules as simple as possible.  Like the wargame rules, they have been written to provide the type of campaign I want to model.  I do not have to explain or justify any rule, if I like them that is sufficient.
However I have tried to model the general characteristics of a Napoleonic campaign, at least as I understand it.   I have kept logistics and supply simple, because I don’t want to have to spend hours updating charts.  However if you run out of supply you immediately suffer attrition casualties.  These will affect the combat and morale of the corps and brigades affected.
The campaign has been designed to produce battles which will make interesting wargames.  But there are many battles which I would not want to wargame.   A number of combat rules have been written to decide the outcome of these minor battles and casualties resulting from them.   They cover such things as uneven battles, corps v corps skirmish and cavalry brigade skirmish.
There are three aspects of the campaign rules which require a little more explanation.   First is how I control the length of each campaign phase.    Second how battle casualties and campaign replacements work.  Finally how the supply system controls the flow of the campaign
In the next blog I will explain campaign phases and how they work.
You will find my campaign rules here
http://napoleoniccampaignrules.blogspot.com/

Campaign Rules

Posted on July 1st, 2017 under . Posted by


So far as I know there are no popular campaign rules available commercially.  This may well be because every player has different ideas about how a campaign should be fought, even more than every wargamer has strong ideas about how battles should be fought.  
The campaign is vital to my concept of Comprehensive Wargame System.   Each of you will have a different idea of what you want to achieve.   Whether it is a series of skirmish games or an attempt to model a major campaign you will need some rules to control the campaign.
The purpose of my campaign is to provide interesting wargames.   It has been designed to produce a series of phases, which are mini campaigns.   Each will last about three months and will provide 4-6 battles to wargame.  
I will explain what I cover in my campaign rules.   This is not a template for everyone to use, because some aspects will be more important than others.   You may want a lot more detail in your supply system or prefer to wargame a siege of a walled town.
Like the wargame rules, the campaign rules are designed to provide the type of campaign that I want to play.   They are a little more user friendly than the wargame rules, because they include how the campaign works and the army organisation.
The remainder of the 12 rules deal with different aspects of the campaign, such as movement, supplies and combat.   There ae also specialist rules for milita and guerrillas, garrisons and siege of walled towns.
Great care has been taken to keep these rules as simple as possible.  Like the wargame rules, they have been written to provide the type of campaign I want to model.  I do not have to explain or justify any rule, if I like them that is sufficient.
However I have tried to model the general characteristics of a Napoleonic campaign, at least as I understand it.   I have kept logistics and supply simple, because I don’t want to have to spend hours updating charts.  However if you run out of supply you immediately suffer attrition casualties.  These will affect the combat and morale of the corps and brigades affected.
The campaign has been designed to produce battles which will make interesting wargames.  But there are many battles which I would not want to wargame.   A number of combat rules have been written to decide the outcome of these minor battles and casualties resulting from them.   They cover such things as uneven battles, corps v corps skirmish and cavalry brigade skirmish.
There are three aspects of the campaign rules which require a little more explanation.   First is how I control the length of each campaign phase.    Second how battle casualties and campaign replacements work.  Finally how the supply system controls the flow of the campaign
In the next blog I will explain campaign phases and how they work.
You will find my campaign rules here
http://napoleoniccampaignrules.blogspot.com/