Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Battle of Vitoria! AAR # 2 17/JAN/2011

The Battle of Vitoria 21st June, 1813

An “Age of Eagles” Scenario
By Patrick Berkebile

Following the disastrous 1812 Russian Campaign, the Emperor has recalled Soult, Caffarelli, and 15,000 troops for the German Campaign. King Joseph having abandoned Madrid and Valladolid is briskly marching north to Bayonne with a massive artillery train and treasures galore. Having been dramatically outflanked at Miranda on June 16, the French Army has bivouacked at the crossroads of Vitoria. The Zadorra River offers protection from the 90,000+ British, Portuguese, and Spanish of Wellington’s resurgent Peninsular Army that has been shadowing for nearly a month. King Joseph has sent Maucune’s Division back to France as punishment for the reversal at San Milan 3 days earlier.

Battle of Vitoria
Part of the Peninsular War
Vitoria - Monumento Batalla Vitoria1.JPG
Monument to the Battle, Vitoria
DateJune 21, 1813
ResultDecisive Allied victory
France French EmpireUnited Kingdom United Kingdom
Portugal Portugal
Spain Spain
Commanders and leaders
France Joseph Bonaparte
France Jean-Baptiste Jourdan
United Kingdom Marquess of Wellington
Spain Miguel de Álava
Spain Agustina de Aragón
Spain Francisco de Longa
  • 49,000 infantry
  • 11,000 cavalry
  • 138 guns
  • 52,000 British
  • 28,000 Portuguese
  • 25,000 Spanish
  • 96 guns
Casualties and losses
~8,000 dead, wounded or captured[1]5,158 dead or wounded[2]
  • 3,675 British
  • 921 Portuguese
  • 562 Spanish

Clausel’s 20,000 strong Division is chasing Guerrillas to the North. As the sun rises on June 21, King Joseph and Marshall Jourdan with 60,000+ French and Spanish Royal Army forces prepare for the assault. As red coats appear on the heights of the Puebla and begin to storm across the Zadorra, King Joseph wonders, “Where is Clausel?”

Each infantry stand represents 360 soldiers, each cavalry stand 180 troopers, and each artillery stand represents a single battery of 6-12 guns. Ground scale is one inch equals 120 yards. Each complete turn represents 30 minutes of historical time.

Playing Time:
The game begins at 11:00AM and ends with the 7.00PM turn (16 game turns). Note: The battle actually began around 8:00AM.  However, to more quickly come to grips we are beginning at 11:00AM when Dalhousie’s troops finally swung into action. 
The Allies have the initiative in turn 1. Initiative is rolled as normal in all subsequent turns.

The Armies:

Skirmish Capable?

2 Rank Impulse
2 Rank Impulse
3 Rank Column
Le Roi Joseph

3 Rank Column
3 Rank Column

Recreation with model figures of the battle, displayed at the Armory Museum (Museo de Armería) in Vitoria-Gasteiz.

The gaming table is 8 feet long by 5 feet wide, see the accompanying map.

Terrain Type

Volley and Cannonade
-2 to die roll
Bayonet and Sabre
+2 defensive bonus
Maximum # of stands
All Villages

Volley and Cannonade
-1 to die roll
Bayonet and Sabre
+1 defensive bonus
Maximum # of stands
Zadorra River

Infantry & Cavalry
May cross at bridges and fords (4” wide)
Bayonet and Sabre
+1 defensive bonus for units defending the ford
May only cross at bridges
Hill Slopes

-2” to cross gradient
Volley and Cannonade
-1 to die roll
Bayonet and Sabre
+1 defensive bonus, up-hill

Units set up as per the scenario map. Many units begin the game “Tactically Engaged” with the enemy. Brigades may be deployed in line, supported line, brigade masse, or march column. Artillery may be setup limbered or unlimbered, but must deploy no more than 12” away from a leader stand within their own chain of command.
The French deploy first as indicated on the scenario map on the next page.

Reinforcements: (optional)
The following reinforcement’s may randomly arrive during the course of the battle:
·        Clausel’s Division at point A
·        Foy’s Division at point B
·        Pakenham’s Division at Point C
Reinforcements arrive in road column formation. They enter using Reserve Movement and are automatically activated. The brigades of the division may enter deployed if their entry point is within 18” of the enemy.  If the entry point is blocked they may not enter that turn.

None of the above division’s participated in the battle, therefore their participation and arrival is strictly optional per the arrival procedures outlined below:
·        Beginning on turn one, and at the start of each owning player’s turn thereafter, roll a D10 for each unit.  On the modified roll of a 10, the Unit will arrive. 
·        Add +1 to the die roll every 2 turns, e.g., on the hour.  On turn 3 add 1, on Turn 5 add 2, etc…
·        When a unit arrives roll a D5.  The unit will arrive in that many turns. This must be announced to everyone.   

Special Rules:
The following special rules apply
·        The urban combat rules from the AOE supplement are in effect.
·        British Light Cavalry are considered Heavy.
·        British Cavalry Rule “Could gallop but not preserve order” is in effect.

Victory Conditions:
Players will determine the level of victory as follows:

Casualty Points

Per Worn Brigade
Per Spent Brigade
Per Eliminated Brigade
Per Guard Brigade Eliminated (British/French Only)
Per Wrecked/Captured Battery
Per Division Commander Killed, Wounded, or Captured
Per Corps Commander Killed, Wounded, or Captured
Per Army Commander Killed, Wounded, or Captured

Per Fresh Unit South of the Zadorra River and East of Zuazo de Alava
Crossroads of Vitoria, City Center
Gamarra Mayor, South of the Zadorra River

1.      Vittoria (An Age of Eagle scenario) by Bill Gray (published in “Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy #15)
2.      Vittoria 1813 – Ian Fletcher (Osprey Campaign)
3.      Sharpe’s Honour (fiction) – Bernard Cornwell
4.      Wellington in the Peninsular – Jac Weller
5.      Wellington’s Army – Sir Charles Oman
6.      Campaigning With Wellington and Featherstone in the Peninsula – Donald Featherstone

The battle Map (Plan)

My reserve forces Lemertiniere move into/through and occupy Vitoria
The French Northern (Left flank) and King Joseph's forces near the Center

The British come on hard enforce. Luckily they are weary with their die rolls

A great cavalry battle ensues on my left flank. Luckily my Lights are able to push back the British heavies for a while, but at a high cost once British Arty takes its toll (Long enough to hold though)