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"Talavera - Dawn Attack Scenario, Game Two" Topic

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carojon07 Sep 2015 11:36 p.m. PST

Hi all,
With all the summer holidays over with, it was time to get back to some scenario testing and so we played the second test of the Dawn Attack at Talavera this weekend.


Our French commander replicated the historical attack totally unsupported and forced to fight in limited visibility with early morning mist covering the hill.

If you would like to see how things ended up then just follow the link to JJ's.



marshalGreg08 Sep 2015 7:56 a.m. PST

Seems to be a very lop sides scenario.
The weather being an additional enemy for the French… to make a difficult attack to become most impossible.
It seems to be a lot of built in bias ( not necessarly planned that way) to assure French failure.
The results of two games so far has said it all!I would be very reluctant to play the french in this one.
Sorry I would take a different approach.
Recreating to exact history doesn't always seem to be best way to go to bring opportunity.
If this is semi Campaign…I would stop my attack, when my only advantage of artillery was neutralized by the weather and/or it became evident my support was not coming forward to help, thus spare my division of unnecessary destruction. I would have plenty to then blame on, to justify my actions, once in Victor's tent during the very uncomfortable debrief… just saying.

Good luck JJ


carojon08 Sep 2015 10:27 a.m. PST

Hi MG,
This attack is always going to be difficult for the French in terms of penetrating the Medellin defences once Hill had got control after the night atrack and had his whole division in place added to the fact that what should have been a two division attack by the French, for whatever reason only became a one division affair.
The problem real life commanders face is that they have to make the best of the situation and in the real attack the French ended up losing 1200 men as they did in our scenario with the British losing about 800, instead of the 200 in our game. Early morning visibility can always be iffy until the sun has burnt off any overnight moisture and so when comibined with smoke from the initial 15 minute barrage it is not unsurprising that the visibility closed down. That visibility allowed the British to take the fight to the French on the lower slopes with an increased impunity where, as in the actual battle, they would have suffered from all that French artillery.
We have designed the scenarios around the circumstances faced by the commanders at the time as close as possible, which challenges the gamer to deal with how it is not how they would like it to be and so the victory parameters are being worked through to reward the commander that makes the best of what they have to deal with, not just on a straight forward casualty count. Therefore had the French broken through on one of their assaults which may well have happened with the artillery support denied them they would have obtained an historical minor victory to the British.
In a linked campaign the loss in this scenario may well be off set by the preceding two which will have a consequences in the final afternoon set piece affair.
Out of the four scenarios this is the one the French don't want to play, but that is because we have the hindsight that Victor didn't enjoy. The tweaking of the victory conditions is thus all about giving the French player an incentive to press on despite the circumstances as poor old General Ruffin did not have the luxury of simply stoping the attack, leaving his division badly shot up for the afternoon.
I hope that gives a better explanation behind why we are try to set this scenario up in the way we are.

marshalGreg08 Sep 2015 11:42 a.m. PST


I understand the whys per the historic situation, as presented to justify why things are set that way.
For a game I do not… If one has designed a scenario where Nigel ( yes that Nigel-the rules author) plays the French and my daughter ( who never played) plays the British in order to possibly achieve a result of only a Minor British victory, then you accomplished an exact result as to history (by to much constraints for one side to that historical precise conditions).
So why bother to play it!
Poor Ruffian had a choice and choose not to take it. He was not smart that day!
And he had much going for him than your poor play tester.
Bottom line, Unless there is change for more balance, I would not play that scenario or if in campaign and placed in Ruffian's shoes, choose not to attack, unless I was to support the other Division who actually goes forward.

my 2 cents feed back to this scenario, as set-up.


carojon08 Sep 2015 12:21 p.m. PST

The choice of whether to play any scenario is always a subjective one. As is what to include and what not to.
The point I am making is we are playing a series of games based on what actually happened and within the constraints placed upon the historical commanders. The challenge is to try and engineer a better outcome than that that was achieved. We are not looking for balance because self evidently there wasn't much balance in an attack that didn't take account of the enemy or that failed to work to the plan set up, most battles were fought like that as the commanders strove to avoid balance to gain an advantage.
Once Ruffin's division set out across the Portina alone without the support of Villattte's division, Ruffin followed his orders and tried to complete his mission, it was not his choice to call off the attack
To allow for an element of chance we have incorporated the possibility of Villatte joining the attack and you might want to always play it that way, however the reality is it didn't happen that way and the result had an affect on the choices and result of the next combat. For those that want to see if they could do any better then the scenario should offer that possibility

marshalGreg08 Sep 2015 1:49 p.m. PST


Understand, I am just indicating that perhaps it is set-up where "to engineer a better outcome may be to far away"
There is not a lot of chance in C&G as you know- and to rely chance with such a rule set/ simulation does not make for a good game.

It is your scenario. You do not need to defend to me.

Good luck to those who think they are that skilled.
I would take James Kirks approach ( as to Koborachy Meru).
just saying


carojon09 Sep 2015 7:47 a.m. PST

I guess we would have to agree to differ on this one.
The work we have done starts with the premise that in reality the French ended up with 1200 casualties and the British with 800 and that the French were repulsed in their attack, so the best outcome that Ruffin achieved would be a minor victory to the British under C&G. The variables we have built in give the French commander every possibility of at least matching that or doing worse or as we will test in the next game potentially doing better. In this case a draw would be better and the likely casualties to achieve that would I suspect hurt the British more in the final clash than the French. We could move the parameters even further in favour of the French as I suspect you are suggesting, but to use your Star Trek analogy, that would be a case of "it's Talavera Jim, but not as we know it"

Old Contemptibles Supporting Member of TMP10 Sep 2015 7:28 p.m. PST

Seems to be a very lop sides scenario.

Then adjust the victory conditions to where either side and can win game. That's how you balance these types of scenarios.

Teodoro Reding30 Sep 2015 1:03 p.m. PST

I think this is a case of people talking at cross purposes. Some people create wargames scenarios; other people refight historical battles and see if the result comes out the same or, if different if they tweak things like arrival of reinforcements or use 200 years' hindsight).
It's clear that JJ/Carojon and his friends do refights.

So do I half the time. The fun is seeing if it comes out as it did historically with – if you rules work – similar but not identical things happening (e.g. in my Medellin refight it was the Spanish right that collapsed from a flanking cavalry charge, not the left – or vice-versa, can't remmeber).

In my refight of this Talavera action, using hindsight and what French commentators had said Victor should have done, I sent Ruffin right up the valley before he attacked in the flank. As the British bent back/moved over troops Villatte then attacked the angle, with Lapisse (to Villatte's left) playing the Villatte role of "support and then get stuck in when you see it is working." Classic Napoleon. It still didn't work, but it was incredibly close. Some of Ruffin's battalions even got behind the British, whose lines pushed to the back of the crest and bent right back in the Valley. But they were stalled – unable to break through. Villatte did actually break the hinge – but was counter-attacked by Basecourt's division (the best Spanish troops, lent, in this case, to Wellington by Cuesta earlier than in the historical battle). These arrived at the decisive point before Lapissse's supports.

The Allies had interior lines when faced with such a flank attack and could just keep feeding in fresh troops much faster than the French could. Lapisse hardly got into the action before Villatte's division crumbled and it was basically over.

This does suggest, as you say MarshallGreg, that it really is an impossible scenario (if even 2 divisions plus a third supporting couldn't bring it off).

(a) that's not the point – it's fun! and
(b)you don't know this till you try it. When I refought Mesas de Ibor (German division against Spanish rearguard – same year in Tagus valley) I thought the Germans would never carry the Spanish position as they had historically – but they did, with historical casualties (very satisfying).

Teodoro Reding07 Oct 2015 11:58 a.m. PST

For some reason the thread has not gone back to the top of the list with my post of 30 Sep so I am adding this in the hope that it will. I think JJ's commitment is awesome.

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