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"Battle of Roliša - Polemos GdD Refight" Topic


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511 hits since 26 Aug 2017
©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Whirlwind26 Aug 2017 2:53 a.m. PST

Please see here for a refight of the Peninsular War Battle of Roliša using the Polemos General de Division rules and Baccus 6mm figures: link

picture

steamingdave4726 Aug 2017 6:39 a.m. PST

Interesting report, not a great fan of Polemos ( how did you manage 18 moves?), but a great scenario.
Our little group has played Rolica twice recently, but we only did it for Delaborde's second position. We used " Over the Hills" rules and 10 mm figures.
In " Over the Hills" units are assigned a " Fatigue Score" which is based on unit size, experience, training etc. To try to represent the veteran nature of most of the French battalions, as well as their larger size, most had an FS of 9, apart from the Swiss (who proved rather fragile in the actual battle). To represent the inexperience of the Anglo-Portuguese, they were given FS vakues of 7 or 6. The British were organised in 4 brigades, the French in 2. This meant that British brigades had a slightly lower FS break point than the French, but, of course, there were twice as many of them.
In both runthroughs, the British were repulsed with heavy losses. I did not play in the first game, but commanded the British in the second. My mistake was launching the frontal attack before the flanking moves were in position. It meant that my two frontal brigades were pretty badly shot up as they tried to ascend the steep slopes in front of the French position (search " battle of Rolica" images on line, you will see just how challenging the terrain is). As a result, their FS values were pushed towards breakpoint and they had to withdraw, leaving the two French brigades free to face the flanking brigades. I assume Wellington must have timed it better than I did, but then he actually knew what he was doing!

Whirlwind26 Aug 2017 8:09 a.m. PST

The question of the relative experiences of the two armies is interesting. Received wisdom is that the French regiments were the experienced ones at Roliša. However, from Wellington's force:

1/5th had been on the Hanover campaign and in South America
1/9th had been on the Hanover campaign
1/38th had fought in South Africa and South America
29th had been in North America
1/82nd had fought at Copenhagen
1/45th had campaigned in Portugal (in 1806) and in South Africa
1/50th had fought at Copenhagen
1/91st had no overseas service
5/60th had been in North America
the 95th had been in South America and at Copenhagen
1/36th had been at Hanover and in South America
1/40th had fought in South America
1/71st had fought at the Cape of Good Hope and in South America
1/6th had been in North America
1/32nd had been at Copenhagen
20th Light Dragoons had been at the Cape of Good Hope, South America and serving in the Med (I'm unclear as to whhich of these the troopers at Rolica had served)

On the other hand, for the French:

The 70th Line had served aboard ship at Trafalgar, no other service
It is possible that some or all of 2nd and 4th Light had fought variously at Austerlitz, Heilsberg and Friedland. However, it strongly appears that it was the 1st and 2nd battalions that fought with the Grande Armee and it was the 3rd battalions of both 2nd and 4th Light that fought at Friedland.

The 26th Chasseurs squadron again might have come from the Grande Armee and be veteran. I rather think though that like the Dragoon squadrons in Junot's force, these were one of the squadrons formed in the regimental depots in France and sent to Spain not with their parent units. Such units had very large strengths as a result of the depots overflowing with conscripts.

For these reasons, I would definitely give an edge to the British Army at Roliša and Vimiero in terms of experience. The early 95th (and 43rd and 52nd) could be fairly related as elite units in a Napoleonic context. It would be very different during the 1809 campaign…

Whirlwind26 Aug 2017 8:27 a.m. PST

Thanks very much Dave. I can rattle through turns in Polemos quite quickly! So I got through 36 altogether, 18 for each phase…

I used more aggressive victory conditions to try and force the British into attacking, as a substitute for the "unordered charge" which actually took place. It can and should be tricky to succeed in the frontal assault…

steamingdave4726 Aug 2017 10:37 a.m. PST

@ Whirlwind.
Thanks for setting out the history of the various units, we did not have that level of detail avaiable to us when setting up our game. Not sure that some of thst overseas service would have been particularly useful in terms of developing fighting edge and, of course, a lot if it was in theatres which would have given rise to sickness and debilitation. How many of the various battalions were actually newly recruited troops to fill in the gaps from deaths resulting from service in fever spots?
We decided to downgrade the Allies (a significant part of which was Portuguese and those units were certainly not experienced or well trained at this stage of the war) in part because of their relative inexperience, but also because the British units had only recently come off the ships and were probably not up to full fitness levels.
In our discussion after the games, we did think that we might have given the actual British units slightly better ratings- the thre companies of 95th did get a 6, which was oretty good for an understrength unit (a 600 man battalion for most armies is rated between 6 and 8, depending on nationality/ period if the wars etc). The two brigades which I launched on the frontal assault had a break point of only 12 FS (whereas the French brigades were at around 16 or 17- breakpoint being half their total FS. As their movement rate was halved on the slopes, they came under artillery fire for several moves and then were hit by volley fire. If we played again, we would certainly consider a slight upgrade of the British units, but at the end of the day it was the battle plan that lost us the battle and Wellington did it so much better on the day.
Encouraged to see that it is possible to have a decent game " solo"- I am about to move house to what has been described as a "historical wargaming Sahara" in the Scottish Highlands, leaving behind my two groups here in Herefordshire, so solo games might be all I get for a little while.

Whirlwind26 Aug 2017 11:07 a.m. PST

Hi Dave,

No worries at all. I made a typo error in there:

It is possible that some or all of 2nd and 4th Light had fought variously at Austerlitz, Heilsberg and Friedland. However, it strongly appears that it was the 1st and 2nd battalions that fought with the Grande Armee and it was the 3rd battalions of both 2nd and 4th Light that fought at Friedland.

The last mention of "Friedland" should be "Roliša", apologies.

Yes, rating units is a very inexact science. I think most of those units would be okay (I have seen the report from the 29th who were in good shape after North America); it was units coming back from the West Indies or elsewhere in the tropics who basically had to recruited again from zero. For myself if I did it again I would probably make the Brits 1/3-1/2 veteran, the rest trained; the French all trained. But I'd be the last to say that this is inarguable.

Good luck with your move. And you never know, maybe a like-minded soul will turn up!

VicCina Supporting Member of TMP29 Aug 2017 8:45 a.m. PST

Looks fantastic and thanks for the great write up on your game.

Whirlwind29 Aug 2017 10:29 a.m. PST

Thanks very much VicCina, that is very kind.

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