Tuesday 10 November 2015

The Battle of Valderas 1808

Few games can be quite so enjoyable and disappointing at the same time as the one the Rejects had over the weekend. Five of us gathered in Posties Shed of War to play out a clash between the French and Spanish armies. Surjit and Richard took command of the French and faced Myself, Ian and Ray commanding the Spanish forces. From the start we didn't have high hopes for our troops (nearly all poor quality and under strength) but we were determined to give the French something to think about.

Ray has already posted a BatRep on his blog so for another perspective on this game check out his account of the day. 

Order of Battle
Unfortunately my photocopies of Posties hand written orders of battle were too faint to read and therefore recreate here. This is all El'Capitano's fault as he insists in writing everything in pencil...who the hell uses a pencil these days?!?! 

The Action
Initial deployment with the French on the left of this picture and the Spanish on the right. The Spanish army looks bigger but its units are smaller and of poorer quality than the French.

The Spanish commander was in the Brothel at the start of the game....probably the only successful maneuver of the day for him!

The Spanish. My Forces are closest and largely behind a hill. In the center Ian our commander held he ground. At the top of the picture are some of Rays troops. His cavalry are further along out of shot.

The French. Surjits two Divisions are closest and face opposite my troops. A Third Division sits  on the road. On the hill and beyond are Richards troops.

Another aerial shot showing the whole battlefield at the start of the game. The Spanish are in the foreground.

The French begin their move and almost immediately Surjit starts mixing up his Divisions. Messy boy!

The Spanish troops commanded by Ray on the right flank start to advance. With our army of generally poor quality we decided to advance on this side and try to dictate the terms of the battle. It almost worked even with most of the Spanish Cavalry refusing to move. 

Surjits troops begin to advance across the field in front of the Spanish. However a significant portion of his troops veer away and head towards the center of the battlefield to support Richard who's troops quickly looks like they are about to be swamped by superior numbers of rapidly advancing Spanish under Ray.

The rejects at play.  From front to back on the left are Postie, Surjit and Richard and on the right Ian and Ray. Here Ian moves a skirmish line into a cornfield as part of the Spanish effort to dominate the field of battle and dictate the terms of engagement. 

My troops move up onto the hill as the Spanish advance. The two units in Blue at the back are Militia.

An out of focus shot of French reinforcements (like they needed them!)...Imperial b***dy Guard!! Two units of Fusilier Grenadiers , two Fusilier Chasseurs and a unit of Gendarmes de Elite.

The French Columns advance towards my fragile division, but Surjit feeds some of his units towards the center to bolster Richards position. I still have an impossible task but its not as dire as it looked at the outset. 

Postie corrects a rather 'creative' piece of maneuvering by one of Surjits columns. 

My men wait on the hill and wonder why they joined this army.

An oblique view across the battlefield showing our lines advancing on Richards command in the distance. 

Two of Surjits columns move forward enough for me to advance and unleash my first-fire on them. I did this under orders from Ian in the hope I'd somehow get a perfect dice roll and cause significant casualties. You can probably guess how things actually went.

Another fuzzy picture showing Ray's advance towards Richards troops in the Center.

Overview showing the curved bow of our front line, hemming in the French. If we could provoke a morale check on the French we may stand a chance, but with the Imperial Guard on the battlefield we have to move fast.

One French unit is sent packing and routes through several other units (Surjits columns moving into the center) disrupting them all.

Just as we see a glimmer of hope one of our units is defeated in hand to hand and forces a Divisional morale check. Upon which old Ray (of Blog Don't Throw a 1 fame) throws double ones! The Division flees the field and our entire center disappears....game over.  

I'm afraid we (meaning the Spanish Players) were convinced our glorious leader had it in for us. The Spanish forces in this game were of much poorer quality than the initial French forces we faced. Throw in the Imperial Guard reinforcements they received and this game could only go one way. Having said that I think our decision to dictate the battle was the right one. Rays attack on the right flank drew french units down the table towards the perceived threat. This meant that a) I wasn't facing impossible odds on the left flank, and b) a significant portion of the french army spent the game marching rather than fighting, and c) The french got in a right messy jumble as their maneuvering space was reduced.

So far so good. This made for a very interesting and enjoyable game with the French really having to think hard about how to respond to us rather than the other way around. I can't speak for the French players but I rather suspect that they expected us to fight a defensive battle. It felt good to confound them, even if the game still ended in defeat for us. I don't think we actually thought we stood much chance of winning but to then loose it so abruptly, as we did on a morale check, was very disappointing indeed. 


  1. Looks like you had a blast...up until the first move that is! Another great looking game and good AAR.

  2. Nice to see my namesake making it into a post... :) Great looking game!

  3. It's good (and rare) to see a Naps game with plenty of space for manoeuvre. Thanks for the pics.

  4. The game does look very good. But in Posties Shed the set up in most games does seem to favour the attackers.

  5. Splendid! Great looking minis and terrain...

  6. Looks like you all had a great time.

  7. Excellent set up and a Spanish challenge. If the center held... maybe a glorious "morale" victory for the Spanish and Imperial Guard embarrassment.

    Michael aka WR

    P.S. Seeing the Spanish line deployed on a hill with a windmill... Valmy comes to mind.

  8. Some cool pics Lee, I did enjoy the game, watching Surg and Rich struggle, until that one fateful moment!!


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