Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Snappy Nappy Campaign Planning: Spain, Spring/Summer, 1809

    On Sunday, April 29th, we will be running another Campaign in a Day event at The Portal in Manchester CT. Expected hours are 10 AM - 5 PM. All of these events have been a great deal of fun. This one involves the fighting in the parts of Spain and Portugal depicted below, beginning shortly after Sir Arthur Wellesey's return to Portugal. Loss of either Madrid or Lisbon will end the campaign with a decisive victory for the other side, otherwise total losses inflicted will be the determinants of success. 

    This game will also serve as a test of the scenario for  similar event to be run at Historicon this July, planned for Thursday from 10 AM - 5 PM. Depending upon registration for the event, forces will likely be roughly twice as big for that game. For information on previous events, and to get a feel for what they are like, see the "Campaigns in a Day" page on this blog. 

Signed up so far:

James  Venegas
Vic -  Cuesta #1
Russ   Cuesta #2 (Zayas)
Peter O  La Romana
Mike - British #1 Wellesey
Bruce  British #2  Hill
Karl -  Portuguese #1 Beresford
Marty Portuguese #2  Silviera
Brian   Don Julian Sanchez (Guerrillas)

Mark M- Marechal Michel Ney
Mark - Marechal Victor
Richard H - Soult #1
Mark H -Soult #2 (Lapisse)
Caleb Marechal Mortier
Phil - Sebastiani
Michael Lambros - Latour Mauborg #1
Herbert Arico  Latour Mauborg #2 (Milhaud)
Jim  -  King Joseph/Marshal Jourdan

Dan - half of Mortier (Gazan)

Greg - reserve player and Assistant GM. 

   Barely had Napoleon finished chasing the British under General John Moore out of  Spain, culminating in the battle of Corunna and the evacuation of the army by the Royal Navy, when he hurried back to Paris.  He was never to return to Spain again. All indications were that the Austrians would declare war in the Spring, and thus he began withdrawing troops from Spain to be redirected to the Danube front. With the British gone, the French under Marshal Soult once again invaded Portugal, and took the key city and port of Opoprto. The other corps in Spain were dispersed to pacify Galicia, Asturias, Estremadura, and Andalucia, and put an end to the epic sieges engendered by the Spanish resistance. Saragossa finally fell in February 1809, but at a cost of over 10,000 French lives (and many more Spanish ones). Back in London, Sir Arthur Wellesey, the victor of Rolica and Vimiero in 1808, was cleared by the commission investigating the Convention of Cintra. With general Moore having perished at Corunna, Wellesey convinced the British Government to intervene once again in Portugal, and had arrived in Lisbon in late April of 1809 - just as Napoleon became embroiled in the war with the Austrian Empire. The Emperor would have no men to spare for Spain for the foreseeable future. Napoleon's brother, King Joseph, and the squabbling Marshals nominally under his command, would have to fend for themselves, "aided" only by outdated and unrealistic directives from the Emperor.

Loss of Lisbon or Madrid will end the campaign in a decisive victory for the French or Allies respectively.Otherwise one victory point will be scored for each enemy unit that is eliminated, except that Militia units count only 1/2 point each, and NO Victory Points are gained for destroying Guerrilla units.  

Each command, except the Guerrillas and Gendarmes, will have a bridging train. For game purposes, permanent bridges may not be destroyed, but temporary ones (laid down by bridging trains) may be destroyed/removed.  See section 22.1, on page 36 of Snappy Nappy

The French players may collaborate.

The British and Portuguese players may collaborate with one another.

The Spanish players (including Guerrillas) may collaborate with one another, BUT they may NOT collaborate with the British and/or Portuguese players *prior* to the start of the game. 

Any or all players may prepare dispatches in advance to be sent at the start of the game, including communications between the Spanish and their allies. These will be given to the GM and delivered after a suitable delay. These could be considerably more detailed the usual in game messages. These might be an explanation of your starting plans, elaboration of your forces, inquiries of your allies, proposals for cooperation, etc. 

For players new to the game, communication with fellow players can be key. Messages are typically delayed roughly 15- 20 minutes real game time, less if players are close, more if they are distant. 

Although all tables are visible, which table is what and what forces are what, and what they are doing will not be clear for some time, if ever. You will quickly become engaged in your own situation, and thus getting the "Big Picture" can be difficult. When you jump from one table to another, you never know quite what you will find there!

In game messages are usually short, hurriedly scribbled (illegibility, just like in real life can be a definite problem). They usually take the format:

AT:                                      TIME:

We like to save the messages at the end of the game, as it helps understand how events unfold. Usually messages will be very frequent at first, and then decrease as events become clearer. Of course, messages can be out of date before they even arrive!

Royal Navy: 8 ships
** Special Rules
1) Each ship may transport 1 stand of Allied troops from one harbor to another harbor (anchor symbol) on the map. Transport time variable. 
2) Both harbors must be unoccupied by any French troops (no opposed landings!)
3) Ships do not affect land combat in any way.

**Spanish Special Rules
1) Spanish troops may retreat off table (as a group)  into "impassable" mountains", or entirely off the main areas. If they do so, they may not return for at least 30 minutes of game time, BUT all damaged stands will automatically be fully rallied.
2) Spanish troops have no central command.

** Special rules
1) No points are scored for eliminating Guerrillas
2) Guerrillas may always retreat off board into "impassable" mountains.
3) If French dispatches traverse an area with Guerillas deployed (umpires call), there is a 5% chance per Guerrilla stand along the route that the dispatch will be captured, and both never delivered and also delivered to Don Julio Sanchez.
4) Guerrillas are expected to act as spies and report their findings to Allied players as they see fit.This includes possibly forwarding copies of captured dispatches!
5) Eliminated Guerrillas will "re-spawn" in 30 minutes on any table(s) in Spain that are free of French troops (including Gendarmes) If none are free, they may re-spawn in off table areas of Spain (NOT Portugal).

** Special Rules
1) Gendarmes may be deployed as single stands to suppress Guerrilla activity
2) Gendarmes suffer no penalty for lack of command.
3) Gendarmes do count as troops on the table for the purpose of enemy movement, and do cost Victory Points if lost.
4) Gendarmes present on a table will negate the effect of Guerillas on French communications  for up to 2 stands of Guerrillas per stand of Gendarme
5) Gendarmes may not enter Portugal.


1) The Guerrillas my prepare ambushes on any table where there are no French troops other than Gendarmes. (this would include the tables they start out upon, even if Gendarmes are deployed on that table). 

2) Ambushes may be set within mountains, hills, woods, or villages. 

3) Guerrillas lying in ambush are removed from the table. The site of the ambush is indicated by a slip of paper hidden under the terrain in question, noting the forces placed there and the time placed. If there is m ore than one stand of Guerrillas on the table, as many ambushes may be placed as Guerrilla stands are removed. The Guerrilla player may place as many dummy slips as there are Guerrilla bands on the table (to mislead any casual onlookers).

4) When the Guerrilla player springs an ambush (which may be at the END of any French phase of a turn), he rolls THREE morale checks, needing a 9 or a 10 (usual score for militia) on any ONE roll. If there are Gendarme stands present on the table, the number of checks rolled is reduced to TWO if there is one stand of Gendarmes, and ONE if there are two or more stands of Gendarmes on the table. 

5) If at least one check is passed, the Guerrillas are placed on the table and then act normally on the Allied Phase of the turn.

6)  If NO checks are passed by the Guerrillas, the stands are placed on the table anyway, BUT they may NOT act, except defensively, until the FOLLOWING Allied phase. 

7) The GM will be advised, either verbally or in writing, of the placement of ambushes. 

8) Guerrillas in Ambush still disrupt French communications.

As for Gendarmes

1. how do they react when facing regular forces, non-guerilla units?

2. Are they treated as regular infantry for fire, melee and other gaming needs?

3. What limitations do they have when facing enemy non-guerilla regular units, both cavalry and infantry.

4. How can they be used to guard non-permanent supply depots?

My intent is that the Gendarmes otherwise fight as normal troops. They may NOT be added to any player's command. They could be used to garrison fortresses.

While I had considered having supply rules for this game, in the end I decided it was probably taking things a level too far. 

Some difficulty can arise when players leave token garrisons behind to hold critical bridges and bottlenecks, etc. It can unduly penalize opponents encountering such token forces when they have to twiddle their thumbs, unable to move because their opponent keeps running away to do moves in a much bigger battle on another table.  Of course, delaying the enemy (within reason), as well as getting notice of the movement of enemy troops into the area, are the two main reasons for leaving token forces to begin with.

1) A "Token Force" consists of not more than 3 units of infantry, or a single Cavalry or Artillery unit. Combined arms forces are never considered "Token Forces".

2) Wherever possible, the owning player will play their own troops provided that it does not unduly slow play on that table or elsewhere.

3) Another player on the same side, or the GM or their assistant may be assigned to run the force if necessary to maintain the flow of the game. 

4) Failing any of those, or by the consent of the owning player, the Token force may be run by the opposing player following the Default Orders given to the Token Force as follows:

Place a pre-printed card underneath the token force when it is detached that gives it Default Orders:

- Hold at all costs, always orienting to fire on the nearest enemy.
- Withdraw as quickly as possible away from the enemy.
- Withdraw as quickly as possible towards Deployment Zone  _________ (fill in the blank).

In the absence of a Default Order,  "Hold at all costs" is assigned.

On encountering the Token Force, and after suitably informing and getting the OK from the GM, a player could run his own troops and pretty easily and reasonably run the opposing token force. Mostly the token force is not going to move (or will move away as quickly as possible), so one only needs to do trivial movement or roll shooting and morale for it. The Token force will impose a 60 second delay per unit each turn on the cycling of the active player. In other words, a Token Force of 3 Infantry units would impose a 3 minute delay per turn cycle upon the opposing player. The timer on a cell phone can be used to track such delays. 


"Spanish troops may retreat off table (as a group) into "impassable" mountains", or entirely off the main areas. If they do so, they may not return for at least 30 minutes of game time, BUT all damaged stands will automatically be fully rallied."

Wow. Just caught this. 

Does retreating off table mean any edge? Or just into the 'edge mountains' that Greg is making? Or is it off any road? Or, I should say via any Deployment Zone? 

They may of course retreat (and thus perhaps rally) via Deployment zones the same as anyone else, but they have the special ability to retreat across mountain table edges (whence the French cannot follow them). This happened repeatedly during the Peninsular War, which meant the French defeated the Spanish again and again... but they were back again next season! The Spanish actually raised an astounding number of troops over the long course of the war. This ability should keep them a thorn in the French Derriere!


On the table maps:

 "Mountains" = Severe (Spanish Cavalry and Artillery ONLY may enter, but ONLY to retreat off the table, other nations Cavalry and Artillery may not enter)

"Woods" = Rough

"Hills" = Broken

Buildings = Town, except clusters of 2 or 3 = City.

Fortresses are as marked on Table maps. 

All rivers are 1" wide (thus NO small arms fire across them), and may only be crossed at bridges, whether permanent or pontoon.

The Campaign Map, a reduced section of the "Murat's Maps" page for Iberia.

Some maps from Colonel Lipscombe's excellent The Peninsular War Atlas that help set the b background. Recall that mid April 1809 corresponded to when Erzherzog Karl crossed the Isar into Bavaria, opening the fighting on the Danube. 

Events leading up to the battle of Talavera

Post Talvera. None of these maps correspond exactly to how the forces will start at the outset of the campaign, but still useful to get a feel for the overall picture. 

The main commands will be:


1) General Sir Arthur Wellesley with the British Army

2) Generals William Beresford with part of the  Portuguese Army

3) General  Francisco Silveira with the rest of the Portuguese Army

4)  General Francisco Javier Venegas with the Army of La Mancha

5) General Gregorio García de la Cuesta with the Army of Estremadura

6) General Pedro Caro y Sureda, Marqués de La Romana. with the Army of Galicia

7) Don Julián Sánchez, "El Charro", with the Spanish Guerrillas


1) Marshal Claude Victor-Perrin, Duc de Belluno with the 1st Corps

2) Marshal Jean-de-Dieu Soult, Duke of Dalmatia with the 2nd Corps

3) General Count Horace François Bastien Sébastiani de La Porta with the 4th Corps

4) Marshal Edouard Mortier, Duke of Treviso, with the 5th Corps

5) Marshal Michel Ney, Duke of Elchingen, with the 6th Corps

6) General Marie-Victor-Nicolas de Faÿ, Marquis de La Tour-Maubourg with the Cavalry Reserve

7) King Joseph Bonaparte and Marshal Jean-Baptiste Jourdan with the Army Reserve


I am thinking the Spanish really should be penalized here, but the 9" radius is too short, especially using 25mm troops, so we will use 12" for Spanish (same as for later Prussians and Austrians), and 18" for everyone else. 

Leadership Ratings:

Wellesey - Genius (+3)
Hill - Charismatic (+2)

Silviera - Dashing (+1)
Beresford =- Dashing (+1)

Cuesta - Dashing (+1)
Zayas - Reliable (+0)
La Romana Dashing (+1)
Venegas Reliable (+0)
Don Julian  N/A

Ney - Charismatic (+2)
Soult - Charismatic (+2)
Lapisse - Reliable (+0)  (he was closer to Poltroon in real life!)
Victor - Charismatic (+2)
Sebastiani - Dashing (+1)
Mortier - Dashing (+1)
Latouir Mauborg - Charismatic (+2)
Milhaud - Dashing (+1)
Joseph/Jourdan  - Dashing (+1) 

Portuguese:  Cacadores Veteran (6+),  Line Seasoned (7+), Cavalry  Seasoned (7+), Artillery Veteran (6+)
British: Guards Guard (4+), Elite (5+), Line Veteran (6+), Lt Dragoons Veteran (6+), Dragoon Guards Elite (5+), Artillery Elite (5+)
Spanish  Militia Militia (9+), Line Conscript (8+). Lights/Grenadiers  Seasoned (7+), Artillery Seasoned 7+, Garochistas Militia 9+, Line cavalry Seasoned 7+, all other cavalry conscript 8+
Guerrillas: Militia (9+)
French: Legere, Poles, Guard, Gendarmes - Elite (5+), Line Veteran 6+, Rhine Confederation etc Seasoned (7+), Artillery Elite 5+, Hussars and Polish Uhlans Elite 5+, Chasseurs and Dragoons Veteran 6+

For the purposes of the campaign:

British Dragoon Guards
French Dragoons
Spanish Line Cavalry and Dragoons

will be considered Heavy Cavalry

The battle of Talavera de la Reina, by William Heath (in the publc domain)


  1. Excited for the progress on this ones. My own group is returning to the Austrian part of 1809 in May having repeated Bavaria last February. Hope all goes well with the Spanish ulcer and and can't wait for the reports.

    1. Thanks Robert; I look forward to seeing how yours plays out as well!

  2. I look forward to seeing the BatRep from your "Campaign in a Day." The last one was very entertaining.

    1. I am looking forward to the event as well. The report after this one may be a little less detailed, as I want to keep some uncertainty for the players at the Historicon version. he addition of the Guerillas will be an interesting twist.

  3. This looks as intriguing as the other 'Campaign in a Day' ventures. looking forward to seeing how this one plays out!

    1. Thanks, Phil. This one will be a little different, with neither side having clear unity of command.

  4. Fascinating, given you are doing this in one day, the battles must really go fast I assume.

    1. It ain't called Snappy Nappy for nothin! :-)

      Actually, a MAJOR battle (over 2 corps a side) can take a few hours to resolve. If it goes that long, the loser is usually severely crippled, and of course the forces involved are tied down from acting elsewhere. That does allow the strategic action to continue elsewhere across the multiple tables.

  5. Great work on these. I must say that the Swiss flag took a little getting used to for me.

    1. The flags of the other other Swiss units are all rather striking compared to the standard Spanish units!

  6. How do you do orders for each commander in campaign in a day? Is there a CinC issuing orders to the commanders or do the players have more independent commands?