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Corunna - 'General d'Armee' AAR

Posted: Mon Dec 23, 2019 7:56 pm
by grompix
Battle of Corunna 16th January 1809
This was the last all-day Saturday game of 2019 at the Border Reivers. It wasn’t meant to be special – nothing seasonal or anything like that, but it turned out to be somewhat distinctive after all.

Members of my old club (The Contemptible Little Wargames Club) had suggested some time ago that it might be a nice idea to have a get-together kind of game to share our experience with D B’s excellent ‘General d’Armee’ Napoleonic ruleset. This was more or less left on the back-burner, without any further development until a Peninsula scenario was tentatively suggested for the last meeting day in December.

I know I had put together a ‘Corunna-type’ game for my old club way back in 2011, so I dug that out with the idea of dusting it off and reusing it.

However, after sending out an e-mail ‘round-robin’ asking the membership who might be interested in taking part, a staggering fourteen replied and it was pretty evident that the old scenario would simply not cut-the-mustard. Corunna was re-designed to be a lot larger and a bit more historically relevant.

Fourteen people taking part in one game is quite a tall order, and at first, I thought about dividing the game into two separate tables, with some sort of provision for passing forces from one to the other. In the end, I kept the battlefield as one big 16ft x 6ft table but split into two separate playing areas.

The annotated photographs of our Corunna game can be found here: -
https://photos.app.goo.gl/Qc1RzNkkjqKBLzRd6

The full scenario can be downloaded here: -
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/sw2d7lalax0n ... AgPsa?dl=0

The game was divided into six players per side, plus two umpires, one for each ‘combat zone.’ The French players were given the opportunity of leaving their (quite considerable) artillery advantage on the heights off-table rather than bring them on the battlefield. This would provide them with the benefit of firing overhead but at long range. This they wisely decided to do, rather than try to manoeuvre their gun batteries around an already overcrowded field.

The scenario also informed the British players that they could deploy some of their forces inside the two villages, but they somehow missed that critical point, and consequently, the French took Elvina (one of the essential objectives) without issue in the first attack. Piedealonga was only saved by the quick-thinking of the player portraying General Hill, occupying half the village before the French could take all of it.

The North Western side of the battlefield was rough ground (or at least rougher than the rest of the battlefield – which was also deemed not exactly easy-going). This was where Lahoussaye’s Cavalry division was deployed in real life, and so it was in our game too. Not suitable terrain for cavalry or horse artillery. Consequently, our Lahoussaye player achieved about as much as the real Lahoussaye did in the actual battle – not a lot. His horse artillery did manage to eventually get into position and bombard the British lines on the ridge though.

The photographs should hopefully give an idea of how the game played out. The French launched their divisional attacks against the ridge and the village of Piedealonga. The British held out against the first major attacks, despite taking punishing fire from the French gun batteries, and even caused several brigades of General Merle’s division to hesitate and eventually retire. The British captured Piedealonga but brigades of General Mermet’s division eventually smashed through the weakened British brigades and took the ridge. This was deemed to be one of the objectives that, if achieved in combination with the garrisoning of Elvina village, would gain the French a decisive victory.
And so it came to pass…
At least Lieutenant General Moore wasn’t killed in our battle – but I bet he would have been in receipt of some serious stick when he got back home without his army!
Figures are largely Perry, and Front Rank with some Elite miniatures thrown in. The buildings are Grand Manner and a manufacturer of foam buildings I can’t remember.
Most of the figures were cobbled together from the various collections of our members, so some are obviously ‘out of period’ so-to-speak. Consequently you will spot Polish troops and British with Belgic shakos - which were really not around during the Corunna battle – needs must however!
Anyway, just thought that some of you might like to see how a fairly big game like Corunna (at least in regards to the number of participants) played out with G d’A at our club.
Best Wishes,
Chris 😉