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The Zadorra Bridges

Posted: Tue May 19, 2020 3:33 pm
by Cearapeter
Hi All

Got the Vitoria pdf last week and spent some time reading it. Not a lot there if you are a French player, but perhaps that is how it should be, given they were soundly beaten 'on the day'. Having said that I have a French army and I like bridges! So my interest was immediately drawn to 'Battle for the Zadorra Bridges'.

The scenario references 'The Bridge at Abechuco" but then refers to 'bridges'. Does the text in the paragraph refer to all three bridges?

I feel the 'no support fire' rule is wrong. A battalion (500 - 700 men) in Column of Companies moving across a bridge (15 feet wide) would take about 10 minutes. Loads of time to allow supports to fire albeit at inferior volley rate due to the new 'firing across a river' rule. Then if the head of the column was stuck in a melee (2nd round) the tail of the column is going no where. Again, plenty of time to be hit by supporting fire. I would be interested in views.

Allowing attacking supports (should the BUA fall) to then magically leap the river and appear at the far side of the BUA, thereby flanking the entire French defensive line, is not right. Here I assume the initial attacking unit would have to be on an Infantry Assault order. Its a bit like 'get one across and three come free'. Again, any views are welcomed.

Two of the bridges lead directly into BUAs (Gamarra Mayor and Durana). Does the 'Firing on Vulnerable Targets' rule e.g. 2 extra CDs apply to the troops firing from the BUA to troops on the bridge? Thereby allowing the defender of the BUA to have 5 dice, the usual three for firing from a BUA plus two CDs for a narrow front target.

Unlike the other two bridges, the Abechuce Bridge does not lead directly into the BUA judging from the map. What do others think?

If the French are to do 'reasonably well' across these six scenarios they need to slow down the British and their allies, they might even win one. To that end, allowing the British/Spanish speedy passage over the river on the back of one battalion winning a BUA melee seems a bit severe on the French. Imagine if the French charged across the bridge and won their melee and then in the next bound the British/Spanish were confronted by four battalions where previously there were none (three supports with zero casualties). Think of the uproar!!!


Re: The Zadorra Bridges

Posted: Tue May 19, 2020 8:45 pm
by nikjen66
Hi CP. not sure what Daves intention was with the scenario specific rules but just responding to your question about firing over the river in the Zadorra scenario take a look at the river today on Google earth. Winding, low lying and covered in dense woodland. I don’t know what it was like in 1813 but now it’s difficult to imagine massed musketry, several ranks deep would be effective. As for when units are crossing bridges the real turns in the river (not the ones on our tables) are sharp and often covered with outlying buildings making fire against anyone crossing quite short bridges, possibly at the time with high parapets a very difficult target.

Like I said no idea what Daves reasons were but a quick look at the actual ground supports some of the scenario rules.

I think from other comments that these scenarios have been play tested to oblivion and having played all on the Waterloo scenarios, some several times, all of those can be won be either side.

Like you I love my French and I’m quietly confident that there is something in all the scenarios to play for. But of course, who doesn’t want to play the underdogs, makes the winning even sweeter. 😉😉

Re: The Zadorra Bridges

Posted: Sun May 24, 2020 1:34 am
by polish lancer
I think in the no support fire scenario rule it would likely only occur at the Abechuco bridge as the others are cover by the BUA's. The terrain either side is not hugely favourable to cohesive volley fire hence the inferior rule. You may not get supporting fire but whoever is charging across will be doing so unsupported and the defended could well have supports for the Charges phase and that is a pretty big advantage.

I don't see the support battalions in a melee against Gamarra or Durana magically appearing, they are involved in a massed melee in the BUA, which you could surmise is on both sides of the river. If you win then the supports redeploy across the river, likely unformed (2 battalions max). This could make them very vulnerable in this position if the opposition has numbers ready to attack back. So at best the attacker will have 1 battalion in the BUA and 2 unformed battalions adjacent.

Gamarra and Durana bridges are within the BUA, so I don't think you get the firing a vulnerable targets. You need to take the BUA to get bridge access.

It's not an easy scenario for either side. If the French sit back and let the British dictate the game then they will probably lose! Having played this scenario a couple of times the British won both, but it was a very hard fought victory.

My view is that for the French to do well they need to act with controlled aggression. They can do it in these scenario's!

Re: The Zadorra Bridges

Posted: Mon May 25, 2020 8:04 pm
by Cearapeter
Hello again PL

Thank you very much for your response. My attention was immediately taken to this game because of the bridges, albeit it could be some time before we actually get to play it as we are currently just finishing off Austerlitz! Just a few questions by way of clarification as you have played the game a few times.

1. How did you garrison Gamarra and Durana given both villages are on two sides of the river? I totally get the bridges in these villages are not an issue as the BUA melee will settle any crossings.

2. When I defend a village I usually place one unit in the village and one or two units in column, in support directly behind, subject to available troops. How would you then place the 'winning' attacking supports (as per the game note) where the defending units are. I struggle with that aspect of the game. How did you deal with the French supports in your game?

3. Looking at Abechuco, to attack the village the British have to cross the bridge. Crossing the bridge in Column of Companies the British can then (as I see it) charge the BUA in this formation or swing left and reform to attack in Column of Divisions - but that would take a lot of time. How did it go in your game? I am of a view that a standard unit in line at the head of that bridge could hold it against any attacking unit.

4. Did you allow any charge modifier against the infantry in a narrow frontage crossing the bridge? There is a a -1 for cavalry.

5. Did you consider the unit charging across the bridge as unformed?

Very best wishes and keep safe.


Re: The Zadorra Bridges

Posted: Tue May 26, 2020 4:31 am
by polish lancer
Hey Cearapeter,
1. We simply place 2 stands either side of the river in the BUA to show its garrisoned and the battalion gun facing the Brits.

2. We defend in a similar fashion, with troops directly behind, but me being an evil British play I am usually shooting these supports before and attack with artillery. When the Brits finally took Gamarra I placed the 2 extra battalions on one side of the town in line, one behind the other. Of course you need space to do this and a tricky Frenchy may try and fill this area to prevent this.

3. Abechuco is actually on the British side so I will assume you mean French. In our game I (Brit) could see the French preparing for a crossing, so I use the Forwards order to race into position with a substantial skirmish screen. The French came over with their Skirmisher and moved them to the left of the bridge which was a huge mistake as once I took Abechuco they lost their resolve. The French Skirmisher got stuck and completely destroyed. If the French had been aggressive and push hard I think it can pull the Brits away from the other towns as they need to use ADC's to deal with the threat.

4. Yes we did play the narrower frontage.

5. No we did not. Unformed plus narrower frontage may be too much to handle.

From memory the British attack was at Durana first then Gamarra. Abechuco was a defensive action. We played a few iterations during play testing of the action with differing terrain as well.

Our group is probably looking toe play it all again as we did not play Osma nor include the options of adding or subtract French reinforcements.

Re: The Zadorra Bridges

Posted: Tue May 26, 2020 4:50 pm
by Cearapeter
Hi Pl. Thanks for your comments. As always very helpful.

Keep safe