Battalion line, column, and square – Tactical formations during the Napoleonic Wars

Napoleonic Tactical Formations - French Infantry Battalion 1808-1815 - Banner

Line, column, square … the tactical formations available to infantry of the Napoleonic Wars, South American Wars of Liberation, and Carlist Wars. Line is pretty straight forward but I thought I’d describe the others, in particular column. People think of columns as long and thin, and some were, but most columns of the Napoleonic Wars were usually stubby. I use the post 1808 French as the main example because the Spanish followed their lead, but the other nations were similar.

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Alternative Chacabuco – A Bolivar’s Very Bad Day Battle Report 2

Chacabuco-833 Melee results on left - Banner

Chris and Adam played my variant of John Fletcher’s Alternative Chacabuco scenario, my go to for testing out rules. We were play testing incredible rough draft of Bolivar’s Very Bad Day, a Liberators variant of Tilly’s Very Bad Day.

Summary: Really good fun game. Adam’s Patriots took the game but it was down to the wire. Adam lost Bernardo O’Higgins and his command stalled. Chris lost Field Marshal Del Pont and his command evaporated.

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Moroccan Knives – A Crossfire Battle Report 3

Knives-304 Moroccans enter on right - Banner

Jamie and Adam played my Moroccan Knives scenario for Crossfire . However, rather than being set in the Spanish Civil War I transposed it to 1944 and the Italian Campaign. Really it was an excuse to get the Goumiers of my Moroccan Tabor on table.

Summary: Good tense game. Adam’s Goumier attacked strongly up both flanks using cover and the limited smoke available. They also probed in the centre to fix the Turcomen defenders. But the flank attacks stalled and Jamie took the victory.

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Steven’s miscellaneous Liberators units for 1812 and 1814

Liberators-848 Royalist 1814 Venezuelan Battalion - Ill armed - Column - Banner

As I gear up for my 1815-1819 War in the North – Steven’s Wargaming Project, I had a look at my collection for the South American Wars of Liberation. I discovered a few units I haven’t shared elsewhere: 1812 Argentine Patriots; 1814 Venezuelan Royalists. These are not complete armies, just isolated units that I collected mainly because the figures looked cool.

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Bolivar’s Very Bad Day – Is that the right name?

I’ve been musing on a variant of Tilly’s Very Bad Day for the South American Wars of Liberation for a while. Back in 2021 Jamie and I had a go at the then draft rules with Alternative Chacabuco. “Bolivar’s Very Bad Day” has always been the working name of the draft rules. This is partly to honour the Liberator Simón Bolívar and partly because I couldn’t think of anything else. With my War in the North Project rushing towards me, I thought I should get a bit more definitive about the name.

What do you think? Should I stick with “Bolivar’s Very Bad Day”? Make it official? Or go for something else?

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1815-1819 War in the North – Steven’s Wargaming Project

Battle of Boyacá - Martin Tovar y Tovar - Banner

Once again I’ve been chatting to John Fletcher of Grenadier Productions about the South American Wars of Liberation. These chats are always informative, but often a risky experience. In this case, I’ve decided to stop procrastinating and do a “War in the North” Project. The independence of the Viceroyalty of New Granda started in Gran Colombia and Venezuela and then drifted through Ecuador to Peru. Like my previous 1817-18 Chilean Project for the South American Wars of Liberation (with the follow on the the 1815 campaign in Upper Peru), my War in the North Project will have several phases to spread the expense and painting efforts. Each phase will focus on one or two key battles. This is, of course, a ridiculously large and overly ambitious project. Some would say megalomaniac.

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Musing on resolve – recent tweaks rejected

Musing on Resolve Tweaks in Tillys Very Bad Day - Banner

Well, that has been a miserable failure. I’ve been musing on the resolve rules in Tilly’s Very Bad Day. Thinking up possible tweaks and extensions. Taking a good rule and making it better – or so I thought. This got an interesting conversation going, but I did not get universal endorsement for my suggestions. Quite the reverse. People like the resolve rules as they are. It is time to put that thread to rest and I thought I’d summarise where I’ve got to and why.

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Musing on resolve – strengthen before weaken during the morale phase

Resolve - Strengthen before Weaken - Banner

We really like the morale rules in Tilly’s Very Bad Day, with both positive and negative events affecting a unit’s resolve. But I’ve been wondering whether I should shuffle the steps around in the sequence of play for the morale phase. This would mean we strengthen resolve before we weaken resolve, making units slightly more resilient. I explore three options: (1) current rules; (2) heal before harm; (3) unit morale.

This is one of a series of posts musing on resolve in Tilly’s Very Bad Day.

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Musing on resolve – horse and pike+shot in difficult terrain

Musing on Pike+Shot and Horse in Difficult Terrain in Tillys Very Bad Day - Banner

We really like the resolve mechanism in Tilly’s Very Bad Day. Bundling all morale factors into one number and using that to simulate combat, reaction to the result of combat, and a commander’s ability to rally. We think it one of the things that makes Tilly’s Very Bad Day unique. So I wondered how to take it further. One possibility is to weaken resolve when moving in disrupting terrain.

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