Gavilan Scenario for Liberators QPR

John Fletcher published a scenario for the Battle of Gavilan on the Liberators 1810-1830 Yahoo Discussion Forum (in the files section). The scenario is nominally for Liberators Quick Play Rules and I have rewritten based on the anticipation of play testing on a smaller table.

Historical Situation

Setting: Gavilan Hill, Conception, Chile; 5 May 1817

Ordonez attempted to defeat Las Heras’s 1,300 patriots before O’Higgins could join with his Chilean forces (Manly, 2008). After leaving Talcaluano the royalists headed for the rebel redoubt on Gavilan Hill (northwest of Concepcion) in two columns. Colonel Morgado had 600 men and two field pieces on the Penco road whereas Ordonez approached from Chepe with 800 and three guns.

Nine royalist gun-boats opened fire on the insurgents within Conception at 0645 hours (Manly, 2008). Ordonez arrived at the insurgent lines first and immediately assaulted Las Heras’s left flank. Ordonez’s column was decimated storming the rebel lines. Morgado arrived an hour and a half later and launched his own attack but with no more success. When the advance guard of O’Higgins army arrived on the field, two Chilean companies, the royalists abandoned the assault and retreated behind the Talchuano trenches. They royalists lost 118 killed, 80 wounded, four guns, and 200 muskets. Patriot casualties were six dead and 62 injured. O’Higgins arrived by nightfall and assumed command over the siege operations, which were to last seven months (Fletcher, 2005).

Map/Terrain

The published map is at a scale of 1″ on table is 10 yards in reality. At that scale the table is 12′ x 8′, which is quite big by anybody’s standards. I’ve shrunk it to 8′ x 5′, which is 1″ = 15 yards.

Gavilan Table 8'x5'

Gavilan Table 8’x5′ [Adapted from John Fletcher]

Pre-game preparation

None

Patriot Player (Defending)

Deploys first and takes second turn.

Objective

Defend Gavilan Hill, and hence Conception behind, by destroying the Royalist force.

Forces Available

Patriot Order of Battle

  • Commander: Col. Las Heras [6/6/6]
  • Subordinate Commander: Lt. Col. Freire [6/6/6]
  • Argentine 7th Infantry Regiment
    • Cazadores [2 stands 5/5/4 Sk]
  • Argentine 8th Infantry Regiment
    • Cazadores [1 stand 5/5/4 Sk]
  • Argentine 11th Infantry Regiment
    • Fusiliers [6 stands 6/6/5 s]
    • Fusiliers [5 stands 6/6/5 s]
    • Elite Companies / Grenadiers & Cazadores [4 stands 5/5/4 Sk]
  • Chilean 1st Infantry Battalion [2 stands 7/7/6]
  • Chilean Compania de San Fernando [3 stands 8/8/7]
  • Argentine Horse Grenadiers, 3rd Squadron
    • Company [5 stands, -/5/4]
    • Company [4 stands, -/5/4]
  • Chilean Dragoons
    • Company [2 stands -/8/7]
    • Company [2 stands -/8/7]
  • 4 x 4lbrs [4 stands, 6/7/5]
  • 2 x 32lbr howitzers [2 stands, 5/7/5]

Deployment

Deploys first within the blue box on the map.

Reinforcements

Reinforcements arrive at 1000 hours:

  • Argentine 7th Infantry Regiment
    • Fusiliers [5 stands 6/6/5]

Royalist Player (Attacking)

Deploys second and takes first turn.

Objective

Destroy the Patriot force defending Gavilan Hill, opening access to Conception beyond.

Forces Available – Ordonez’s Column

All troops start off table and enter at the designated times and places. The first Royalist column – Ordonez’s Column – arrives near Chepe Hill on the first turn.

Royalist Order of Battle – Ordonez’s Column

  • Col. Ordonez [5/5/4 +1 initiative] – nominal overall commander
  • Conception Battalion
    • Fusiliers [5 stands 6/6/5 s]
    • Fusiliers [5 stands 6/6/5 s]
    • Elite Companies / Grenadiers and Cazadores [4 stands 5/5/4 Sk]
  • Chillan Dragoons *
    • Mounted option
      • Mounted Company [3 stands -/7/6]
      • Mounted Company [3 stands -/7/6]
      • Mounted Company [3 stands -/7/6]
    • Dismounted option
      • Dismounted [5 stands 7/7/6 Sk]
  • 2 x 4lbrs [2 stands 6/7/5]
  • 1 x 3lbr [1 stand 7/7/5]

* The Chillan Dragoons skirmished on foot at Maipo so I give the option here. They are either mounted or dismounted for the entire battle.

Reinforcements – Morgado’s Column

The second Royalist column – Morgado’s Column – arrives at the designated point on map on a die roll during initiative phase: arrive on 1-2 on 1d10.

Royalist Order of Battle – Morgado’s Column

  • Col. Morgado [6/6/6]
  • Ad Hoc Infantry Battalion **
    • Fusiliers [5 stands 6/6/7]
    • Fusiliers [5 stands 6/6/7]
  • Frontier Dragoons ***
    • Company [3 stands -/7/6]
    • Company [3 stands -/7/6]
    • Company [3 stands -/7/6]
    • Company [2 stands -/7/6]
  • 2 x 4lbrs [2 stands 6/7/5]

** The Ad Hoc unit was formed from a mixed bag of survivors from Chacabuco that had spent some weeks at sea attempting to flee to Peru. Their morale has be lowered as a consequence. The number of stands has been increased from 3 to 10 aid game balance.

*** The Frontier Dragoons had six companies in the battle but I only have four units so distributed the same number of men (278) amongst the four units.

Reinforcements – Martinez’s Column

The third Royalist column – Martinez’s Column – arrives at 1000 hours from the Bio Bio River:

Royalist Order of Battle – Martinez’s Column

  • Col. Martinez [6/6/6]
  • Los Angeles Infantry [4 stands 7/7/6]
  • Indians on foot with assorted weapons [2 stands -/8/7]
  • 1 x 4lbr [1 stand 6/7/6]

Scenario Special Rules

Figure to Men Ratio and Order of Battle

I have changed the figure to man ratio to match the ground scale (1″ = 15 yards). The figure to man ratio is now:

  • 1 infantry stand = 40 men
  • 1 cavalry stand = 25 men
  • 1 gun stand = 1 gun

At the normal figure to man ratio for Liberators Quick Play Rules the units are infantry battalions (200-800 men), cavalry squadrons (70-200 men) and artillery batteries (4-8 guns). At the reduced scale of this scenario the units are now infantry divisions (one or two companies), cavalry companies, and gun sections (2-3 guns).

I’ve revised the order of battle to reflect these changes and to correct a couple of typos in the original.

In his scenario John Fletcher has the artillery at 2 guns per stand and mentions rules for half stands. I’ve ignored that and gone for 1 gun per stand.

Commanders

I have included all the sub-commanders, both Patriot and Royalist, in the order of battle.

Colonel Las Heras is normal army commander and can influence and rally any Patriot troops. Lt. Col. Freire can attach to any Patriot unit and can only influence that unit while attached; he cannot rally routed troops.

The Royalist column commanders – Colonels Ordonez, Morgado and Martinez – can only influence troops in their own column. They rally their own routed units. None of them, including Ordonez, can influence or rally units from other columns.

Separating Companies from Units

Stands, and groups of stands, can be separated from the parent unit as per standard rules. For example, the grenadier, 2nd, 3rd (only 40 men) and 4th companies of the Argentine 11th Infantry Regiment operated away from the main body at various times during the real battle.

Game start

As per John’s scenario… Patriots deploy first. Battle begins at 0700 hours. Royalists deploy second and have initiative on first turn.

Patriot Redoubt

Although the map has a redoubt on Gavilan Hill John Fletcher notes that it was little more than a sentry post so I have ignored it for game purposes.

Victory Conditions

The Patriots on Gavilan Hill are trying to stop the Royalist columns from reaching Conception.

Either army wins if it forces the enemy to abandon the field and has not itself abandoned the field.

The Patriot army abandons the field if, at the end of a turn, half of its units have routed.

A Royalist column abandons the field if, at the end of a turn, half of its units have routed. The Royalists army abandons the field if two columns have abandoned the field.

A routed unit that subsequently rallies still counts as routed for these purposes.

References

Fletcher, J, (n.d.) The Battle of Gavilan – May 5, 1817. Grenadier Productions. [Available on-line at Liberators 1810-1830 Yahoo Discussion Forum in the Files page.]

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