Horse and Musket Crossfire – Crossfire for the Horse and Musket Era

Rule - Horse and Musket - Crossfire - Banner

I wrote this about five years ago because a couple of my projects, i.e. Albuera in the Peninsular and Sipe Sipe in South America, had stalled because I didn’t like any of the available horse and musket rules. Inspired by Roland’s WW1 experiment I wondered if I could make a horse and musket variant for Crossfire. These rules have now remained raw and unplayed for some time. I stopped work on them because I decided I had bent the rules so far that it is no longer Crossfire. But rather than having it lurk on my hard drive any longer, and because Jamie asked about it, I thought I’d share. What do you think?

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Terrain Cards – Random terrain placement for pick up wargames

Terrain Cards - Banner

In our recent game of Tilly’s Very Bad Day Chris observed that, as the defender, he could exploit the terrain placement rules to his advantage. This is my proposal to address Chris’s concern. These rules allow randomised terrain for pick up battles in any period.

The terrain placement rules described here borrow heavily from Terrain Cards for a ECW Campaign.

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Top 20 Pages on Balagan

Balagan Site Stats

I started this blog on 21 Feb 2001 and then Migrated Balagan to WordPress on 15 Sep 2013. So, roughly 4.5 years ago. One of the great things about WordPress, compared to the hand crafted HTML site I had before, is that I get statistics on page views. Apparently I’ve had 1,176,779 views since I migrated and 1,125 comments. My biggest day (23 Feb 2018) brought 2,420 views – this was because Reddit got hold of my Academy of Street Fighting: Tactics during the Battle of Stalingrad post. Today is a typical day with 750 views.

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Lasalle with Big Bases – Introducing Combat Value

Big Base Infantry Attack Column

All my Peninsular War infantry/cavalry units are on Big Bases with two big stands per unit. Also I don’t want to combine small units in the South American Wars of Liberation because there are already only a few units on table and I want to represent them all. So I need some way to represent the number of men, and hence number of stands, in a different way to standard Lasalle.

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How to use Big Bases with Napoleon at War, Lasalle and FoGN

Big Base Infantry Square

I want to try Napoleon at War (NAW) for Liberators and one of the first questions is … what do I do about my Big Bases? Luckily Phil from Wargaming in the Sun has some useful suggestions for using units based for Lasalle / FoGN with Napoleon at War. I can just add to his analysis to cope with my 2 x 80mm x 40mm basing.

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How to Arrange Peninsular Infantry on Big Bases

PEN-201 Peninsular Battalion on Big Bases - Banner

A couple of years ago I put my few Peninsular War figures on big bases. Some French Dragoons and various Spanish new battalions. Now that I’m trying to finish my Albuera project I’m going to supplement these with more figures. Before I do that I have to decide, exactly, how to deal with the company distinctions of the various nations. The French, who gave each company in the battalion, including the fusilier companies, pose particular challenges.

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Battle of Albuera 16 May 1811

Battle of Albuera - Banner

There are quite a few interesting things about the Battle of Albuera (16 May 1811). Enough of interest that the battle has become the subject of my first Peninsular project. The battle was the bloodiest of the Peninsular War. It was a major battle but had modest sized forces involved. Wellington wasn’t there. The battle has French columns facing British (and Spanish) line – so is a good exemplar of what happens in that situation. As a result the core of the battle was a long gruelling musketry competition. It has perhaps the most famous example of cavalry charging, and destroying, unprepared infantry; infantry that in other circumstances were considered steady. And finally, the Allied forces included perhaps the best Spanish troops of the war – those trained by Zayas.

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Spanish at Albuera – Better than Conventional Wargaming and V&B Stereotypes Allow

Myth vs Truth

In my recently published Albuera – A Volley and Bayonet Scenario, I used an Order of Battle by Jeff Glasco. For the scenario I did not try to reconcile Glasco’s order of battle with my own Orders of Battle at the Battle of Albuera. Nor did I inject my own thinking on the Spanish forces at the battle and it is the Spanish I want to focus on in this post.

I appears that Jeff Glasco, like most Napoleonic wargamers, doesn’t think much of the Spanish and layers on the disadvantages. This attitude and approach is fairly common in the wargaming community and, in truth, the Spanish armies were often pretty rubbish. But I’m not sure this indictment is warranted for the Battle of Albuera (16 May 1811). I want to highlight and counter some of the anti-Spanish points in the order of battle.

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Attack Column or ‘Ordre Mixte’: How did the French deploy at Albuera?

French Ordre Mixte

English historians since Oman have claimed that the French V Corps at Albuera formed ordre mixte, i.e. mixed order with battalions in a combination of line and column. Strangely French sources make no such claim. In all French sources V Corps was in closed column (colonne serrée). Unfortunately Oman mistook a French source and, because of that mistake, English historians have got it wrong since.

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How to Discourage Massed Attack Columns in Lasalle

Lassale - Musing - Massed Attack Columns - Banner

Reading the Lasalle Forum it quickly becomes clear that a common game tactic is to mass Attack Columns against defending Lines. That in turn means that defenders abandon Line and commonly deploy in Attack Column themselves.

The problem with all of this is that is completely unhistorical. Historically Attack Columns were expected to deploy into Line when they got to musketry range so left enough room between units to allow this.

Personally I find the unhistorical sight of massed Attack Columns offensive and I want a game mechanism to prevent or discourage it. The Lasalle Forum has a bunch of suggestions which I thought I’d list here.

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