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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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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Alternative Chacabuco – A Live Free or Die Battle Report

Chacabuco-603 Maroto's Division waiting at Chacabuco Farm - Banner

Chris, Adam and I had a go at Live Free or Die. The scenario was Alternative Chacabuco so a Liberators game using my Live Free or Die house rules for Big Base Liberators. Chris was the Patriots, Adam the Royalists and I was rules interpreter.

Summary: The game system defeated us. After hours of play we were no where near a conclusion so we gave up.

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Live Free or Die House Rules for Big Base Liberators

Andrés Ferrari suggested I have a look at Live Free or Die: Tabletop Battles of the American Revolution. Not because I play the American Revolution, but because he thought these could be adapted to the South American Wars of Liberation. So I got the rules and now I have to figure out how to play them with my kit. The big question are my Big Bases but there are a few other points worth touching on so, where appropriate, I compare Live Free or Die to Liberators QPR because this is what the scenarios refer to. Using the concepts discussed here I have I’ve also written a Alternative Chacabuco Scenario for Live Free or Die.

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Alternative Chacabuco – A Live Free or Die Scenario

Chacabuco-603 Maroto's Division waiting at Chacabuco Farm - Banner

I’m on a roll. A Liberators roll. Jamie got me started but this scenario is because of Andrés Ferrari. He suggested I look at Live Free or Die for Liberators. I needed a scenario to play test it on and John Fletcher’s Alternative Chacabuco (13 Feb 1817) is my go to scenario for trying out rules for this period. This is my conversion of John’s scenario to Live Free or Die.

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Alternative Chacabuco – A Liberators HoTT Mass Battle Battle Report

Adam, Chris and I had a go at my Alternative Chacabuco Scenario for Liberators HOTT. The South American Wars of Liberation are becoming a bit of a theme in late 2021.

Summary: Good game. Infantry slog felt like an Napoleonic style infantry fight. Columns pushing through lines in a bloody and extended battle Cavalry fight was brutal and heroic, more Lord of the Rings than South America, and took too long.

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Alternative Chacabuco – A Liberators HoTT Mass Battle Scenario

Table - Alternative Chacabuco - Liberators HoTT - Massed Battle - Banner

I already have a Alternative Chacabuco Scenario for Liberators HOTT, based on the Alternative Chacabuco scenario from the Liberators Supplement by John Fletcher (Fletcher, 2006). But that is for a typically small HoTT game and today I wanted to play a big game of Liberators HOTT. A “Mass Battle” in HoTT terms. More elements. More figures. More players. More fun.

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Semi-Official errata for Liberators QPR

Liberators QPR - Errata - Banner

The Liberators 1810-1830 Yahoo Discussion Forum included Errata for Liberators QPR in the files section. With the demise of Yahoo forums these have disappeared. Since I refer to them in my Clarifications of Liberators QPR, and John Smith asked about them on the Liberators Facebook page, I’ve reconstructed the errata here based on the handwritten edits to my copy of the rules.

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