Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Salamanca! Using ESR

 Last night I ran a refight of the Battle of Salamanca at the club.  We used the ESR ruleset which worked out very nicely, especially simulating the early morning maneuvering the came before the fight itself.

While the historical outcome was a decisive British victory, both armies were evenly matched, with the British having a slight advantage in infantry while the French had a tad more in calvary and artillery.  ESR also simulates the tactical doctrinal differences nicely with the French having a smaller number of large formations while the British having a lot more smaller more flexible units that done have as much staying power but are very flexible to use.

The French are entering the board from the lower right side.

 Another shot of the initial set up showing the build of the British Army marching up for Salamanca (upper left).  There are a number of hills on the right side of the picture that don't really show through in the picture.
The initial moves have the French marching quickly to sieze Great Apriles in the center like they did historically and sending Curto's light calvary division and two infantry divisions to their extreme right flank to try and catch the English baggage train which Marmont can just see (the train is located in the center Bottom of the picture)
As Curto's calvary approach they discover that Marmonts telescope needs some refinement as what was thought to be the baggage train is actually Packenham's 3rd division!  This event also happened historically and was a really fun surprise to spring.  The French also had a surprise - they could have one of their divisions move Off-map 18 inches per turn and then enter where they wanted.  The trick is once those orders were set they could not be changed.  The French picked well.  It came on about where Josh's hand is now anchoring the extreme French right flank and allowing the two divisions by Josh's hand to switch to the attack.  It was a very well timed move.

With the Light Cav checked on the French left flank, the battle moved on to three separate actions, with each becoming more important and successful for the French as we moved left to right along their line.
The British center division gives way which allows the French to gang up on the Brits left flank by sending 3 divisions agains the lone British one.
 The French assault on their left flank stalls out as Tony attempts and massively fails an order change which effectively allows 2 French divisions to idle and trade pot shots with the British.

Here's a hint for ESR, which bases died roll on 2 D6's - DONT ROLL TWO ONES.  Something always really bad happens.
While successful on their right flank the British center and left flank collapse under the weight of the French attacks.  It was a very close run as most of the French divisions were one or two fatigue points away from collapse.

I do apologize for the ugly green rectangles,  They are movement trays for attack columns that I have pressed in to service to be Reformation areas for each division.

Given how much we like the ESR tules set, I'll be making proper ones to use in the next game.

This is the third time I put on an ESR game at the club and I must say the rules are a lot of fun and provide a very good game.  This one could have gone either way, but a rare French victory in the Peninsula isn't that bad of a thing...


john de terre neuve said...

I think you are using your 15mm collection, any issues in respect to this as I believe esr is designed for 10mm soldiers. Is it that you have just adjusted the fotprint of your maneuver element. What is the maneuver element battalion or brigade?

Jonathan Freitag said...

Good looking game! I would enjoy giving ESR a try.

Peter Douglas said...

Fine looking action Miles, ugly green rectangles aside. Forgive my ignorance, failing memory but what does ESR stand for?

Miles said...

Peter: ESR stands for Et Sans Resultat which is a Napoleonic Ruleset for The Wargaming Company

John: The rules are scaled for different sizes. The base size I use for 15's is roughly the same used for 10's so there really ins't any difference. I like the look of 15's better than 10's and also find painting them to be easier. The base unit is one stand equals a battalion

I highly recommend these rules

Steve Nutt said...

I got sold on esr - I'm regarding my entire collection which is a massive undertaking. Going for 1" = 100yds. All 15mm, I've never done 10mm, I think it's too small you might as well go for 6mm to get the mass effect. 15mm you can see the uniforms.

I'm working on getting enough figures rebased for Borodino to be played when lockdown is over.

I'm interested in what people are using for reformation areas. I'm using mdf til I think up a better solution, they look terrible. On the esr website reformation areas are caisson, ambulance s etc. But for Borodino you would need 90 of them. Cost aside what about all the painting.

I have considered clear perspex.

Any ideas?

By the way your game looks great.

Steve Nutt said...

Reformation areas are a problem. I am slowly regarding my 15mm collection for esr. Using mdf rectangles for reformation area. Problem is what to do to make them look nice. I could do what others seem to do mount caissons, ambulances, make little dioramas for them. But my plan is to do Borodino I'd need 90ish. The cost and painting time will make this prohibitive. Anyone god any ideas for a cheap easy but nice looking option?