Vimeiro Scenario 1 Turn 1

Vimeiro Scenario 1 Turn 1

This is the first in a series of three extensive AARs for the upcoming First Victories Napoleonic wargame designed by Terry Doherty. Terry has provided quite a significant amount of detail about the turn order and game mechanics and we thought it best to split the AAR into several parts. Look for the following parts next week.


For this replay we will be using the Soldier’s rules, which are the least complex of the three rules sets. Figure 1 shows the initial positions of the French and British units. The goal is for the French to take the village of Vimeiro and the immediately adjacent hill, occupied by Fane’s 6th Brigade (black stripe) and Anstruther’s 7th Brigade (blue-green stripe). Acland’s 8th Brigade (brown stripe) are deployed on the hill to the right. The British are mostly in line formation (facing a hex vertex). The exception is Fane’s skirmishers who are in Skirmishers en debandade (SeD) formation. They have all around facing. The French are mostly in column (facing a hex side).

Figure 1
Figure 1 Initial Positions

The setup is shown without each battalion’s skirmishers deployed. Assume most have them deployed.

9:40 AM August 21, 1808

Turn 1 Command Segment

The weather is clear for the duration of the scenario. Thus, each turn will start off with the initiative die rolls as the first step of the Command Segment. Each player rolls a single die and adds their Overall Commander’s (OC) Command Initiative Modifier (CIM) which can be found on the same player aid card as the turn record track. Wellesley’s CIM is 3 and Junot’s is 2. Wellesley has a slight edge. Whichever player wins the initiative, decides which player goes first that turn. A strong advantage in CIM values can give one side the ability to get a double turn when needed. In addition, the player that goes second must place his orders first, giving the player winning the initiative some indication of where the other player is going to make an effort.

However, the French automatically have the initiative on turn 1, but we still need to determine how many orders each side receives or if any random events occur. The initiative roll modified by the CIM value is used to index the orders charts also on the same chart. To start off the British roll a 0, modified to 3, and the French a 5, modified to 7. Since, a 0 was rolled by one of the players a random event occurs and another die is rolled to determine which random event it is. The second roll is also a 0, which in this case is Junot Takes Thiébault’s Advice: The French win the initiative. If the French player received no Orders this turn, give them two for this turn. Otherwise, give the French player one additional Order this turn. The French modified French roll was a 7, which gives them 2 orders. The random event will then give them a 3rd order. The British modified roll of 3 results in no orders. The French player places attack orders on Delaborde’s 1st Division, Loison’s 2nd Division and Margaron’s Cavalry Division. No command attachments are made by the French player at this time.

Turn 1 French Recovery Segment

Next up is the Recovery Segment where cavalry recovers after charges and infantry attempts to rally. Since, it’s the first turn there is nothing to do here. On to the French Fire Segment.

Turn 1 French Fire Segment

The French will fire both of their stacks of artillery against the British stack of artillery on the hill. First up is the French reserve artillery stack contains 3 arty batteries, 15/6 and 16/6 reserve batteries, each with 3 SP, and a 12/3 battery from 2nd Division which has 2 SP. However, only 6 SP of artillery can fire from a hex so the 12/3 battery is left out of the fire attack calculations. The range is 5 hexes and the target hex is in their arc of fire. 5 hexes is effective range so there are no range modifiers. A fire attack is made by choosing a stack to fire and choosing a target hex. Fire strength values of the fire stack are summed and modifiers are applied adding or subtracting from the sum. Each firing stack makes its fire attack separately. Each of the reserve batteries has a fire strength of 4, and they get a +1 bonus, because the British are slightly over stacked with 11 SP in the hex.

The final fire strength is 9. A die roll of 68 yields a 1M-15 on the fire chart, which means the top step is lost in the stack and the remainder takes a morale check with a -15 on the dice. However, we wait until the 2nd shot against the hex is made before applying the results. The 1st Division arty stack has two batteries of 2 SP each with a fire strength of 2, the same +1 over stacking modifier applies and the final FS is 5. A die roll of 66 is a M-15. Now, the step loss is applied eliminating the top battery on the stack. The stack now takes two morale checks each with -15 on the dice. Rolls of 31 and 85 cause the stack to become disordered. Chalk one up for the French.

Turn 1 British Artillery Segment

After the phasing player Fire Segment, is the non-phasing player Artillery Fire Segment. Artillery gets that extra firepower boost allowing them to fire twice a turn. The British artillery on the hill fires back at the French reserve artillery stack. After the loss of the top battery they now have a combined FS of 3 which is modified by +1 because the French battery is also over stacked and -1, because the French battery is unlimbered artillery by itself in the hex. The net FS is 3. A die roll of 36 is a M-10 result and the French roll a 42 which, after modifying by -10, is lower than their morale of 33 so they are now in disorder.

Turn 1 French Move Segment

This is a short scenario of four turns, so the French get right to it. Refer to Figure 2 for the French moves. Starting on the right, the French grenadiers (dark red stripe and arrow) move forward a couple of hexes to better position themselves to support the attack, yet remaining behind cover. Their MP cost is 2. 4/26 Chasseurs à cheval (yellow stripe and arrow), moves forward to cover the right flank. Cavalry pays +2 MP when going up, or down, a single contour and 4/26’s total MP cost is 11.

The French first division (bright red stripe and arrows), which consists of only a single brigade for this scenario moves launches assaults to take 1/50 Foot in the flank. 1/86 Ligne targets 1/50 Foot’s flank, expending 6 MP to get there. 2/86 Ligne targets the left half of 1/50 Foot. They also expend 6 MP to get there. Assault markers are placed on the French units oriented towards the target hex. Normally, units entering the zone of control (ZOC) of a unit with skirmishers deployed (the SK-1 marker), will take reaction fire from the skirmishers. However, after an assaulting stack moves adjacent and indicates that they are the target they can no longer make reaction fire attacks (artillery is an exception and can blast away). Thus, only the first stack to assault the same stack can be the target of reaction fire from the target stack. Because of careful sequencing of the move with 1/86 Ligne moving adjacent to 1/50 Foot’s flank first there is no reaction fire when 2/86 Ligne moves in. 1/86 also did not take reaction fire, because they went in on the enemy’s flank where the skirmishers don’t have a fire arc.

Lesson 1: always protect the flanks.

A note on markers in the pictures. If space permits, skirmishers markers will be placed in front of the unit with the bottom of the marker oriented towards the unit the marker applies to. Likewise, morale, and other, markers will be placed behind the unit with the top oriented towards the stack it applies to.

Loison’s 2nd Division (green stripes and arrows) also launch assaults. His division also consists of one brigade. See the scenario narratives to understand why. 3/32 Ligne, on the right, assaults 2/95 Foot expending 6 MP to get there. It cost 2 to enter the scrub hex adjacent to 2/95 Foot. They will take reaction fire from 2/95 Foot who are deployed as Skirmishers en debandade. And a pretty stout skirmish line it is with 4 SP of 2/95 Foot with a total Fire Strength of 6. Modifiers are -1, because 3/32 has skirmishers deployed, +1 because they are in column and -1 because they are in scrub terrain (see the Terrain Effects Chart for FS modifiers). The final sum is 5. A really low roll of 03 results in a miss. 3/32 Ligne places its assault marker oriented towards 2/95 Foot.

3/82 takes a similar course of action and assaults 5/60 Foot. It costs 3/82 6 MP to move adjacent to 5/60 Foot. They do not take reaction fire from 2/95 Foot who are now the target of an assault by 3/32 Ligne. They will take reaction fire from 5/60 Foot. The fire attack is the same as against 3/32 Ligne with a final FS of 5. Another low roll of 14 is a plain morale check, which the French easily pass on a roll of 89. They place an assault marker oriented towards 5/60 Foot.

Figure 2
Figure 2 French Turn 1 Moves

Turn 1 British Reserve Segment

Following the phasing player Movement Segment is the Reserve Segment for the non-phasing player. In this segment, the non-phasing player’s units who have a reserve order, can move. A reserve order can be used to withdraw from combat, reinforce a position before an assault, or deploy cavalry or artillery that can interfere with an assault or charge. However, the British player received no orders this turn and there is nothing to do in the Reserve Segment.

Turn 1 French Close Combat Segment

There are three assaults to resolve. The assault process in Glory & Empire is predicated not only on the fact that morale is the most important factor, but that morale is heavily influenced by the effectiveness of firepower when delivered at the shorter ranges occurring during an assault. In the assault procedure the first thing to do is for all attacking stacks to take a morale check. This morale check does double duty. It represents a test to see if the attackers are willing to close and also represents whether or not their volleys of fire were effective by giving them the Well Directed Fire bonus. The defender then conducts its own test of morale. The attacker goes first, because as Clauzewitz noted, defense is the stronger form of combat.

After the morale tests, the defender then conducts defensive fire, followed by the attacker. Again the defender goes first for the same reason Clauzewitz noted. The defensive and offensive fire are influenced by passing or failing the morale checks. Any resulting morale checks from the offensive and defensive fire apply an additional -20 to the dice, because of the short range such fire occurs. The influence of firepower on morale is further taken into account by failed morale checks losing two levels such that most units in good order that fail will retreat at least one hex. The after math of the assaults is shown in Figure 3.

Let’s do the 86 Ligne assault on 1/50 Foot first. The stack of 1/86 Ligne takes a morale check. They roll a 50 which easily exceeds their 36 morale rating. The 2/86 stack rolls a 35 which is a pass, because they are stacked with the redoubtable Delaborde who has a positive benefit of 8 on the dice. Both stacks will get to add the Well Directed Fire bonus. 1/50 Foot now takes its defender morale check. They apply -20, because they are getting attacked in the flank and -10 because they are getting attacked from two hexes. They do not get their skirmisher bonus, because they are getting assaulted from the flank. They roll a 15, which disorders them. They will not get the Well Directed Fire bonus and will suffer a -1 from the disorder marker.

At this point, all skirmishers markers from assaulting and defending units are removed. They are driven in and fall back behind their parent unit. Now defensive and offensive fire is conducted. 1/50 Foot fires first at 2/86 Ligne their only possible target. Their FS is initially 5 -1 for disorder, but +1 for the French in column and +1 because they are over stacked for a final tally of 6. They roll a 30, which is a M-10 result. This becomes M-30 after applying the additional -20 for OF/DF. The French roll a 90 and pass easily. Now for offensive fire. 1/86 Ligne has an initial FS of 1 for being in column, but they get +2 for enfilade fire, and +2 for well directed fire for a net 5. 2/86 Ligne has 1 +2 for well directed fire. If the French had not passed their attacker MC. Their fire would be quite paltry indeed.

Lesson 2: assaulting line in column is risky

The French roll 04 and 93. The 04 is a miss. 93 is a M-15 result which becomes M-40 after applying the -20 for offensive fire and -5 for the disorder. 1/50 rolls an 11, which they fail losing

Two morale levels causing them to go from disorder to broken and they retreat three hexes. All units involved in the assault now disorder, because of the chaos of battle. One unit of 2/86 Ligne advances into the now vacant target. At least one unit must advance. The others hang back to recover. Assault over.

Lesson 3: assault targets from multiple hexes to increase the odds of success. 1:1 assaults against targets in good order is risky

Next 3/32 Ligne assaults 2/95 Foot. 2/95 Foot is in SeD, which is bad for their morale checks and good for the French. 3/32 rolls 17 adding 20 versus SeD units and 5 for Loison letting them pass with a net 42. 2/95 now takes its MC with -20 for SeD. They roll a 20 and become disordered. SK-# markers are removed. 2/95 now conducts defensive fire. All the well aimed rifles have a good starting FS of 6 (up to 4 SP of SeD can fire from a hex) -1 for disorder, -1 for scrub terrain, +1 for column or 5 total. A roll of 40 results in a M-10, which becomes M-30. 3/32 rolls a 27 which is a failure. They drop to shaken and retreat one hex. 2/95 is already in disorder so no additional disorder takes place and the assault is over.

Finally, 3/82 goes through the same process. They pass their attacker MC as does 5/60 Foot. 5/60 Foot then has the same FS modifiers as 2/95 Foot and gets the additional +2 for well directed fire, yielding a FS of 8. A roll of 69 results in a 1M-15. 3/82 takes a step loss and rolls a 69 which with -35 is a failure. They too are shaken and retreat one hex. The assault is over.

Lesson 4: See lesson 3

Figure 3 Aftermath of Turn 1 French Assaults
Figure 3 Aftermath of Turn 1 French Assaults

Turn 1 British Recovery Segment

The British have a couple of stacks to try and rally. First up, 1/50 Foot is broken. They roll a 26 which is much too low and enter the rout state. They retreat three more hexes. They will get one more chance to rally or they rout off the map and are removed from play. The stack of artillery cannot rally because they are in EZOC. 2/95 Foot in disorder rolls a 59 and passes bringing them back to normal.

Turn 1 British Fire Segment

The British now fire. The British artillery stack fires at 3/32 Ligne, because it is a vulnerable target. Their FS is 3 +1, because the French are in column, for a net 4. They roll an 88 which is an M-15. The French take a morale check and fail on a roll of 21. They become broken and retreat three hexes. 2/95 Foot and 5/60 Foot both fire at 3/82 Ligne. 2/95 Foot has a FS of 6 +1 for the French in column. They roll a 00 and miss. 5/60 Foot has the same FS. They roll a 71 and get a M-15 result, but the French roll a 92 and pass. Wasted ammunition.

Turn 1 French Artillery Segment

The French get their second artillery shot of the turn and conduct some counter battery fire with both the 1re Division arty and Reserve arty firing at the British arty stack. The Reserve arty stack has an FS of 8 -1 for disorder, +1 for over stacked, or 8. The 1re Division arty has an FS of 4 +1 for stacking or 5. The rolls are 36 and 40, respectively resulting in a M-15 and a M-10. The British artillery stack rolls 61 and 06, passing the first and failing the second leaving the stack shaken. The infantry in the stack must retreat one hex. The artillery stays put. Both stacks remain shaken.

Turn 1 British Movement Segment

The British are on the defensive so their movements are relatively minor. Refer to Figure 4. Up on the hill Acland ambles forward and deploys his skirmishers. Fane’s remaining half of 1/50 Foot, who are shaken from the intense artillery fire, falls back into the village. The rifleman of the 5/60th and 2/95th continue to skirmish with the French. Anstruther’s brigade forms line with 2/43 Foot and forms en potence with 97 Foot to protect from the approaching cavalry threat. 2/9 Foot moves to the front of the village. The train gets on the trail to prepare to head to the other side of the river for more protection.

There is no French reserve movement and the British had no attack orders so there is no close combat for them. The first turn is over. It was a relatively interesting turn with some casualties inflicted by fire. One French assault was successful and two failed.

Figure 4 British Turn 1 Movement
Figure 4 British Turn 1 Movement

Want more? Why not check out the second turn?

Terry Doherty
Author: Terry Doherty