Battle of Talavera - Day One

A very special post today, as I bring you the results of the first day of the Battle of Talavera.  This is one of our Superbattles, played with realistic rules, fog-of-war, and in near real-time.  (Update - the second day is available here)
  •    French
    • Ed
    • Ollie
  • British
    • Dan
    • Mike
  • Umpire
    • Kieran
The battle was fought using our own 2mm rules, which focus on morale and cohesion over casualties.  The units are moved around on a secret map until they actually encounter one another, and are placed on the game board one by one.  In this way, the battle escalates into a full-scale engagement in a realistic way.  Mike painted all the Irregular Miniatures himself, to his usual very high standard.


The game was fought on a massive 8ft x 6ft board, representing 3 x 4 miles.  It's much bigger than anything we've fought in a long time.  Both sides have (roughly) equal forces - the French slightly outnumber their British counterparts, but the British have better-equipped troops with higher morale.  The French objective is, quite simply, to storm onto the map and sieze Talavera!

The table.  The French came on from the far side (short table edge), while the British were defending from this end.
The battle opens.  A large French column, heading straight down the road for Talavera, is held up by elite British light infantry.  Luckily for the French, there is a nearby brigade of Dragoons who charge them in the flank, forcing a very quick surrender of five regiments!
The battle escalates as more troops are deployed.  The British have set up a strong defensive line which arcs round, following the line of the hills.  The French have two main columns - five divisions of infantry heading straight through the woods for Talavera, and several infantry and cavalry divisions headed for the hills where they originally intended to flank and roll up the British line - which is now clearly impractical.
Here you can see the large French flanking force forced onto the defensive.  The British quickly surround the outnumbered French and bring a halt to the attempt to flank the position.  British artillery on the hill pounds the French position, causing casualties, but an attempt by cavalry to turn the weak French right flank is stopped by Ollie's personal intervention.
The noose tightens - while the main attack column progresses slowly through the woods, the British bring in more and more forces to surround the beleagured French position.  Some scattered firing and the odd cavalry charge cause some negligible casualties.
The British trap is sprung.  An enormous cavalry charge - some three divisions - smashes into the French line.  On the French left (just to the right of the woods) there is a swirling and particularly bloody cavalry melee, which results in both sides retreating in confusion.  The French infantry, ready in line, has more success against the charging cavalry which is forced to pull back after suffering heavy losses.
After seven hours of gaming, night falls and Day One ends.  The troops of the respective armies withdraw to these positions.
What a fantastic - and exhausting game so far!  (Day Two will follow next week).  The French plan was totally scuppered by an unexpectedly bold and stubborn British defence of the hills, forcing the 'hammer' to become the 'anvil'.  The highly mobile attack column was deployed in a massive defensive line and forced to repel a spirited and well-supported British attack.

Good news for the French:

The main French attack column is pretty much undamaged and approaching Talavera as planned.  The British have suffered greater casualties than us, and seem to be unable to dislodge the flanking force.

Good news for the British:

The French attack has stalled, and although we have suffered heavy losses, nightfall has given us the chance to pull back and regroup before the French could deliver the killing blow.  Despite today's setbacks, the French have a far, far tougher prospect tomorrow, since they must attack strongly-defended positions.

Overall, probably a draw so far - the French did well on Day One but did not really come close to achieving their objective.  They lost a lot of momentum, and might lose the initiative overnight.

A fabulous game that was made possible by some dedicated and assidious umppiring from Kieran, and sporting opponents in Dan and Mike.  I await the outcome of Day Two with baited breath...


  1. Terrific looking game, Colonel! Battlefield layout is impressive.

    1. Thank you Jonathan! We did spend quite a while knocking it together, but it was certainly worth it.

  2. Great report, sounds like a wonderful game!

    1. Thank you Phil! It certainly was, and I'm looking forward to Day Two...

  3. Great stuff- such a sense of scale in those pics.



    1. Thanks a lot Pete - that's exactly what we were going for!

  4. Oh, do let me know how the Light Brigade get on - personal interest an'all that.

    1. (How to break it to him that they were surrounded by cavalry and surrendered en mass on Turn 2?)

      They're doing fine! They say hello!

      In all seriousness we had to tweak history to allow for a few battalions of the 60th Foot to be on the field, as in real life the Light Division were sweating it out on the road and didn't make it in time for Talavera. But a bit of tweaking here and there is fun!

  5. i was really interested to read about your battle. i have 2mm napoleonic armies but have never found a set of rules that i like. Myself and a freind use our own written rules, but i was wondering if you would be willing to let me try a copy of your rules? I would greatly appreciate it , if not then thats ok i understand, its just youve really inspired me to get the figures out of the draw and get on with some gaming. All the best hope to here from you , j.

  6. It was great reading your account of the battle, i have 2mm napoleonic armies and up until now myself and a freind have used our own written rules as weve not found any others we liked. I was wondering if you would allow me try out a copy of your written rules? you have really encouraged me to get the armies out of the box in my flat and start gaming again. If not then i fully understand. i look forward to hearing from you, all the best Agricola

    1. Hi Agricola. Thank you for the comment, really pleased to hear of another 2mm Napoleonic player! Of course, I'd be happy for you to trial the rules. If you send an email to me (address is in the sidebar, at the top), I'll send them across this weekend.


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