Thursday, 27 January 2011

The OOB for Barrosa/Chiclana (I)

I have collated the Lasalle OOB for the 'British' section of Barrosa/Chiclana by using several sources: Fortescue, Martínez Valverde, Oman and Sañudo (see the two previous posts). Generally speaking, the battle involved two British brigades, Wheatley and Dilkes, facing two French divisions, Leval and Ruffin respectively, with similar strengths. Whereas the 'official' allocation of units is easy to find, the actual OOB in the day of battle is somewhat complicated. The difficulties are:
(1) The existence of an outflanking French column formed by the 1e de Dragons and the 2/9e Legere.
(2) The role played by the Spanish troops: the Cruz Murgeon's brigade (attached to Graham) and the Begines's brigade facing the outflanking column cited in (1), and covering the Dilkes's right flank.
(3) The presence of another squadron of 1e Dragons along the Ruffin's column.
(4) The accidental exchange of units between the British brigades, originating that some units ended fighting the French in the 'wrong' brigade.
(5) The difficulty to represent in Lasalle the tactics used by the Barnard's Flankers battalion (Wheatley's brigade). Part of this unit (4 coys. of 3/95th Rifles) was ordered to skirmish along to 2 coys. of 20th Portuguese Regiment, forming a long skirmishing line to cover the deploymment of the rest of the brigade, whereas the rest (4 coys. of the 2/47th) was used as artillery supporters.
Anomalies (1) and (2) are easily resolved by transferring the 2/9e Legere to the outflanking column and by using the Begine's brigade as a reinforcement, respectively. On the other side, the lone squadron in (3) can be ignored, as well as the exchange of units between the British brigades described in (4).
The main difficulty lies on the skirmish line covering the deployment of the Wheatley brigade. Lasalle uses a symbol, SKx, to indicate the skirmish capacities of the units (SK0 to SK3) that can be, optionally, shown in the table by x skirmish bases to achieve a visually appealing aspect. Therefore, a skirmish tactics as the used by the British in Barrosa/Chiclana can not be represented in the table game when using Lasalle.
However, the view of a long line of green jackets is so atractive, that I have devised a sort of home-rule. My solution implies:
(a) To amalgamate all the 'light' elements of Wheatley's brigade, 4 coys. of 3/95th Rifles and 4 coys. of the 2/47th forming the Barnard's Flankers battalion, and the 2 coys. of 20th Portuguese in a single large unit, that is made Irregular (V/I/SK3 (+)) as per the 'Creating Irregular Units' Optional Rule (p 74)
(b) Allow this unit to use the 'Half Battalion Deployed' Optional Rule (p 74) but in an inverse way: the unit may break off four (instead two) bases as SK bases, to enhance skirmishers for other friendly regular infantry, while retaining two (instead four) bases to function as a small unit.
(c) The four skirmish bases are used as an Irregular unit, but a gap of until 1/2 BW (0.75 in in my case) is allowed between adjacent bases to increase the front of the unit. The SK bases of the Wheatley's brigade will be not indicated with SK bases.
Is a somewhat devious solution, but I hope it works!


  1. I believe I may do this Battle myself soon. I have all the troops so it would be easy to set up. I like your solution for the irregular units with some space between them, 1/2 a base sounds good. I am also sort of thinking about making irregular units more fluid in their movement. Since they are in open order they should be able to about face without a penalty etc.

    I will look forward to see how it goes.


  2. Hi John
    I agree with you, and your suggerence seems a good idea! I'll try it also