Regiment Tarente and Ga Pa

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Tarente was a horse regiment in the French first line on the right at the Battle of Ramillies.  Have to start out with a little eye candy I suppose.  I just finished the basing so wanted to get a picture posted.  Figures by Front Rank and flags by Flags of War.

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We are spoiled for choice these days with rules to choose from for gaming the War of Spanish Succession.  One could press FoG-R into service if needbe, perhaps with a few changes.  It’s a really clean set of rules aimed at the tournament gaming crowd.  We play it quite a bit, but have never actually tried using it for WSS.  We tried the prepub version of Beneath the Lily Banners.  It was going great until we got into a melee and realized we didn’t have melee rules.  I’ve since purchased version 2 of the published rules and we may give them a try at some point.  We played Captain General a few times.  It has a great period feel and we enjoyed it quite a bit.  But we seem to have settled on Ga Pa.  Thomas Arnfelts in Sweden wrote Ga Pa for gaming the Great Northern War I believe (Ga Pa is a Swedish expression for attacking I believe).  It is now on version 2 and that’s what we’ve been using.  There are army lists available that cover the armies of the War of Spanish Succession.

We played the other night and I’ll use that game to describe Ga Pa.  The thing that is most appealing about Ga Pa is the command friction that the rules provide.  I’ll get to that in more detail in a future posting.

I only have recently completed enough figures to really give the rules a run through from the ground up and we’ve done it twice now.  You start out by choosing the size of game you want to play.  Ours are still on the really small end of the spectrum.  We went with 300 points per side and I had almost all of my figures on the table for both sides.  You then choose your army.  I have two, French and Dutch, but part of the Dutch is a Danish allied contingent.   The first decision to make is how many points to set aside for generals.  We both chose to use about 75 points.  You then dice for the actual generals you will use from the army list.  Each general is rated for command, leadership, and a number of points.  The Dutch have relatively better generals than the French, mostly average in capability, and you can probably get three for around 75 points.  If the three that you dice up exceed 75 points, you still get them, but you then give points to the other side for use in Stratagems.  On this night, the Dutch ended up spending about 78 but the French blew past their 75 because they rolled Vendome as one of the generals and he’s an expensive one.  So the French ended up owing the Dutch 8 points in the end.  The French generals randomly determined were Louis Joseph de Bourbon, duc de Vendome with a leadership of 4 and an initiative of 5, Francois de Neufville, duc de Villeroy with a leadership of 2 and an initiative of 2, and Louis, duc de Bourgogne, with a leadership of 2 and an initiative of 1.   Vendome would make an excellent overall commander.  But sadly, Louis de Bourgogne is a prince of the blood, so he gets to be CnC.  At this point you divide your army up into numbered commands.  I chose to give all my good infantry to Vendome with one cavalry unit to support and a couple of light guns, the bulk of the cavalry to Villeroy with a little infantry, and left Louis with a couple of guns, but as overall CnC.  Vendome is 1, Villeroy is 2, and Louis is 3.

My army consisted of:

Vendome

3 battalions Picardie (veteran infantry)

1 battalion Clare (Irish, veteran infantry)

1 regiment Royal Cravattes (line horse)

2 light guns

Villeroy

2 battalions Sparre (line infantry)

1 battalion Royal Italian (green infantry)

1 regiment Toulouse (line horse)

1 regiment Tarente (green horse)

1 regiment Courcillon (green horse)

Louis

2 medium guns

Next step is to determine who is the invader.  French are (naturally).  Then you determine the tactical situation.  The Dutch are slightly more aggressive tactically and it’s more likely that they will attack but in this case the French are attacking.  Also you make a roll to determine what type of action is being fought.  It can be any one of Siege Relief, Rearguard Action, River Crossing, Attack, Set Piece Battle, or Meeting Engagement.  Ours ended up being a meeting engagement so everything will be deployed on the table at the start of the battle.

The defender chooses the terrain that will be on the table from the list of terrain for the area of the battle within the constraints set out for the area.  In this case there would be 3-5 pieces with a mandatory village.  The terrain location and person to place the terrain piece is then diced for.  In our case, most of the terrain came down on the defender’s side of the table.  It included a village in the center, enclosed fields to the right of it, and behind it (from my perspective), an open field to the left of it and an orchard on the left side of the field on their side of the table.

For a meeting engagement the defender fully deploys his lowest numbered command, then the attacker his, then the defender, then the attacker, and so on.

All of this setup goes pretty quickly.  We didn’t have our armies defined before we started and that’s perhaps the most time consuming piece of it all.

So here are a couple of pictures of the lines at the beginning.  The cavalry closest to the camera is not visible, but they will play a big role in my next installment so you’ll get to see more of them soon enough.  Here is the Dutch line formed and ready to move forward to occupy the village and the field next to it.

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The Dutch set up a couple of battalions of infantry on their right end of the line, slightly behind the orchard, two medium batteries deployed to their left, their veteran foot next to them behind the open field, and another battalion of line behind the village ready to move in and occupy it.  On this side of the village there was another battalion of foot and two battalions of Danish foot ready to occupy the enclosed field.  A regiment of Dutch dragoons (Dopf) are supporting two regiments of Danish cuirassiers just off camera.

I set up Vendome on the left, Villeroy on the right, while Louis positioned his two batteries where they would most quickly become ineffective in the middle.  You can see most of it here:

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On turn 1, we’ll be off and running.

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