Our online Peninsular campaign was paused last week for a battle at Abrantes. Marechal Ney (me!) impetuously attempted to force a crossing over the Tagus despite half his forces being spread out behind him and confirmed enemy presence on the opposing bank. In what the French army is now calling “the Abrantes disaster”, Ney was fought to a standstill as unsupported and uncoordinated attacks went in against Portuguese troops in extremely defensible terrain. Unfortunately, due to extreme censorship by the French authorities, no images of the battle can be found. (Alternatively I took my camera and forgot to use it, you decide!) By days end, over 3000 of his troops were dead or missing for no territorial gain, the Anglo-Portuguese army sustained around a thousand casualties but outnumbered the battered French almost 2 to 1. With no prospect of reinforcement with meaningful numbers given the bridged road they would have to traverse and no way of knowing how many more British would arrive to bolster the enemy, Ney limped back across the Rio Tagus with his forces in tatters.
The situation is grave for the Allies too though, as they face off across the river with Ney’s Corps at both Abrantes/Ponte de Sor and Santarem/Coruche, the French Corps under Marechal Victor are bearing down on their left flank, and to their rear albeit some days away, the forces of Marechal Reynier are beginning to cross the Rio Drouro. The next strike could prove to be critical and whether the British take the offensive of continue to be quite passive will remain to be seen.
Away from the actual use of the campaign system, several areas have been raised for discussion by the group. This is after all still a beta test and a development test bed. These are namely that the current model for generating and implementing replacements for losses through battle and day to day wastage is way too generous. For example Ney has already made good almost all his losses from the Battle of Abrantes. Additionally, our method of determining when and if reinforcements arrive on the tabletop leaves a lot to be desired.