Friday, 4 November 2016

DBN18 Battle of Mas Deu 1793- French vs Spanish

French Revolution action from the little known War of the Pyrenees.  Our Austrian Army is nicely taking shape,  the infantry are complete & I am currently painting the Artillery.   However we needed an opponent for our snazzy French Infantry.  After some research, I came across the War of the Pyrenees.   Though getting some hard facts on the war proved hard.  Hardly a mention in any of my useful Napoleonic tomes on the book shelves, never mind any battlefield maps.

So playing a game using DBN, we settled for the Battle of Mas Deu 1793.  The dastardly Spanish forces cross the border & attack a French force camped outside the Knights Templar Chateau.  It turned out to be a one sided affair with a much bigger Spanish force routing the French.

We altered the forces involved to give the French a chance, adding some fortifications as well.  It turned out to be a cracking game.  For the battlefield, Google Maps gave a nice view of Mas Deu, the chateau & ruins are still visable.  Spav took ze French & yours truly ze Spanish.

The useful links ==
     War of the Pyrennes

      Battle of Mas Deu

      Nafziger useful OOB's (good luck finding the one you want... )               

1 x General, 1 x Muskets (Elite), 7 x Muskets, 1 x Light Infantry, 3 x Cavalry 2 x Artillery (one Militia class),

1 x General, 3 x Muskets, 4 x Muskets (Militia), 1 x Light Infantry, 2 x Cavalry, 1 x Artillery, 1 x Fortification.

The battlefield

View from the French left

The Chateau

The French right

Snazzy graphics, eat your heart out
The Spanish Cavalry swing around the French left flank

Spanish troops cross the river

French Light Infantry hold the rough to the right of shot

View from the French fortifications

French Cavalry are sent to the left flank

The French Battery responds to the Spanish guns

Slowly the Spanish mass for an attack

Skirmishing begins

Spanish Cavalry....

French Cavalry....

Too much punishment for the French Artillery & they are withdrawn.

The French are edging this combat


Lovely, Hussars scrapping away!

Evens for the combat, both recoil

First Blood to ze French!

However the Spanish Infantry are ready to attack  

The Cavalry are back at it!

NOOO!!! The French Cavalry get the upper hand.

The French reserves are sent to the left flank

The French Cavalry charge in, another Spanish loss!!!

.......and another!
OMG!!! It's turning out to be a Spanish bloodbath.

Breakthrough.  The French Cavalry attack again.

It's good, but it just forces back the Spanish Infantry.

Fall Back

Wow.  That was impressive, a possible French victory is on the cards.

FORWARD!  The Spanish left lurches forward.

The French Light Infantry take the Spanish onslaught.

The Spanish infantry unleash a volley.

A strange decision, Spav retires the French Cavalry...

On the other flank, the Spanish attack begins.

The French left is reinforced, Spav readies his own attack.

Screaming Spaniards Attack!

The French Line are forced back.  The French Lights redeploy.
However it's PiPs that the French need elsewhere. 

On the Spanish right, another attack takes shape.
The Fortifications are in my sights...

Attack Attack Attack.
Combat bonus for the Spanish column

The other French units of the left are pinned

The French PiP die rolls are poor, there's not enough points to move everyone.


The French are forced back off the hill.

The French Infantry take heavy losses.
An attack on the Chateau is next. 

The French artillery redeploys, but they are in poor shape.

Spav retires another unit, not risking it's destruction.

The attack on the fortification begins.

The attack on the Mas Deu Chateau goes in.
Led by the elite Spanish Grenadiers....

Ohhhh!  Geat PiPs for the heroic Spanish.  The Dragoons advance...

The Dice Gods shine down on the Spanish!!
The classic 6-1 combat result

It's all one way!!!  The French retreat from the fortifications.

Another round & the French counter attack, but it is in vain.

The French PiP rolls don't improve & the French left is going nowhere. 

The dandy & dashing Spanish Grenadiers advance!!!

The French centre has collapsed

One last try for the French to capture the fortifications

The French Artillery opens up, but make no impression on the Grenadiers.

At last, the French units start to go down

Another Spanish column is formed

The Spanish Infantry charge in


Not a great match up for the French!

Another French loss.


The final battlefield

I did an 'Austerlitz' on Spav, hang your head in shame my son!   A great game, it could of gone either way.  Just goes to show, how critical the PiP rolls are.  We'll have to play another French v Spanish Revolutionary game!   Does anyone have any links to War of the Pyrenees battles?


Robert (Bob) Cordery said...

Mr F,

Yet another inspiring battle report!

Reading it has revived my interest in restarting my own Napoleonic project.

All the best,


MrFarrow2U said...

Cheers Bob, it was a fun game to play. it's just shame that there isn't a great deal of info from that particular conflict.


Chris Hall said...

Hey Mr. F, just getting back into Napoleonics after a long time away (Airfix et al), due in no small part to your blog. A question if I may. I notice your skirmishers seem to be on deeper bases. Is that personal preference, or something in the DBN rules I've missed (only had them a day or so)?

Stephen Smith said...

Wow what a scrap the Spanish just kept coming great battle report and stunning miniatures as always thanks for posting my friend

MrFarrow2U said...

Cheers Chris & Steve, thanks for the nice comments.

Chris, standard DBN puts your Light Infantry 3 to a 40x20mm base. Muskets go 4 figures on a 40x20m base. Later in the book, in the optional rules it gives some suggestions on bigger bases with more figures on. I think the 40X30mm base is mentioned there for Light Infantry.

I wanted a tight fitting/ordered look for the muskets, but I wanted a looser deployment for our Light Infantry, so I went for something in between the two. As long as the base widths are universal for the frontage, the depth is down to you.

Your best bet would be to mount some figures on the different size bases suggested & see what you like. Just remember that some formations are classed as Ms/Li, Muskets or Lights, so you may want to model those formations as well. It would mean having 2 lots of figures for each specific element. I didn't go for this & thought the Lights 'looked' right 3 or 4 to a looser formation on a bigger base.

Also remember that Jagers are based different as well, but the KISR rules only class a few certain troops from different nations as Jagers. The rules make the case that just because some nations called their troops Jagers, they don't translate into DBN as Jagers. The vast majority of skirmishers will be classed as Light Infantry. Don't overlook them, in DBN they can be vital for your force.

I hope this helps
All the best

Phil said...

A wonderful and spectacular report, love the Spanish cavalry...

Gregory Pomfret said...

A neat game.

I must say that you seem to enjoy forming attack columns.

Getting the Spanish forces across the river and effectively deployed was well done too and I admired your opponent's restraint in withdrawing the French cavalry.

MrFarrow2U said...

Cheers Greg & Chris.

Attack Columns get a bonus on the combat dice when they hit home. French columns get an extra bonus as well. So it's well worth using them. Sometimes it's difficult getting across the ebb & flow of a DBN game using pictures. With this game it worked really well. The initial French counter attack put all their reserves on the left, but when the Spanish attacked on the other flank, the lack of PiPs pinned the French left. Yes, Spav's restraint with the Cavalry showed him to be a true 'Frenchman', I'm retty sure I would of continued the charge in the pursuit of Glory & been shot to!!!!

All the best

Chris Hall said...

I totally agree about the look of the deeper bases. Somehow having your light infantry have a bigger footprint than line "feels" right if that makes sense. I think its the way I'll go, although I take your point about having two bases for those times when they're Ms rather than Li. Thanks for your time, and keep up the good work, although you're not doing my lead mountain any favours..........

Gregory Pomfret said...


The last few Napoleonic games have worked really well and the photos,graphics and running commentary have been excellent.I agree that poor pips may undo the greatest wargaming general (sigh) but the attack on the centre was very sound.

I like these rules very much.

May I also commend you and your team on your armies?I have been taking a very close look at them and not only admire the painting and basing skills on display but the many individual touches displayed making the troops look very workmanlike-colourful but realistic at the same time.

MrFarrow2U said...

Thanks Greg, they are a great set of simple rules & work really well.

Chris, aaahhh the lead mountain, every gamer has a large one!

All the Best

Alex said...

Hello Mr F
Just been looking at your recent DBN Battles, you have done a great job presenting DBN. I don't know if you are aware but we have just published the DBN 2.1 (2017) in Hard Copy with extra colour pictures. If you like you can contact me with your postal address and I will send you a copy of the 2017 rules. Happy New Year to you and yours.
Alex Testo
KISR Publications

MrFarrow2U said...

Hello Alex

I bought a copy a few days ago, very nice well worth the money. I also like the few extra rules you added. All the best & Happy New Year!

Alex, how about putting a link to our website on your site?