Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Somewhere in the Peninsula....

Finally got a game in AND brought the camera too! It was supposed to be a 4-hander game of 1500 points each, but only 2 of us turned up. Luckily, we had opposing forces; It has been known for opponents not turning up and two allies then turning on each other in counter-factual civil-war! As I've only got 4 battalions of infantry painted up so far, I supplemented them with figures from the club's British and Allied Minifig army; that is 1 line battalion, 1 rifle battalion, 2 horse gun batteries, 1 squadron of Hussars and 1 of Dragoons plus 2 Spanish line and 1 Spanish light battalion. I was expecting to be controlling only half the table, and was planning to keep my cavalry together, but was forced by circumstances to divide my cavalry to protect both flanks.

My opponent was also stood up and was expecting his partner to bring a force heavy in cavalry and superior quality infantry, so he'd made his army light on cavalry and heavy on average to mediocre quality troops. The discrepancy in numbers that 1500 points will get you was pretty marked; I had better quality troops, but a lot less of them, and I was playing one of the better tacticians in the club. I knew I was going to have my work cut out for me from the start, but how to manage the situation? I decided to go on the offensive straight away pushing my rifles up to his columns and peppering them with disorders while my lines advanced. I put my Spanish line troops into the built up area on the right and anchored my right flank against the village. However, weight of numbers began to tell early with my skirmishers being whittled down by his artillery and his infantry in line. Even after I bolstered the rifles with the light companies from my lines, once he decided to bring his light troops into play, I was on the back foot. Realising I'd brought my lines too far forward with dangerous gaps in between, I moved them back to be closer to each other. My Hussars were being held by advancing infantry in closed column, which gave him the opportunity to charge my guns which had had their flank exposed by the cavalry's attention being distracted elsewhere. The crew chose discretion as the better part of valour and fled the guns.

Meanwhile on the right flank, an indecisive cavalry charge had led nowhere, which was followed by an attempt to break an infantry battalion that managed to form square in the nick of time. Luckily it did not prove fatal to the dragoons. My light infantry tried harrassing the columns in front while the Spanish light moved up in support. My guns were pounded by expert French counter-battery fire and were forced back over the ridgeline for shelter. I then moved the Spanish light into line slightly forward of the crest and the British line on their left without conforming them to the new line. This, of course was an open invitation to be charged, which they duly were and smashed to smithereens.

From there, things started to go badly wrong. My centre battalion started to feel the full effect of the French artillery and then failed to stand a charge by 3 French battalions. That's where the camera's batteries failed, so I could tell you that I made a brilliant recovery and sent the frogs packing, but I was raised to tell the truth, so unfortunately I must admit defeat! I panicked and pulled one Spanish battalion out of the village to bolster the line. As nature abhors a vacuum, so does a battlefield; the French snuck in and seized the buildings I'd just vacated and then fired down my flanks. The Spaniards stood, but the British line on the right flank broke as they were under too much pressure.

Further on the left, I'd echeloned my cavalry back, but all that did was expose their flank to the advancing closed columns, so after a volley my Hussars were driven back. Looking back on it now, I'm not sure that echeloned cavalry do present a flank; I should have been able to charge his closed column with the figures facing his flank. The triumphant French infantry were pouring through the gap made in the middle of my line and proceeded to roll it up. I failed my divisional morale test and the game ended.

It was a bit like the Dutch boy sticking his finger in the dike, with leaks appearing all the time and not enough digits to fill them! I didn't help my own cause by advancing too far forward in the first place and then mishandling my Spaniards when I was under pressure. It was a good game nonetheless, and good practice for the upcoming campaign, the first moves of which will happen this week

The thin red line on the rear slope of the ridge

Light infantry dispersing into skirmish order on the right flank

The Spaniards on their way to seize the buildings

The situation on the right flank

The centre of the line. Rifles already thinned by guns and French line.

The view from the British left flank

The skirmish line pulling back about to be confronted by the French skirmishers.

The village and the right flank.

Weight of numbers telling against my skirmish line

The abandoned guns on the left flank. Note the large gap to the right of the Gordons

The French skirmish line is through! Time to consolidate that line.

Come any nearer and I'll blow!
The lonely survivor of the advanced skirmish line on the right flank. Really, you only notice the difference between 20mm & 28mm close up.

The centre battalion is suffering from the artillery fire. Desperately trying to reestablish contact in the line. Note the Spaniards deployed in line on the right after being removed from the buildings.

The Hussars about to be given a nasty surprise

The Spanish light deployed in advance of the line about to be crushed.

The floodgates open; my flank about to get whacked!

The following day I dipped my British battalions in the Army Painter and they came up really well. I also got through the most painting I have in a long time; 3 figures in one sitting! Whoo-hoo!

I'm now half way through the 50th Foot and have my sights on my Rifles. Still not sure how I'll go about them as they were distributed in company strength throughout the army. I was thinking of painting 5 figures as the 95th and 5 as the 5/60th and deploying them more or less together, so that I'll still have their firepower undiluted, but still have a pseudo-historical look.


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