Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Battle of El Chunderosa - or Driving the Porcelain Bus - or Talking to Huey on the Great White Telephone

 Last Friday saw the first meeting of the club for 2011 and the first time I have had to abandon a game before its completion. No, I wasn't dragged from the field to have my leg amputated a la Marshal Lannes, or shot between the eyes in the style of General Picton; I succumbed to some dodgy ham on a pizza that I made and ate a couple of hours earlier. I can't even blame poor hygiene at the local pizzeria! Luckily I had enough warning to reach the toilet before I dropped my guts and avoided adding extra texture to the terrain on the table-top.

Anyway, before I let rip, we had an interesting battle that was on the cusp of turning into a ripper of a game. I offered to let the others go on with the game with my terrain and figures, but the consensus was to call it a night with the game a draw. With many hands we packed it up and I made my way home with only one unscheduled stop just before I got home!

We agreed on a 1200 point per player game which allowed the allies a definite quantitative advantage; although I had slightly more British than Spanish, Tim had a lot more Spanish. Geoff came on aggressively occupying the buildings between his troops and Tim's and firing his guns from the ridgetop at Tim's tiny unit of mounted gerrillas, accounting for half the unit in one go. Amazingly, it stood and absorbed the punishment without running. Tim's line cavalry also stood to receive Geoff's charge, although the outcome was a forgone conclusion with the Spanish crushed and blown to the four winds.

On my flank, I pushed my skirmish line of riflemen supplemented by detached light companies forward, while the French infantry remained behind the ridge. The horse gun battery on the ridge opened up on the skirmish line, more in hope than expectation, but Andrew rolled the magic number and I suffered my first casualty.

The plan was for me to occupy Andrew while Tim brought his little British contingent up the centre into the gap between the 2 French forces to drive in Geoff's right flank with my forces covering Tim's flank. Things were going well with my Light Dragoons seeing off the biggest threat, Andrew's cuirassiers after the perfect dice roll: my 6 to Andrew's 1. Even that ended in a draw as he started 3 better and had an attached general and the bonus that heavy cavalry receives when charging light cav; I was lucky! I still had another squadron lurking , but if he'd broken through, he would have squished my brigade of Spanish infantry who were following the British cavalry in support of Tim's advance. My British infantry and guns on the left flank were confronted by a brigade of French infantry in l'ordre mixte, so I deployed the 71st HLI in line in front of the woods with a building on their left, covered by the skirmish line which disordered the French advance. I intended bringing the 50th Foot around on the left of the building to enfilade the French advance, but in hindsight should have used them to secure the flank by occupying the building. I left them with the head of the column sticking invitingly out from behind the building begging to be charged or shot at. I assumed that the anchored line would be Andrew's chosen method of approach, but he showed more flexibility in removing the right hand column of that formation to approach my poorly placed column and give it a volley which broke it and sent it fleeing.

On Tim's flank, his plan was working with his riflemen harassing the French in front covering the approach of his British infantry and cavalry. The artillery on the ridge in front was kept occupied by my cavalry and one of the British columns, while the rest approached Geoff's flank bent back against this approaching blow.

At this juncture, pregnant with possibilities, my stomach let me down and battle was broken off. How would it have ended? I think Andrew was lining up to give me some trouble on my flank after I gave him his opportunity. He was lining up an attack on the flank that could possibly have swept me aside and carried on into Tim's flank, but I still had extra cavalry and uncommitted British and Spanish units that could have blunted that attack. Tim still had a lot of Spaniards that hadn't fired a shot either. Whether they could have withstood a determined French attack or not I couldn't say, but now we'll never know!

Geoff's French force

My British and Spanish force

Tim's command; 1200 points buys you a LOT of Spaniards!

The allies; my forces in the foreground and Tim's masses of Spanish in the background...
...and again

My skirmish line of detached light companies and 95th rifles
First blood! Lucky shot catches skirmishers
First casualty removed
The lucky battery which did the damage
Andrew's French hiding behind the ridge. Isn't that what I'm supposed to do?
Tim moves his British units in a swinging movement to enfilade Geoff's right covered by my Spaniards and British cavalry.
Tim's target; Geoff's French holed up in the village
Andrew's French; Front Rank figures
Andrew's French; Eureka figures
Curassier vedette
The French advance a l'ordre mixte faced by those plucky riflemen
Menawhile, on the other flank skirmishing is done by a few guerilleros and a couple of gauchos, who suffered terribly from accurate French artillery fire.
Tim's main skirmishing force of 5/60th riflemen pepper the advancing French
While on the right a Spanish light infantry battalion forms square in response to a French cavalry charge.

French lancers charge Spanish cavalry ending in inevitable carnage

French fall back in the centre in the face of the riflemen...
...and what followed behind!

My cavalry advance in support of Tim's British while my Spaniards advance behind them.
My really bad move; sending the 50th Foot behind the shed with it's head poking out, instead of occupying the building.

The British artillery without a lot to shoot at
Cuirassiers charge the light dragoons, who counter charge!
Best result for me! Andrew rolls 1, I roll 6...
...but he's 4up before the dice roll so ends in a standoff.  Woo-hoo! Go you Light Dragoons!
Andrew breaks his anchored line, advances the column and fires into the flank of the 50th Foot..
...who break and flee with casualties!

1 comment:

  1. Hi
    It seems a very good game! Bad luck, your estomach problems did robbed the fruits of your victory!


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