Wednesday, May 25, 2011

2 Battles, 2 Victories! #1

I've finally worked out why my victory-to-loss ratio is so uneven: My opponents have always had figures of a larger scale than mine! I just can't compete against the 28mm, or even 25mm, figures that predominate at the club. Last Friday night and Sunday I played games against opponents using a matching 1/72nd scale army and won both games; ergo, the scale factor must be the answer!

Seriously though, I played 2 opponents whose grasp of the rules was weaker than mine; Ian on Friday night was returning to the rules after not having played for a couple of years, and on Sunday Geoff D, a mate from work, came over to Chez Rosbif and took part in an introduction to our club rules (see the next post for details). Previously, he'd been in charge of a Russian grand battery in his only other foray into Cold Steel. I also took guru Andrew B's advice and kept a decent reserve in hand, only using the cavalry in situations to my advantage.

Friday night's game started off with me deploying my army across the field in a mix of line and column with a reserve of 3 British line battalions in column and line and the cavalry and RHA battery. The Spanish held the left flank with the Walloon Guards in line flanked by 2 weaker line battalions in column on the line's flanks. Another Spanish battalion stood in reserve. The Spaniards were flanked by their 9lb foot artillery battery to the right, then came the British with the 92nd Highlanders in line, Portuguese in column, the British light battalion in line flanked by a 2nd Portuguese column. In reserve were the 3 British  line battalions and the cavalry. I moved everything forward to a line between the walled field and the rough ground on the right, then sat and waited for the French.

Ian moved his light troops in skirmish order towards the Spaniards in front of a battery of horse artillery and a column of Chasseurs-a-Cheval. Ian's main force advanced in the centre and his left, accompanied by Hussars and another squadron of Chasseurs-a-Cheval.

I countered the threat to my left flank represented by the cloud of skirmishers and the cavalry and horse artillery, by charging my light dragoonsin cloumn down that flank. His skirmishers fled to the cover of the woods, but interfered with his chasseurs' counter-charge, giving them 3 disorders before he came into contact. The result was a smashing victory to me! Needless to say, his limbered horse battery hightailed it to the rear with the British cavalry in pursuit. That left my dragoons in an awkward position with large numbers of French light infantry on their flank, one battalion of which formed up in line on the dragoons' right flank. I continued to chase the guns in order to neutralise the threat they posed, and I thought that I was to be fired on in the flank, it might as well be for advancing, rather than retreating. I survived the flank fire and continued the charge next turn to chase the horse guns, which continued to flee away. The light troops hustled after the dragoons, formed in their rear and blasted them, which caused them to break. By this time they were well in the French rear, so I thought I'd be able to use this to my advantage, but the horse guns exacted their revenge by unlimbering and firing into the dragoons' rear again, totally destroying them. This was well worth it as they'd totally disrupted the combined-arms attack developing on that flank.

Meanwhile, on my right flank, a regimemt of line infantry came across the rough ground. They were followed on their right flank by the hussars. I squared up my Portuguese on that flank to deal with the cavalry threat to the line, and brought up the nearest British line unit in line to counter the threat. The battery of RHA guns also deployed to catch the nearest French battalion in the flank. I launched the other squadron of light dragoons through the unlimbered Spanish artillery battery at Ian's extreme right line column, but he managed to form square just in the nick of time, resulting in the repulse of my cavalry (in a fog of war moment my cavalry retreated when the worst they could have suffered was a retire).There then occurred some jockeying for position, before Ian launched a charge from the rough terrain, which I thought wouldn't be successful because of the disorders. Unfortunately, it was successful! His 2 battalions crashed through the Portuguese square and on into the flank of the light infantry line, forcing both into retreat. With this threat to my right flank, things looked shaky, as the line was broken and even though the Highlander battalion had the other Portuguese column on its flank, their flank was still exposed. Ian moved his victorious battalions through 90 degrees to protect his flanks, suffering a flank shot but surviving the morale check. They now faced my lonely line although the 2 retreating battalions  would turn around next turn, and I still had another battalion in reserve.

Ian then charged his hussars at the 2nd Portuguese closed columnwhich was forced to retire in a close combat. This now left the highlander line exposed in the centre, and when Ian then moved his Chasseurs-a-Cheval closer, he spooked the Scots into square, which is just what he was after as he then launched his 3 right hand line battalions straight at my highland square, obliterating it and leaving a tartan squidge on the ground where the square had been! This is where observers shook their heads and tutted, "Poor Ben; he's done it again" (Not singling anyone out, eh Robin?!). I could still see I had several untouched battalions in reserve and that Ian had no real backup to exploit his success. My right flank was still a bit of a mess, but I had enough troops there to be able to hold any push (hopefully!) and I attempted to draw back to reorganise some sort of defensive line. Ian put in a charge by an isolated French battalion at my battalion in line, but he was repulsed by the firepower of the line; always charge a British line with more than 1 battalion!

Meanwhile the Spaniards in the wheatfield had held their line against the French light infantry. A charge through the field was met by the Walloon Guards and resulted in a stalemate with both sides retiring. A similar occurence happened when another French battalion in line charged a much weaker Spanish battalion in column on the extreme left flank; both sides bouncing, proabaly the best reult I could have asked for. My Spanish artillery pivoted to take the French light in the field in the flank, but this exposed its own flank, inviting a charge by the French. The gunners did a very un-Spanish thing and fled their guns, rather than defending them to the death as they would probably have done in reality, but I hoped for them to live to fight another day! (This added to the highlanders' exposure and added to the calamity when they were broken.) After the French breakthrough in the middle, the way was opened up for the Spanish to maneuver a bit more, especially with the British battalion on that flank covering the Spanish right by forming square against the approaching chasseurs. Another charge through the field on the Walloons ended in dismal failure as their firepower, coupled with the French disorders caused the French to break. This then exposed the flank of the left hand French battalion which found itself in the unenviable position of having the Walloons' line wheel around to position itself for a devastating attack. I decided to make sure by announcing that they'd fire at half-effect, then charge, but the French didn't stand to receive the charge and broke at the first fire.

Ian's successful charge in the centre had left that regiment high and dry in between my two flanks. While my right flank was busy holding his left, my left was in the process of making short work of his right, and my square was blocking his chasseurs from coming to the infantry's aid. The light dragoons that had been repulsed earlier were now in the perfect position to do something nasty to the isolated infantry, but to be sure, I parked a column of Portuguese troops on the opposite flank of the regiment. The dragoons formed an echeloned line (which was probably superfluous; an ordinary line would have suffieced) then launched a charge next turn that sliced its way through all 3 battalions, sending them reeling to the rear.

The game was declared at an end with the Allies as the victors, but if we'd had time Ian could well have regrouped and come back to try again as there weren't that many battalions that were irretrievably broken.

Another fun swings and roundabouts game that was all the sweeter for being a long-time-coming victory!

My army's setup
The advance to the defensive line
The Spanish in the wheat field
Ian's all-arms attack on the left. Maybe one battalion should have stayed in column?
Coming through the woods...
...and up the hill.
Ian's line regiments...
...maneuver into position
My light dragoons declare their charge, while the light troops scatter to the woods, disordering the chasseurs' counter-charge.
Even though both cavalry columns expanded by 2 figures, my weight of numbers, better quality and the chasseurs' 3 disorders result in a smashing victory to the British
The French legere crowd the woods, while the light dragoons chase the limbered horse artillery.
Come back, you cowards!

The skirmishers advance on the wheat field after the excitement of the cavalry clash, 1 battallion forming in line on the lt. dragoons' flank.
The infantry fired on their flank...
...and knock off a figure, but the doughty dragoons survive the morale test to pursue the guns.
Meanwhile, in the centre...
...the Portuguese form an ancored line to repel the threat of enemy cavalry, but also present a tempting target to the intrepid infantry advancing through the rough terrain.
The reserve battalion forms line on the square to face the threat from the right
The French move through the rough terrain
The developing French threat with the Portuguese square the weak link in the line
The charge goes in against the square...
...sending the Portuguese packing...

...and continues into the light infantry's flank...
...sending them after the Portuguese!
The gap in the British line
Meanwhile, my other light dragoon squadron charged through the Spanish guns... the battalion in the field on the left...
...which managed to form square in the nick of time...
... to send the cavalry packing!
On the other flank, a legere battalion forms up in column...
...and charges the Walloons who fire. The ensuing combat results in a draw with both sides withdrawing.
The Spanish guns turn around to fire on the column's flank which then precipitates the next crisis...
...the charge on the guns' flank!
Run away to live another day!
The dragoons recover in time to face the threat.
To the French rear, the triumphmant light dragoons finally succumb to the legere's tenacity...
...and break... the horse guns the space to wreak their revenge!
Back on the right flank the British try to reform a defensive line...
...while the French try to prevent them! One battalion charges...
...but is sent packing by the British line's firepower!
The hussars try against the Portuguese closed column, pushing them back and leaving the highlanders exposed.
The chasseurs to the left spooked the highanders into square, just in time for a regimental charge...
...leaving a tartan smear behind!
The victorious French were now isolated, while my cavalry were perfectly positioned for a counter-attack on their flank.
After seeinig off another legere charge in the field...

...the Walloons direct their attention to the next battalion's flank...
...sending them packing, too, which secures the flanks...
...for the Spanish to line up on the chasseurs' flank, while the British square blocks the cavalry's progress.
The French situation was looking dire before the Spanish cleaned up their flank.
The situation got worse once the charge went in...
...smashing one battalion...
...after another...
...until a critical mass of battalions were fleeing resulting in victory to the Allies!


  1. Good looking game and excellent report! Who knows, one oh these days I'll have enough figures, time and space available to post my own battle reports.

  2. An excellant report - who makes the Spanish artillery crew?

  3. Thanks fellas!

    Conrad, they're the HaT 1805 French artillery painted as Spanish. One has a bonnet de police head conversion.

  4. Thoroughly enjoyable thanks! Can you tell me what rules you use and what base sizes and unit organization you use as well please. Thanks


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