Thursday, June 16, 2011

Battle of Torrico - Campaign AAR

And so we farewell that doughty hero Sir Rosbif,  Duke of Porterhouse, after those dastardly Frenchies knocked him off his horse with a 4lb round shot (cue much wailing and gnashing of teeth!)....(just replace Sir John Moore with Sir John Rosbif and you'll get the picture ;-))

The day started so promisingly with me playing Tim (who was standing in for Robin, who couldn't make it. Maybe that's where I went wrong; I should have waited til Robin was available!). I was commanding an army that was at least a third stronger than the French opposition, and while it didn't have as much cavalry, my infantry was a whole lot stronger. One would have thought that all the odds were stacked my way, especially after the umpire revealed that I had rolled highest and won the initiative.

As our respective cavalries had arrived on the scene first, I set mine up to hold the road and defend the flanks around the area my army would enter the table. Tim, however, seized the initiative by sending his Chasseurs and one of his Dragoon units around both flanks in a sweeping maneuver move that caught me off-guard and forced me to react. Our esteemed umpire had determined that Tim's infantry arrived on the table before mine, but I wasn't overly concerned as I new I had a lot more coming than Tim would ever have.
I was a little indecisive and moved my RHA battery up on my right flank along with my cavalry general to support the Light Dragoons on my right, then moved them back to the centre as Tim seemed to be gearing up for some offensive move there. I survived the charge in the centre as I'd moved my general, but that left the poor light dragoons on the right vulnerable to a charge, which they duly suffered. They attempted to break off and failed (one of many appallingly bad dice rolls!), were then caught flat footed by the French dragoons and crushed. The resulting breakthrough just left them shy of the flank of the RHA battery, which had fired several shots to no avail and the suffered in the counter-battery return fire. Luckily the French were in their turn flanked by my approaching infantry who saw them off with a quick volley.

The Portuguese brigade then struck out to the right flank to try and turn the French flank, which they probably could have, if things had gone to plan elsewhere on the table. I wanted to get a combined arms attack happening in the centre to counter Tim's own combined arms defense, but I couldn't hit the side of a barn with my RHA battery and my foot  batteries were uselessly stuck in a bit of traffic jam to the rear. I brought up the commander figure to join the cavalry general attached to the heavy dragoons in preparation for some heavy hitting, either in offensive or defensive movements, but no sooner was he attached, but Tim used his artillery like a sniper and knocked the general's head clean off!

Dashed unsporting!

After surviving the resulting morale test (but even so, the wind was fairly knocked out of my sails after that!) I then tried to get my infantry around the French defensive line's right flank, up the hill and through the forest, but his dragoons pinned most of the attacking infantry in square while the artillery pounded them. I managed to get one lone battalion into the flank, but it was quickly countered by a French line battalion.

On the other flank, I'd sent another British battalion and a Portuguese cacadore battalion through the woods to take the central defensive line on their left. This was more promising and I managed to get in the lone legere battalion's flank and send it retiring through the woods, but was then immediately faced by another dragoon squadron, which without artillery support, stymied any further progress.

In the village on the right, the 5/60th rifles were peppering the French in front of them and giving them multiple disorders, while the Portuguese steadily advanced in preparation for an assault on the occupied buildings. By that stage, though, Tim had sent another force around my left flank that was beginning to put pressure there, while my centre was being worn down under artillery fire and cavalry pressure. Even the arrival of two strong Guards battalions couldn't really change the situation, so after my remaining cavalry were destroyed I decided that it was time to withdraw and concede the field to my worthy opponent and ponder what might have been!

Quinny's KGL hussars standing in for the 13th Hussars
The heavy mob  - 4th Dragoons
More of Quinny's KGL LD posing as the 9th LD
Both sides enter the board

My original dispositions of the cavalry
Tim's sneaky move around my right flank
Where'd they all go?
Chasseurs coming around the other flank.
My 9th LD hurriedly redeploy to face the threat
Tim comes around the flank to find some rough ground cramping his movement.
The 13th LD move to meet the threat.
I move the RHA battery to face the greater threat...
...but then move it back when Tim advances his centre. I couldn't hit his battery for nuts, though! His first infantry units are entering the board at the rear.
The perilous position I'd left the RHA battery in.
My infantry enters the board
Tim decides the time is right for action. I'd thought this was likely, so I'd moved my cavalry general to support the heavies. Good thing, too!

The first of several inconclusive encounters. But I can't afford to lose men!
Now or never for the French dragoons!
The 9th LD caught flat-footed after attempting to avoid combat. Ouch!
Tim's victorious dragoons end their charge a bee's genitalia away from the flank of my RHA battery. Luckily he avoided going battlemad!
British infantry to the rescue! Kapow!
And off they move!
I move my command figure to attach to the heavy dragoons so as to bolster the cavalry while the infantry deploy behind, but...
...Tim's artillery score a lucky shot and kill the C-in-C! Uxbrige looks around as if to say 'Where'd he go? He was here just a minute ago!'
Another cavalry charge, another figure lost with no gain.
The infantry plod on.
Cut him off at the pass, Tonto! the 13th LD attempt to stymie the threat posed by the Chasseurs on the left flank.

Tim's mass of guns in the centre made any forward movement risky.

Stalemate. I needed to deploy my artillery to counter his weight in metal.

I attempt to move the infantry in square up around his flank. Only one battalion made it.

Meanwhile, things were cooking on gas on the right flank. Riflemen kept the French at bay while the Portuguese steadily moved up.
My poor Highlanders getting knocked about by artillery while in square.
The culprits! Tim's combined arms defensive line.
Steadily trying to move around the left flank, but too slowly!
This was probably the most promising move of the day, but again too slow, as I was trying to avoid gaining too many disorders through the woods.

Things looking grim for the French on my right!
My lone battalion reaches the safety of the woods, to be met by French infantry.
Meanwhile, I attempted to move the rest of the infantry around in support while trying to avoid artillery and cavalry threats.
In the centre, the cacadores formed up and fired on the flank of the legere line, forcing them to retire. I failed to exploit this advantage, though.

The same situation from further back.
Tim sends infantry and artillery on a flank move around on my left.
The Guards have arrived and attempt to shore up the left flank, but too little, too late!
En avant, mes enfants!

The centre and right in a very confused battle. The RHA battery has lost too many guns and has broken to the rear.

French infantry in the flank of my support in the centre.
Incredibly, my heavies survived this charge ( just) but succumbed later on.

The French infantry strode up to the flank of the 13th LD and gave them a volley that braoke them, clearing the way for the Chasseurs to advance.

I tried one last roll of the dice and charged the French line in the centre with my Highlanders, but it was not enough and ended upgiving the artillery a nice flank shot.
Just about there, but time ran out for the Portos to show me what they were made of!
Highlanders running after the flank fire from the French guns.

The square in peril!
French infantry charge, while the Chasseurs ready themselves to exploit the victory.
The infantry from the square join the Highlanders in running to the rear.
My fleeting advantage in the centre gone, when the dragoons charge and the cacadores fail to form square in time. Squish!
Luckily the battalion behind did form square, but also have to deal with French infantry in column. After this the chances of me pulling off a victory receded to improbability, so the order was given to break off.


  1. Blimey that was a lot of photos!!
    Great figures and a great informative batrep post.
    First class Sir John!!

  2. I'd say the same as Ray, plus a bonus: the French won! Yay!!

  3. Excellent AAR & pics

    RIP Sir Rosbif


  4. Very good illustrated AAR, Good decsion to save your men for another day

  5. Bitter experience, but a very well documented report. Remember of course, that all great British military victories tend to start off with a defeat, Mons, Dunkirk, Corunna, etc.

  6. Great AAR, great pictures. Enjoyed it a lot


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