Two weekends ago saw me make a rare Saturday appearance at NWA's Croydon venue for a revenge grudge match against Robin, who'd been unavailable for the last campaign game. He'd let Tim take his place and what should have been an easy win on my part turned into a hard slog followed by a retreat after my C-in-C was bumped off. You can probably see I was still smarting from that loss (Bitter? Me?!).
Robin accepted my challenge and after collecting another player each for our respective sides, we met on the field of battle! Glen joined me in the forces of light and all things good against the evil French hordes in the persons of Robin and Darren. Glen was returning to the rules after a lengthy break and Darren is a newcomer to the club, but a wargamer from way back, so even though he was new to the rules, he had a fairly good grasp of tactics.
Glen went for 1815 quality over quantity, with a guards and rifles plus a smattering of British line and Nassauers (he was going easy; he didn't bring his Household cavalry!), while I had my usual British and Spanish combination. Darren still has no army of his own (but he's steadily painting up a French revolutionary army using Eureka 28mm figs), so I lent him my plastic fantastics for the day.
The battle started off with Glen taking the left and me the right, he facing Darren and me facing Robin. Glen expanded his right flank passing his Nassauers over the left of my flank, which cramped my style initially, but also provided a screen for me to maneuver my battalions behind. My right flank was screened by a wood and beyond that I had deployed a squadron of Light Dragoons and a battery of Royal Horse Artillery. The other squadron of LD was deployed in the centre behind the foot gun battery. Robin launched his attack by using his preponderance of cavalry to good effect. He charged his elite Chasseurs against the RHA battery which caused the supporting cavalry to counter-charge. The result was a draw, with the RHA living to fire another day.
In the centre, however, it was a different story; Robin's dragoons charged my Spanish foot artillery battery who buggered off for the woods. My other LD squadron counter-charged in order to prevent a collapse in the centre, but as they were in column against an enemy in line, they ended up getting whacked and allowing the dragoons to carry on through the British foot battery which had no option but to stand a die. Meanwhile the Spanish columns behind had been put into closed column, so at least they were prepared for the onslaught and finally stopped the avalanche of horseflesh from breaking my centre.
My British line was a little higgledy-piggledy with my light infantry as the 1st line of defence with the Portuguese in column on the right flank. I was a bit hemmed in and lacked space to post my other battalions so the light bobs were copping the worst of the French onslaught, although they had good support early on from my riflemen. Luckily, Robin concentrated most of his attention on Glen's Nassauers who were slightly in advance of my line and threw 3 columns of infantry against them, which resulted in them being forced back. This left Glen's other Nassauer battalion on the French flank, so Robin had too much on his plate to be able to exxploit my flank, so I withdrew the line to earn some space.
Robin then threw in the dragoons at my Spanish. The1st light battalion were still in closed column and failed the attempt to form square, while the grenadiers managed it. The closed column stopped the charge, but were pushed back in the attempt, while the square blazed away impotently. His infantry in line then appraoached my light infantry line and engaged it in a firefight. I suffered the worst as Robin had the numbers and also rolled well (most unlike Robin!). The light-bobs broke and ran, but there was a second line behind that to stop the rot.
Robin then charged his chasseurs in a repeat of the first charge, but this time he came out on top in a big way; my cavalry were still blown, whereas his had recovered and again he rolled like he meant it. My cavalry were smashed and I'd done nothing to move my guns out of the way, so they also joined the rout. His chasseurs went battlemad and charged down the table, knocking down a Spanish closed column in the way, but ending perilously close to the other Spanish battalions.
Robin's legere regiment then took the opportunity to charge the Portuguese closed column that was protecting the British light infantry's flank. The Portuguese closed column was tampled in the rush and went battlemad with the success, careering into the grenadier square and smashing it, but ending perilously deep in enemy lines with not a lot of support. Robin has for a divisional morale check, which I passed with ease, and I spent the next turn moving in for the kill. I managed to maneuver the clunky Spaniards into the Chasseurs flank and rear, fired, and, although I missed everything, broke their morale and sent them flying from the field. I also was getting my remaining cavalry closer to Robin's legere regiment, forcing one battalion into square. I next planned to either slice through it with a nice cloumn charge, or batter it to pieces with a couple of well-placed volleys, but time ran out. Even if I'd been able to break that regiment, Robin had moved into Glen's flank after he'd moved too far forward in an attempt to come to grips with Darren. Robin was setting up for a big charge that would probably have rolled up Glen's line, or at least made Glen's job of holding Darren doubly hard as he tried to fend off both French players.
|Glen's 1815 British and Nassauers|
|My French under Darren's command.|
|In the distance is Darren's Republican battalion with the dirty big flag!|
|Robin's Chasseurs. BOOOO!|
|The rest of Robin's Frenchies. Too many dragoons; it shouldn't be allowed!|
|Robin's pesky legere regiment|
|Those stout-hearted chaps advance to meet the foe! HUZZAH!|
|On they come to the beat of 'Old Trousers'|
|The Chasseurs square up for their charge.|
|The light dragoons and RHA battery prepare to meet them.|
|The riflemen skirmish ahead of the line, while the Spanish 9lber and British 6lber batteries hammer the extreme right hand column.|
|Glen's forces await Darren's moves...|
|...in a long line with plenty of reserves.|
|The first cavalry action...|
|...results in a draw and allows the artillery a few parting shots.|
|Glen and Darren go head to head...|
|...with a similar result.|
|Robin's dragoons charge, while my light dragoons counter charge in column...|
|...with the obvious reults! The Spanish gunners have decamped as well.|
|The gunners skulking in the woods while the British artillerymen say 'For what we are about to receive...'|
|CRASH! Bye-bye guns!|
|On they go into the Spanish infantry closed columns.|
|The Valencia light infantry are pushed back with losses, but the grenadiers and the 2nd light battalion stop the rampaging cavalry...|
|...and a volley sends them back to where they started. A very effective charge, though; it put paid to all my foot guns for the rest of the day.|
|The gap closes between the infantry. The French line is being disordered by the skirmishers as they advance.|
|Darren's infantry march on in column covered by his own skirmish screen.|
|Robin's guns form up on the high ground and fire over the heads of the columns in front.|
|The Spanish and Portuguese hunker down in closed column while the dragoons await their chance.|
|Robin throws a regiment in column at the Nassauer line...|
|...and pushes them back.|
|The dragoons charge again but their target forms square and the lights try to get in the cavalry's flank...|
|...but are charged by the supporting line of dragoons.|
|Meanwhile, Glen's Nassauers form at 90o to the rest of his line to try to get in Robin's flank.|
|On the far right flank the cavalry go at it again...|
|...this time with a very different result!|
|The battlemad chasseurs end their run just clipping the Spanish column...|
|...and sending them reeling, but end with their flank and rear temptingly open for the remaining Spanish columns.|
|Robin's line advances and engages the light-bobs in a fire-fight, which doesn't end well.|
|The dragoons come on again, this time dealing with the Spanish light infantry...|
|...but stopping at the brave grenadier square!|
|Robin's legere regimental charge snuffs out their light, though!|
|And carries on into the Portuguese column.|
|His charge runs out of puff perfectly placed for my remaining cavalry and the highlanders to mess with. though!|
|Forced into square with lines in front and on the flank, Robin legere in a pickle!|
|His chasseurs also had flank and rear problems! (note the growing dead pile in the foreground!)|
|One ineffective shot from the rear and the Chasseurs bolt!|
|The Highlanders are forced into square, but there's still an infantry battalion and cavalry ready to cut a swathe through the forlorn French, if only time were on my side!|