Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Close, but no cigar!

I played my first game in a while last Saturday, and it showed! I was up against Darren and his superbly painted Republican French army which has been steadily growing and now includes a Chasseur a Cheval regiment in tarletons. Even though Darren is a relative newcomer to the rules, he is a shrewd tactician and exploited my mistakes ruthlessly! I was partnered by Pete E. and his Austrians, while he faced Tony using my French army.

Until I had a rush of blood to the head towards the end that spelled my doom, I made one mistake in the middle of the game that resulted in his chasseurs carving a swathe through my centre from which I recovered. I sent the 9th LD against Darren's converged grenadier closed column, which I thought was getting ready to advance. The cavalry was repulsed and forced back behind the hill where it was no use as an early warning system. As a result, my infantry didn't spot the charging wall of horseflesh until the chasseurs breasted the hill crest right in front of them and missed their opportunity to form square. The 9th LD also missed the chance to launch an opportunity charge. The French chasseurs cleaned up the first battalion in line and the two behind them, but halted in the midst of my army, ready to be whacked in revenge!

I started off successfully, by establishing ascendancy over his skirmish line with a massed skirmish line of rifles, a half battalion of light troops and the light companies of the closest line battalions. after one round of inconclusive skirmishing, I sent his skirmishers packing and started firing on his line. This was when Darren launched his chasseur charge which cleaned up the skirmish line and penetrated my main infantry line. I had kept my cavalry over on the left flank to counter the advance of what turned out to be Darren's main attack, so they were not available to counter charge the chasseurs. As it was, I had whittled down their strength stopping the advance of Darren's elite battalions in closed column by launching one Light Dragoon regiment  in a sacrificial charge to protect my Portuguese infantry brigade. They'd have been chewed up and spat out if Darren had managed to advance closer. The junction with Pete's Austrian force also threatened the flanks Darren's elite advance, which diluted the attention he could devote to my line.

Darren moved his converged grenadier battalion into line to provide flank cover for his grand battery of 4lbers (pop!), in front of one of my light dragoon regiments, who couldn't resist the temptation and charged them. I

The move which settled my fate was Darren's shifting of his chasseurs to his left flank, facing my right. I put my extreme right hand battalion in square and left my 92nd Gordon Highlanders in line. If I'd been thinking properly (or thinking at all!) I would have brought up the battalion in closed column to the left closer to the Gordons' flank, anchoring the line between the square to the right and the closed column on the left. Instead, I just elected to inch the highlanders forward a bit to improve their angle if the French infantry chose to advance. This, of course, prompted Darren's infantry killing machine into action again and the chasseurs leaped to it again, destroying the Gordons and the infantry line behind. This was too much to come back from and as the day was drawing to a close, we shook hands on a well deserved French victory.

I've also included some pictures from one of the other games including one of Andrew B.'s Bashkirs whose headgear I was responsible for creating.

The British starting positon

Skirmish line in front of the 92nd

The skirmish line advances well in front of the line, supported by the cavalry on the flank.

Pete's Austrians and my cavalry

Darren's Republican French

He also opted for a skirmish line from the start

Darren's converged grenadier battalion. I thought they might be Old Guard for a while! Phew!

Darren's killer chasseurs

Tony using my French against Pete on the other side of the table

My line begins to form. I intended to stretch it between the woods on the right and the woods on the far left beyond the hill. I should have stuck to the plan!

Horse guns' view of the grenadier battalion cresting the hill. Blam!

British skirmishers' view of the oncoming wall of blue

Tony had a French phalanx preceded by skirmishing leger

His skirmish line

Darren's skirmishers preceding l'ordre mixte

British skirmish line advances

The thin red line

Skirmish combat ensues

Take that, Johnny Crapaud!

My victory for the day! The 2nd round of skirmish combat results in a British victory, chasing away the French skirmish line, allowing me to start peppering the main French line.

Disorders on the line!

The skirmish screen was protected by the Light Dragoons in the centre. Once they were removed to deal with the impending threat from the left flank, the skirmish line was exposed to the chasseurs.

Aerial view of the situation. Besides getting some British infantry over on the left flank, I think I should have left it alone and let Darren do the attacking...

...but instead I threw the 9th LD at the converged grenadiers and was repulsed.

They were now at the bottom of the hill and had no vedette deployed to warn of the impending danger...

...and here it comes! The distance from where the chasseurs became visible was too close to allow the cavalry to counter-charge, or the infantry to form square.

Crunch, crash, bash!

The resulting carnage!

The resurrected line after the battalion in reserve formed on the chasseurs' flank and fired, causing them to fail their morale check and retreat.

Darren's skirmishers now advance and add disorders to my line without my skirmishers to protect it.

Darren's brigade in l'ordre mixte charges and is met with a counter charge and an artillery volley

A Pyrrhic victory to Darren; I was only forced to retire with 10% losses. Not a bad result, considering!

1st rush of blood to the head: my battered 9th LD charge the converged grenadier line, who, with assistance from the artillery, coolly stand their ground and empty just about every saddle with a devastating volley.

2nd rush of blood to the head; The 92nd Gordons after their fateful foot shuffling precipitated the 2nd killer chasseur charge of the day (They actually should be facing the other way after suffering a retreat, but I won't tell anyone if you don't). The 3rd Foot (Buffs) stand and wait the inevitable while cursing the highlanders for their ineptitude!

Andrew's Cossacks. I love the figure wearing the captured French uniform!

One of Andrew's Bashkirs on debut, whose millinery was my handiwork


  1. Great report Rosbif, love the photos.

  2. Good, detailed AAR. You'll get your revenge next time.

  3. Excellent report, great photos too

  4. Now that looks like a splendid afternoon. Great pictures.

  5. Cracking pictures - who makes those wonderful French republicans?

  6. Fantastic looking game with beautiful figures! Best, Dean

  7. Interesting AAR. Enjoyed the read and the pictures of the units. Seems your game has a similar scaling to the 26 years of homegrown club rules we use....battalion, cavalry regt or battery (100:1).
    Bookmarked to future AARs. Keep rolling the dice.....and pressing forward for the hobby!.

    Michael (aka WR)

  8. Thanks all! Luckily, the fun's in the playing whatever the result :-)

    @Conrad - I think you've asked this before. Darren's Republican troops are 28mm metal figures by Eureka Miniatures.

    @Wargamer Rabbit - Our rules are also a home-grown club rules though our scale is more like 60:1. We'll be upping the scale to 120:1 for our annual new year game which will be Wagram. PS I've also bookmarked your blog. Looks like we share a lot of the same interests!

  9. Hi there Rosbif,

    We're filming a historical documentary series on Anglo-Franco relations through the years for French broadcaster ARTE. Your miniatures battles should definitely feature. Could you provide an email address and phone we could contact you at to discuss further.
    Mine is josh@londonfieldspictures.com

    Josh Bullock

  10. Great blog Rosbif, with your interest in French Revolutionary figures I wondered if you would like to look here:

  11. Excellent report on a great looking game.


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