Tuesday, January 31, 2012

1st NWA meeting for 2012 - Anglo-Spaniards vs. French

The wargaming year has started at the club, so with a virtuous feeling after paying my fees for the year, I joined in with Tim, Andrew S. and Robin (filling in for Ian, who was a late scratching) in a Peninsula game.

I came up with a mini-scenario to dress up the usual 2-a-side 1200 points each, 'there's your enemy; now at 'em'-type game. If I'd spent more time thinking about it, it could have been a bit more challenging, but for an impromptu game it was better than nothing.

Tim, who had a Spanish force, was tasked to watch over a road junction and warn his British allies if the French approached, then withdraw. But the Spanish general was having none of that and had occupied an old earthwork at the road junction, determined to bring on a general action and enhance his reputation with a glorious victory. The British force was compelled to support the Spanish as the road junction was important for their link with the rest of Wellington's army.

The French and British then came on the board determined by die rolls as to which third of their designated areas they rolled for. It may have made for a more exciting (or quicker!) game if we rolled for when the armies entered the board, but as we all wanted to have a decent game and not have the board wiped clean by one player before the rest got on the board, we decided on a simultaneous entry.

Andrew faced Tim and his Spaniards in the redoubt and adjacent village, while I faced Robin on the other side. As I had come on the board on the extreme left, I wanted to link up with Tim before the French could exploit the gap between out two forces. Robin had a lot more cavalry than I had (a regiment each of hussars and cuirassiers, and yes I know the British never faced cuirassiers, but there you are!) and had 2 batteries of 6lb horse artillery concentrated on the left, which set me a challenge from the start.

Tim's quantity over quality army seemed to be on a hiding to nothing over on the right, but he used the terrain wisely to protect his forces against the worst Andrew could throw at him. It didn't help that he didn't remember until about half way through the night that he'd forgotten to put on the last 600 points of his forces! Once the rest duly entered the fray,his natural cunning plus some appallingly bad die rolls from Andrew had the French on the run on that flank, including Spanish cavalry seeing off the cuirassiers!

Meanwhile, I had the British holding the left flank, while attempting to plug the gap between the two flanks. As Robin threw the bulk of his infantry and artillery as well as his hussars against my left, I was always under pressure on that side, but I didn't fancy his cuirassiers getting in between Tim and me, so I had to send some of my troops to plug the gap. It was a case of plugging the holes with as many digits as possible, hoping that a new one doesn't spring just out of reach! I did have a couple of battalions in reserve, but they were needed fairly quickly as the artillery and cavalry took their toll. In attempting to keep the line, I'd put the 92nd Gordon Highlanders in the way of the artillery, but had hoped to put the guns under threat of cavalry after having dealt with the hussars. That didn't happen as our first charge was an inconclusive draw, allowing the French infantry time to settle the French flank. In a frustratingly efficient use of combined arms, Robin held me there and eventually crushed the cavalry and the 3rd Foot(Buffs) in a daring hussar charge. I managed to stabilise the line by the end and his attempt at another combined arms attack broke on the battered but steady square of highlanders.

At the other end of the line, the 50th foot stood in square at the edge of the forest between a foot battery and the 71st Foot (GHLI) and resisted an attempt to break it when Robin's infantry failed to charge home after suffering 50% of the front line destroyed in an artillery and musket volley. They turned tail rather than take more punishment! The square inched forward and fired in the flank of another French infantry line in the woods that had previously been engaged in an inconclusive firefight with the 71st, which caused them to flee as well.

These satisfying events in the centre led me to a rash decision towards the end of the game when I advanced the 71st into the woods vacated by the French in an attempt to outflank the guns. Of course, if you drop your trousers and wave your backside around (metaphorically!) you're going to get it spanked, which is what happened when his guns pivoted in place and whacked the 71st in the flank, utterly destroying them.

Robin was strangely indecisive about what to do with his cuirassiers in the centre, which I was worried would cause a great deal of mischief, as I only had Portuguese on my far right flank beyond the foot battery. He initially formed them up in line to threaten the centre, but then sent them around the central woods as if to attack Tim. Tim's heroic defense of the central woods against Robin's infantry attacks I think caused Robin pause for thought, resulting in his cuirassiers returning to their original position. By then my Portuguese had managed to deploy and linked up with the Spanish, completing the line and denying Robin the chance to divide and conquer.

So while, I maintained a shaky stalemate with Robin (although if the game went another couple of rounds I think I would have been in big trouble), Tim won the day by forcing a divisional morale check on Andrew, which he failed, resulting in gongs and titles from the Cortes in Cadiz for Don Tim.

My British forces enter the board

As do Robin's

The redoubt and supporting Spanish infantry

More of Robin's forces deploy behind the protection of the light cavalry.

On come Andrew's infantry towards the village

His cuirassiers and horse guns attempt to outflank Tim's Spanish

My Portuguese set out to cover the gap between the woods as the French approach from the top of the picture.

Robin's guns deploy with cavalry support behind.

His infantry march into the trees while my brave riflemen give them disorders to add to those incurred by traversing the woods.

The Spanish guns await the advancing French infantry while the infantry moves in support.

The cuirassiers and guns appear on Tim's right flank

Robin's hussars charge, to be met by my light dragoons...

...but we both bounce after an inconclusive combat.

My foot guns deploy while the 50th Foot form square only to see Rob's cuirassiers head off to the right. Did I scare him off?! The Portuguese now have the opportunity to fill the gap between the guns and the woods to the right.

My highlanders left like a shag on a rock after attempting to get in the flank of the hussars after their charge. They withdrew, copping my fire on the way, but are now left facing the 2 horse batteries at close range!

The Portuguese brigade hotfoots it to fill the gap between the British and Spanish wings.

Tim's guerrillas have been expelled from the woods by Andrew's leger after a skirmish combat.

Peekaboo! Rob's cuirassiers tease the Spaniards, causing the nearest battalions to require a change of underwear.

Time for a flank shot on those cuirassiers if they don't do something soon!

Tim's Spanish light troops fire as Robin charges his infantry, but with the casualties and disorders, his charge fails!

Meanwhile the 50th get back into square and the guns prepare to fire on a line target.

After suffering infront of the guns, the 92nd pulls back to let the 3rd have a go.

My battered light dragoons charge Robin's advancing closed column, and stop it in its tracks while the horse guns shorten the line directly in front.

Robin seizes the opportunity and charges the light dragoons who were still in column, smashing them and the 3rd Foot who didn't manage to form square in time. The horse guns limbered and fled, narrowly avoiding the victorious hussars' breakthrough move.

The resulting nasty gap on the end of the line.

Meanwhile, the 50th repel the French column's charge, with a little artillery help.

And off they go!

Then, the square moves forward onto the flank of the French line in preparation to send it packing too!

The situation on my left flank at the end of the night. The 92nd have just gallantly survived the infantry charge on the sqaure, upsetting Robin's plans to roll up my line.


  1. Nice report, good idea to mix spanish with portuguese and british units...not so common on our tables!

  2. An excellent report and excellent pics too!!

  3. Great report Rosbif. Really nice photos too.


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