Monday, June 4, 2012

Luckiest Cavalry Ever!

Another visit to the club last Friday was supposed to see me battling Tim's French, with an equal number of British and Allies, but when I turned up, I found I'd been joined by Pete E. and his newly finished British army. As I'd forgotten my army list and it was the Friday night at the end of a long week, I wasn't all that mathematically inclined to be able to do the requisite calculations to be able to subtract an amount of troops to even the odds for Tim. In the event Pete and I still had about 1000 points more than Tim, but he still gave us a run for our money. If I hadn't been so awesomely lucky with my light dragoons and Tim had some decent dice rolls, the story may have had a different outcome!

My British and Portuguese

Pete's British

Pete and Tim set up

Pete and I started out on the traditional reverse slope of the ridge running parallel to our line, but Tim didn't budge, forcing us off our chosen terrain. Tim started his dice rolling well, rolling a 10 (unbeatable, as on a draw the French always go first), and let us take the first move. So it was clear we'd be doing the attacking and he'd sit back and wait for us to do something stupid, which wasn't long coming! I'd sent my heavy dragoons on debut around the flank hoping for some easy pickings, while I left my light dragoons in the centre, thinking they'd be enough to counter any threat from that quarter. Wrong!

Pete and I set up on the ridge...

What a waste of a lovely ridge!

I thought Tim's cavalry in the centre would be more of a deterrent and that he'd keep at least one regiment in reserve if he decided to do anything rash. I also thought I'd positioned my light dragoons carefully out of harm's way behind the central BUA. Wrong again, on both accounts! I wanted to station the cavalry near to protect the infantry who were making their way to occupy the central BUA as a bastion against attack, but not necessarily to be a punching bag for 3 consecutive attacks by his lancers and chasseurs. Oh, well; C'est la guerre!

My forces move off the ridge and my cavalry move behind the BUA thinking they're safe!

Then came the sequence of events that would have stretched credulity in even an episode of Sharpe; my light dragoons withstood 2 charges and while standing blown and disordered were charged from outside their own charge arc, only to have the chasseurs baulk at the last moment and sheer off. From being the villain of the piece having positioned his cavalry so poorly, my cavalry commander came out smelling of roses having enhanced his reputation as the conqueror of French cavalry! As Boney asked of a candidate for promotion "Yes, but is he a lucky general?", the answer this night was a resounding "Yes!"

1st charge

2nd charge

...and I roll 5!
3rd combat pre-melee: Tim rolls 1...

Back to where I started with knees quivering like jelly. They had no right to survive!

That little sequence scuppered Tim's plans as he'd been advancing his infantry towards my line in the hope of exploiting his imminent breakthrough. If he'd smashed my light dragoons, he would have careened through my horse guns, which I'd neglected to position any reserves behind, and been in my rear, while his massed battalions would have sliced up my infantry lines. So I was saved merely by dice rolling, rather than any tactical brilliance!

My sneaky flank attack around to my right was looking dicey at best, but with this threat to my centre, I decided that my heavy dragoons were best served elsewhere, so I had to try a little fancy maneuvering to get them underway without exposing them too much to flank fire from the French in the closest BUA. As it was they suffered a casualty as they swept past, but survived the resulting morale test with ease. My cacadores then shielded them from further harm and held down that flank along with a weak Portuguese line battalion, another British line battalion and a British 6lb foot battery that provided some workmanlike support, but may have been more usefully placed elsewhere. This attack petered out and eventually was caught out mid-redeployment with the Portuguese line battalion caught in the flank and smashed, while the British line battalion was also caught in column and forced to retreat. Tim then followed up with a flank attack that sent the 71st GHLI packing, ending up on the flank of the 92nd Gordon Highlanders.  This was Tim's high water mark though. The 92nd just shrugged off his attempt at scaring them and kept eyes front, while the 3rd Foot came up to the rescue and attempted to see them off. It was only until the highlanders changed facing and delivered their version of a naval broadside that the threat was seen off.

My right flank 

Nice flanking move developing...

...but the dragoons'services are needed elsewhere now! Off they go, shrugging off Tim's flank fire.

Pete and Tim go head to head

My Portuguese get caught in the flank. Ouch!

Artillery and 71st retreat to the ridge before regrouping.

92nd Highlanders under threat

The Buffs come to the rescue!

On the other side Pete seemed to be in all sorts of bother when Tim boldly sent off the chasseurs deep into Pete's rear in the hope of distracting my depleted light dragoons as well as putting a screeching halt to his infantry advance. Pete sacrificed his elite infantry in attacking the the cavalry. Tim took the bait and charged them down, but they ended their charge in the midst of Pete's infantry which then took their revenge on the cavalry's cheekiness. After a last hurrah where Tim managed to send Pete's Hussars running after killing their general, his days were numbered; Pete brought out his infantry from the central BUA and formed them up on Tim's infantry's flank . In the last turn he charged them, breaking  Tim's French and effectively ending the game.

Tim's audacious move...

...sets the cat among the pigeons.  That's his cavalry on the ridge in the background;  he briefly  had us by the short and curlies!

Pete's game winning flank charge!
Despite the our numerical advantage, Tim played his hand brilliantly and the game was a lot of fun as the advantage swung to and fro until our weight of numbers told in the end. However, if the dice gods had smiled on him and not me, it may quite well have turned out a French victory!


  1. Looks terrific, and sounds like you had a fun game!

  2. I agree that looks an amazing game.

  3. Nice report...I hope french troops will take revenge!

  4. All the figures are so nicely painted! Great looking game.

  5. Bad look for 'les messieurs"!


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