For those of you who haven't been playing at home, here's the background; NWA, the club I belong to, has a theme month in September to celebrate 'International Talk Like a Pirate Day' (Sept 19). As part of 'Pirates in September' I had planned to run a naval landing scenario for our Napoleonic home-brew club rules, 'Cold Steel'. Last year I ran out of puff before September and put the project on the back-burner. This year I fully intended to be ready, entering the 'La Bricole Summer Painting Challenge' as an incentive to get the figures painted in time, but September was a crazy-busy month for me and I only managed one visit to the club ealry on in the month.
I had also planned to make some more scenery, like a beach for the landing and a ravelin to cover the entrance to the fortifications, but it didn't happen.
To the scenario itself; It was inspired by the successful raids by Sir Home Popham's fleet in the Bay of Biscay on the Basque coastline of northern Spain in 1812 which successfully tied down Caffarelli's Army of the North, preventing it from participating in the Salamanca campaign, by cooperating with the local Spanish forces raiding the length of the Biscay coastline.
My scenario's objective was for the Royal Navy to land a ship's 18lber (increased to 3 for playability) to reduce the fortifications and allow the Spanish to capture the fort. As the fort commands a river crossing on the main east-west road, the Spanish need to capture it to win the game. The French just need to prevent the fort from falling to win. Both sides have reinforcements on their way determined by rolling a 1 on d10.
My rules for determining the damage to the fortifications were muddled at best and weren't a great success, but Tim had a suggestion that probably will work better in a replay of the match. As I was playing as well as umpiring, I was a little distracted in enforcing my own rules, so again, they didn't work as well as I'd planned!
I won't give a detailed blow by blow account as I want this scenario to be run again and I don't want to give too many secrets away (loose lips sink ships, so to speak!), but it ended with an unsuccessful Spanish attack on the unbreached walls, and although the guns in the fort were all silenced and the reinforcements severely mauled by the Royal Marine battalion, the French remained in control of the fort at the end of the game.
Despite some muddling in the rules everyone agreed it was a successful scenario that would be fun to play again, and everyone involved enjoyed themselves. The small units raise the stakes because if one breaks, then you don't have much else up your sleeve to retrieve the situation! However, even though I seemed to have the largest butcher's bill, because I remained in control of the fort the French won the day!
|The setup: RN landing party approaching in boat, French in fort besieged by Spanish across the river|
|The French fort. Figures outside are part of the garrison, but don't fit!|
|RN landing party approach!|
|Spanish light troops skirmish towards fort|
|RN force disembarks|
|Skirmishers clear abatis|
|Spanish battery suffers casualties!|
|French reinforcements arrive!|
|Naval gun battery sets up near town|
|Spanish guerrillas attempt to slow the reinforcements|
|Reinforcements head for ford below town. Should have kept them tightly bunched in hindsight, rather than sending out vanguard ahead of the rest|
|Charge by dragoons almost paid off. Needed infantry support to get rid of square.|
|Worst outcome for the charge: halt 2" from line with 2 extra disorders. The Spaniards failed to form square, too!|
|Too late, the dismounted dragoons come out in support.|
|Dragoons get whacked by flank fire and rout|
|A charge by a single battalion not a good idea against the fierce firepower of the Royal Marines!|
|Rout and runaway!|
|Another battalion runs away while the original retreating unit recovers and returns. What happens when you send them in piecemeal!|
|The other battalions engage, slowed down by skirmishers and sheep!|
|A game of flank and outflank ensues which the marines always seem to win!|
|Spanish advance on the fort after the majority of the guns are silenced.|
|Royal Marines fall back. Luckily I was persuaded not to charge, as all battalions were badly mauled and wouldn't have survived the pre-melee morale test.|
|Instead I occupied the BUA and sent the right hand battalion to the right, enveloping both flanks!|
|In a series of incredible rolls, John rolls a 1 to pass his morale test with flying colours when he should have been running for the hills! Also rolled 1's when he needed to when issuing skirmish fire from feeble guerilla skirmishers.|
|Spanish attack against unbreached wall fails!|