Friday, November 16, 2012

Sheppavara! - 2012

The weekend just past saw a large percentage of the NWA Napoleonics group trek up to sunny Northern Victoria to take part in what has been declared the 1st Annual Shepparton Event, or otherwise known as the NWA Napoleonic Lounge Lizards Shepparton Sojourn (thanks for that Quinny)!

I've tried something different this time; I've added a half dozen slideshows accompanied by some suitably stirring music to get you in the mood! As I took rather a lot of pictures and the resulting slideshow was to big to add, I've made a few smaller slideshows that are a bit less cumbersome.

Paul concocted a scenario loosely based on the Battle of Talavera with an OB that was balanced to make the sides more even than the historical battle, in numerical as well as qualitative terms. The table featured the terrain from the Tagus to the Cerro de Medellin  with the Portina bisecting the table lengthways. Of course, being Sheppavara, the Portina was renamed the Goulbina, and the Cerro de Medellin was renamed the SPC, or Slain Priest's Curse, some grisly reminder of the Moorish rule apparently (All hilariously funny jokes to those familiar with the geography of the Goulburn Valley, but meaningless to those of you who aren't!).

The Anglo-Spanish forces held the town and the ridge on one side of the stream as well as the walled fields on the other side. The French would have to either advance with an enemy force on their flank, or expend time and manpower on rooting out Pete's Spanish forces occupying the fields. Meanwhile, the Allies had fortified the ridge line with some low fortifications at the base of the ridge and a more substantial fortified line on the top, guarded by one of my Spanish divisions. My other Spanish division held the upper fortifications. The plan was that I would act as a speed bump for any French attack and that the British formed up behind the ridge would provide the counter attack once the disordered French had crested the ridge with its fortifications and squashed Spaniards.

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Things started out going to plan with the French concentrating their energy forcing Pete's Spaniards out of the  orchards and then attacking the walled fields closest to the French. Pete out up stout resistance against Jim's French, but weight of numbers and quality eventually told, eventually being forced out over the river, but he still hung on to the only building on the French side of the river.

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In the centre Paul and Tony advanced on the central ridge as their orders required, crossing the stream and advancing on my Spaniards. My left hand battalion suffered 30% casualties form accurate artillery fire and were forced to retreat behind the upper defences, but the rest held on quaking in their boots awaiting the onslaught. I received orders to pull back after first contact (gladly obeyed!), making room for the British Light Dragoons to come storming through the lanes provided in the fortifications. My Spaniards cheered them on as they drove into the tightly packed columns of the German Division, causing mayhem and confusion amongst Boney's cronies! I think at this stage Paul was beginning to regret hosting the event; it wasn't very charitable of Tim to completely dismember the host's command! Tony's advance stopped in its tracks as his flank was in peril after Paul's spot of bother, too. It was now up to the flanks to attack our positions.

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Robin's command on the northern flank pressed forward and claimed Tim's fortified gun battery, but was then counter-attacked by Tim's infantry and cavalry, while Quinny's infantry threatened his flank. Paul was unable to provide enough support to Robin's forward thrust as he had his hands full elsewhere.

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Darren, as French C-in-C pushed his reserve division between Jim's command, holding down Pete's Spaniards, and Tony's suddenly reluctant division holding the line of the stream bed. Darren pushed into the gap between the town and the fortified ridgeline with a combined arms advance. It was met by the British Heavy Cavalry and also by John R.'s infantry, who had until now been concealed in the town. I had also maneuvered my second Spanish brigade to face this threat, with my original position on the ridgeline now occupied by Quinny's British infantry, including his Guard supermen. When the British heavy cavalry dealt with the nearest closed column of French legere infantry, that left Darren's second column vulnerable to a flank attack from my Spanish infantry. All I had to do was to maneuvre them around onto his flank and either pour in the fire or elect to charge. However, Spanish troops in our rules are usually rated Conscript or lower (mine were rated Landwehr and Militia!), and they require an extra function to do any sort of move that's not in a straight line. So I managed to painfully get myself in a position to be able to do some damage in the next turn. All that hard work was for nothing, however, as Darren issued a break-off order and the whole French force withdrew behind the stream again to start afresh. That is where the game ended for the night; a real lost-opportunity scenario for my Spaniards!

The French (boo, hiss!) Robin, Paul (our gracious host), Darren (C-in-C) and Tony. Jim missing form shot.

l-r; Paul, Darren, Tony, John R, Pete E, Quinny, Tim, Robin

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The next morning started on a high note for the Anglo-Iberians with Pete needing a 1,2 or 3 to rally his broken division which failed its divisional morale the previous night; he rolled a 1! The French started their assault in earnest. Robin marched in with a perfect combined arms assault that Tim could not hold back with his available troops. Quinny held the ridge and attempted to enfilade Robin's approaching force, while I attempted to maneuvre my lumbering Spaniards to protect his right flank. The French artillery played havoc with his infantry, forcing them behind the crest of the ridge, but his own artillery made the French pay as Tony's infantry crept forward. Darren's foray into the gap between the ridge and the town was well planned with a larger combined arms force pouring into the gap, not giving me any latitude to repeat the previous night's opportunity. In fact, my role as a speed hump was grimly realised when Darren charged in with his legere infantry, crushing or scattering my hapless Spaniards in the process! They did slow him down enough that they didn't reach the Guards who managed to turn to face the threat, but my days of offering a credible threat were over!

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John R.'s infantry tried to clear the way for the heavy cavalry to catch Darren's dragoons in the rear, but his dice didn't co-operate and while he managed to expel the closed column, the square remained to queer the cavalry's pitch.

By that stage both of our flanks had given way, and while we weren't running from the field and had the Guards, the KGL cavalry and infantry and the British heavy cavalry still in good order, the odds were not in our favour. If this was a campaign game, we would have had to break off and retreat to regroup for a later time.

"Hmmm, what happens if I move this?"

I hope you enjoy the pictures as much as we did making them! 


5 comments:

  1. What a great battle, setup and game with some very lovely eye candy there. The slideshows is a great idea and the music just adds to the whole package, top draw old boy

    ReplyDelete
  2. a great weekend was had by all,fantastic clips and music

    ReplyDelete

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