Sunday, October 10, 2010

Vistula #$&*! lancers again!

Last Friday saw me at the club again after what seems like an age, where I gave my Portuguese and my 13th light Dragoons their baptism of fire against Garry's Frenchmen again. As my wife was working late, I didn't get there until around 8pm, so game time was limited. Garry, however, isn't one to be rushed. I don't want to diss my most regular opponent, as I know he's still getting his head around the club rules, but he makes his decisions more slowly than a Galapagos turtle! Still, that gave me a lot of time to set up some nice shots.

Anyway, the game turned out to be divided into 3 separate battles; an infantry confrontation on my left flank, a battle for the village in the centre , and an all arms confrontation on the right. The plan was for my Portuguese to occupy the buildings facing the oncoming French, supported by a British batallion in line to their left. Further left, I was going to hold off the oncoming French with artillery and 2 more line battalions. Both these areas were covered by skirmishers from the battalions' light companies, a couple of companies' worth of 5/60th rifles, and the 71st Glasgow Highlanders in skirmish order. On the right flank I'd sent the 9th Light Dragoons and a battery of horse guns and a couple of companies of the 95th rifles across the ford, while the 13th and the 50th line were covering the ford awaiting developments.

The game developed into a skirmish standoff on the left flank, where, even though he outnumbered me slightly, we were of comparable experience, ie. elite. Neither of us could achieve a breakthrough on this flank, so our infantry and artillery basically awaited developments. In the centre, however, Garry didn't have any skirmishers leading his columns, so my skirmishers were able to inflict quite a bit of damage as they came on, racking up disorders and even knocking off a figure! I decided not to occupy the buildings with the Portuguese, instead forming one in line next to the British line and keeping the 2nd Portuguese batallion as a reserve by the river. On the right flank beyond the river I pushed the 9th LD and the guns around past the woods and deployed the dragoons in line once they caught sight of the Vistula lancers in the distance. The 13th LD and 50th foot advanced across the river in support.

While not a lot more happened on the left and in the centre, the right flank was where all the action took place. My guns managed to wound the French general attached to the lancers which put him out of the equation while I charged with the 9th LD. That charge ended in a Pyrrhic victory for me. In the next couple of turns I'd moved the 13th LD up closer to the 9th LD while the 50th foot and the 95th advanced on the left flank of the forest to confront another couple of French infantry battalions. The 95th peppered the enemy infantry and the the 50th awaited developments. As the French ahd advanced forward quite a way with their right flank to the river, I tried a sneaky maneuver; pushing the reserve Portuguese across the river into the French rear. I ended up across the river, but with my flank facing the French rear. In hindsight I should have taken 2 turns to cross the river, rather than one and then end up in an unfortunate position. The plan was to catch him between the 50th and the Portuguese, but the 50th were still too far away, so next turn, Garry about faced and gave the Portos a flank shot which sent them scuttling back across the river.

Meanwhile, his lancers charged my 9th LD. I was confident of holding him, as he'd lost his lancer's first charge bonus and our forces were relatively equal, but as luck would have it, he rolled a 5 and I rolled a 1 on our melee, which resulted in a smashing victory for him, and his triumphant lancers careened into the stationary 13th LD again smashing them completely. Then his chasseurs a cheval charged the guns, which attempted to limber and flee, but failing to do so were caught flat-footed and destroyed. This left the 50th and the 95th trapped on the wrong side of the river with no support, about to be threatened from the rear as well as the front from infantry, cavalry and guns. The ford to the rear of my main force was under threat and the only way to prevent being attacked in the rear would have been to disengage.

Before this I had doubted we'd get a result as the infantry standoff was not looking like it would be resolved, although I think Garry was preparing to pull back his skirmishers on my left, to prepare let his guns have a go. Instead, a roll of the dice decided the fate of the game and cracked it wide open. If only time hadn't run out it would have been interesting to see if I could have pulled the chestnuts from the fire! C'est le guerre!

Initial deployment of my forces looking from left flank

Centre and right flank

Portuguese advance on the village

13th LD and 50th foot approach the ford

9th LD, horse guns and 95th rifles beyond the ford

Britain awaits the French move! Robin helping Garry set up.

French dispositions seen from their left

Infantry and guns advance on the left

Portuguese enter the village

13th LD and 50th foot cross the ford

The 50th foot

9th LD deploy into line once past the hill, while horse guns unlimber to the left

9th LD from the front. Chaarge!!

Their target; the Vistula lancers, not yet deployed in line

Chasseurs a Cheval in support

Successful charge against the lancers, but now masking my own guns

Meanwhile, on the other flank, the skirmish combat hots up

Portuguese at the village while the French come over the bridge

The situation in the centre and the left flank

The situation seen from the right flank

Portuguese in the village

French pour across the bridge

Same formation viewed from the side

French advance viewed from their right flank

Limbered French guns

The French advance on both sides of the river

Skirmishers harry the advancing columns on both sides of the river

Portuguese and British battalions form line in front of the village while skirmishers plug away

Line in close-up

Portuguese line viewed through the village

British support to the left of the village

Further left, the thin red line awaits

From another angle

Highlanders in reserve

Advancing, pipers leading!

French advance down both banks of the river; Portuguese reserve awaits developments

Portuguese reserve

French advance on the 50th foot and Portuguese enthusiastically manouvre on their rear

French about-face and fire into Portuguese flank

Portuguses scuttle back across the river to safety after (just!) failing morale test

Next was the cavalry stoush. Lt. Dragoons in line

Voici l'ennemi!

The lancers charge and crush the 9th LD. In the distance, the 13th are sitting waiting to be steamrollered!

And they were!

Next in line were the guns, squished by the chasseurs. You can only see where the guns were!

The diabollical situation the 50th find themselves in!

The situation from the left flank when we called it stumps


  1. Monsieur le Rosbif the photos of the battle and more particularly the battlefield are very impressive. Your terrain is progressing in leaps and bounds. I equally enjoy reading your battlefield reports. It makes me feel as if I am reading the first hand account of a contemporary chronicler (ignoring the die roll comments of course.)

    I also concur with your comments in regards to your opponent ie Galapagos turtle!


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