Saturday, February 25, 2012

Battle for the bridges

No posts for a week as I've been using my spare time before I go back to study getting the 1st draft of'the 8th edition of our club's Napoleonic rules, Cold Steel, finished. Finally done, and after a bit of tweaking in the next few weeks, and the addition of the charts courtesy of big Rob, it'll be all go! I'll add it to the blog as a separate page for all and sundry to peruse and use at your leisure.

Back at the club last night after a having to work last Saturday (boo, hiss!), and I played in a scenario officiated by our resident Scenario Svengali, John R.

Pete E. and I commanded a British/Portuguese force that held a Spanish town on the banks of a river. The river was crossed by 2 bridges, which were the key to the scenario; we had to deny them to the French, while the French had to capture them to win. We knew there were French in the area, but not where they were, so we had to make our dispositions blindly. We could mark on a map which BUAs our forces occupied, without actually putting the figures around them, so that the French wouldn't know which buildings were occupied until they came knocking. As we weren't sure of which way they were coming, I felt this was a little perilous, especially as I only had 1 Portuguese battalion and therefore I didn't want to tie up my best units defending BUAs.

Robin and Andrew S. commanded the French forces and diced to see which sides of the board they entered from; Robin ended up coming straight for me on my right flank, along the river. I had decided that they would be coming from the other side of the river, but luckily I was able to turn and face him without too much of a problem. Andrew approached the town from the other side, heading directly for the river through hilly, forested terrain. What he didn't realise was that a lot of the woods concealed swarms of Spanish guerrillas, controlled by John. As it was, after a brief setback with a 3lber gun, the Spanish didn't really slow Andrew down at all.

Andrew played another brilliant combined arms assault that had John and Pete in all sorts of bother as his heavy cavalry skirted the town, herding John's guerrillas ahead of him, and supported by infantry. Pete was focused on the rest of the French forces approaching the town, while hsi cavalry had to be brought back over the river, where they'd been in skirmish formation in order to slow down an approach that never came from that side.

Robin and I faced each other without cavalry and had a fun tussle for the flank of the town. Initially, I had the upper hand with my Portuguese guns doing steady work on his lines, although his skirmishers were steadily adding disorders to the Buffs's line. Robin approached with 2 lines behind his skirmish screen, and behind that , a column. When his column ended the turn ninety degrees to my line, with a nicely tempting flank pointing in my direction, I decided the time was ripe for a charge! The Portuguese gunners disappointed by missing everything, but the Buffs mad sure of things anyway. They steamed in and cleaned up the first French line, went battlemad and made short work of the second line, ending their move right on the luckless column's flank. Next turn, when Robin tried to extricate his threatened column, I fired into their flank causing a casualty and a morale check, but with the other 2 units running away it was fairly certain that they'd break, too. This was where I could have used the cavalry; They could have caused all sorts of bother to Robin, but as it was I couldn't exploit my gains and fell back to re-establish a defensive line, the bridge safe behind me.

Meanwhile, Pete's flank was enveloped and Andrew's dragoons reached the first bridge after smashing more guerrillas and the sole British cavalry unit. His dragoons then copped some flank and rear fire from Portuguese and Spanish troops, which caused them to flee the bridge...for now!

Next, Andrew's infantry dealt with one of Pete's British squares, which freed his hussars to put in a spectacular charge that cleaned up an artillery battery, a British line (in the flank!) and yet another Spanish guerrilla unit. This charge crossed no less than 3 barriers; 2 hedges and a wall.  This equine avalanche put paid to Pete's resistance and my rear was exposed to Andrew's infantry once they gained the town, so my heroic resistance was in vain!

NOTE: This was my most economical game yet; I only lost one casualty all night, while Robin suffered at least half a dozen!

Pete sets up his forces in the village

My troops turn to face the threat from the left

For a moment it was French in line vs. British in column!

Andrew's hussars surprised by guerrillas in the mist!

Come 'n' git some!

The buffs in line next to the Portuguese artillery (actually Spanish  pretending for the night!). The 50th form line in reserve. 

A Frog's eye view.

Pete's Portuguese surprise Robin's column by announcing their presence in the BUA.

French guns fire...and miss!

The 50th foot in reserve.

Light Dragoons form before heading back over the bridge to their doom!

The vital bridge on my left. The key to my position; if it falls, game  over. My Portuguese occupy the BUA  on the left.

Robin's skirmishers come on with waves of French behind.

More guerrillas momentarily impede Andrew's progress.

Pete's British await developments.

The LD cross the bridge to take on the French.

A disorder on the Buffs courtesy of the skirmishers.

Pete moves out of the BUA to form his Portos on the Buffs' flank.

Andrew's French line enter the woods to flush out the guerrillas.

Skirmishers in the lead.

Time for some action! After the guns fire and miss, the Buffs charge, met half way by Robin's counter-charging French.

After successfully seeing off the first line, the Buffs go battlemad and crash into the second line, which also flees. Note the column facing the wrong way, presenting its soft flank to the victorious Buffs!


The French column takes disorders as the retreating line disrupts the formation, and the Buffs approach.

After seeing off the column, the skirmishers advance, racking up more disorders on the Buffs.

The 50th advance to protect the Buffs' flank.
Pete's light infantry in the village 

On the right flank, Andrew's infantry shoo off the guerrillas, but decide the better of leaving the safety of the woods.

The Buffs fall back and the 50th side-step while the Portuguese guns fill the gap in between.

Robin's skirmishers still harass the line, but a dose of close range canister enforces a morale check , which sees them fall back to lick their wounds.


Andrew's dragoons barrel over the hill and clean up the Biritish LD and head for the bridge, defended only by Spanish guerrillas and one battalion of Portuguese. 

On come the dragoons...

...herding Spaniards like sheep over the bridge. The 1st bridge is in French hands! (But not for long...)

First the Portuguese fire in the dragoons' rear, but can't budge them...

...then the Spaniards try and send the dragoons packing. Huzzah!

I suffer my first casualty when Robin's guns knock off one of the 50th's figures.

Back on the right, Andrew charges Pete's square (Walloon Guards masquerading as British) and smashes them.

Pete tries to get into the flank of the victorious French column, but gives the hussars a perfect target.

Other French infantry surges ahead to the bridge...

...while the hussars crush everything in their path, only stopped by the river!

With Pete's forces crumbling, my rear is in danger!


  1. Wonderful report, great photos and loads of fun.

  2. Very nice report, I loved the spanish (I'e got a spanish army!)...want more!

  3. I agree: a great AAR!. I love the battles with bridges, but I always find that my rule-sets do not cover adequately these issues, and I must to design home-rules for it!

  4. Very good AAR with a lot of nice pictures. I like the unknowns of the scenario setup.

  5. A great batrep, a very enjoyable read, go the West Kent boys!!!

  6. Very good report. Love all the photos.

  7. I really enjoy this AAR and liked the pictures and the look of the table. A pleasant blend of well painted figures and scenery that is not too realistic, with a hint of old school about it. I really must stop reading this sort of thingsel, or I will start collecting Nappy figures myself.

  8. Brilliant reading, thanks for sharing!

  9. Stunning! You certainly produce a fine report Sir.

  10. A very engaging report. Well done.

    I must ask, who makes your rather fine geurillas?

    1. Thanks CK. The guerrillas are part of John's collection and are 28mm Front Rank if memory serves me.

      The other forces were my 1/72nd metal and plastic British and Portuguese, Andrew's 28mm Front Rank French and Robin's 25mm MInifigs.


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