Monday, February 13, 2012

Italians on debut

Last Friday night at the club I partnered John R. with his Italians against Tim's Spanish, Pete E. using a brigade of Tim's Portuguese and Andrew S. using my British. As Andrew and I faced each other I was guaranteed that my troops would win! (Unfortunately, I forgot my camera, so the pictures in this post are from my phone and may not be quite up to scratch.)

It was a great game with the result in the balance (at least on my side of the table) until Andrew's fateful cavalry charge towards the end of the night (but more on that anon!).

Andrew normally plays French (or Austrian when playing on the allied side), so he was in unfamiliar territory which I thought might play into my hands. I'd decided to go cavalry and artillery heavy, with both my Chasseur regiments as well as the 2nd Hussars, plus the 2x4lb horse gun batteries and 2x6 gun 6lb foot batteries. My plan was to threaten him with my cavalry, forcing him into square, pummel him with artillery, then then put in the coup de gras with the infantry.

With the pass  in between two ridges as the objective of both sides, my immediate objective was to secure a village of 2 BUAs in the pass, before splitting the allied forces in half and proceeding through the pass to secure the road through. As the Allies won the initiative, Pete managed to get his Portuguese to the village by the 2nd turn. My veteran brigade of legere and line troops managed to secure the left hand BUA in short order, with the help of the foot artillery, but the remaining BUA remained in Pete's hands. The remaining Portuguese in the BUA caused my screening battalion considerable grief with their accurate shooting, but their time was limited.

Andrew steadily withdrew his infantry behind the crest of the ridge (as a good British commander should!), leaving only his artillery to dispute my advance. I replied with my 2 batteries of 4lbers, which again gave excellent service, knocking out 2 of his guns. Meanwhile, my hussars guarded my left flank, supported by one of the 2 chasseur regiments. The hussars were a little too close to Andrew's horse guns and suffered a casualty before they were persuaded to back off slightly.

I unformed one battalion of regulars in order to skirmish with Andrew's riflemen and although outnumbering them considerably, our skirmish combat was fairly inconclusive due his advantage in fire class. However, because he had so few figures, I managed to knock a couple of them off in a few of turns of combat, forcing a morale check, which he failed. I intended to push the skirmish screen up over the ridge to add disorders on Andrew's line, then attack with my infantry once they were sufficiently disordered, but events changed somewhat before I could implement my plan!

Earlier, I tried a coup de main with my 2nd chasseur regiment in the centre. I was hoping to clean up Pete's Portuguese to crack open the centre and from there get into Andrew's flank, hopefully rolling up his line. If I'd  had better cavalry this possibly would have worked better, but as it was, Pete managed to get one of his infantry units into square in time (although the front unit failed and was routed) and my charge halted on the tips of their bayonets. If I'd had dragoons, and a favourable die roll, I may well have cleaned up both units and caused a panic in the allied centre. It was not to be, however, but I still think it caused a momentary raising of blood pressure amongst the allies!

Their center was vulnerable as Pete was forced to stay in square as my chasseurs still lurked in the background. I wanted to bring my guns up closer and pound the square, so I limbered and moved them forward, but ran out of functions to unlimber them. The limbered guns effectively blocked the cavalry threat. I would have done better to have prolonged the guns gradually each turn, shortening the range over time, but I wanted that square crushed NOW! Patience is a virtue in this game, and Andrew is the master at playing the long game.

I formed up the battalion in the left hand BUA in preparation for a combined arms attack on Pete's square, but in my tunnel-visioned state, I'd neglected to take account of a battery of Portuguese guns on the flank. Too, late I spotted the threat, but there was nothing I could do but suffer the consequences. They were forced to take a morale test which they failed, but luckily were only forced to retire to the other side of the BUA. This was enough for Pete to get his square back into column and begin another advance on the BUA. I hastily pulled the limbered guns out of harm's way to be able to resume pummelling Portuguese, and sent the recently defeated infantry back into the BUA before Pete could re-occupy it, finding myself back where I started, more or less. Andrew brought around a battalion of British line and Portuguese cacadores to hold the centre in support of Pete's Portuguese and the stir my cavalry had created was over. The 2 reinforcements were in closed column and, in our rules, more vulnerable to infantry than if in ordinary column, so I set my Italians onto them, hoping for a helpful die roll. I didn't get it, but it wasn't a disaster; He counter-charged with both units and got a kinder die roll, resulting in a draw.

Time was running out and my options were limited, so I decided to recall my skirmished regular battalion with the intention of forming them up behind the rest of the brigade, then charging Andrew's British on the ridge with the full brigade. I moved one of the 4lber horse batteries up in support, hoping to be able to exploit any gains once on the ridge.

Andrew had moved his cavalry out on the flank and set them at my hussars but with fairly even die rolls, both cavalry units bounced. Now that my horse gun batteries had dispersed, he aimed his cavalry at the lone 4lber battery still with the cavalry, basically charging at an angle away from my hussars. This was the point of crisis of the battle; If my hussars had done what they were supposed to, his attack would have been stopped in its tracks and my infantry could have attacked up the hill. As it was, I declared my intention of trying for an opportunity charge against Andrew's light dragoons and failed (bloody dice &^%$)! They sat there picking their noses, while the guns were forced to limber and flee. His charge carried on into the unformed infantry causing them to rout and then into my stationary chasseurs, who were blocked from charging by the retiring guns and the fleeing infantry. Needless to say, they were sent packing too, all because my hussars sat on their fat ar$es rather than doing their job! 

From there, my flank was wide open, and his artillery and infantry rolled up my flank from left to right causing a whole brigade to collapse, including the brave Italians. All because of my lazy hussars! GRRRR!

John had a lot better luck against Tim's Spanish, so while he chased them off, I still retained the BUAs in the centre. Technically you could say that we were the only side to partially achieve the objective (that is if you ignore the devastation caused to one of my 2 brigades!). QED, we were the winners! ;-)

Italians on debut!

The thin red line on the ridge

The veteran brigade and the divisional general

The cavalry and my excellent 4lb horse guns

My regular brigade, including Italians

Andrew's anchored line with reserves behind

The successful attack on the first BUA

My skirmishers go head to head with Andrew's rifles

My chasseurs line up Pete's Portuguese in the gap between the ridge and BUA

In they go! The front battalion got squished, while the rear one just managed to form square in time

My limbered foot artillery move up to exploit the cavalry's gains, but now block the chasseurs from any further heroics.

On the other flank, the hussars face the Light Dragoons with the other chasseurs in support.

The second BUA falls to my veteran brigade

My infantry exit the BUA to take on Pete's square. Look out for the guns!

Guns go BLAM! and legere retire.
Pete's Portuguese advance to dispute the BUA.

The beginning of the end; My skirmishers scatter ahead of the fleeing horse artillery, while my chasseurs are caught flat footed by Andrew's light dragoons.

Chasseurs flee!

Andrew's horse guns at very close range in my flank. His infantry are about to swing like a gate off the ridge and roll up my line

PS. Apologies to all the folks whose blogs I've begun to follow over the last month. For some reason I can't fathom, Blogger doesn't allow me to update the list of blogs I follow and therefore these new blogs aren't displayed on my list. Hopefully this will change soon and the links will be displayed on my blog.


  1. Great report and your troops did win :). The photos were good too even from a mobile. I think blogger is playing up as a number of other blogs have also had the same thing.

  2. Great battle report and photos...I'm sure Italian's chasseurs will take revenge.

  3. Another fabulous day out, but a bruising one for your brave Italians. The dice can be so cruel.

  4. Nice report. With casualties like that, you'll need to paint more.

  5. A very good report!! And a great result too!
    As for blogger......I had the same problem, in the end I had to delete my blog roll and start again, its a pain in the neck, but at least I can add new blogs again and delete the ones I don't want.

  6. Photos are great considering they are from a camera phone only improvement of note is if you could enlarge them with a click on the mouse. yes italian Hussars were notorius for not charging. Must be relatives to WW2 italians.
    Cheers V


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