Thursday, March 15, 2012

Battle of Boyaca(-ish)!

This is the scenario based on the Battle of Boyaca 1819 fought in Columbia by the Great Liberator, Simon Bolivar, against the forces of the Spanish crown.

In our scenario, it's been transplanted to the Iberian Peninsula itself about 7 years earlier and is fought between a Franco-Italian army on one side and an Anglo-Hispano-Lusitanian-Germanic army on the other. This time I brought the camera, but failed to check the batteries (which were dead, of course) until I switched the damned thing on. GRRRRR! Dull, unexpandable camera phone pictures again I'm afraid, folks!

The object of the scenario was the same as in the historical battle; both sides were aiming to secure the river crossing to be able to protect or capture an objective just beyond the edge of the board. The initial roll of the dice to determine the side who got the first move was fairly important as that would determine who was defending and who was attacking. As luck had it, John R. and I scored highest and my vanguard hot-footed it to the village in front of the bridge to seize the bridge first.

John attempted to keep Tim's Spanish hordes away, while I had the job of stopping Steve from wresting control of the bridge away from me. Again, it was a tale of two battles with John going down to TIm's overwhelming numbers and me holding my own against Steve, who's still getting used to the conventions of our rules after a long break. If I'd been playing a more seasoned opponent, I might not have come away so lucky!

Map of our setup using nifty software courtesy of MappingBoard (see link in Wargames Resources  in the sidebar)

The table viewed from the Franco-Italian side.

My vanguard was cavalry heavy in the hope that any enemy infantry would be deterred by by a regt. of dragoons and hussars backed up by 2 batteries of galloper guns and one battalion of light infantry. Next time I'd go for another infantry battalion and one less cavalry unit, I think.

My vanguard
With manoeuver movement getting me to the village in the first move, I had to decide on where to position the artillery and cavalry while my infantry were a little way behind, blocked by the BUA. I faced both the cavalry and guns down the road, neglecting to put out a vedette to check behind the ridgeline, behind which Steve sent his Portuguese cacadores past the BUA, ready to swing around the back of my position.

After rectifying the non-deployment of the vedette, I sent the lone light battalion to skirmish with the advancing cacadores hoping to delay them until the rest of my division turned up.

Dragoons, guns and arrive in the BUA, while the hussars swing through the fields.

The all important bridge, and the gap between the river and BUA!

Unlimbered guns and dragoons focusing on the distant threat, not aware of the threat on the flank!

Light infantry unform into skirmish order.

The main body enters the board.

John, meanwhile, had taken up a position on a ridge (very British thing to do, John!) and awaited Tim's arrival. Tim had sent in a Spanish vanguard (or horde) and still had more troops to put on the board, including Portuguese and KGL. Poor John got some bad die rolls, which didn't help, and allowed Tim to set the pace after his initial couple of charges were rebuffed.

John takes up position behind the ridge

The Grand old Duke of York was British, though, wasn't he?!

On come the Spanish hordes!

First clash!

John and Tim recoil back to their starting points!

Eat iron, Manuel!

Tim's KGL Light Dragoons back up the Spanish light troops

John's dragoons charge an approaching column...

...and send them packing.
To no avail though, as Tim's numbers  and unlucky dice rolling sent John advancing to the rear!

Steve moved his infantry up behind the cover of the ridgeline while he kept two battalions in reserve on the road with the horse guns and cavalry, riskily at 90 degrees to me, although he was protected by the tall crops. I sent a couple of battalions of infantry over that way to support the hussars who were lurking in the agricultural land, and to possibly force a gap in the enemy line on his flank.

Finally aware of the threat to the bridge, the skirmishers advance and the dragoon column changes facing.

Steve's line covering the advance of his main force.

Light dragoons to the fore as he advances behind the ridge.

My 2 line battalions attempting to get on to the flank of Steve's line on the road.

My main force reaches the BUA

Dragoons shaping up for a charge through my skirmish screen at the  cacadore line, while the rest of Steve's infantry advance.

With the vedette amongst the skirmishers, the dragoons are informed of the threat and await the order.

While I was getting my dragoons into position to do some damage to Steve's infantry behind the ridge, he charged his light dragoons in line at my guns. Luckily his line was too wide to fit in the gap between the BUAs and after whacking a figure off the line the gunners fled to cover in the buildings. If I'd maybe taken another figure off, he could have fit in the gap and whacked my dragoons in the flank! Thanks goodness for crap die rolling, I say!

I launched my dragoons at the cacadore line, almost as much to get them out of harm's way as to inflict damage on Steve's troops. They did the expected job of carving up his line, but ended stranded amidst formed troops. Unsurprisingly, his Portuguese line turned their column around to fire on my flank to force a morale check, which the dragoons failed and were sent packing. They did the required job of slowing down Steve's advance until the rest of my infantry and artillery could arrive to stabilise the situation.

Over in the fields, my hussars lurked waiting to pounce, while 2 battalions of infantry came to support them. Tim had detached an equal number of British battalions to thwart my attempt. In the end, Steve moved his British line within my hussars' charge arc and I launched them in column against the British line, again smashing them.

Luckily Steve's Light Dragoons end their charge against the walls of the BUAs, where the gunners have decamped after firing at the oncoming line. The French dragoons attention is focused elsewhere!

In they go!

They opened a big gap between the nearest British column and the Portuguese line, but now face  a flank attack.

Meanwhile the foot battery has arrived to give the British cavalry some curry, while my new battalion of  Italians occupies the left hand BUA to add some flank fire.


The hussars in the fields adjust their angle to threaten Steve's line.

French infantry advance to take on the Portuguese and approaching British

The other Italian battalion makes its way through the BUA to where the action is.

Tim's British infantry advance through the tall crops to thwart my flanking move.

The Portuguese column fires on the dragoons' flank causing them to break. They've done their job, though!

My Italian column fights a draw with the nearest British column, but that's enough; the bridge is still in my hands!
By this stage it was all over with John routing from the field and Steve unable to bring enough weight to bear against my position. If it had been a longer game, the allies would have won, as I'd be hard pressed to maintain my position after John's defeat, but as it was we declared it a Franco-Italian victory as I held the objective at the end of the night.



  1. Another storming battle report and a win no less! Great bit of software, but sadly it doesn't seem Mac compatible.

  2. Good report! I didn't know this battle...

  3. Impressive, your Italians look the part on the field of honour!

    Cheers Sander

  4. Very interestingly written and well put together battle-report. I do like the vibes of the 1/72 Miniatures a lot.

    The amount of tempting scales is really doing me no good.

  5. Looking very good. Who made the Spanish light infantry?


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