Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Another Hard-Fought Loss!

John R. reckons he can write my battle reports for me, the smart-ar$e! He reckons that they all start off like this: "What I should have done is...."

Unfortunately in this instance he's probably right! Last Friday night's game against our furthest flung member, Paul, featured 1500 points of my British against a similar number of his French on a single 6'x4' table-top.

I decided to concentrate my cavalry on the most seemingly open part of the table in the hope of forcing  a combined arms attack on to his flank and then rolling up his line with my strongest infantry, the 92nd Gordon Highanders and the 71st Glasgow Highland Light Infantry. Like all plans, though, this one didn't survive contact with the enemy, because he obviously hadn't been told he was supposed to stand there like Muggins and get what was coming! In my first move I had the perfect opportunity to start off with cavalry charge into his advancing infantry, which would have really scuppered his plans for that flank and given me a number of possibilities to exploit, but I elected to use the cavalry more as a threat rather than an offensive force, and the opportunity was lost (and with it, probably the game).

On the other flank, where I'd positioned my Portuguese brigade as a holding force behind the woods I'd supposed he'd have to traverse, Paul started massing infantry and sending his Hussars around the woods. It's safe to say I didn't see that coming! Because I had massed my cavalry on the other flank, I was playing catch-up from then on. Paul had set the pace and I was left reacting to his moves rather than getting him to react to mine.

He had me over a barrel after that and even though I got my light dragoons over to that flank, there wasn't enough room to deploy them properly and it was only a matter of time before he rolled me up on that flank. I had a couple of successes in seeing off a charge in the woods and decimating another attack with the awesome firepower of a line of highlanders! Also, another charge off the ridge by the 50th Foot had a successful outcome, but Paul had the uncanny knack of passing most of the resulting morale tests brought about by these minor wins...dammit!!

Looking from my left flank; cavalry concentrated in the foreground  with horse guns, rockets and infantry in support

Infantry looking from the right flank. The Portuguese in the foreground with a second British brigade in reserve.

Paul won the initiative and moved first. This is his central brigade.

My British reserve brigade fans out in reaction to Paul's flanking manoeuvre...

...while the Portuguese move into the BUA and the woods.

The Portuguese battalion in the BUA were supposed to act as a flank threat to any French unit passing either side to attack the other battalions in line. Clever, eh? 

On the left flank, the infantry shake out into line behind the crest of the hill (what did you expect? They're British!)

My opportunity lost; instead of charging the infantry in front, I chose to put my cavalry in line behind the guns to threaten his advance!

Paul quickly backed off and formed closed column in response.

Chasseurs peep around the woods keeping the attention of the heavy dragoons.

Paul's weight of manoeuvre falls on my right flank...

...overflowing around the woods in the form of hussars! The right hand battalion failed to form square, but luckily the middle one did.

The general attaches himself to the near battalion as it seemed the one in most danger.

The light dragoons up sticks to head off to the rescue...

...leaving the horse guns and rockets to keep the French infantry in line.

Meanwhile, the British infantry are deployed in line to keep the French in line, too!

Paul's French enter the woods to come to grips with the British & Portuguese infantry

"Come on, we dare you!"

He also had 2 battalions of light infantry to back up the hussars, with the square in their sights. 

En avant!

The threatened column forms into a closed column...

...while the light dragoons come up in support.

Paul's troops enter the woods to be met by the fire of the riflemen.

Things seemed to stabilise, though the French light troops on the cacadores' flank were still a concern

French light infantry mass...

...while the hussars waited to exploit any mistake on my part.

On the other flank, my infantry occupied the front of the slope in preparation for French aggression.

The closed column moved in reverse to clear the way for the light dragoons, while the infantry in line tried to hold the French at bay.

Paul rashly tried a charge on my cacadores through in the woods, met by  their fire. Multiple disorders casude by my skirmishers and movement in the woods caused the charge to fail spectacularly!

Paul's lone battalion looks around "Where'd they go?" The Portuguese move out of the BUA to threaten the remaining French unit.

Paul's hussars charge the British line behind the cacadores, who managed to form square in time. The light dragoons counter-charged, ending in an inconclusive stand-off. Note Paul's unique blown cavalry marker!

The square was then charged by the 2 light infantry battalions and broken.  The charge carried on into the closed column behind it...

...resulting in the capture of my general! 

After surviving the morale test caused by the general's capture, the Portuguese fired on the flank of the remaining battalion, causing them to break...

...but with the French light infantry in my rear things were looking dicey.

In the centre the artillery were whittling Paul's line.

On the right flank, he began massing against my highlanders...

...while preparing to tackle more cavalry with artillery backed by infantry and cavalry.

The light infantry advanced on the light dragoons who were too close to charge. With their flank open, the cavalry were in a sticky situation!

The satisfying sight of fleeing Frenchmen!

To foil Paul's attack on my highlanders, I advanced and engaged his columns in a firefight...

...causing 4 casualties to my 2 and stopping him in his tracks.

To the highlanders' right, the 50th Foot charged over the hedges

In the pre-melee I rolled as best I could...

...while Paul...didn't!

Still, it only resulted in a minor victory with the French still in good order, although repulsed.

Paul's chasseurs shake out into line in preparation for a charge

The guns and rockets knock the square out of the way and the cavalry set to each other...

The 9lber foot battery pivots to pour in flank fire on the disordered French columns, but Pauls pulled out all stops to stay where he was. Bally lucky, I say!

He wasn't lucky enough to survive a second firefight with my highlanders, though! He fled after taking casualties and failing his morale test. Then again, so did the highlanders!

On the other flank, the inevitable:
His light infantry demolition machine flank the cavalry, fire and send them fleeing. 

Paul forms column from line and backs off in the centre. With the light infantry in my rear and his previously routing units, reformed on my right, it was fairly certain that I was in a pickle, despite my success on the left.
Time to gallantly declare the game over with Paul the victor!


  1. This one had everything; tricky manoeuvres, captured general, rockets! and even you rolling a six! Amazing.

  2. I do enjoy my regular Napoleonic fix courtesy of your good self and this was a cracker - I feel we may be get closer to the illusive win!.

  3. Well done Paul an excellent win!!!

  4. Oooh, losing a General to a capture. I hope the French were kind to you and offered good spirits for a hard day.

    I feel your pain, even though our games of choice are separated by 1,800 or so years. I lose more than I win and that's ok. At least our troops look sharp as they involuntarily exit the battlefield, right? Maybe next time!

  5. I love your rocket-men!

  6. Flog your scouts and fire your cavalry commanders! Your Cav should go where you need them not where you want them! It's not the general's fault, the lackeys are just unable meet expectaions! ;)

  7. Great narrative. Those giant Imperial Guardsmen would frighten the bejeebers out of me!

  8. Great pictures of a great game!


  9. Thanks for your comments fellas.

    I can almost taste a victory coming, it's so close!


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