|The French in possession of the ridge? What is going on?|
Another game at the club, and this time I gave the French a go in another battle in the Iberian Peninsula. Amazingly, it was the debut of my Italian infantry which I painted late last year! I was able to take Bill up on his challenge from last game, which was postponed when I had to switch to partner him on the Allied side against the Westphalians. This time I faced his Anglo-Portuguese forces alongside Darren's bicorne era French. Bill was partnered by Quinny and his Anglo-Portuguese in a welcome return to his comfort zone!
In a topsy-turvy battle, the French ended up in control of the ridge, and Quinny even broke the cardinal rule of playing British infantry and charge a battalion while still in column! My battle was mainly against Bill and his Anglo-Portuguese division, which seemed to be based on Picton's 3rd Division, as it had some heavy hitters in it like the 88th Connaught Rangers, which in our rules are a named unit (meaning they are better than a run-of-the-mill line infantry battalion). Darren's pre-1808 uniformed infantry took on Quinny's Anglo-Portuguese forces in a tussle for control of the central ridge, with Quinny complaining about the multiple levels of the hill (more evidence of the upside-down nature of the game; who ever heard of a British commander complaining about the topography? (-: ).
|My French command|
|Italian infantry (including the 3 battalions getting their baptism of fire!)|
|Darren sets up on my right, facing Quinny's Anglo-Portuguese.|
|Quinny's KGL Hussars.|
The Anglo-Portuguese won the initiative and got to move off first. Bill had the worst of it as farmland lay in the way of his objectives; the occupation of the built up areas separating the two opposing sides. He fell short of two of the BUAs in his turn and I cheekily snuck one of my battalions into the BUA on my left under his nose! My horse gun battery set up on the hill to add support, while my Vistula Lancers lurked behind the hill in support of the battery. That battery proved crucial in securing that flank as, for once, nearly every shot found its mark.
|Bill's Portuguese just falls short of the nearest BUA (maybe if they were standing up they would have moved quicker!)|
|My chaps snatch the closest BUA from under the Portugueses' noses!|
|The lancers throw out a vedette while the infantry march ahead in closed column, supporting the horse gun battery which has just unlimbered.|
I planned on holding the left flank and try to suck Bill into disputing the village, but like all plans it didn't really survive contact with the enemy! I had a good combined arms threat in the centre with a small hussar regiment tucked in among the infantry. The allies didn't have any cavalry to counter the threat in this quarter, so their infantry was stuck in an anti-cavalry defensive posture. This allowed me to move my infantry and foot battery up to "soften up" the closest BUA before putting in a charge with my strongest infantry battalions. I judged that my charge approach would take me outside the 3" close range of the next BUA, but my judgement was faulty; It was well inside the 3" range and the flank fire from grenadier rated infantry stopped my charge in its tracks. The following morale test resulted in both battalions breaking. Curse you, imperial measurement!
|The foot gun battery blasts away at the approaching British infantry column...|
|...while my French cavalry make them think twice about advancing any further!|
|One British regiment secures the BUA, while the other squares up in the face of the cavalry.|
|Darren's troops conform to the line of my leading troops, while Quinny's troops advance further down the ridge.|
|An aerial view of Bill's troops on the left of the table. Note the cavalry in the top right coming to the rescue of the troops in the centre.|
|After an earlier stoush with Bill's cavalry, my Polish lancers get hammered by the British artillery. Time to reverse to the shelter of the woods!|
|Applying pressure to the nearest BUA. The artillery softens up the target...|
|...before the charge goes in! |
Flank fire from the adjacent BUA proves costly, though.
|Failed morale check and the troops bolt!|
|Time to re-establish the line before the British can exploit the failure.|
|Old Nosey himself!|
|The scales turn with the appearance of British cavalry in the centre.|
Out on the left flank, Bill charged a single battalion in column which I met with two of my own, much larger, columns. With the success of my counter-attack, the two columns were in danger of being outflanked by the rest of Bill's troops. In a move that could have been fatal for my battle, I moved the battalion from the only BUA the French occupied out into the open in line to support the right flank of the successful columns. I quickly found out how good Bill's British infantry was when he moved one up in line and engaged the line in a firefight. The overwhelming firepower forced the line back and exposed the flank of the columns even worse by allowing the enemy to occupy the vacant BUA! D'oh!
|Bill learns the hard way not to charge a single, narrow fronted Anglo-Portuguese battalion against multiple, much wider French battalions!|
|Abandoning the BUA in the face of superior firepower; not a good idea in hindsight!|
In a further blow to my chances of victory, Bill moved some of his cavalry from the flank to the centre in order to neutralise the cavalry threat which had pinned his infantry in place. The ensuing cavalry clash ended with my hussars fleeing the field, and the infantry already in retreat from their failed assault getting caught in the rear by the British cavalry's breakthrough move. Quel désastre!
|Charge and counter-charge meet in the middle with unfortunate results for the French!|
|Not to worry! A dose of musketry in the flank will put things right.|
I managed to restabilise the centre after dispatching the British cavalry with a blast of musketry, but now the left flank seemed to be under pressure. Bill's artillery was threatening to whittle away my lancers, opening my infantry to an onslaught. I pivoted the cavalry line to the shelter of the heavy woods, but Bill sent a column of infantry through the woods in order to outflank them. They made heavy weather through the woods and by the time they emerged on the other side, were ripe for attack!
|Quinny looking unimpressed, while my gunners continue to pepper the near BUA.|
|The general attempts to rally one of the battalions which failed to charge home and then got collected in the British cavalry charge. They were beyond control, however, and continued bolting to the rear, to play no more part in the battle.|
|A lone Italian battalion out ahead of the rest as the British establish a line of their own.|
|After bringing the Italians back, my line solidifies on the ridge in preparation for the next move.|
|On the left flank, however, things look set to unravel. The horse gun battery, however, was giving sterling service, inflicting casualties with every shot!|
Note Bill's infantry struggling through the woods at the top of the picture.
|By the time they emerge, covered in scratches and leaves from the heavy woods, the Polish lancers are ready for them!|
|The British infantry turn and run, but the woods block any chance of taking the breakthrough, and leave the cavalry at the tender mercies of the artillery!|
Darren was making steady progress on the right flank and managed to get in the flank of one of Quinny's lines. The broken terrain on the summit of the ridge was breaking up Quinny's lines and allowing Darren to exploit the flanks of units which advanced too far over the ridge.
|Darren moves up on the ridge, following up a previous successful attack. The British line at the top of the picture is in trouble as Darren has a column in its flank.|
|Under the cover of a battalion in line...|
|...the other battalions surge into the flank and rear of the threatened British line!|
|The view of the battlefield from the left flank, as Darren moves his troops and Quinny looks on.|
I tried another attack on the nearest BUA, but Bill had exchanged the battered Portuguese battalion holding it, with a fresh British battalion. This time, I tried screening the attackers from the firepower of the adjacent BUA, to no avail. Even with the magic 3:1 ratio, my dice weren't up to the challenge and the attack faltered again.
|The second charge on the BUA is again repulsed. This time I moved a column up to cover the charge from flank fire from the adjacent building. It got mauled and was lucky to survive the resulting morale test!|
Meanwhile, Quinny broke the cardinal rule of playing British and charged two of his battalions in column, While my two columns counter-charged to meet his charge, they couldn't match the ferocity of the British attack and ran! The infantry in the the second row formed line to face the British columns (more evidence of a world turned upside down!). After getting rid of a line protecting the British flank, Darren unleashed a volley on the flank of the nearest column, sending it running.
|Sacrilege! Quinny charges two battalion in column, to be met by two of my own. Maybe I should have stood and fired? Anyway, the British were successful (or lucky?).|
|They ended up in between a rock and a hard place, though!|
|Darren's troops continue causing havoc in the flank of Quinny's line. This time it's the Portuguese's turn...|
|...and now the British.|
|One of the two columns which successfully charged mine is met with flank fire from Darren's line in the broken ground.|
|It fails the resulting morale check and runs!|
With no knock-out blow landed by either side and time running out, the game was declared a draw. (However, if control of the ridge was the objective, then I reckon we could say that the French won!)