I had received a request for a Napoleonic game. Steve had only played Napoleonics once before so I decided on an engagement battle with the British having the added task of trying to secure an point of entry. As was normal in the Peninsula, the British were outnumbered in cavalry but had their new secret weapon, Congreve Rockets! and hopefully the promised assistance of the local Spanish Commander, who assured the British he would be there as soon as he could.
The terrain was laid out. The British were to come on from the main south road (A) with a small advance force having held the hill line. The French were able to come on along the whole length of their edge. Both flanks had been secured with cavalry although poor leader abilities may mean that the cavalry may not be as active as the French commander (Steve) may like.
Our own set ” King George Commands And We Obey” KGCAWO.
the game was 10×6
How it went
The French came on to the table in a confident manner securing both flanks. Their brigade of infantry that started on the far right flank began to advance upon an increasingly isolated British light dragoons, who patiently awaited the arrival of the Portuguese brigade.
The Portuguese decided to support the Light dragoons by taking up residence in the village of Blanco Aqua which spanned the river.
The French columns of Grenadiers, eager to get to grips with the British started to advance upon the brigade holding the hill line. In fact they were so keen to engage they started to pull away from the rest of the French army. They had out-marched in particular the brigade next to them, who were in mixed order. The British gunners on the hill spotted them and switched to them as a target (No skirmish screen to protect). Worst still, although not sure for who they had drawn the attention of the rocket troop! With a mighty whoosh the rockets screamed into the air. Nathan’s dice throwing allowed the rocket to head on a straight path towards the target, at least for a while. Then, all of a sudden the rocket started to turn, back upon itself heading towards the foot gunners on the hill. Luckily for them the last die Nathan threw was a 1 and so the rocket came down just short of the crew, forcing them and another two British units the rocket had flown over to test. Luckily all survived unharmed but it did mean that once the laughing had finished the French commanded commented that it may be a lethal weapon on shaky troops, if only it would fly correctly.
The French right wing cavalry engaged and destroyed the light dragoons but were driven off from getting closer to the village by some accurate fire from the Portuguese inside the village. It was at this time things were starting to get tense in the centre. The French had been steadily advancing upon the British with minimal casualties. The deployed light regiments in front of the attack columns really paid off. This was not true from the French Grenadiers who had suffered terribly. Luckily for hem the French left wing cavalry had managed to advance in support and this in turn had force the British heavy dragoons to retire and forced the end British line unit into square.
The next turn a fate/ fortune card revealed a previously unknown ford in the river. Whoever’s action card was drawn next decided where they thought the ford was and on a 4-6 it was there. The next card out was French Light Cavalry Division, they identified the river area between the town and the hill and threw a 6. This allowed them to advance through the river and threaten the British centre!
The French centre were in melee with their columns against Picton’s brigade. Only stout defending managing to save the day. With the light cavalry ready to pick off the remaining British, accurate and timely fire from artillery and the Portuguese in the town convinced the cavalry they may have advanced too far.
The Game was declared a British minor victory. What happened to the Spanish Commander. well he could arrive on any turn after the 8th turn. This came and went, as did the 9th, 10th and 11th. He never managed to get a way from his mistress in time to get to the battle!