The campaign has been continuing on a somewhat slower than intended pace due to various domestic issues. I think we’ve turned a bit of a corner now though as our house has sold and we’ve had an offer accepted on a new one which will hopefully mean that I end up with an 18 foot square games room all to myself sometime early next year. In the meantime, I’ve pulled my tables and Geo Hex out of storage again now the house doesn’t have to be a showhome and have set up a table to fight the latest battle that’s been thrown out of the campaign.
The battle is taking place at Benevente a few days after the battle of Leon. V Corps, after falling back to Mayorga have been reinforced by VI Corps and both French Corps have pushed into Benevente, where the Anglo Portuguese forces from Leon followed up the French.
The Anglo Portuguese will be deployed around the town of Benevente since they are the “defenders” (in the campaign, the turn sequence is randomised between the two sides and while movement for all units on one side is considered simultaneous it is not completely simultaneous across both sides). Some elements of VI Corps which initiated the fight will be deployed at the start of the game, while more troops will arrive during the day as reinforcements.
I’m just reviewing the forces to determine which ruleset to use, the choices being either Blucher or March Attack. I have just purchased Et Sans Resultat! but I doubt they will be here tomorrow morning besides which I sense they’re not a straight forward set of rules to learn solo.
The campaign threw up a battle between Anglo Portuguese forces and elements of the French V Corps. Rhys kindly offered to game out the action, so the report below is from his perspective. I provided a few background details and some basic standing orders and let him game it out as he saw fit within those parameters.
Actual ground layout was chosen randomly from a crossroads selection random layout.
This gave me two villages in the AO: San Andres and Onzonilla.
Wellingtons Reinforcements if they come would arrive from the North. Interestingly any French Reinforcements would arrive through Onzonilla.
Wellington’s Main Effort was to hold the crossroads, Mortiers was to delay the Anglo Armies advance for as long as possible. Neither side was willing to tolerate high casualties or risk their Cavalry to achieve this however. Both sides had a key intent of remaining in good order at close of battle, whatever the outcome.
Interestingly the AI decided to faint left through San Andres and the ridgeline to fix the French and have a main thrust straight down the road through the crossroads and try to roll the French up from the right. The French AI decided (unsurprisingly), to hold the ridgeline and concentrate fire power on the crossroads. Using a forward line to delay the advance along the E to W road.
There was some initial kuffufle with formations for the advance and the right wing of 4 Div set of down the road at pace.
The French sat patiently in the broken ground in front of their camp on the ridgeline watching the Allied advance.
At this point it started to awry for the allies the road became bogged down for any who went near it and 4 Div’s left wing had soon far outreached it. The Nominated Res failed to keep pace with the battle line in any way until late into the afternoon.
With the main allied thrust reaching its target in a broken line, they started to received heavy fire from the French. The 3rd cav Bde had secured their right flank (Onzanilla) however, and the left flank had started to regain its shape.
With the allied Main Effort faltering due to bad cohesion and heavy French fire on the right, the situation looked like it might be saved by the quick work of clearing San Andres by the left wing.
Just as the Main allied thrust seemed to be falling apart at the crossroads, Allied reinforcements start pouring onto the field and heading straight down the road. Just as the left wing also made its first attempt at the ridge.
In the very next hour, some of the French reinforcements start to arrive, quickly sending the allied cavalry fleeing from Ordenez, leaving the allied Centre right wide open as 4 Div started to fall back.
The allied original reserve finally arrives and manages to plug the gap at the crossroads, the reinforcements become bogged down on the road where 4 Div had originally and tied up in the retreating 4 Div Battalions. The left wing is managing to cause casualties amongst the French right, but cannot summit the ridge in force.
With the right wing looking shaky, and unknown numbers of French arriving Wellington hesitates, he keeps the left engaged for one last push, but shores up his centre of gravity on the crossroads. Mortier having now lasted most of the day, takes the opportunity to start pulling back all those not engaged,
With casualties starting to mount amongst the few heavily engaged units, the French speed up their withdrawal. Wellington has similar issues and feels content with holding the crossroads – and thus lets the French withdraw without a chase. Strategic victory for the allies; but a tactical draw, with both sides achieved their ME’s.