Having had a cracking game with Goat Major and Matt on Saturday and having the house to myself for the next few weeks during the day, I decided to leave the tables up and play a Napoleonic game solo, spacing the turns out while working on the Campaign System and housework etc. Here’s where I’m up to as of lunchtime today. Probably about 2.5-3hrs play so far which isn’t bad as I’m rolling all Strength Points when needed, not using a predetermined sheet which speeds things up.
I plonked down a few bits of terrain, and then some road and realised that this valley could easily hold a settlement/village/town (whatever you want to call it!) with a key set of road junctions. So, Wellington has opted to try to stop a French advance here, while two Corps under Reynier and Victor hope to unseat him. The aim of the game is for the French to take and hold the town or otherwise force Wellington to retire, his objective is to stop the French getting the town.
Rules are Principles of War, using 6mm Baccus & Adler figures based on 25mm base sizes (60mm x 30mm), but using the bog standard 15mm measurements. (Seems to work to me)
As ever, click on the pictures to make them bigger!
You can see that Wellington has his forces on the right hand side of the table, with Beresford’s Portuguese Division in reserve, while Picton and Hill are respectively furthest away from the camera at the foot of the ridge ready to move against the town. Spencer and the Cavalry hold the left flank and start on Hold orders.
The French are arraigned across the two roads they’ve marched down, Reynier’s II Corps nearest, with Victor’s I Corps furthest away.
The French won the initiative roll and got to move first each turn. Reyniers Artillery moves up under his direct control, while his heavy Cavalry move onto the middle hill. His infantry shake out into Line to advance on the enemy. Victor doesn’t hang around getting his infantry into columns and with his light Cavalry on his left flank advances straight at the town unlimbering his artillery at extreme range also.
In response, Hill gets a brigade into the town, the rest of his division forming line behind while Picton advances into the orchards covering the slopes of the middle hill.
Reyniers Corps continue to move forward, his artillery firing at the British of Spencer’s Division but pretty ineffectively as they’re firing at long range and can only cause morale tests.
The cavalry come to a halt at the end of their command arrow atop the hill.
Mind you, firing at long range does have its uses, as one of Victor’s column’s fails its morale test falling back shaken. The rest of his infantry move up to start threatening the town.
The British continue to hold their positions waiting to see how the attack develops.
Victor continues his advance with several columns against the village although they’re now in range of Picton and Hill’s artillery as well as skirmishers in the buildings.
In response, Hill orders his troops to move to support the brigade in the town, while Picton mindful of his exposed flank pulls back his right hand brigade and refuses that flank, while moving his other brigades further into the orchards towards the heavy cavalry which have deployed into line on the hill above him.
Victor’s Columns move into the town and around the right flank, closing on the British but unable to charge as they’re either too far away or on the wrong orders. One of his Divisions is badly split up by poor command rolls successively leaving half it’s Regiments behind. His cavalry continue to advance steadily around the left flank though, and are now threatening the entire British right flank which has moved forward from the safety of the orchard to aid the struggle for the town.
The fire from the British is telling, inflicting casualties on all 3 columns, but the one outside the town fails its morale and goes shaken. The opportunity is too good to miss and the British line charge.
Elsewhere it’s much the same, Reynier edges closer and the British are pretty static.
The French turn begins with the shaken column failing to stand the charge from the British and routing off the table. Again French firing is fairly innocuous, causing limited casualties and a few shaken markers which will be easily rallied off. The remaining column that has attack orders is thrown into charge against the line in the town, while the other division of Victors Corps manouvres around the right flank of the town to bring as many muskets to bear as possible.
Better command rolls finally let the rest of his units move up and Victor changes the orders of this division to Attack (which will take effect next turn) and the Cavalry complete their command arrow at the edge of the orchards, unlimbering their horse artillery to be able to fire at close range against the flank of W. Stewarts brigade.
Reynier changes the orders of the heavy cavalry on the hill to attack Picton in the orchard.
The British line stands and fires to recieve the column charging in, while other British firing forces one column in the town to retire through the support behind it shaking both units, and another volley shakes a French line outside.
The town removes all the benefits of the dense formation though, and the melee is a draw, except that the french fail their morale while the British do not. It will continue into the next turn.
Hill orders his W. Stewarts brigade to charge the shaken French line to their front, knowing that they will be enfiladed by grape from the Horse Artillery whether they charge or stand anyway.
Picton’s brigade in the orchard fire skirmishers at the heavy cavalry ahead of them and inflict casualties and they fail their morale going shaken.
Wellington joins in on the order change merry go round and orders his cavalry to engage Reynier’s first division to their front in an attempt to buy some time on the right flank.
The situation at the end of the Turn.
The French line unit charged by W. Stewart’s line stands shaken to recieve the charge with its firing stopping the charge dead, and other french firing forcing another British brigade to retire shaken.
The melee in the town continues, the French “winning” the round but the British stay although shaken.
Reynier and Victor both move units up, rallying off shaken markers and the Heavy Cavalry on the hill charge into Mackinnon’s Brigade in the orchard who fail to form square, and fail to cause any casualties at all firing. Other British firing does cause casualties on Merle’s leading regiments but they barely falter in their step.
The Cavalry melee is over in a flash, the British losing men and streaming back behind some Portuguese thereby shaking them into which the cavalry pursue causing Picton to evade a full move away but the plucky Portuguese beat the Cuirassiers and another prolonged melee sets in.
The melee in the town continues with casualties on both sides but neither giving ground.
On the British left, the heavy Cavalry charges a unit of Merle’s division in line while Picton and Wellington rally Picton’s Division, and Hill steadies his line unlimbering his artillery to cover his right flank. Wellington personally orders Inglis’ brigade forward to reinforce the melee in the town.
The infantry charged by the British cavalry form square, and further firing inflict heavy casualties on W. Stewart’s brigade but they hold. The melee in the orchard is a complete draw, neither side able to do any damage while in the town the French are beaten but roll a 1 on their morale and hang on in there albeit shaken.
Merle pushes his line and columns towards the waiting Line of Spencer’s division on the hill.
Victor following the British lead throws more men into meatgrinder in the town sending another column in to reinforce, while his line attacks W. Stewart’s brigade who are down to about 1/3rd strength.
This Brigade is far from ready to retreat however, they stand to recieve the charge and their volley breaks the French who retire shaken. Another 20 is rolled when Picton’s artillery fire on a French battery who are trying to relocate. A third 20 in a row sees a brigade of Cuirassiers rout from the battle from skirmish fire! Heavy casualties in Merle’s leading regiment as the Portuguese volley fire and cannister hits home.
The British cavalry unable to charge a steady square charge instead two regiments in line to their right, and Picton throws Mackinnon’s brigade back in to reinforce the Portuguese fighting the Cuirassiers. Hill commits his reserve brigade to the melee in the town.
Wellington still can’t decide whether to commit Beresford to reinforce the right or the left so does neither.
So far, the French have lost 39 SP’s (not including those lost when units routed), while the British have lost 16 SP’s, but the French I feel are gaining the upper hand in the town and must surely soon break Hill’s Division.