Monday, October 25, 2010

Bourg en Bresse 1814

Or "lets keep those cheese eating surrender Monkeys on the run, shall we?" As a preamble to the Big Barrosa game, myself and my main Napoleonics co-conspirator, Neil, had a practice game of the Black Powder rules.

The Scenario was lifted from the Sikh War and transposed to last days of the War with France. A French Division is aiming to cross the battlefield without being delayed by a smaller Allied force.

This related to the Skirmishing before Aliwal, where Sikh artillery and Cavalry seriously harassed the advancing British; here the roles were somewhat reversed!

Neil, understanding he had 2 hours - 8 turns - to get half his force from one side of the battlefield and off the other, sent one brigade ahead in columns of march; whilst the rest of the division deployed to cover them.

The Allied deployment was between two farms and on a ridge line, the intention was to use the superior British troops to block the escaping French, whilst the weaker militia would harass the French rear.

The Spanish cavalry quickly managed to get around the rear of a bumbling French cavalry Brigade, catching the French horse artillery and scattering it...

But equally quickly were destroyed when the French cavalry reorganised themselves. On the back of this success the French threw a Battalion against the Spanish on the hill, but the combination of steady musketry and well aimed artillery smashed their attack. Not for the first time Neil realised you don't march a single unit in the face of artillery.

And so a French Battalion was destroyed, but the main brigade was making progress to wards the opposite side of the battlefield. The British advanced one unit past a farm to intercept the French, but were instead assaulted by French cavalry. Only the swift, and assured formation of a square saved them.

In fact it cost the French one regiment of cavalry, raked with fire from the British, and Spanish artillery. Another French infantry battalion was swept away in short order too, and to all intents and purposes the screening force was destroyed.

However the main brigade managed to escape the British clutches. Neil needed to get one more unit off the table in time to claim any sort of victory, but time was against him, and on the eighth turn he found the remnants of his broken division being pursued by the British line .

A good little practice. Some points of note on the unit sizes. We used foot battalions of 16 figures - on 40mm square bases of four, cavalry regiments of 6 models and artillery batteries of two guns. Combined with half measurements this produced a reasonable game on a 6x4 foot table; and will be the unit size I use in the future (except maybe using 8 cavalry for a regiment instead...).

The sad news of the night was discovering that Neil may be moving south for a new job, meaning I will need to encourage new opponents for BP; to that end I guess I will need to work on my French army more actively now, rather than as a sideline to my British.

Aww, shucks.

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