Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Battle of El Poblo - November 1810

I finally got to the camera and the computer is at last up and running properly; and it is almost with a sense of guilt that I'll start to post a few more photos on the blog, after all if we don't want to be damnably divisive with our opinions in our blog, we had better have some useful content or pretty pictures to keep the people coming!

So the game of Napoleonics I had some two months ago was unusual in that it featured only my own collection of models.  After around five years of collecting this turned out to be a fair old number and with a couple of creative allegiances it made for two fairly balanced armies.

Two brigades of British infantry and a Brigade of Portuguese, with limited cavalry support faced a French infantry brigade, another of allied nations (including Madrid raised Spaniards, Irish mercenaries and Westphalians) and a pair of French cavalry brigades - one light and one heavy.  The objectives were spread across the battlefield but with the most valuable being the town of El Poblo that controlled the road into Portugal.

Each side had map deployment before hitting the table, with optional stratagems to play; which both took up.  The British (myself and Paul) placed the British on the open plain whilst the Portuguese occupied the town.  We detached two companies of the 60th Rifles to the hill in front of the French.  The French (James) for their part deployed two dense brigades to the plain and put heavy cavalry on their flank; light troops of the Irish legion were tasked with holding the woods on his left.  A light cavalry brigade was held in reserve as a flanking force, but it had to commit to a flank at the time of map deployment.

The French came on in the usual fashion, they had expected to deploy artillery to the hill but soon discovered the tenacious defence of the riflemen which would scupper their plans for the duration.

This did not stop a heated exchange developing in the centre, and the British lines were soon under pressure.  Though not as much as the Portuguese, who found a single line battalion in the town churchyard fending off an onslaught from an entire French brigade.

But fend it off they did.  By this point the French reserve cavalry had appeared on the flank of El Poblo (in what both sides agreed was the wrong flank, but that is the benefit of map deployment/orders - less 20-20 hindsight vision).  The remaining Portuguese formed their defences and braced for a mass cavalry charge to follow up the infantry assaults.

But by this stage the French infantry brigades were more or less spent forces, and although also badly bruised the British stood on the edge of a triumph in the field.

The game ended with three of the four French brigades broken to only one of the British.  As in the past the Black Powder rules provided us with an easy to administer and close game.

And one enjoyable enough to make me start painting Napoleonics troops again.  But more of that another day...


  1. Nice looking game, splendid pictures...

  2. Could not believe when the Portugese managed to shrug off that initial charge of French infantry.

    I had underestimated how much of a benefit the Portugese would get for occupying the building, but even so they managed to make an statistically improbable number of morale saves.

    It was great fun though and was good to get back on the Napoleonic horse.