On last Monday afternoon I paid a visit to Mike’s for a Napoleonic game of General de Brigade using his fabulous collection of 25mm Minifigs. It was due to be the first of two games in a day as we were both off down the club after we had finished, however, Philip had to unfortunately cancel the later game due to work commitments (although we did get a couple of games of Wings of War in at the club which was fun as always).
The scenario was set in the Peninsula with my Franco-Italian-Neapolitan force trying to force the passage of a couple of valleys being held by Mike’s Anglo-Portuguese-Spanish force so lots of nice variety in our respective armies with a nice mix of quality.
I had 4 small infantry Brigades:
- 1 French of 2 Legere battalions, plus skirmishers (Line)
- 1 Italian of 3 Line battalions (Line)
- 1 Neapolitan of 2 Line and 1 Light battalions (2nd Line and Conscript)
- 1 Italian Guard of 1 Grenadier, 1 Velite and 1 Turin Guard battalions (Veteran)
- I also had a French Foot battery
and a Cavalry Brigade of:
- French Chasseur a Cheval Regt
- Italian Gardes d’Honneur Regt
- French Horse battery
Not a very historical army but Mike said he wanted to get some nice troops on the table as he knew they’d end up having their pictures taken for this!
Mikes mob consisted of 2 Infantry and 1 Cavalry Brigades :
- 1 British of 2 Line and 1 (large) Highland battalions with Rifles detachment
- 1 Portuguese of 2 Line Battalions and a Cacadore detachment
- Cavalry was 1 British Hussar and 1 Portuguese Dragoons
- Artillery support was a Mountain battery and a Rocket troop!
- Also present was a Spanish battalion as a garrison for the village.
So I definitely had an advantage in numbers and guns but the terrain was a bugger so I he had a bonus there plus he did have a qualitative advantage as well. Mike was curious about the AdC rules we had used during the big Dresden game the other week and although they are really designed for larger scale actions we decided to give them a whirl and so dispensed with the normal order activation rules – actually was a nice bit of fun and worked ok.
My plan was nice and simple, I would move the Neapolitan brigade up the extreme right of the table to take a wooded hill that contained the Rifles – I figured a nice easy task with overwhelming odds in their favour was the best thing to do with them. In the centre I wanted to pin the redcoats with my Cavalry and Legere whilst the Italian Brigade and the foot battery moved up the left of the table to clear the Portuguese out of the way and so outflank the British. The Guard was kept off table as a reserve.
I won the initiative and we all stepped off in smart fashion to get to grips with the enemy expecting them to sit and wait for us to come to them. Mike had decided that the Portuguese had to live up to their reputation as the ‘fighting cocks of the army’ and promptly changed their orders from ‘Hold’ to ‘Engage’ and they advanced to meet the Italians. This did throw my attack off somewhat as I was planning to use the space to deploy my guns to soften him up, I internally doffed my hat as it was a great bit of tactics.
In the middle the Legere screened the Cacadores with their own skirmishers and tried to force them off the hill whilst moving up to trade shots with the redcoats. The horse artillery began a long range bombardment of the Jocks to try and start whittling them down and the ‘Cosmopolitans’ (as Mike would have it!) did well in beginning to push back the rifles through the wood.
The first blood went to Mike on the 2nd or 3rd move when his Rocket troop finally managed to not miss anything at all and got a devastating hit on the lovely Garde d’Honneur taking out half of them (apparently Mike had just painted them so the ‘curse of the recent paint brush’ had well and truly struck!) although they did pass their morale check. True to form however a few moves later, after completely failing to even hit the ground, the rockets managed to blow themselves up!
Over on the left the Italians scored a success. After a quick firefight that caused one of the Portuguese battalions to falter an Italian charge caused a melee that in fairness should have been a close run thing however after the following die roll, there was only one outcome – the chaps in blue took to their heels and legged it!
The remainder of the Brigade managed to hold on however and there then followed a strange period whereby the Italian Brigade just couldn’t activate themselves and just sat there trading musket shots with the remaining battalion to no great effect.
In the centre the French legere advanced on the Brits ensconced in the hedged field and the mountain battery on the hill next door. Suffering from a degree of overconfidence due to the complete ineptitude of the British commander in this part of the field (he had only managed to roll once all game to activate his troops) the left hand battalion advanced in line to trade shots bravely ignoring the Hussar squadron lurking to their flank. Obviously this was when Col. Dalrymple-Smyth-Tarquinson finally managed to get his aristo head out of his snuff box and duly ordered the Hussars to charge – result, one routing Legere battalion.
Meanwhile the Neapolitans had managed to take the wood over on the right and had flanked the Highlanders whilst doing so, swinging one battalion into line forcing the Scots to refuse their flank to face the new threat. This seemed like an opportune time to launch my cavalry at the ‘thin red streak tipped with steel’ and away they went, just like their descendants would do in the Crimea years later they held (just) and the Cavalry bounced back!
The Italian Guard brigade had also entered the fray and was pushing the Cacadores off their hill whilst moving up onto the enclosure, taking over from the Legere in this sector allowing them to re-organise after losing the battalion from the hussar charge (they dispersed!). The Italians had also finally got their act together on the left and had started to advance again, finally getting their guns into position and managing to beat off a spirited cavalry charge from the Portuguese Dragoons. It was about this time when we had to call the game due to the need to get off down the club deciding that the Anglo-Portuguese would have had to withdraw, but with honour as they had delayed the French enough and caused some degree of damage to them.
All in all a nice afternoons wargaming, using the AdC’s added a bit of fun too although we did feel that maybe they might be best suited to large scale games. I’ll be back round to Mike’s later this week for a first game of Chain of Command.
Obligatory extra shots of the game……..