Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Peninsular War, 1810 ish. Border Clash

Last Sunday afternoon at NBHW I ran a game of Black Powder Napoleonic using a scenario that I had created and evolved since it's first outing in 2015.

The Scenario is fictitious and loosely based on some of the actions fought along the Portuguese Spanish border around 1810 and 1811.
The British,  Major General Phillips, had a division watching a portion of the Portuguese/Spanish border. One picquet watching a bridge in the small town of Povoado de Nova Bucken, that is the only known crossing point of the River Tas for miles, observed a French Division approaching from the direction of Fuente de Oñoro. After feeding this information back to Viscount Wellington the British commander was ordered to concentrate his division at the Villa de Bucken and prevent the French from seizing this vital river crossing.
The French, Général de Division Porte Sud, had a division probing allied defences along the border prior to a planned invasion of Portugal. They were tasked with advancing on Povoado de Nova Bucken and capturing the bridge and if possible driving the British picquet out of the Villa de Bucken. If successful they were to report to the Marshall so that he may utilise the crossing to continue the advance on Almeida.

Map provided as part of briefing sheets.

For the purpose of this game buildings could not be occupied they just blocked line of sight.
Walls provided light cover and the river could only be crossed at the bridge as far as the players knew.

Set up and French 1st move.

The British have a unit of Light Dragoons at the Villa and a small unit of riflemen in the courtyard of a building in the town. The French 1st brigade arrived on the road to the east their cavalry brigade on the road to the south.

Start of French 3rd move

The British 1st Brigade arrived and advanced on the town, slowly, the French 1st brigade likewise after deploying it's artillery. The Cavalry brigade moved up from the south and the horse artillery started firing on the rifles. The French 2nd brigade arrived from the north. But who's that local talking to the French brigade commander outside the town and what information does he have.

British advance.

French Advance.

French Dragoons dismount and join
the fire fight with the rifles.
Both sides advanced their first brigades and a musketry duel started for control of the town, unfortunately for the French the dice gods were not on their side especially when it came to break tests.
The British 2nd Brigade arrived and took up positions to the north watching as the French 2nd Brigade continued on the road heading south, where were they going?

Battle for the bridge heats up.

The British decided the French knew something they didn't and started to move their 2nd brigade southwards too, admittedly slowly as their command dice went very poorly at this point.

Both 2nd brigades heading south

All became clear, the French were heading for a previously unmapped ford, but time was not to be on their side. The Dragoons having been on the end of a devastating artillery bombardment whilst remounting, broke and fled along with their attached horse guns, victims themselves of some accurate and sustained rifle fire. The 1st brigade attempted a last ditch assault on the bridge which was met with withering musket fire from the massed readcoats causing that brigade to break too. So with two of three brigades broken the French commander called it a day and retired back to Fuente de Oñoro and an interesting chat with his Marshall, and dice supplier!

Final throws of the dice for the French.

En avant!

All in all a game enjoyed by the two players, the British more than the French obviously.

With both players being familiar with the Black Power rules it made my first solo outing as umpire easy, being left to just adjudicate on cover, line of sight and such as well as administer scenario specific instructions.

A debrief after the game as helped put into place the next set of tweaks to hopefully make this game's next outing even more fulfilling for all.

Once the scenario tweaks have been completed I will probably add it as a resource to this blog.

Until then Version 2 as played above is in my Scenarios section on the right.


  1. Looks like a great game...

    Did you only have two Brigades per side? How many units in each brigade? Cheers

    1. Thanks Eric,
      The British had:
      Piquet brigade: Standard unit of Light Dragoons
      Small unit of Rifles
      1st Brigade: 3 Standard Battalions of Line Infantry
      Tiny unit of Rifles
      Battery of Foot Artillery
      2nd Brigade: 3 Standard Battalions of Line Infantry
      Tiny unit of Rifles

      The French had:
      1st Brigade: 4 Standard Battalions of Line Infantry
      1 Standard Battalion of Light Infantry
      2nd Brigade: 3 Standard Battalions of Line Infantry
      2 Standard Battalion of Light Infantry
      Cavalry Brigade: Standard unit of Dragoons
      1/2 Battery of Horse Artillery
      Division Artillery: Battery of Foot Artillery

    2. Played better than the first time but still not quite right so a few more tweaks required.


    3. Thank you - given me some ideas for my exploration into Peninsular Black Powder

    4. Added the version played scenario info to Scenarios section on the right.

  2. Hi Tony, it's about time you had this blog up and running. Good start and welcome.
    Keep the scenarios coming as I am always looking for new ideas for games

    1. Cheers Jonathan,
      Thought I'd give it a go. As per usual I've pinched a few ideas off of your blog :)


    2. Hey great, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

  3. Thanks, posts like this might help me to paint more Peninsular stuff so that I can get a first game into being. Funny thing is, I've just finished painting £1700 worth of Napoleonic Brits but unfortunately they were for a client and will never see my table - life is hard sometimes.



  4. Great report, this table is awesome!