Monday 20 August 2018

Napoleonics. Game at NBHW.

Friday night saw another Napoleonic game at New Buckenham using one member's 25mm collection for a fictional encounter engagement using Black Powder rules at 2/3 distances.

The scenario was a small town full of supplies had been discovered by British and French scouts who now called in all their nearby forces to secure the supplies. Brigades would appear in a random order at random locations each turn with the winner being the side in control of the town at game end or the side that hadn't broken.

The battlefield

Once again I played the British with one other player while three players took control of the French. The British had two brigades of infantry, one of light dragoons and one of heavy cavalry including household troops. The French had five brigades, a grenadier brigade with guard, dragoon brigade inc foot dragoons, infantry brigade, mixed cavalry brigade and guard cavalry brigade.

Location and Turn of Brigade arrivals.

A bit of a slow arrival for the British saw the French almost get the positional advantage near the bridge although we did manage to get a tiny unit of rifles into one half of the central objective.

About turn three

The arrival of both sides heavy cavalry saw some sharp engagements with initial success going to my household units before they started to come under french artillery fire and my recent poor run of save and break test rolls reared it's ugly head again.

British heavies arrive

The heavies get stuck in

In the end both sides heavy brigades ended up broken which left the French guard cavalry brigade and it's lancers free rein on this side of the table.

The final British infantry brigade to arrive also did so slowly but use of the "Follow me" command allowed us to get a light battalion into the other half of the objective.

The French grenadier battalions made short work of the British lines to their front, eventually, and together with the arrival of their dragoon brigade in the British flank soon saw this brigade break. This was despite a line battalion surviving three rounds of melee, alone in line, against supported charging French dragoons before withdrawing. This left the Grenadiers free to turn their attention to the objective. Initially they were forced into square by the British light dragoons and two battalions were destroyed by artillery and rocket! fire before they shook out and assaulted the tiny unit of rifles who found themselves evicted from the town into the path of some Red lancers.

The objective under assault from both sides.

At this point the game was called, the British had two broken brigades with a third, the light dragoons, hanging on by the skin of it's teeth. The other infantry brigade was intact but it's light battalion was now cut off in the town.

The French had one cavalry brigade broken and the grenadier brigade was close as well but that still left them three intact brigades.

So overall another French win.

A fun game with the random entry points giving some tactical problems, especially for the British.

As usual more photographs in the club's Facebook Album


Friday 10 August 2018

Vimeiro 1808. Game at NBHW.

Last Friday at New Buckenham seven players plus an umpire got together for a refight of the Battle of Vimeiro in 1808. This time 15mm was to be the scale and Black Powder at 50% distances the rules.

The table was laid out as per the picture below.


The British started with Hill's brigade on the ridge at top right, south of Vimeiro itself. Anstruther And Fane's brigades on the hill in front of Vimeiro. Acland on the end of the centre ridge and the cavalry in the centre in reserve. Ferguson, Bowes and Nightingall's brigades were hidden behind the ridge between Acland and the buildings of Ventosa on the northern end of the ridgeline. These three brigades would remain hidden unless they moved or the French crested the ridge. The buildings of Toledo can be seen left of centre.
Trant's Portuguese and Craufurds brigades were due to arrive at some point during the game.

The French start with the brigades of Charlot, Thomieres and Kellermann facing Vimeiro with the cavalry division of Marraron in support. The brigades of Brenier and Solignac out of sight on a flanking march to the northern, near end of the table.

As usual I played on the British side and as the experienced Black Powder player of the three commanders I was given the role of Wellesley as well as command of Anstruther and Fane's brigades.

The south of the field with Vimeiro centre. There was a bridge in front of Wellesley by game start.

The rest of the AAR will be from my / Wellesley's point of view.
The first thing we did was to garrison Vimeiro with two battalions from Hill's brigade leaving one battalion and his combined lights to hold the south western ridge and allied right flank.
The brigades hidden behind the ridge were to remain stationary until the French flanking manoeuvre was visible and then occupy Ventosa and defend the ridge line.
After a couple of grazing shots from french artillery the line battalions of Anstruther's brigade pulled back to the reverse slope leaving the lights and artillery to contest the approaching French columns.

Unfortunately unlike historically the French were well coordinated and soon pushed hard against the British centre.

The French centre advances.

After a few refusals the french cavalry finally charged Anstruther's right battalions forcing them into square.

French cavalry finally charge.

Whilst the centre columns shock out into line.

A theme was beginning to emerge at this point in the game, whilst I was rolling wonderful attack dice my opponents were throwing equally good saving rolls, whereas my saving, and break test throws were terrible.

View from Vimeiro

At this point the first of the French flank attacks, Brenier's, arrived on the road right next to Ventosa, fortunately their command roll was poor allowing the leading unit of Ferguson's hidden brigade to occupy it first. This occupying force, a small unit of combined light companies, immediately came under accurate French artillery fire and soon broke, this started the almost separate battle for the northern ridge line.

Action around Ventosa, light dragoons about to charge.

Solignac's flanking force then arrived on the road through Toledo and some rapid moves saw them throw their weight into the ridge battle. The 20th Light Dragoons, saw a chance and charged a unit of French dragoons narrowly losing the subsequent mele and fleeing the battle after another poor break test roll, seemed to be contagious amongst the allied commanders.

Some good news for the allies was the arrival of Craufurd's brigade on the hights overlooking Ventosa, but this was tempered by poor command rolls that saw them hardly move the rest of the game.

Things in the centre were deteriorating badly for me by this point.

Not looking good for Wellesley

Continued pressure and continued good save rolls from the French players, whilst mine were still terrible, saw first Fane's brigade and then Anstruther's break. Fane's remaining units fell back  under continued French pressure. Whilst Anstruther's battalion in square was allowed to stand it's ground the other remaining battalion had to withdraw. A quick reshuffle of Hill's garrison in Vimeiro opened up a space for this battalion to move into a defensible position allowing it to stop withdrawing whilst Hill's battalion together with Nightingall's brigade attempted to manouver to plug the centre.

Over on the left, French cavalry forced several battalions into square only to then pull back allowing their infantry columns to advance and charge home against the British squares.

Column vs Square?

The first square collapsed and was destroyed as expected while the second survived a couple of rounds of mele against two French columns before grudgingly withdrawing. Some good dice for the allies finally.

With the french cavalry from the centre now threatening Hill's right flank battalions, the centre a mess and the left needing to reform the game was called. It was decided Wellesley would have had no option but to stage a fighting retreat back to Porto Novo and the Royal Navy, ending British involvement in the Peninsular, oops.

Another great game at the club, and nice to see the 15mm naps out again. Shame about the result but that's the way the dice roll.

A load more photographs as usual in the club's Facebook Album

UPDATE: Have added a scenario map plus army rosters and a few notes to the Scenario download section. Link in right side bar.