Vlad and I got another game of Sharp Practice in last week. After our first game I realised I had made a few mistakes- such as giving the British army a six point advantage by giving them an extra Status II officer they were not entitled to. With this mistake rectified Vlad and I decided to fight out another battle. Given that I have been busy making lots more terrain this last fortnight, our board was quite densely packed with scenery, which made it an interesting game- slightly more difficult for manoeuvre large formations, and perhaps favouring skirmishers.
We took the same basic forces from the rules and had eight points left over for support choices. Vlad, playing Colonel Le Grand Fromage, opted to take a drummer, a secondary deployment point and a group of Grenadiers. I was playing Major Ramsbottom, and opted to change my light infantry for a group of Riflemen, and to upgrade one rifleman to a marksman. This proved to be a decisive point, as the Riflemen were useless and the Grenadiers saved the day...as you will soon see.
This was the battlefield. We randomly determined where we would set up our deployment points and found we both set up on the lane that bisects the board along the front of the larger farm house. This meant we would be deployed pretty much facing each other.
My men deployed first, and I managed to get my Riflemen into the big farm house, and they took up positions on the balcony. Because they are light infantry this light cover is upgraded by one level to hard cover- I felt pretty confident that they would be able to command the battlefield from up there.
My Hanoverian Regiment moved in column of march as fast as they could towards the large farmhouse.
Vlad deployed his Voltigeur skirmishers, and the fighting began- they peppered my riflemen with musket balls- killing three of them! The rifles shot back only killing one voltigeur- first blood to Vlad.
The Kings German Legion arrived with Major Ramsbottom and proceeded to struggle to advance - having to break formation to move through the orange grove. Eventually they reformed in hard cover from the orange groves stone walls.
Colonel Le Grand Fromage deployed his line troops opposite the KGL, forming two formations into one massive formation. They had no cover, and so in theory the KGL had all the advantages, even though I was out numbered three groups to four.
The Hanoverian's attempt to flank the French line was blocked by the timely arrival of the French Grenadiers. These brave, stubborn Frenchies were outnumbered, but they had to hold or the Hanoverians would have had enfilading fire onto the French line.
Captain Slain, the Irish-American volunteer commanding the French voltigeurs lead his men to the KGL's flank, and soon their short range shots were ripping into the KGL's unprotected flanks.
The Hanovarian captain charged into the French Grenadiers, hoping to dislodge them and force the French line to change formation, providing relief for the KGL. Although the British had the advantage in the fight they were repelled, and the Grenadiers continued to hold their position on the flank, and the French line continued to hammer the KGL.
Major Ramsbottom tried in vane to hold his line together, but the enfilading fore from the Voltigeurs on their flank was too much for the KGL, and they started to fall back, breaking formation. Ramsbottom reformed the line twice, but in the end the French attack was too much for the Germans and they broke, and Major Ramsbottom was forced to concede the field and order his remaining men to withdrew, leaving the village to the Colonel Le Grande Fromage.
Colonel Le Grand Fromage- Victor of the day!
On reflection it was easy to say what went wrong- I deployed my Riflemen very badly, exposing them to musket fire from the Voltigeurs from the outset. This one group had cost 14 points, and it far to brittle to stand up to the accurate fire of the French skirmishers. Upon reflection should have sat them back in a good position to protect the KGL's flank, and just sniped off the French skirmishers, taking advantage of the rifles longer ranges.
The French grenadiers did a fantastic job of holding the flank from the Hanoverian attack. Their stubborn refusal to give in, and their robust repulsion of the Hanoverian's charge meant that the French line could concentrate on the KGL- wining Vlad the game.
It just shows that the choices you make for the support units are sometimes the decisive factor in a battle.