|The British form up in the orchard|
Last week at the Earlswood Wargamers I ran a game of Drums and Shako for James and my son Charlie. James took charge of the French and Charlie took the British.
The French officer, Captain Anton de Forest was leading a patrol of Line Grenadiers with Sergeant Fabron, when they came across a small Portuguese farmhouse that was being used as a British foraging post. The British quartermaster, Lieutenant George Bagshot and his Sargent, Ezekiel Scumton had been scouring the area for supplies for the army and had a handful of red coats picking oranges from the orchard when the French grenadiers arrived. The British also had three chosen men from the 95th rifles who were picking up some supplies for their officer.
|Captain de Forest leads the Grenadiers towards the farmhouse|
The French advanced in their tried and tested columns, with the daring Sargent Fabron at the front. Fabron's Column took heavy and effective fire from the British especially the marksmen of the 95th rifles, never the less the second column reached the ford in good order.
|Sergeant Fabron at the ford|
|The British open fire on the column crossing the ford. |
The French crossed the ford under heavy fire, and succeeded in outflanking the British, firing a volley that killed a chosen man outright. Sargent Scumton saw the danger and lead ordered the red jackets to reload, then advance on towards the French Grenadiers who were frantically reloading. Scumton then signalled his men to commence firing by shooting one of the grenadiers in the head with his pistol. The resulting point blank volley killed or wounded half of the grenadiers.
Meanwhile Sargent Fabron and the last of the Grenadiers from his column prepare to charge the rifleman on the steps of the farm house. The riflemen, seeing them coming, spat the bullet into his rifle, rammed it home and then shot the French sergeant as he reached the bottom of the steps.
When one of the Chosen Men spots Captain de Forest trying to cross the ford he took aim and fired, dropping the Frenchman like a stone. The grenadiers, still recoiling from the devastating English Volley, and seeing their officer and NCO fall, begin to fall back in disarray. One of the Frenchmen paused long enough to scoop the half drowned and wounded de Forest from the river before hurrying back to their own lines.
|A VERY short range fire fight ensues |
All in all a very satisfying game. In fairness to James it was a points balanced game and he was attacking a foe in a easily defended position- perhaps it would have been kinder to have given him a couple more men to balance it out better. James did well, playing the French as the might have done in history, advancing bravely in two columns until very close. Charlie's surprise point-blank range volley was very effective.
|The Rifleman takes aim on de Forest while Lt Bagshot hides behind the tool-shed|
The game is fast and furious, and very easy to pick up. Both lads enjoyed the way the battle ebbs and flows in such an unpredictable way. Charlie had said that he though historical would be dull in comparison to fantasy, but had to concede it was a lot of fun. Killing the officers- and conversely protecting them behind the tool shed- is the the way to go. Both Sergeant Fabron and Scumton performed bravely contributed to the battle.