Monday, 20 June 2016

Peninsular War: Sharp Practice Battle Report- Escort Duty

This week we got another game of Sharp Practice in. Big Al kindly volunteered to lend me and Vlad one of his boards to use. While it was originally made to represent WW2 Crete it is also a perfect proxy for Spain during the peninsular war. Vlad and I dressed it up with a bit of Scatter terrain and my Spanish buildings, and I have to say, it looked amazing.

Vlad and I randomly rolled up a mission. He played the French again, and I was the British. Vlad's force comprised of four groups of Line Infantry, two groups of Voltiguers and a group of Grenadiers. It was commanded by Colonel Le Grande Fromage, and the light infantry was lead by Irish-American Captain Slain. He had another Status II leader and a Status I leader. He took a musician and a preacher (although we felt it wasn't appropriate for the atheist French to have a preacher to we called her a spy- but all the basic rules applied- her names was Madam Petit). 
I had five groups of  Line Infantry, one group of Highland regular infantry and a group of Highland Light Infantry. I took a physic (in the form of Spanish Surgeon Don Cortador) and a musician. My force was commanded by Major Ramsbottom, ably assisted by the Hanoverian Captains Wankmuller, and Sargent Wullie of the Highland Light Infantry. 

The British engineers are rebuilding an old Spanish fortress that has been partially dismantled by the French and are desperately short of tools and building materials. Major Ramsbottom of the KGL has been tasked with protecting a delivery of these vital supplies to the fortress. Colonel Le Grande Formage has been ordered to intercept the delivery. 

This is the battle field we were using. I had to deliver my supplies up the road that runs along side the two farm houses on the left side of the board, escaping off the far side.  The french were deploying in the hills to the far right hand side.  

Major Ransbottom, not expecting an attack, had his men deployed in column of march to try to make as much progress as he could. The Major was lead his KGL formation at the front of the column, and Captain Wankmuller lead his Hanoverian/Scottish formation to the rear of the column. The Highland Light Infantry were deployed on the flank as a token effort to prevent any ambushes. 

The Light Infantry spotted the French advancing through the olive trees and open fire on their flanks, killing one. 

Captain Wankmuller ordered his men to form a line and began turning it to face the threat. It manoeuvred slowly over the uneven field. 

Colonel le Grande Fromage ordered his men to advance quickly towards the KGL, but their advance was hampered by the uneven terrain. 

Meanwhile Captain Slain led his French and Irish Voltigeures to outflank the Highland Light Infantry, forcing the Scotsmen to withdraw to the safety of the British lines, and preventing them gaining enfilading fire on the advancing French line.

The French Line continue to struggle with the terrain but eventually they manage to fan out into one long line with four groups  facing the three of the KGL.  The French then unleashed a crashing volley on two consecutive turns causing a massive 20 shock to the KGL (it should have been more but we later realised Vlad only rolled 24 dice each volley and not the 31 that he should have done). The KGL held the line but the shock effectively rendered them fairly ineffective for the rest of the game. 

Captain Wankmuller lead his Hanoverian-Scottish formation out and they confronted the French line, and unlished several controlled volleys into the French line at effective range thanks to their Sharp Practice ability. Added to this was the enfilading fire from what was left of the Highland Light Infantry. The combined fire was too much for the conscripts in the French line who broke formation and fell back before the onslaught.

Colonel le Grande Fromage managed to reform his shattered line but they were pretty beaten up and needed a few turns of respite to get back in fighting order. To give them the break they needed the Volitigeurs and the Grenadiers advanced towards Captain Wankmuller's line and launched a volley. Wankmuller's line held, although it suffered some casualties and Captain Wankmuller himself was injured he took a musket ball to his calf. The Hanoverian-Scottish reply was a volley that took out half the grenadiers. The grenadier sergeant was rendered senseless by a musket ball that glanced off his scalp. His men carried him back to safety behind the grove of olive trees. 

Captain Slain's Volteigures continued to press their attack, firing again at the Hanoverian-Scottish formation. Despite his wound Captain Wankmuller held his men in check and they returned the volley, wounding Captain Slain. The voltiguers withdrew behind the stone walls.

The supply cart slowly made its way up the hill towards the safety of the Anglo-Spanish fortress. The French were forced to concede that there was little they could do to stop it, and Colonel le Grande Formage reluctantly gave the order for his men to withdraw, which they did in good order, taking their casualties with them. The British lacked to will or the ability to press home their advantages, and allowed them to go.

 By the end of the game the French line and the two British lines were badly beaten up and in no state to press the attack. The KGL had never really recovered from the two crashing volleys, although they had only suffered a single casualty the shock they had suffered meant they really weren't fit for much. The Hanovarian-Scottish formation was equally beaten up, and had suffered a lot of casualties, and Captain Wankmuller was loosing a lot of blood from his nasty leg wound. 

The French had suffered to, they had lost half their grenadiers and almost half their line infantry, and their morale was severely depleted. The grenadier sergeant was still unconscious and Captain Slain of the voltigeurs had been lightly wounded too. 

This was a great game, and a closely fought thing. Vlad's French came close to breaking the KGL with his crashing volleys (and perhaps he might have done if he had rolled the right number of dice!) but the arrival of the Hanoverian-Scottish formation had meant that the French line was facing off six groups to four, so were onto a looser from the outset. The rapid firing and loading, and disciplined controlled fire from the Hanoverian-Sottish meant that they were able to force back the whole French force. 

Vlad wants to refight this one soon. Their are a lot of variables in this mission, such as where both sides deploy, and how much progress the cart can make before the french appear. I think I had things easy, as Vlad was hampered by the terrain and I managed to get the cart halfway up the board before being ambushed. A refight might make a very different game. 


Anonymous said...

Marvelous table and great report!

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