Welcome to Marauder Moments - a chronicle of the Mortimer Street Marauders; the games we play, the rules we use, the figures we play with and the scenery they fight over. Hope you enjoy these pages and maybe call back to catch up with our escapades.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

La Iglesia de San Christobal

No not where I went on hols this year, that was Denmark! La Iglesia de San Christobel is a fictional encounter between French and British forces in the Spanish Peninsular by Barry Hilton for the Victrix rules he has penned. Following our theme of "line versus column" and still dabbling with skirmisher rules in General de Brigade I set the table up as Mr Hilton outlined. A few feet were added to allow for a cavalry regiment or two on each side. What appealed about this scenario is that the British are forced to attack both a ridge and dense terrain, not something you usually see.

Tony took up the Marshall's baton as French C-in-C with me as idiot sub general. Rich lined up his redcoats and light Dragoons for the attack. Tony gave me the holding forces whilst he would enter the table later to reinforce my position. All of Rich's Brits were on from the outset. This time I remembered the camera but largely forgot how to use it, so once again please excuse a few blurry shots; imagine it's that hazy sunshine you get in Spain at lunchtime when only you and a mad dog are outside. You will also have to imagine that our North European scenery is sun bleached central Spain - you didn't think you could just read this and not do any work did you? Bah!

The battlefield around La Iglesia de San Christobel.
By squinting at the photo you will see the through the hazy sunshine the southern end of the battlefield from behind the British right flank. At this stage the British are about to scale the ridge where the French have already deployed a four gun battery and two battalions to support the smaller forces well ensconced in the church itself. The slopes to the Church are steep and the rocky outcrop impassable, the top of the ridge is level. In the immediate foreground is the sunken road this brigade marched in along. Rich attached his foot battery to this brigade. In the center are the orange groves then walled olive groves, each festooned with voltigeurs. The settlement in the distance is a farm which counted as cover. One small battalion of Swiss manned the defenses here. The French reinforcements entered on the high ground to the east of the
The forces were small but that almost concentrates the mind more - yeah right, wheres the beer?

The British
1st Brigade 4 x 40 foot with 2 squadrons of Light Dragoons attached
2nd Brigade 2 x 40 foot with 9lb foot battery attached
3rd Brigade 2 squadrons of Light Dragoons with RHA battery attached

The French
Initial garrison;
1st Brigade
1 x 24  line in La Iglesia de San Christobel
Deployed behind the ridge of La Iglesia de San Christobel were 2 x 36 line and 8lb foot battery of 4 guns

2nd Brigade
1 x 24 Swiss in the farm with 2 x 6 skirmishers in the groves nearby.

Arriving on turn two anywhere on the eastern heights with the C-in-C and a brigadier was the 3rd Brigade
2 x 36 line and 1x 36 2nd class line
1 x 24 Hussars
The Swiss battalion deployed in the cover of the farmstead.
Much was expected of them - could they deliver?
Perry plastics painted by Barry Hill.
GW fences, PMC buildings,  S&A Trees. Basing by me.
British or KGL Light Dragoons screening the advance of the lines on the British left.  Bendy sabres anyone?
Front Rank painted by Barry Hill. WIP basing by Rich.
Unexpectedly excellent shot of French staff observing the British advance, presumably marvelling at the discipline of the Brit abroad. Not sure what the curious bump on Rich's arm is? Never noticed it before! Perry toys.
"Smoke on the water - a firing line in the sky!"
A 40 strong line about to put some holes in the Swiss - "FIRE LADS"
French Brigadier and ADC by Perry twins, painted by Barry Hill, tarted up and based by me 
A brief interlude to introduce "La Grande Fromage"
A couple of shots of my present French Commander in Chief. Eventually he will command a Corps of two infantry Divisions, one French, one Italian and a light cavalry Brigade. This will be approx 10 battalions, two foot batteries, two light cavalry regiments, one Italian, one French plus a horse battery.

My other Corps commander will handle also two divisions, one Bavarian, one French with a similar light cavalry brigade and batteries.
Attached to these two Corps is my Heavy Cavalry Division comprising two Westphalian Regiments, two Saxon Regiments, one Polish and a horse battery. I have this lot but really need to base them and put a large enough game to get them all out.          

This splendid gentleman and entourage are by Front Rank and painted by Perry Pender with tarty final touches and basing by myself. This is ace!  
British officers ride around exalting the men to shoot straighter as the Swiss still hold out despite horrific casualties.
The picture above epitomizes the problem on the British left as the Swiss simply wouldn't budge from the farm despite an awful battering. British forces began to bypass the farm and line out in the open ground after the screening Dragoons ran off in the face of determined French fire. Here is where we will see how the red lines handle massed blue attacks...

A British battalion makes its way around the farm through orange and olive groves ( try to imagine it) which are bristling with enemy skirmishers. These pesky skirmishers didn't cause a single casualty although they held up and momentarily diverted the attentions of this unit. This in turn took pressure off the Swiss holding out in the farm.
Maybe we can make these skirmisher guys work after all?
By now French reinforcements were streaming down from the eastern ridge and formed a massed column of three battalions heading straight for the now deployed first line of Redcoats. A regiment of French hussars swung south to support the meager French forces on the ridge of  La Iglesia de San Christobel. This proved a timely move as they charged the flank of some allied Dragoons who were attempting to slip around the French position on the ridge by the church. The Dragoons fled from this charge and routed from the field taking the Royal Horse Artillery battery with them. However the Hussars in turn didn't fancy chasing them off so decided to dick about on the plain safely out harms way. In fairness their job was done, for without the Dragoons to threaten the French flank or rear the Brits were literally walking up hill into a storm of canister and musketry unsupported. 
"Have a taste of your own medicine monsieur". This precipitated the end of any offensive moves in the south by either side. The French foot and cannon held the ridge with the church on it, the Hussars were happy to watch from the center and the British were driven back to the safety of the sunken road.

All that was left to play out was the fate of Swiss and the attack of the massed French in the North. Finally the Swiss reached 50% casualties and were set to disperse - but wait - I rolled a double six! 
In General de Brigade this means the Battalion marches off with full honours and shouldered arms while everyone claps and cheers! This seemed most fitting as they really had endured a hell of time - their personal misguided loyalty to me will be recorded in the regimental log. As the Swiss marched off the British marched in and sampled the local brandy at some considerable length.   

So, to the main event. The massed French columns charged the line, two faltered or halted so failed to close. But the third made it in with the bayonet through short range volley fire, Hurray! No way, bugger this,  it was the 2nd class battalion that charged home. We fought the combat, the British line wavered - then retreated back through the next line which amazingly kept its formation. The winning French battalion stood where it was, waving, shouting and gesticulating until the fresh 40 strong British line fired a volley at short range and tore them a new hole. This sent the whole brigade packing and signaled the end of hostilities at La Iglesia de San Christobel. 

A brief discussion unanimously awarded a draw as both sides had lost brigades and both held one objective.
Another good game, thanks to Rich, Tony and to Barry Hilton for the inspiration for the scenario.    

The Prussian Death Wish Hussars pretending to be French until the new French models are ready.
Calpe models painted by Prof Pender, based by me.   



  1. I am assured that the lump on Rich's arm is muscle.
    What more can be said.