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, 3 December 2011

Vitoria Day 2 - Contraction & Collapse.

So Sunday morning saw three merry warriors arrive on time and hangover free! WTF? I hear you say! Wargamers arriving on a Sunday morning with no hangovers? Well Saturday was 5th November Fire Works; so we pissed off home to bonfires, kith and kin. No harm was done except burning effigies of everyone's favourite anarchist. Although I like to think of him/her as any number of modern day state funded villains...

 Triple Helix had kindly decided to open on the Sunday so we could play our game to a conclusion over two days. We jumped straight back into the fray. Coffee and bacon butties served at the table - greasy hands kept well away from the pretty toys.

A couple of Brit Top Brass with nobs on congratulate each other; "Aren't we brill!"
My predicament was every bit as bad as I remembered. The Brits had unlocked the French right and were flooding onto the ridge. Only one lone French battalion formed line to cover the retreats and routs. Another isolated French square had surrendered in the face of almost 100 cavalry & several battalions; my decision.

Luckily my reinforcements had arrived and were moving into position for what would be my task for the day - to recapture the ridge. Simply put; I had to get more troops onto the ridge to hold the allied surge, then mount a counterattack to reclaim the lost ground. At worst I wanted to hold the southern end of the ridge and Arinez which was effectively my strategic line of retreat.

The Brits get a "surge on".
The northern end of the ridge is now firmly in Allied hands. Can they roll up the whole position?   
So what was my plan? Cunning and worth a go I thought.
If I could form a line across the ridge with the redoubt as the hinge I might hold them off, but they would attack on two fronts. The "out of ammo" artillery battery happily returned from the artillery park with fresh supplies. This was set up to face the onslaught, many of the British troops had taken a pasting and might not relish point blank canister fire. Three fresh battalions were moved up to bolster the two Swiss and one Wurtemburg battalion who were so stalwart yesterday. This force should just hold the line especially with the CinC overseeing there deployment.  

The refitted and resupplied Saxon battery straddling the ridge to see off the hoards of Redcoats trying to roll up the flank. In the back ground the reinforced ridge line and redoubt await the final act of the day - Wellington's attack.     
Wellington massing for the attack. Picton's battered brigades are up the ridge to the left. The French artillery are arriving back with bags of fresh ammo and baguettes on the far horizon.   
In order to take the pressure off the ridge I conceived a dastardly plan. If Wellington was allowed to attack unmolested and in concert with Picton the day would be lost. However a weak point had developed in Wellington's line as it attempted to move south in order to attack along the whole line and threaten Arinez. One brigade of infantry and one of light cavalry was basically crossing my front with only a small battery and some riflemen linking them to the main force. If the French could just attack them at this crucial juncture Wellington might have to draw off troops from the main assault or even stall it. This would buy time for the good people on the ridge to fight off the plucky Picton and save the day. What could possibly go wrong?

Looking north, Arinez on the right. Italians sally out to snuff out the over extended British line of March.
Those Light Dragoons on the left were about to suffer...
 The picture above shows quite well where the hammer blow would fall. Just below the ridge were my regiments of Dragoons and Cuirassiers; these would charge down the guns and threaten the flanks of the Brits in the fore ground as the Italians attacked frontally. Out of shot the Spanish Hussars have routed one Regt of Light Dragoons and is threatening the one shown above.

My attack develops. Out of shot two Hussar Regiments threaten Ponsonby's remaining Light Dragoons.
Wellington (left), seemingly unconcerned, prepares his main assault.
Picton (right) deploys the "string puppet brigade" to gall me further. They'll pay for this.
British foot and Rifles move unmolested along MY ridge. Picton smugly sits on his nag with his silly brolly!
My counter strike was initially very successful. Wellington's leading Light Cavalry brigade was bundled off the table leaving my hussars free to challenge the exposed foot as they prepared to meet my Italian columns.

The charge of the heavy cavalry was exactly the opposite. Both regiments took hits in the face of fairly feeble artillery fire but once again deadly rifle fire caused both to break and abandon the attack - hmmph!

Up on the ridge disaster was only just around the corner. My freshly returned battery let loose a short range  canister barrage only to run out of ammo again!!! The twats must have come back with the wrong caliber rounds or something; this undermined the whole position and allowed Picton to deploy his own RHA to blow holes in my lines as the British Guards charged out of the tree line into the Swiss. This coincided with Wellington pushing his first assault up through the vineyards to bayonet charge the ridge line.

Wellington's boys finally get to charge. Check out Picton's masses up on the ridge and his bloody cavalry beyond that.
The British Guards charge is halted by the Swiss! Too little too late says me.
 Sadly there were no piccies of the Italian attacks and the surprise success of the Spanish Hussars. So this is their story. The Hussars triumphant from routing Ponsonby flung themselves on the foremost British battalion, now in square. Finally realising that they were conscripts after all they turned tail at the first whiff of black power never to be seen again. The Italian Brigade of four battalions was taught a tough lesson by two battalions of redcoats and their forward movement halted - "back to Arinez!"    
My counter attack had utterly failed.

Duo of Dapper Dandies lead a vast column of allied cavalry behind the ridge to seal my fate.

The French position virtually enveloped. The battery low on ammo and down to two guns; relentless attacks everywhere and all my plans in tatters. What a great end to a magical game.  
So I threw in the towel. Well, what can I say? How do we explain this back at HQ? Napoleon Bonaparte is a tough brother in law, overbearing alfa male, know it all, ego maniac control freak - what does he know?

Then to the pub for a large Napoleon Brandy - what else? Then a few pints and a debrief. All of us were frazzled, me in particular. Possibly a little emotional too- wargaming can get you like that sometimes.

My sincerest thanks must go to Rich for sorting the scenario; he and Tony for being excellent opponents and for playing in the spirit of the thing. Lastly to Triple Helix for being such accommodating hosts.

Unflappable Steve, (owner of Triple Helix), flaps his way through an explanation of our game.
The guy in the deerstalker actually fought with Picton in the Spanish Peninsular so didn't buy any of Steve's bollocks what so ever.   


  1. Always fun to read about a military disaster. Great photos, paint jobs, terrain and report. Wargaming at its finest.

  2. You're too kind Sir! Maybe you could join us one day? Stimulate the tactical brain cells again...