We try to squeeze a couple of two day game events in each year plus a few one dayers to get something fun done in one sitting. We combine this with gratuitous all day drinking, a night of fine food, fine wine, cheap drugs and cheaper women. (No prizes for guessing which of these wild boasts isn’t true!).
|Panorama of the battlefield from behind the French left flank. Vimiero looking impressive in the centre, Toledo on the right, Ventosa way away on the ridge line. |
|The French left going in preceded by voltigeurs as usual.|
Charlot front left, Thomieres front right, St. Clair following, C in C General Junot on the right.
The scenario, like many of Chris Leach's, imposes victory conditions which differ for each side making a game of it and giving the allies reason to attack Toledo and not just sit back on the reverse slope and wait. Whilst effective, ridge hugging red lines make for a boring game. Having appointed Rich as Wellington for the day I knew there was no chance of this happening anyway! Those who have read some of my previous posts will recall that it is Rich who masterminded the "all out attack strategy" for the Russian defence at Borodino! Indeed.
|Ferguson's British brigade near Ventosa "defend" against Solignac to the front and now Brennier's flank marching brigade which turned up bang on time to spoil the party.|
Where the hell is Crauford?
|Behind Vimiero in the British centre.|
All those woods with regular planted trees are orchards.
I also mixed up the players a little; I would play with Rich as the Brits, Chris and Tony the French. The historical battle had been brewing for a few days with both Wellesley and Junot trying out fox the other. Both generals were issued a game map and army lists plus objective sometime before the game but neither side knew much of the other or of the arrival of reserves or flank marchers.
|Kellerman with his combined grenadier battalions (depicted by Italians!) near Toledo.|
The orders of battle are below. The brigades are small and brittle - some being under strength as flank companies were detached to form brigade skirmish screens. We rarely use skirmishers but they seem such a feature of peninsular battles that we simply should! Also we all have tons of them floating around unused gathering dust – shameful really.
|Tony moves Brennier's brigade up to attack Ferguson. The small British foot battery is spoiled for targets.|
C in C - Wellesley (Wellington)
Anstruther - 2 x 24 Line, 30 Elite, 12 skirmishers, 1 foot battery of 3 guns.
Fane - 24 Line, 24 Elite, 12 skirmishers.
Acland - 2 x 24 Line, 12 skirmishers.
Nightingale - 24 Line, 24 Elite,12 skirmishers.
Bowes - 2 x 30 Line.
Ferguson - 2 x 24 Line, 12 skirmishers, 1 foot battery of 3 guns.
Cavalry Reserve - 24 Light Dragoons.
Crauford's Portuguese - 2 x 30 Line, 2 x 24 2nd class. Initially off table.
|Bowes supports Nightingale. Ventosa to the left, Toledo centre rear, Ackland to the right.|
|The allied supply of Brandy is carelessly left at Ventosa in plain view of the advancing French - no wonder they seemed so motivated to keep plodding on despite some frightful casualties.|
C in C - General Junot
Charlot - 2 x 30 Line, 12 skirmishers.
Thomiere - 2 x 30 Line, 12 skirmishers.
St Clair's Grenadiers - 2 x 36 Elites.
Kellerman's Grenadiers - 2 x 36 Elites.
Solignac - 2 x 36 Line, 2 x 30 Line, 12 skirmishers, foot battery of four guns.
Brennier - 2 x 36 Line, 2 x 30 Line, 12 skirmishers, 18 Dragoons. Flank marching.
Margaron - 2 x 24 Dragoons, 1 x 24 Chasseurs. Optional reserve.
Divisional artillery - 12lb foot battery, 4 guns.
Charge of Light Brigade - take one, 1808.
The next few shots show a small part of the battle unfold. It seems British cavalry commanders never learn.
|The Light Dragoons head off toward the guns - Ackland's boys cheer them on.|
|Similar shot to above but slightly wider. |
Is this a suicidal move?
|Ackland moves forward in line to support the charge of the Light Dragoons.|
12lb foot batteries firing canister at close range are still pretty nasty even on low ammo - especially with a 36 strong elite battalion in line firing as support...
|The dice are rolled, brave riders tumble from crashing horses as canister and well aimed musketry tear into them.|
The poor light dragoons fail to charge home, their retreat takes them clear of the table edge in no time - sad.
|Centre stage the "Iron Heads" engage the 95th Rifles in a bloody stand up firefight |
Bowes tries to swing his brigade around to fire on Ventosa and face the French swarming over the ridge.
|The Allied right where line met column again and again.|
|Another fairly broad shot from behind the French right towards Vimiero over Toledo. This is still quite early in the game.|
The central orchards and impassible rocky area proved to split the game in two, although it needn't have done so really.
|Crauford's Brigade arrives and begins to very effectively shoot up both Brennier and Solignac who have between them broken Ferguson and taken Ventosa. Despite this fine performance it was "too little too late" to alter the outcome - a French victory.|
|Behind the Allied right at the close of play; Fane and Anstruther creak under sustained pressure - they couldn't take much more towards the end so fell back.|
We wrapped up quite early and set up ready for Sundays game - Montmiral. Then we made for the Quarryman's Arms for a vast three course meal, cheese and wine, rivers of ale and hard liquor -
Plan A always works, there is no Plan B.
Call back for the 1814 bash, hopefully soon! Best wishes warpaintjj.