Modeling and gaming in the Peninsular theatre during the Napoleonic wars.
Friday, March 30, 2018
Somewhere in Andalusia AAR
Although a generic battle, the order of battle had Picton's Third Division against the better part of Reynier's corps with the stray supporting dragoon brigade. The objective was to break the opponent by routing 50% of the units.
The Anglo-Portuguese right wing. My picture taking was a bit off this day and so I missed some better shots that I would have normally gotten. To the immediate right is a supporting brigade of British cavalry consisting of two units of light dragoons and a unit of hussars.
The British brigade here was quickly under fire from the French 12lb battery. Even at long range, the guns were able to bounce through and soften up the line here. In many respects, this really prevented the Anglo-Portuguese army from deciding to advance. The terrain appeared to be better suited for anchoring ourselves in and trying to ride out the storm. In Lasalle, the defender usually must weaken an attacker or risk being swept away.
The French left advancing in checkerboard columns. I was thankful the French horse artillery was largely ineffective and perhaps meant to distract my cavalry brigade from being a little too wild with no enemy cavalry on this end to oppose them.
Having been involved in too many village fights, I chose to relinquish occupation of the village on the hill. Not just from the last battle report, but from numerous others where the defender typically is overwhelmed and annihilated for their efforts did I conclude it usually isn't worth wasting the man power. Considering it was not an objective in this scenario, it felt even less pressing. The French felt quite differently and stormed the hill and occupied the village.
The French 12lb battery was much more significant in its reach and impact. The 1st battalion of the 88th Foot was broken from the 12lb guns and the rest of the brigade had suffered a bit before the French infantry came in the try and finish the break through.
The French right is also moving to engage the British defenders of this other village. The dragoons and French infantry are going to exercise combined arms to successfully turn the British left wing.
So many of the vents unfolded here rather quickly and I failed to capture it all in pictures. The French infantry moved up quickly and the British light cavalry managed to break two of the French battalions and drive the guns off. I had failed to consider the French infantry's desire to take this small village and work on my flank. The battalion I kept in reserve had to be brought up and opposed to keep the new tenants from vacating in my direction.
My British cavalry brigade managed to break the French wing here and threaten the center. The good thing is that the French 12lb battery now had to disengage the barrage they were successfully laying on the Anglo-Portuguese center and turn to defend themselves. I didn't feel so lucky as to overrun such a battery with a head on charge. Call me timid, but the unit needed to recover some of the disruptions.
And fulfilling my expectations, the French overwhelmed the British defenders in the larger village and eliminated the not pictured British left wing. French dragoons have come around behind the village to threaten the nearly ruptured British center.
And the French win. The Anglo-Portuguese division is at 50% and breaks after this last combat. The French were not that close to breaking and were more or less in command of the field. The only thing saving the British retreat would by the intact light cavalry brigade to screen the withdrawal. Neither side had a numerical or qualitative advantage of any real significance but those 12lb guns sure made an impression.