Heretical Gaming is my blog about my gaming life; currently concentrating on a re-fight of the entire Peninsular War, but with the odd foray into ancient, medieval and WW2 battles.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Peninsular Campaign - Some Thoughts Thus Far

I've played eight campaign games now, plus a 'special' with Saalfeld re-set in the Iberian Peninsular.  The games have all been good - and some have been excellent, amongst the best games I've ever played. 

I do howeverbegin to question whether the campaign 'framing' has actually helped too much, I begin to think that it has been a slight obstacle, as it is added a (small) paperwork overhead for possibly little gain - the Grant and Asquith scenarios are fine 'as is'.  Furthermore, I can't remember actually having my decision making during the games affected at any point by the scenario being set in a campaign.

So, no hasty decisions, but I am considering ending the campaign and simply  continuing to play through the scenarios, and saving my campaigning for a real campaign.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Peninsular Campaign Battle 08 - Crossing of the Duero

The Situation:

After some indecisive manoeuvering around Salamanca, both sides simultaneously have spotted an opportunity to split their opponents by seizing a crossing of the Duero to the West of Salamanca.

The Forces:

ANGLO-PORTUGUESE FORCES


Anglo-Portuguese C-in-C: Gen Sir William Berwick (Competent)

The Western Force:

1st Division: Maj-Gen Robson (Competent)
1st Brigade:
1/5 Northumberland**
3/27 Inniskillings*
55 Westmoreland (V)
2nd Brigade:
1/4 King's Own
1/61 South Gloucestershire ***
1/92 (Gordon Highlanders) *

Divisional Artillery:
7 Coy/8 Bn RA (Lawson's) 6lb

2nd Light Cavalry Brigade:
10th Prince of Wales Own Hussars (V)******
15th King's Hussars

2nd Dragoon Brigade:
3rd Prince of Wales' Dragoon Guards ***
5th Princess Charlotte of Wales' Dragoon Guards (V)



The Northern Force:

2nd Division: Maj-Gen Charlton (Decisive)
1st Brigade:
2 Queen's Royal **
68 Durham (Light Infantry) (V)
2/92 (Gordon Highlanders) (V)
3rd Brigade:
2 Cacadores (V)**
6 Line (1 Porto) *
7 Line (Setubal) (V)
8 Line (Evora) (V)
22 Line (Serpa)

Divisional Artillery:
5 Coy/1 Bn RA (6lb)

1st Dragoon Brigade:
4th Queen's Own Dragoons *
6th Inniskilling Dragoons (R)

IMPERIAL FRENCH FORCES

French C-in-C: Gen Sauret (Competent)

1st Division: Gen Renault (Competent)
1st Brigade:
1/28 Light (V)
1/32 Light
2nd Brigade:
1/113 Line (R)
2/113 Line
3/113 Line (V)
1/116 Line (R) **

Light Cavalry Brigade:
1 Hussars **
6 Hussars *


SOUTHERN FORCE

2nd Division: Gen Panis (Competent)
1st Brigade:
1/94 Line (R)
1/95 Line
1/118 Line
1/2 Nassau Infantry
2nd Brigade:
1/119 Line **
Irish Legion **

1/96 Line (V)
1/117 Line (R) *
Divisional Artillery:
1/1 Foot Artillery 8lb
2/1 Foot Artillery 8lb


4th Division: Gen Villeneuve (Decisive)
1st Brigade:
1 Dragoons ***
10 Dragoons
2nd Brigade:
19 Dragoons
22 Dragoons




The Battlefield:



The Anglo-Portuguese will approach from the West (Left) and , after a delay from the North (Top);  The French  will approach from the South and East.


The Approach March:

The shape of the battle -the terrain favours the French to reach the bridge first; the Anglo-Portuguese artillery labours over the open ground to keep up with the infantry and cavalry

The French Dragoons Victorious!

A long run of success for the British Hussars is reversed - the 10 and 15 Hussars can be seen routing off to the North after losing a protracted melee against the 22 and 19 Dragoons.  The French have also secured the bridge and united their forces...but note the British Dragoon Guards (3 and 5 Regiments) ready to charge from the top-left....

The British Dragoons Victorious!

The first phase of the charge of the Dragoon Guards is successful, the French Dragoons are routed and their supports are in severe disorder - the whole brigade is about to retire from the field...

The Second Phase:
...and the British Dragoon Guards then rout the second French Dragoon brigade for good measure, thus splitting the French forces.  In the epic battle however, both C-in-Cs were amongst the casualties, both severely wounded and out of the battle.  The  Anglo-Portuguese infantry has now come up in support.

The Moment of Crisis:
The French infantry managed to force the British Dragoon Guards back, however, the British and Portuguese infantry have successfully advanced through the wounds and forced back their respective opponents - the battle is now in the balance.
The British Victory!
The French infantry succeed in forcing back the leading British units  (note the red 'shaken' markers).  However, the defeat of the flanking French units around the wood to the North, and more importantly, at the bridge, leads to a collapse of French morale and the whole force retires, the key moment probably being the smart volley and charge to defend the bridge against the French attack from the South, which led to the French brigade retiring in disorder.
As a result of this battle, 1/113 and 1/116 Line were promoted to Trained; 3 Prince of Wales' Dragoon Guards were promoted to Veteran, 15 Hussars were demoted to Raw.

Game Notes: As usual, this was a scenario from Scenarios for All Ages played out using the  Polemos General de Division rules.  All figures Baccus 6mm.  The game lasted just over 90 minutes of playing time.  This game had some tense moments, but was perhaps not the best game of the campaign.  The reason for this is that nearly all the scenarios are designed for a 7'x5' table, but my table is 5'x3'.  In most scenarios this didn't matter, but in this one it did as it ensured all the action took place in a very small portion of the table and it all felt pretty cramped.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Peninsular Campaign: Battle 07 - The Vital Bridgehead

The Situation:

The French are continuing their withdrawal to Salamanca but are coming under increasing pressure from the British pursuit.  Gen Sauret's force must hold off the British long enough for a supply convoy to evacuate a depot and cross a river,  then blow the bridge without losing more than 25% of his force.  No picnic for the French this mission.

Order of Battle:

IMPERIAL ARMY


French C-in-C: Gen Sauret (Competent)

1st Division: Gen Renault (Competent)
1st Brigade:
1/28 Light ***
1/32 Light
2nd Brigade:
1/113 Line (R)
2/113 Line
3/113 Line (V)
3rd Brigade:
1/116 Line (R)
1/119 Line
Irish Legion
Divisional Artillery:
1/1 Foot Artillery 8lb

Light Cavalry Brigade:
1 Hussars
6 Hussars *

ALLIED ARMY

Anglo-Portuguese C-in-C: Gen Sir William Berwick (Competent)

1st Division: Maj-Gen Robson (Competent)
1st Brigade:
1/5 Northumberland *
3/27 Inniskillings
1/52 Oxfordshire (Light Infantry)
55 Westmoreland
1/4 King's Own
3rd Brigade:
2 Cacadores ****
6 Line (1 Porto) *
7 Line (Setubal) (V)
8 Line (Evora) (V)
22 Line (Serpa)
Divisional Artillery:
7 Coy/8 Bn RA (Lawson's) 6lb
5 Coy/1 Bn RA (6lb)

2nd Division: Maj-Gen Charlton (Decisive) 
1st Dragoon Brigade:
4th Queen's Own Dragoons *
6th Inniskilling Dragoons (R)

2nd Dragoon Brigade:
3rd Prince of Wales' Dragoon Guards
5th Princess Charlotte of Wales' Dragoon Guards (V)

Royal Horse Artillery:
Ross' Troop RHA (6lb)


2nd Light Cavalry Brigade:
10th Prince of Wales Own Hussars (V)******
15th King's Hussars



The Set-Up:

The leading British troops approach from the right.  The French defensive position is anchored on the village with infantry to the North (bottom) and Hussars to the South (top).  The back of the supply convoy can be seen to the West (left),

The convoy parked, but getting ready to move through the village and over the bridge to safety.  Can they escape in time?

The View from the British Position:

View from behind the leading British troops (General Berwick  leading  the  Hussars and some skirmishers from 1/52 Light Infantry)

The Initial Assaults:

The first British assault:  the Hussars try to sweep through the French  infantry to the North (left) of the village, supported by a brigade of British infantry.  Meanwhile to the South (right) of the village, the British Dragoons charge the French Hussars, led by Gen Sauret in person.

The Hussars fail to break through 1/116 Line and the Irish Legion (okay spotters: 3rd Foreign Regiment, strictly speaking), and the infantry fare just as badly against 1/119 Line: the French infantry drive the British back at the point of their bayonets in fine old style....

However, one can see that the British have been more successful on their right:  the French Hussars are losing to the British Dragoons, one can see that the 3rd (Prince of Wales') Dragoon Guards have routed the 6th Hussars, and the 1 Hussars may well join them...

 The French Position Cracked!

Apologies for the very poor shot - my pictures weren't very good, and all the intermediate stages were too blurred.    The French infantry from the town re-established the line to the South of the town, cutting off the 3rd Dragoon Guards.  The French infantry brigade however was eventually defeated by the Portuguese and British reinforcements now flanking the town.  Eventually the French brigade in the town was defeated too, and its artillery captured.  However, the brigade morale held and 1/28 Light did manage to escape the Anglo-Portuguese pincers.


The convoy escapes!  However, victory went to the Anglo-Portuguese, as the Imperial losses had been too heavy and  the pursuit was too close to both allow the French infantry to escape and blow the bridge.  Gen Sauret rescued the troops but allowed the Portuguese pursuers to capture the bridge intact. 
As a result of this battle, the following troops were promoted to Veteran: 55 Westmoreland, 2 Cacadores

Game Notes: This battle was based on Scenario 08 from Grant and Asquith's Scenarios for All Ages. The game lasted about 90 minutes.  It was quite finely balanced, more than I'd expected it to be.  Perhaps this was because the French morale rolls were better than usual, partly because the victory conditions force the Allies into attacking with the minimum fuss.