Heretical Gaming is my blog about my gaming life; currently concentrating on a re-fight of the entire English Civil War, but with numerous discursions into battles from many different periods. The focus is on battle reports using a wide variety of rules, with the occasional rules review, book review and odd musing about the gaming and history. Most of the battles use 6mm-sized figures and vehicles, but occasionally 15mm and 28mm figures appear too.

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:


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 *


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.

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