Heretical Gaming is my blog about my gaming life, featuring small skirmishes and big battles from many historical periods (and some in the mythic past or the far future too). 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.

Thursday 27 December 2012

Peninsular Campaign Battle 06: Hot Pursuit of the French Rear Guard

The Situation: As Lord Wellington continues to pursue Marshal Marmont's forces from Ciudad Rodrigo to Salamanca, Marmont has been attempting to definitively break contact.  After suffering a reverse in the last battle, Marshal Marmont has been attempting to re-establish some kind of order, whilst the Anglo-Portuguese forces remain in hot pursuit...

The hindmost of Gen Sauret's rear guard must evade Gen Berwick's pursuing troops without suffering more then 20% losses.

The Initial Set-Up:

The French forces are situated astride the stream, marching from right-to-left (East-to-West) as seen; the pursuing Anglo-Portuguese to the West and Southwest

The same scene as viewed from East to West
The British Cavalry Triumphant!

The French attempted to slow the British advance by deploying their two regiments of Chasseurs  a Cheval as a rearguard; however, in yet another battle, the 10th Hussars have led a magnificent charge and sent their opponents into a headlong rout!  This effectively achieved the Anglo-Portuguese victory conditions, as the whole French cavalry then packed up.  With just under 50% of Gen Sauret's troops in rout or otherwise spent, the French had another defeat to contemplate.  Could the Anglo-Portuguese complete the destruction of the French force?
The British Cavalry Less Triumphant!

The British Hussars boldly attempted to complete their victory by  charging the hindmost French infantry unit.  However, the veteran 3/113 Line has proved just as tough as the 10 Hussars in the recent battles and in this case, come out victorious, smartly turning and sending the Hussars back in disorder with a volley at 25 paces...
The Main Assaults:

Gen Sauret built on the success of 3/113 Line by deploying it and 1/119 Line  to defend the stream and restore the pride of French arms.  Gen Berwick has been forced to wait until the leading Portuguese infantry units arrive to support the Hussars before re-commencing his attack.
Having soundly defeated the first Anglo-Portuguese assault, despite being outnumbered nearly three-to-one, with 3/113 Line driving its opponents back in disorder and 1/119 Line routing Portuguese 8 Line with a crushing short-range volley. Gen Berwick is again forced to wait for the arrival of further troops before attempting his third attack to secure the crossing of the stream.
The Allied success:

The next few turns went by in a bit of a blur!  The first French line was defeated by  the third assault, with 3/113 Line finally breaking under the pressure, and 1/119 Line driven back with heavy casualties.  Gen Sauret attempted to repeat his success (he had delayed the Allies for around two-and-a-half hours at his first position) by forming a second position on the westerly stream.  However, Gen Berwick was not to be rushed and despite being slightly delayed by accurate French artillery fire, prepared a crushing assault which drove back the French in short order. - the highlight being the capture of the French artillery by the 68 Durham Light Infantry.  The French infantry, although severely shaken, did manage to inflict further losses on the Anglo-Portuguese infantry before being forced to retire.  However, out numbered and outflanked, French morale plummeted and Gen Sauret's force made an immediate turn for the rear.
As a result of this battle, 2 Cacadores and 1/119 Line were promoted to Veteran status.  5 Chasseurs were demoted to Raw.

Game Notes:
This scenario was based on Scenario 07 from Scenarios for All Ages .  The game lasted for 73 minutes, and the battle as a whole was very enjoyable.  However, the Allies had 'won' according to the victory conditions on Turn 3.  I'm not sure if this indicates a problem with the morale rules in Polemos General de Division or whether the scenario's victory conditions are, perhaps unconsciously, more suitable for rules based upon figure removal .  I'm beginning to think that, in general, the Red Forces have marginally less difficult victory conditions than Blue in many of these scenarios!

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