As I have mentioned before, each month the Napoleonic Miniatures Wargames Society of Toronto puts on a club game using Glenn Pearce's Polemos Ruse de Guerre rules, which I try to mirror as a solo game in the UK. The battle for September 2021 is Auerstadt - but this isn't it! What gives?!?
The original scenario is always designed as a big 'club' game with a lot of figures on a big table. I don't generally have a problem getting the figures together, but doing justice to the terrain and the wider scenario sometimes requires a bit of work on my part. Suffice to say, I am still figuring out how best to stage it. However, I was very much in the mood for a Polemos RdG game, so instead I picked this scenario which was published back in Wargames Illustrated 265.
However, the scenario might be familiar to more gamers as being the Napoleonic scenario featured in the first edition of the Black Powder ruleset.
It is quite an interesting scenario and the write-up in the Black Powder rules is very good. The premise is a fighting retreat by an Anglo-Portuguese force which has to force its way past a small French garrison to escape, whilst a larger French force closes in. How easy or difficult it is for a force to retreat varies quite widely between rulesets, so it will always provide an interesting 'test' scenario.
The Anglo-Portuguese Army:
The French Army:
The orders of battle above are those closest to the published scenario. I think that if doing this again, I would make or consider making the following changes:
|A closer look at the Allies: the Cavalry (bottom-left) and 1st Brigade (centre-right) are the rear guard of this rear guard, facing El Perez (right); 2nd Brigade (centre) and 3rd Brigade (top) head towards the bridge (top-left).|
|Another view - note that one of the cavalry regiments has been detached to support the 1st Brigade (top-right)|
|And another view, this time facing El Perez.|
|The French garrison, deployed to cover the bridge. They could have stayed in the village itself, but that would have allowed the Allies to cross the bridge before assaulting. |
|And the view between the French garrison (top-left) and the Allied 3rd Brigade (right)|
|Another view of the advancing French columns|
|A wider shot of the same|
|And a closer view of the infantry clash|
|The effort was too much for the British light infantry battalion however: although the French attack had stopped and descended into a desultory fusillade, the British lights have broken (centre)!|
|Quickly seizing the initiative to attempt to restore the situation, the Allied 2nd Brigade units launch a bayonet charge!|
|The French 1st Brigade has deployed to try and launch a more coordinated attack, but is suffering from British artillery fire (top) |
|The Allied units by the bridge start pouring across to safety (i.e. the Allied 3rd brigades and half of the 2nd)|
|The French 1st Brigade's attack is confounded by the fire of the British infantry, and the leading French battalion is routed (centre-right)|
|The British Light Dragoons have no hesitation in taking advantage of this opportunity, charging the remaining disordered French infantry.|
|The French infantry flee for the shelter of El Perez.|
|The attack of the French 3rd Brigade begins to develop however and sees off the British battalion from the Allied 2nd Brigade in short order (top - running away up the hill)|
|The French cavalry launches another attack, but yet again - without decisive result (bottom-left)|
|The French 3rd Brigade, being in the most promising position, launches an attack on the exposed Portuguese infantry (centre-left)|
|Meanwhile, the French Chasseurs lanuch a supporting attack down the vallet (centre-left); however, the French Hussars have finally had sufficient whiffs of grapeshot and have given up the struggle (bottom)|
|Unfortunately both French attacks miscarry: the French Chasseurs are driven back with loss by the British Hussars in the valley (centre); the Portuguese infantry has heroically stood firm against the advancing French infantry (centre-right)|
|The British cavalry advances and drives off the remaining French cavalry!|
|At least the French artillery is causing some casualties amongst the British defenders of the farm|
|However, the British artillery replies with devastating effect, routing one of the exposed French infantry battalions.|
|The British Dragoons, supported by the RHA, charges into the disordered flank of the French 3rd Brigade (centre) - the leading French battalions dissolve into rout|
|At that moment, the entire French brigade breaks and runs!|
|With the entire French Left in rout, Merle's Division is incapable of further action, allowing the Allies to continue their retreat unmolested.|