The French had around a dozen infantry Battalions; all the troops were average XL, with two Veteran light cavalry regiments sneaked in to add some experience. The British division was a little weaker in infantry but had a Veteran Rifle battalion as well as two small units of heavy cavalry and the 10th Hussars. Jim and Geoff commanded the French, while I skulked behind the hills with the British! Andrew took command of the British centre-left when he arrived after lunch.
|The French kick off...|
|... ignoring the farm complex on their left ...|
|... and pushing carefully forward in more strength on the right.|
And then it all started to go wrong... The Rifles fixed swords and charged confidently into the Légère; to their horror and lasting embarrassment though the French battalion proved more than a match, inflicting many casualties and swiftly breaking them them for little loss!
|It was never like this in Sharpe...|
Smarting for revenge, another RHA battery appeared, rushing forward to rip a French square apart with canister. A hundred men fell in a few minutes, and the 10th Hussars scented blood! Confident that the square couldn't possibly stand, the hussars spurred their horses to a gallop and charged the enemy infantry.
|Cue the Monty Python French insults...|
A careless advance by the other French cavalry regiment presented yet another opportunity for the British to inflict some serious punishment - a heavy cavalry regiment promptly charged it, again confident their superiority would leave the field littered with French corpses. Alas, again it was not to be - yet more appalling dice throwing and they too were headed for the rear...
|The Thin Red Line begins to bend...|
It wasn't all as one-sided as this of course, and proved a very enjoyable game for all concerned. Interestingly, by the end of the afternoon both sides reckoned the other had won! However over all I'd say it was really a French victory as they were in a position to bring significant force to bear on the British centre, which would have prompted a full withdrawal as we just didn't have the reserves to resist it (or indeed any reserves by that point).
As ever, thanks to the participants for a fun day.