Monday, May 11, 2015

Even the British have bad days!

This game was a more relaxed affair, as numbers were down and nothing specific had been set up in advance. So, a simple battlefield was thrown together with a row of hills which some cowardly British could hide behind and a couple of small woods; a French division was then sent to evict them!

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.
The French commenced a general if cautious advance, although after an hour or two the appearance of a battery of RHA on the hill on the British left was enough to persuade the timid Frogs to pause - and even pull back a little - and think about their options. Meanwhile, on the other flank a British brigade erupted from the farm and enclosures to threaten the enemy flank, with the Rifles charging up the hill towards the side of the French gun line.
The French had little choice but to withdraw their guns as they pulled a Légère battalion back to counter the Rifles. Seeing the guns limber up and move off, British cavalry also began to move forward on their right to add to the pressure. Things were looking rather tight for the French on the left!

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...
Who promptly rolled a double six for their morale, and made some choice gallic gestures at the British! The hussars were thrown back in disorder - the start of a horrible retreat and pursuit by some vengeful French Chasseurs...

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...
Meanwhile, on the other flank an RHA battery which rashly unlimbered facing to the side was smashed to pieces by a storm of enfilade fire from both French 12pdr batteries.

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.


  1. Looks like an enjoyable game Colin.

  2. Hi Keith, yes it was, with lots of memorable events, but all for the wrong reasons and all affecting the British (like three consecutive morale throws of 3 on 2D6, and that French square throwing 12! And don't mention those Rifles...) There are days you just shouldn't get out of bed!