Well not really, but now Tom and I feel we have a handle on how to get the best out of British Reverse Slope tactics, we decided to re fight Vimeiro Hill last played at the Legionary Show in Exeter earlier this year, see the post for 6th of May.
To stage our re fight we were joined by, my other son and Tom's younger brother, Will and, my old mate and neighbour, Steve, who played this scenario as the British commander at Exeter. So the next generation of wargamers would be taking the lead in this game supported by Steve and myself, otherwise known as the "Old and Bold".
|The table set up and the forces arrayed|
|Everything ready to go|
|British Order of Battle|
|French Order of Battle|
We decided to fight this scenario following as closely as possible the original plans of the two commanders Junot and Wellesley.
So the brigades of Anstruther and Fane were set up on Vimiero Hill as per Wellesley's instructions. Likewise we adopted the entry points followed by Junot's brigades. To simulate Junot's separate attacks by his line infantry and reserve grenadiers, the French could not advance with the grenadiers until the line units were engaged in musket volleys of the main British line. In addition Acland's brigade would only activate and come on to the table if French units threatened to enter Vimiero town, simulating Wellesley's leaving the town un-garrisoned, and only entering it to protect his baggage after it became clear that the French were going to enter it also.
|Sir Arthur Wellesley's force laid out by brigade|
|52nd and 43rd Light Infantry, part of Anstruther's brigade|
|French Foot and Horse artillery|
His brother Will, who has just surfaced from AS exams this summer and so has had less practice with C&GII, took the role of General Junot, supported by his able Aide de Camp, Steve who has played the system a few times previously as we got to grips with it.
Yours truly ran the laptop.
|The view from the hill as the French advance is greeted by the Royal Artillery|
|Thomiere and Charlot's brigades started the attack|
|Junot held the Combined Grenadiers back|
|Anstruther's Light Battalion screen the forward slope|
|The British guns played on the columns during the advance|
|Junot's guns reply to the British barrage|
|Thomiere's brigade swing off the road towards the hill|
|The Grenadiers in reserve await the order to advance|
This fire together with the casualties caused by the artillery on the approach took its toll and as the lead French column of the 2/86me marched up the slope and finally identified the 2/95th Rifles in line to their front, the order to charge was given.
Instead of a cheer the French unit started to give way and retired back down the slope. The 1/86me Ligne was shaken by their colleagues withdrawal and halted at the foot of the slope, protected from the artillery fire by the dead ground. General Thomieres was forced to join the 2/86me to re-establish their composure, and was eventually joined by Junot as well, to add his encouragement.
|Thomiere's skirmish line contacts Antruther's Light Bobs|
|Fane's Light Battalion face off against the approaching brigade of GDB Charlot|
|The French guns attempt to drive off their British opposition|
|Thomiere's battalions discover the British lines|
|The skirmish battle in full swing on the British right|
|As the French columns close on the British lines, Wellesley calls forward his cavalry from reserve|
In addition the British gunners who were forced to retire behind the ridge due to the close range fire from the French guns, bravely came forward and resumed their fire as the French columns closed in.
As Thomiere's men fell back their place was taken by General Margaron's cavalry led forward by the 5me Provisional Dragoons. Wellesley was compelled to bring forward his own cavalry to counter the threat, sending the Portuguese to the opposite flank to threaten Charlot's columns, causing one of them to form square to protect the whole French line.
|The French dress the ranks prior to moving up the slope|
The Grenadiers advanced in the centre supported by the artillery who prolonged their guns up the hill to fire in to the British lines. However the British line had stepped forward to the crest and with the French charging they masked their artillery who were in canister range. The British artillery had no such problem as they were now in the British line, and promptly shot up the French horse guns.
The 3me Grenadiers were met by a crashing volley at 25 paces from the 50th Foot, knocking down 250 of the bear-skinned warriors, and promptly counter-charging them, sent them packing.
The other battalions met similar but less crushing fire power all resulting in their retirement from the hill.
On the extreme French left the 3/82me Ligne attempted to charge the 52nd Light Infantry and took 130 casualties for their efforts forcing them back down the slope.
|The52nd Light Infantry support the skirmish line|
Junot's army was finished, with his Generals riding to and fro attempting to rally their shaken battalions.
The Orbat summaries tell the tale of the gauntlet the French army had run with a tired and broken force. In comparison the British are still very much a force in being.
|With Charlots and Thomiere's brigades engaged, the Grenadiers and Dragoons join the assault|
|British Order of Battle at Game End|
|French Order of Battle at Game End|
|The Butchers Bill|
Thanks to Tom, Will and Steve for a fun game. Will is keen to try and find the way to unlock a British reverse slope, so will probably be commanding French in the next game, exams permitting.
This scenario is available to download from the Scenario Links. If you play it let me know how you got on.