|General "Black Bob" Craufurd at Bussaco|
This Bank Holiday Monday Tom and I set up a "Training Game" to run through the British "Reverse Slope" tactics as played in Carnage & Glory II. I took a few pictures of this run through to make a visual record of the play test and Tom captured our orders and reactions in notes as we went.
As a follow up to last weekend's game we used French and British brigades used in "Action at Ventosa" and set the game up on the same terrain but with nothing "fancier" than a ridge position with a "Military Crest" identified as suggested in the rules.
|British Order of Battle|
|French Order of Battle|
I wanted to clarify how to play British Reverse Slope tactics and the use of the combined brigade light companies that the British used to cover the front of these positions as their skirmish screen.
Thus following Nigel's detailed response and his thinking when putting the rules together, Tom and I set up the following play test.
I have left the range stick visible in some of the pictures to give an indication of scale. The game was set up to one inch to fifty paces, about 37.5 yards.
The British were on Defend orders and naturally the French on Attack and from Turn one we went though the play sequence of Movement, Firing, Close Combat, Rally and End Turn, during which both sides activate their units as we go.
|British Set Up|
|French Set Up|
|French Move Turn 1|
|British Fire Turn 1|
|French Move Turn 2|
|British Fire Turn 2|
Movement Phase Turn 3
1. French 107 declares charge on British 505, successfully with a total charge move of 525 paces available to the unit.
2. French columns 108 and 109 advance on to the ridge with their skirmish lines detecting the British defenders.
3. French artillery move up limbered
4. British artillery prolong back 75 paces.
5. British battalions 502 and 503 advance onto the crest line.
6. British 505 is pinned by the charge to their front.
|French Move/Charge Turn 3|
|French Move-Charge Turn 3 from the French View Point|
108 fires at 502 causing 10 casualties
109 fires at 503 causing 21 casualties
502 fires at 108 causing 53 casualties
503 fires at 109 causing 118 casualties
505 skirmishes with 107 during the charge causing 15 casualties and reacts by falling back 150 paces
The British guns were silent as the advancing redcoats moved forward into their canister zone.
|Fire!! Turn 3|
505 having fallen back exposed 503 to the charge of 107
The French win the combat losing 23 casualties and inflicting 31 causing 503 to fall back 150 paces.
|Reactions Turn 3|
Movement Phase Turn 4
109 and 107 charge 503 reforming after being pushed back
108 charges 502
French artillery moves to flank the ridge position
505 falls back behind main line
Note the French charge markers at the back indicating how far the French charges can continue too should they break through.
|Move Turn 4|
502 stands the charge and fires at 108 causing 142 casualties
503 fails to stand and falls back through 501, 300 paces
501 fires at the chargers 50% on each causing 60 casualties on 107 and 72 casualties on 109
108 fires at 502 causing 10 casualties
107 fires at 501 causing 10 casualties
109 fires at 501 causing 11 casualties
502 counter-charges 108 which breaks and retreats 250 paces
Close Combat Turn 4
107 and 109 charges 501 , French win losing 12 casualties and inflicting 19
501 retreats 300 paces.
|Move Turn 5|
On the other side of the ridge French unit 108's retreat turned into a rout which the French General was unable to attend to given that he was rather busy else where. This freed up British units 502 and 504 to start to wheel onto the flanks of the remaining French columns, although they too were forced by Brigade fatigue to stop their advance.
The end of game stats are below clearly showing the damage inflicted and the "knackered" state of both forces.
We ended the test at this stage with a Major Victory to the British defenders.
|End Turn 5|
|British Casualties at Game End|
|French Casualties at Game End|
|The Results Table|
Play tests are a valuable method of learning the rules and seeing what units will do. From this game we replicated the classic British move when unit 502 halted the charge of unit 108 with a crashing volley causing 142 casualties and were rewarded with the option to counter-charge immediately following, which, taken up, broke the French unit and sent it recoiling down the ridge.
In addition the British Light Bobs behaved as predicted in Nigel's message by firing at the charging French column and then retiring behind the British line in support.
On reflection Tom and I thought we could have played a three up one back formation with the British brigade thus matching the French columns one for one with a reserve battalion at the back to cover any problems. This would have probably been a better tactic given all three French units were over 1000 men strong, so took some stopping!
Tom is now looking forward to trying out his "new lessons learned" in our next game. More later.