Saturday 31 May 2014

Hesse-Darmstadt 1st Battalion Gross-und- Erbprinz Regiment

A few days ago I announced plans to commence work on the Talavera campaign and have started to build General Laval's "German Division".

2nd [German] Infantry Division GdD Jean-Francois, Baron Leval,

OB Heinrich, Freiherr von Porbeck,
Baden Infantry Regiment Gross-Herzog Nr. 4: OB Heinrich, Freiherr von Porbeck,
 2 battalions
Nassau Infantry Regiment Nr. 2: OB August von Kruse,
2 battalions
Baden Foot Battery: 2 – 7pdr howitzers
MAJ Franz-Friedrich-Christian von Steinmetz

GM David-Hendrik Chasse,
Composite Dutch Infantry Regiment: OB Baron de Grave,
2 battalions
Dutch Horse Artillery Battery Nr. 3: 6 guns
HPT Hendrik-Rudolph Trip

GdB Balthazard 
Hessen-Darmstadt Infantry Regiment Gross- und Erbprinz Nr. 4: GM Georg-Johann Schaffer von Bernstein,
2 battalions
Confederation of the Rhine Battalion Nr. 3 (Frankfurt) OBL von Welsch,
Hessen-Darmstadt Foot Batterie: 4 – 6pdrs
LT Ludwig Venator 

So the first unit completed is the 1st battalion Hessen-Darmstadt Infantry Regiment Gross- und Erbprinz Nr. Four originally commanded by General Major Georg-Johann Schaffer von Bernstein, but he later resigned the command to Oberst Freiherr von Ledebur.

The brigade of two battalions was formed in August 1808 and, during its time in Spain, was referred to as the Regiment de Hesse by the French.

Both battalions were reorganised along French lines with four fusilier companies, a voltigeur and grenadier company.

As well as being at Talavera in 1809, the regiment was also present at Medellin, Ocana and the defence of Badajoz in 1812.

My battalion is composed principally of figures from Warmodelling. I particularly like the neck cloths attached to the Shakos on these sculpts. They really capture the campaign look of these guys that you see in contemporary pictures of the troops in the Peninsula. The horse for the Colonel is a replacement AB mount, you can't beat an AB horse, and with a little bit of filing the Warmoddeling Colonel fitted perfectly. The Colour is from Maverick Models and thanks to Stuart for getting this one and others of the German Division off to me within a few days of ordering.

I hope the pictures do the battalion justice as my usual camera is in for repairs at the moment and my terrain is all set up for tomorrows Oporto game hence the unit is pictured on my table.

A particular reference I found useful was

In addition there are the Osprey titles, 

Napoleon's German Division in Spain by Digby Smith is also a very informative source. A review of the book can be found here.

Next up the Second Battle of Oporto game two.

Monday 26 May 2014

Liebster Award Nomination

JJ's Wargames has been nominated by Jonathan Freitag at Palouse Wargaming Journal for a Liebster Award, and thank you to Jonathan for his kind remarks in recognising my humble little blog.

I have to confess not knowing anything about the Liebster Award until Jonathan dropped me a line to let me know he had included this blog in his top nine choices. Anything designed to encourage interesting blogs, and bring them to the attention of a much wider audience, has to be a good thing and thus I am passing on the baton, so to speak.

Rather that waffle on any more about how this works I have copied Jonathan's succinct list of what's involved.
  • Copy and paste the award on your blog linking to the blogger who has given it to you.
  • Pass the award to your top 11 blogs with less than 200 followers by leaving a comment one of their posts to notify them that they have won the award and listing them on your own blog. 
  • Sit back and bask in the warm fuzzy feeling that comes that knowing you have made someones day! 
  • There is no obligation to pass this onto someone else but it's nice if you take the time to do so. 
In addition to "flagging up" those blogs that would be well worth having a look at from time to time it also provides an opportunity to answer and pass on some questions about the blogger behind the blog. The questions you have been dying to ask but have never got around to posting. So as well as answering these myself, I will be passing them on to my nominees.

All these blogs, for me, have that something that keeps me checking in to see what's happening, be it great painting, modelling ideas, wargame/general comment and or inspiration to get into another period of interest - resist, resist!

"So the list of nominees are, in no particular order"

World War II Central
Platoon Forward
Dots of Paint
Marauder Moments
The Inevitable Spark
Blenheim to Berlin
Tomahawk Campaign
Prometheus in Aspic

1. Why did you start blogging?
I was introduced to it by a friend and fellow gamer at the Devon Wargames Group as a way to raise the profile of the club. I found I really enjoyed recording the games we were playing and being able to look back at the games from yesteryear, and I thought it would be fun to do my own blog, and it is.

2. If you could change one thing about the wargaming hobby, what would it be?
To restore the preeminence of "Old School Wargaming" as outlined in my post Old School Wargamer over more recent trends in the hobby and to encourage the younger generation of gamers to adopt this way of approaching wargaming.

3. Do you read Battle Reports and what makes them inviting to read?
Yes I do, but I find myself scanning those that simply list the events of a game. The best AAR's, for me, are those that give the reader an insight to what the players were trying to achieve and the frustration and struggle as they had to deal with the drama of events in the game. Give me some great pictures to illustrate the text and I'm in.
4. Is figure painting a chore or pleasure?
Well anybody who regularly reads the blog will know I love painting and am passionate about persuading others to get the "bug". I think it is just such a huge part of our hobby and allows us to express ourselves as well as being a great way to relax after a busy day/week.

5. Napoleon once was quoted as saying he preferred a general that was lucky over skilled. In gaming, are you lucky or skilled?
That question is a bit like asking someone if they're a good driver or not. I guess we all like to think we have a modicum of both skill and luck in our gaming. I suppose if you read a lot about the period you play and the rules are good enough to allow you to replicate that understanding then as the saying goes the more I play the luckier I become. These days I often run and organise more games than I play, and I get a lot of fun from that.

6. Could you limit your gaming and collecting to one period and one size? If so, what?
I suppose I could if out of necessity, in which case I would go for 28mm because my eyesight is only going to get worse. The period would be tricky because there are collections I would love to build before I die. However if I had to choose it would be Wellington in India, because that would be a stunning period to do in that scale, I mean elephants, who doesn't love elephants? Who knows I might still do it!

7. How do you deal with burn out?
I don't know, I've never had it happen. I tend to follow the maxim "Everything in moderation".

8. If you could only buy from one miniature company from now on, which one would it be?
Fighting 15's and Eureka 18mm Napoleonics. There is more than enough in their marvellous range of Napoleonic and Seven Years War figures to keep me painting to my hearts delight.

Tuesday 20 May 2014

Wellington against Massena - David Buttery

Last month I posted my thoughts about Peter Edwards book Albuera and why it had taken me so long to finish reading it. Well I took my own advice and got my IPad use under control and am now able to share my thoughts about the next book from my library.

This is the second  David Buttery book I have read, the first one I posted about last September was Wellington against Junot.

I was going to go through the chapters and my thoughts about them and then I read the review from the Napoleon Series.

Napoleon Series - Wellington Against

The review says everything I would including the reference to Imperial Guard infantry being put into the fighting for Fuentes, very silly.

That being said, I found the book a very entertaining read if not the forensic study of the battles I usually prefer in my history. The lack of orders of battle is an interesting omission in a book on this subject matter. Not a problem if like me and most other wargamers you have access to copies of orders of battle for this campaign but not very helpful for the casual reader trying to understand how the two armies were arranged.

I think the part of the book I found most interesting was the chapter on Massena's earlier career and the victory at Zurich causing the capture of 70,000 prisoners and beating two great captains of the period, Suvorov and the Archduke Charles, eclipsing Bonaparte and his disastrous adventure to Egypt. The description of a general prepared to wait for the right opportunity to strike fitted in with the description of the much older man that led the French forces into Portugal but was still able to show flashes of the brilliance demonstrated in his earlier career.

It is interesting to read about the high esteem he was held in by Wellington, who always considered him to have been the best of the Marshals he came up against in the Peninsula; and when they eventually met in Paris after the war are reported to have got on famously, exchanging compliments on each others performance in the 1810-11 campaign. This despite the differences in social class the two men came from. It was obviously the measure of Massena as a commander that overcame any such  issues in the eyes of Wellington.

The situation that Massena found himself in when he very reluctantly took the command of the third invasion of Portugal was very unenviable. The nature of dictatorships from Napoleon to Hitler means that these leaders only feel secure in their positions when they have all their subordinates competing with each other. Thus it was in the Peninsula, where Napoleon never gave supreme command to any of his commanders, and thus cooperation between forces became problematic. Massena was unable to order Soult to support his invasion as the latter should have done, and had problems getting Ney to obey the simplest orders. The last insult was having the insolent commander of the Guard Cavalry, Lepic at Fuentes, disobey an order to complete the attack on Wellington's disrupted flank, by claiming that he only took orders from Marshal Bessieres, whose whereabouts at the time was unknown and thus the battle opportunity was lost. I really came to the conclusion that if I had been serving Napoleon in that role I would have taken a young mistress on campaign as well.

Wellington knew full well that Fuentes was so nearly a defeat with the Duke having over extended his right flank and he was candid enough to admit it after the war. As he went on to say about the battle that if Bonaparte had been there then he would have been beat. I think this comment reflects not on any lack of talent on Massena's part but more the fact that Napoleon would have had the full cooperation of the Marshals that Massena was never able to rely on.

I came away from this book with a much deeper regard for Marshal Andrea Massena and a greater appreciation for why Wellington considered him as "their best".

If like me you are interested in the character of these two great commanders during this very important campaign then this book is well worth the read.

Monday 19 May 2014

Talavera Plans

The Guards in action at Talavera

With the the first run through of Oporto completed, and with two more plays to do, I have turned my gaze east towards the Tagus Valley and the 1809 Talavera campaign.

I thought it might be interesting to share my plans, as I have done with the previous projects of Vimeiro and Oporto; and how I think I will work up the forces and terrain to capture the essence of this really important campaign and series of battles.

The Talavera campaign is really quite a step up in terms of the models required to run the battles involved, particularly when it comes to the main battle of the 27th July.

My British forces for Oporto have broken the back of the British army on the Talavera Campaign, with just a few units to complete some gaps. The units that come to mind are the 24th, 31st, 45th, 61st, 83rd, 87th, 88th Foot, 3rd Dragoon Guards, 4th Dragoons and the 1st Hussars KGL.

The French army will require more work with 17 battalions of Line Infantry, Allied battalions are 2 Dutch, 2 Nassau, 3 Baden, 3 Hesse, 1 Frankfurt, 2 Polish. Cavalry would include Vistula Lancers, Westphalian Cheveau Legere, Baden and Dutch artillery and a French Horse Artillery battery.

Then there are the Spanish forces, about 9 battalions of infantry, 3 cavalry regiments and 2 artillery batteries.

To command these additional forces there will be a need to get some more command stands done.

As you can see that is quite a bit of painting, so I have therefore decided to approach this campaign by building my forces up progressively, and splitting the engagements up into smaller actions where possible; which as we progress, will allow a play through of the main battle with all the toys out together.

The good news is that I have just about all the figures bought and paid for and waiting for their paint job.

So the scenario plan in the time and play sequence:

Casa de Salinas - The little skirmish fought the day before the battle with Lapisse's division making a surprise attack on MacKenzie's 3rd Division who were acting as rear guard as the British pulled back to the Talavera position. The attack showed the inexperience of some of Wellesleys troops and nearly ended up bagging Sir Arthur Wellesley as well.

Cerro de Medellin, The Night Attack - Marshal Victor decides to test his enemy with an audacious attack at night on the key position of the whole allied line, the hill on the allied left flank known as the Cerro de Medellin. The French division under Ruffin nearly succeeded in taking the crest and it was only a strong counter attack led by General Hill that restored the position to British control.

Talavera, Pajar de Vergara - The attack by Laval's German division on the Pajar de Vergara redoubt held by British and Spanish troops in the centre right of the allied lines.

Talavera, Assault the Medellin - Attacked the night previously, the Medellin heights were the focus of two subsequent assaults the following day.

Talavera - The big one, where in time I should have enough of the troops that were present that day to do an 18mm mega game.

At some stage, and don't hold me to timings on this, because it needs a lot of Spanish troops, I would like to run a what if scenario that appeared in the July 1995 "Battlefields" magazine.

Casalegas 1809 - This scenario by Mike Oliver poses the question, what if Cuesta had gone along with Wellesley's original plan for their two armies to coordinate an attack on Victor alone; who had taken up a position on the Casalegas heights as outlined in Oman. I have always fancied trying this scenario and once I have a good chunk of Spaniards done it would seem a good idea to get the bulk of Cuesta's army completed. They will come in handy when I start to look at the Spanish battles in the War.

So there you have it. The plan is now out in the open and now I am going to have to make it live, because you all know that I said I would.

As always, your comments, thoughts and ideas are most welcome.

Sunday 11 May 2014

Oporto 205th Anniversary Game

At last, the day had arrived, all the painting, planning and modelling was over and it was time to get the toys out on the table to recreate the events in Portugal two hundred and five years ago.

The Objectives:
Victory status would be confirmed by C&GII, Inconclusive, Minor or Major victory.
If the British/French achieve either or both their tactical objectives the British/French Victory status will be improved one level for each.

1. Hold the Seminary uncontested, by occupying the Seminary building with at least one unit under orders. 
2. Prevent the French from getting 50% (11) of their units off table.
(Note uncontested hold of the Seminary was defined as one of Foy's brigades being in charge range of the building for five turns during the game. After the five turns they were free to deploy elsewhere. The contested state would prevent further landings of British troops here).

1. Take the Seminary, by occupying the Seminary building with one unit under orders
2. Get 50% (11) of French units off the table under orders.

The French must get clear of the town by end Turn 11 (13.00)

Briefing over, it was time to put the first troops on the table

So the game started with most of the French troops and their commander Marshal Soult off table in their billets in Oporto town.

British Order of Battle

French Order of Battle

General de Brigade Foy
At 10.30, Turn 1, General Foy has spotted British troops under the command of General Paget entering the Bishops Seminary after using wine barges to cross over the Douro. In response, he has sent an ADC off to warn Soult at his HQ. At 11.00 am he is expected to arrive and wake the Marshal and avoid him thinking it is just the Swiss washing their kit by the river!

General Wellesley has positioned eighteen guns to be able to fire on French troops should they attempt to interfere with the landing, and he has detached Generals Murray and Cotton to take the KGL infantry and British cavalry up river to take advantage of a semi intact ferry. These troops are expected to arrive after about an hour

Hill's Light Bobs move out from the Seminary to skirmish with the 17e Legere
The game would be a further test of the C&G system as we had the French troops set up on "Defend" orders. This would pose a problem for General Foy as these orders prohibit troops from charging unless accompanied by a general officer and thus it would be difficult to initiate a coordinated attack immediately; as indeed it proved in the actual battle. Thus Marshal Soult once awake would have to issue more appropriate orders to his commanders and deal with the "friction" that might cause.

The 3rd and 48th Foot stand to in the grounds of the Seminary, as the British guns open fire
On Turn 2 (10.45), the 17e Legere and the Foot Artillery started to move out of Oporto to take up the fight with the British troops in the Seminary. They in turn were greeted by round shout from Wellesley's guns and skirmish fire from the British light bobs in the vineyards.

Marshal Soult tested to awake from his slumbers and meet with Foy's ADC, requiring a 4 5 or 6 and promptly rolled a 3!!

The 66th Foot having just landed make their way up the cliff path
Whilst things were hotting up on top of the cliffs, the 66th Foot were disembarking and struggling up the path from the landing point.

The 48th Foot secure the Seminary building
With turn 3 (11.00) Foy was able to call out his other troops, the 70e Ligne, to support the Legere and move out towards the Seminary. Meanwhile Soult attempted to stir himself needing to avoid rolling a 1 or 2 and promptly rolled a 2!!.

The 1/17e Legere move out to contest the Seminary
The 66th Foot got up to the Seminary wall just as the 17e Legere started to drive off the British skirmish line. The poor old 70e Ligne were getting a taste of the new British artillery round from Major Shrapnel.

2/17e Legere confront Hill's Light Battalion among the vineyards

Wellesley's guns open fire on French troops

The 66th approach the top of the cliffs
With turn 4 (11.15) the British were amazed to see the arrival of not only Stapleton Cotton with the cavalry, but General Murray and his infantry on the road off to the east. The French were now in very great peril and they needed Soult to react this move. Seeing the arrival of these British reinforcements caused General Foy to become more circumspect in his actions, as he was the only force capable of defending the only road out of town for the rest of the French army.

It was then that Marshal Soult became aware of the situation and calling for his aides sent immediate orders to his subordinates in the town. However Soult's delayed response and the prompt arrival of the British flank forces now put the French evacuation plan in great difficulty.

The 17e Legere push forward towards the Seminary

Stapleton Cotton leads his cavalry into action 

The British bridgehead is growing stronger by the hour
The British commanders became aware of the need to close down the French position whilst the advantage was with them, and so Cotton and Murray had their troops double time along the road. This would have consequences later with the fatigue levels generated, but time was of the essence and "getting there fastest with the mostest" became the imperative.

Turn 5 (11.30). The first of the French commanders started to respond to their new orders, with Franceschi and the cavalry brigades moving north of the city to get out into the open country. Generals of Division Merle, and Delaborde also responded and the 86e Ligne moved off towards the road out of town. General Foy received his orders to move to the attack and was now able to bring his troops forward to threaten the Seminary. General Reynaud got the 4e Legere into the warehouse quarter of town and pulled the 15e Ligne away from the docks. As the French troops pulled out, the townsfolk moved to the harbour and started to take their boats over to the British bank.

Foy's Voltigeurs attack the British light troops on the wall, with the 70e Ligne moving into position in the background

Turn 6 (11.45). Foy moved the 70e Ligne forward to contest the advance of the 66th Foot who were now directed to pressure the French troops in front of the Seminary. In addition Foy brought up his Voltigeur battalion which promptly charged their British opposites and drove them back from the wall lining the vineyards.

French Light cavalry started to appear north of the town supported by horse artillery that promptly unlimbered by the windmill on the hill ready to defend the French road north. The British light cavalry wheeled of the eastern road and formed line, whilst behind them the four KGL battalions laboured forward with their light battalion in open order among the cork trees.

Then General Reynaud became confused with his change of orders and halted his two brigades reverting back to his original defend orders. Marshal Soult noticed the halt and sent off another ADC to enquire of the General what the delay was.

The 66th Foot move up to attack Foy's troops

The 4e Legere of Reynaud's brigade moves into the warehouse quarter
Turn 7 (12.00). The tipping point of this battle was reached. The French were desperately struggling to get their troops on the road whilst maintaining their grip on the Seminary and also had to now counter the threat from the fast approaching British cavalry.

Foy's Command prepare to resist the 16th Light Dragoons

British Light Dragoons move off the road to threaten the French escape route
The British could see the slow response of their enemy and were now moving to take advantage of their discomfiture by attacking from the Seminary and using their cavalry to further disrupt their movement on the road, to give time for the KGL infantry to close up.

With the pull back from the waterfront and the movement of the French cavalry, the off table area was now open to British troops to land, able to move slightly quicker due to the aid given by the Portuguese civilians.

The KGL battalions of Sir John Murray's brigade move up behind the cavalry with their light troops acting as flank guard
As the opposing lines started to close with both cavalry formations drawing their sabres, General Reynaud decided to take time to aid his favourite ADC who had been wounded in the incessant British artillery fire; and so the 4e Legere and the 15e Ligne were staying put on orders to defend the town.
(Note C&GII provides these colourful explanations as to why events have occured).

However the British were also having challenges to deal with, in that orders could not be passed to Paget and Hill in the Seminary to start to attack, and so it would be down to General Cotton and his cavalry to assault the French position.

The 16th Light Dragoons prepare to sound the charge

The RFA and KGL batteries laboured all through the morning taking their toll on French troops as they attempted to escape
Turn 8 (12.15). The stage was now set to decide where the result of this battle was going. The charge orders were given, bugles sounded and the thunder of hooves could be heard though the billowing clouds of white gun smoke.

The 16th Light Dragoons, under the direct command of Major General Sir Stapleton Cotton, lead off for the British, charging Foy's Voltigeurs lining the vineyard wall under the direct command of General of  Division Delaborde. The Voltigeurs held their nerve unleashing a crashing volley in to the light cavalry bringing 42 of their number down. The cavalry staggered under the volley, recovered, and crashed into the light infantry lining the wall. The Voltigeurs were decimated, losing 200 of their number in the ensuing melee with many men throwing down their arms to surrender. General Delaborde narrowly missed serious injury himself with his closest ADC being killed in the action and he being carried away with the survivors.

From his vantage point Sir Arthur Wellesley was able to monitor the progress of his troops
Next to charge were the 14th Light Dragoons who fancied they could take out the French Horse guns protecting the road, they were very wrong! The French gunners coolly received the charge with a full battery fire of canister emptying close to 100 saddles, driving off the attack.

The 86e Ligne struggle to get clear of the Oporto suburbs
Alongside the 14th Light Dragoons, the 20th and 3rd KGL Light Dragoons, in line, tackled the French light cavalry who were in column due to space restrictions on their deployment. Things looked in favour of the British, but due to their having to double march to get in to a position to attack, the fatigue levels were three times in favour of the French. With a half hearted exchange of sabre cuts the French easily drove off their British opposite numbers.

Whilst General Reynaud's troops were held fast in the town, the good news for the French was that the 86e Ligne was working its way clear of the suburbs. Meanwhile the 66th Foot supported the attack of the 16th Light Dragoons by advancing on the 1/70e Ligne and volleying them, getting a return volley in response. However the 1/70e Ligne were now pinned with British Light Cavalry on its flank!

Battalions of the 4e Legere congest the roads out of town whilst under fire from the British guns
Turn 9 (12.30). On the face of it the French seemed to have got the best of the fighting in the previous fifteen minutes, with the bulk of the British cavalry falling back. However the cavalry action had bought time for the KGL infantry to move up in support. Infantry was an arm that was in short supply for the French as over half of their number was still in Oporto town.

Good news greeted the French command as General Reynaud got his act together and issued orders for his men to recommence the march. Was it a case of too little too late? Further into town the British landings were well under way, lead by Major General Sherbrooke and his Guards brigade, who now started to move out behind the town ready to support their KGL colleagues by attacking the road out from the other flank.

Franceschi's cavalry guard the road north

The 14th Light Dragoons charge the 12/1er Artillerie a Pied of Foy's brigade in an attempt to close the road. The 3/70e Ligne provide support behind their guns.
The 16th Light Dragoons had now regrouped and despite the casualties suffered in their fight with the Voltigeurs, bore down on the open flank of the 1/70e Ligne. General Foy had joined the battalion to encourage them in their battle with the 66th Foot and was utterly surprised by this assault from what had been a secure flank.

The Light Dragoons were irresistible, the attack left the battalion with barely 20 men who could bear arms and General Foy was carried from the field severely wounded. If that was not bad enough the 70e Ligne had lost the first Eagle captured by British forces in the Peninsular War.

The 66th Foot prepare to take on the 1/70e Ligne under the watchful eye of Sir Roland Hill. 
The attack of the 16th Light Dragoons seemed to literally "knock the stuffing out" of the French command. There was a need to refocus on the objective, namely getting half the available units off the northern road.

Marshal Soult's army started with 17 battalions of infantry (not including the combined light battalions), 4 cavalry regiments and 3 artillery batteries. At the moment only the cavalry, artillery and three battalions looked likely to get clear at the expense of the rest of the army. Still the result was in the balance and the next half hour would be critical.

With the cavalry now in support Hills brigade prepare to move out and attack

Marshall Soult oversees the rearguard and the retreat

As the British cavalry fall back from their unsuccessful combat with the French cavalry, the KGL infantry move in.
The 16th Light Dragoons are mopping up in the vineyard, top left.

Victorious French cavalry command the road
Turn 10 (12.45) As the game edged towards the close, the British had clearly inflicted enough casualties to gain a victory, but the question remained: could they convert the victory to an overwhelming one by restricting the number of French units able to get clear within the time limit?

I should say the 13.00 time point to end the game was selected because this was the end point on the day and the players were simply trying to get a better result than the historical one. In reality Soult's army was devastated in the pursuit and he was at least two moves ahead of our table top command, so it seemed a good measuring point.

Success! The 16th Light Dragoons led by General Cotton regroup after destroying the Voltigeurs and 1/70e Ligne capturing their Eagle and severely wounding General Foy

The Eagle of the 70e Ligne taken at Oporto by the 16th Light Dragoons

With absolutely no room for any "cock ups" in the French plan to pull out, guess who, General Reynaud decided to get confused with his orders and his troops again stalled in their retreat. The remains of the 70e Ligne and the 17e Legere were now in retreat as were the artillery assets. The French cavalry was drawn up as a rear guard. The 86e Ligne looked likely to be cut off by the Guards and KGL infantry. The French command conceded with 15 minutes remaining.

The French retreat falls into disarray as the troops begin to lose order

Turn 11(13.00). The various commands shifted position and exchanged fire, but this was only the last gasp of a French army that was now an army in name only. Marshal Soult would escape with barely half his force, probably having to abandon his guns in the retreat. General Foy, severely wounded, and General Reynaud would be captured. There was a rumour circulating that Reynaud had been the senior general involved in the Agenton plot.

The British Guards arrive behind their screen of light troops ready to close of the escape road

Trapped in the confusion, the 4e Legere are stranded in the town suburbs still under artillery fire

Our game ran very close to the historical outcome, differing in two key events, namely the timely arrival of General Murray, and the late response of Marshal Soult to the news of the British landing. That half hour made all the difference in that it removed the time to deal with the friction events, such as General Reynaud's command becoming confused in the retreat. It also caused Foy's command to move to the defence much earlier than occurred historically as it became the rear guard to keeping the escape route open.

C&GII played as well as ever, with the added fun of seeing the command and control friction from the need for both sides, principally the French, to change the orders of their commands. As wargamers we often think that it should be straight forward in changing the orders of our Divisions and Brigades, but that in reality it was something you would wish to avoid particularly once the shooting had started.

Mid Battle picture, left to right Ian (Cotton & Murray), Nathan (Wellesley), Yours Truley (Gamemeister), Chas (Soult) and Tom (Foy)
The team for our 205th anniversary game are pictured above. We played from 9.30am to 6pm on the day, with lots of laughs and banter. Thanks to Ian, Nathan Chas and Tom for making this game one to remember. Cheers Guys.

[W] denotes No Advance
[R] denotes Halt or Retire
[Y] denotes Routing
[D] denotes Dispersed and removed from the field

The next replay is set for 1st of June