Monday 30 November 2015

Alfred the Great - The Great Heathen Army 871 AD, March Turn Eight

Well the Vikings are doing exactly what I would do in this situation which is carefully biding their time and building up their strength whilst awaiting their massive reinforcement to allow them to bring on a battle with little concern for the losses they might incur.

With their fall back to the Temes, there is little I can do to stop their resupply by occupying vacant Saxon religious buildings and villages and their holding of Lundene enables them to make full use of the river to swing their forces from one flank to the other very quickly, whilst my Saxon foot sloggers trudge about the countryside.

I thought that might have been the case and tried to take out Lundene early in the campaign, but the city cannot be laid siege to and assaulting any fortified hex is a huge gamble and as seen can be very costly for nothing gained.

The Wessex army is now moving towards the Temes in two mutually supporting battle groups, one under the King and the other under Alfred. The next turn is the end of March and another Saxon resupply turn which explains the Viking moves to occupy secluded Saxon villages in the hope of restricting my reinforcements before the arrival of the Great Summer Army in the following turn, so the next move will be quite important if the Saxons are to be able to resist the coming storm.

The Viking position along the Temes is strong and gives them a good position to descend on any Saxon force detached and vulnerable.

As always the Pagan remains inscrutable, but I feel we shall here from him soon! His last thoughts about his position from turn seven are up on the last post and were recovered from a naked gibbering monk from the monastery at Abbendun who had unspeakable atrocities committed against his person. Is there nothing these pagans wont stoop to!

Viking Comments Turn Eight

The Saxons move up the road as I had expected and then split into two forces but neither of these groups threaten Abbendun so I can still occupy this area and deny him resources, the two little villages will have to be abandoned as I foresaw.

My Supply turn gives me 11 extra points which I spend on another Jarl and 6 more Warriors which have to be placed in London as it’s my only Fortified Hex.

My Army move is reasonably straight forward, I can now re-combine the army into two groups and occupy the two Religious sites either side of the River. As Turn 9 is yet another Saxon supply turn then I keep the warrior in Saches and move another one down to Leobriban.

My final position now gives me several choices on what to do next however it all depends on were the Saxons move so I don’t have an actual plan at the moment. Its time use the advantage of Cyberboard and try out all those possibilities.

Now why did he split into two groups? Lets have another look at the map, oh yes the Reinforcements from Chippenham couldn't move any further; I need to take this into account.  

Sunday 29 November 2015

2/83rd County of Dublin Regiment of Foot - Fitch's Grenadiers

The 83rd County of Dublin Regiment of Foot was raised on the 28th September 1793 by American born Lieutenant Colonel William Fitch; one of the new regiments raised in response to Britain entering the Revolutionary War with France.

Colonel William Fitch - 1800 - painting by John Singleton Copley
The Raising of the 83rd Regiment of Foot and Colonel William Fitch

The portrait of Colonel Fitch above is very intriguing, presumably in his uniform as Colonel of the 83rd Foot, but showing him with silver lace and bullion with his yellow facings, not the gold lacing for officers in the 83rd.

The regiment soon gained the nickname of Fitch's Grenadiers based on the British Army's traditional habit of "irony with a smile" in that the majority of the recruits were considered short men for the time and Grenadiers were always picked for being the tallest men in a regiment.

The 83rd were soon on active service with half the regiment being sent first to Jamaica in 1795 taking part in the Second Maroon War where Colonel Fitch was killed in action with the rebels and the other half being sent to Santo Domingo with the two detachments not being reunited until 1798 in Jamaica remaining on garrison duty until 1802 when it was recalled back to England to recruit its losses from battle and disease having lost nearly 900 men from the original strength of 1100 in the time away from home.

Adjutant of the 83rd Foot, Jamaica - Maroon War 1795 - watercolour Dan Green

It was during their time at home with a period of garrison duties in Jersey between 1803-05 that the second battalion was raised. The first battalion was soon ordered overseas again joining the expedition against the Dutch colony at the Cape of Good Hope where it took part in the Battle of Blaauwberg 1806 and following the victory against the Batavian Army remained as part of the garrison until 1817.

Meanwhile the 2/83rd remained at home on garrison duties, supplying drafts of reinforcements to the first battalion at the Cape, and raising its establishment from around 600 to 1000 men until in early 1809 it was put on standby to reinforce Sir John Moore's army in the Corunna campaign.

With the withdrawal of Sir John's army in January the battalion was recalled from sea and almost immediately put on standby to join a new force being assembled under Sir Arthur Wellesley, landing at Lisbon under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Gordon with the new Commander of Bristish and Portuguese forces on 6th April 1809.

Joining with the 2/9th Foot and the 2/10th Portugese Line Infantry in the 7th brigade under Brigadier General Alan Cameron, part of General Hill's Division, the battalion was sent north as part of the campaign to drive Marshal Soult out of Oporto and eventually chase the French army back into Northern Spain, routing the French rearguard at Salamonde on the 16th May.

May-June 1809 found the 2/83rd moving south through Portugal with the rest of Wellesley's army towards the Tagus Valley, save the Portuguese who were left to protect Oporto and to monitor Soult and Ney.

On the 18th June in Plascencia they found themselves now brigaded with the newly arrived 1/61st foot and a company of the 5/60th Rifles under Brigadier General Cameron part of General Sherbrooke's 1st Division and marching towards Talavera arriving there at the end of July.

The 2/83rd along with their brigade comrades spent most of the time at the Battle of Talavera enduring lying down under French artillery fire until the late afternoon of the 28th July when the brigade was at the the centre of the main French attack in the battle.

After successfully repulsing the French infantry columns of Lapisse and Sebastiani, the British battalions involved pursued the French beyond the Portina stream with Cameron's brigade managing to halt their pursuit only to see the KGL and Guards keep going and get badly handled by the second line of advancing French columns and themselves pursued back across the Portina stream with French officer being heard to exclaim "Alons, mes enfants, ils sont touts nos prisonniers" ("Come, my children, they are all our prisoners").

Cameron's brigade helped delay the French counter-attack long enough for the 1/48th and Mackenzie's 3rd Division to come up and repulse the second wave of French infantry.

The afternoon attack was the final "throw of the dice" for King Joseph and the French were starting to withdraw by 19.00, but the 2/83rd had paid a terrible price for its bravery, losing over 50% of their strength, losing 283 men in total with Colonel Alexander one of four officers killed along with thirty-eight men.

The 2/83rd would go on to join the list of those second battalion infantry regiments that would form the veteran core of the the Duke of Wellington's Peninsular Army, with battle honours to include Talavera, Busaco, Cuidad Rodrigo, Badajoz, Salamanca, Vittoria, Nivelle, Orthez, Toulouse and Peninsula. with Colonel Alexander awarded posthumously the Army Gold Medal with Talavera clasp.

Sgt Thomas Hazelhurst, 2/83rd Foot, Picurina Fort, Badajoz 1812 - watercolour by Dan Green

An excellent illustration of the look of the 2/83rd is created in this picture by Dan Green and more information can be found in the link to Royal Irish Website.

My 2/83rd are composed primarily of figures from the Xan range supplied by Empress Miniatures and the Command group of mounted officer and two ensigns from the AB range supplied by Fighting 15s. The Colours are from GMB flags.

Other Sources consulted for this post:
Wellington's Infantry (1), Osprey - Bryan Fosten
Talavera, Wellington's First Victory in Spain - Andrew W. Field

Thursday 26 November 2015

Alfred the Great - The Great Heathen Army 871 AD, March Turn Seven

If you have been following this thread of posts up to now, you might like to have a look back at the preceding ones as I have added "Mr Steve Blood-axe's" pagan Viking thoughts about his plans and preparations to the end of those previous postings and will add his comments from the other side of the hill as we go on from now.

Alfred the Great- The Great Heathen Army 871 AD - Introduction
Alfred the Great- The Great Heathen Army 871 AD - Turn One
Alfred the Great- The Great Heathen Army 871 AD - Turn Two
Alfred the Great- The Great Heathen Army 871 AD - Turn Three
Alfred the Great- The Great Heathen Army 871 AD - Turn Four
Alfred the Great- The Great Heathen Army 871 AD - Turns Five & Six

With the start of March, turn seven of our game, Aethelred calls out the shire-men and three Earls and fifteen warriors join the Earl and seven warriors of the garrison at Cippenhamm. I was hoping for seventeen warriors until I realised those pesky Vikings had sailed down the Temes and occupied Abbendum, top right on the map. The only way to stop that kind of thing is to occupy the key sites along the river from Lundene but I don't have enough men to spare from the main army.

King Aethelred then takes his army north towards the town ready to confront the Viking army if necessary. The Royal Estates form the bastions of Wessex and as well as acting as recruit depots form a key part of the defence allowing the main army to create forces to support it in a given area where they are needed.

With a Viking resupply due in the next turn I expect the army will fan out to occupy as many sites as the safely can to gather in the resupply points even though they currently hold ten points. King Bagsecg and his force will probably move to one of the villages nearer the Temes rather than invite attack from my army. He could move to Clere and be beyond my reach but that would separate him from King Halfden's force further north.

Saxon Comment - Post the Viking move.
Well the good news is that my expectation was proven correct and I am in my opponents mind. The bad news is that my expectation was correct and the Vikings are content to build their forces in anticipation of the arrival of  the Great Summer Army. I have a feeling it might be a difficult year!

Not much heard from our Viking friends, other than a comment made in some Norse gibberish from a straggler we picked up and roughly translated by my tame Viking Ealdorman, Uhtred along the lines of "run away and back to the boats". Oh I tell a lie, look what turned up in the Wessex post

Viking Commentary Turn 7

The Saxons end their move sitting directly below Chippenham , this position means that I will not be able to concentrate my army and attack them so I need to think of another idea.
The Viking Resupply is next so instead of staying around Chippenham as I planned, I will move back to the next highest collection of points available which is along the Thames.
Unfortunately given the terrain I cannot get everyone into nice little groups as the forces that were in Malemsbury are limited to how far they can reach due to woods etc so I do the best I can and strengthen this group up a bit just in case.
The reinforcements that sailed up river last turn to occupy Abbendun cross to the other side to occupy Dorchecestre instead for another two points and I push out a single warrior to grab another point at Sashes ?. A shiny new penny to anyone who can tell me what town this is supposed to be. (Warning. Promises involving shiny new pennies will not be honoured)

Next turn I will combine everyone into two groups and I will probably have to abandon the two little towns which is no problem. Hopefully the Saxons will predictably trundle up the road towards me and not go across country as this will mean me having to evacuate Abbendun as well before they score for re supply.            

Tuesday 24 November 2015

Alfred the Great - The Great Heathen Army 871 AD, February Turn Six

The start of turn six and after the failure to take Lundene, Aethelred has left garrisons at Readingum and Basengas and brought his forces together in the forest west of Basengas under his and Prince Alfred's leadership and marched south west towards Ethandun.

The Vikings have in their turn been busy laying siege to Cippanhamm causing the loss of three Saxon warriors from the ten in the garrison whilst bringing in their reinforcement of a Jarl and four warriors at Lundene.

With the Wessex army still one move away will Cippanhamm hold out to allow Aethelred to break the siege?

Saxon moves turn 5 & 6
The march by the Wessex army south west has had the desired effect of forcing the Viking army to break its siege of Cippanhamm, but the sneaky Vikings with one eye on the resupply chart have moved into as many villages and Saxon sites as they safely can to restrict the additional Saxon units able to be created next turn.

The Re-supply and Turn Record Chart - A key part of the game's engine, that determines
when reinforcements can be organised
In addition their careful placement means they cannot be reached by the Saxon force in one move.

The Vikings break their siege in turn 6
With the arrival of their Great Summer Army only weeks away, the Vikings can afford to bide their time and limit the Wessex army's ability to build up to meet the threat, or better still overwhelm their force before their comrades arrive. Likewise the pressure builds on the Saxons to risk forcing a battle to weaken the Viking main force and hope to re-coup strength later to contest matters with the second Viking army. The game does pose an intriguing situation.

And now a word from the Vikings

Viking Turn Five

I had to wait a turn for the siege to take effect,
First turn, I can now throw 1 dice needing a 1, a 3 or a 5 to do damage. The damage will then be 1, 2 or 3 casualties accordingly.
I throw a 5, result is 3 dead Saxons.
This could take a while and the main Saxon army is closing in. Let’s see where they end up before deciding what next to do.

Viking Turn Six

If I continue the siege then I get to throw the dice twice this turn for casualties, three times next turn etc. He’s still got 7 men left and an Earl with another Saxon supply turn coming up, better have another look at the rules on supply.
“Can be Placed in any Royal Estate not held by the Vikings “That doesn’t sound very good, better look at sieges and see if that stops him reinforcing. Nope nothing there, Hang on what’s this:
Counters cannot be re-supplied into a Fortified Hex that is under siege”
Right so I can stick it out if necessary.
The Saxon army is, let’s see, how far away….
Four hexes from my southern most stack so he can attack and easily break the siege.
Well I have two choices, Mass the army somewhere and offer battle or retreat back and occupy Supply points as he has another resupply phase coming up.
If I do offer battle it will have to be SE of Chippenham, then he will resupply first with another 35 points all no doubt going into Chippenham, marching out and joining up with the main army.
Run Away!
My groups are placed just out of range on as many supply points as I can occupy , I also send some warriors by boat from London up the river to Abbendun to prevent another 2 points of supply.

Meanwhile I run through several alternative strategies on what to do in the next few turns, all are fiendishly cunning. Cyberboard has some visual problems with playing, for example I would like a bigger full screen map for this game instead of half screen (not even that) or minute screen but it does let you freely move all the counters around in-between turns trying out lots of different options and all the counters will go back to their original spaces, as long as you don’t press save of course.

Monday 23 November 2015

Talavera Dawn Attack - Game Three

Talavera Dawn Attack Game One
Talavera Dawn Attack Game Two

Yesterday was a day of firsts and what turned out to be a great day's wargaming. In fact one I would describe as one of the most enjoyable games I have ever played. The company and banter was first class, the game played in a great spirit that pushed the scenario to its limits, and a game that seemed to model the events of over two hundred years ago very well.

It was a first in terms of the most figures from the new Napoleonic collection in action on the table in one game, with practically half of the two opposing armies going at it and a true test of C&G's ability to manage this size of game and indeed the potential to run the full thing next year.

We knew we would need a full day of gaming to see what this scenario could offer and we may need to take even longer for the full afternoon battle, so this would be an important test.

Map to illustrate the set up for the Dawn Attack scenario
As discussed in the preamble to game two, the challenge in designing a scenario about the dawn attack at Talavera is recreating the drivers and constraints that affected the opposing commanders involved, tailoring the victory conditions to match what in some cases may well be an asymmetrical battle whilst also allowing for the potential that the plan originally envisioned by Marshal Victor actually came together producing a much more evenly matched clash of arms.

It is probably worth saying that we are not looking to design a nicely balanced game. The reality is that real battles don't tend to be like that and so we have to make our victory conditions measure how well our table top commanders have performed against their historical predecessors and try as much as possible to present some of the key issues that they had to deal with.

So some gamers might not choose to attack the British line with less than half of the French infantry on the table, but in reality that is what happened and we have tested that scenario in the previous two games. This game was set up to test the alternative scenario that sees General Villatte wholly committed to supporting General Ruffin and thus having the British line facing the force of two of the three infantry divisions in Marshal Victor's I Corp, plus the massed light cavalry and artillery of the French army as a whole.

In the final draft of this scenario the French attack plan will be selected randomly and only known to the French commander/s and then only when a decision is required from General Villatte and his command.  Thus General Ruffin should be leading the attack on the British line not sure with what French total force will be involved and with the British totally unaware of French force commitment. In our test game, the British were aware that they would be facing a full out attack and that must be born in mind as that uncertainty about what the French are up to is another important aspect that will keep this scenario fresh and interesting, particularly if played in a linked up manner as part of a mini-campaign.

To test a game like this you need to employ the services of the 'A' Team and it was nice to see that the players presented themselves in full dress uniform for the forthcoming clash of titans.

Both sets of players are now veterans using C&G seeing service in the Vimeiro and Oporto Campaigns and that experience was clear to see in the way the two armies were wielded yesterday.

So, introducing our commanders who were carefully picked for the attributes they would bring to their respective roles, we had Marshal Victor played by Chas, better known to his friends as "Mad Dog". A very seasoned, aggressive commander, perfect for the role and ably supported by an equally aggressive General of Division Ruffin, played by Will who popped back from University to take part in this final scenario play test.

The French Command Team

Frrench Commander Claude Victor-Perrin, Duc de Belluno, Marshal of France, a.k.a. Chas
One of the new generation of French Marshals and one keen to make his mark in Spain, and perhaps establish a kingdom of his own, Marshal Victor had trounced all the Spanish armies that had dared to oppose his march into the peninsula and with his Grande Armee veterans in I Corps, the premier corps of the French army he will soon make short work of that General Wellesley and his "Rost Beefs".

General de Division Francois Amable Ruffin, a.k.a. Will
General Francois Ruffin, a soldiers soldier, having seen service at Austerlitz, Heilsberg and Friedland where he gained his promotion to General of Division and a title of Count of the Empire, he has, since marching into Spain with I Corps, seen action at Somosierra, Ucles and Medellin and knows that his veteran battalions will give a good account of themselves when the need arises. No wonder then that he and his division are the spearhead of I Corps.

The British Command Team

The British army fielded a no less experienced command team very aware of the strength and solidity of the army they commanded and confident in their ability to see off, yet again, the French coming on in the old familiar way. Vince took the role of Sir Arthur Wellesley ,"Old Hooky", bringing his phlegmatic, cool under pressure, skill set.

He was likewise ably supported by a general always able to get the best from his men, and a commander who can always be expected to produce the unexpected, General Rowland Hill, played by Steve M.

British Commander Lieutenant General Sir Arthur Wellesley, better known in social circles as Vince
Sir Arthur Wellesley, the youngest Lieutenant General in the British army and the "Wunderkind" of his generation. Aloof and with friends in high places, he is the very model of a Tory Peer. Preferring to keep his distance from the lower ranks, the soldiers have come to respect his abilities on the field of battle and the French commanders who have faced him are learning a new respect for the so called "Sepoy General".

Major General Rowland (Daddy) Hill, loved by the men, a.k.a Steve M.
Major General Rowland Hill, perhaps the best of Sir Arthur's field commanders and in time will establish his clear credentials as really the only British general in the Peninsular War who could be trusted with an independent command. No better man then to have in command of the division tasked with holding the key to Talavera, the Cerro de Medellin.

The Dawn Attack - Talavera 0500
If you have followed the progress of this scenario in the preceding games, you will be familiar with the set up of the two armies glowering at each other across the valley of the Portina stream and the picture below of the French army from the British lines illustrates the set up at 0500 with the firing of the French signal gun that announced the commencement of a forty-five minute bombardment by the massed French artillery.

05.00 and a single signal gun announces the start of the French attack
However as the French fire whistled in among the British gun line on the forward slopes of the Cerro de Medellin the weather for that July early summer morning decided to take a hand with a mist that descended into the valley reducing visibility to just four-hundred paces within fifteen minutes, silencing the French guns.

New orders were quickly dispatched to French commanders and within half an hour the rapid beat of the "Pas de Charge" or "Old Trousers" in British circles, could be heard echoing across the valley from French lines, announcing the advance of the French infantry columns.

The French guns seek out likely targets as their smoke and a quickly descending mist blots out the British line
With some of General Ruffin's columns doubling along the northern valley, the two French infantry divisions, totalling twenty-one columns of troops approached the lower slopes of the Cerro de Medellin en mass, providing deployment room from the following French light cavalry and horse artillery.

The French columns close on the British line shielded by the poor visibility due to the morning mist
The first the British defenders along the front line knew of the impending attack was the increased volume of French drumming as the columns drew ever nearer, to be preceded by a screen of voltigeurs emerging from the mist to be met in some cases by a similar screen of British "Light Bobs".

This attack was different in its scale, to others experienced so far, as the volume of French skirmishers made it difficult for their British opposite numbers to keep all of them away from the British line beyond. The poor visibility allowed the French to infiltrate the lines and in turn prevented the British screen to take full advantage of the range of their rifle companies to play similarly of the advancing French columns.

With the threat of Will's advance in the northern valley developing, British heavy cavalry move off in their direction over the Cerro, centre top left.
As the French troops closed on the British line the visibility became worse still dropping to two-hundred paces and the ability for the opposing units to identify their enemy and engage them only increased (C&G randomly tests each request for a unit to fire on another even if theoretically in visibility range. Thus one unit might catch a glimpse of its target in the murk and open fire, whilst its neighbour similarly placed will fail to do so - very frustrating but very realistic).

If you want to see the effects of poor visibility on a Napoleonic battlefield, check out the pictures from this year's Waterloo re-enactment with the audience struggling to see anything through all that black powder smoke. That was on a clear sunny day, so you can imagine the issues early morning mist would add.

The arrival of so many French troops in front of the British line at one time was awe inspiring and appeared unstoppable.
The 27e Legere and 63e Ligne of General Cassagne's brigade cross the Portina. The 94e Ligne and 95e Ligne of General Puthod's brigade are echeloned back to their left. 
First contact as the voltigeur screen of Cassagne's brigade emerges from the mist
As the French columns closed up behind their voltigeur screen, the British line stepped forward to narrow the range, forcing both sets of skirmishers to fall back behind their supports. The formed units on both sides had been subjected to some of the skirmishing and it was unclear what effect it may have had, but knowing how formidable British volley fire can be the French had presented multiple targets in an attempt to dissipate their fire over them and to multiply their own limited return fire from the heads of their columns.

Both sides braced themselves as the British command issued their fire orders and awaited the results. The fire when it came was strong but not devastating. The French commanders look stunned for a moment, but quickly recovered from their surprise and equally quickly issued orders to charge in.

The next half an hour of battle saw a "Montgomery" style crumbling attack as the weight of numbers and continual charges pushed the British line back beyond their supports, leaving several of their battalions shaken and badly disorganised. The French onslaught caught two of the three British artillery batteries unlimbered and now without support and they were quickly overcome.

Many French battalions had suffered in the fight and the skirmish battle and it became unclear which side had the advantage, although the French were still, in the main, advancing and able to issue charge orders if with a declining number of units.

The first exchanges of canister and skirmish fire as the two sides clash
Both sides now looked to their reserve infantry formations and cavalry brigades to provide respite or indeed turn the battle in their favour.

The British had a problem on the Cerro de Medellin as the rapid advance and attack of both French divisions had prevented them from completing a double line of battalions out to their extreme left flank. Their only remedy had been to order General Fane's heavy cavalry to move in that direction to try and impede General Ruffin's advance.

With the range closing between columns and lines, the skirmish screens fall back
However the French too had a problem in that their success in driving back the front-line British battalions on the the British right had worn down the French infantry with no units in reserve and now they were coming up against fresher British infantry from the second line of brigades.

Fire! The British line steps forward and unleashes its first volley
The major element of uncertainty was the visibility that had persisted at two-hundred paces for over an hour and had forced the fighting to become a close up infantry battle with little support from either the artillery or the cavalry.

The yellow marker is a small counter indicating a charge carry through position for the French infantry as the intensity of close up battle takes effect
The crumbling nature of the French attack continued, but as it did both sides commands began to show the distress this was causing with more and more units displaying red and white reaction markers and eventually the first yellow "rout" markers appeared in French ranks. Was this indicating a turn in the tide of battle?

Amid the smoke of battle and the shrieks and cries from the dying and wounded, General de Brigade Meunier leads from the front

The pressure builds along the front as the both sides commit more troops to the fight 
As if to reinforce the concern in French ranks of a possible British resurgence, the battle was rent by two devastating British volleys in quick succession, one from the 2/66th Berkshire Regiment and the other from the 1st KGL Line Regiment. Both volleys were followed up by the traditional cheer and a bayonet charge that sent their French opposite numbers reeling back into the valley.

The sprinkling of casualties and a flowering of red markers (indicating units on halt or retire reactions) along the front indicate which way the tide of battle is turning
The two remarkable British counter-attacks seemed to herald the collapse of the forward momentum of General Villatte's division and sensing their distress the British light cavalry moved forward through the olive trees to get into a position to add further to their difficulties.

To counter the serious threat the British light dragoons posed, the French brought up General Merlin's light cavalry and two squadrons of the 14th Light Dragoons were met in the charge by two squadrons of the Vistula Lancers, with the lancers getting the best of it losing eight of their number but inflicting eleven casualties on the 14th Light Dragoons and pushing them back.

The British were reaping their fair share of coloured markers as the British heavy cavalry draw near forcing French troops into square
In a similar vain and eager to keep the pressure on the British atop the Cerro the French brought forward General Beaumont's Hussars and Chasseurs who being sufficiently close to the action were on scene when the 1st Battalion of Detachments broke back and seeing the closeness of the French cavalry threw down their arms and surrendered en mass, thus depleting the British defence still further.

Sir Arthur Wellesley right and General Hill left busy stabilising the defence of the Cerro de Medellin
Trying to emulate the French cavalry success General Fane's heavy brigade of cavalry advanced to the forward northern slope of the Cerro, only to be met by fire from two squares of the 9e Legere forcing them into a discreet retirement out of range, not before loosing ten of their troopers to the firing.

Marshal Victor amid the ranks of the 24e Ligne encourages his men forward, for France and the Emperor
With the light fading fast outside and with both armies struggling to hold their ground in different areas of the battlefield, both commands made their final push to gain a clear ascendancy. This push saw the 66th Foot and 1st KGL yet again set too with the French infantry, causing more breaks to the rear and sealing General Villatte's division into an order to pull back and regroup.

As the mist finally clears it reveals General Villatte's division in retreat and disarray among the British on the Cerro de Medellin
With two squares of the 9e Legere to their front, Fane's heavy cavalry grudgingly give ground as they come under increasing French fire.
 Likewise, General Ruffin refused to be cowed by British heavy cavalry and his infantry now supported by Beaumont's light cavalry and horse guns forced their way on to the summit of the Cerro, with Hill's battered remaining battalions, glowering at him from the southern side.

Game end and General Villatte's Division have been repulsed
And that was where we called it a day. We had played from 9.45am through to 6.45 pm with a half hour for lunch. Glancing at the table I was very unsure about the end result as we consulted C&G for its adjudication. I decided to call it as a minor French victory given that the French had gained contested possession of the Cerro de Medellin and looked very unlikely to be repulsed, but that the the other larger French division was in headlong retreat back over the other side of the valley.

Game end and the British are struggling to maintain a hold on the Cerro de Medellin
C&G called the game a minor British victory based on the state of the game when we stopped on turn ten or 07:30 game time. This calculation is based on casualty and morale states alone, but does not include the control of ground and more importantly key objectives.

When the other factors were put into C&G the result reversed to, as I had correctly assessed, a Minor French Victory, which would sit well in a linked game scenario for the French and clearly illustrated that the scenario has plenty to offer both camps based on the previous games.

The game from a viewers perspective was a feast for the eye and roller-coaster in terms of the swings in fortune throughout, causing all of us to be unsure of who had it in the bag. The French attack took full advantage of the visibility, which finally lifted to a clear day with a light rain on turn ten, by using it to get their skirmish line into the face of the British defence. This approach clearly unsettled the forward British battalions causing them to under perform at the crunch moment. When this was coupled with the multiple targets presented that split their poorer firing "the writing was on the wall" and the French attack was in the ascendancy.

This worked really well for Ruffin's division up against a single line of defenders who couldn't get a respite from the continual French attacks, but to the south, Villatte's division hit a slight wall when it came up against Donkin's and Tilson's brigades in behind the two KGL brigades who together effectively snuffed out their attacks and indeed were counter-attacking towards the end, hoping to put the light cavalry in to "seal the deal".

A fantastic day that will live long in the memory and thank you to Will, Chas, Vince and Steve for making it one to remember and to Nigel Marsh the designer of C&GII for a great set of rules that enables a large game like this to flow seamlessly.

What follows is the Game summary together with the "butcher's bill" for both sides which has some new improvements in the information provided to gamers and I have included a little explanatory example below so you can see what they all refer to. The honours ratings (number in brackets) now show, which is a very useful system to show which units over performed in the game above what would have been expected.

Talavera Dawn Attack, As of Game Turn: 10

[D] Denotes dispersed
[Y] Denotes In rout
[R] Denotes halted in disorder, in retirement or retreat
[W] Denotes no advance unless accompanied by officer

Example Leader/Unit Stats.
ID Number: General Officer: Condition of Officer: Quality: Command Range
501] Lieutenant General Sir Arthur Wellesley - Active A [1500 paces]
ID : Unit Title: Losses/Strength: Unit Quality: Formation Status: (Honour Rating) Morale/Fatigue
[502] 3rd Dragoon Guards B 5/ 268 C+ Formed ( 1) Good Acceptable

British Army -Talavera Dawn Attack, As of Game Turn: 10

Army Sir Arthur Wellesley
[501] Lieutenant General Sir Arthur Wellesley - Active A [1500 paces]
[D] [550] Eliott's Brigade 151/ 0 C D'persed Broken Tiring
[D] [551] Rettberg's Brigade 144/ 0 C D'persed Poor Acceptable
[552] Heyse's Brigade 17/ 132 [ 6] C Formed ( 3) Average Acceptable

Division William Payne - Defend
[503] Lieutenant General William Payne - Active C+ [725 paces]
Brigade Henry Fane - Defend
[504] Brigadier General Henry Fane - Active B- [400 paces]
[501] 3rd Dragoon Guards A 0/ 255 C+ Formed Good Fresh
[502] 3rd Dragoon Guards B 5/ 268 C+ Formed ( 1) Good Acceptable
[503] 4th Dragoons A 5/ 274 C Formed ( 1) Good Fresh
[504] 4th Dragoons B 0/ 271 C Formed Good Fresh
Brigade Stapleton Cotton - Defend
[505] Brigadier General Stapleton Cotton - Active B+ [500 paces]
[505] 14th Light Dragoons A 11/ 229 C [sk] Formed ( 5) Average Tiring
[506] 14th Light Dragoons B 0/ 229 C [sk] Formed Good Fresh
[507] 16th Light Dragoons A 0/ 253 C [sk] Formed Good Fresh
[508] 16th Light Dragoons B 0/ 271 C [sk] Formed Good Fresh
Brigade George Anson - Defend
[506] Brigadier General George Anson - Active B- [400 paces]
[509] 23rd Light Dragoons A 0/ 229 C [sk] Formed Good Fresh
[510] 23rd Light Dragoons B 0/ 224 C [sk] Formed Good Fresh
[511] 1st Light Dragoons KGL A 0/ 220 C+ [sk] Formed Good Fresh
[512] 1st Light Dragoons KGL B 0/ 228 C+ [sk] Formed Good Fresh

Division John Coape Sherbrooke - Defend
[507] Lieutenant General John Coape Sherbrooke - Active B- [800 paces]
Brigade Ernest Baron Langwerth - Defend
[510] Brigadier General Ernest Baron Langwerth - Active B- [350 paces]
[519] 1st KGL Line Battalion 16/ 528 C- [sk] Formed ( 5) Good Acceptable
[W] [520] 2nd KGL Line Battalion 5/ 605 C- [sk] Formed ( 7) Average Tired
[R] [521] Langwerth's Bde. Light Bn. 33/ 201 C [sk] Shaken Broken Tired
Brigade Sigismund Baron Low - Defend [No Advance]
[511] Brigadier General Sigismund Baron Low - Active C+ [450 paces]
[R] [522] 5th KGL Line Battalion 97/ 452 C- [sk] Shaken Broken Exhausted
[523] 7th KGL Line Battalion 75/ 426 C- [sk] Formed ( 4) Average Acceptable
[524] Low's Bde. Light Bn. 4/ 113 C [sk] Disorder Average Fresh

Division Rowland Hill - Defend
[512] Major General Rowland Hill - Active B- [950 paces]
Brigade Christopher Tilson - Defend
[513] Brigadier General Christopher Tilson - Active C+ [350 paces]
[R] [525] 1/3rd Foot 47/ 624 C+ [sk] Shaken Poor Acceptable
[526] 2/48th Foot 9/ 501 C- [sk] Formed ( 3) Good Fresh
[527] 2/66th Foot 4/ 469 C- [sk] Formed ( 5) Good Tiring
[R] [528] Tilson's Bde. Light Bn. 11/ 226 C [sk] Disorder Average Acceptable
Brigade Richard Stewart - Defend [Retire]
[514] Brigadier General Richard Stewart - Active B [450 paces]
[529] 29th Foot 119/ 419 C+ [sk] Disorder Good Tired
[R] [530] 1/48th Foot 26/ 700 C- [sk] Shaken Poor Exhausted
[D] [531] 1st Battalion of Detachments 246/ 302 C- [sk] D'persed Broken Exhausted
[532] Stuart's Bde. Light Bn. 5/ 197 C [sk] Formed ( 4) Average Fresh
Brigade Rufane Donkin - Defend
[516] Colonel Rufane Donkin - Active B- [350 paces]
[537] 2/87th Foot 0/ 539 C- [sk] Formed Average Fresh
[538] 1/88th Foot 0/ 539 C- [sk] Formed Good Fresh
[539] 5/60th Rifles 5/ 215 B- [sk] Formed ( 5) Good Fresh
[540] Donkin's Bde. Light Bn. 4/ 171 C [sk] Formed ( 4) Good Fresh

706/ 7227 Bayonets
21/ 2951 Sabres
312/ 132 Artillerists
12/ 6 Cannon
1039/ 10310 Total of all arms
22 Standards present

British Stand Out Performers - 2/66th Berkshire Regiment of Foot
The two battalions that "stopped the rot" for the British deserve special mention. The 2/66th Berkshire and 1st KGL Regiments of Foot showed their comrades how it should be done.

British Stand Out Performers - 1st King's German Legion Line Infantry Regiment

French Army - Talavera Dawn Attack, As of Game Turn: 10

Corps Claude-Victor Perrin
[104] Marechal d'Empire Claude-Victor Perrin - Active B- [1300 paces]
[101] 6/8me Artillerie a Pied 0/ 193 [ 8] C Formed ( 1) Good Fresh
[102] 2/6me Artillerie a Cheval 3/ 153 [ 6] B- Formed ( 1) Good Fresh
[103] 1/8me Artillerie a Pied 0/ 195 [ 8] C Formed ( 1) Good Fresh

Division Francois Amable Ruffin - Attack
[105] General de Division Francois Amable Ruffin - Active D+ [650 paces]
[190] 4/8me Artillerie a Pied 0/ 209 [ 8] C+ Formed Good Fresh
Brigade Claude-Marie Meunier - Attack
[106] General de Brigade Claude-Marie Meunier - Active B- [400 paces]
[191] 1/9me Regiment de Legere 0/ 467 C [sk] Formed ( 3) Good Acceptable
[192] 2/9me Regiment de Legere 29/ 468 C [sk] Formed ( 3) Good Fresh
[193] 3/9me Regiment de Legere 3/ 488 C- [sk] Formed ( 7) Good Acceptable
[194] 1/24me Regiment de Ligne 59/ 413 C [sk] Formed ( 8) Good Tiring
[195] 2/24me Regiment de Ligne 86/ 385 C [sk] Formed ( 2) Average Fresh
[196] 3/24me Regiment de Ligne 14/ 483 C- [sk] Formed Good Fresh
[197] 9me Regt. Voltigeur Bn. 9/ 299 C [sk] Formed ( 2) Good Acceptable
[198] 24me Regt. Voltigeur Bn. 43/ 265 C [sk] Formed ( 4) Average Tiring
Brigade Pierre Barrois - Attack [Retire]
[107] General de Brigade Pierre Barrois - Severely wounded B [450 paces]
[R] [ 199] 1/96me Regiment de Ligne. 94/ 419 C [sk] Shaken Broken Exhausted
[R] [ 200] 2/96me Regiment de Ligne. 87/ 420 C [sk] Shaken Broken Tired
[201] 3/96me Regiment de Ligne. 0/ 476 C- [sk] Formed ( 2) Average Fresh
[202] 96me Regt. Voltiguer Bn. 4/ 284 C [sk] Formed ( 4) Average Fresh

Division Eugene Villatte - Attack
[111] General de Division Eugene Villatte - Active B [875 paces]
[120] 2/8me Artillerie a Pied 0/ 198 [ 8] C+ Formed Good Fresh
Brigade Baron Louis-Victorin Cassagne - Attack [Retire]
[112] General de Brigade Baron Louis-Victorin Cassagne - Active C+ [400 paces]
[121] 1/27me Regiment de Legere 41/ 383 C [sk] Formed ( 2) Average Fresh
[R] [122] 2/27me Regiment de Legere 74/ 335 C [sk] Shaken Broken Tired
[Y] [123] 3/27me Regiment de Legere 151/ 277 C- [sk] Rout Broken Tired
[R] [124] 1/63me Regiment de Ligne 37/ 395 C [sk] Disorder Poor Tiring
[125] 2/63me Regiment de Ligne 5/ 406 C [sk] Formed ( 6) Good Acceptable
[R] [126] 3/63me Regiment de Ligne 34/ 388 C- [sk] Shaken Broken Tired
[127] 27me Regt. Voltigeur Bn. 3/ 258 C [sk] Formed ( 3) Average Acceptable
[128] 63me Regt. Voltigeur Bn. 5/ 256 C [sk] Formed ( 5) Poor Tired
Brigade Jacques Puthod - Attack [No Advance]
[113] General de Brigade Jacques Puthod - Active C [350 paces]
[129] 1/94me Regiment de Ligne 15/ 399 C [sk] Formed (11) Ex'lent Tiring
[R] [130] 2/94me Regiment de Ligne 130/ 304 C [sk] Shaken Broken Fresh
[131] 3/94me Regiment de Ligne 0/ 441 C- [sk] Formed Good Fresh
[Y] [132] 1/95me Regiment de Ligne 159/ 288 C [sk] Rout Broken Exhausted
[R] [133] 2/95me Regiment de Ligne 61/ 386 C [sk] Shaken Broken Acceptable
[R] [134] 3/95me Regiment de Ligne 154/ 265 C- [sk] Shaken Broken Tired
[135] 94me Regt. Voltigeur Bn. 2/ 249 C [sk] Formed ( 1) Average Fresh
[136] 95me Regt. Voltigeur Bn. 16/ 234 C [sk] Formed Good Fresh
Brigade Louis Carriere, Baron Beaumont - Attack
[114] General de Brigade Louis Carriere, Baron Beaumont - Active C+ [400 paces]
[137] 1/3me Artillerie a Cheval 0/ 144 [ 6] B- Formed Ex'lent Fresh
[138] 2me Regiment de Hussards A 0/ 228 C [sk] Formed Good Fresh
[139] 2me Regiment de Hussards B 0/ 243 C Formed Good Fresh
[140] 5me Regt. Chasseur a Cheval A 0/ 259 C Formed Good Fresh
[141] 5me Regt. Chasseur a Cheval B 0/ 255 C [sk] Formed Good Fresh

Division Antoine Christophe Merlin - Attack
[123] General de Brigade Antoine Christophe Merlin - Active C- [725 paces]
Brigade Jean Baptiste Alexandre Strolz - Attack
[124] Colonel Jean Baptiste Alexandre Strolz - Active D+ [300 paces]
[178] 10me Regt. Chasseur a Cheval 0/ 327 C [sk] Formed Good Fresh
[179] 26me Regt. Chasseur a Cheval 0/ 216 C [sk] Formed Good Fresh
Division Francois-Leon Ormancey - Attack
[125] Colonel Francois-Leon Ormancey - Active C- [650 paces]
[180] 1st Vistula Legion Lancers A 8/ 216 C [sk] Formed ( 5) Good Tiring
[181] 1st Vistula Legion Lancers B 0/ 206 C [sk] Formed Good Fresh
[182] Westplalian Light Horse 0/ 210 C [sk] Formed Good Fresh

1315/ 10131 Bayonets
8/ 2160 Sabres
3/ 1092 Artillerists
0/ 44 Cannon
1326/ 13383 Total of all arms
7 Standards present

French Stand Out Performers - Vistula Lancer Regiment
Although a small action, the charge by the Vistula Lancers snuffed out a potential counter-attack by British light cavalry on a General Villatte's badly disordered division in full retreat across the Portina. Had the British cavalry got among the French infantry the whole French attack could have quickly collapsed.

Like General Ruffin's continual attacks on the Cerro de Medellin forced back General Hill's troops successfully unhinging the British defence.

French Stand Out Performers - General Francois Ruffin's Division

Talavera Dawn Attack - Final Result

Minor victory for the French Army
As of Game Turn: 10

The British Army has suffered losses of:
[11%] 1341 men of all arms
incl.[ 6%] 687 prisoners of all arms
[12%] 1008 bayonets
[0%] 21 sabres
[70%] 312 artillerists
12 cannon[s] lost
Honours: [520] 2nd KGL Line Battalion

The French Army has suffered losses of:
[12%] 1891 men of all arms
incl.[1%] 195 prisoners of all arms
[16%] 1880 bayonets
[0%] 8 sabres
[0%] 3 artillerists
Honours: [129] 1/94me Regiment de Ligne
Losses include 1 General[s]:
[107] Pierre Barrois - Severely wounded

That's all the testing done for the Dawn Attack and I now know what the final scenario should look like. It's now on to an additional scenario I want to create for C&G which focusses on the German Division's attack on the Pajar de Vergara, which I will play through as I complete the forces for the full afternoon attack.