Monday, August 26, 2013

"Albueraesque" meeting engagement Battlegroup Boston Game Day August 24, 2013 with Carnage and Glory II

On Saturday, August 24 a group of gamers met at the Hobby Bunker in Malden, MA as part of Boston Trained Band's annual game day. Rob Walters of Eureka Minuatures ran what he described as an "Albuera-esque Meeting Engagement" with British and their Portugese Allies taking on a much larger French force. Of course the Brits were ensconced on and behind a hill. Chits were used to show the location of troops on the reverse slope but they did not appear on the table top until they moved out of position or the French topped the rise. Rob used his beautiful French Revolutionary Eureka figures supplemented by Foundry Napoleonic troops for the British, Portugese and balance of the French. Carnage and Glory II computer moderated rules were utilized for the battle. Scott Montietth took the French Cavalry and the infantry in the center while Steve Umbrell took the infantry brigade on the French left flank. They were later joined by Rich Wallace who commanded the very large French reserve brigade. On the British left,Dave Soucy took the British and Portugese Cavalry, a Portugese infantry brigade with their two gun batteries posted on the hill and a brigade of British comprised mainly of Scotts on the center hill. I commanded two British brigades, one on the center right portion of the hill and a second on the right hill along with 3 batteries of British 6 pounders.
Scott Montieth is an excellent cavalry commander but appears to have met his match with Dave Soucy. The French moved first and advanced their cavalry to narrow the field of engagement. The British and Portugese cavalry changed into line and advanced onto the field. The forces were fairly evenly matched, two British Guard Dragoon units (heavies), two KGL hussar units, and two Portugese units versus two French heavy units and four dragoon units. In the foreground you can see the slope the British and their Portugese Allies are defending, with the units on the reverse slope shown with a round poker type chip. The British batteries are on the far right flank and are content to soften up Steve Umbrell's advancing French brigade while the British light battalions advance a bit to harrass the approaching French.
The Portugese horse artillery advanced onto the field on turn one, deployed and hosed down the French heavies. On turn two the British had the initiative and took it. They charged the French cavalry catching them flat-footed for the most part. The Portugese line cavalry defeated two opponents, one regular line dragoon and the French heavy who received the whiff of grapeshot from the horse battery. The KGL hussars were defeated the British heavies sent a third French unit retreating in disorder to the rear. Dave's brilliant charge and follow on the next turn broke the French cavalry brigades morale and took them out of the game for all intents and purposes.

The French continue their advance toward the center hill. The Portugese infantry deploy to meet them in the area between the cavalry and the hill while their two batteries take pride of place on the hilltop, supported by British infantry with two light battalions (combined for each brigade) on the first level of the slope. Scott seems to pointing in disbelief at his rapidly diminishing cavalry brigade.
The French advance in the center continues.
The French are forced to redeploy on their right wing to counter the cavalry threat. Many of their units form square and the Portugese horse artillery redeploys to take advantage of the juicy targets. The French likewise, deploy a battery to check the British cavalry's challenge to their flank. (See below)
The advancing French columns paid a price but quickly dispatched two of the three combined British light battalions deployed forward of the crest. The unit pictured is Dave's Scottish brigade combined light battalion which was a veritable "Rock of Chickamagua", breaking all French attempts to disperse it during the game.
In order to counter the increasing French pressure (their reserve brigade has entered the field); The Scotts bring a small battalion forward and the British center brigade deploys a second battalion as their first unit, the Middlesex battalion has charged the French column which had dispersed the brigades combined light battalion; as does the right flank brigade which had earlier marched one battalion into the gap between the two ridges.

The Middlesex battalion did a very un-British thing, they chose not to fire before meleeing the French column. This is usually a good strategy in Carnage and Glory II, in this case it wasn't. The result was the melee was drawn. The next turn the French added a second column to the melee and sent the Brits packing. Earlier in the turn a French battalion which had been absorbing the Portugese batteries cannister fire for four turns received a result I had never seen before. Battalion wiped out! So long boys. Ouch. Our four hour game slot was coming to a close. Dave charged his cavalry on our left flank, losing one round when his troops were shot from the saddle and sent packing on their second round of action after dispersing one of the remaining French dragoons which had not reached the safety of its own lines. The fresh Portugese cavalry went into a French unit in line and dispersed it continuing into the flank of a French battery - victory for the Portugese, and a French unit in square, victory for the French with an end result of the Portugese cavalry falling back 150 paces, disordered.

On the French left wing Steve had been taking a pounding. As the game came to an end he sent a column up the right hand slope and took out one of the three British batteries. The British deployed their remaining reverse slope unit and came forward to support the remaining guns as the game came to an end. I think all of us would have liked to have played a few more rounds and seen what happened when the French engaged around the center hill. All in all, it was a fun event. Thanks Rob!