Monday, July 2, 2012

Battle of Salamanca (French Left) 22nd July 1812 Part Two

The French counter-attack my Portuguese cavalry

So there I was, surrounded by Frenchmen...

When I last wrote of this battle, things were looking grim for the home team. A sudden charge by the Swiss on my left had been blunted by volleys from the 4th Foot, but they were then engaged by French cavalry who pinned them in square. Honours were about equal, I had driven a battalion of Swiss from the field, while Mr E, my opponent, had destroyed the 60th Rifles. But with three units in square on my left, I was running perilously short of cards to play.

I had launched an attack on my right, hoping to use my cavalry superiority on that flank to do unto Mr E as he had done unto me. My portuguese dragoons did some damage to the Legione Irlandaise and forced one battalion of the 8ieme Ligne into square, but they were counter attacked by French troops from the centre, which left one squadron of Portuguese teetering on one block. I moved the 18th Hussars up in support, but it did not look that it would be enough.

The struggle continues on the British left

Mr E was finding himself in a bit of a pickle on his right as well. His cavalry were doing sterling work, holding my chaps pinned - but the perennial problem of cavalry facing infantry raised its ugly head. He could hold me in square and ride me down to red ruin if I came out of it, but couldn't harm me if I remained in square. His infantry were too far away to do me much harm for a turn or two and were so understrength that it would be a bold move to let me get within reach of them.

The cavalry infantry stalemate on the British right takes a turn for the worse with the arrival of some French chasseurs. The Legione Irelandaise badly shaken need to be rescued before they're driven off, but the Pork & Beans shatter one French battalion in return. The honours so far 2-1 to me.

But soft, what light from yonder hill flashes? Christ! It's a twelve pounder gun.

One of the disadvantages of Mr E surprise spoiling attack was that he was left without much in the way of artillery support. Like the canny General that he is, he set about putting this to rights.

And was rewarded when held in square by the cavalry and now pummelled by gunfire, the 4th Foot went for its tea thus evening the odds.

Things were not looking entirely rosey on the right flank either, the French chasseurs supports by a battalion of the 8ieme Ligne rode down first one, then two Portuguese squadrons. 4-2 to Mr E. Damnation.


However never daunted, the 18th Hussars ride down the French chasseurs. They may be slow talking fellows in Drogheda, but they ride fast horses! 4-3 to Mr E.

Now this is where it begins to get interesting

As you can see Mr E is a good position here. He has two full strength French battalions supported by guns on the hill. He can advance under cover of gunfire, even better if he had a Bayonet charge in hand which would allow him to close the distance speedily. My Portuguese valiant fellows that they are, cannot stand toe to toe with Mr E veterans. I have numbers on my side, but he has quality.

The second squadron of Chassuers supports Mr E's guns. 

While the 8ieme Ligne advances. The 18th Hussars fall back.

Now this is where is gets really interesting.
The Second Battalion 4th Foot move in on the weakened 1ieme Swisse

Mr E had handled my little army rather roughly so far, but some turns ago he had managed to drive off the 4th Foot with gunfire. However, it doesn't matter that they ran away, they will surely come back again and in coming of out of square, they freed up a very useful card, Bayonet Charge. Bayonet Charge allows four infantry units anywhere on the board to move two hexes, twice their usual allowance, and attack in melee. Used correctly it can be devastating and I had every intention of using it correctly.

However, I was only going to have one chance at this stroke and with Mr E level on cards and one ahead on points, it was going to take some carefuly handling.

And in a puff of smoke and a gleam of bayonets they were gone.

With the scores now even at 4-4, I managed to drive off one squadron of French hussars with fire from the two remaining squares. I forgot to take a picture of them, but they had been taking desultory fire for several turns and it was more a case of chipping away than a sudden collapse. 

The charge goes in...

 ...and it's crushing. My brave Portuguese, who I'd been so worried about earlier, did me so proud. They advanced with a Waterloo Picton waving an umbrella at their head. Up, up, up towards the enemy!

And it's all over. 

This was a game of hard pounding, Mr E came close to defeating me decisively by his typically bold moves early on in the game, but my counter attack badly weakened his infantry and made it impossible for him to support the success of his cavalry. His hussars and chasseurs did good service pinning me in square, but ended up riding around and around my squares fruitlessly, while my own cavalry managed to take some of the pressure off on my right. I was lucky to get the Bayonet Charge card when I needed it. No doubt he will weigh in with his own observation in time.

Mr E was a worthy opponent and we did justice to a wonderful bottle of Madeira while we did battle. A very pleasent evening spent in good company and another Command & Colours scenario ticked off the list.

1 comment:

  1. This was indeed a cracker of a game. I think a lot hinged on the opening moves - Le Grande Maneouver sent nearly an entire flank right across the field and into contact with the British. After that, it was looking really good... for a turn. The manhandling of my poor regiments of Swiss was somewhat brutal.

    If I recall your first eight dice resulted in seven kills on the Swiss, which kinda took the wind out of their sails. As a result, while the cavalry on the French right did magnificent service herding the British infantry into squares, the battered Swiss were in no position or condition to actually deliver the killing blow.

    For some reason I don't recall the happenings on the other flank (French left, British right) as well - I think it was a little less intense and fraught, though there's some recollection of chaps on big horses running down some poor innocent Frenchmen.

    The centre was the final decider, it kinda came down to who could get a decisive charge in, and once again that bane of my C&C:N career came to haunt me. Damn you Bayonet Charge, damn you to hell.

    Have to say it was also a very interesting game momentum-wise. The opening moves were much more dramatic and action-filled than usual (mostly due to an early Grande Maneouver I suppose), and then things kinda slowed down a bit while the cavalry and infantry squares faced off against one another, before finishing off on the edgy confrontation in the centre.

    I'll get you next time Kinch. Next time...