Monday, August 27, 2012

Busaco (Reyniers Assault) - 27th September 1810 - Part Two

The French right, where the Irishmen of the 4th Royal Irish Dragoon Guards have forced my volitgeurs in square, damn their eyes

When last we saw the French army, things were not looking good for Brother John. Les Roastbifs had planted themselves on a hill and we had been obliged to hurl ourselves at it. Now in actuality, the French did do that, but did not strike the British position straight on. This allowed the British line to shoot up the French columns for rather longer than would have been the case. Unfortunately this is only really possible when the French are in some doubt as to where the British position is. Given arms that remain stubbornly 33 inches long, there is no real point in playing a game where half the board is unused - I would need a bigger board and a bigger house.

One would have thought that hundreds of years of folk memory would have put the Frenchers off attacking British troops in positions of their own choosing. It took them two generations, if not more, to figure it out in the Hundred Years War - would I be able to turn the situation around.

The Halberdiers go down fighting

If you remember from the first half of this report, I had skirmished with my cavalry on my left, hoping to punish the vulnerable Portuguese infantry on the heights, refused the centre and placed all my hopes on a victory of my right flank. My infantry had managed to make a dent in the British line, but the inevitable counterattack had done considerable execution. I still had several battalions in hand and time would tell whether they would be sufficient.

The absolutely crushing volley from the 31ieme Legere that did for the Halberdiers.

As you can see, the Legere did some damn fine shooting, but of the four battalions I had, one was so whipped as to be almost useless, the Voltigeurs were in square and being harried by cavalry. So while it was good to have bundled the Halberdiers out of the way, I was not feeling as confident as all that.

The 22ieme Ligne try to shift the 57th off the ridge

They fail to do so (i.e. their melee attack does some damage, but doesn't force the 57th to retreat or wipe them out) and they bogged down in a close range volleying match. Meanwhile the 4th Royal Irish Dragoon Guards move forward to threaten by weakened battalion and pin the Voltigeurs in square again. Damn.
The 15ieme Dragoons move forward finally, throwing the 7th Portuguese line into square.

I had hoped that this would have been my opening gambit, but Du Gourmand forestalled me by cunning use of a Short of Supply card. With three infantry units on this side of the table, it was entirely possible that I could either wipe one or two of them out if he refused to form square or I could pin all three, severely limiting his ability to maneuvre.
The Dragoons make short work of my weakened battalion and thunder into the sharp shooting 31ieme Ligne

It was looking like the wheels were about to come off the cart on the right flank. I just could not seem to injure those damned Irish dragoons.
The Chasseurs move up to serve the Portuguese infantry in their turn

This was what had been hoping for and I was finally able to do it. I was unlikely unless I was very unlucky that Du Gourmand's Portuguse infantry would be able to deal with my cavalry once I had them all pinned in square. This would take three cards from his hand and leave him scrabbling for a response when I got my centre and right moving.

And this is where it got interesting. Du Gourmand didn't form square with the second infantry battalion who were promptly ridden down by the Chasseurs. This was a puzzlement as Du Gourmand must of have known it was the likely outcome and he would be be unlikely to surrender a unit lightly. The only explanation could be that he had drawn a very good card which he didn't want to risk losing.

That did not bode well.
Meanwhile, I finally got my centre moving, hopefully to give the Portuguese 
infantry hiding in the village the boot
So, what did Du Gourmand have up his sleeve?

With tragic inevitability, he threw down Bayonet Charge! This was very bad news for me as I had to battalions in square on my right. They were safe when all that could hit them was the Irish dragoons, but things soon changed as the British infantry came into play.
The Second Battalion 7th Portuguese surround my gallant Frenchmen while
 the 57th hit them in the front.

My column in the centre was getting so close....

The rolling platoon volleys begin to crash down the line and it's all over.
The Fourth Foot watch through the roiling gunsmoke as the French 
infantry break and run for the rear. 

General Du Gourmand - magnanimous in victory as always

On the whole, I was happy with the game. It played out rather like the real battle went, French columns reaching for British lines and not quite making it. In retrospect, in view of the lack of British artillery in the centre, I should have formed up my troops there so that when the assault on the right came, they would be in a position to support them. As it was, the British were able to concentrate their men and defeat the attack in detail.

1 comment:

  1. Again another good game for you. Nice to see so many games being played by someone