Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Skirmish outside San Miguel

I was playing a freind of mine today who collects 10mm wars of the roses (old glory). I was introducing him to black powder today, so we used 20mm Napoleonics by airfix (as the main black powder rulesbook has some armylists of this period in it, it is relativly simple to recreate).
The armies were fairly small. We each had a commander, two foot artillery and two standard line infantry units (the british only had one line infantry unit, but they had a highlander unit as well).

The field was set with the highlanders on the british right in attack column, the redcoats in a line in the centre and the royal artillery on the british left with the royal artillery commander.
I deployed my French force with the Marshal in the centre flanked on each side by fusiliers in attack column and artillery pieces. (apolagies for the lack of terrain and painted models, I had only just finished spraying them and had not yet started the painting process. Also my 20mm napoleonic scenary collection is not very big at present and this was a starter game after all)

 The game opened up with furious fighting! In turn one the highlanders charged into the old guard on the left flank, causing enough casualties on them to send them to breaking point with their ferocious charge. My right hand artillery piece then took some serious fire from the royal artillery who casused enough damage to break it, however the artillery men held their ground against the cannon fire.
My fusiliers then marched in attack column straight for the royal artillery, taking heavy fire from both the redcoats and artillery but despite being under close range cannon and musket fire the French men's morale held and they continued their march.

 By now I had been forced to take more break tests than I could have imagined i'd have to take, but Napoleon's grande arme held against all odds.

 Even with the inspiration of Napoleon's Marshal and all their experience, the old guard broke, scattered and fled the field. But then the royal artillery commander (no doubht not used to commanding redcoats) sent out the order for them to hold, somehowe they interpreted this as march forward and they went charging off in line towards the french attack column, just stopping short. However the fire the delivered on the frenchmen was overpowering and they broke the morale of the fuisilers, but the attack column stood its ground yet again. Their's had been an epic journey, marching across the field towards the artillery, suffering enormous casualties from the artillery bombardment but still going.
 And then they finished off their journey by openeing up on the redcoats with all their fire power! The redcoats broke at their fire power and fled the field. After that the French artillery opened fire on the highlanders, they to broke and fled, no doubht their charge had robbed them of their courage, and trapped as they were in between the artillery what else could they do.
It was looking bad for the British, their infantry had fled and the french attack column was almost upon them.

However then they opened fire on it and the fusilier's courage, which had taken so much, failed them and they fled for the hills. Now both commanders stood looking at each other from across the field. Each had two cannons at his disposal and all that was left was to open fire!
With that the artillery bombardment opened up, the gunners were working at rapid pase, firing of incredible ammounts at the oposition gun but in the end the french won the bombardment. With only one gun left the French marshal looked from his horse at the Royal artillery officer, standing amidst the burning wrecks of his artillery.
Victory to the French, but a very close one. It was only at the end i realised that i had been using the old guard as line infantry the entire game.
Black powder is very simple and quick to play once you have a hang of the rules and the reference sheet at the back just about sums everything up so you will rarely need to be flicking through the book for rules, once you strip the game down to a bear minimum of special rules (i believe we just had the highlanders ferocious charge one here) it gets a load quicker.
Hopefully more tuesday skirmishers of this type will be seen!