Sunday, May 22, 2016

Vimeiro - Take Three

At the NWS Games Day I inflicted my Vimeiro scenario on Stephen N ("Wellesley") and Mark B ("Junot").  I had hoped to get through two play tests, but with breaks for coffee, smokes and food never mind chats and admiring other games being played, we just completed the one session, but it did run to the end and a good conclusion.

 I use Napoleon's Battles 4th Edition with some throwbacks to 2nd Edition (principally I retain the 2nd Edition's way of doing interpenetration).  Optional rules used covered rally, command and fire combat for line and column.

The French did something unexpected and marched up the road to Vimeiro.  Wellesley reacts by getting his brigades into columns ready to manoeuvre against this incursion.

Junot orders his men to assault Vimeiro hill.

French skirmishers drive off Anstruther's brigade.
[Aside: in a dreadful blunder I had the British rout after four casualties, it should have been five and this rout should not have occurred...]

Wellesley brings up troops to threaten the French flank.

The French advance is halted, giving time for the allied redeployment.  Hill's brigade gets left behind.

Junot has deployed his cavalry to meet up with Brenier's outflanking move which was pulled back to the area of main assualt: Vimeiro hill.

The French grenadiers prepare to assault Fane's brigade which comprises the elite British light infantry.

French skirmish fire has disordered the British lights who none the less put up a good fight before withdrawing.

The British retake Vimeiro hill.  Brenier can be seen marching back to rejoin Delaborde's division (bottom right hand corner).

Ferguson's brigade in possession of Vimeiro hill at the end of 9:30 turn.

The Grenadiers, lead by Kellerman, bested the British while supporting cavalry bounced off a square.  Given the nature of the terrain being able to get cavalry into action was a major achievement.

Brenier's brigade arrives to join the rest of Delaborde's division  just as it is attacked.

The British push on with their attack catching the French in march column.

Things are starting to thin out.  Junot is moving one of his cavalry units down to help remnants of Delaborde's division.  Loison's division hold the centre while Kellerman is bearing down upon the British light troops around Vimeiro village who are pinned in square.

British in square - no match for French grenadiers.  
(Part of their problem is that the Portuguese brigade was previously position in front of the retiring square, when the Grenadiers routed the Portuguese they disordered the British and the Grenadiers then occupied the ground pinning the British square once again.  Being in square also meant they couldn't get across the creek.)

The French now hold the village and Junot sees a chance to unleash his cavalry on the three routed brigades that have taken shelter on the slopes to the north of Vimeiro. 

Wellesley launches a counterattack.  It is getting near midday and the noon day sun is bound to bring out some mad Englishmen.

Junot is starting to sober up and sees he is down to two infantry brigades.  He has cavalry moving forward on both flanks.

On the French left their cavalry is defeated.

On the right the French cavalry are able to threaten Wellesley's pummelled troops who have finally rallied.  While the French hold Vimeiro they are at risk of being isolated.  

It is 12:30 and feeling fatigued Junot will retire.  

Wellesley's superior commander has arrived and berated him for being so rash and recklessly spilling English blood in a blatant attempt for personal glory telling him in no uncertain terms that he should go back to India or at the very least Ireland if he wants to conduct himself in such an irresponsible manner.  Wellesley states that the battle has been won and that all they need to do is pursue the beaten French to achieve total victory.  Of course his superior knows better and orders the army to immediately stand down.  Wellesley is told that getting the French to retire was pure fluke and that it certainly would never happen again, besides it is possibly a crafty ruse by the French to lure the British army to its doom.  

Meanwhile Junot has ridden back to Lisbon to write a quick despatch to Napoleon to announce his great victory over the British.  In tiny letters he writes the word "presque". 

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