Miniature Addiction Wargaming with miniatures

The road to Lisbon

Introduction

The recent long weekend here in NZ (Labour weekend) was an ideal time for a mate and I to squeeze in a big two day GÉNÉRAL D’ ARMÉE game. With my usual flair for planning I had prepared nothing by the time Keef arrived at 11:00am on Saturday morning ready to start gaming. After a quick chat Keef set about arranging the battle field while I mustered the troops.With the desire to push lead around the table far out weighing our motivation to balance army list points we both agreed to field two batteries of guns, four infantry brigades and a single cavalry brigade each. It should be noted here that in this rule system, standard British infantry battalions namely all eight battalions in the British 2nd and 3rd brigades benefit from a special shooting rule (superior volley) if they remain stationary. To compensate for this advantage the entire French cavalry brigade was raised one morale class making them superior to their British counter parts.

French Order of Battle

  • 1st infantry brigade. Containing one eight pounder battery, four veteran battalions and a four stand skirmish screen.
  • 2nd Infantry brigade. Containing one eight pounder battery, four standard line battalions and a four stand skirmish screen.
  • 3rd Infantry brigade. Containing four standard line battalions and a four stand skirmish screen.
  • Italian brigade. Containing three recruit battalions and two standard line battalions along with a four stand skirmish screen.
  • Dragoon brigade. Containing three dragoon (Battle) cavalry regiments.

British Order of Battle

  • 1st infantry brigade. Containing one nine pounder battery, four veteran battalions and a four stand skirmish screen.
  • 2nd Infantry brigade. Containing one nine pounder battery, four standard line battalions and a four stand skirmish screen.
  • 3rd Infantry brigade. Containing four standard line battalions and a four stand skirmish screen.
  • Portuguese brigade. Containing three recruit battalions and two standard line battalions along with a four stand skirmish screen.
  • Light Cavalry brigade. Containing three light (campaign) cavalry regiments.

Plans and Placements

Basic brigade locations for both sides are shown on the map pictured above. From the British perspective it was hoped the French (Keef) plan would be to focus their efforts on breaking through the center of the British battle line before my flank attack could make any serious headway into the extreme right of their line.

The British (Me) plan was pretty simple, Anchor the Portuguese recruits in and around the village on the right flank while the cavalry and veterans would hold the central position  The.2nd infantry brigade  would advance from the high ground on the center-left  to contest the larger of the two villages. Thus leaving the 3rd brigade free to bypass this village and crash triumphantly into the over stretched French right and rear by way of a forced march around the forest.

Opening Moves & Bad Omens

To give my flank march the best possible chance of success I sent two ADC’s ordering its commander to advance at the double quick. Not satisfied with this I sent a third ADC to make sure my orders were both understood and carried out quickly. Alas all to no avail, two bad dice rolls later (the first of the game I might add) my brigade commander hesitated and his troops remained in place as distant cannon fire signaled the French attack.

Else where things go pretty much as predicted, the French push forward taking most of the village on their right while steadily increasing the pressure on my center. My Portuguese took the opposite village while my veterans brace themselves in the center.

▼British staff rush to get the third brigade moving▼

▼The Italian advance slows as their recruits struggle to maintain formation▼

▼French battalions fortify the buildings in a village on the right of their line  ▼

▼Veteran infantry battalions deploy in the center of the British line▼

▼ French troops redeploy to counter the British flanking force▼

▼Both sides now commit their cavalry reserves to the battle.▼

The appearance of three full regiments of  dragoons bearing down on the battered British center was meet with trepidation by the high command (Me). Orders were immediately dispatched to the reserve cavalry brigade. Responding without hesitation  the light Dragoons charge the oncoming French horsemen. Somehow the inexperienced British cavalry best the battle hardened French driving them off in disorder.

Ignoring calls to rally, French watch in horror as most of their cavalry quit the field. Seeking to redeem himself the French cavalry commander personally leads his remaining regiment in a wild charge against an isolated unit of British horsemen. Unfortunately his demoralized men break and run after the briefest of fights.

▼A confused mass of French horsemen desperately trying to regroup on the central plain▼ .

Day two saw the last available battalions of the French first brigade move to plug the line where the dragoon regiments had once been. The fragmented British cavalry tried to press their advantage here, but only managed a few disjointed attacks none which meet with any real success. Their center left now stabilized the French second brigade supported by a strong skirmish line and the fire from two battery’s pushed forward in a desperate attempt to smash the British army. Ultimately it was not to be as while this bloody drama played out in the center almost simultaneously both French flanks collapsed under concerted attacks by the Portuguese and British brigades. The battle was over and the British held the field, but it was not won without great cost.

▼The French second brigade renews its attack in the center▼

▼Italian morale waivers in the face of mounting Portuguese pressure▼

▼French trumpets sound general retreat as British troops storm one of the villages▼