Wednesday 8 December 2021

What if: Veimeiro 1808. Part 2.

 Turn 2

With only two initiative points to spend in the first initiative phase things work out well for the British: They turn a Cavalry Move card first up and move their unit of light dragoons to counter Margaron's enveloping cavalry. A charge follows soon afterwards and the British sweep the French dragoons away but, only partly preventing a full pursuit, are now a shadow of the unit they were.
Up on the Eastern Ridge, Brenier and Solignac go forward losing casualties and cohesion to British volleys, only to rally [unit integrity losses back] for another effort.
Following a few minor initiative phases, the French get a big swing of initiative points by drawing 5:5 versus a British 4:3. This gives them a hefty 17 points of initiative versus 4 for the phase. It's fairly easy to work out how that was done; I'll leave it with you.

With such a healthy wodge of initiative the French choose to cycle through their deck to find the right cards for the moment, hoping to steal a march on the British and end the turn early.
Finally, after much card turning, Infantry Move: Kellerman's Grenadiers take possession of Vimeiro's churchyard.

Riflemen, seeing that they must hold [not evade] to slow the grenadier's advance and give fire shoot at the onrushing grenadiers advancing down the road in an attempt to cut the village off from Vimeiro Hill. It is a fruitless effort.
Up on the ridge, the French advance to charge reach (3").

Here Brenier's legere are hoping to catch the 71st in square before they can change back into something more suitable to fend of an infantry attack.
On the other side of the ridge, several sharp volleys of French musketry and artillery shot, poorly answered by the British on this occasion, force one of Nightinghall's units to take to its heals in full retreat. The gap is immediately filled by the onrushing French of Solignac's brigade: "Ils courent, Monsieur!" [They are running, Sir!] 

At this moment, the Eastern Ridge is the Schwerpunkt. The battle may well be decided here.

As turn to ends, the British have turned just seven cards. They have used a lot of their initiative buying back opportunity chips with which to fend off the French with 'reactive fire'. A good turn for the French.

Turn 3

Trusting to their bayonets, Kelllerman's grenadiers rush the riflemen on the Toledo road and, after a brief clash, send send them packing to the rear with significant losses.
On the Eastern Ridge, Solignac exploits the gap created by the retreating British unit but become engaged with Nightinghall's second line. A spirited bayonet charge by the British will force the French legere to recoil.
Meanwhile, with Furgusson's troops occupied with holding back massed French infantry, Brenier redirects his dragoons and a unit of legere to begin a flanking move through the pine woods at the foot of the northern slopes of the Eastern Ridge.
On the summit of Eastern Ridge the battle hangs in the balance. 

After a to and fro musketry duel, and a desperate British bayonet charge, the British front line has fallen back in some disarray and left their battery isolated. 

The gunners, firing canister for all they are worth, are flanked and charged - "We're doomed! We're doomed!" And, they are.
On the southern flank of the army, the British light dragoons, flushed with their recent victory over their heavier counterparts, find themselves on the flank of more French dragons. 

Though disordered, lighter and depleted, they chance their arm [their flank position still gives them D10 Vs D8]. The dice do not go their way, their charge is halted and the French turn to face.

However, the British cavalry can feel satisfied. They have successfully changed the axis of French cavalry advance. Also, the next card is Command and the light dragoons rally from the disorder caused by the combat; with the threat of the cavalry gone, their formerly threatened infantry can come out of square on the same card.
As the bishop said to the actress "It's not only the French who can swing." 

The British get 19 initiative points to 5. Craufurd and Trant move up on the ridge and begin to form a new reserve line around Bowes.

The men of Hill's brigade [pictured] are grateful to get their feet wet crossing the R. Maceira: It's a blisteringly hot day and the water is refreshingly cool. 

Then, as Asquith's men advance down from the slopes of the Eastern Ridge in support, Hill's men occupy the western side of Vimeiro to contest the French incursion into the eastern side.
At that point a same domino draw [both draw a 5:1 domino] abruptly ends the turn.

The game is at a critical juncture. Just about everyone is hotly engaged, or at least close enough to smell the eye stinging powder smoke.  

This picture shows the situation as a whole. The scenario is working well. Both combats (Vimeiro and Ridge) are definitely separate combats. 

The combat for Vimeiro will, with the [fictional] arrival of Hill's brigade, probably go the way of the British, though it's not nailed on (60 - 40). The British defence now looks like a bastion.

The Eastern Ridge combat, with both French brigades arriving at the same time [the big, what if], is making life tense for the British.

The combat for Vimeiro and its associated hill, as seen from the Ridge. 

In the foreground is Acland's battery. His infantry, having moved down from the slopes and crossed the 'brook', are now advancing on Vimeiro - historically they got their before the French.

On the Eastern Ridge a pell mell battle is about to errupt. 

To the rear of the combat zone Craufurd and Trant's brigades can be seen forming a new reserve line around Bowes' position. 

The combat doesn't seem quite so confusing from this angle. The lines of scrimmage can clearly be seen - it's all about to get very tasty.

Note that I have a new rule for cavalry and trees. Cavalry, I'm reliably informed, find woods more difficult than infantry. I now make woods one terrain type more difficult for them. That's why these dragoons are disordered [movement disorder: tuft marker] and moving more slowly than the legere unit. 

BTW: The two barrels marker indicates that the dragoons are moving on infantry cards, as part of Brenier's infantry division, as a minority unit. Stones indicate UI loss (count the stones), and broken wheel's (not in this picture?) indicate shaken.

Stay tuned for part 3....


Gonsalvo said...

A lot closer than my Attempt at Vimiero a few months ago!

Steve J. said...

That is very, very impressive!

pancerni said...

Impressive indeed, what an enjoyable read.